Camping out will be found a very excellent training for young men as possible husbands. Without a woman to help them in making the preliminary arrangements for an enjoyable outdoor life for a few weeks, they are perfectly certain to forget something, if not several things. Their future wives profit by these mistakes, also by the knowledge that campers-out acquire of the prices of provisions, utensils, etc.
' What have you done with that fifteen-pence ?" was the question that occurred frequently in a farce produced in the days of the old Lyceum. When a man obtains some notion of the prices of domestic necessaries, he is less likely to carp about the weekly books and his wife's allowance. He can remember how short a way fifteen-pence will go towards purchasing the day's requirements, and will be less likely to hurl inconvenient questions at her head.
The domesticated husband is more often found in France than in England. He is usually an excellent cook, and he does not mind tending the baby, even when it is shrieking so violently that the English husband would hastily lay it down and shout for his wife.
A Frenchman has a very tender way with his youngsters ; he calls them " little cabbages," and bestows other tender names upon them, his voice appearing to encourage the small beings to good behaviour.
English fathers might imitate him.
In the case of domestication, very few men indeed will be found capable of resisting the attractions of housewifery in its lighter forms. A man is not clever at making a bed; he would hate to sweep a room, and his dusting of the furniture might be of the kind which displayed itself on one occasion in college rooms. A girl, invited with her mother to a kettledrum, sat down to the piano, and immediately turned up her fingers and looked at them. "Fie ! " she said. "What a dusty piano I" To which her host replied : "You don't say so ! I dusted it with the clothes-brush just before you came."
But these are revolutionary days; and before long a man may be as efficient with a duster as he is with the needle.
By H. Pearl Adam Mrs. Samuel Pepys
"The story of Pepys' married life, as we glean it from the pages of his delightful diary, is wonderfully entertaining, and one feels no little regret that, as the diary does not begin till the year 1659, it does not tell us in its frank, naive way all about Pepys' first acquaintance with pretty little Elizabeth St. Michel, his courtship of her, and the earliest days of their married life, when they lived on little else but love in a garret, yet were quite happy and content.
Mrs. Pepys was the daughter of Alexander St. Michel, a Huguenot, who came to England with Henrietta Maria on her marriage with Charles I. He had been disinherited by his father on account of his faith - for he came of a Papist family - and he was soon dismissed from Court as a result of striking a friar in the course of a heated argument on matters of religion. He married the widowed daughter of Sir Francis Kingsmill, and had two children, a son, on whom was inflicted the name of Balthazar, and a daughter Elizabeth. Mr. St. Michel was of an ingenious turn of mind, but fortune did not smile on his inventive efforts. Late in life we find him obtaining patents for curing smoky chimneys and cleaning muddy ponds, but in these early days the family was very poor. They lived for a while in Bideford, where Elizabeth was born.
During a prolonged absence from home of Mr. St. Michel, a Madame Trouson, who must have been a very zealous Catholic, made determined efforts to secure his wife and children for the Roman Church. She assured Mrs. St. Michel that, if she would leave her husband, she would see that her children and herself were comfortably provided for. Her daughter should become a nun and her son page to the Pope's Nuncio, who was then in Paris.
To Mrs. St. Michel's discredit - perhaps she found poverty very hard to bear - she agreed, and one day two coaches came to her door, one for Elizabeth and herself and the other for her son. They were taken to Roman Catholic institutions in France,.and soon Elizabeth was removed to the Convent of the Ursulines.
Directly Mr. St. Michel heard of these happenings he hastened to France and succeeded in rescuing his family, but for some time Elizabeth showed a liking for the Roman Church, which much worried her father, and he was very glad when she became engaged to be married to Samuel Pepys, whom he knew to be as good a Protestant as England could show.
The two were married at St. Margaret's, Westminster, towards the end of 1655. Mrs. Pepys was quite penniless, her husband nearly so, and for their poor little home itself they were indebted to Sir Edward Montagu, afterwards Lord Sandwich, who was Pepys' cousin. He entered this gentleman's family a year later, however, being employed as a kind of factotum for his cousin in business matters when the latter was away from town.
In 1659, when his diary opens, he was clerk in Sir George Downing's office. In order to keep up a good appearance in public he was obliged to be economical in his household expenditure, and we find such pathetic entries as the following : "At noon I went home and dined with my wife on pease porridge and nothing else."
A Capable Wife
The young wife proved quite a capable housekeeper, and in after years Pepys reminded her " how she used to make coal fires, wash my foul clothes with her own hand for me, poor wretch ! " - one wishes Pepys would not refer so frequently to the lady in this manner - "in our little room at my Lord Sandwich's, for which I ought for ever to love and admire her, and do." He refers elsewhere to her "care and thrift," and her success in the matter of housekeeping. We find her rising at five o'clock in the morning, before day, and going to market to buy fowls and other things for an elaborate dinnerparty, on which occasion, her husband tells us, the house was " mighty clean and neat."