Sunday, February 22, 2009


Not what you might think - not at my time of life. No, it's like this: I've been looking through a couple of volumes of my grandmother's journal, written in 1889 and 1890, when she was 21-22, before she was married to my grandfather. Stuck into the back of one of them with stamp paper - (no sellotape in those days) - was a piece of paper headed 'Triplets', with this list:

Three things to love - courage, gentleness, and affection.

Three things to admire - intellect, dignity, and gracefulness.

Three things to hate - cruelty, arrogance, and ingratitude.

Three things to delight in - beauty, frankness, and freedom.

Three things to wish for - health, friends, and a contented spirit.

Three things to like - cordiality, good humour, and cheerfulness.

Three things to avoid - idleness, loquacity, and flippant jesting.

Three things to cultivate - good books, good friends, and good humour.

Three things to contend for - honour, country, and friends.

Three things to teach - truth, industry, and contentment.

Three things to govern - temper, tongue, and conduct.

Three things to cherish - virtue, goodness, and wisdom.

Three things to do - think, live, and act.
Not much that is strange to our ideas today, except perhaps 'honour', 'country' and 'virtue'; and the idea of 'governing' oneself is perhaps not commonplace either. I notice too that 'friends', 'good humour' and 'contentment' each feature twice in the list. I don't think we would choose to express ourselves in quite the same way today, but if we sat down to do this exercise from scratch we would probably come up with many of the same answers.

My grandmother



Lee said...

Some things don't change much.

Kissedaprincegotafrog said...

Finally made it over here from A Curate's Egg and well worth the visit ! No time to read archives but love the triplets and the Bourdaloue and will be back for more.

Judith said...

Welcome, lucky lady with a frog. It's good to see you here.