Society & Commentary

In which Eliza Leslie calls you on your crap, Sophronia

Some young ladies, who profess a sort of daughterly regard for certain wealthy old gentlemen, are so kind as so knit purses or work slippers for them, or some other nick-nacks, (provided always that the “dear old man” has a character for generosity,) for they know that he will reward them by a handsome present of some bijou of real value. And yet they may be assured that the kind old gentleman (whom “they mind no more as if he were their pa”) sees through the whole plan, knows why the purse was knit, or the slippers worked, and esteems the kind young lady accordingly.

Eliza Leslie, The Behaviour Book: A Manual for Ladies (1854)

Merriam-Webster defines bijou as “a small dainty usually ornamental piece of delicate workmanship” or “something delicate, elegant, or highly prized.”

Painting is “Departing for the Promenade” by Alfred-Émile-Léopold Stevens, 1859.

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