Take an interest in your husband’s business affairs, and sympathize with the cares and anxieties which beset him. Distract his mind with pleasant or amusing conversation, when you find him nervous and fagged in brain and body.
Yet do not feel that you must never indicate any trouble of your own, for it is conducive to selfishness when a wife hides all her worries and indispositions to listen to those of her husband. But since the work-a-day world, outside the home, is usually filled with irritations for a busy man, it should be a wife’s desire to make his home-coming a season of anticipation and joy.
Do not expect a husband to be happy and contented with a continuous diet of love and sentiment and romance. He needs also much that is practical and commonplace mingled with his mental food.
I have known an adoring young wife to irritate Cupid so he went out and sat on the door-step, contemplating flight, by continual neglect of small duties.
There were never any matches in the receivers; when the husband wanted one he was obliged to search the house. The newspaper he had folded and left ready to read at leisure was used to light the fire, although an overfilled waste-basket stood near. The towel-rack was empty just when he wanted his bath, and his bedroom slippers were always kicked so far under the bed that he was obliged to crawl on all fours to reach them.
Then his loving spouse was sure to want to be “cuddled” when he was smoking his cigar and reading,—a triple occupation only possible to a human freak, with three arms, four eyes, and two mouths.
Therefore I would urge you, my dear Edna, to mingle the practical with the ideal, and common sense with sentiment, and tact with affection, in your domestic life.
These general rules are all I can give to guide your barque into the smooth, sea of marital happiness.
It is a wide sea, with many harbours and ports, and no two ships start from exactly the same point or take exactly the same course. You will encounter rocks and reefs, perhaps, which my boat escaped, and I have no chart to guide you away from those rocks.
If I knew you better, and knew your husband at all, I might steer you a little farther out of Honeymoon Bay into calm waters, and tell you how to reef your sails, and how to tack at certain junctures of the voyage, and with the wind in certain directions.
But if you keep your heart full of love, your mind clear of distrust, and your lips free from faultfinding, and if you pray for guidance and light upon your way, I am sure you cannot miss the course.
To Miss Gladys Weston
Who Faces the Necessity to Earn a Living
It is indeed a problem, my dear Gladys, to face stern-visaged Necessity after walking with laughing-lipped Pleasure for twenty-two years.
What an unforeseen event that your father should sink his fortune in a rash venture and die of remorse and discouragement scarcely six months after you were travelling through Europe with me, and laughing at my vain attempts to make you economize.