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The Saint Paul globe. (St. Paul, Minn.) 1896-1905, January 10, 1904, Image 1

Image and text provided by Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059523/1904-01-10/ed-1/seq-1/

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The Reprezentative Woman's Point of View
NETT says the atmosphere of Amer
ica is too stimulating, while that of
England is too reposeful; to lead the
ideal life your time should be divided
between the two countries*
In her 'pinion this is not a ma
terial age; there is just as much ro
mance now in the world as there ever
was and just as much response to the
romantic note*
NETT, whose social triumphs have
equalled her literary and dramatic
successes, is a thorough woman of
the world and "A Lady of Quality."
Prolonged residence in England, where
she was well known as a hostess both in Lon
don and at her country place, Maytham Hal!,
Kent, and much sojourning in Continental
capitals have made her, in recent years, per
sonally a more conspicuous figure abroad
than in Washington, her former home, or in
New York, where she resided last season for
the first time.
Now, domiciled in an artistically fitted-up
house in the heart of the fashionable quarter
of the metropolis, Mrs. Burnett is, for the
time being at least, a New Yorker.
Cosily seated in a big chair by the bright
wood fire in her drawing-room, Mrs. Burnett,
arrayed in a pale green teagown, looked far
more the woman of leisure than the hard
working novelist and dramatist.
"Do I like living in America again? Oh,
yes," she said. "It is more stimulating than
any other place, but it lacks repose.
"The ideal arrangement, I think, is to be
able to divide one's time between America
and England.
"Each gives what the other lacks. Amer
icans, and particularly New Yorkers, live at
such high tension that one marvels how they
keep going.
"The pace is too rapid, mentally and phys
ically. It gives them hyper-aesthesia.
"Do you know that disease where the nerves
are so susceptible that they're raw?" She ran
her fingers down the length of her arm sug
"It occurs to me sometimes," she continued,
reflectively, gazing into the crackling fire on
the hearth, "that we are taking in too large an
area of thought and experience, knowing too
much about too many forms of life.
"Now those vibrating wires make the world
one, so that people and conditions in the
most remote parts of the earth are known to
"I think, perhaps, we speculate over them
too much — that it is crowding in the non-es
"But don't you believe a wide knowledge
of affairs and of people is broadening?" Mrs.
Burnett was asked.
"When it does broaden," was the reply,
"but the danger is that excess, in some in
stances, you know, goes to the head.
"In this country we become intoxicated by
the very air—it is electric—and everyone is
intent not only on living his or her life, but in
trying to know how all the rest of the lives
in the world are lived.
"It seems to me that the tendency among
American women these days is to analyze too
"They are not satisfied to think; they think
about their thoughts. Appalling probing, is it
Mrs. Burnett laughed merrily.
"No wonder they have hyper-aesthesia. One
result, however, of so much introspection and
analysis is that it has developed more subtlety
of motion.
"When we lived more slowly and had less
to think about we were more stolid. Now our
intuitions are sharpened by knowledge.
"Do I think this is a material age? No, I
should say not.
"It seems to me that there is just as much
romance in the world as there ever was, and
just as much response to it. The thing that
moves people, whether they know it or not,
is the appeal to the heart.
"Men and women do not differ in this re
spect. The fact is, people who are sensitive
are not to be made unsensitive, and people
who are phlegmatic will remain so. It is 311
a matter of temperament.
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AMERICAN WOMEN are too prone
to self analysis in her opinion; it is
well enough to think, but they think
about their own thoughts* It is nG
wonder that some of them have
As a remedy she recommends
gardening —the garden is the sava
tion of tired nerves —and suggests the
wearing of a red frock to give a bit of
color to the landscape.
"But," with a gesture of protest, "one cannot
generalize about any of these things.
"There are just a few primeval truths in the
world, and the rest is speculation.
"One may have opinions, but to give then:
forth as truths is absurd and unintelligent. It
is impossible to say the final word on any sub
Discussion of abstractions was interrupted
by the appearance of a dainty little visitor who
was transported to a seventh heaven of bliss by
being shown a wondrous doll nearly as large
as herself, and so strongly resembling, Mrs.
Burnett said, the little daughter of the Duch
ess of Sutherland that she bore her name—
the Lady Rosemary Leveson-Gower. "Lady
Rosemary's" smart pink frock and exquisite
lingerie elicited admiration.
"I made them all myself, every one," said
Mrs. Burnett, as the child visitor vanished up
stairs wnn "Lady Rosemary" tightly clasped
in her arms. "Oh, yes, I can sew—beautifully,
and I believe I'm prouder of knowing how
to use a needle than a pen.
"Yes, I do literally use a pen when I write.
I dislike a pencil, and a typewriter, for me, is
an impossibility. It kills my imagination.
"And I never dictate. I've tried, but the
mere sight of the person calmly sitting by, pen
in hand, paralyzes me.
"It is too terrifying—like having one's pic
ture taken, or being interviewed."
Her laugh rang out merrily, and then, with
one of her quick, expressive gestures, she said:
"Can't we talk about gardens? I love them.
I believe they are the salvation of tired nerves.
"There is nothing in the world so fascinat
ing as to make a garden, and nothing mor»
refreshing than to work in one.
"At my English home, Maytham Hall, I
have one of the most beautiful gardens in
Kent, and I've spent weeks at a time working
in it with my gardeners.
"To get down and dig in the warm earth
just to smell it—is to feel new strength; and
the seeds and bulbs one plants revivify—they
are so full of promise of life to come.
"The herbaceous plants are my favorites,
for they come up year after year, and one
learns to watch for them and welcome them
like old friends.
"I always do my gardening in a red cotton
frock, because it makes a bright bit of color in
the landscape, and I have a cape with a hood
for cool days, and wear a rubber apron as a
protection from the dampness when kneeling '
"You recommend gardening as a panacea
for tired nerves?" asked her visitor.
"I do, indeed," enthusiastically. "It is a sure
cure for hyper-aesthesia. American women are
just beginning to bud into gardeners.
"Watch them grow. They have so much
energy and so much imagination that they'll
do beautiful things, and make themselves
beautiful in doing them. I'm going to write a
garden book some day," and Mrs. Burnett
laughed heartily.
But her time at present is too much occupied
with things dramatic. From her novel, "In
Connection With the De Willoughby Claim,"
she has made a dramatic adaptation of one
part of the story, which is to be known as
"That Man and I," and will be played later in
the season. Two of her plays—"The Pretty
Sister of Jose" and "The Little Princess"—are
successes of the season.
Mrs. Burnett has no system about her work,
she says, but needs a quiet spot for it.
That she finds difficult to obtain in the city,
and so she is considering a country place in
Long Island, where she will secure the quiet
so necessary to her work, the rural atmosphere
in which she delights, and yet be in touch with
New York.
As the signs now point, the early spring will
find Mrs. Burnett down on her knees on her
Long Island estate, making a new garden to
rival the English one at Maytham Hall.

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