I found this today.
It took me on quite a journey.
The picture is called The Magic Hour
and it immediately reminded me of a chapter in
The Family Week-end Book by Beryl Irving.
There it is called The Children's Hour
'that loved, dreaded, longed-for hour'
when Mummy in her tea gown is given sole charge of the children
for just one hour after tea.
Such is the enormity of this responsibility that eight pages
are devoted to advising her on how to cope with
their different ages and needs.
When the Door Opens...
it is no longer the ordinary drawing room door,
a little battered and chipped;
it is for one moment the gateway to magic.
As the knob of the door slowly turns,
Glamour is there. The children are coming...
For one perfect moment their dream-personalities flow out to you
the big boy, his eyes bright with what he is going to say;
perhaps a little girl too, priggishly demure in her pink frock;
the babies, fat and solemn.
The moment fades -pandemonium is let loose.
They bicker and shriek and rage. The babies fall over and wail.
Number One thinks Two's games are soppy and pushes her over.
Number Two then attacks the babies in like manner.
'Mother probably feels that she has been washed up
on a desert beach after a shipwreck in the Pacific'
and wonders why she ever saw charm in the children.
But with careful planning you can play all manner of games
while remaining seated or even knitting,
and before you know it,
Nanny will carry them away to bed.
Magic fades. The room is just a room again,
appallingly untidy,and must be straightened at once
before poor Daddy comes home.
Unless of course it is Nanny's Day out
which might cause one to swear
then they must have Garden Time.
All of this is delivered with a curious mixture of
saccharine and sour - a slightly brutal detachedness
(children are Little Liars and deceptive little wretches)
coupled with oozing sentimentality.
Although the book was printed in 1941
it is almost certainly the product of an earlier era,
one much closer to the 1920s depicted in the calendar.
When Number One is older
new perplexities beset the luckless parent.
Where does he go on that after-tea walk?
Must you really have those awful friends of his to the house,
to preserve him from the florist flapper?
But the concept of The Children's Hour
began much earlier with a verse from Longfellow's poem:
Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.
and was adopted as the name of a BBC radio series for children
broadcast from 5pm to 6pm every day of the week
from 1922 until 1964.
When it was announced that the show was ending
this is how the reaction was summed up by Whirligig radio:
Undoubtedly the Director General and the then head of Radio
expected some outburst from the listening public...
However they could hardly have expected the barrage of letters,
the campaign in the press and elsewhere,
the questions in the House of Commons
and the feeling of general wrath
which greeted the announcement.
The programme's untimely demise meant that
an important magic casement into Wonderland
had been rudely slammed shut.