OUR AUNT SOPHRONIA lives in one of our inland towns. She is the relative of many of the townspeople — the Oracle of all. Firmly entrenched in her own opinions, and more than usually self-complacent, she is yet ready to give other people their due; her ideas are broad and sound, and she is no doubt a great blessing to our community. An indefatigable diarist, she has for many years recorded the best of what she thinks and learns on her favorite theme — THE HOME. These journals being too voluminous, and too full of private affairs, to present bodily to the public, she has at our earnest solicitation reproduced part of them topically, and with a happy facility in discussing her subject from the beginning.
— Julia McNair Wright
Aunt Sophronia discusses, First —
THE CAPITAL UPON WHICH TO MARRY
It will be a long day before I call myself old, simply because I don’t feel old, and I have been much too busy in my life to have time to grow old; but these three girls, who were babes in my arms when I was woman-grown, are women now, and talking of marrying — at least the two elder ones. I suppose they have been going on, while I have stood still! At least so it looks to me, as it does to people riding on fast trains, as if all the world were moving and they themselves stationary!
The three girls are my three nieces: Miriam I brought up; Helen was brought up by her grandmother; and Hester came up as she chose, as her mother, my sister, died when the child was ten, and John Rochedale, her father, says, he “thinks every individuality ought to be left to develop on its own line.” Of all things! If I had married John Rochedale, as once seemed likely, instead of my sister, he and I would have had some very serious differences of opinion, this subject of “developing” being one of the many whereon we don’t agree. I am not particularly sorry that it was Ellen instead of me who became Mrs. Rochedale; not that I object to the married state: I do not doubt that the Lord knew what he was about when he set a married pair at housekeeping in Eden; but the single state has also its advantages, as Paul saw.
However most people who preach up “Paul on single-blessedness” seem to forget that, in the Bible, our great Guide-Book, the Lord’s opinions for matrimony come a long ways before Paul’s for celibacy. I don’t think that women should feel that, merely because they are not wives, they have no place nor work in the world, no home-life, no effect on coming generations; and I don’t think that women, who, for various reasons, have not married, should set themselves up as holier or better off than their married sisters.
I’ve given my nieces a deal of good advice, and among the rest I’ve advised them to marry, if the matter came reasonably to hand, without making it an object in life.