[Editorial Note: The pressures on young women not to become educated in any serious way find expression in this poem published in 1852. The author is unknown. The term "blue stocking" for a learned woman derives from an eighteenth-century club of literary women in London.]
P. 850: The learned "science-women" of the day, the "deep, deep-blue stockings" of the time, are fairly hit off in the ensuing satirical sonnet:
I idolize the Ladies! They are fairies,
That spiritualize this world of ours;
From heavenly hot-beds most delightful flowers,
Or choice cream-cheeses from celestial dairies,
But learning, in its barbarous seminaries,
Gives the dear creatures many wretched hours,
And on their gossamer intellect sternly showers
SCIENCE, with all its horrid accessaries [sic].
Now, seriously, the only things, I think,
In which young ladies should instructed be,
Are--stocking-mending, love, and cookery!--
Accomplishments that very soon will sink,
Since Fluxions now, and Sanscrit conversation,
Always form part of female education!
Something good in the way of inculcation may be educed from this rather biting sonnet. If woman so far forgets her "mission," as it is common to term it nowadays, as to choose those accomplishments whose only recommendation is that they are "the vogue," in preference to acquisitions which will fit her to be a better wife and mother, she becomes a fair subject for the shafts of the satirical censor.