JANUARY hath 31 days
THIS be the first Month of our Christian calendar, when the Earth is bound and the Seas in the grip of Terror. When the Birds give no Evidence of themselves, and are in the Memory alone recorded, when the Sap lies sleeping and the Tree knows nothing of it, when the bright Herbage and flourishing green things are only hope, when the Plough is put away with the Harrow, and the Fields give their Surface to a Harvest of Snow, which no Sickle garners, and for which no Grange languishes, and which never weighs the home-going Cart of the Farmer, but sows itself alone and reaps itself unrecorded.
Now in this Month, as it is with Mother Earth, so it will appear it is with all things of Nature, and most especially Woman.
For in this Month she is a little pitiful for what she has made of man, and what she has throughout the Ages, led him to expect, cultivating him indeed to such a Pitch that she is somewhat responsible.
Patience Scalpel was of this Month, and belongs to this Almanack for one Reason only, that from Beginning to End, Top to Bottom, inside and out, she could not understand Women and their Ways as they were about her, above her and before her.
She saw them gamboling on the Greensward, she heard them pinch and moan within the Gloom of many a stately Mansion; she beheld them floating across the Ceilings, (for such was Art in the old Days), diapered in Toile de Jouy, and welded without Flame, in one incalculable Embrace. "And what", she said, "the silly Creatures may mean by it is more than I can diagnose! I am of my Time my Time's best argument, and who am I that I must die in my Time, and never know what it is in the Whorls and Crevices of my Sisters so prolongs them to the bitter End? Do they not have Organs as exactly alike as two Peas, or twin Griefs; and are they not eclipsed ever so often with the galling Check-rein of feminine Tides? So what to better Purpose than to sit the Dears on a Stack of Blotters, and let it go at that, giving them in their meantime a Bible and a Bobbin, and say with all Pessimism--they have come to a blind Alley; there will be no Children born for a Season, and what matter it?"
Thus her Voice was heard throughout the Year, as cutting in its Derision as a surgical Instrument, nor did she use it to come to other than a Day and yet another Day in which she said, "I have tried all means, Mathematical, Poetical, Statistical and Reasonable, to come to the Core of this Distemper, known as Girls! Girls! And can nowhere find where a Woman got the Account that makes her such a deft Worker at the Single Beatitude. Who gave her the Directions for it, the necessary Computation and Turpitude? Where, and in what dark Chamber was the Tree so cut of Life, that the Branch turned to the Branch, and made of the Cuttings a Garden of Ecstasy?"
Merry Laughter rose about her, as Doll Furious was seen in ample dimity, sprigged with Apple Blossom, footing it fleetly after the proportionless Persuasions of Señorita Fly-About, one of Buzzing Much to Rome!
"In my time", said Patience Scalpel, "Women came to enough trouble by lying abed with the Father of their Children. What then in this good Year of our Lord has paired them like to like, with never a Beard between them, layer for layer, were one to unpack them to the very Ticking ? Methinks", she mused, her Starry Eyes aloft, where a Peewit was yet content to mate it hot among the Branches, making for himself a Covey in the olden Formula, "they love the striking Hour, nor would breed the Moments that go to it. Sluts!" she said pleasantly after a little thought, "Are good Mothers to supply them with Luxuries in the next Generation; for they themselves will have no Shes, unless some Her puts them forth! Well I'm not the Woman for it! They well have to pluck where they may. My Daughters shall go amarrying!".