The doctors urge upon her the necessity of resting and keeping free of the daily worries and trials of the active housewife. She wonders how things are to be kept going with their everyday smoothness when she has to restrain her helping hand and the assistance of her experience and advice. With dismay she reflects that there must be a creaking of the wheels, and occasionally a climax of disorder which must produce discomfort to her husband, and even injury to her children.
There are two ways of taking this trial, one of the greatest that can fall to the hap of a married woman. The wife may resign herself to the life of inactivity and useles ness that seems to he before her. She m; summon all her philosophy, all the fortitune and endurance with which she may has equipped herself in earlier years, and ma steadily and courageously face the futur Such a woman as this has often proved blessing in a home, even a greater blessii than when she still retained her full powe of work.
There is a curiously restful, harmonisii influence emanating from some sick-roon It has been experienced in thousands instances. A peaceful atmosphere pe vades the entire household, influencii even the servants, who seldom see the mistress, but feel her quiet force of char and know that justice is. if possible, mo evenly balanced in the scales than when helpless lady upstairs was able personal to inspect their achievements and dire their movements.
The children, though missing their mother's constant companionship, find that her sympathies with their youthful joys and sorrows are wider than they have been. The gentleness of the unselfish invalid helps them to make her their confidant in the trials of school and home life. She herself feels at leisure from other and more active cares and occupations, and can enter into their feelings in a way that astonishes herself. In the long, lonely hours of pain and illness her imagination is at work, enabling her to think round the characters and the capacities of her sons and daughters, with the result that she makes a fair estimate of their powers, and of the suitability of their surroundings.
A Blessing in Disguise
In this way she can correct mistakes that she herself and her husband may have made in the education of the young ones. Laid aside from society and its exacting requirements, she has abundant leisure to study her children, and their temperaments.
Love is the great teacher in such cases, and, as an invalid mother expressed it, after many years of confinement to the sickroom, " I am like a gardener - my children the flowers; and if I had been well and active during all these years when I have been helpless I should never have had time to tend and foster the beautiful human plants as I have been so thankfully enabled to do." And then, with a sunny smile, she added : "Who would have done the weeding? I have had heaps of that to do !"
There is another way of taking what must always be a shock and a disappointment-namely, invalidism in the wife and mother. Irritability, fretfulness, peevishness, lack of self-control, murmuring and almost constant grumbling, are the outcome of the rebellious spirit. Both husband and children grow weary, and even eventually unsympathetic. " She is so sorry for herself that it is pure waste to be sorry for her," said one young man of an ailing mother, whose fretful disposition cast a gloom upon the home. It is very difficult indeed to so conquer pain and weakness as to rise above them, and display serenity. It can, however, be done, and sometimes the very temperaments that appear least capable of resignation and self-conquest succeed in accomplishing it by some wonderful spiritual alchemy.
In one instance, in which the mother of a family lost her health owing to an accident, she was a terrible trial to the whole household for a few months. One day she took up a volume of Robert Louis Stevenson's " Prayers," in which the doctrine of cheerfulness under all kinds of suffering and against many obstacles is so beautifully shown. It sank into her very soul, and had a most remarkable and beneficent effect on her whole life.
To describe the gradual change from her morbid misery to an all-embracing charity would be impossible; but were one to do so, there would have to be a record of many a little falling away from the standard she had set herself. These have always to be reckoned with, discouraging, depressing, and marking the dark days of life. The battle was long and severe, but the victory was won, and the room to which the conqueror was confined for many years became the centre of a devotion on the part of family and friends which was one of the most beautiful experiences in the history of the home.
The husband of a delicate wife, too, often feels himself aggrieved, and almost resents her being ill and unable to look after the household. This seems impossible, and even cruel, but the facts of everyday life prove it is no exceptional circumstance. It is very difficult indeed for a wife, in these cases, to remain calm and serene when she knows how unjustly her husband regards the matter. But even this obstacle to fortitude can beovercome.
By "Madge" (Mrs. Humphry)
Advance of the Marrying Age - The Woman of Ferty of To-day is not Older in Feeling than a Man of the Same Age - The Outlook of the Woman of To-day - Improvement in Physique - The