Monday, April 11, 2005

Knitting: A Useful Art

So I was reading my New Yorker last night before I fell asleep (you know, like you do) and I came across an article on this amzingly crazy lady, Mrs. Mortimer, who wrote children's books in the mid-19th century. These books appear to have been totally awesome. (Sample from Reading Without Tears [1857]: "What is the matter with that little boy? He has taken poison. He saw a cup of poison on the shelf. He said 'This seems sweet stuff.' So he drank it. . . Can the doctor cure him? Will the poison destroy him? He must die.") I totally have to snag a copy of this book to read to any nieces and nephews I might have in the future.

Anyway, Mrs. Mortimer also wrote a series of books that described foreigners for the poor little innocents of Britain. Here is what she had to say about German women:
The ladies are very industrious, and wherever they go they take their knitting. They are as fond of their knitting-needles as the gentlemen are of their pipes. The number of stockings they make would surprise you. How much better to knit than to smoke! . . . But they are not fond of reading useful books. When they read, it is novels about people who have never lived. It would be better to read nothing than to read such books.
Well, damn. I wish somebody had told me this before I started my dissertation. I could have been using my time much more productively. "Hey, Ashley, did you finish that chapter yet?" "Ooooooh, sorry, I decided it would be better to read nothing than to read novels--but the number of stockings I make would surprise you."

*****

I got a thank-you note from my mom today for Bella. It said, in part,

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Awww. See, and this is why you should knit for knitters--because they know that it is extra-special.

2 Comments:

Anonymous laurie said...

Hmmm. Yes, I, too read the New Yorker before bed every evening.

Look how sweet your mom is! I love that!

4/12/2005 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Shelby said...

very sweet note from Mom!

4/12/2005 8:53 AM  

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