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13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT. (continued)
Surely, with existence such a dreary blank for them as this, we might provide a little row for their amusement now and then, even if we do not feel inclined for it ourselves. A really sensible man does so and is loved accordingly, for it is little acts of kindness such as this that go straight to a woman's heart. It is such like proofs of loving self-sacrifice that make her tell her female friends what a good husband he was--after he is dead.
Yes, poor Xantippe must have had a hard time of it. The bucket episode was particularly sad for her. Poor woman! she did think she would rouse him up a bit with that. She had taken the trouble to fill the bucket, perhaps been a long way to get specially dirty water. And she waited for him. And then to be met in such a way, after all! Most likely she sat down and had a good cry afterward. It must have seemed all so hopeless to the poor child; and for all we know she had no mother to whom she could go and abuse him.
What was it to her that her husband was a great philosopher? Great philosophy don't count in married life.
There was a very good little boy once who wanted to go to sea. And the captain asked him what he could do. He said he could do the multiplication-table backward and paste sea-weed in a book; that he knew how many times the word "begat" occurred in the Old Testament; and could recite "The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck" and Wordsworth's "We Are Seven."
"Werry good--werry good, indeed," said the man of the sea, "and ken ye kerry coals?"
It is just the same when you want to marry. Great ability is not required so much as little usefulness. Brains are at a discount in the married state. There is no demand for them, no appreciation even. Our wives sum us up according to a standard of their own, in which brilliancy of intellect obtains no marks. Your lady and mistress is not at all impressed by your cleverness and talent, my dear reader--not in the slightest. Give her a man who can do an errand neatly, without attempting to use his own judgment over it or any nonsense of that kind; and who can be trusted to hold a child the right way up, and not make himself objectionable whenever there is lukewarm mutton for dinner. That is the sort of a husband a sensible woman likes; not one of your scientific or literary nuisances, who go upsetting the whole house and putting everybody out with their foolishness.
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