There are certain types of people we all meet
People We Do Not Like.
and all find undesirable. We would like to
avoid them, but since we cannot, the next better
thing to do is avoid their eccentricities.
If we cannot like them, let us not be like them.
There is the woman with the adamantine hips.
You encounter her in public conveyances. She sits
large. Two people could snugly occupy the space
she occupies in trolley car or stage. You swing upon
the strap in front of her, and your parcels fall upon
her lap and at her feet. She looks coldly into space,
while you glance appealingly at the small place
which might be made larger between her and her
If you are aggressive and ask her to "please move
along," she glares at you, moves a few inches, and
by some sleight-of-hand--or sleight-of-bone--pro-
cess proceeds to extend her hips into granite fort-
resses. You might better try to push the pyramids
along than to make such a woman budge an inch
further than she chooses. Looking at her face you
will find self written on every feature--cold, unlov-
ing, selfish eyes, a stubborn, selfish nose, an
unsweet, selfish mouth. Her soul has been choked
and kept out of sight by her poor, petty self. This
same small self has chiseled and fashioned her face.
Figuratively speaking, the woman is standing in
front of herself and obscuring her own vision.
Then there is the ready bluffer--the woman whose
proposed achievements always overwhelm the un-
initiated. Wonderful things are about to happen
always to this woman, to judge by her talk. She is
on the eve of sailing, her passage is engaged. Yet
she never goes. When you meet her soon after-
ward and ask her how it happens that she did not
go abroad, she has a long story to tell you, but ends
always with a new date fixed for the delayed jour-
ney, though possibly it has taken an opposite direc-
tion. I have bidden farewell and wished bon voy-
age to such a woman half a dozen times in the last
three years, yet she has never wandered further
away from New York than Chicago.
The professional bluffer is of the same pattern.
She is about to sing before the Queen--in private
audience--or she is on the eve of signing a contract
to go into grand opera, or she is to start out with a
company of her own in a few weeks, or she has a
book ready for the press which all the publishers
are fighting over, or she is engaged to take an impor-
tant position on the leading newspaper of the day--
and that is the last you hear of her achievements
until you meet her again. Then she has a new
repertoire of remarkable things which are about to
happen to tell you.
It is so much wiser to let our actions speak for
themselves in this world than to herald them with
The ready bluffer wastes in words this vital force
she needs for the execution of her plans. There is
a tremendous force in silence. God did not talk
about the world; He made it and let it speak for
itself. Always before the elements show their
greatest power there is a hush.
The woman who knows all about the family his-
tory of your friends, and who carries the key to
their skeleton closets, is familiar to all humanity.
No matter whom you mention--a stranger, as you
suppose, from another town, who is coming to visit
you or whom you have visited. She straightaway
sets forth on a recital of the doings, or preferable
the misdoings, of the parents, grandparents, or more
distant relatives of your friend. She knew the aunt
at school or was bridesmaid at the uncle's wedding,
and recounts what a scamp he proved to be, etc. If
you seem embarrassed by her narrative, she concili-
ates you by remarking that every flock has a black
sheep, and that the wool of the white ones is all the
fairer by the contrast! And she concludes by a
brilliant and original reference to the small size of
the world after all.
It is excellent to know some things we do not tell.
If chance has given you a peep into the skeleton
closet of your friend's friend, there is no need to
carry the key in your hand ready for instant use.
There is no law against hiding other people's
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.