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The Power Of Kindness (from ‘Words of Cheer’)
by [?]

HOW much comprised in the simple word, kindness! One kind word, or even one mild look, will oftentimes dispel thick gathering gloom from the countenance of an affectionate husband, or wife. When the temper is tried by some inconvenience or trifling vexation, and marks of displeasure are depicted upon the countenances and perhaps, too, that most “unruly of all members” is ready to vent its spleen upon the innocent husband or wife, what will a kind mien, a pleasant reply, accomplish? Almost invariably perfect harmony and peace are thus restored.

These thoughts were suggested by the recollection of a little domestic incident, to which I was a silent, though not uninterested spectator. During the summer months of 1834, I was spending several weeks with a happy married pair, who had tasted the good and ills of life together only a twelvemonth. Both possessed many amiable qualities, and were well calculated to promote each other’s happiness. My second visit to my friends was of a week’s duration, in the month of December. One cold evening the husband returned home at his usual hour at nine o’clock, expecting to find a warm fire for his reception, but, instead, he found a cheerless, comfortless room. His first thought, no doubt, was, that it was owing to the negligence of his wife, and, under this impression, in rather a severe tone, he said,

“This is too bad; to come in from the office cold, and find no fire; I really should have thought you might have kept it.”

I sat almost breathless, trembling for the reply. I well knew it was no fault of hers, for she had wasted nearly all the evening, and almost exhausted her patience, in attempting to kindle a fire. She in a moment replied, with great kindness,

“Why my dear, I wonder what is the matter with our stove! We must have something done to-morrow, for I have spent a great deal of time in vain to make a fire.”

This was said in such a mild, pleasant tone, that it had the most happy effect. If she had replied at that moment, when his feelings were alive to supposed neglect, “I don’t know who is to blame; I have done my part, and have been freezing all the evening for my pains. If the stove had been put up as it should have been, all would have been well enough.” This, said in an unamiable, peevish tone, might have added “fuel to the fire,” and this little breeze might have led to more serious consequences; but fortunately, her mild reply restored perfect serenity. The next day the stove was taken down, and the difficulty, owing to some defect in the flue, was removed. What will not a kind word accomplish?