“Where are you going, George?” asked Mrs.
Wilson, as her husband arose from the tea-table, and took his hat.
“Oh, I’m going out,” was the careless
“What odds does it make, Emma? I shall be back
at my usual time.”
The young wife hesitated, and a quick flush overspread
her face. She seemed to have made up her mind to speak plainly upon a
subject which had lain uneasily upon her heart for some time, and she
could not let the opportunity pass. It required an effort but she preserved.
“Let me tell you what odds it makes to me,”
she said in a kind but tremulous tone. “If I cannot have your company
here at home, I should at least feel much better if I knew where you were.”
“But you know that I am safe, Emma; and what more
can you ask?”
“I do not know that you are safe George. I know
nothing about you when you are away.”
“pooh! Would you have it that I am not capable
of taking care of myself?”
“You put a wrong construction upon my words George.
Love is always anxious when its dearest object is away. If I did not love
you as I do, I might not be thus uneasy. When you are at your place of
business I never feel thus because I know I can seek and find you at any
moment; but when you are absent these long evenings, I get to wondering
where you are. Then I begin to feel lonesome; and so one thought follows
another, until I feel troubles and uneasy. Oh! If you would stay with
me a portion of your evenings!”
“Aha! I thought that was what you were aiming at.”
Said George, with a playful shake of the head. “You would have me
here all the evening.”
“Well, can you wonder at it?” returned Emma.
“I used to be very happy when you came to spend an evening with
me before we were married; and I know I should be very happy in your society
“Ah,” said George with a smile, “those
were business meetings. We were arranging then for the future.”
“And why not continue so to do, my husband? I am
sure we could be as happy now as ever. If you will remember – one
of our plans was to make a home.
“And haven’t we got one, Emma?”
“We have a place in which to live.” Answered
the wife, somewhat evasively. “Now, just remember, my husband, that,
previous to our marriage, I had pleasant society all the time. Of course
I remained at home much of my time; but I had a father and mother there,
and I had brothers and sisters there; and our evenings were happily spent.
Finally, I gave all up for you. I left the old home, and sought a home
with my husband. And now, have I not a right to expect some of your companionship?
How would you like it to have me away every evening, while you were obliged
to remain here alone?”
“Why – I should like it well enough.”
“Ah! – but you would not be willing to try
“Yes, I would.” Said George as a venture.
“Will you remain here every evening next week,
and let me spend them among my female friends?” asked Emma.
“Certainly I will; and I assure you I shall not
be so lonesome as you imagine.”
With this the husband went out, and was soon among his
friends. He was a steady, industrious man, and loved his wife truly; but,
like thousands of others, he had constructed a habit of spending his evenings
abroad, and thought of no harm. His only practical idea of home seemed
to be, that it was a place which his wife took care of, and where he could
eat, drink, and sleep, as long as he could pay for it. His wife had frequently
asked him to stay at home with her; but she had never ventured upon any
argument before, and he had no conception of how much she missed him.
She always seemed happy when he came home; and he supposed she could always
Monday evening came, and George Wilson remained true
to his promise. His wife put on her bonnet and shawl; and he said he would
remain and “keep house.”
“What will you do while I am gone?” Emma
“Oh! I shall read, and sing, and enjoy myself generally.”
“Very well. I shall be back in good time.”
The wife went out, and the husband was left alone. He
had n interesting book, and he began to read it. He read till eight o’clock,
and then he began to yawn, and refer frequently to the dial. The book
did not interest him as usual. Ever and anon he would come to a passage
which he knew would please his wife, and instinctively he turned as though
he would read it aloud; but there was no wife to hear it. At half-past
eight he arose from his chair to pace the floor. Then he went and got
his flute, and performed several of his favourite airs. Finally the clock
struck nine, and his wife returned.
“Well George, I am back in good time. How have
you enjoyed yourself?”
“Capitally,” returned the husband. “I
had no idea it was so late. I hope you have had a pleasant evening.”
“Oh, splendid! I had no idea how much enjoyment
there was away from home. Home is a dull place, after all; isn’t
“Why, no; I can’t say that it is,”
returned George. “I rather like it.”
“I’m glad of that,” retorted Emma;
“for we shall both enjoy ourselves now. You shall have a nice comfortable
week of it.”
George winced at this, but he kept his countenance and
determined to stand it out.
On the next evening Emma prepared to go away again.
“I shall be back in good time,” she said.
“Where are you going?” her husband asked.
“Oh, I can’t tell exactly. I may go to several
So George Wilson was left alone again, and he tried to
amuse himself as before, but he found it hard work. Ever and anon he would
cast his eyes upon that empty chair, and the thought would come, “How
pleasant it would be if she were here!”
The clock finally struck nine, and he began to listen
for the step of his wife. Half an hour more slipped by, and he became
very nervous and uneasy.
“I declare,” he muttered to himself, after
he had listened for her some time in vain, “this is too bad. She
ought not to stay out so late!”
But he happened to remember that he often remained away
much later than that, so he concluded that he must make the best of it.
At fifteen minutes to ten Emma came.
“A little late, am I not?” she said, looking
up to the clock. “But I fell in with some old friends. How have
you enjoyed yourself?”
“First-rate,” returned George, bravely. “I
think home is a great place.”
“Especially when one can have it all to himself,”
added the wife, with a sidelong glance at her husband. But he made no
On the next evening Emma prepared to go out as before;
but this time she kissed her husband ere she went, and seemed to hesitate
“Where do you think of going?” George asked,
in an undertone.
“I may drop in to see Uncle John,” replied
Emma. “However, you won’t be uneasy. You’ll know I’m
When the husband was left to his own reflections, he
began to ponder upon the subject thus presented for consideration. He
could not read – he could not play – he could not enjoy himself
in any way while that chair was empty. In short, he found that home had
no real comfort without his wife. The one thing needed to make his home
cheerful was not present.
“I declare, he said to himself, I did not think
I could be so lonesome. And can it be that she feels as I do, when she
is here all alone? It must be so,” he pursued, thoughtfully. “It
is just s she says. Before we were married she was very happy in her childhood’s
home. Her parents loved her, and her brothers and sisters loved her, and
they did all they could to make her comfortable.”
After this he walked up and down the room several times,
and then stopped again and communed with himself. “I can’t
stand this. I should die in a week. If Emma were only here I think I could
amuse myself very well. How lonesome and dreary it is. And only eight
o’clock. I declare I’ve a mind to walk down to Uncle John’s,
and see if she is there. It would b a relief to see her face. I won’t
go in. She shan’t know yet that I hold out so faintly.”
George Wilson took another turn across the room, glanced
once more at the clock, and then took his hat and went out. He locked
the door after him, and then bent his steps towards Uncle John’s.
It was a beautiful moonlight evening, and the air was keen and bracing.
He was walking along, when he heard a light step approaching him. He looked
up, and – he could not be mistaken – saw his wife. His first
impulse was to avoid her, but she had recognised him.
“George,” she said, in surprise, “Is
“It is.” Was the response.
“And you do not pass your evenings at home?”
“This is the first time I have been out, Emma,
upon my word; and even now I have not been absent from the house ten minutes.
I merely came out to take fresh air. But where are you going?”
“I am going home George. Will you go with me?”
“Certainly,” returned the husband. She took
his arm, and they walked home in silence. When Emma had taken off her
things, she sat down and gazed up at the clock.
“You came home early to-night.” Remarked
George. The young wife looked up into her husband’s face; and with
an expression half-smiling and half-tearful she answered, “I will
confess the truth George: I have given up the experiment. I managed to
stand it last evening, but I could not stand it through to-night. When
I thought of you here all alone, I wanted to be with you. It didn’t
seem right. I haven’t enjoyed myself at all. I have no home but
“Say you so.” Cried George, moving his seat
to his wife’s side, and taking one of her hands. “Then let
me make my confession. I have stood it not a whit better. When I left
the house this evening, I could bear it no longer. I found that this was
no home for me while my sweet wife was absent. I thought I would walk
down to Uncle John’s, and see your face, if possible. I had gazed
upon your empty chair till my heart ached.”
He kissed her as he spoke, and then added, while she
reclined her head upon his arm, “I have learned a very good lesson.
Your presence here is like the bursting forth of the sun after a storm;
and if you love me as I love you – which, of course, I cannot doubt
– my presence may afford some sunlight for you. At al events, our
next experiment shall be to that effect. I will try and see how much Home
Comfort we can find while we are both here to enjoy it.”
Emma was too happy to express her joy in words; but she
expressed it nevertheless, and in a manner, too, not to be mistaken.
The next evening was spent at home by both husband and
wife, and it was one of much enjoyment. In a short time, George began
to realise how much comfort was to be found in a quiet and peaceful home;
and the longer he enjoyed this comfort the more plainly did he see and
understand the simple truth that it takes two to make a happy home; and
that if the wife is one party; the husband must be the other.