In a few days I received the following reply:--
Upon the receipt of this I wrote again, requesting permission to give the public the above characteristic epistle; which I told her was altogether too good to be buried in my desk; adding that, if she wanted me to behave prettily, she should not threaten me, as a threat always made me “balky;” that it was quite useless also, because I wished and intended to handle her as tenderly as would her own “mammy.” I received a reply, of which this is a part:--
This, dear reader, by way of preface. Now allow me to say that there are only two things in this world I am afraid -  of.one in a mouse, the other is a woman. My first impulse on being brought face to face with either, is to jump upon the nearest chair or table. Judge, then, how dear the public must seem, in my eyes, when, ignoring this my chronic terror, I boldly march up to the indomitable lady, whose name graces the head of this article, and attempt to sketch her: A lady, at whose mention stalwart men have been known to tremble, and hide in corners; who “keeps a private graveyard” for the burial of those whom she has mercilessly slain; who respects neither the spectacles of the judge, nor the surplice of the priest; who holds the mirror up to men's failings till they hate their wives merely because they belong to her sex; this lady who blushes not to own that she is “a Ghoul,” --who lately impaled the Rev. Dr. Todd on the point of her lance, and left him writhing without so much as pouring a drop of oil on to his wounds, or bathing his very soft head; this lady who keeps defiantly doing it, although she has been told that notwithstanding she has amassed several pennies, the fruits of these wicked promulgations, and deposited the same in banks for a rainy day, the sex whom she defies may, contrary to their usual custom in such cases, refuse oven to nibble at that bait, and doom her to die, without a chance to sew on shirt-buttons, or “seat” a pair of trowsers. One naturally inquires how such a female monster came to exist? In other and more elegant phrase, “what did it?” Was she, like Romulus and Remus, suckled by a she-wolf in her infancy? Were vipers her cherished toys in childhood? Was her youth defrauded of the usual sugar-plums that she keeps on making mouths at her fellow-creatures in this way? Or, what is still more important to ascertain, is there any way she could be pacified, or bought off, or “shut up,” from this infernal attempt to set women upon their feet, and to trip men from off theirs. To convince yon how pertinent is my question, I will  quote in this connection a few of her most incendiary passages:--
It costs a woman just as much to live as it does a man. If men were willing to practise the small economies that women practise, they could live at no greater expense.
Man is a thief, and holds the bag, and if women do not like what they get, so much the better. They will be all the more willing to become household drudges.
Make a man understand that he shall eat his dinner like a gentleman, or he shall have no dinner to eat. If he will be crabbed and gulp, let him go down into the coal-bin and have it out alone; but do not let him bring his Feejee-ism into the dining-room, to defile the presence of his wife, and corrupt the manners of his children.
A woman should dress so as to be grateful to her husband's eye, I grant; nay, I enjoin; and he is under equally strong obligations to dress so as to be grateful to her eye. I have heard a woman say variety in dress is necessary in order that her husband may not be wearied. But does a man ever think of having several winter coats, or summer waistcoats, so that his wife may not weary of him? And if a man buys his clothes, and wears them according to his needs, why shall not a woman do the same? Is there any law or gospel forcing a woman to be pleasant to her husband, while the husband is left to do that which is right in his own eye? Or are the visual organs of a man so much more exquisitely arranged than those of a woman, that special adaptations must be made to them, while a woman may see whatever happens to be a la mode? Or has a man's dress intrinsically so much more beauty and character that a woman's that less pains need be taken to make it charming?“Take example from the toad,” Gail says to her sisters; “swallow your dress, not precisely in the same sense, but as  effectually. Overpower, subordinate your dress, till it shall be only a second cuticle, not to be distinguished from yourself, but a natural element of your universal harmony.”
Women's work is a round of endless detail. Little insignificant, provoking items, that she gets no credit for doing, but fatal discredit for leaving undone. Nobody notices that things are as they should be; but if things are not as they should be, it were better for her that a millstone were hanged about her neck.
The best women, the brightest women, the noblest women, are the very ones to whom house-keeping is the most irksome. I do not mean house-keeping with well-trained servants; for that is general enough to admit “a brother near the throne,” but that alas! is almost unknown in the world wherein I have lived; and a woman who is satisfied with the small economies, the small interests, the constant contemplation of small things which a household demands, is a very small sort of woman. I make the assertion both as an inference and as an observation. A noble discontent, not a peevish complaining, but a universal and a spontaneous protest, is a woman's safeguard against the deterioration which such a life threatens, and her proof of capacity, and her note of preparation for a higher. Such a woman does not do her work less well, but she rises superior to her work.
Men do not believe, so much as they profess to, this menial gravitation. If they did they would never lecture women so much about it. The very frenzy and frequency of their exhortations are suspicious.
Some men dole out money to their wives as if it were a gift, a charity, something to which the latter have no right, but which they must receive as a favor, and for which they must be thankful. Now a man has no more right to his earnings than his wife has; they belong to her as much as to him. As a general rule the fate and fortunes of the family lie in her  hands as much as in his. What absurdity to pay him his wages and to give her money to go shopping with! The money should be regularly and mechanically supplied to her as the dinner, exciting no more comment, and needing no more argument. Whether it is kept in her pocket or his may be of small moment; but as she does not lock up the dinner in the cupboard, and then stand at the door and dole it out to him by the plateful, but sets it on the table for him to help himself, so it is better and more pacific that he should deposit the money in an equally neutral and accessible locality. I portray to myself the flutter which such a proposition would raise in many marital bosoms. Would that they might be soothed. It is well known among farmers that hens will not eat so much if you set a measure of corn where they can pick whenever they choose, as they will if you only fling a handful now and then, and keep them continually half-starved. At the same time they will be in better condition. So, looking at the matter from the very lowest stand-point, a woman who has free access to the money will not be half so likely to lavish it, as the woman who is put off with scanty and infrequent sums. It is marvellous to see the insensibility with which men manage these delicate matters. It is impossible for a man to be too scrupulous, too chivalrous, too refined, in his bearing towards his wife. The very act of receiving money from him puts her in a position so equivocal that the utmost affection and attention should be brought into play to reassure her. Yet men will deliberately, in the presence of their wives, to their wives, groan over the cost of living. They do not mean extravagant purchases of silk and velvet which might be a wife's fault or thoughtlessness, and furnish an excuse for rebuke; but the butcher's bill, and the grocer's bill, and the joiner's bill. Man, when a woman is married, do you think she loses all personal feeling? Do you think your  glum look over the expenses of house-keeping is a fulfilment of your promise to love and cherish? Does it bring sunshine, and lighten toil, and bless her with knightly grace? Do you not know that it is only a way of regretting that you married her? You go out to your shop, or sit down to your newspaper, and forget all about it. She sits down to her sewing, or stands over her cooking-stove, and meditates upon it with indescribable pain. These very men, who complain because it costs so much to live, will lose by bad debts more than their wives spend; they will, by sheer negligence, by a selfish reluctance to present a bill to a disagreeable person, by a cowardly fear lest insisting on what is due should alienate a customer,--by indorsing a note, or lending money, through mere want of courage to say No,--lose money enough to foot up a dozen bills. They waste money in cigars; in sending packages by express, rather than have the trouble to take them themselves; in buying luxuries which they were better without. A man is persistently, perversely, and with malice aforethought, extravagant. He is so, in spite of admonition and remonstrance. Where his personal comfort or interest is concerned, he scorns a sacrifice. He laughs at the suggestion that such a little thing makes any difference one way or another.This is a long extract from Miss Hamilton, but every word is solid gold, and should be printed and framed and hung up in every husband's — well, wheresoever he keeps his cigars, so that he would be sure to see it. I myself have heard a man ask a wife who had borne them twelve children, and who was an economical, painstaking, thrifty house-keeper, “What she did with the last dollar he gave her?” True, men do not like to see this unpleasant reflection of themselves in our author's glass; but that is no reason why she should smash it. And as she once remarked to a married lady, who told her  that her husband was greatly incensed at her mention of such things: “Well,--let him rasp,--he is no husband of mine!” At this safe distance, this Parrott gun of a woman explodes the following, for which I confess a hearty relish:--
A father goes into the nursery, and has a merry romp with his children; but when he is tired, or they take too many liberties, he goes out, and thinks his children very charming. When papa comes in, the children are often hurried out of sight and sound, for they will “disturb papa.” This kind woman shuts them up carefully within her own precincts. They may overrun her without stint. They may climb her chair, pull her work about, upset her basket, scratch the bureau, cut the sofa, turn to her for healing in every little heartache; but no matter. They are kept from “disturbing papa!” I am amazed at the folly of women! Kept from disturbing papa! Rather hound them on! Put the crying baby in his arms the moment he enters the house, and be sure to run away at once beyond reach, or, with true masculine ingenuity, he will be sure at the end of five minutes to find some pretext for delivering the young orator back into your care. He ought to experience their obviousness, their inconvenience, their distraction. Let him come into close contact with his children, and see what they are, and what they do, and he will have far more just ideas of the whole subject than if he stands far of, and from old theories on the one side, and ten minutes of clean apron and bright faces on the other, pronounces his euphonious generalizations. His children will elicit as much love and interest, together with a great deal more knowledge, and a great deal less silly, mannish sentimentalism.I italicize the last sentence, as one of the choicest and most  sensible verses in Miss Gail's new gospel. I really think I couldn't have done better myself! Read this, too:--
Men often have too much confidence in their measuring lines. They fancy they have fathomed a soul's depths when they have but sounded its shallows. They think they have circumnavigated the globe, when they have only paddled in a cove. They trim their sails for other seas, leaving the priceless gems of their own undiscovered. Many a wife is wearied and neglected into moral shabbiness, who, rightly entreated, would have walked sister and wife of the gods.As our author's books are for sale, perhaps I should remember the fact, and curb my desire to copy all her very just and very intrepid sayings; but here is one which every husband should pin into the crown of his hat:--
Men,--you to whose keeping a woman's heart is en. trusted,--can you heed this simple prayer, Love me, and tell me so sometimes?Our author has probably heard husbands reply to this: “Why, that is of course understood; it is childish to wish or expect such a thing put into words.” Now, without stopping to discuss the “childishness” of it, if it makes a wife happier, is it wise, or best, for a husband to overlook that fact? And sure I am, many a wife loses all heart for her monotonous round of duties for the want of it; beside, when men the world over have promulgated the fact that women are but “grown — up children,” where's the harm of being “childish?” Does not Gail Hamilton see anything commendable, or virtuous, or honorable, or manly in men? is the question some  times propounded by them; after which follows this slangshot: “She must have been very unfortunate in her selection of male acquaintances.” Leaving this last unworthy slur in the kennel where it belongs, listen to the following from the lady in question:--
Every-day occurrences reveal in men traits of disinterestedness, consideration, all Christian virtues and graces. My heart misgives me when I think of it all,--their loving kindness, their forbearance, their unstinted service, their integrity, and of the not sufficiently unfrequent instances in which women, by fretfulness, folly, or selfishness, irritate and alienate the noble heart which they ought to prize above rubies. Considering the few good husbands there are in the world, and how many good women there are, who would have been to them a crown of glory had the coronation been effected, but who instead are losing all their pure gems down the dark, unfathomed caves of some bad man's heart; considering this, I account that woman to whom has been allotted a good husband, and who can do no better than to spoil him and his happiness by her misbehavior, guilty, if not of the unpardonable sin, at least of unpardonable stupidity. I could make out a long list of charges against women, and of excellences to be set down to the credit of men. But women have been stoned to death, or at least to coma, with charges already; and when you would extricate a wagon from a slough, you put your shoulder first and heaviest to the wheel that is the deepest in the mud; especially if the other wheel would hardly be in at all unless this one had pulled it in!There — after this who shall speak? Not I. It is a fitting finale to the whole subject. Gail Hamilton needs no lawyer when her case appears in court. But there may exist benighted human beings who have not read her summings up  or have declined reading them, because it is so much easier to decide upon a question when you only look at one side of it. For their benefit I have culled a few nettles, whose wholesome pricking may let out some bad blood, and prepare for them a more healthful mental and moral condition. There is no necessity for thanks on their part, as the work has really been its own reward. Now, if my readers suppose that there is “no fun” in our author, or that she looks only at the shady side of every subject, let them read the following extract from her “Gala-days” :
I don't know how it is, but in all the novels that I have read, the heroines always have delicate, spotless, exquisite gloves, which are continually lying about in the garden paths, and which lovers are constantly picking up, and pressing to their hearts and lips, and treasuring in little golden boxes or something, and saying how like that soft glove, pure and sweet, is to the beloved owner; and it is all very pretty,--but I cannot think how they manage it. I am sure I should be very sorry to have my lovers go about picking up my gloves. I don't have them a week before they change color; the thumb gapes at the base, the little finger rips away from the next one, and they all burst out at the ends; a stitch drops in the back, and slides down to the wrist before you know it is started. You can mend, to be sure, but for every darn you've twenty holes. I admire a dainty glove as much as any one; I look with enthusiasm not unmingled with despair, at these gloves of romance; but such things do not depend entirely upon taste, as male writers seem to think. A pair of gloves cost a dollar and a half, or two dollars, and when you have them, your lovers do not find them in the summerhouse. Why not? Because they are lying snugly wrapped in oiled silk in the upper bureau-drawer, only to be taken out  on great occasions. You would as soon think of wearing Victoria's crown for a head-dress as those gloves on a picnic. So it happens that the gloves your lovers find will be sure to be Lisle thread, and dingy and battered at that; for how can you pluck flowers, and pull vines, and tear away mosses, without getting them dingy and battered? And the most fastidious lover in the world cannot expect you to buy a new pair every time. For me, I keep my gloves as long as the backs hold together, and go around for forty-five weeks of the fifty-two with my hands clenched into fists to cover omissions.And now you will naturally say to me,--This is all very *well; but tell us something about her personally. Where does she live; and how? Is she single or wedded? Is she tall or short? Plain or pretty? Has she made money as well as made mouths? In short, let us have a little gossip. That's what we are after. Don't I know it? I should think I had been laid on the gridiron times enough myself to understand your appetite. Well — here goes. “Gail Hamilton's” real name is Mary Abigail Dodge. Her birthplace is in Hamilton, Massachusetts. She is unmarried, a Calvinist, and an authoress from choice. Her father was a farmer. Her mother produced Gail Hamilton; that is sufficient as far as she is concerned. She had a brother, who Mrs. Grundy declares is the “Halicarnassus” mentioned in her books, and whom the men she has flagellated in her writings call “poor devil!” supposing him to be her husband! She was brought up as New England girls are generally brought up in the country-, simply, healthfully, purely; with plenty of fences for gymnastics; with plenty of berries, and birds, and flowers, and mosses, and clover-blossoms, and fruit, in the sweet, odorous summers; with plenty of romping  companions, not subjects for early tombstones and obituary notices, but with broad chests, sun-kissed faces, and nimble limbs and tongues,--children who behaved naturally for their age; who twitched away books and balls from their owners, and pouted, and sometimes struck, and often got mad, and strutted when they wore fine clothes, and told lies,--“real whoppers,” --and took the biggest half of the apple, and were generally aggravating, as exuberant, healthy childhood always is. Then little Mary had other companions less aggressive in the birds, the bees, and the grasshoppers. She went Maying, too, on May mornings, as every true-born New England child should, as I myself have done, whether the sky were blue or black; whether she shivered or was warm in a white gown; whether the May-flowers were in blossom for May-day wreaths, or the snow-flakes were coming down instead. She had chickens, too, and when they first came, she fed them with soaked and sweetened cracker; later, she made fricassees of them, and omelets of their eggs. She had three cats; one, named Molly after herself; another, a hideous, saffron-colored, forlorn, little wretch, that was abandoned by an Irish family, and which she felicitously baptized Rory O'More. This cat one day crept into the oven. Mary, ignorant of the fact, shut the door, wishing to retain the heat. Hearing a stifled “mew,” she opened it, and out flew the cat and plunged through the house outside into the nearest snow-bank, from whence she emerged, with true Irish elasticity, right-end up, and as good as new. The third cat little Mary housed was a perfect savage; her mistress never being able to catch sight of her save in her fierce and lightning-like transits through the house. These cats fought each other, scratched, and made the fur fly, stole chickens, and gave that zest and excitement to her childish days which might well astonish our city-prisoned urchins,--shut up with  a cross French nurse, to keep their silk dresses clean, in a nursery, from whose windows the only view is a dead brick wall. Then she rode to mill in an old wagon, with mammoth wheels, painted green outside and drab within, with a movable seat, on which was placed a buffalo-robe for a cushion. After little Mary had taken her seat, the wagon was backed up to the gate, the “tailboard” let down, and huge bags of tow-cloth filled with shelled corn were placed in the cart to be ground, then transformed into Johnny-cakes, brown bread, and Indian pudding. As they were put beside her, this imaginative little girl fancied that they might resemble those of Joseph's brethren, mentioned in the Bible, which were carried down into Egypt, with plenty of room in every sack's mouth for a silver cup and corn-money. When all these bags were safely deposited in the mill, and little Mary and the old horse started for home, who happier than she? The rough gates, which opened to let them through, seemed to turn on golden hinges. Her quick eye noted the branches of feathery fern, the panting cows, standing knee-deep in the cool water, and even the stagnant pool which she knew would by and by blossom forth with pure white lilies; while the yellow blossoms of the barberry hedge would ripen to crimson clusters in the crisp days of the coming autumn; this barberry bush, around which she joined hands with her little romping companions, and sang--
As we go round the barberry bush, Then Mary and her companions would imitate the washing of clothes and the ironing, and woe to her who should first lose breath in doing it. Then there were the lovely New England country Sundays, heralded by the song of birds, and odor of blossoms, and creeping away of mist from valley and mountain, as the warm sun gladdened every living thing. Every New Englander knows what that is without farther preface. Sundays to little Mary, under these conditions, were not prisons or chains. They were best clothes, with a pleasant, clovery smell in them when they were taken out of the drawer to be worn. Sunday was baked beans, and a big, red Bible with the tower of Babel in it full of little bells, and a lovely walk two miles through a lane full of sweetness and bird-singing; over the bars, through ten acres, over another pair of bars, through a meadow, over another pair of bars, by a hill, over a wall, through another meadow, through the woods, over the ridge, by Black Pond, over a fence, across a railroad, over another fence, through a pasture, through the long woods, through another gate, out upon the high road at last. Then, as our little girl was no diseased, embryo saint, during the long service, which she could not understand, she looked at the people and the fine bonnets around her, and never was she willing to stay at home, be the service ever so long. Then she went to Sunday school, where the children on coming out used to say, “I think your ribbon is prettier than mine.” “Is your veil like Susy's?” “Why don't you wear your blue dress to meeting?” “Do you know Joe got fourteen perch yesterday?” And she real the library books and ate gingerbread in the interim, and then came the afternoon service, and then the long, pleasant ride home, and then the catechism in the evening, and the unfailing big red  Bible.. And this is the brilliant tribute of her maturer years to the New England, much-reviled Sabbaths:--
The barberry, barberry, barberry bush;
*As we go round the barberry bush,
So early in the morning;
This is the way we wash our clothes,
We wash, we wash, we wash our clothes;
This is the way we wash our clothes,
So early in the morning.
O Puritan Sabbaths doubtless you were sometimes stormy without and stormy within; but, looking back upon you from afar, I see no clouds, no snow, but perpetual sunshine and blue sky, and ever eager interest and delight; wild roses blooming under the old stone wall; wild bees humming among the blackberry bushes; tremulous, sweet columbines skirting the vocal woods; wild geraniums startling their shadowy depths; and I hear now the rustle of dry leaves, bravely stirred by childish feet, just as they used to rustle in the October afternoons of long ago. Sweet Puritan Sabbaths I breathe upon a restless world your calm, still breath, and keep us from the evil!To-day, Gail Hamilton is not only independent in thought and expression, but I am happy to say, in pocket. She is also a living, breathing, brilliant refutation of the absurd notion that a woman with brains must necessarily be ignorant of, or disdain, the every-day domestic virtues. When she writes of house-keeping and kindred matters, she knows what she is talking about. All the New England virtues of thrift, executiveness, thoroughness — in short, “faculty” --are exemplified in her daily practice. Well may there be sunshine inside her house; well may the flowers in her garden bloom, and the fruits ripen, skilfully tended by such fingers 1 One piece of advice before I close I will volunteer to the male sex who “desire to keep clear of a woman like that.” Let them consider it a heaven-sent impulse; as several rash gentlemen, who, to my personal knowledge, disregarded it, have with base ingratitude towards the tame of her species,  who fully endorsed their seraphic qualities, not only upon personal acquaintance with her, forgiven her for smiting them on one cheek, but voluntarily and lovingly have turned the other. Forewarned — forearmed!