Tuesday, May 19, 2015

1871 “Rules of Health for Married Ladies.”

The Mining and Scientific Press, published from 1860 until 1922, is legendary for early mining news of the west. The early issues also contained health “tips.” This article, published July 8, 1871, while written “tongue-in-cheek,” must have been, to some extent, a housewife’s daily reality.
Get up at 3 o'clock in the morning, clean out the stove, take up the ashes, sweep the front side walk, and scrub the front steps, nurse the baby, put the mackerel to soak, build the fires, grind the coffee, get out your husband’s things to warm, see the shirt aired, boil the mackerel, settle the coffee, set the table, rouse the house, carry up some hot water for shaving to that brute lazy husband, and dry the morning paper. By this time you will have an appetite for breakfast. Hold the baby during the meal, as you like your breakfast cold.
After breakfast, wash the dishes, nurse the baby, dust everything, wash the windows, and dress the baby-(that pantry needs cleaning out and scrubbing)-nurse the baby, draw the baby five or six miles in the wagon for his health, nurse him when you return; put on the potatoes and the cabbage-nurse the baby-and the corned beef-don't forget to nurse the baby-and the turnips-nurse the baby-sweep everything, take up the dinner, set the table, fill the castors, change the table-cloth-there, that baby wants nursing. Eat your dinner cold again; and nurse the baby.
After dinner wash dishes, gather up all the dirty clothes, and put them to soak; nurse the baby every half hour; receive a dozen calls, interspersed with nursing the baby; drag the baby a mile or two; hurry home; make biscuits, pick up some codfish, cut some dried beef. Catnip tea for baby's internal disarrangement; hold the baby an hour or two to quiet him; put some alcohol in the metre; baby a specimen of perpetual motion; tea ready; take yours cold, as usual.
After tea, wash up the dishes, put some fish to soak; chop some hash; send for some more sugar; (good gracious! how that sugar does go, and thirteen cents a pound;) get down the stockings and darn them…keep on nursing the baby-wait up till 12 o'clock, nursing the baby till husband comes home with a double shuffle on the front steps, a difficulty in finding the stairway, and a determination to sleep in the back yard.-Drag him up stairs to bed; then nurse the baby and go to sleep.
Women in delicate health will find that the above practice will either kill or cure them.

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