Kuskin talks to young women of the etymology of the name wife: “What do you think the beautiful word ‘wife’ comes from?” he asks. “It means ‘weaver.’ You must either be housewives or house-moths, remember that.
“In the deep sense, you must weave men’s fortunes, and embroider them, or feed upon them, and bring them to decay.
“Wherever a true wife comes, home is always around her. The stars may be the canopy over her head, the glowworm in the night’s cold grass be the fire at her feet, but home is where she is; and for a noble woman it stretches far around her, — better than houses ceiled with cedar, or painted with vermilion, shedding its quiet light for those who else were homeless.”
Home is the true wife’s kingdom. There, first of all places, she must be strong and beautiful.
She may touch life outside in many ways, if she can do it without slighting the duties that are hers within her own doors. But if any calls for her service must be declined, they should not be the duties of her home. These are hers, and no other one’s.
Very largely does the wife hold in her hands, as a sacred trust, the happiness and the highest good of the hearts that nestle there.
The best husband — the truest, the noblest, the gentlest, the richest-hearted — cannot make his home happy if his wife be not, in every reasonable sense, a help- mate to him.
In the last analysis, home happiness does depend on the wife. Her spirit gives the home its atmosphere. Her hands fashion its beauty. Her heart makes its love. And the end is so worthy, so noble, so divine, that no woman who has been called to be a wife, and has listened to the call, should consider any price too great to pay, to be the light, the joy, the blessing, the inspiration, of a home.
Men with fine gifts think it worthwhile to live to paint a few great pictures which shall be looked at and admired for generations; or to write a few songs which shall sing themselves into the ears and hearts of men.
But the woman who makes a sweet, beautiful home, filling it with love and prayer and purity, is doing something better than anything else her hands could find to do beneath the skies.
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