Peter, I learned a lot about Victorian wives from reading biographies of Virginia Woolf. Her father, Leslie Stephen, was one of the eminent Victorians. When his second wife and her eldest daughter both died, Vanessa Stephen, Virginia's sister, older I think, was given the Victorian wife's responsibilities and they were onerous. She was given an allotment on which to run the house. She had to juggle staff salaries and all household expenses, including carriage and horses, as well as select each day's menu, supervise the younger children, gardeners, cooks, housemaids, footmen, etc. 

Vanessa dreaded having to defend her expenditures to her father, who carried on grandly if she went over budget, wailing that they would all be sent to the poorhouse! A wife would have had the additional burden of frequent pregnancies and infant care. The second Mrs. Stephen also helped other women with their birthing and babies.

So she wasn't sitting around reading novels and/or having teas and toddies with a
lot of other wifies and pre-wifies, while the butler did and head servant did all these
other tasks?
(My grandfather, who was a chaplain in WWI, used to salute his
 bethrothed in his letters to her as Dear Wifey).
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Diana Manister
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, July 23, 2007 7:07 AM
Subject: Re: Rewrite The Waste Land

Peter, most likely giving the cook orders, reviewing accounts, arranging flowers, hiring and firing staff, receiving guests, writing letters, etc. She was a CEO, but she seemed like an angel when Dad came home and everything was ordered and running smoothly! Diana

From:  Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: Rewrite The Waste Land
Date:  Mon, 23 Jul 2007 01:10:28 -0800
----- Original Message -----
From: Diana Manister

I'm guessing that Freud's equating of the law with the father was<
conditioned by bourgeoise Victorian family structure where the mother was
the angel in the house and the father went out into the world, but why Julia
Kristeva, a professional woman in today's world, adopts that paradigm is
difficult to understand.

So where was wifey doing all her angeling while the nanny was looking
after the kiddies?


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