Once there was a Husband who was stuck on Plain Living and Home Comforts. He would walk around an Angel Cake any old Time to get action on some Farm Sausage. He was not very strong for Romaine Salad or any Speckled Cheese left over from Year before last, but he did a very neat vanishing Act with a Sirloin Steak and he had the Coffee come right along in a large Cup. He refused to dally with the Demi-Tasse. For this true American the Course Dinner was a weak Invention of the benighted Foreigner. When he squared up to his Food he cut out all the Trimmings.
This is the kind of Husband who peels his Coat in the Evening and gets himself all spread out in a Rocking Chair with a fat Cushion under him.
He loves to wear old Velvet Slippers with pink Roses worked on the Toes and the Heels run over.
Give him about two Cigars that pull freely and a Daily Paper and he is fixed for the Session.
Along about 10.30, if he can connect with a Triangle of Desiccated Apple Pie and a Goblet of Milk, he is ready to sink back on the Husks, feeling simply Immense.
Now this Husband had a Fireside that suited him nearly to Death until the Better Half began to read these Magazines that tell how to beautify the Home.
Her first Play was to take out all the Carpets and have the Floors massaged until they were as slick as Glass, so that when the Bread-Winner stepped on one of the Okra or Bokhara Rugs he usually gave an Imitation of a Player trying to reach Second.
He told her that he did not care to live in a Rink, but what he said cut very few Lemons with the Side-Partner. She was looking at the half-tone Pictures of up-to-date Homes and beginning to realize that the Wall-Paper, Steel Engravings and the Enlarged Photographs of Yap Relatives would have to go.
One Day when the Provider struck the Premises he found the Workmen putting Red Burlap on the Walls of the Sitting-Room.
“Why the Gunny-Sack?” he asked. “Can’t we afford Wall-Paper?”
“Love of Art is the True Essence of the Higher Life,” said the AEsthete, and she began to read a Booklet bound in the same Paper that the Butcher uses when he wraps up a Soup Bone.
“Come again,” said the Wage Earner, who was slow at catching these Ruskin Twisters.
“This is Art Burlap and not the kind that they use for sacking Peanuts,” explained the Disciple of Beauty. “Above the Burlap will be a Shelf of Weathered Oak, and then above that a Frieze of Blue Jimson Flowers. Then when we draw all of the Curtains and light one Candle in here it will make a Swell Effect.”
“I feel that we are going to be very Happy,” he said, and then he went out and sat behind the Barn, where he could smoke his Pipe and meditate on the Uncertainties of Life.
Next Day he discovered that she had condemned his Rocking-Chair and the old-style Centre Table on which he used to stack his Reading Matter and keep a Plate of Apples handy.
When he entered the improved and modernized Living Room, he found himself up against a Job Lot of Beauty and no Mistake.
All the Furniture was straight up and down. It seemed to have been chopped out with an Axe, and was meant to hold up Members of the Rhinoceros Family.
On the High Shelf was a Row of double-handled Shaving Mugs, crippled Beer Steins, undersized Coal Scuttles and various Copper Kettles that had seen Better Days.
“At last we have a Room that satisfies every Craving of my Soul,” said the Wife.
“I am more than Satisfied,” observed the Treasurer. “I am delirious with Joy. My only regret is that an All-Wise Providence did not mould me into a different Shape so that I might sit down in some of these Chairs. What are those Iron Dinkuses sticking out from the Wall?”