A Letter Of Regrets by Edgar Wilson Nye

Story type: Essay

My dear Princess Beatrice–I received your kind invitation to come up to Whippingham on the 23d inst. and see you married, but I have not been able to get there. The weather has been so hot this month, that, to tell you the truth, Beatrice, I haven’t been going anywhere to speak of. At first I thought I would go anyhow, and even went so far as to pick out a nice corner bracket to take along for a wedding present. Not so much for its intrinsic value, of course, but so you would have something with my name to it on a card that you could show to those English dudes, and let them know that you had influential friends, even in America. But when I thought what a long, hard trip it would be, and how I would probably mash that bracket on the cars before I got half way there, I gave it up.

I am not personally acquainted with your inamorato, if that’s all right, never having met him in our set; but I understand you have done well, and that your husband is a rising young man of good family, and that he will never allow you to put your hands into dishwater. I hope this is true and that he does not drink. Rum has certainly paralyzed more dukes and such things than war has. I attribute this to the fact that princes and dukes are generally more reckless about exposing themselves to the demon rum than to the rude alarums and one thing another of war.

If you keep a girl I hope you will get a good one who knows her business. A green girl in the house of a newly-married princess is a great source of annoyance. A friend of mine who got married last winter got a girl whose mind had been eaten by cut-worms and she had not discovered it. All the faculty that had been spared her was that power of the mind which enabled her to charge $3 a week. She lubricated the buckwheat pancake griddle for a week with soap grease and a dash of castor oil, and when she was discharged she wept bitterly because capital with the iron heel ground the poor servant girl into the dust.

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Probably you will take a little tour after the wedding is over. They are doing that way a good deal in Boston this season. I thought you would like a pointer in the very lum-tumest thing to do, and so I write this. So long as you have the means to do this thing right, I think you ought to do so. You may never be married again, princess, and now is the time to paint the British Isles red.

You can also get more concessions from your husband now, while he is a little rattled, and temporarily knocked silly by the pomp and pageant of marrying into your family, and if you work it right you can maintain this supremacy for years. Treat him with a gentle firmness, and do not weep on his bosom if you detect the aroma of beer and bologna sausage on his young breath. Bologna and royalty do not seem to harmonize first-rate, but remember you can harass your husband if you choose, so that he will fall to even lower depths than bologna and Milwaukee beer. Do not aggravate him when he comes home tired, but help him do the chores and greet him with a smile.

I’d just as soon tell you, Beatrice, that this smile racket is not original with me. I read it in a paper. This paper went on to say that a young wife should always greet her husband with a smile on his return. I showed the article to my wife and suggested that it was a good scheme, and hoped she would try it on me sometime. She said if I would like to change off awhile, and take my smile when I got home instead of taking it down town, we would make the experiment. The trouble with the average woman of the age in which we live, Beatrice, is that she is above her business. She tries to be superior to her husband, and in many instances she succeeds. That is the bane of wedded life. Do not strive to be superior to your husband, Beatrice. If you do, it is good-bye, John.

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Treat him well at all times, whether he treats you well or not; then when your mother gets tired of reigning and wants to come down and spend the hot weather with you, she will be kindly greeted by her son-in-law.

Do not allow the fact that you belong to the royal family to interfere with your fun, Beatrice. If you want to wear a Mother Hubbard dress on the throne during hot weather, or mash a mosquito with your mother’s sceptre, do so. Conventionality is a humbug and a nuisance, and I’d just as soon tell you right here that if I could have gone to your wedding and worn a linen coat and a perspiration, I would have gone; but to stand around there all day in a tight black suit of clothes, in a mixed crowd of dukes, and counts, and princes of high degree, most of whom are total strangers to me, is more than I can stand.

I wish you would give my love to your mother and tell her just how it was. Make it as smooth as you can and break it to her gently. Tell her that the royal family is spreading out so that I can’t leave my work every time one of its members gets married. Remember me to the Waleses, the Darmstadts, Princess Irene and Victoria, Mr. and Mrs. Prince Alexander of Bulgaria, also Prince Francis of Battenberg and the Countess Erbach Schomberg. They will all be there probably, and so will Lord Latham and Lord Edgcumbe. I know just how Edgcumbe will snort around there when he finds that I can’t be there. Give my kind regards to any other lords, dukes, duchesses, dowagers or marchionesses who may inquire for me, and tell them all that I will be in London next year if the Prince of Wales will drop me a line stating that the moral tone of the city is such that it would be safe for me to come.

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