We deplore the fact that because of the fearful extravagances of modern society many of our best people conclude that they cannot possibly afford to marry.
We are getting a fearful crop of old bachelors. They swarm around us. They go through life lopsided. Half dressed, they sit round cold mornings, all a-shiver, sewing on buttons and darning socks, and then go down to a long boarding-house table which is bounded on the north and south and east and west by the Great Sahara Desert. We do not pity them at all. May all their buttons be off to-morrow morning! Why do they not set up a plain home of their own and come into the ark two and two?
The supporting of a wife is looked upon as a great horror. Why, dear friends, with right and healthy notions of time and eternity it is very easy to support a wife if she be of the kind worth supporting. If she be educated into false notions of refinement and have “young ladies’ institutes” piled on her head till she be imbecile, you will never be able to support her. Everything depends on whether you take for your wife a woman or a doll-baby. Our opinion is that three-fourths the successful men of the day owe much of their prosperity to the wife’s help. The load of life is so heavy it takes a team of two to draw it. The ship wants not only a captain, but a first mate. Society to-day, trans-Atlantic and cis-Atlantic, very much needs more royal marriages.
Yesterday was Saturday to you, but it was Sunday to me. In other words, it was a day of rest. We cannot always be working. If you drive along in a deep rut, and then try to turn off, you are very apt to break the shafts. A skillful driver is careful not to get into a deep rut. You cannot always be keeping on in the same way. We must have times of leisure and recreation.
A great deal of Christian work amounts to nothing, from the fact that it is not prefaced and appendixed by recreation. Better take hold of a hammer and give one strong stroke and lay it down than to be all the time so fagged out that we cannot move the hammer.
Well, yesterday being a day of rest to me, I made three visits in New York.
The first was to the Tombs—an institution seemingly full now, a man or woman or boy at every wicket. A great congregation of burglars, thieves, pickpockets and murderers. For the most part, they are the clumsy villains of society; the nimble, spry ones get out of the way, and are not caught. There are those who are agile as well as depraved in that dark place. Stokes, representing the aristocracy of crime; Foster, the democracy of sin; and Rozensweig, the brute. Each cell a commentary upon the Scripture passage, “The way of the transgressor is hard.”