1800s, 19th century, Advice, Annie S. Swan, Annie Shepherd Swan, Books, Christianity, Courtship and Marriage and the Gentle Art of Homemaking, family, Free E-Books, God, Kindle for PC, Life, Lifestyle, Literature, Love, Reading, Relationships, Religion, Spirituality, Values
I recently downloaded the Kindle for PC app and since then, I have been downloading quite a few free e-books. (This post is all me, not trying to promote anything, but I am really enjoying this. If you’re interested in downloading it, you can do so on Amazon for free.) One of the books I stumbled upon was Courtship and Marriage and the Gentle Art of Homemaking by Annie S. Swan. (You can download the e-book here for free.)
This was actually one of the first books I downloaded, while I was still trying to learn to use the program. To be quite honest, I downloaded it on a whim. I plan to be a homemaker when David and I are married, and this is a topic which interests me. It was also written some time ago so I was curious to see what a woman might have had to say so long ago. Honestly I expected some things to be so antiquated as to just be silly. I didn’t find that to be so at all.
Courtship and Marriage and the Gentle art of Homemaking was written at the turn of the 19th century by Annie Shepherd Swan. In it, she shares her thoughts and advice about courtship, marriage, budgeting, housekeeping, parenting, and religion in the home. It also focuses on her perspective about gender roles, and the change in perspective concerning gender roles at the time it was written. I have to say, I was very taken aback by how much the chapter titled “The Truest Economy” applied to today’s world. At times I felt it could have been written this year. Having said that, there are some archaic ideas in this book. That is to be expected.
This book expresses very well the idea of having a relationship or marriage in which the man is the leader, but the woman has a role of her own, no less important, and strengths which correspond to that role. A woman who is not a doormat. While I did not agree with absolutely everything in this book–I did not, by any means, expect to–I found so much that I did agree with. I have however, narrowed it down to a few quotes to share here, which I absolutely love and will no doubt refer to again in the future, and which I also believe capture the overall messages of the book as I see it:
Love is the most wonderful educator in the world; it opens up worlds and possibilities undreamed of to those to whom it comes, the gift of God. I am speaking of love which is worthy of the name, not of its many counterfeits. The genuine article only, based upon respect and esteem, can stand the test of time, the wear and tear of life; the love which is the wine of life, more stimulating and more heart-inspiring when the days are dark than at any other time,—the love which rises to the occasion, and which many waters cannot quench.
Swan, Annie S. (Annie Shepherd) (2011-04-25). Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making (Kindle Locations 106-110). . Kindle Edition.
The woman who loves and is beloved finds herself strong to bear the ills that may meet her from day to day.
Swan, Annie S. (Annie Shepherd) (2011-04-25). Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making (Kindle Locations 171-172). . Kindle Edition.
Home-making, like the other arts, is with some an inborn gift,—the secret of making others happy, of conferring blessings, of scattering the sunny largesse of love everywhere, is as natural to some as to breathe. Such sweet souls are to be envied, as are those whose happy lot it is to dwell with them.
Swan, Annie S. (Annie Shepherd) (2011-04-25). Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making (Kindle Locations 346-348). . Kindle Edition.
The very advanced of our sex have been known to disclaim any desire for such consideration; they want none from the opposite sex, but only room to fight the battle side by side; but we who do not wish to see life robbed of all its grace and courtliness would respectfully insist that this reserve should not be entirely dispensed with. We still like a man to take off his hat to us in the street, instead of jerking his head on one side; we have no objection to the inside of the pavement or the most comfortable seat in carriage or tram, for which we have still a word of appreciative thanks left, though we may thereby show how far we are left behind in the race.
Swan, Annie S. (Annie Shepherd) (2011-04-25). Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making (Kindle Locations 682-686). . Kindle Edition.
Religion does not consist in the performance of religious ordinances, in conscientious reading of the Word or the utterance of its formal prayers; these are its attributes, its natural outcome, not by any means the thing itself. Religion is, I take it, to be a principle, a powerful guiding motive to direct us in the ordinary affairs of life, and its mainspring is love.
Swan, Annie S. (Annie Shepherd) (2011-04-25). Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making (Kindle Locations 834-837). . Kindle Edition.
Personally, I found this book very encouraging and inspiring. Parts of it, I think I could read every single day. Some quotes from it could honestly become a sort of mantra for me. I believe I will come back to this book for sound advice I know I will benefit from reminding myself of someday in my future marriage and, hopefully, family life. I know I will reference this book again and again in the future for the comfort that comes from seeing something in print that is deeply felt, quietly hoped for, and not often heard.