A part of Circular Staircase, by Mary Roberts Rinehart:
However, I did the best I could. When Gertrude got past the hair-ribbon age, and Halsey asked for a scarf-pin and put on long trousers--and a wonderful help that was to the darning.--I sent them away to good schools. After that, my responsibility was chiefly postal, with three months every summer in which to replenish their wardrobes, look over their lists of acquaintances, and generally to take my foster-motherhood out of its nine months' retirement in camphor.
Was it a misspelling or dead expression? I can't find any proper meaning of this word in any dictionary to fit in the above sentence.