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Title: Don't Marry - or, Advice on How, When and Who to Marry
Author: Donovan, James W.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Don't Marry - or, Advice on How, When and Who to Marry" ***

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Transcriber’s Notes:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

The Table of Contents was created by the transcriber and placed in the
public domain.

The cover for this book contains substantial text, and this text has
been included in digital form with a simplified format.

The cover contains a list labeled “CONTENTS:”; however, this is a
partial list of topics covered in the book rather than a Table of

Additional Transcriber’s Notes are at the end.

       *       *       *       *       *



  DON’T MARRY.             3



       *       *       *       *       *

DON’T MARRY; OR, ADVICE AS TO How, When and Who to Marry.


  Don’t Marry for Beauty Alone.
  Don’t Marry for Money.
  Don’t Marry a Very Small Man.
  Don’t Marry too Young.
  Don’t Marry a Coquette.
  Don’t Elope to Marry.
  Don’t Dally About Proposing.
  Don’t Marry a Drunkard.
  Don’t Marry a Spendthrift.
  Don’t Marry a Miser.
  Don’t Marry Far Apart in Ages.
  Don’t Marry too Old.
  Don’t Marry Odd Sizes.
  Don’t Marry a Clown.
  Don’t Marry a Dude.
  Don’t Marry From Pity.
  Don’t Marry for an Ideal Marriage.
  Don’t Break a Marriage Promise.
  Don’t Marry for Spite.
  Don’t Mitten a Mechanic.
  Don’t Marry a Man too Poor.
  Don’t Marry a Crank.
  Don’t Marry Fine Feathers.
  Don’t Marry Without Love.
  Don’t Marry a Stingy Man.
  Don’t Marry too Hastily.
  Don’t be too Slow About It.
  Don’t Marry a Silly Girl.
  Don’t Expect too Much in Marriage.
  Don’t Marry a Fop.
  Don’t Marry in Fun.
  Don’t Spurn a Man for His Poverty.
  Don’t Marry Recklessly.


       *       *       *       *       *



The Holy Land.



No Series of Sermons ever delivered by this famous preacher has created
such a widespread and intense interest as this. These Sermons describe
with vivid interest the scenes, incidents and many various experiences
met with in the Holy Land, the land in which people are now more
interested than ever before.

Among the hundreds of thousands of people who have read the utterances
of this wonderfully successful preacher there are none but will be glad
to have this book. Read the following


1. Eve of Departure--2. I Must also See Rome--3. A Mediterranean
Voyage--4. Paul’s Mission in Athens--5. Life and Death of Dorcas--6.
The Glory of Solomon’s Reign--7. Peace, Be Still--8. The Marriage
Feast--9. Christmas Eve in the Holy Land--10. The Joyful Surprise--11.
How a King’s Life was Saved--12. The Philippian Earthquake--13.
What is in a Name?--14. The Half was not Told Me--15. I Went Up to
Jerusalem--16. On the Housetop in Jerusalem--17. The Journey to
Jericho--18. He Toucheth the Hills and They Smoke--19. Solomon in all
His Glory--20. The Journey to Bethel--21. Incidents in Palestine--22.
Among the Holy Hills--23. Our Sail on Lake Galilee--24. On to
Damascus--25. Across Mount Lebanon.

It contains 320 pages in paper cover, and will be sent by mail,
postpaid, to any address on receipt of 25 cents. Bound in Cloth, $1.50;
Half Russia, $2.00. Agents wanted. Address all orders to

J. S. OGILVIE, Publisher, 57 Rose Street, New York.

       *       *       *       *       *


We desire to call your attention to this book, and ask that you give it
a careful review and criticism. Please send paper containing notice to



       *       *       *       *       *



  “... The tale that I relate
    This lesson seems to carry,--
   Choose not alone a proper mate,
    But proper time to marry.”

  THE SUNNYSIDE SERIES, No. 39. Issued Monthly. October, 1891. Extra.
    $3.00 per year.
  Entered at New York Post-Office as second-class matter.
    Copyright, 1890, by J. S. Ogilvie.


       *       *       *       *       *



To All Who Are Married

Or who Contemplate taking this Important Step.

16 page descriptive Circular sent free to any address by

_J. S. OGILVIE_ Rose Street, New York.

       *       *       *       *       *



It is not intended to advise against marriage, nor to draw the line too
closely as to the don’t-marry class, but simply to hint at the errors
of some persons who match badly on so long a contract.

The “yes or no” question is the vital one for all young people to
answer. Some answer too soon, others wait too long, others never reach
such a climax of happiness as to be invited by an eligible partner. The
genius of selection is the rarest of faculties.

What most puzzles the will and makes us bear the ills we have is the
theme of selection. A mother’s or father’s view of a suitor may be at
variance with the daughter’s wish and destroy the peace of both for a
lifetime. But quite generally the real trouble arises from a spiteful
choice or a hasty one, or one in some of the forms here mentioned.
Should these hints prevent one unhappy marriage, they will well repay
the little study that their brevity requires.

To avoid much lecturing, only two examples are given at any length,
in the form of stories. These are as near to the real characters as
the writer can safely relate them, being founded on actual romantic
and unromantic marriages. As marriage is the first question that every
family will discuss, it is well to treat it with exact candor.

_Don’t marry for beauty merely._ Very few have a supply that would last
a full dozen years in a married life that should continue for three

And, more than that, beauty is not the only requisite to happiness.
Very handsome people are almost always vain, often exacting, and
generally live on their form, paying little or no attention to the
rarer qualities of manhood or womanhood.

If one seek beauty alone, he will find it in the fields and flowers
and gardens, in paintings, art works, and things of nature; while the
real pleasures of life may be found in a thousand ways outside of the
worship of beauty.

There are a dozen considerations beyond beauty that should govern the
choice of a companion. Think for a moment whom you admire most, trust
implicitly, and love more ardently than all others. Truly, it is not
the wax-doll face in a milliner’s window; were that so, why not marry
the model and get the perfection of beauty? The day will come when
the “rain beats in at the heart windows.” The time may run along so
fast till the summer is over and the winter snow-drifts shade your
locks with silver, when one by one of your friends will visit at the
fireside, when some one will love you for your mind and heart and
nobleness. Some one suited to your silver-age condition and disposition
will be beautiful without any name for beauty; as the soldier said of
Grant’s face, after Shiloh’s bloody battle, “That was the handsomest
face I ever saw;” yet it was plain and dusty and rugged.

Prize-winners in matrimony have been women of finer mould than mere
beauties. Women who have won the hearts of statesmen, and painters and
poets, and the good and great of all time, were women of fascination,
or what the Southern ladies call sweet women, and not alone noted for
their beauty.

Many a one has been known to have been plain but social; not always
unhandsome, but never beautiful. They are the best wives and noblest
mothers who have more to commend them than mere grace of features,
shade of skin, or color of eyes, or art of beautifying. Some are
frivolous, and more are flattered into danger. The most miserable man I
know is married to one of the most beautiful women. He is jealous; she
is exposed to insults unawares. Their home is a Hades six days out of
seven. I’ve heard him wish she were less attractive!

_Don’t marry a man for money._ If money is your real object, the older
and uglier he is, the better; for nothing should come between you and
the chosen idol of your affection. If you marry one for his money, he
will find it out shortly.

What sublime contempt a man must have for one who simply loves his
pocket-book! Why not love his farm, or lumber-yard, or herd of cattle?
The love of money is a miserly pretence of affection that leads to
discontent, distrust, and disgust when they find it out.

Besides, wealthy men are men of care. The wife of a noted millionnaire
has had her husband’s body stolen from its vault, has been long kept in
agony, is an object of pity to all who know her. Another wife was heard
to say, “Why, I don’t have the privilege, nor the money, nor the good
times that my girl Bridget enjoys. I am poor and anxious and depressed,
and weary of hearing my husband say, over and over again, ‘You are
fixing for the poor-house.’ He really thinks and believes we will end
life in the poor-house; and yet he enjoys a princely income.” Thousands
of such men carry their load of care, and load of wealth, and load of
anxiety, and how can they carry any burden of love?

_Don’t marry a very small man_--a little fellow far below all
proportion; try to get some form to admire, something to shape things
to, and some one who is not lost in a crowd completely, who is too
little to admire and too small for beauty. You may need strong arms
and brave hands to protect you. You will need hands to provide for
and maintain you, and a good form is a fine beginning of manhood or

Mental greatness is not measured by size of brain or bodily
proportions. Great men are neither always wise nor always large; they
are more often of more medium build, and well balanced in gifts of
mental and physical development. Of the two, a very large man is better
than a small one, and a medium large woman likewise.

_Don’t marry too young._ The right age to marry is a matter of
taste; twenty-one for girls, and twenty-four for men may be a little
arbitrary, but certainly is sensible. The happy early marriages are
rare. It too often happens that love is mistaken, or poorly informed,
or lacks an anchor in good judgment. There is no use of reasoning about
it,--love is love, and will marry in spite of reason, and in some cases
it runs away with its choice and repents it a thousand times soon after.

But be sensible, for a life contract should be a sensible one. What
is the use of throwing away one season--skipping girlhood or boyhood
to rush into maturity and maternity? The records of divorce courts
tell the silly and sorrowful stories of many a mismated pair, married
too young and slowly repenting of their rashness. Ask of your truest
friends; take counsel; be above foolishness.

_Don’t marry a villain._ Many a girl is ripe for an adventure, and in
appearance nothing more resembles an angel than a keen and designing
villain--a thoroughbred; not a gambler merely, but worse, a wreck! Such
men may be wary, artful, deceitful, attractive. They are crafty; their
trade compels it. They may be handsome, often so; they may be oily and
slick--most of them are. They may live rich and expensive lives for a
season; ill-gotten gains are not lasting. Heaven pity the girl that
marries one of these adventurers, for the end is bitterness! A friend
met one on the Pacific road, married him, and learned to her sorrow
that he drank to excess, swore like a pirate, lived in debauchery,
and early offered to swap wives for a season with a boon-companion.
“And that man,” she said, “was as handsome as a dude, as slick as
an auctioneer, as oily as a pedler; I loved him only one day after

_Don’t marry a hypocrite._ Of all things get sincerity. Get the genuine
article. If you get a hypocrite, he is brass jewelry, and will easily
tarnish. Make careful inquiry, see that he is all that he pretends to
be, or never trust him. The habit of deceit is one of a lifetime.

Some join churches for no other reason than to cloak iniquity. It is
not the rule by any means; it is a too common exception. One who goes
from city to city and captivates too many by his oil of blandness; one
who has no business, an idler; one who apes the rich and is ground
down in poverty; one who lacks the courage to live like himself and
had rather live a lie and deceive the world around him,--is an unfit
companion, and will bear watching.

_Don’t marry a coquette._ One that is worn out by a long list of
discarded admirers is like stale bread--worse every day and seldom
grows better by long standing. There are women, and girls sometimes,
who glory and revel in the names of discarded lovers; whose sense
of honesty has been poisoned, numbed, and frozen by cheating their
victims through pretended affection, until they have lost all heart
or honesty; who deserve to be left alone to ponder on their cruelty
for the balance of their miserable existence. Of all the worst forms
of flirting, coquetry is the most detestable. It is not only trifling
away the time of both, but casting distrust on the holiest of all
sentiments, the purity of womanhood. To steal money is honorable
compared to stealing affection.

The habit of coquetry will, or may, last long after marriage. She
who practises it will follow up in unpleasant references to her
conquests, wishing she had married at this offer or that, and wear
out the happiness of her last conquest by a frequent reminder of his
inferiority to the others.

_Don’t marry a woman for her money._ These people are tenacious to a
minute degree. They long to remind you of my house, my property, my
farm, my lots on Lincoln Avenue, my furniture, my bank account, and the
like--making one a pensioner all his life for his board and clothing.
If there is any difference, it should be with the man. He is expected
to control property. He is the master of his house, or the manager of
his expenses. Very naturally he says “my” store or “my” lots, but it
will sound far more fair and considerate even if he says “our” in lieu
of “my” sometimes.

The only fair way to act about it is to treat marriage as a partnership
where nobody owns all, but each has an equal interest. It is fair to
divide a good portion of one’s property with his wife, fair to deed her
a nice homestead and present her a given allowance--liberal as one’s
income will warrant--and let her draw from it as her own, and not be a
beggar each time she needs money.

_Don’t elope to marry._ It is a weak affection that cannot wait
awhile. Jacob served seven years, then seven more, for Rebecca. She was
a fine specimen of womanhood--as represented in paintings; housekeeping
was easy and inexpensive then, but they patiently waited and were
handsomely rewarded.

Ruth was an excellent example of girlhood. In no great hurry to marry,
taking the hardships of travel, her devotion to her mother touched the
heart of a king, and she won a splendid prize for her patience. She
might have eloped with a stage-driver or a coachman, and ended her life
with many less historical-society notices.

_Don’t dally about proposing._ What is it to ask a fine girl to marry
you? The simplest, easiest thing on earth, if you “strike while the
iron is hot.” Go about it sensibly. To begin with, you never expect
much encouragement from a discreet maiden; she is in the background;
her promise is to be invited; she is not her own spokeswoman. Think of
the embarrassment.

I venture to say, if you like her, that you will say so. Often you may
have told her how fine her eyes are, or how well you like her singing,
or talking, and her company; but when you ask a simple question, you
get down on your knees (they do in novels, not in reality) and beg for
it. Nonsense! Such a girl is unworthy. Begging is a silly fashion,
seldom now indulged in, all out of date, and no longer tolerated
outside of novels and theatres. Use a little sense about it.

Find out first if you have the right one, then settle the matter in
one of five ways: First, in the parlor (don’t propose in church, or at
a donation, or in a crowd, or on a street-car, or while the horse is
prancing), get up your resolution at the right moment and say: “Do we
understand each other, Clemantha?” Then, if she doesn’t, explain it
to her in a sensible fashion, and in little short words that cannot be
mistaken; give her time, if necessary.

The second way is, on a fine walk or drive, “Would you like to walk
always?” or, “If you were to choose whom you would walk with forever,
who would it be?” She will say, “I don’t care to be so personal.”
Certainly then you may be more explicit.

Third, suppose you are to separate, what a grand opportunity! See
that you improve it earnestly. To tell a girl that she is fairer than
flowers, clearer than coffee, and sweeter than honey is old, very old,
and uncalled-for. Tell her she is what she is, and you like her with
all her surroundings; that you can better her condition sometime. Dwell
on the “sometime.”

Be honest about it. If she doesn’t love you, let her love some one
else, and you will be surprised to find how many pure and beautiful
beings there are all around you, holding their finger-tips to hide
a smile of welcome and ready--“yes, Edgar”--eager to mate with one
worthy and ready to marry them, for marriage is a natural hope of every
right-minded woman.

This is a fourth method: read aloud of characters like Arden, Romeo,
or Abelard, or Paul and Virginia, and make your comments audibly. You
will not be long in tracing a conclusion. Be a little ingenious about
it, find out through your sister. Prepare the way and don’t ask until
you find she is unpledged, remember; or at least tarry long enough to
be reasonably certain. And what if refused? No harm done. Like the
German’s sugar, “The other pound is shust so good as the first one.”

One man I know drew off a list of all his acquaintances worthy of
marriage, and went about it like a regular wheat-buyer. He was a
bachelor, of course, and very eccentric. Coming to the first, he
explained his object, concealing all names, but saying she was first
of a long list furnished him by a friend (each one was first, always);
then he would say, “I will give you a week to consider it, and no harm
done; if not then, I must pursue my list further.” Of all the sold-out
men, he was sold the cheapest! He married a whole family. The first two
were disgusted, the third or fourth accepted. This looks too much like
a purchase and sale, and don’t try the method.

The last way is sensible; by writing--many a proposal is in writing.
Even in that be a little guarded; once a no, yeses come with
reluctance. It is best not to give one an opportunity to say no, but to
parry long enough to test the opposition. If it were a race-horse to
buy, a house to contract for, or a block to purchase, it would not be
very hard to strike a bargain. So that, once finding form, character,
fitness, affection, desire to be mated, go about the rest by a direct
and sensible method, and don’t wear out the gate-hinges, burn out all
the oil, weary the old folks, or turn gray with anxiety, but do it.

_Don’t marry a drunkard._ He will promise, by all that’s good, great,
and holy, to reform. How many more like him have made just such
promises? He can’t keep such a promise if he would. Make him reform a
couple of years at least, on trial, before you marry him. It will be
time enough then to risk a life-partnership, to chain your hopes to an
unfortunate creature whose sense and judgment are corrupted, not by
will, perhaps, but by habit stronger than reason. With most men this
habit becomes a desire. They are bound to feed the fire that burns
them. They have no voice in the matter, and cannot, if they would,
break the strong fetters that bind them in irons, like the prison bars
confine their victims.

It’s a sorry picture to behold a fair young girl chained to a being
with a will all lost and debauched in appetite for drink; a section
of the land of departed evil spirits can only equal her daily misery.
Children must bear it, friends submit to it, and all of character,
sweetness of temper, or refinement in one’s nature will revolt at the
coarseness of the wrecked and wretched career of a drunkard’s life. He
is an object of pity, and a being to be shunned in matrimony, no matter
how many promises he makes or how good he is otherwise.

To avoid long sorrow, disgrace, and regret, avoid him. If you had two
lives and one to dispose of, at any cost, mate with a drunkard and die
a thousand deaths. Your health, peace, and happiness will go with his.

  “Art thou mated with a clown,
   Then the baseness of his nature
   Will have weight to drag thee down.”

Such a man will kill his wife, burn his own child, sacrifice everything
on earth when scourged by this degrading passion. More could be urged,
but let the starving families, the criminal courts, the idiotic
children, tell the rest: the story is too dreadful to dwell upon. It is
monstrous. Life becomes a burden, and death a sweet release from such a
cross. Of all the matches on earth, the most to be dreaded and avoided
is the drunkard’s wife.

_Don’t marry a fast man or woman._ Something tells us that black logs
will darken the whitest garments. The edge of virtue once dulled
is never quite so keen afterwards. It may be very well to speak
slightingly of wild oats, but who cares to know that their oats are a
second crop? Who is willing to believe that they are the last resort of
one who has pleaded and pledged to hundreds or even dozens before her,
or waits an opportunity to make as many more pledges as occasion may
offer? Fast men are not satisfied with one vice merely, but follow on
to many. They may drink, gamble, sport, and venture, and step by step
indulge in the kindred vices of lewdness, till disease shall fasten its
clutches in their burning blood and run in their veins for a lifetime.
They are rarely satisfied with one home, one wife, and one family.

_Don’t marry a foreigner_,--one who comes from a far-away country and
returns to it. It is very uncertain; think ahead carefully. The new and
strange customs of his country may and may not be congenial. They may
be a dreary dream of home and early separation. Think of the ties of
friendship, the cords of affection twined and woven around your nature;
ties that are not severed without many pangs of sorrow. Life is a
short, strange journey, and, make it when we will or where we will, it
is pleasant to be made with company. Those who know us best will love
us most if we deserve it, and few will continue on in friendship long
after we go to strange and unknown countries. A stranger neighbor soon
comes nearer than a long-absent friend whom we never hear from.

_Don’t marry a spendthrift._ The habit of living is formed early.
Either one is bent on rising or going lower. As water seeks its level,
so men seek their ambition and find it. Prosperity comes not on silver
trays, ready-made and ready for use to everybody; most men work for
it, strive for it, and deserve it. The sons of the rich, who inherit
property and have formed the habit of useless spending, are a little
bit lower than the poor. It is not disgraceful at all to be born poor;
but to become so after once being rich, and that through reckless
spending, is a dishonor to any one. “One thing we can be proud of,”
said Ingersoll; “we’ve made some improvement on the original implements
and the common stock.”

A young man who lives on his father’s earnings has very little to
boast of, but one who squanders his inheritance in riotous living
is an object of contempt and ridicule. “He is one of the old man’s
pensioners,” said a business man lately of a rich man’s son. “But for
his father’s thrift he would be a beggar; he lives like a refined
beggar on the food furnished by another. What a brilliant genius he is!”

_Don’t marry your cousin._ It may be very tempting; relatives are often
warmly attached to each other from long and intimate acquaintance.
Remember that constantly thrown in each other’s society will often
create such attachments. With many persons, marriage of blood relations
will more or less lead to deafness, blindness, or deformity. It may
skip one generation and find another. It may result in disease and
weakness. It may be all right, but seven to eight it is risky and
uncertain, and you can’t afford to be uncertain in such matters.

_Don’t marry too far above or below you._ There is no such thing as
station in this country, like the titles and surroundings of Europe;
but ignorance mated with refinement must be lost and confused, and ill
at ease every hour.

Such matches are hasty, and poorly considered. They lead to gossip and
resentment of relatives, and an uncomfortable ill-feeling, seldom cured
for a full generation. If one has beauty and refinement and is poor,
never mind the poverty; the good qualities are more than a balance. But
the marriage of a millionaire’s daughter with a coachman is supreme
folly. It ends in disunion, and never in harmony. Water and oil will as
soon mix as such elements. Avoid them.

_Don’t marry a doubly divorced man or woman_: it’s risky. Something
is wrong surely. One divorce should cure any one. Two is a profusion.
It may be that the doubly divorced is innocent,--he will claim to be;
but if he seeks a new party to a possible divorce case (it will be a
habit by this time), tell him to wait a little longer. Grass widows may
be very lovable creatures, but unless their other halves were clearly
blamable, beyond reasonable question, give them a wide road and avoid
them entirely. It is a very bad sign, possibly a habit, that a man and
woman mate and divide soon after; the fault may belong to either, and
most likely relates to both, in similar proportions.

_Don’t marry a miser._ Of all the old “curmudgeons” on earth, deliver
me from crabbed, narrow-minded, pinch-penny, miserable misers.

They begrudge you your meals and clothing. They count your shillings
and control your pin purchases; they make life a burden, by owning much
and using little, and eternally twit you of every quarter used ever so

Life is made to live in and enjoy. We make only one journey. We need
not open up our purses and leak out the pennies, just to see them roll
around promiscuously; but cutting notches on a stick for each one of
them, and never spending, even for necessaries, without dread and
grudging, is intolerable. I had rather be poor and enjoy something.

_Don’t marry too far apart in ages._ June and December is a long, long
distance in matrimony. Some people are as young-hearted at sixty
as others are at forty. Some men at forty-five have hardly reached
their manhood. But old, white-headed men, marrying girls in their
teens--servants generally--are pitiable spectacles. To the girl it is
suicide; to the man sheer folly; no need of marrying the man. The girl
is the most interested in this don’t sentence. Why not, if you love
him? This is the reason, not jealousy,--that is a partial reason,--but
consistency. Think of a trip round the world or across the continent
with one older than your father, to be called your husband, to be your
husband! It must be humiliating. It is annoying. It is foolishly silly
and inconsistent. Money is a small compensation for such a sacrifice.
Love, and love only, should govern marriage, and I doubt its sincerity
when the difference goes beyond reason.

Marry one whom you trust, admire, respect, look up to, and confide in,
can be true to, and one whom you love from good and earnest motives.
“Respect is a cold lunch in a dark dining-room. Love is a picnic in the
woods.” Think of a picnic and an old man escort!

_Don’t marry too old._ Be in earnest about it. Here is the thought in a



  “I never loved but one,” she said;
  “I loved him just for fun,” she said;
   And, saying this, she swung her head--
   Had she been frank, they had been wed.
   I saw her at a ball that night,
   Her eyes so dark and face so white,
   Her tone and manner wild delight;
   I knew she served him not aright.


  “I am too old to love,” she said;
  “The one I loved in fun is dead!
   I plant these flowers above his head,
   Here lies my idol, dead!” she said.
  “’Tis sad to think it might have been;
   ’Tis sadder yet to feel my sin.
   Love learns too late; but then, but then,
   He loved me once--the best of men.


  “I never see a pure, good face,
   Nor painting outlines ever trace,
   But he is near, his love is dear,
   Had I been earnest; he were here!”
   She veiled her dark eyes with her hand;
   I turned away,--“True love is grand,”
   I murmured, in an undertone;
  “Life gives no more than love of one.”

_Don’t marry odd sizes._ A tall man with a little woman looks awkward
enough; but a tall woman with a little, tiny man is a misfit, surely.

See if you can’t find someone of your size, as the school-lads say in
a wrestle. Pair off like soldiers in time of dress parade, with an eye
to unity.

This caution relates to extremes, of course, and not to small
variances. Some change and grow portly after marriage, but none get
very much taller after twenty-four.

Just for the looks of the thing, pair off in uniform lines.

_Don’t marry a man or woman without a character._ Soon enough you’ll
see the value of this caution. Character is a matter that grows through
a lifetime, but enough of it crops out early to be noticed. One is
known not only by his company but by his habits, his tastes, and his
inclinations. It is said that some whole families are born fast; some
thievish, some inclined to crabbedness, others mild, upright, honest,
and reliable. It runs in the blood in some cases.

Suppose one is to marry for virtue, purity, and uprightness, he will
seek it in the blood as much as he would look for quality in a racer.

If a woman loves a rakish “man of the world,” so called,--a name too
often used to varnish a bad character,--she will very easily find him
around the different bar-rooms of almost any crowded hotel in the city
or village. He will be after marriage what he was before.

Tell me where a man goes, and I will tell you what he is. If he is
fast, he will cultivate fast habits, live a rapid life, and earn that
character very early. If these are the traits you are looking for,
“inquire within” and you will find them. It may be a woman you are
asking about, a girl for a wife, a life-long companion. Which are you
seeking for? A dashy, fly-away dancer, or a domestic home-lover, and
one whom you can trust with your keys, your secrets, your conscience?
Look to her character. In either case, the man or woman has lived
somewhere. Find out about it,--how long, how well, how faithfully.

A well-to-do widow, was crazy to marry a man that she fancied, and
who actually refused to give more than his name and hotel, and no
references. On careful inquiry such a person was known by no less
than two to four names,--changed to suit circumstances. The spell was
broken, the match ended.

Men and women often rush into matrimony as game is run into a trap, for
the little tempting bait set to catch them (a catch-as-catch-can race).
They marry and risk a life-long happiness on less actual information
of each other’s real nature than a good horseman would exact of his
carriage horse’s pedigree. This may do in the country, but never will
answer in a city. Sense and reason dictate that men and women, to enjoy
each other’s society, should see well to the match beforehand. A fine
hand, a small foot, a becoming hat, a twist of the head, a simper,
or a half-witty saying will do well in their places; but colors must
_wash_ and _wear_ to stand a lifetime.

_Don’t marry a clown._ A silly fellow that jokes on every subject never
did amount to anything, and never will. All he says may be very funny,
very; but how many times can he be funny?

Fun will grow stale and threadbare; one cannot live by it. Life is a
trip that costs car fare, wash bills, board bills, trinkets, notions,
and actual outlays. Real providers are never clowns; the clownish
fellow is a favorite in school-days. He is so cute, just as cute as a
cotton hat, so cunning, so witty, so nice. Is he? Wait a few years,
until his nice nonsense turns to active business!

_Don’t marry a dude._ Of all milk-and-water specimens, a dude is
the lowest,--a little removed from nothing; a dressed-up model for
a tailor-shop (sometimes it’s in woman form); a street flirt, a
hotel-step gazer, an eye-glass ogler, a street strut; one who finds his
enjoyment in the looking-glass--a masher.

Very many are called, but few are chosen. The many that are called are
ridiculed. The time will come when a tailor’s suit and a fancy outfit
will no more make one respectable than it would make a gentleman of a
wooden Indian in front of a cigar-stand.

Men, real men of business, and men fit to marry, are not dudes, but
manly, upright beings, with sense, integrity, and genius or industry;
who come upon the stage of life as real actors in its affairs, not as
“supes” and sham soldiers in “Pinafore” battle-scenes, where a few
parade in fancy feathers as commodores for the amusement of spectators.

Life is too earnest to spend on silly, tawdry, fancy colors or showy
clothing; and the one who has the less of it is the most likely to be
marked for a gentleman, and the brand will be correctly designated.
With women, no less than men, is this silly street-walking habit quite
prevalent. A flirting woman on a public street is a sorry picture;
even one who stoops to notice her must secretly know her measure. She
deceives no one, for her character, like the dude’s, is so transparent
that no one mistakes its meaning. The habit of going nowhere for
nothing is as foolish as it is injurious.

Character grows out of little things. It may be that being seen with a
disreputable person three times, or even once, will change the whole
current of our career. Don’t practise the vices of dudes nor the habits
of street flirts.

_Do not marry a boy or girl who is not good at home._ That is the
golden test of duty,--to do one’s duty alone, away from the eyes of
men and the notice of the world; to be good from a right disposition.

There is no safer rule to marry by than this: “She loves her mother,
and isn’t afraid to work. She has a good name at home among her near
neighbors. She is neat, sweet, and tidy. Seven days each week she is
never off guard, always a lady.”

And of a man may it be said, “He is a man, take him all in all; he
is manly, he is truthful; he loves his home; he treats his sisters
and mother kindly. He is capable of good deeds, and incapable of mean
ones. He has a good name.” He deserves success, and it will follow
him. He is plain, perhaps, but man outgrows it. He is not a painting,
an imitation, a counterfeit, but simply a man. He will do to marry; so
will she, the last-named.

_Don’t marry from pity._ It may be akin to love, but the kinship
is quite distant. Many a weak woman has so married, and only once
regretted it--each and every day afterwards. A life-long regret must
follow. What a cold respect is that compliment to any woman, “I took
pity on her!” Away with such base uses of pity! Many a woman has had
pity on a rakish man or a drunkard and married him to reform his
nature. Better, far better, trust a child with a runaway horse or a
mad dog. Danger seen and not avoided is criminal carelessness. Surely
you can save one life, and its happiness, in such cases. One is quite
enough to be sacrificed. Let bravery be shown by demanding a full
surrender and reasonable atonement.

_Don’t marry for an ideal marriage only._ The girlish dream of marriage
is so wide of the reality as to be dangerous. She is to grow up and
go away, off to Italy, or some far-away clime of sunshine; there to
be taught music and the classics. On some clear moonlight evening,
in a summer-time, where birds sing all day long, near a brook or
flower-garden, she is to be surprised by a creature of form and make
and mental endowment that shall thrill her whole being into rapturous
joy. They will go to the parlor, and there, by a grand-piano, she will
unseal the pent-up currents of her heart, till tears flow from all eyes
around her; there she will seem to hear the childhood melodies, the
song of departed friends, the harmony of all the senses, mingling in
one sweet welcome to her new-found happiness.

Her prisoned soul is no longer grovelling in common themes; all the
latent power of her being is to burst forth in gladness; and music of
the heart is to bear her up until the cottage walls are narrow, till
flowers and falling water, brilliant company, ease and riches, smile
upon her glad career.

She is to be lifted up, and raised to heights before unknown to
mortals. He of whom she dreams of now is fit for Paradise. Finer and
finer every day will his genius grow, and nearer to her liking every
hour. There is just such joy and just such glory in a new-born love,
that seems to reach a grander height each moment, as on eagle’s wings.

And this is but the generous dream that Nature gives, as a preface to
a real life after,--so very, very different. The girl that twines her
tender arms around her mother’s neck, and thrills with joyous pride in
telling of the brilliant prize that’s offered her, thinks not of rainy
days ahead. Perhaps it is just as well; who would begrudge her such
half-hours of happiness? But, seeing sometime she must break the spell
and know all, it may be safe to drop a hint in season, and say, This
way lies safety, that way danger!

_Don’t marry a man of even doubtful character._ No matter how handsome
or brilliant, a bad man has in him elements that are always repulsive;
they are poison to his blood and his surroundings, and the only safe
guide is his character.

No matter how many promises of reformation; you need not turn reformer
for his sake. If you will take the risk, do it after he proves himself
reformed, and be in no great haste about it.

No amount of spicing and seasoning can make tainted meat palatable, and
no amount of promising will reclaim a character tainted with vicious
habits once seated.

Young ladies who enter upon the reforming mission furnish more women
and children for prisons, later in life, by their own misfortunes than
any one class. Cases of reclaimed men after marriage are so rare as to
be exceptional. It’s always a dangerous experiment.

_Don’t marry too cautiously as to perfection._ It has before been fully
stated that men and women are human, and imperfect. That is, if you are
hunting angels it’s a fool’s errand; there are none unpledged. If you
look for tall, handsome, rich, manly, cultivated, talented, brilliant
men, or pure, refined, fascinating, beautiful women, and one for each
man the world over, the supply never equals the demand of either sex.

But to presume that the persons marked under head of “don’t marry”
cover all the rest is unreasonable. There are thousands of noble women
and men, possessed of sterling sense, strong bodies, affectionate
natures, ability to conduct a home, become a genial companion, raise a
family, shine in society, and bear their full share of life’s earnest
work. Occasionally a man or woman will tower above their fellows, but,
generally, the real difference is less than is often supposed. The
great majority are good, and live and go to their reward unheard of
outside of their neighborhood.

One has put it rather strongly in this, to many: “The lives of men
and women, the best of them, are marred and ruined by uncongenial
marriages. They mostly suffer in silence, ashamed to complain of
the chain they cannot break. Men and woman cannot know what their
sweethearts will be after marriage. I have known a sensitive man,
a genius with a soul like a star, whose life was a pilgrimage over
burning coals, because his wife was a coarse termagant. Many a gifted
woman, fit to be a queen or an empress, is chained to a clod of a
husband, whose forced companionship is to her the tortures of Inferno.”

_Don’t marry expecting all the virtues in one person._ If you do, the
disappointment will be startling. There are no perfect characters.
History gives none since the Saviour. Even Joseph was willing to
punish his enemies.

The majority of men and women are good and pure and fair-looking.
The numbers who go to the bad are few compared to the good. Take the
country population, and ninety per cent will be good; and sixty per
cent of all cities are people of fair characters.

It is a mistake to think that most people are bad because the bad
ones get so often chronicled in public journals. The good, like the
virtuous, live and die and demand no praise of their virtue. The great
mass of men are sensible, and honest and upright and sober, and worthy
to marry.

_Don’t break a marriage abruptly._ This is the wrong way to break a bad
match. It intensifies affection. It leads to elopement, or that slow
canker in a girl’s nature ending in melancholy, or insanity.

Love is a plant so tender that to uproot or transplant it may touch a
vital part. There are ways enough to change its current; but of all
food to increase its growth, give it a little opposition. Tell a child
to leave something alone, and he sulks to touch it. Tell a girl that
the man she admires is distasteful to her relatives, and she half
despises them from a simple motive of resentment. Lead her by reason to
see with her own eyes, and she will be convinced.

The great London actor, Garrick, played the drunkard to disenchant a
girl, and succeeded. Her parents might have tried it a lifetime and
failed. Human nature is queer. It will lead when the way is enticing.
It will magnify discoveries, but they must be discovered in the right
manner. Remove not the prop till the safety of the structure is secure
without it.

_Don’t oppose one’s marriage choice suddenly._ Should a girl fall in
love with one of bad character, it is best not to call him so at one
breath; but say, “What are his habits? Is he good enough and worthy of
so pure and comely a person as you are?” Let this task be performed by
some girl of same age and class as the one you seek to change. Let them
be often together, and find ways of expressing the objections by this
method--coming from a classmate, a friend, a chum or companion--and
your object may be easily accomplished. A proposed absence without
showing why, a long journey with genial company, may have the desired
effect. At least use one caution; see that the girl knows the real
habits and character of the man you are opposed to her marrying. It
will do more than all the urging, scolding, coaxing, or threatening.

_Don’t marry for spite._ Why should you? If the one whom you loved most
has deceived you and taken another, it will be folly to try to punish
him by hanging yourself, or committing a double suicide in a loveless

You will learn this lesson all too dearly when it’s over. Life is too
short for those who love it and are well mated; but many a miserable
marriage has made one or the other wish for death a million times, to
be rid of its burden.

You are the one most interested. You will find out, after the knot is
tied, that there are many conditions in life better and easier to be
endured than a silly marriage to spite some one. You will spite them
better by showing what a noble choice they had missed when they took
another in your place.

_Don’t propose on a wash-day, in the rain, at breakfast, or in a
tunnel._ There is no room for fainting in the former, and a narrow
chance for time in the latter.

Many ladies have singular notions on how proposals should be accepted,
and to such any rudeness is extremely shocking. A very modest fellow,
in deep anxiety, took up his fair lady’s cat, and said, “Pussy, may I
marry your mistress?” when the young lady replied, “Say yes, pussy,
when he gets brave enough to ask for her.” More than likely this
brought the young fellow to his senses. It certainly brought matters to
a crisis.

Most young people talk to each other as though a tall stone wall stood
between them and they must find a door in it. Strange enough, the
difference in views vanishes at the merest mention of each other’s

_Don’t mitten a mechanic_, simply on account of his business. If he is
worthy, never mind his business. He can grow out of it, and will grow
out of it. Collier was a blacksmith, Wilson a shoemaker, Andrew Johnson
a tailor, Peter Cooper a glue-maker, Grant a tanner, and Lincoln the
humblest of farmers. In this country it is not a question what a man
was, but what he is; not even what he is, but what he may be, and what
he is capable of yet attaining.

Many a girl has turned away a mechanic and married a rich loafer, only
to find in good season that the mechanic was at heart a gentleman, with
growing possibilities, and the loafer remained such for all time.

Advice is seldom heeded in such matters, but it may do to mention it.
The true test of manhood is seen in the mettle of boyhood. If you wish
to forecast the future, study the past history of your subject. If one
is selfish, tyrannical, and overbearing by being rich, he will be a bad
man to marry. If, on the other hand, he is pleasant, kind, genial, and
forbearing, loves his kind, is attentive to his mother and sisters, and
has made friends and character in early life, he is not very likely
to change his notions later. There is often more manhood in a poor
one-armed man than a rich athlete.

_Don’t marry a man too poor._ It is the height of folly to mate,
and attempt to raise seven children on what will bring up three
indifferently. Have a little discretion. Think that eating, dressing,
etc., cost something, and no one can live happily without some of these
common comforts. If they cannot buy them single, it is folly to double
one’s misery by marrying in the jaws of starvation. It is suicide: it
is worse,--it is double suicide, and may lead to pauperism and crime
and disgrace.

_Don’t marry where the woman is older than the man._ Men are restless
creatures and exacting. They expect grace, beauty, and refinement; they
prefer youth to age, generally. At least it is the fashion to marry a
wife some years younger than the husband. Women mature earlier; they
have less expectancy of long life, and on an average live seven to ten
years less, and show age at fifty more than a man does at sixty-five.
Of the two, a woman should look smaller and younger and better than a
man. This accords with the belief of all refined people.

_Don’t marry a crank._ This class of men will be wordy and persuasive.
They tell all sorts of stories of life,--how the world is mismade; how
they could improve upon this thing or that; how marriages should be
made between blondes and brunettes; how, with their philosophy, society
would reach perfection.

Such men are invariably tyrannical. They are exacting to the last
degree; they have neither faith, hope, nor charity, but run in one
groove. They distrust the powers that be, and generally mount some
hobby, and forever prattle about the rights of free love or the wrongs
of government. Avoid them as you would a tramp.

_Don’t marry fine feathers._ Chesterfield was _well up_ on manners,
and gave his son this rule, among his twenty-one maxims to marry by:
“Let not the rustling of silk entrap you into matrimony.” Fine clothing
has a certain fascination to many. Some choose a wife by the becoming
effect of a tasty garment. Some select a fine dancer; others rely upon
a small hand or a petite form. These points may be all well noted,
but they are but parts of a greater whole that should govern a wise

_Don’t marry a “masher”--man or woman._ A regular professional flirt
will never settle down to love one woman or one man. Habits once formed
will cling to them in after-life. They are like runaway teams--liable
to take fright and go when least expected.

Civil attention, by a lady or gentleman, to the other sex is natural
and courteous, but the thought that every fair lady is common prey
is repulsive. The traveller who avoids all vacant car-seats but the
nearest to a handsome young woman, and forces his conversation against
her will, has an eye to his business of one more conquest; but the too
often insulted woman who complains of over-attention from gentlemen is
generally one who walks much unattended and shows some willingness to
be not wholly unnoticed.

_Don’t marry without love._ It will be plain enough after a while.
You will not mind it at first, perhaps, but the time will come when,
by a song, or a face, or a voice, or a form, you will awake as from a
dream, to find you have chosen carelessly. It will be too late then.
A loveless marriage may stand throughout a honeymoon. It may last in
youth, but not when storms and trials come in after-years. It
lacks that something which words do not well express,--continuity,
heart-bound devotion, and endurance.

No matter how plain each or either may be, if they love each other
they will overlook little things, and live patiently and happily to
the end. But once, at least, must come this joy and glory of wedlock,
that seems to be the wise design of Nature,--a love for one another.
It endures through age and trouble, and is a more lasting tie than all
others together.

_Don’t marry an idle spendthrift_; one whose money comes without
effort at first, and goes as rapidly, will one day come to want as
certainly as waters reach their level. Nature has fashioned us all for
work,--work of mind or work of body, mental or physical labor,--and
with it comes strength of muscle and of will. Listless life of
idleness, without motive, without aim, is open to every form of

It is not a crime to be rich, or to be poor. It is a crime to be
listless in a busy world. He would be disgraced who, standing on a
wharf, saw a drowning crew without offering relief. He would be a
coward who would not defend a woman in distress; yet all around us are
the needy, helpless, drowning, starving, whom it is our duty to rescue
and lift up in life; and marriage is the place where society is born,
and grows and ripens into use.

_Don’t marry a stingy man_; of all narrow, mean men, he is worst who
has money, and has no will to do good with it. A “dog-in-the-manger”
man, who can improve his town, his church, his neighborhood, and does
not, is a drone in life’s hive and deserves no success.

One who is poor and has no means is excusable; one who locks and buries
treasures deserves the Bible sentence of him who hid his talent in the
earth--to be taken from him and placed with the active one’s talent.

A narrow, selfish, stingy man will count your pennies spent, and
postage used, and clothing worn, as wasted. One must live in constant
dread of such a creature--we need not name him man; it would disgrace
the term. A miser’s wife lives a loveless life.

_Don’t marry too hastily._ Some rush into matrimony like a steam-engine
going to put out a fire, as though one moment lost would be eternal
defeat, and the first there gain the highest prize. Many a one has
repented more leisurely and in sorrow for such conduct. But of all
things, marry at a good opportunity.

_Don’t be too slow about it._ Girls who give up the society of all but
one, and turn their homes into special receptions for one person, will
be worried to death in a year or two, if things move too moderately.

Brace up and proceed to business, or release your claim and let
some one else have an opportunity. Long engagements lead to lovers’
quarrels; they, in turn, fail to make up sometimes, and then follow
scandal and gossip over broken ties; and later two go down to their
early sleep disheartened, ruined by a trifling neglect and a reasonable
inventory of prospects. You will see it all plainly when it is over. It
will be a “might have been” then, sure enough, but too late.

_Don’t marry a silly girl._ It’s something of an art to select a
sensible person, but many are captivated by frivolous sayings and
coquettish acts of simpering school-girls and marry them. They make
better playmates than wives. They are generally shallow, nonsensical,
and superficial. They seldom learn anything; a tittering girl is
wearisome in real life. They are ever unstable as water and changeable
as wind; get some one that you can rely upon in confidence.

_Avoid slovenly dressed girls or heedless men._ Life seems very short
sometimes, but if ill-mated it may be a long and tiresome life. A woman
with shoes run down, a man with slouched and battered hat, reckless of
neatness, will grow worse, and seldom better.

Trifling as it may appear, the tidy dress, the tasty every-day apparel,
the ladylike appearance, and general style of man or woman, go a long
way to form character. Beecher was right in saying that “clothes do not
make the man, but they make him look better after he is made.” The same
rule is true of women.

_Don’t expect too much in marriage._ The story pen-pictures and
fashion-plate models of men that we see and read about are always
exaggerated. Not one man in a million would equal their description.
Men are plain flesh-and-blood creatures; women are not angels. They
build their hopes too high who expect otherwise. Take the handsomest
person you know and ten years’ wear will dull the edges; and of all
faded features, the once very handsome show change the soonest. There
are many little odd-faced fellows who grow up to be fine manly men.
The growth from boyhood or girlhood to youth, and youth to manhood or
womanhood, and so on to old age, is marvellous. It takes a keen sense
of foresight to measure the future of many boys and girls by their
beginning. There is no rule safer than choosing a good form, a good
brain, a good temper, and a good character, and waiting for the other

Endure what cannot be cured, and don’t wish your wife or husband were
as handsome as some neighbor or as rich as some nabob. Youth and good
qualities are riches. It may be he is richer by far than the very one
envied. The richest are not always those who own the most--many of
these are poor indeed, and often miserable.

_Don’t marry a fop._ Vanity in a woman is bad enough, in men it is
intolerable! A man-milliner, a namby-pamby female male, a walking
model for ready-made furnishing-stores, may think himself exceedingly
stunning, but to a real lady or gentleman he is a nonentity. Such
husbands never could be satisfied with the admiration you would give
them; they would weary your mirrors and try your patience. What are
they good for, anyway? There is room for women and room for men, but a
half-woman or a half-man is never great. They are not very likely to
marry at all, and less likely to make home happy.

_Don’t expect everything of one person._ Some expect to marry love,
beauty, talent, riches, and affection all in one. It is unreasonable;
you will never find it, and may as well give up looking in good season.

“Waukeen” Miller was requested to rewrite an article sent to a New York
magazine and returned this pithy reply: “I can’t re-copy it. I can’t
do everything. What do you expect of a man, anyway--to be a genius,
an inventor, and a writing-teacher? No, I can’t bother my brains with
copying worth four to six hundred a year at the highest.” This covers
the whole subject in a sentence. But it is well to add that Nature is
sparing of her gifts. To one she allots beauty, to another strength,
to another wisdom, to a third courage, to a fourth ability to acquire
riches, to another that to write and speak, to teach, to manage, to
paint, or to control armies: all are not alike, and to no one belong
all virtues.

_Don’t expect too much of a wife._ If she is beautiful, that will be
her pride and ideal. If plain, she may make it up a thousand times in
goodness, gentleness, industry, virtue (the plainest are the least
tempted). Earnest in her duty, she may be of all women the most suited
to your station. If talented, she will devote herself to it. You
cannot own beauty, talent, domestic drudgery all in one.

“Looking for angels, are you?” said an advanced maiden in the country.
“Well, you’ll not find ’em fit for kitchen work; and, while I think of
it, how would you look by the side of an angel, you brute you?” and he

No, they are not much suited to kitchen work, the so-called angels;
but many a mother who has brought up a large family as her own kitchen
maid, without servants, who has braved the hardships of poverty and
privation, has led a life but little lower than the angels, after all.

_Don’t marry and cross your husband._ While on this division, don’t
cross your wife just at dinner-time. After the cares of business he is
tired, fretful, and she is of similar humor. To make a dispute is much
easier than to make a coal fire. Wait!

Don’t flash up and speak back, and irritate by quick answer. Wait!

If man or woman could only wait in seasons of anger, all would blow
over and harmony return like spring flowers, that are not always in

Don’t both speak at once, nor both get angry at once, nor both be too
determined at once. No one is ever convinced by angry tones. It is
horribly repulsive to talk so; besides, you will both be sorry for
it very many times. Wait, and let your judgment mature after dinner;
quarrel, if you must, in whispers; that is the new fashion. Try the
newer form.

About ten thousand new divorces could be prevented each year by
observing these rules of common sense and reason. When will married
people and unmarried people, and lovers and neighbors, learn how
pleasant peace is, and how awkward it is to quarrel together?

One man pounds his finger with a tack-hammer and blames his wife for
it a month later; one man’s goose gets in a neighbor’s garden and is
killed--perhaps served him right--and yet they are sworn enemies for
five years later; and not until some child is rescued from a burning
building or a mad dog, by the enemy neighbor do the two know how
pleasant and useful it is to dwell in harmony.

Families who have been estranged for years are some day--ah, some
day!--called to look into the sightless eyes that once flashed in
anger, or lay away in its earthy home the form they shunned for some
trifling answer in a passion. If we knew how soon, how cautious we
would be! Life is so short to quarrel and make up in; they who quarrel
may never make up.

_Don’t marry in fun._ Be in earnest about a matter of so much moment.
It may seem funny to a lot of girls out on a sleigh-ride to call in
some one and wind up an escapade by a double wedding; but few of such
marriages ever end well.

Sudden and ill-considered matches are mismatches. You may have a
mother, a sister, or a family to consult; then the old-fashioned way is
the best. It’s a left-handed marriage at best that will not allow the
forms used for ages to strengthen its solemnity.

Let the world know by open dealing that you have married above any
secrecy, elopement, or underhanded fashion. Be brave enough to follow
the form of society in a manner that concerns every neighbor and every

Marry at home or at church, in good form, without display; marry
according to the best usage of the best people, and you will reap some
benefit from the sensible conclusion.

_Don’t marry without an eye to comfort._ A man that expects to live
thirty years or more with a partner will investigate his likes and
dislikes; so should a woman. Are you ready to attend a cattle ranch and
brave the frontier? Then look the matter clearly in the face at the
first hint of the man’s proposal who expects it.

Do you prefer the city to the country? Look to the earliest
opportunity. Can you endure a soldier’s absence, or wait for an
explorer? or will you prefer a domestic relation that brings you both
under one roof daily? These questions should be answered soon enough
to prevent regret, remorse, or separation. The greatest of all dangers
in marriage is the color-blindness of lovers: they never use but one
color--rose color--till a few weeks after the wedding.

_Don’t spurn a man for his poverty._ “Prosperity is the parent of
friends; misfortune is the fire by which they are tried.” One may be
poor by an honest failure, another may be rich on ill-gotten gains.
The first the lord of honor, the last a prosperous knave.

“I would give it all willingly and work by the day if we could be
placed back where we were, and be free from the worry and dread and
anxiety,” said a rich man’s wife to a waiting friend by her sick

Who does not know of poor, plain boys who endured the poverty of youth,
struggled with their studies, carved out a fortune as from flinty
marble, and enjoyed it in maturer years, all the more for the effort
it cost them, all the more likely to last and continue to bless other

Franklin commenced poor with a penny loaf; Greeley was homely and
awkward. Few would have looked for Lincoln’s rise. Giddings and Collier
and Garfield all started low on the ladder, and ended high in honor and
worthy of any woman’s affection.

If we could only get near enough to Genius to comprehend its superior
worth; if we could reverence talent and admire integrity and take true
measure of prospective greatness, what a fortune we would possess!

Like high-priced lots in large cities, the discoverers of rare
locations seldom knew the value of their purchases. It takes time for
development; more time in genius and character than we are always ready
to wait for; but the far-seeing are always rewarded, so with the prizes
of matrimony.

_Don’t marry and expect a husband to be wealthy while young._ Only the
older men should be looked to for high financial standing. In a hopeful
country like ours, few are rich under fifty, seldom under sixty.

Young men who earn their education, and begin and learn a business are
barely partners at thirty or thirty-five. It takes time to prosper.
Several mistakes may be made. Scarcely a wholesale house in New York
or Boston has run on twenty years without a failure. Failure is the
rule, success the exception. Patience, pluck, and perseverance win the
victory, but they who spend freely in the forenoon have little left in
the evening. Those who save early double in like ratio later on.

_Don’t marry in opposite religious views._ If possible, marry near
your own belief. This may seem strained, but the story of divorces
will confirm its wisdom. Children and parents very often disagree on
religious subjects. The farmer’s “Betsey and I are out” controversy,
“was a difference in our creed. And the more we argued the matter, the
less we ever agreed.”

It is pleasant to agree on a subject so vital in families, more
especially so in Protestant and Catholic families, where education is
sometimes controlled by church government, and marriages are held
illegal in one church if not solemnized by its forms and between
regular believers in its faith and doctrines.

_Don’t marry a duke_, or any man who travels on his title. The most of
such men are very common, and the most of young people who seek their
company are sold, deceived, and seriously disappointed.

They expect a fortune to begin with, and will be the most exacting
of all mortals. This is a mere matter of birth and surroundings.
Novels tell many beautiful stories (pretty visions) about brave and
noble dukes and their princely palaces, attentive servants, and
flower-arbors. Experience tells far different stories.

The history of nine out of ten of such unnatural unions is a record
of a half million or so squandered on a petted daughter to satisfy a
mother’s ambition, and ending in misery entailed by the dearly bought
purchase. Don’t marry so much out of rank as to be a burden, or carry a

_Do marry a man that you can look up to_, and see that he can
do likewise. There are plenty of farmers, mechanics, merchants,
conductors, doctors, lawyers, and men of general business, who are
worthy, trusty, generous, noble, and will make excellent husbands.

Seek them out from their character, their conduct at home, their
treatment of sisters and mothers, their devotion to business and
adherence to principle. Show them that you trust them. Be ready to
marry. Become accomplished and useful. Make yourself worthy of a home,
and know how to manage it with skill and kindness. Loving natures are
not long neglected. The worn-out belles and women who fade and wither,
and die snappish and single, were insincere, or lacked some quality of
winning manners.

_Do marry a President._ That is the correct form now. It’s so romantic.
Waive all the hints of other objections,--age, love, spite, money, and
the like. Get a President,--just for the position, you know!

Then all the little jewels and diamonds and presents will come rolling
in like flowers to a favorite singer. All little objections vanish in
the presence of a President. He must be suited to any condition of
beauty, genius, or intellect. Don’t refuse a President’s offer; you may
never get but one such in a lifetime.

_Do marry a plain man._ Just a plain, common-sense man; be he banker,
lawyer, doctor, farmer, builder, merchant, so he is a man; for manhood
is at a premium to-day in home life! The world is full to overflowing
with brilliant men. Public offices are public trusts, and all that such
responsibility implies, and there are women in stations where the word
home has very little meaning, and other women who long for the quiet
and comfort of true domestic life away from the cares of office and the
demands of lofty stations.

Two of the things that lead to greatest misery of the masses to-day are
over-ambition and reckless marriages.

_Don’t coax a woman to love you._ If you wish to win, that is certainly
the wrong way. If they have any notion of it, you are in the opposite
direction of success.

Women despise a fawning, cringing nature. “Fortune and women, born to
be controlled, stoop to the forward and the bold.”

A far more sensible way to win will be by indifference. Show enough
willingness to reassure her, and enough courage to act manly.

Ten to one you have mistaken her temper by lack of frankness. Nothing
is more touching than truth. If you are really bent on marrying and
have told the right person the whole story, earnestly and truthfully,
the answer should be decisive.

Keen dealers seldom banter; they may hesitate, they may explain their
wants and wishes, they never parley very long or express much anxiety
to strike a bargain.

_Winning a wife or a lover is a rare art._ To be worthy of either
is the first essential. It is better to be worthy of it than to be
President and unworthy.

It must be consoling even to a jilted lover to feel that he is superior
to the one successful. The next thing to being worthy is being ready.
Many a youth begins driving, sleighing, and dressing for society who
pays his clothing bills by instalments, and whose salary is wholly
unequal to his outlay.

Fairness demands that a girl in marrying should better her condition.
How can one expect her to marry into misery?

Chesterfield quotes an old Spanish saying of great force and aptness:
“It is the beginning that costs in everything. The first step over, the
rest is easy.”

_Don’t marry recklessly._ Before two or more men form a partnership,
they learn each other’s means of furthering the business to be engaged
in; the confidence that each is worthy of, the skill, attention, etc.,
each can give, and the prospects of a mutual agreement and prosperity.

Without some inquiry on these vital requisites, no company concern
would be founded. It would be a foolish investment to purchase goods
and fit up stores or warehouses without some forecast of results; and
yet this is precisely in the line of marriage.

Partnerships are business marriages. It is not best to be too cool and
calculating about it; one caution may let another take the venture and
draw the premium. But some common-sense may as well be mixed with a
matter so vital as a life-long engagement.

Firms are limited to a few years; marriages are unlimited save by
death, or divorce, for over a third of a century, on an average. While
it is very difficult to tell whom to marry,--for no one can foresee
your circumstances,--still, it is well to mention a large class that no
one should marry, at least till all others are no longer accessible.

If one could foresee the extent of happiness depending on this
selection of partners, if he would take a simple business caution
and investigate enough to be considerate, he might save society from
disgrace and himself from lasting misery. For the fact is, that the
most glaring of all our American evils is the looseness of marriage
ties, and the misery it entails on domestic relations.

If these hints or reminders should induce one woman to avoid a bad
marriage, and one man to contract a good one, or save a long quarrel,
or keep families in harmony, or help some poor bashful fellow to gain
his Yes by a sensible proposal, the time in reading will be well spent,
the trifling cost will be a splendid investment.


Caroline Crofton had completed her course at Vassar, one of its
earliest graduates, and one of the most brilliant in her class of
thirty odd young New England, graceful, gifted, and generous girls,
that have long been noted for their purity of principles and perfection
of character. She was smaller than her classmates, an only daughter of
Judge Crofton, whose manner and training marked him as a classical,
refined, and upright gentleman, and a dignified and just judge.

All that culture could impart, or character add to the graces of
nature, was bestowed upon Caroline, who never assumed the fashion of
shortening her name by fancy contractions. Carline was the shortest
way of calling her, and this was not a favorite with her mother. From
her father she inherited the qualities ascribed to her, while her
mother, like a clinging vine wound around the oak, was of a trusting,
lovable, nature, of darker hair and eyes than the Judge; and the two
mingled in the daughter, and formed a slender figure and a graceful
form, an ardent, lovable character, as one could easily discover.

Diligent by nature and proud of her progress in early studies, Caroline
had entered Vassar’s advanced classes and employed all her energy to
excel in each department.

She literally lived in her books for four full years, to the exclusion
of modes, society, or even the newspapers; her one ambition seemed
ever to be excellence, and when the graduating day arrived, and the
long row in white were seated in breathless awe to read their papers
and receive their reward, something more than a common interest was

Such are the days when young men of wealth and ambition, and poorer
men with an eye to the beautiful, come in and listen to the overdrawn
pictures of school-girls’ first productions.

The theme of Caroline Crofton was “Pioneers;” how they had founded
our government in the little log school-houses of New England, in
the sixteenth century; how they had established their town meetings
and voting precincts; how they had gradually driven back the Indians
(“noble redmen”) from the rich, fertile valley of the Mohawk in New
York, cleared away the underbrush from the fertile plains of Northern
Ohio and Pennsylvania, and boldly evaded the massive pineries of
bleak, cold Northern Michigan; dauntlessly, fearlessly, and bravely
establishing schools and churches in the very midst of Indian huts and
wigwams, taking their lives in their hands, to improve and populate a
great and growing nation; and how wonderfully they had all prospered.

In her vivid and graphic picture of a fruitful theme (a theme learned
from books and stories), she dwelt on the part that mothers had borne,
and brothers were bearing, in this tide of prosperity and improvement,
till tear-drops came fast to the earnest eyes of the old gray-haired
professors, who were judges, and many a mother’s heart leaped with
joyous pride at the mention of brave sons battling with the Western
wilderness, for their sons were among them.

Caroline Crofton could feel the hush of silence, always such applause
as is irresistible; she could feel the emotion, and conveyed that
emotion to her audience; she forgot herself, forgot her hearers,
and read with a girlish animation born of deep-seated belief in the
grandeur of the theme she advocated. Round after round of applause
greeted her conclusion, and she staggered to her seat literally
overcome by the brilliant effort which resulted in a handsomely
inscribed medal as first of her class of Vassar.

Whether the influence of that essay on the mind of Caroline, or its
greater influence on Cyrus Arthur (a newly arrived resident of Vassar)
was the most potent means of a quick acquaintance between them, is not
well known to the writers; certain it is that an early friendship soon
refined into affection, and meagre inquiries into his character being
satisfactory to Caroline, he was promptly admitted as a suitor at the
dignified household of Judge Crofton, on the banks of the beautiful St.
Lawrence. The Judge was led to believe that a long acquaintance had
ripened between schoolmates, when in fact it was a love at first sight
affair, and on very little consideration.

That these young and ambitious lovers enjoyed all that is allotted
to their class is forever a secret, for their after-life reveals but
little of its mystery. Their after-life was a struggle for bread first,
and position soon after. They really put off living, very foolishly.

Cyrus Arthur was a large, strongly built, dark-haired, handsome fellow,
of considerable assurance in the social gatherings, and generally
managed to lead off with the dances and parties from his size and
commanding way more than from any merit of talent or real goodness in
himself; one of the village leaders who gained favor by fine looks and
outward appearance; one of the petted class of forenoon brilliants
whose afternoons are often more shaded.

There was a smile of serene contentment and half-satisfaction on the
haughty face of young Arthur as he offered himself to the Judge’s
daughter in that manner assumed by generals in battle. He obtained his
prize, and she obtained her ambition. He married beauty, she married a
leader. Her highly colored future was a life of intellectual greatness;
his first pride was of conquest, then of distinction.

A large man in a small place may be a little man in a large city.

In good season they were married, of course; and of their courtship
little need be said, for it was all unromantic.

Arthur’s father was a merchant of limited means, and the younger having
high notions of going West to grow up with the country, early settled
in a lumber-making city of North Michigan, where he took his fair young
companion, who soon realized that her rose-colored romance of brave
pioneers was not a living reality.

Dreams are one thing, real life is another; work was scarce in the big
overgrown city, but plentiful in the pineries; and after the first
day of married life wore into weeks, and living expense came around
with painful regularity, the new couple were forced to economize, then
look for employment, which they first found in tending store and camp,
cooking for a large lumber-ranch; certainly far less refining than the
vision of a Vassar schoolgirl’s essay had pictured.

But they prospered, and by dint of close saving, always coming from the
wise counsel of the weaker one, they became managers, then owners, of
a portable saw-mill and a ranch, and gradually a store building partly
paid for.

From the letters home, showing their thrift and economy, gradually
came small sums lent to the far-away idol of the staid old Judge’s
household. Cyrus was surprised and delighted one day to find a large
bill of goods sent on to fill up their store and give them a start in
their hard beginning.

It was the work and influence of that little brainy wife, whose tender
hands had grown harder by cooking, mending, and working for forty or
more robust workmen, and the reward it brought and the encouragement
to both. With a well-stocked grocery and comfortable surroundings,
Cyrus began to look the world in the face quite complacently, and take
matters easier. Meanwhile, the silent ambition of Caroline determined,
if growing up with the country meant anything, she would fathom its
mystery, and she continued to delve and save, and plan and execute, and
encourage her husband in his extensive contracts.

Here was a profit on forty laborers, a margin on their payment in
goods, a rise in lumber, and a golden opportunity to buy vast tracts
of pine timber at very low figures in cash payments. Drawing on her
savings the little wife advised wise investments.


Fifty-seven, eight, and nine were the three trying years in Northern
Michigan. Many a man would cheerfully trade a load of shingles for
a bag of corn, and a thousand feet of timber for a single ham. New
England thrift was in the market, and the little daughter of a discreet
judge balanced the chances and made hay in sunshine most effectually.

Four years passed by, and a rapid rise in prices gradually increased
the value of timber, then lumber, then shingles, then lands, and long
before the war ended, Arthur and his once timid wife were among the
wealthy citizens of the Rapids.

A large, strong frame, and but little anxiety; a dark, swarthy
complexion, with a heavy black beard; the face of such a man at
thirty-eight showed less signs of wear than his little fair-faced
companion at six years younger.

Age, climate, work, and care were telling on the slender build of
Caroline. The rapid birth of three children in ten years told also
their story of a mother’s anxiety, written in shading lines on her once
delicate features.

Absorbed in her duties as a wife, she had little room for society,
while he, a man relieved by riches from hard labor, was approaching
that prime of maturity when the world looks complacently upward to one
who has prospered, not even asking how, or why, or any reason.

Long trips to large cities, absence from home, mingling often with
wealthy lumbermen, and assuming that position that wealth ever commands
in society, were doing for Cyrus Arthur what they will do for many in
like situations.

He craved a larger field for usefulness, he moved and settled in
a large city; he craved society, he was a favorite with women; he
developed a fondness for the more forward class. He fell; he fell often.

If he had ever loved his devoted wife, the author of all his success
and prosperity, he now grew unloving, haunted by the caresses of more
passionate women. Driven by appetite to seek the companionship of the
brazen and deceitful, he lost his self-respect, his love of home, and
grew madly in love with a most bewitching character, lately divorced
from her husband.

A spell came over him; “the trail of the serpent is over them
all,”--the “twelfth temptation,” as shown in the powerful drama of
its name, that takes a farmer-boy in innocence, carries him safely
through the perils of a great city, saves him from saloons and wine,
and larceny and dishonesty, and at last when weakened by tampering with
sin, brings him face to face with such dazzling beauty that his fall
before it seems as natural as his ruin later is effectual.

The trail of the serpent had crossed by the path of Arthur. The coil
wound around him, for he loved the bold siren who enchanted him, and
yielded to the twelfth temptation.


“For a woman can do with a man what she will;” yet a man who knows a
woman thoroughly and loves her truly--and there are women who may be so
known and loved--will find, after a few years, that his relish for the
grosser pleasures is lessened, and that he has grown into a fondness
for the intellectual and refined amusements without an effort, and
almost unawares.

Fettered and controlled by the witchery of his evil genius, Cyrus
Arthur lost all power but that borrowed of his seducer. Her counsel
replaced the once wise confidence of a better companion. Her influence
was as a loadstone in a compass,--it carried him in dumb obedience to
her will. He was absorbed, confused, bewitched, stranded, lost!

As often as they met in their evil way, she demanded a divorce and
insisted on early proceedings.

“But the cause?” he would say. “Cause?” she would answer; “make a
cause!” “Not so easily done,” replied her willing admirer.

“Money will do anything,” was her ready answer.

“Money will do anything,” repeated the fond lumberman; “true, money
will do everything.”

But how? When, and where?

These questions were all puzzling.


There was a dark-faced inspector, a man-of-all-work in lumber camp,
called Roland, who had often called at Arthur’s, and who occasionally
partook a little too freely of Northern fire-water, as the Indians term
it, and whose poverty at such times would consent to almost anything,
on one pretence and another.

Young Roland was sent to inquire if Mr. Arthur was in, or if Mrs.
Arthur needed shopping done, or errands attended to, with instructions
to hint that his employer was seen riding out with the enchantress
in a cutter, seemingly on the way to another village. These little
irritations were to be repeated for effect, but no effect seems
probable. They did create some inquiry, and at such dates of
confidential conferences Mrs. Arthur was alone with the hireling spy
and listened to his inferences of her husband’s indiscretions.

Neither by word nor deed nor murmur did Caroline exhibit a sign
or symbol of her unhappiness, save by the deeper lines and paler
countenance that easily escaped detection to one who barely looked her
in the eyes twice a day for months together.

It was a failure; she would never act, he must take the initiative.

Armed with a sworn affidavit of her infidelity with Roland on a recent
occasion, together with further papers to complete their separation
and settle an alimony of a few thousand dollars as her share of their
large property, Cyrus Arthur visited his wife late at night as a robber
would call for her jewels, and demanded a complete surrender. Stunned
and shocked, and overcome by the intelligence, she wept most bitterly,
pleaded, begged, and implored her husband, in the name of Heaven, to
spare her and her _children_ from a disgrace so terrible. The sighing
of the pines in a Northern forest would have moved him as soon from his
purpose. She was between him and an envied object; he must succeed.
He was already goaded to desperation. Seizing the part of her plea
relating to her little girls, he made the worst of it.

“If you would spare yourself and them from disgrace eternally, make no
denial and all shall be secret, and no one the wiser.”

“Can this be true?” asked the distracted mother of the other’s lawyer.

“Yes,” he replied, cases have been heard on default and divorces
granted, and not one scrap of bill or answer ever published.

“What is a bill and answer?” questioned the little woman in her tears,
for she never dreamed of a divorce between her and her husband till
that moment.

“It is the ground and denial for divorce,” replied the attorney.

“Cyrus Arthur,” said his wife, as she looked at the eyes that evaded
her earnestness, “do you mean this proceeding, or are you trifling?”

“I am in earnest,” he answered.

“Have you forgotten my home, my surroundings, the shock to my mother,
my father, my own feelings, my neighbors, our children? Do you realize
how you sin, and wrong me?

“How I have toiled and helped you, planned our success! How I have
suffered, gone almost in the grave, in bringing you these children! Are
you in earnest?

“If your heart is not iron, speak to me; shall I deny such a foolish
slander? Shall I tell you before God, who will one day judge us all,
that every one of the charges are infamous lies and perjuries; shall I
place my word against his and you deny me?”

“But you cannot swear in court in such cases,” said the ready lawyer.

“Then Heaven will hear me; I am innocent. And may the Almighty end my
life right here, if I have ever, by act or look, or word or deed, done
aught that a true woman should not do in every day of our married life,
from first to last, as God is my witness!”

“But your children?” he pleaded, as if he had heard not a word of her
earnest protest.

On and on they argued, later and later grew the hour, till, worn out at
midnight they passed her the papers, and eight thousand dollars, with
which she was to return to her home in New England, and abandon all
defense to the proceeding, including a release of all dower interest in
his estate, real and personal.

You may smile at the absurdity, you may question the reason of such
haste and compulsion.

“But who, alas! can love and still be wise?”

Ask of the court records in every American city, and you will find
stronger cases and stronger instances, more degradation, greater
hardship, and equal perjury. Ask of _one_ court and find this case!

No sleep nor rest comes to Caroline Arthur. Early dawn found her
surrounded by her weeping children, in alarm at the sudden illness, for
she only called it illness.

Twice she started for the City National Bank to deposit her money, and
twice relented. Once she determined to consult a neighbor, and later
concluded she would bear alone her sorrow.

Hastily filing his bill and securing her appearance, an early demand
for a hearing before a commissioner, in less than a _single week_ came
a divorce on the ground of infidelity.

Elated by his victory, with his deeds well recorded, and the court’s
great seal granting their divorcement, Cyrus Arthur stalked the streets
in supreme confidence as a man of victory.

It is said that Roman generals, once victorious ever bore about with
them the marks of conquerors; so did our modern general, but for a
brief duration.

Once in the newspapers, and the busy streets were vocal with open
denunciation. “Eight thousand dollars from a property worth one hundred
and fifty thousand dollars!” came from bankers. “The wife that made
him what he is,” said another. “A shame to our civilization,” said the
third. “A fraud, a sham, a pretext,” said another.

And the majority joined in the last anthem,--“a sham, a pretext,” a
trick to turn off his worn-out wife and marry that impious trader in
unvirtue and immorality.

Press interviews were had, and the dear little lady of clean hands
and honest heart, whose soul shone as a diamond in the filth of foul
slander around her, utterly and consistently refuted and denied the
whole story, and related its history with marvellous circumstantial
evidence to convince any reasonable person of her truthfulness.

Indignation knew no bounds; a firm of able lawyers at once filed a
cross bill, and a prayer to set aside the fraudulent bill and another
to annul all conveyances to Arthur; and within almost as brief a limit
as he had secured his decree she had been restored to her rights with a
divorce from Arthur and a thirty-thousand-dollar settlement.

He was driven from the city in infamy, and she lived on in honor; but
the stain on the children was of a nature more permanent.


Grace Hartwell graduated at Hillsdale College in 18--, and settled as
an assistant teacher in the Union school on College Hill, living with
her mother across the narrow river near by, where she would pass the
old homestead of Richard Baker, son of a well-to-do farmer adjoining
the village, and who early became interested in the fair young teacher.

Grace was a full brunette, of fairer complexion than is common to her
school of beauty.

She was beautiful, with well rounded arms, heavy black hair, rosy lips,
white hands, eyes of marked expression--eyes that stood out full, and
shone in striking contrasts, the black portion and the white being
clear and sharply defined.

Grace was no less a beauty than a dreamer, and longed for the kind of
change that best suits a girl of her quick, passionate, and impulsive
nature--a marriage.

Richard was below the medium size, with very light hair, of slim
figure, reticent of speech, shy and bashful, especially so in the
presence of Grace, whom he met at parties, donations, and college
receptions, so frequent and amusing in their lively village.

Both went too long a distance for their dinner to make the trip
agreeable, and both often carried their daily lunches in little baskets
for convenience.

On their homeward trips they met occasionally, bowed, passed the time
of day, chatted of the last night’s party. It was growing so much of a
custom with Richard to meet these road-side appointments, self-made,
and well timed to match his lonely companion, that they soon became a
matter of each day’s history.

Grace was willing to listen, Richard was anxious to turn aside from his
regular pathway and go round a square to bear her company.

They were in love without romance, and against both the belief and
expectation of all their associates.

She was the prize of the village; he was neither well-off nor popular,
but plain and unhandsome. He was not her only suitor, but the first had
taken some pique at her attentions to a stranger in the village, that
offended the haughty admirer of her beauty, and each was claimant for
her entire devotion.

Miss Hartwell’s father was a tall black-eyed Virginian, warm-blooded,
swarthy, and impulsive, and liked not the manner of his daughter’s new

He put his foot down with emphasis. He insisted on obedience. He wanted
position, old family, wealth and social standing, or no marriage.

Grace could not always govern her scholars, but herself she was
determined to control.

Herein both father and daughter were much alike.

Time passed; attachment increased by opposition. Such is more often the
way of lovers separated; but these were not wholly separated.

At the death of Richard’s stepfather a division of the estate netted a
round three thousand to the young farmer, who had done nearly all the
farm work lately, and now started on an early Northwestern visit to
the wheat-growing regions, resolved on a test of climate, comparison
of prices, and general outlook for an investment. He bought early and
largely in prairie lands of finest quality. He struggled, prospered,
and grew well-to-do as a farmer.

And what became of Grace, the teacher? Letters to and from Dakota,
neatly written, choicely worded, and carefully punctuated, from one
side; hurried notes, badly composed, from the other. The mind is never
quite full of two subjects at once, and the surest cure for heartache
is active employment and earnest work.

The increasing cares of farming, the magnitude of the business, the
constant desire for money (for the seed-time of farming is in its early
stages), were a source of daily anxiety to Richard. “My poor Richard”
was not a common name for a heading to Grace’s letters; truly she had
found a fit name for her absent lover; a lover of land and of cattle, a
lover of acres and of reapers, a lover of fences and shade-trees, and a
growing Northwesterner; but poor, indeed, in actual happiness.

They were married; Grace removed to her rude quarters and furnished
them by taste, skill, and refinement. She took to her new home all the
delicacy of rare machine-work, neat stitching, and tidy ornaments of
her Eastern education; the sewing of many odd hours of industry.

It seemed like an endless harvest, a long busy day, a strife and a
struggle, in a wilderness of bleak broad fields at great distance from
market. They raised vast crops, but sold at low prices.

The panic of ’73, and the cold winter following, made not a very happy
honeymoon to both, but they endured it all, risked all in a fond large
hope of abundant future riches. In a land of no railroads (it’s changed
now; it’s as much more brilliant to-day as an electric light compared
with the light of a common candle), Dakota was then rather a dreary

Sometimes, it is true, there would come over Grace a feeling of
lonesome homesickness. It comes to a far-away settler many times in a
lifetime; but she would choke it under, and resolve to be a brave wife
and a worthy companion.

Ten years have rolled by, and times are better; both are older, worn a
little by climate, larger, changed.

On the way to the National Park I chanced past their village one
evening on the great Pacific Railroad, and mentioned “Hillsdale”

I saw a woman turn half-way round and look towards me, but went on
unmindful of the situation. Suddenly her companion arose and asked me
if I said Hillsdale, to which I assented, and then a vacant seat was
made and both came back and questioned me. They were strange people,

He a stout-built, long-bearded man, half gray, with buffalo
overcoat, fur cap and mittens on; she well wrapped in beaver; both
Western-looking in every particular.

“You spoke of Hillsdale, sir,” began the woman; “and we lived there
once, and feel curious to know if you would not remain all night with
us. We have a farm near by next station. I hope you will consent to
spend the night with us;” clearly the woman was the social leader.

There was a pleading in the look, a frank expression that said, Please
do, and I consented.

Two miles, a drive by a cold open sleigh-ride--cold is hardly strong
enough to mark the term,--and we found a low unpainted farm-house,
plastered below, with chamber-floor for ceiling overhead, and rudely
formed walls; a house of three rooms, mainly in two; a farm of six
thousand acres, five teams, three tenant-houses, wagons and sleighs and
farming-tools without stint, but comfort nowhere.

After breakfast the farmer fed his flocks and attended to his general
chores, while I stayed in and chatted by a sickly pretence of fire
made of bad coal and green kindling-wood. I had seen, each time as he
came in, how gently he handled his little pet dogs, that seemed their
only children, how deeply absorbed he was in farm and stock, and how
anxious he was I should see the ranch, but how little he noticed his
superior companion.

“Where are your children?” I ventured to inquire.

“They are all three yonder in the field,” she said, and I knew they
all slept in narrow houses there. This seemed to let loose the flood
that held her feelings since the night before. “But for my husband,”
she added, “I should go home ere this. He promised me to go as soon as
the road was built; but then it costs so much, we keep on putting off
from year to year. But I am longing so much to go! And when I heard
that word Hillsdale last night, it filled me so full of home I could
not contain myself. I hope you were not offended; but it seemed if
some one would come and talk to me, my life would all be new again! It
is so blank, so bleak, so cold and desolate, and I am heart hungry.”
The tears came fast, and filled her large dark eyes and softened down
her voice to tones of confidence. With eagerness she spoke of care, and
work and trouble, sorrow and neglect; for, in his greed of gain, he had
forgotten her as year by year rolled on, and both were growing older
fast, and he not heeding it,--living on in his farm, reapers, sheep and
crops; his heart was full of such, and had no room for her, no room for

“And you have been out here for fifteen years?” I said. “How many years
in that long time have you really lived?”

“Lived!” said Grace--for this was Grace and Richard, as you must know
ere this--“lived!” she replied;--“in work and trouble a long life
indeed; in happiness, not one year yet. We have been waiting every year
for that good time to come when we would find our happiness; we have
not found it yet. The more he gets, the more he wants. Land means care,
and taxes, and hired men, anxiety of crops, and overwork.

“I had rather live _one year_ back by the old farm school-house, when I
carried my dinner to my school, and had a loving group of faces looking
into my eyes each noon, and loving me, than own all our acres and be
here a dozen years.

“Life is not all in years to me! I have learned that lesson dearly,
learned it living where we see so little of real life that memory is
all the hope I have.”

“Starving amid plenty is cruelty,” I said. “Sell half and live while
you may. You are wasting your whole lives in a fruitless hunt for

I have since learned that my visit was a revolution and reform, and
that they are living better.

And I thought, as I turned to the States and cast a long sad look
at the lonely form in the doorway, and one at the bundle of robes
beside me, who was driving me to the land of daily enjoyment, if their
children had grown up and lived in such a place, where would have
been their hope? In land and horses! Where their company? The company
of flocks and cattle. The hope of sometime finding more congenial
quarters. I turned in sadness, saying inwardly, “God pity the land-poor
farmers, and pity their wives, and show them the lives they are

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Transcriber’s Notes:

The author of this book is listed in other sources as James W. Donovan
using the pseudonym Hildreth.

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in
the original publication, except that obvious typographical errors have
been corrected.

The following changes were made:

p. 54: that removed (and trials come)

p. 65: it added (for it a)

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