Reading is one of my absolute favorite pastimes. For years now, I have been fan of the historical novels that were authored by G.A. Henty. Mr. Henty wrote over a hundred books in the mid to late 1800s and nearly all of them are historical fiction. Being that history is a favorite topic of mine, I thoroughly enjoy these books and was oh so excited when I could get over eighty of them on my Kindle for free!
As I was reading one of the books awhile back, I came across the following paragraphs. They contain an immense amount of truth … truth that many people, sadly, do not realize, recognize or accept.
In the story, we are introduced to a traveling showman who cared for his orphan granddaughter who was about five years old. At this point in the narrative, he had made arrangements for a widowed schoolteacher to take care of her for a few years and train her to be a lady.
“But why am I to stop with that lady, grampa, and not go about with you any more? I shan’t like it. I like going about, though I get so tired sometimes when you are showing the pictures; and I like being with you. It isn’t ’cause I have been naughty, is it? ‘Cause I fell out of the boat into the water? I won’t never get into a boat again, and I didn’t mean to fall out, you know.”
“No, Aggie, it’s not that,” the sergeant said. “You are always a good girl–at least, not always, because you sometimes get into passions, you know. Still, altogether you are are good little girl. Still, you see, you can’t always be going about the country with me.”
“But why not, grampa?”
“Well, my dear, because great girls can’t go about the country like men. It wouldn’t be right and proper they should.”
“Why shouldn’t it be, grampa?” the child persisted.
“Well, Aggie, I can’t exactly explain to you why, but so it is. Men and boys have to work. They go about in ships, or as soldiers to fight for their country, just as I did. Girls and women have to stop at home, and keep house, and nurse babies, and that sort of thing. God made man to be hard and rough, and to work and go about. He made women gentle and soft, to stop at home and make things comfortable.”
Aggie meditated for some distance, in silence, upon this view of the case.
“But I have seen women working in the fields, grampa, and some of them didn’t seem very soft and gentle.”
“No, Aggie, things don’t always go just as they ought to do; and you see, when people are poor, and men can’t earn enough wages, then their wives and daughters have to help; and then, you see, they get rough, more like men, because they are not doing their proper work. But I want you to grow up soft and gentle, and so, for a time, I want you to live with that lady with the nice boy who pulled you out of the water, and they will make you very happy, and I shall come and see you sometime.”
-G.A. Henty, With Wolfe In Canada
I think Mr. Henty hit on a valuable truth here that many women are missing in this day and age. “God made men to be hard and rough, and to work and go about. He made women gentle and soft, to stop at home … to keep house, nurse babies … and make things comfortable.” Somehow this sounds strikingly similar to a certain passage of Scripture: “that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” – Titus 2:4-5
When women have to work to earn wages and provide for their families, they become more rough, more like men, because they are not doing their proper work. Remember way back in the Garden of Eden … after Adam and Eve had sinned and they were each given specific curses? The curse of the man was that he would have to work hard, toiling for provisions.
Have you noticed how so many women today seem so masculine? Have you recognized how rare it is to find beautiful, gentle, soft, feminine women? As Mr. Henty noted, when women have to work to provide for themselves and their families, they take on the curse of man and become more like men.
Some women are in this position out of necessity … my heart goes out to these women and I hope and pray that their circumstances can change. Some women are in this position out of their own choice and free will … I hope and pray that they will see the blessing and privilege of being women at home, soft and gentle, fulfilling the role for which they were created.