Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Decadence of Sentimentality.
    That was a very pathetic cry which an erring
wife gave the other day in talking of her past
life when she told how the tempter first won his way
to her heart by sending her flowers, and then added
with a sob, "My husband never sent me flowers!"
    A great many divorce suits with heave alimony
might have been saved if husbands had run a few
small bills at the florists.  But the average husband
seldom does.
    It seems a foolish thing for him to do, he thinks.
After he is married, a man has many expenses
which render economy necessary.  He economizes
for his wife, as well as for himself, he reasons.  But
if he is really frank with his own heart, he will
know that it is the fear of seeming foolishly senti-
mental, not the fear of spending a little money,
which keeps him from sending his wife flowers or
offering her many a lover-like courtesy after mar-
    There are women who make sport of any indica-
tion of sentiment on the part of the husband; but
they are few, I am glad to say!  And even the
greater number of these few are only hiding their
real feelings.  Women are usually full of sentiment
and quick to respond to a lover-like courtesy from a
    Meanwhile, many--far too many--wives who
mourn the death of romance in their married lives
are unconsciously adding fuel to flames which serve
as Cupid's funeral pyre.
    Curl papers and careless attire at the breakfast
table are not calculated to make a man think of
floral offerings later in the day.
    I have heard women say that their husbands
never noticed what they wore.  But men notice
more things than they mention; and while many an
undemonstrative man might fail to compliment his
wife on her pleasing appearance, if she is always
tastefully attired she may be sure he carries the
picture with him in his mind's eye, and if he is in
the habit of seeing her slipshod and unkempt, this
picture, too, remains with him.
    I doubt not the shabby Mother Hubbard wrapper
has been more than once the cause of a husband's
first admiring glance at the trim stenographer.
    It is not reasonable to expect a husband to send
flowers to the wife who allowed him to sit down at
a table where untidy linen and ill-cooked food form
an unhappy combination.
    Nor does such a pretty bit of sentiment occur to
him at the dinner-table, where his wife entertains him
with the troubles and worries she has had dur-
ing the day with children and servants, or for the
lack of servants.
    As a rule, a man sends a woman flowers because
she has given him happiness, or because he expects
her to; she has appealed to his eye, his ear, or his
heart, or to all three, and he hopes for a repeti-
    Of course, there are wives who are ever charming,
neat, attractive, affectionate, and who perform all
their duties well, and yet receive no flowers and no
compliments and no sentiment from their husbands
after the short honeymoon is over.  But I believe
such cases are very rare ones.
    But when any other man than the husband begins
to send such an unfortunate wife flowers, it is time
for her to be on her guard.  She is in danger.  Her
vulnerable point--woman's sentiment--has been
assailed.  Better go without flowers than without
self-respect; for, in a very little while, the man who
sends flowers to the discontented wife is sending
notes and presents, and the old tragedy is well on
toward the final act.
    I heard a bright woman say the other day that
"fewer women would have pasts, if fewer presents
were given."
    Meantime, let husbands bestir themselves and
not wait until the wife is in prison or disgrace to
show the sentiment every woman's heart craves.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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