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From Living Illustrations
By B. Carradine
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TOPIC: Fretting, Its Adverse Effects

Title: Fretting!

We once visited a family where the husband and wife had fumed and worked themselves into such a condition that they spoke continually in a whining, worried accent.

She would ask him at the breakfast table: "Dear, will you have some coffee?" each word being pulled out and the whole sentence sounding like a prolonged nasal, unhappy kind of chant.

It seemed as if she was inviting him to take a cup of hemlock before being put to death. He with the same style of whine would reply: "No, I thank you, dear."

Then would come his turn: "Wife, will you have a piece of beefsteak?" the question sounding in its dolefulness as if he had just seen the hearse and undertaker drive up to the door for them both, and that there was no earthly use in his cutting or his wife eating that meat or any other kind of food he could pass her.

We leave the reader to imagine how long we tarried at this domicile. We believe that thousands of women have been goaded to desperation and sin by a worrying man in the house, and as truly we are confident that tens of thousands of men have been driven from home and into crime itself by the cold, unfeeling speech or fretting, scolding tongue of a woman.

A house in a county of our native State stands empty today because of the evil just mentioned, where the wife and mother in her own unhappy, exacting, fault finding spirit, caused her husband and two sons to leave home forever.

The dwelling is a large and beautiful one, but a woman sits there alone today in the midst of her pictures, mirrors, waxed floors and carefully covered furniture. She won her stubborn way at last. Her will is now supreme. There is no one to cross her way or differ from her. She is undisputed ruler over everything in sight. But the price she has had to pay is a lot of empty rooms, silent halls, hours and days of uninterrupted loneliness, and the unbroken absence of those who were nearest to her by the ties of blood and the sacred laws of God.

We thought once when paying her a pastoral call, that it would have been better for her to have had her way less, her will crossed, the floors tracked, and the furniture disarranged, than to sit in the center of so much tidiness and order, and yet surrounded, buried, and all but suffocated in such a dreadful, unchanging, unending silence and solitude.

Husbands and sons are not going to stay when things are disagreeable at home. They turn naturally to places and people where they find peace, congeniality, companionship, sympathy and affection.

The sight of men talking, reading and smoking together in hotel offices and club rooms, means volumes of unwritten history of domestic infelicity and misery. We do not believe that such persons take to these resorts by preference, but in innumerable instances, are exiles through failure to find at home what every man ought to have, and has a perfect right to possess. Living Illustrations By B. Carradine.

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