Heroines of the Past, Romanic Era 1820-1837

April 1, 2008, Published by Amy Puetz; P.O. Box 429; Wright, WY 82732

Amy’s Corner

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In between the Regency Era and the Victorian Era there was the Romantic Era, 1820-1837. During this time, the Industrial Revolution changed the lives of thousands and new technology altered everyday life. In dress, the empire waist of the Regency era was gradually returning to the natural waist, and the large leg-of-mutton sleeves became the rage.

In the United States, the still young nation was forming its own identity. The issue of slavery was causing discord with each new state that wanted to join the Union. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise temporarily cooled the issue of slavery. America was a westward looking nation and new frontiers were constantly being opened. The Erie Canal was completed in 1825. During this time period, the first railroads were built in America. Andrew Jackson, one of America’s most colorful leaders served as president from 1829-1837. After his term the United States had a minor depression, it was called the Panic of 1837.

This was certainly an eventual era with many interesting people. In this edition of Heroines we will meet Emma Willard who started a school for girls. Annalisa Perry has written a review about Les Miserables, which took place during this time period.

In the previous issue we finished the Bible Study, Maidens of Virtue that Rita Rice had graciously shared with us. If you have a Bible Study for young ladies that you would like to share, please email me. It could be a series of Bible Studies or it could just be a single lesson. Because of a wedding in May, I need to move the deadline for the June issue from May 1st to April 10th. If you would like to contribute something for the June issue, please make a note of the new deadline. I look forward to hearing from you!

Amy Puetz

Heroines of the Past
P.O. Box 429
Wright, WY 82732

Emma Willard
By John A. Logan and Mary Simmerson Cunningham Logan, 1912

Emma Willard, born in Berlin, Connecticut, in February 1787, was one of the women whose names received votes for a place in the Hall of Fame. Her biographer, Dr. John Lord, in summarizing her claim for immortality in the hearts of her fellow-citizens, declares that her glory is in giving prominence to the cause of woman’s education. In this cause she rendered priceless service. Some of the accomplishments that made her great include the founding and management of an institution through which six thousand young women were educated (many gratuitously), as well as her authorship of numerous books used in schools. When we think of the zealous energy in various ways which she put forth for more than half a century to elevate the standard of education of women, it would be difficult to find a woman who, in her age or country, was more useful or will longer be remembered as both good and great. Not for original genius, nor for immortal work of art, not for a character free from blemishes and blots, does she claim an exalted place among women, but as a benefactor of her country and the female mind. In this influence she shed luster around the home, and gave dignity to the human soul.

Emma Willard was deeply religious, and never lost sight of the highest and noblest influence in her educational work. Beautiful hymns which she composed were sung by her pupils in the "Troy Female Seminary," of which, for many years, she was the head. An interesting occasion in her life occurred in connection with a visit of General La Fayette to this country in 1825. His services in the cause of American Independence, in upholding the constitutional liberty in France, and his mingled gallantry and sentiment, quickly gave him prominence and fame, and made him an idol of the American people.

All this feeling Mrs. Willard had nobly imbued in the verses with which she celebrated this distinguished visitor’s coming to her school in Troy. The young women of her school sang this poem before General La Fayette, who was affected to tears by this reception, and at the close of the singing said: "I cannot express what I feel on this occasion, but will you, madame, present me with three copies of those lines to be given by me as from you to my three daughters?"

Emma Willard was a woman of loftiest patriotism, and her "National Hymn" deserves at least equal appreciation with Doctor Smith’s "Columbia." Her prose displays uncommonly strong mental powers and endowments. She published a large book or treatise on the motive powers which produce a circulation of the blood, which gained her great praise both at home and abroad. In 1849 she published "Last Leaves From American History," giving a graphic account of the Mexican War.

In Emma Willard’s case the promise of the Psalmist, "That the righteous shall bear fruit in old age," was splendidly realized. To the close of her long and useful life she maintained her youthful vivacity, her enthusiasm of spirit, and her power of work. Every Sunday evening she gathered her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as her friends, and heard them repeat passages of Scripture. This was a habit of many years. Beautiful were those family reunions, but the most beautiful thing among them was the figure of the kind old lady. Entering into every subject of interest with the sympathy of youth, she received from all the profoundest reverence and respect.

She died April 15, 1870, at the age of eighty-three. A distinguished educator said of her at the time of her death, "In the fullness of age she approached the termination of life with the calmness, Christian philosophy and faith of a true believer." The place of her death was the old seminary built at Troy where, half a century before, she had founded an institution which was an honor to the country, and where she taught the true philosophy of living and dying-works done in faith made practical in works.

Bible Study

The Woman of Samaria

By Maria Wright
Adapted by Amy Puetz

Read John 4:1-43 and answer the following questions.
  • Where did Jesus go when he left Judea? What country had He to travel through?
  • What was Jesus’ physical state?
  • Who came out of the city as He sat there? Did Jesus speak to her?
  • Did she give Him any water? Why or why not?
  • What did Jesus say next to the woman? What did he mean by his words?
  • Was the woman surprised when Jesus said this to her? How did Jesus answer her?
  • Did the woman understand this wonderful thing that Jesus said to her?
  • If our souls are thirsty, will water do them any good? How does the Holy Spirit feed our souls?
  • When Jesus spoke to this woman, did He mean He would give her water to drink, or that He would give her the Holy Spirit, to make her soul alive?
We must be fed every day to live.
  • Will hearing God’s word on Sunday be enough for our souls all week?
  • Did Jesus say anything else to this woman? And what was her reply when she saw that Jesus knew all her life?
  • Did she believe on Jesus? Did many of the Samaritans believe in Jesus?
  • What did the disciples do when they came back from the city? Had any one brought Jesus anything to eat?
  • What should this teach us?

Les Miserables- France, early 1800’s
By Annalisa Perry

The story begins when a ragged stranger enters a town and looks for a place to spend the night. No one will take him in because he carries a yellow passport, marking him an ex-convict. He tries the inn, the public house, the prison and a home but at each place he is rudely turned away. Finally he knocks at the home of a kind old bishop who lives with his sister and housekeeper. Monseigneur Bienvenu (the bishop- monseigneur is a form of Mr.) welcomes the ex-convict, feeds him and gives him a place to spend the night.

When Jean Valjean was a young man he had stolen a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. He was caught and put in prison for five years. During this time he escaped but was captured and brought back to prison. Several years were added to his sentence. This happened several times. At the end of nineteen years, Jean Valjean was released on parole, his heart full of hatred toward men.

Valjean wakes up in the middle of the night and sneaks downstairs. He steals the Bishop’s silver and escapes over the garden wall. This is what happens the next morning, in Victor Hugo’s own words:
The next morning at sunrise Monseigneur Bienvenu was strolling in his garden. Madame Magloire (his housekeeper) ran up to him in utter consternation.

"Monseigneur, Monseigneur!" she exclaimed, "does your Grace know where the basket of silver is?"

"Yes," replied the Bishop.

"Jesus the Lord be blessed!" she resumed; "I did not know what had become of it." The Bishop had just picked up the basket in a flower-bed. He presented it to Madame Magloire.

"Here it is."

"Well!" said she. "Nothing in it! And the silver?"

"Ah," returned the Bishop, "so it is the silver which troubles you? I don’t know where it is."

"Great, good God! It is stolen! That man who was here last night has stolen it. Stay! yonder is the way he went. He jumped over into Cochefilet Lane. Ah, the abomination! He has stolen our silver!"

The Bishop remained silent for a moment; then he raised his grave eyes, and said gently to Madame Magloire:- "And, in the first place, was that silver ours?"

Madame Magloire was speechless. Another silence ensued; then the Bishop went on:- "Madame Magloire, I have for a long time detained that silver wrongfully. It belonged to the poor. Who was that man? A poor man, evidently."

"Alas!" returned Madame Magloire. "It is not for my sake, nor for Mademoiselle’s. It makes no difference to us. But it is for the sake of Monseigneur. What is Monseigneur to eat with now?"

The Bishop gazed at her with an air of amazement.

"Ah, come! Are there no such things as pewter forks and spoons?"

Madame Magloire shrugged her shoulders.

"Pewter has an odor."

"Very well," said the Bishop; "wooden ones then."

A few moments later he was breakfasting at the very table at which Jean Valjean had sat on the previous evening. As he ate his breakfast, Monseigneur remarked gayly to his sister, who said nothing, and to Madame Magloire, who was grumbling under her breath, that one really does not need either fork or spoon, even of wood, in order to dip a bit of bread in a cup of milk.

"A pretty idea, truly," said Madame Magloire to herself, as she went and came, "to take in a man like that! and to lodge him close to one’s self! And how fortunate that he did nothing but steal! Ah, mon Dieu! it makes one shudder to think of it!"

As the brother and sister were about to rise from the table, there came a knock at the door.

"Come in," said the Bishop.

The door opened. A singular and violent group made its appearance on the threshold. Three men were holding a fourth man by the collar. The three men were gendarmes; the other was Jean Valjean.

A brigadier of gendarmes, (policeman) who seemed to be in command of the group, was standing near the door. He entered and advanced to the Bishop, making a military salute.

Jean Valjean, who was dejected and seemed overwhelmed, raised his head.

In the meantime, Monseigneur Bienvenu had advanced as quickly as his great age permitted.

"Ah! here you are!" he exclaimed, looking at Jean Valjean. "I am glad to see you. Well, but how is this? I gave you the candlesticks too, which are of silver like the rest, and for which you can certainly get two hundred francs. Why did you not carry them away with your forks and spoons?"

Jean Valjean opened his eyes wide, and stared at the venerable Bishop with an expression which no human tongue can render any account of.

"Monseigneur," said the brigadier of gendarmes, "so what this man said is true, then? We came across him. He was walking like a man who is running away. We stopped him to look into the matter. He had this silver-"

"And he told you," interposed the Bishop with a smile, "that it had been given to him by a kind old fellow of a priest with whom he had passed the night? I see how the matter stands. And you have brought him back here? It is a mistake."

"In that case," replied the brigadier, "we can let him go?"

"Certainly," replied the Bishop.

The gendarmes released Jean Valjean, who recoiled.

"Is it true that I am to be released?" he said, in an almost inarticulate voice, and as though he were talking in his sleep.

"Yes, thou art released; dost thou not understand?" said one of the gendarmes.

"My friend," resumed the Bishop, "before you go, here are your candlesticks. Take them."

He stepped to the chimney-piece, took the two silver candlesticks, and brought them to Jean Valjean. The two women looked on without uttering a word, without a gesture, without a look which could disconcert the Bishop.

Jean Valjean was trembling in every limb. He took the two candlesticks mechanically, and with a bewildered air.

"Now," said the Bishop, "go in peace. By the way, when you return, my friend, it is not necessary to pass through the garden. You can always enter and depart through the street door. It is never fastened with anything but a latch, either by day or by night."

Then, turning to the gendarmes:- "You may retire, gentlemen."

The gendarmes retired.

Jean Valjean was like a man on the point of fainting.

The Bishop drew near to him, and said in a low voice:-

"Do not forget, never forget, that you have promised to use this money in becoming an honest man."

Jean Valjean, who had no recollection of ever having promised anything, remained speechless. The Bishop had emphasized the words when he uttered them. He resumed with solemnity:-

"Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God."

Jean Valjean is transformed by the bishop’s act of mercy. He breaks parole, changes his name and uses the silver to start life over. But a policeman, Inspector Javert, recognizes him and the chase begins. Since Valjean has broken parole, he will be given a life-sentence in prison if he is caught. A man who resembles Valjean is caught and put on trial. There is only one man who can prove his innocence...

Since it is over 1,400 pages, you may prefer a shorter version. I recommend the Miserables, Les (Penguin Popular Classics) The radio drama is also very good! Les Miserables (Radio Theatre)

About the Author
Annalisa Perry lives in Georgia with her family. (She is the oldest of seven children.) Besides doing school and helping around the house, she loves to read and write stories. She has always been fascinated by history and she appreciates this opportunity to publish historic fiction.




Pride and Prejudice
I know what you are thinking, Pride and Prejudice in the Romanic era, come on, it takes place in the Regency Era. And you would be right! This movie made in 1940 simply has the setting during the 1830’s. The producers took liberties with the story line as well, but before you refuse to see this movie let me tell you why I love it. The main actress Greer Garson is so engaging as Lizzy that she makes the movie. Then there are the gorgeous costumes and I love Mr. Bennett’s study (be sure to notice a very fascinating chair that folds into a step ladder). The length of the movie is under two hours. So when you want to watch a story similar to Pride and Prejudice but don’t have time for the six hour movie try watching this old black and white version. You never know--you might end up liking it too.

Wives and Daughters
This movie is based on a book of the same title by Elizabeth Gaskell. Set in rural England during the Romantic Era, this movie follows the life of Molly Gibson whose gentleness and character are lovely to see. When Molly’s father suddenly remarries she must learn to live with her new stepmother and stepsister. A friendship soon develops between the girls but Molly finds it hard to accept her new mother. I won’t spoil the story line for you but it is a very beautiful narrative.


Wives and Daughters (Penguin Classics)

Miserables, Les (Penguin Popular Classics)

History Of The United States: Or Republic Of America, Continued To The Close Of The Mexican War (1849)

Radio Drama

Les Miserables (Radio Theatre)


Dear Saviour, I can scarcely tell,
What may this living water be,
Which thou didst promise at the well
To give to all who ask of thee.
I love to see the sparkling stream
So bright, it almost seems alive;
Yet, if I drink, I thirst again-
It cannot be what thou dost give.
This precious gift, whate’er it be,
On me, yet lovingly bestow;
Oh ! Saviour dear! I come to thee,
To teach me what I do not know. L. S.

Copyright 2008 Amy Puetz, www.AmyPuetz.com