I found an interesting blog yesterday, Under the Gables, and in it, a wonderful post on the subject of “well behaved women don’t make history”. The writer posits that while that may be true, it may also be true that “well behaved women” (by which she does not mean doormats) make people.
She put this startling passage at the center of the post, a passage from a book by Elizabeth Goudge called The Herb of Grace.
But they were talking about the deplorable state of the world, about that terrible bomb, about famine and inflation and chaos and death, and her mind shied away from their talk like a terrified horse. She couldn’t do anything about it now, at 86, except pray, and in between her prayers, now that the war was over, she wished they would let her forget sometimes that things had not turned out as well as one had hoped. She enjoyed the things that were left: the spring sunshine slanting into the quiet room, lighting up the flowers and the lovely ripe corn colour of Pooh-Bah’s coat, the hot tea, the log fire burning on the hearth, whispering and fragrant, the feel of dear old Bastard’s chin [dog] resting on her shoe, the sound of the sea coming in the pauses of their talk.
“Don’t!” she cried to them suddenly. “It’s this that matters–this!”
What, Mother?” asked Margaret…
“Beauty is truth?” asked Hilary, coming a little nearer.
But Nadine, without words, stretched out a hand and gently touched her mother-in-law’s. They had both been married and borne children. Lucilla knew always, and Nadine in her more domesticated moments, that it was homemaking that mattered. Every home was a brick in the great wall of decent living that men erected over and over again as a bulwark against the perpetual flooding in of evil. But women made the bricks, and the durableness of each civilization depended upon their quality; and it was no good weakening oneself for the brickmaking by thinking too much about the flood.”
Image Credit: detail from Sweet B Greeting Card “Family Memories”