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Both To Blame
by [?]

“OF course, both are to blame.”

“Of course. You may always set that down as certain when you see two persons who have formerly been on good terms fall out with each other. For my part, I never take sides in these matters. I listen to what both have to say, and make due allowance for the wish of either party to make his or her own story appear most favorable.”

Thus we heard two persons settling a matter of difference between a couple of their friends, and it struck us at the time as not being exactly the true way in all cases. In disputes and differences, there are no doubt times when both are equally to blame; most generally, however, one party is more to blame than the other. And it not unfrequently happens that one party to a difference is not at all to blame, but merely stands on a just and honorable defensive. The following story, which may or may not be from real life, will illustrate the latter position.

“Did you hear about Mrs. Bates and Mrs. Tarleton?” said one friend to another.

“No; what is the matter?”

“They are up in arms against each other.”

“Indeed; it’s the first I’ve heard of it. What is the cause?”

“I can hardly tell; but I know that they don’t speak. Mrs. Tarleton complains bitterly against Mrs. Bates; and Mrs. Bates, they say, is just as bitter against her. For my part, I’ve come to the conclusion that both are to blame.”

“There is no doubt of that. I never knew a case of this kind where both were not to blame.”

“Nor I.”

“But don’t you know the ground of the difference?”

“They say it is about a head-dress.”

“I’ll be bound dress has something to do with it,” grumbled out Mr. Brierly, the husband of one of the ladies, who sat reading a newspaper while they were talking.

“My husband is disposed to be a little severe on the ladies at times, but you musn’t mind him. I never do,” remarked Mrs. Brierly, half sarcastically, although she looked at her husband with a smile as she spoke. “He thinks we care for nothing but dress. I tell him it is very well for him and the rest of the world that we have some little regard at least to such matters. I am sure if I didn’t think a good deal about dress, he and the children would soon look like scarecrows.”

Mr. Brierly responded to this by a “Humph!” and resumed the perusal of his newspaper.

“It is said,” resumed Mrs. Brierly, who had been asked to state the cause of the unhappy difference existing between the two ladies, “that Mrs. Bates received from her sister in New York a new and very beautiful head-dress, which had been obtained through a friend in Paris. Mrs. Tarleton wanted it very badly, and begged Mrs. Bates for the pattern; but she refused to let her have it, because a grand party was to be given by the Listons in a few weeks, and she wanted to show it off there herself. Mrs. Tarleton, however, was not going to take ‘no’ for an answer; she had set her heart upon the head-dress and must have it. You know what a persevering woman she is when she takes anything into her head. Well, she called in almost every day to see Mrs. Bates, and every time she would have something to say about the head-dress, and ask to see it. In this way she got the pattern of it so perfectly in her mind that she was able to direct a milliner how to make her one precisely like it. All unknown to Mrs. Bates, Mrs. Tarleton came to the party wearing this new style of head-dress, which made her so angry when she discovered it, that she insulted Mrs. Tarleton openly, and then retired from the company.”