The poor women and girls are so taken up with cleaning their houses and dishes, and preparing their daily meals, that they will not give themselves up to thinking in the least. So writes Miss Blunt concerning the women of India. It was something of the same sort that prevented Mrs. John Williams from giving herself up to thinking, or from thinking about anything but her own private affairs. Not that Mrs. Williams gave herself up to scrubbing doors and windows and cleaning pots and pans with her own hands, but she was “taken up” all the same. When Christ was a babe on earth there was no room for him in the inn, so to-day many a heart is so full that Christ and his cause are turned out. If a heart is full how can it hold more? Do not suppose that there was no thinking done by Mrs. Williams. She superintended all her work and did much of her own sewing; as her family was not small and her income not large, and she kept but one servant, it took a vast deal of thinking and worrying to keep the Williams family up to the standard, which was one not of neatness and comfort simply, but that she should live in the same style as those of her friends whose incomes were possibly twice as large as her own, that her children’s clothes should be just as fine and as fashionably made as theirs, that she herself should be able to make as good an appearance as the best when she went into society, that her parlour should be furnished as far as in her lay, with all the elegance and taste that the law of the fashionable world required. This was the grand aim to which she bent all her energies.
Mrs. Williams was a member in good and regular standing of an orthodox church. She regularly occupied her pew in the sanctuary, and when she had no other engagement, attended the weekly prayer-meeting, but the most persistent and zealous member of the “Ladies’ Foreign Missionary Society” had never succeeded in inducing her to attend their monthly meetings, but just once. She took pains to explain it carefully to her conscience that she believed in Foreign Missions, but that didn’t prove that it was necessary for her to spend a whole afternoon each month hearing dry reports and “papers” about countries with outlandish names. What good did that do anyway? It was mysterious—how ladies could do justice to their families and spend so much time out. As for herself she could scarcely keep up with her calls. But then! they neglected their families, of course they did; women that were always on a committee for something or other, and running off here and there to all kinds of meetings. Very likely, too, it just suited some women to get up on a platform before an audience, and read a “paper” or “report.” It was just a little leaning to Woman’s Rights. She believed in a woman keeping in her own sphere, and for her part she craved no such notoriety. She had always noticed, too, that the women who gave themselves up to those things seemed to lose all regard for their appearance. Now it really was a duty one owed to their friends, to dress well, and some of those missionary women were wearing their last year’s bonnets; and dresses of the styles of three or four years back—perfect frights!