Though much has been written of the South, it seems to me that this part of our country is less understood than any other part. Certainly the South, itself, feels that this is true. Its relationship to the North makes me think of nothing so much as that of a pretty, sensitive wife, to a big, strong, amiable, if somewhat thick-skinned husband. These two had one great quarrel which nearly resulted in divorce. He thought her headstrong; she thought him overbearing. The quarrel made her ill; she has been for some time recovering. But though they have settled their difficulties and are living again in amity together, and though he, man-like, has half forgotten that they ever quarreled at all, now that peace reigns in the house again, she has not forgotten. There still lingers in her mind the feeling that he never really understood her, that he never understood her problems and her struggles, and that he never will. And it seems to me further that, as is usually the case with wives who consider themselves misunderstood, the fault is partly, but by no means altogether, hers. He, upon one hand, is inclined to pass the matter off with a: "There, there! It's all over now. Just be good and forget it!" while she, in the depths of her heart, retains a little bit of wistfulness, a little[Pg viii] wounded feeling, which causes her to say to herself: "Thank God our home was not broken up, buta??I wish that he could be a little more considerate, sometimes, in view of all that I have suffered." For my part, I am the humble but devoted friend of the family. Having known him first, having been from boyhood his companion, I may perhaps have sympathized with him in the beginning. But since I have come to know her, too, that is no longer so. And I do think I know hera??proud, sensitive, high-strung, generous, captivating beauty that she is! Moreover, after the fashion of many another "friend of the family," I have fallen in love with her. Loving her from afar, I send her as a nosegay these chapters gathered in her own gardens. If some of the flowers are of a kind for which she does not care, if some have thorns, even if some are only weeds, I pray her to remember that from what was growing in her gardens I was forced to make my choice, and to believe that, whatever the defects of my bouquet, it is meant to be a bunch of roses.
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