A Word For Wives by T. S. Arthur

Story type: Literature

WHAT is it? A little pencil note, crumpled and worn, as if carried for a long time in one’s pocket. I found it in a box of precious things that Fanny’s mother had hoarded so choicely, because Fanny had been choice of them. I must read it, for everything of Fanny’s is dear to us now. Ah! ’tis a note from a gentleman who was at school with us at F–, whom Fanny esteemed so much, whom we both esteemed for his sterling integrity and his gentleness. It is precious, too, as a reminder of him. I love the remembrance of old schoolfellows,–of frolicsome, foolish, frivolous, loving schooldays. But let me read. ‘Tis mostly rubbed out, but here is a place.

“You know full well that long since, ‘that dear cousin‘ permitted me to call her by the endearing name of sister; and may I not, when far away, thinking of bygones, add your name to hers in the sisterly list? You asked me when I had heard from the dear one: she was down here a short hour last week, but what was that among so many who wished to see her?”

Ah! that means me! If I had only known it then! And just now I was wondering if he really loved me, and perhaps felt almost in my secret heart to grieve a bit–to murmur at him. I fear I spoke as he little dreamed then the “dear one” would ever do. What shall I do? I remember him now, in all his young loveliness, in all the excitability of a first love, and my heart kindles too warmly to write what I wished.

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What if one had told me then that my home would be in his heart–that my beautiful Alma would be his child! My Alma, my beautiful babe! how sweetly she nestles her little face in his neck. She has stolen her mother’s place; little thief! I wonder she does not steal his whole heart to the clear shutting out of her mother!

Little wives! If ever a half suppressed sigh finds place with you, or a half unloving word escapes you to the husband whom you love, let your heart go back to some tender word in those first love–days; remember how you loved him then, how tenderly he wooed you, how timidly you responded, and if you can feel that you have not grown unworthy, trust him for the same fond love now. If you do feel that through many cares and trials of life, you have become less lovable and attractive than then, turn–by all that you love on earth, or hope for in Heaven, turn back, and be the pattern of loveliness that won him; be the “dear one” your attractions made you then. Be the gentle, loving, winning maiden still, and doubt not, the lover you admired will live for ever in your husband. Nestle by his side, cling to his love, and let his confidence in you never fail, and, my word for it, the husband will be dearer than the lover ever was. Above all things, do not forget the love he gave you first. Do not seek to “emancipate” yourself–do not strive to unsex yourself and become a Lucy Stone, or a Rev. Miss Brown, but love the higher honour ordained by our Saviour, of old–that of a loving wife. A happy wife, a blessed mother, can have no higher station, needs no greater honour.

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Little wives, remember your first love. As for me, I see again the little crumpled note about the “dear one,” and I must go to find love and forgiveness in his arms.

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