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Evergreens Jerome K. Jerome


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Table Of Contents: Evergreens

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Let us lay hold of such men and women; let us grapple them to us with hooks of steel; let us cling to them as we would to rocks in a tossing sea. We do not think very much of them in the summertime of life. They do not flatter us or gush over us. They do not always agree with us. They are not always the most delightful society, by any means. They are not good talkers, nor--which would do just as well, perhaps better--do they make enraptured listeners. They have awkward manners, and very little tact. They do not shine to advantage beside our society friends. They do not dress well; they look altogether somewhat dowdy and commonplace. We almost hope they will not see us when we meet them just outside the club. They are not the sort of people we want to ostentatiously greet in crowded places. It is not till the days of our need that we learn to love and know them. It is not till the winter that the birds see the wisdom of building their nests in the evergreen trees.

And we, in our spring-time folly of youth, pass them by with a sneer, the uninteresting, colorless evergreens, and, like silly children with nothing but eyes in their heads, stretch out our hands and cry for the pretty flowers. We will make our little garden of life such a charming, fairy-like spot, the envy of every passer-by! There shall nothing grow in it but lilies and roses, and the cottage we will cover all over with Virginia-creeper. And, oh, how sweet it will look, under the dancing summer sun-light, when the soft west breeze is blowing!

And, oh, how we shall stand and shiver there when the rain and the east wind come!

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Oh, you foolish, foolish little maidens, with your dainty heads so full of unwisdom! how often--oh! how often, are you to be warned that it is not always the sweetest thing in lovers that is the best material to make a good-wearing husband out of? "The lover sighing like a furnace" will not go on sighing like a furnace forever. That furnace will go out. He will become the husband, "full of strange oaths--jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel," and grow "into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon." How will he wear? There will be no changing him if he does not suit, no sending him back to be altered, no having him let out a bit where he is too tight and hurts you, no having him taken in where he is too loose, no laying him by when the cold comes, to wrap yourself up in something warmer. As he is when you select him, so he will have to last you all your life--through all changes, through all seasons.

Yes, he looks very pretty now--handsome pattern, if the colors are fast and it does not fade--feels soft and warm to the touch. How will he stand the world's rough weather? How will he stand life's wear and tear?

He looks so manly and brave. His hair curls so divinely. He dresses so well (I wonder if the tailor's bill is paid?) He kisses your hand so gracefully. He calls you such pretty names. His arm feels so strong a round you. His fine eyes are so full of tenderness as they gaze down into yours.

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Jerome K. Jerome

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