“Then he never ordered you?”
“Yes, once—very soon after our marriage—he laid his commands upon me to cease calling him Mr. Travilla and say Edward,” Elsie said, with a dreamy smile and a far-away look in her soft brown eyes.
“He was very much older than I, and knowing him from very early childhood, as a grown-up gentleman and my father’s friend, I had been used to calling him Mr. Travilla, and could hardly feel it respectful to drop the title.
“The only other order he ever gave me was not to exert myself to lift my little Elsie before I had recovered my strength after her birth. He was very tenderly careful of his little wife, as he delighted to call her.”
“I wish I had known him,” said Zoe. “Is my husband much like him?”
“More in looks than disposition. I sometimes think he resembles my father more than his own in the latter regard.
“Yes,” thought Zoe, “that’s where he gets his disposition to domineer over me and order me about. I always knew Grandpa Dinsmore was of that sort.”
Aloud she said, with a watery smile, “And my Edward has been very tenderly careful of me.”
“And always will be, I trust,” said his mother, smiling more cheerily. “If he does not prove so, he is less like my father than I think. Mamma will tell you, I am sure, that she has been the happiest of wives.”
“I suppose it depends a good deal upon the two dispositions how a couple get on together,” remarked Zoe, sagely. “But, mamma, do you think the man should always rule and have his way in everything?”
“I think a wife’s best plan, if she desires to have her own way, is always to be or to seem ready to give up to her husband. Don’t deny or oppose their claim to authority, and they are not likely to care to exert it.”
“If I were only as wise and good as you, mamma!” murmured Zoe with a sigh.
“Ah, dear, I am not at all good; and as to the wisdom, I trust it will come to you with years; there is an old saying that we cannot expect to find gray heads on green shoulders.”
“And if division come, it soon is past,
Too sharp, too strange an agony to last.
And like some river’s bright, abundant tide,
Which art or accident had forc’d aside,
The well-springs of affection gushing o’er,
Back to their natural channels flow once more.”
Left alone, Zoe sat meditating on her mother-in-law’s advice.
“Oh,” she said to herself, “if I could only know that my husband’s love isn’t gone forever, I could take comfort in planning to carry it out; but oh, if he hadn’t quite left off caring for me, how could he threaten me so, and then go away without making up, without saying good-by, even if he didn’t kiss me? I couldn’t have gone away from him so for one day, and he expects to be away for ten. Ten days! such a long, long while!” and her tears fell like rain.