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afraid of being laughed at. It was his conscience.

The hot sun beat into the small kitchen. Dave had promised, every year since they were married, to put an awning over the south window. He had never done it. They had been married nineteen years.
      One summer she had tried to do it herself. She had bought some unbleached cotton and sewed it into strips. She had borrowed the Colman’s ladder and, all one afternoon, had worked and tugged at the heavy frame. When Dave came home he swore. Then he went out and tore it down. He blustered that he was n’t going to have any “puttering woman’s work” on his house for folks to laugh at. Dave was always afraid of being laughed at. It was his conscience. The neighbors could have laughed the awning up years ago. They never thought to do that. They only pitied her. She had put the unbleached cotton away in the attic. After a year or two she made it up into pillow-cases. It wore better than bleached.
      She had vowed that she would never ask him again.

Jennette Lee. Kate Wetherill : An Earth Comedy (1900) : 9
same NYPL copy at hathitrust (alas, only a few pages available in these scans)
(ordered a copy of 1900 printing, 20220512)

A review of Kate Wetherill ran in the Chicago Tribune (April 7, 1900)
It was kindly made available at newspaper.com by AleatoryPonderings (6 December 2021).

Jennette (Barbour Perry) Lee (1860-1951), writer, also professor (of English at Vassar, Case Western and Smith College)
wikipedia (a quite good though brief (concise) entry by aleatoryponderings)
more (much more) to be added here, about and by Jennette Lee and her partner
Gerald Stanley Lee (1862-1944), wikipedia

12 May 2022