Tuesday, March 10, 2015

1890 Birdie's Diary Excerpts

Historical Fiction Writers all love it when we find diaries written during the time period we're working on. I stumbled on these excerpts in The Railroad Trainman 1890 from a young wife named Birdie. Some of the comments are wonderful. I think I would have liked to have met Birdie. I believe she has a great sense of humor. Enjoy!

Extracts from Birdie's Diary.
Some Valuable Hints on Housekeeping.
She was the sweetest little girl in the whole city and when she and George were married, the wedding was one of the most brilliant social successes of the season. After they had settled down to housekeeping in an elegant new house. Birdie concluded to keep a diary, and happening to peep inside of it one day we copied the following quaint and curious extracts:
May 10.—George said last week that we must economize, for trade seemed to be paralyzed. It is funny that trade should have waited till we got married and then get paralyzed. But we must do all we can, George says, to save our money; I am trying every way to save what he makes.
May 13.— For three days I have been making my husband a pair of the cutest night-shirts that anybody ever saw. They are long and graceful and trimmed with pink embroidery. George put one of them on last night and we had our first harsh word.
George said that anyone with brains enough to soil a silk handkerchief ought to know that the buttons should be on the right side.
I also made a mistake in putting in the sleeves, so that they pointed back into the dim past. George said he felt all the time as if he had been turned around in a cyclone, and that while struggling to peer into the future his arms were striving to lay hold on the dear, dead past. He can be quite eloquent when he feels like it, and he writes just too lovely for anything for the papers, and those who have read his pieces say he is bound to be one of the most brilliant amateur writers some day. I think nobody can equal him now.
May 15.—I can see now that if I had put in more time at home in
learning to sew and cook, and less time thumping a piano and studying elocution it would have been better for Georte. Poor, dear George, I believe I love him more and more every day and I am going to commence learning everything right away for his sake.
May 17.—Yesterday I bought a little red receipt book of a pleasing young man who called at the door. The book is a very useful one and is bound in the same color of my new dress. It tells how to make custards, blanc manges and floating island. It also tells you in the back part how to cure heaves, glanders and botts. I can hardly wait till George gets the botts so that I can bring out my little red volume and win him back to life and joy again. It also gives away other information. Any one with this book in the house can go to work and take a person right through a long siege of croup or yellow fever without a doctor, and there is a whole lot of law in it so that George can use it in his business and we won't ever have to have a doctor either. Why will people fritter away their money on doctors, when they can get one of these books so cheap?
May 20.—George promised me last night that I could have a new dress. I know what kind I will have. It will be of white flannel, trimmed with wide bands of white satin, and white hat to match, I know that will look lovely. He is is a dear.
I bought some rhubarb at the drug store this morning and to-morrow I will make a couple of pies. George is passionately fond of rhubarb pies. There would be far less connubial unhappiness if wives would study their husbands' wants and supply them, I think.—Frog.

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