A woman's hardest lot!
(Timothy Shay Arthur, "Lovers and Husbands. A Story of Married Life" 1847)
No man is able fully to meet and reciprocate a true woman's love. The best of men, with all their willingness, with all their efforts, fail. There are deep places of her heart unreached — aching voids unfilled. And yet it is astonishing how small a return will seem to satisfy a woman, and make her heart glow with sunlight. A pleasant word, a tender look, a kiss of love — ah! these seem but small returns for the deep tenderness that ever burns in her bosom! And yet, alas! too often even these are withheld — and the selfish, reserved, cold, and at times morose "lord of creation," comes in and goes out daily — never dreaming that by this very coldness, reserve, and moroseness — he is breaking the heart of her who loves him better than her own life!
But it is ever so. Hundreds, thousands, yes, tens of thousands of wives, are performing their round of duties hourly and daily — unblessed by smiles that warm the bosom, or words that make the heart tremble with inner joy; while, all unconscious of their cruel indifference — those who provide fine houses, fine furniture, and fine garments for their victims, proudly imagine that they are the best of husbands!
Maiden — innocent, loving maiden! — do not turn away from this picture now, or else the time may come when you will seek to turn from it, and shall not be able. When one comes asking your love — know well if he is worthy of such love as you can give. Do not look alone at his attractive exterior; seek to know what ends actuate him. It is the loveliness of pure, high principles that remains verdant the longest — yes, forever verdant. These, and these alone, can make you permanently happy. Without them, an angel's grace, an angel's form would lose its attractions; with them, the plainest exterior soon grows beautiful to the eye of a loving wife. Lay this up in your heart; think of it in the morning, and when your head presses your pillow at night. It may save you from a woman's hardest lot — that of being bound for life to a man who does not even try to make her happy!