Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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        A Right to Happiness.
    A man loves a beautiful and charming girl and
believes she loves him.  But when he thinks
of marriage he says, "her father is a veritable
demon, and  his numerous family would make life
miserable with endless visits.  A regard for the
children which might result from our marriage and
a thought of the society into which they would nec-
essarily be thrown, make me hesitate."
    I believe every child born into the world has a
right to its own happiness.  It is the duty of par-
ents to aid children to be happy.  If they do not,
the child has a right to get away into a different
atmosphere and live its own life.
    A woman is told to leave father and mother and
cleave unto her husband.  I would advise this man
to marry the girl if he can take her to some distant
spot far from her family.  A man who disgraces his
family should not be allowed to stand between his
children and happiness.
    If he has cultivated only the most unworthy traits
of his nature, he must not expect to be popular with
agreeable and cultured people merely because he is
a relative.
    Christ said, "Who is my father, and who is my
mother?"  There are spiritual and mental ties which
bind people much closer than the ties of blood.
    It is not possible to respect the disreputable.
    If this young woman has grown up like a rose in
the mire with no assistance from her family, she
rests under no obligation to take the mire with her
when she is transplanted to fairer grounds.
   There should be a distinct understanding regard-
ing this matter before she marries.  Happiness will
not be possible for husband or wife if they are sub-
jected to the constant intrusion into their home life
of a man-demon and a brood of little demons in the
shape of blood relatives.
    The young woman must take her stand and
decide on a home of her own which she and her hus-
band will keep as the temple of peace and love, and
from which she can dispense favors to her relatives
without having the temple invaded, or else she must
give up her lover and devote her life to trying to
reform the demons who happened to be instru-
mental in her existence.  However, as she seems to
have made no progress so far, it is not probable that
she will succeed in the future unless she adopts new
methods.  It might help to reform the demon if he
was made to realize that his disagreeable qualities
would bar him from his daughter's home or debar
her from happiness.
    No marriage should start with such a handicap as
this will prove, if no explicit understanding is
arrived at in advance.  Better have a plain state-
ment of the situation to begin with, and, if possible,
establish a home far from the girl's family, and if
relatives make occasional visits, let the husband
show himself broad-minded and noble enough to
bear the temporary annoyance with becoming
    No life can wholly separate itself from some disa-
greeable obligations, but no human being is so near
kin as to be privileged in destroying the peace and
comfort of another's home.  I believe in dividing
one's last dollar with a needy relative, but to main-
tain the sanctity of the home at the cost of seeming
inhospitable or cold.
    It is not to be understood that I justify every hus-
band in turning the cold shoulder to his wife's rela-
tives merely because they are her relatives, and he
is jealous of them or begrudges them his hospitality.
    There are such men, and they are despicable.  I
write this article in answer to this especial inquiry,
as I believe many similar ones exist.  I know a
number of lovely girls who are handicapped in the
matrimonial race by horrible relatives.  One of the
happiest marriages in the world is that of a worthy
girl whose lover released her from a life of bondage
to a selfish and mercenary and vulgar family, and
who carried her to a distant home, where she ex-
panded into splendid womanhood.  She never could
have done so had her family lived around the corner
and interfered constantly in her new life.

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