The Book of The Little Past

By Alison March 14, 2012 7 Comments 2 Min Read

No matter how awful the day (and trust me, this day of mine had the potential to be truly, heart-breakingly awful) I am glad to be the kind of she who can, with a little trawling find something that I will still want to squirrel away and smile at always and forevermore.
And so it is with the illustrations I found in The Book of the Little Past (delightfully dedicated to Alison and Older Children…) not five minutes ago. A charming little 1910 book full of sweet little poems and darling, most unusual images of children at work, rest and play that I couldn’t, on something of a whim, resist sharing with you, just in case you too needed a little vintage gift of hope and happiness.

I mean really – just look at the magnificent wallpaper behind The Mystic, or the curtain blowing over the rooftops in Making A House! What is not to love when over a century ago artists like Elizabeth Shippen Green were illustrating rooms (and babbas) as scrumptiously lovely as these..?

While I occasionally worry that my ability to transcend the truly dreadful and shift my focus on to lovely minutie might suggest that I am a few sandwiches short of a gingham wrapped picnic, for the most part I am truly grateful that this gift (and it is, I think, a gift) see’s me through events that could be considered harrowing or even just downright miserable.

And so my Darling Housekeepers, this is a reminder to keep on treasuring the teeniest of joys. I know I harp on about looking for the little joys but when life is giving you lemons, tying a length of lace around the bottle you intend to decant that damned lemonade into, is I believe the only way to survive. You see life passes us by when we focus too fiercely on the bigger picture, robbing us of the chance to experience the gentle flood of pleasure because we are busy anticipating future pain. It won’t do. Life is too short to dread tomorrow or wallow in moments now gone for always isn’t it?

And so today there is Elizabeth Shippen Green. Relief that this morning has passed without sorrow or catastrophe. That we will live to sing through another day without the kind of drama we had been dreading. Today there has been a crumpet topped with lemon curd. A new kitchen ceiling to replace the one that fell in. Twee little poems and a little boys snotty nosed smile

Thank heavens for pretty pictures and nightmares that don’t come true. All is as it should be.


  1. Gill says:

    Darling ,darling pictures!

  2. Gill says:

    Oh, and the last poem in the book is the best 🙂 Thank you for sharing, and I'm glad your day passed by without disaster.

  3. sallypaper says:

    I love the little poem "Late". I had my eyes shut up but I could feel him smile. Makes my think of my Dad. Thanks for the lovely post. Sally

  4. @52lindajh says:

    rough day for me too, but these pictures are so calm and pretty – great philosophy!!

  5. Amanda says:

    I found snowdrops in my back yard and my best friend fashioned a silk arrangement to "springify" my table. Indeed, little things in an otherwise gloomy day can make you smile. You make me smile! Amanda

  6. Hels says:

    Lovely snippets and a strong resemblance between the first illustration and your young man…Cheers!

  7. Patricia says:

    Thank you for sharing this – I couldn't agree more. I too, look for the tiniest of treasures throughout the day which can lift my spirit even in the midst of a storm. Today in fact, my sweet husband surprised me with homemade scones, clotted cream and jam. What could be better than an unexpected treat such as that, with the man I love, during a week that has truly tried both our souls.
    The illustrations are lovely and so peaceful. A good reminder to slow down and return to some of the simpler pleasures of childhood such as reading and daydreaming.

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