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Three Ways Of Managing A Wife
by [?]

“I allude to that false and contemptible kind of decision which we term obstinacy;–a stubbornness of temper which can assign no reasons but mere will, for a constancy which acts in the nature of dead weight, rather than strength-resembling less the reaction of a powerful spring, than the gravitation of a big stone.”


“I HAVE said, Mrs. Wilson, that it is my will to have it so, and I thought you knew me well enough to know that my will is unalterable. Therefore, if you please, let me hear no more about it.”

“But, my dear husband, the boy–“

But, madam, I assure you there is no room for buts in the matter. Am I not master of my own house, and fully capable of governing it?”

“Yes, certainly, my dear, only I happen to know something about this school, which I think would influence you in forming a judgment, if you would listen to me for a moment.”

“My judgment is already formed, madam, and is not likely to be altered by anything a woman could say. You may be a very good judge of the merits of a pudding, or the size of a stocking, but this is a matter in which I do not wish for any advice.”

So Master James Wilson, a little, delicate, backward boy of ten years, was sent to a large public school, in which the amount of study required was so much beyond his ability, and the rules so severe, that the heavy penalties daily incurred, seriously affected both his health and happiness. It was with an aching heart that the fond mother saw him creeping slowly to school in the morning with a pale and dejected countenance, and returning home, fatigued in body, soured in spirit, and rapidly learning to detest the very sight of his books, as the instruments of his wretchedness. The severity of the husband and father had in this instance produced its usual unhappy effect, by tempting Mrs. Wilson to injudicious indulgence of her son in private, and the perpetual oscillations between the extremes of harshness and fondness thus experienced, rendered the poor boy a weak and unprincipled character, anxious only to escape the consequences of wrongdoing, without any regard to the motives of his conduct.

Not many months after his entrance into the public school, he was violently thrown to the ground during recess, by an older boy, and his limb so much injured by the fall, that a long and dangerous illness was the consequence. Mrs. Wilson was extremely desirous to try the effects of the cold water treatment on the diseased limb, but her husband had adopted a system of his own, composed of all the most objectionable features of other systems, and would not relinquish such an opportunity of testing his skill as a physician. The child was accordingly steamed and blistered until the inflammation became frightful; and then cupping, leeching, etc., were resorted to, without any other effect than greatly to reduce the strength of the patient.

“Husband,” Mrs. Wilson ventured at last to say, “the poor child is getting worse every day; and if he lives through it, will, I fear, lose his limb; will you not try what Dr. S. can do with the cold-water treatment?”

“If I could be astonished at any degree of folly on the part of a woman,” was his reply, “I should be surprised at such a question. I am doing what I think best for the boy, and you are well aware that my mind was long since made up about the different systems of medicine. Do you confine yourself to nursing the child, and leave his treatment to me.”

Ah, this domestic “making up one’s mind!” It is a process easily and often rapidly gone through, but its consequences are sometimes so far-reaching and abiding, that we may well tremble as we hear the words carelessly pronounced.