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The Power Of Patience
by [?]

I HAVE a very excellent friend, who married some ten years ago, and now has her own cares and troubles in a domestic establishment consisting of her husband and herself, five children, and two servants. Like a large majority of those similarly situated, Mrs. Martinet finds her natural stock of patience altogether inadequate to the demand therefor; and that there is an extensive demand will be at once inferred when I mention that four of her five children are boys.

I do not think Mrs. Martinet’s family government by any means perfect, though she has certainly very much improved it, and gets on with far more comfort to herself and all around her than she did. For the improvement at which I have hinted, I take some credit to myself, though I am by no means certain, that, were I situated as my friend is, I should govern my family as well as she governs hers. I am aware that a maiden lady, like myself, young or old, it matters not to tell the reader which, can look down from the quiet regions where she lives, and see how easy it would be for the wife and mother to reduce all to order in her turbulent household. But I am at the same time conscious of the difficulties that beset the wife and mother in the incessant, exhausting, and health-destroying nature of her duties, and how her mind, from these causes, must naturally lose its clear-seeing qualities when most they are needed, and its calm and even temper when its exercise is of most consequence. Too little allowance, I am satisfied, is made for the mother, who, with a shattered nervous system, and suffering too, often, from physical prostration, is ever in the midst of her little family of restless spirits, and compelled to administer to their thousand wants, to guide, guard, protect, govern, and restrain their evil passions, when of all things, repose and quiet of body and mind, for even a brief season, would be the greatest blessing she could ask.

I have seen a wife and mother, thus situated, betrayed into a hasty expression, or lose her self-command so far as to speak with fretful impatience to a child who rather needed to be soothed by a calmly spoken word; and I have seen her even-minded husband, who knew not what it was to feel a pain, or to suffer from nervous prostration, reprove that wife with a look that called the tears to her eyes. She was wrong, but he was wrong in a greater degree. The over-tried wife needed her husband’s sustaining patience, and gently spoken counsel, not his cold reproof.

Husbands, as far as my observation gives me the ability to judge, have far less consideration for, and patience with their wives, than they are entitled to receive. If any should know best the wife’s trials, sufferings, and incessant exhausting duties, it is the husband, and he, of all others, should be the last to censure, if, from very prostration of body and mind, she be sometimes betrayed into hasty words, that generally do more harm among children and domestics than total silence in regard to what is wrong. But this is a digression.

One day, I called to see Mrs. Martinet, and found her in a very disturbed state of mind.

“I am almost worried to death, Kate!” she said, soon after I came in.

“You look unhappy,” I returned. “What has happened?”

“What is always happening,” she replied. “Scarcely a day passes over my head that my patience is not tried to the utmost. I must let every body in the house do just as he or she likes, or else there is a disturbance. I am not allowed to speak out my own mind, without some one’s being offended.”

“It is a great trial, as well as responsibility to have the charge of a family,” I remarked.