Lucilla Eliot, of Elizabeth Goudge’s ‘Eliot trilogy’ (Bird in the Tree, Pilgrim’s Inn and Heart of the Family) is one of my heroines. Expect to hear much of her—and the wisdom that Ms. Goudge imparts through her voice—in this journal. Elizabeth Goudge’s writings have played a very formative role in my thoughts on homemaking and womanhood, but most especially the books that deal with this remarkable matriarch and the profound impact of her faithfulness upon her children and grandchildren. Lucilla’s vision for a consecrated home, where godliness, beauty and love all unite to safeguard the hearts of the young ones in its care, has appealed to every domestic desire that I cherish. I, too, long to fashion a culture of beauty and grace within my home to the eternal benefit of my family.
Here are some of Lucilla’s thoughts on the decoration of homes:
For it was one of the special mercies of Providence, Lucilla was apt to say, that beauty and shabbiness are quite compatible. The great thing, she would tell her grandchildren, was to start well. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, but it must be a costly and strong beauty, purchased at a high price of service or sacrifice, not skin-deep but bone-deep, if it is to be as desirable at the shabby end as it was at the sumptuous beginning. Pointing a moral to the grandchildren she would wave a hand towards her Sheraton chairs with the petit-point seats worked by her grandmother in a pattern of purple pansies and crimson gilliflowers. She would tell them how the exquisite curves of the wood had been created by the hands of a craftsman, each tool in its aptness and simplicity itself a thing of beauty in his hands as patiently, line by line, he fashioned the vision that was in his mind. And the same with the great-grandmother’s needlework. She had spun the wool herself and dyed it to its lovely colors with the juices of plants picked upon her walks, she had seen with the eyes of her mind a vision of her garden, formalized and touched with perpetual stillness, and painted the picture with her needle upon canvas. And now, though their legs were scratched and their colors were faded the chairs were as lovely as ever. Lovelier, Lucilla declared, because a work of art is like a human being, the more it is loved the more beautiful it grows, reflecting the gift of love like light back again to the giver. ..The odes of Keats, she had heard it said, are lovelier now than when they were written…And the same with her Sheraton chairs, which had been loved now for so many years. And everything in the house, she had told Margaret twenty years ago, must be as love-worthy as they were if Damerosehay was to be a perfect refuge for the grandchildren. Margaret had sighed and asked if this dictum applied to the saucepans. "Certainly," Lucilla had replied. "I’ll have none but the best saucepans."
from Bird in the Tree
This is exactly why I love antiques.
"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24: 3, 4