Once there were two Married People who used “Lovey” and “Pet” when they were in Company, and as soon as they were at Home they Threw Things at each other. She used to watch him through a Hole in the Curtain to see if he Flirted with any Women as he walked up the Street, and he bribed the Hired Girl to tell him Everything that happened while he was off the Reservation.
They did not Mocha and Java worth a Cent.
The Cardboard Motto in the Dining Room said, “Love One Another,” but they were too Busy to Read.
He had a Clearing on the top of his Head and wore Side-Whiskers and bore a general Resemblance to the Before in an Ad for a Facial Treatment, and yet she suspected that all the Women in Town were Crazy to steal him away from her.
Likewise, inasmuch as she was the same Width all the way up and down, the same as a Poster Girl, and used to sport a Velvet Shroud with Black Beads on it, and could wield a Tooth-Pick and carry on a Conversation at the same time, he knew that sooner or later some Handsome Wretch with Money would try to Abduct her.
Sometimes he would bring a Friend Home to Dinner, and then if the Friend extended himself and told the Missus how well she was looking or Perjured himself over her Hand-Painting, Papa would get a Grouch and hide in the Corner.
Then she would Fan herself rapidly and ask, “Aren’t you well, Dear?”
Dear would force one of those Dying-Martyr Smiles and reply, “I am quite well, Puss.”
Then Puss would tell the Visitor that Baby was simply ruining his Health through Devotion to his Employers, but they didn’t seem to Appreciate him at all.
After the Visitor went away there would be Language all over the Shop, and the poor Hired Girl would lock the Door and write to the Intelligence Office for a new Place.
Truly, it was a Happy Little Home, with the Reverse English.
She would Frisk his Wardrobe every day or two, looking for Evidence, and he would compel her to Itemize her Accounts so that he might be sure she was not giving Jewelry to the Iceman.
She would find a certain Passage in a Book, relating to Man’s Cruelty and Woman’s Silent Suffering, and then she would Mark the Passage and put it where he could Find it. Then when he Found it, he would Mark it “Rot!” and put it where She could find it, and then she would Weep and write Letters to Lady Authors telling them how Sad and Lonely she was.
But all the Time they kept up an Affectionate Front before their Acquaintances. They thought it better to avoid Scenes in Public; and although each knew that the other was False and had ceased to Love, they could not bring themselves to think of a Separation or a Divorce on account of the Cat–their Cat! The Cat must never know.
However, one of his Business Associates was On. He was a Bachelor and had lived at a European Hotel for Years, and he knew just how to Arbitrate a Domestic Scrap. So he sat down one day and gave the Husband a Good Talking-To. He said it was a Shame that such Nice People should have their Differences when it was so easy to be Happy. With that he handed over a Slew of Platitudes and Proverbs, such as: “A Soft Answer Turneth Away Wrath,” “It takes Two to Make a Quarrel,” “Think Twice before you Speak once,” et cetera.
The Gist of his heart-to-heart Talk was that any Husband could stop Rough House Proceedings and shoot all kinds of Sweetness and Light into the sassiest Mooch a Wife ever got on to herself, if only he would refuse to Quarrel with her, receive her Flings without a Show of Wrath, and get up every Morning ready to Plug for a Renaissance of their Early Love.