Live Within Your Means


                 “This is pleasant!” exclaimed the young husband, taking his seat in the rocking-chair as the supper things were removed.  The fire glowing in the grate, revealed a pretty and neatly furnished sitting-room with all the appliances of comfort.  The fatiguing business of the day was over, and he sat enjoying what he had all day been anticipating, the delights of his own fireside.  His pretty wife, Esther, took her work and sat down at the table.

        “It is pleasant to have a home of one’s own,” he again said, taking a satisfactory survey of his little quarters.  The cold rain beat against the windows, and he thought he felt really grateful for all his present comforts.

           “Now if we only had a piano!” exclaimed the wife.

           “Give me the music of your own sweet voice before all the pianos in creation,” he observed, complimentarily; but he felt a secret disappointment that his wife’s thankfulness did not happily chime with his own.

          “Well, we want one for our friends,” said Esther.

        “Let our friends come to see us, and not to hear a piano,” exclaimed the husband.

        “But George, everybody has a piano now-a-days—we don’t go anywhere without seeing a piano,” persisted the wife.

            “And yet I don’t know what we want one for—you will have no time to play one, and I don’t want to hear it.”

                  “Why, they are so fashionable—I think our room looks nearly naked without one.”

              “I Think it looks just right.”

             "I Think it looks very naked—we want a piano shockingly," protested Esther emphatically.

              The husband rocked violently.

         “Your lamp smokes, my dear,” said he after a long pause.

         “When are you going to get a camphene lamp?  I have told you a dozen times how much we need one.” Said Esther pettishly.

          “These are very pretty lamps—I never can see by a camphene lamp,” said her husband.  “These lamps are the prettiest of the kind I ever saw.”

           “But I do not think our room is complete without a camphene lamp,” said Esther sharply.  "They are so fashionable!  Why, the Morgans, and Millers, and many others I might mention, all have them; I am sure we ought to.”

           “We ought not to take pattern by other people’s expenses, and I don’t see any reason in that.”

               The husband moved uneasily in his chair.

        “We want to live as well as others,” said Esther

         “We want to live within our means, Esther,” exclaimed George.

       “I am sure we can afford it as well as Morgans, and Millers, and Thorns; we do not wish to appear mean.”

                     George’s cheek crimsoned.

        “Mean!  I am not mean!” he cried angrily.

        “Then we do not wish to appear so,” said his wife. "To complete this room, and make it look like other people’s we want a piano and camphene lamps.”

            “We want—we want!” muttered the husband, “there’s no satisfying woman’s wants, do what you may,” and he abruptly left the room.

        How many husbands are in a similar dilemma?  How many houses and husbands are rendered uncomfortable by the constant dissatisfaction of a wife with present comforts and present provisions!  How many bright prospects of business have ended in bankruptcy and ruin in order to satisfy this secret hankering after fashionable superfluities!  Could the real cause of many failures be known, it would be found to result from useless expenditures at home—expenses to answer the demands of fashion and “what will people think?”

           “My wife has made my fortune,” said a gentleman of great possessions, “by her thrift, and prudence, and cheerfulness, when I was just beginning.”

           “And mine has lost my fortune,” answered his companion, “by useless extravagance and repining when I was doing well.”

          What a world does this open to the influence which a wife possesses over the future prosperity of her family!  Let the wife know her influence, and try to use it wisely and well.

     Be satisfied to commence on a small scale.  It is too common for young housekeepers to begin where their mothers ended.  Buy all that is necessary to work skillfully with; adorn your house with all that will render it comfortable.  Do not look at richer homes, and covet their costly furniture.  If secret dissatisfaction is ready to spring up go a step further and visit the homes of the suffering poor; behold dark cheerless apartments, insufficient clothing, and absence of all the comforts and refinements of social life, and then turn to your own with a joyful spirit.  You will then be prepared to meet your husband with a grateful heart, and be ready to appreciate the toil of self-denial which he has endured in the business world to surround you with the delights of home; and you will be ready to co-operate cheerfully with him in so arranging your expenses, that his mind will not be constantly harassed with fears lest his family expenses may encroach upon public payments.  Be independent; a young housekeeper never needed greater moral courage that she does now to resist the arrogance of fashion.  Do not let the A.’s and B.’s decide what you must have, neither let them hold the strings of your purse.  You know best what you can and ought to afford.  It matters but little what people think, provided you are true to yourself and family.




Not first the glad and then the sorrowful—

But first the sorrowful and then the glad

Tears for a day—for earth of tears is full

Then we forget that we were ever sad.


Not first the bright , and after that the dark—

But first the dark, and after that the bright

First the thick cloud, and then the rainbow’s arc

First the dark grave, and then resurrection light.


--Horatius Bonar.







The lessons are for children to also live within their means!