Sussex Characters, sketched from Life.
THE SUSSEX COTTAGE-WIFE.
OW is it that all the diaries have been kept by men ? One would have thought this form of autobiography would have been better suited to women. Women have more leisure to jot down events as they occur; they are greater observers of the little matters that make up life and diaries; they delight in gossip —in the passing scandal of the day—in what happens to Mr. This or Mrs. That. And yet no diaries have been left to us by women—only by men like Pepys and Evelyn and the Due de St. Simon, who, doubtless, had a good deal of the woman in them—at least, the first and last had—but who were de facto men. What would we not give for a diary by the wife of Anthony Stapley, or of Thomas Turner, or of the Rev. Mr. Moore! But the good women only talked, and left their husbands to write, and when, as they perhaps thought, the Benedick was casting up accounts, or making out bills, or writing sermons, he was chronicling his peccadilloes and their infirmities of temper!
We can only now wish that the tables had been turned; that the wife, like the lion in the fable, could have told her story. What a light would be thrown on many phases of character that now lie hidden in obscurity, and can only be saved from total oblivion by the imperfect medium of the memory.