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[32] outlasts youth and beauty; if she has a sister, they are spoken of to the end of their days as “the Parker girls.” All this is the joint result of womanhood and women, or of that womanhood which creates home. It is not only potent for itself, but it extends its potency over all other homes. What, compared to this, is the social position given by wealth to the lonely old bachelor of the country village? Though he be a millionaire, he is simply “the old bach.”

The truth is that as people grow older it is the man who becomes dependent, and the woman the central and essential figure of the household, since she can do without him, and he cannot do without her. The proof of this lies in the fact that we see all around us self-sufficing and contented households of women, while a house that contains men only is a barrack, not a home. In youth it is easy to ignore this, to say with Shakespeare in “Henry V.”

Tis ever common
That men are merriest when away from home;

but the merriment is shallow, the laugh is forced, and years and illness and sorrow soon bring man back, a repentant prodigal, to his home and to woman, the only home-maker.

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