This is a page out of one of my treasures, an antique issue of the December 1894 Ladies' Home Journal . I remember the thrill of finding it in a little antiques shop, in a bin with the Youth's Companion of 1901.
The above page contains this article, towards the bottom of the second column, which I will type for you here:
CHATS WITH GIRLS
Did you ever look at a beautiful rose in a vase of exquisite shape and color, and then turn to a similar flower in an insignificant cup? Do you think the latter loses aught of its heavenly beauty for the lack of the costly vase--or rather, does not the very plainness of the cup emphasize the beauty of the perfect blossom? So a plain home may contain the brightest and happiest of human faces, and even plain clothes cannot mar the face made beautiful by the spirit of content and kindliness within.
In those fairy air-castles that tower around the young, all is rich and glowing, and it is often difficult to come back to the every-days of life, and rest satisfied with home as it is.
"If I were only rich or beautiful, how much I could accomplish."
Yes, riches and beauty are very powerful factors in this world, but less important in the sphere you occupy than in any other position in life. You are surrounded by those who love you now and have always loved you. Father and mother have watched with such pride the molding of your character. They loved the tiny baby girl, the little toddler with her cunning ways, and the school-girl with her perplexities and possibilities; but through all that formative period they looked forward to the time when a lovely young woman should brighten their home with her charming presence, and aid in the making and keeping of home.
Is it right to save all the smiles for the outside friends, and show only the frowns and pouts to those dear ones who merit all the honor and affection you can give? You may leave this home some day, to found another of your own; but be sure that if you cannot be content with your present lot, fate will never satisfy you in another--unless there are real and weighty reasons for your present discontent.
No girl is indifferent to the attention and admiration of her friends. If you possess such charms of face and manners as to have this accorded you, then rejoice in your good fortune; but, dear girl, never sacrifice that which is higher and nobler to this end. The respect of all men is far more to be desired than the attention of a few. Be so discreet that none can impute improper motives to any deed or word of yours. Better be a prude than risk your reputation ever so little; but it is not necessary to do either.
The so-called society girl has great opportunities to do good. Does she always use them? Just one word from her, sincerely spoken, will often have more weight than many sermons or columns of temperance advice.
Now, if you are not a society girl, if you are not popular either because you have not that undefined power of magnetism or because you are homely and unattractive, this very fact points you to other and perhaps nobler aims. You can be pretty-- in ways if not in looks.
If you are blessed with a talent for music, cultivate this gift and make others the happier for it. Give your time, talents and industry to the beautifying and brightening of the home. Some of the duties there are homely and uninviting, but you have no right to shirk them. All honor to the business and working girls-- to them I shall talk later--but father and mother may need you more than the family purse needs attention; and if so, your place is with them, even if outside work should mean more pin-money and better, finer clothes for you. I sometimes fear that our homes must suffer for the lack of the many bright girls who are taking their place alongside the bread-winners.
And now, as the most beautiful of all holidays approach, see how much sunshine and good-will you can carry with you from place to place. My heart goes out to the girl at home, especially during the happy Christmastide. How much she can do to make happy the little children of her home, and others as well.
If you have a knowledge of cookery--and no girl's education is complete without it, in this era of cooking-schools and practical lessons--then you can please the dear father with the things he most enjoys--the plum pudding or fruit-cake just like his mother used to make; or better still, as your own dear mother has taught you to make it.
One more word. Never let the fear of being an "old maid" take possession of you. Do you know that old maids are often self-made? Anxiety and fretfulness upon the subject will make a girl of twenty more unattractive in her manner than the real old maid of forty, who is still fresh and happy and thoughtful of others. Some of you may be old maids already, in the common acceptance of the term, but you are still girls to father and mother, and may you one and all prove yourselves happy and useful women.