It is funny how many women squirm when reminded that it is they who set the pace in the home! We are always longing for power and a field of effort, and then when a 20th century prophetess arises and tells us we are all but almighty, and shows us how to direct our almightiness to accomplish results, we—well, we squirm. One would think some of us are a little bit ashamed of the pace we have been setting, of the things we have been accomplishing with our almightiness! You know, our first impulse when we see an error in our own selves is to sound the trumpet and charge upon the error in the other fellow. Is this why Carrie wants the men scolded?
Well, don’t they get scolded? What are their wives and daughters and sweethearts for but to scold ’em or coax ’em into cleaner ways of living? No use to talk to men as a class, about anything but politics. Don’t you know that Adam couldn’t even taste an apple until Eve coaxed him? Adam is a great theorizer; he will gaze at an apple and tell you that he ought not to eat it, and why not; he will even amble long and wishfully about that apple; but it takes Eve to wake in him the living impulse to take it. Just so with matters of personal neatness. He knows—oh, yes, knowing is his long suit!—he knows he “ought” to be neat; and he thinks he wants to be; but unless Eve and the serpent come along he hasn’t the living impulse.
And Eve must not lose sight of the serpent, however far away the dove may fly. Eve must use wisdom and tact, as well as example; if she would have Adam accept her standard of cleanliness she must see to it that her example is beautifully clean instead of painfully so. There are men who are careless about their persons simply as a matter of relief from the painful cleanness of their surroundings.
Then there are Adams who are careless for lack of interest in pleasing Eve. In these cases you will find that Eve has little or no interest in pleasing Adam; or that she overdoes the matter of trying to please, and frequently dissolves in tears and precipitates countless reproaches upon luckless Adam.
Then there are Adams who are careless from petty spite—with shame I say it. And with greater shame I say, you will find their Eves are spiteful, too; probably more spiteful than the Adams; for Eve, you know, is generally smart enough and ambitious enough to outdo Adam in any line of endeavor—especially in the use or misuse of the tongue.
In matters of niceness it is Eve who sets the pace. Adam is built for strength; Eve for beauty and adornment. It is natural for Eve to set the pace and for Adam to follow, in all matters of detail and niceness. Whether Adam follows with good grace or ill depends upon Eve and the serpent. If Eve is wise as the serpent in her, and harmless as the dove in her, she can lead Adam a willing captive to heaven or hell.