Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Two Establishments.
    New York City is not Salt Lake City, and
yet there are many men among us who keep
two separate establishments, and there are more
women than we imagine who have both an acknowl-
edged and an unacknowledged husband.
    Even in pastoral country places where the move-
ments of each individual are watched from neigh-
boring windows, such things occur, and in this
crowded metropolis, where individual freedom can
be enjoyed for months or years without comment
from others, dramas of complicated passions multi-
    Opportunity incites impulse, and, too, where the
impulse exists, the opportunity presents itself in the
course of time.
    Domestic life in New York, as it is generally con-
ducted, is a standing dare to fate.
    The husband goes to his business before his wife
awakens.  He does  not return until dinner hour,
and frequently not then.  Instead, the wife receives
a telephone message that he is obliged to dine
friends at the club, or that he is called out of town.
The fact that he does not appear until dawn of the
next day awakens no surprise in any New York
household where the husband is a club man, or a
man of many business interests.
    If he does come home at the dinner hour, he finds
his wife just returned from social functions or char-
itable duties, and it would be quite unreasonable
that either should doubt the other's statement in
regard to these matters without due cause.  Never-
the less, if either is disposed to seek or welcome
unlawful license, the way is clear for the beginning.
    Folly clears the track for her followers during the
first half of the course; when they are well in
motion, she lets them blunder into all sorts of pit-
    The husband who find that his business and
clubs explain his frequent absences satisfactorily,
sometimes yields to the temptation held out by his
senses to establish a sub-station to the main
domestic office.
    Again, the wife who is not obliged to give a
detailed account of her time to any one, and who
has lived to see the love light die out of her hus-
band's eyes, yields to the fascination of another
man's influence, and admits Cupid through a secret
    It is easy to preach a sermon on the sin of it all,
but, oh, the pity of it!  The pity of human lives
wandering off into the jungle of the senses and los-
ing all the clear, clean joys of earth.  Neither
means to go wrong in the start, but the husband
and the wife have ceased to care for each other.
Long age Love packed up his bow and arrows and
went, leaving them to the desolation of a loveless
    Absolute incompatibility of temperament renders
them miserable when together.  Just as the husband
finds irritation and discontent at home, he finds
pleasure and delight in the presence of his new
charmer.  Just as the wife is miserable with her hus-
band, she is contented and happy with her lover.
    But she dread the thought of a divorce court;
the comments and criticisms and gossip of the world
would crush her.  She has no absolute cause for
divorce, save that she is unhappy in her husband's
presence.  So she reasons and ends with the con-
clusion that she is wronging no one in her stolen
happiness, and that her love affair is nobody's busi-
ness but her own.
    But a love affair which is nobody's business
usually becomes everybody's business eventually.
    Love, which has to hide itself in secret corners at
first, finally flaunts itself from every printed page of
the daily papers.
    Love which must shrink from the light of day is
never productive of happiness.  It never long
remains hidden.  Like suppressed steam, it explodes
and causes death and disaster.
    Divorce is the second worse misfortune which can
befall a man or woman.  The first is disgrace.
    Everything in the world should be done by a hus-
band and wife in the effort to build up and repair
their happiness, before they resort to divorce; but
when two people have grown to dread the sight of
each other and find nothing in common save their
mutual dislike, marriage ties cannot sanctify their
union.  It is an immoral farce.
    But such a situation does not justify any man or
woman in carrying on a secret amour with another
party before the marriage ties have been loosened
by law.  Give up your husband before all the world,
unhappy madam, or else dismiss your lover.  Cupid
never drives tandem successfully.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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