If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~ William Morris

20 May, 2017

Serial Saturday ~ Independence Part II

Woman's Home Companion ~ August 1926

A New Feature ~ Stories presented weekly in a serial format.

'Independence' by Sarah Fletcher Milligan ~ Illustrated by Pruett Carter

Part II

"It would help some," he continued, "if you would always put things back into their right places as soon as you have finished with them.  Now this pan is dry,' he lifted it from the stove and put it up on a shelf, 'it ought to be put back and if all the handles were placed one way each one would be easier to pick up.  You ought to have separate places for spoons and knives.  As it is, you are likely to cut yourself with a knife trying to find a spoon."

"I was going to use that pan for frosting.  Then I'll be through here and I am due at the Women's League meeting, the last for the summer.  Perhaps I'll stop a minute at Mrs. Spicer's on the way home.  She has a book for me to read."

He had started toward the hall, but that arrested him. 
"If I were you I wouldn't go to Mrs. Spicer's today," he called back.  "You are going there pretty often and you don't want to run one place into the ground."
Sudden hot tears sprang to Isabel's eyes, partly from indignation and partly from disappointment.  She had been looking forward to the refreshment of a few minutes with Julie Spicer.  She loved Julie; they were warm, congenial friends and she could drop in at any time, sure of a welcome, a good laugh or an understanding which included, as a matter of course, absolute loyalty to any confidence.

"The next time I wish to go anywhere I will keep the idea to myself and just go," she thought, but she immediately yielded all intention of the Spicer visit that day.  It would be wildly imprudent in the face of Aunt Libby's coming.  Stephen would be provoked if his wife deliberately ignored his expressed opinion.  With Stephen, "If I were you" was just as effected as "Thou shalt not."  He declared his views with apparent mildness but if Isabel did not promptly act in accordance with them it aroused his anger.  His temper was not of the flashing variety, quick and crashing and sooner over; it was still and cold and unyielding.  Perhaps a more phlegmatic temperament than Isabel's could have battled it out on the same lines, but to her, lively, loving and companionable, an impregnable silence was a torturing thing.

To do him justice, Stephen Chapin did not realize that he was afflicted with a temper of any kind.  He was simply right and when his wife deliberately ignored that rightness he was astonished, grieved, hurt, and he managed to convey the impression to the culprit across the table.  There was unconscious histrionic ability in the Reverend. Mr. Chapin.  He could put his feelings "across" beautifully.  Perhaps that was why he was a good preacher.  He was no hypocrite; he always meant what he said but any thoughts that happened to lie too deep for words could be expressed wonderfully with a gesture, a shrug or a sigh.

Isabel had tried to harden herself against his disapproval and to learn not to care when these times came but she did not seem to make much progress at that.  The best she could do was to avoid trouble, to guard her tongue and watch her step, but even there she was not too brilliant a success.  There was a good deal of spontaneity left in her yet.

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