Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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The Club vs. the Home.
“The right woman can win the right man from every club
on earth, if she wants to do so.”
We are all talking about the disappearance of
the American home and the crowded condi-
tion of the hotel and boarding house.
  We all look reproachfully at the American woman
while we talk, and many of us speak boldly and say
that the fault is hers.
   She is tired of housekeeping, and she is restless
and craves excitement; so she sacrifices husband
and children upon the altar of her discontent, and
leads them like lambs to the slaughter into the
hotel and boarding-house bedroom and salle-a-
   But is there not another side to the picture?
   A pretty young woman said to me recently, “We
are boarding, but I do not enjoy it very much.”
   “Is it your husband’s wish?” I queried.
   “No,” she answered, “my husband prefers a
home, but he was never in it—or at least
so rarely that I gave up trying to keep one.  Four nights
out of seven he failed to come home to dinner-was
dining at the club.  When he did dine at home, he
frequently hurried out to some club affair after-
ward, and it made my evenings very lonely.
   “If I tried having a friend to dine, his absence
was embarrassing, and I was constantly making
excuses for him.
   “Finally, I decided it would be more amusing for
me to live in a boarding-house, where I would be
less conspicuous without a husband at meal time
than at home, and where I would find people to
chat with in the evening.
   “It is not an ideal life, but it is better than a hus-
bandless home.”
   I fancy this is not a solitary case, and that the
American club has quite as much to do with the
disappearance of the home as the restlessness of our
   Personally, I believe in clubs for men, but I
believe in them as occasional resorts for recreation,
not regular haunts which rob the home of its only
cause of existence—the man at the head of it.
Rightly used, the club is a source of benefit to the
   A man is brightened and cheered by friendly
association with his kind, and he clears the cob-
webs of business from his brain over a social game
of cards before he returns to his home.
   Wrongly used, the club is a menace to domestic
happiness and to the best interests of society.
  The man and woman who try to make their home
the most interesting spot on earth for each other,
and for their friends, have but occasional use for
the club.  It is to them what the theater is—a mere
place to enter now and then, not a spot to dwell in.
   Women’s clubs have been the outgrowth of men’s
   I heard a man say that both were evils in the
land, as they were doing away with social pleasures
where both sexes were represented.  The man finds
his social life in the club at night, the woman at
her in the afternoon, and so their lives and interests
drift apart.
   But where the real spark of love burns in their
hearts, and the right principles guide them, all the
clubs on earth cannot separate their interests or
divide their lives.
   The right woman can win the right man from
every club on earth if she wants to do so.  But why
should she, unless he neglects his home—and when
he neglects his home, may we not begin to think he
is not the right man, or she is not the right woman?

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.

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