Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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The idea of love is oddly expressed by many
   I heard a mother once upon a time say that
she loved her children next to her God, yet
within twenty-four hours I heard her fret and scold
at her daughter over a mere trifle, and argue with
her son over a difference in opinion regarding a
matter of no importance.
   When her son tried to change the conversation to
more agreeable topics, she still pursued the theme,
determined that he should agree with her, and
finally succeeded in driving him from the house in
a temper.
   Then she assumed the expression of a martyr, and
complained that her children were undutiful and
did not appreciate her.
   A wife writes me that her husband says he loves
her and cannot live without her; yet he uses the
most abusive language at the slightest provoca-
tion, complains of the necessary expenses which
living in the most careful manner entails, neglects
her in every way, and has more than once dealt her
blows in the heat of anger.
   If this is love, it seems to me a platonic friendship
would be a restful experience for a change.
   A wife insists that she loves her husband, yet she
neglects his comfort in a score of ways.  He is the
wage-earner, and provides for a well-ordered home,
yet he is constantly irritated by late meals, negli-
gent domestics, and a lack of system in every depart-
ment of the house.  The wife weeps, blames her
servants, and thinks her husband unappreciative of
her love for him.  She declares she would die for
him, but she proves herself unable to live for him.
   A father says his whole existence is bound up in
his children, yet he provides no amusement for
them at home, does not permit his daughter to
receive the attentions of young men, and expects
both sons and daughters to be satisfied in their
teens with the sedate existence he himself follows
at sixty.
   All love of this kind is self-love.
   No other word in the language is so terribly mis-
used as the word "love."
   Love worthy of the name cannot exist in a heart
which does not seek the highest and best good for its
   No man uses oaths, abuse, or blows with a woman
he loves.  He does not torment, or torture, or
humiliate her.
   No wife neglects the husband she loves, nor does
she allow the domestics to fail in their duty and
spoil his comfort.
   No father or mother who loves a child scolds, nags,
or frets at it constantly, nor fails to understand its
needs or to sympathize with it in joy and sorrow.
   The parents who really love their children try to
give them a happy home.
   The feeling which does not express itself in ten-
derness, consideration, generosity, and patience is
not love.
   It has no right to be called by such a sacred
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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