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Evergreens Jerome K. Jerome


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Table Of Contents: Evergreens

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Will he kiss your hand when it is wrinkled and old? Will he call you pretty names when the baby is crying in the night, and you cannot keep it quiet--or, better still, will he sit up and take a turn with it? Will his arm be strong around you in the days of trouble? Will his eyes shine above you full of tenderness when yours are growing dim?

And you boys, you silly boys! what materials for a wife do you think you will get out of the empty-headed coquettes you are raving and tearing your hair about. Oh! yes, she is very handsome, and she dresses with exquisite taste (the result of devoting the whole of her heart, mind and soul to the subject, and never allowing her thoughts to be distracted from it by any other mundane or celestial object whatsoever); and she is very agreeable and entertaining and fascinating; and she will go on looking handsome, and dressing exquisitely, and being agreeable and entertaining and fascinating just as much after you have married her as before--more so, if anything.

But _you_ will not get the benefit of it. Husbands will be charmed and fascinated by her in plenty, but _you_ will not be among them. You will run the show, you will pay all the expenses, do all the work. Your performing lady will be most affable and enchanting to the crowd. They will stare at her, and admire her, and talk to her, and flirt with her. And you will be able to feel that you are quite a benefactor to your fellow-men and women--to your fellow-men especially--in providing such delightful amusement for them, free. But _you_ will not get any of the fun yourself.

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You will not get the handsome looks. _You_ will get the jaded face, and the dull, lusterless eyes, and the untidy hair with the dye showing on it. You will not get the exquisite dresses. _You_ will get dirty, shabby frocks and slommicking dressing-gowns, such as your cook would be ashamed to wear. _You_ will not get the charm and fascination. _You_ will get the after-headaches, the complainings and grumblings, the silence and sulkiness, the weariness and lassitude and ill-temper that comes as such a relief after working hard all day at being pleasant!

It is not the people who shine in society, but the people who brighten up the back parlor; not the people who are charming when they are out, but the people who are charming when they are in, that are good to _live_ with. It is not the brilliant men and women, but the simple, strong, restful men and women, that make the best traveling companions for the road of life. The men and women who will only laugh as they put up the umbrella when the rain begins to fall, who will trudge along cheerfully through the mud and over the stony places--the comrades who will lay their firm hand on ours and strengthen us when the way is dark and we are growing weak--the evergreen men and women, who, like the holly, are at their brightest and best when the blast blows chilliest--the stanch men and women!

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Jerome K. Jerome

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