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Sowing and Reaping   By: (1825-1911)

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Transcriber's Note: This document is the text of Sowing and Reaping. Any bracketed notations such as [Text missing], [?], and those inserting letters or other comments are from the original text.


A Temperance Story

A Rediscovered Novel by

Frances E.W. Harper

Edited by Frances Smith Foster

Chapter I

"I hear that John Andrews has given up his saloon; and a foolish thing it was. He was doing a splendid business. What could have induced him?"

"They say that his wife was bitterly opposed to the business. I don't know, but I think it quite likely. She has never seemed happy since John has kept saloon."

"Well, I would never let any woman lead me by the nose. I would let her know that as the living comes by me, the way of getting it is my affair, not hers, as long as she is well provided for."

"All men are not alike, and I confess that I value the peace and happiness of my home more than anything else; and I would not like to engage in any business which I knew was a source of constant pain to my wife."

"But, what right has a woman to complain, if she has every thing she wants. I would let her know pretty soon who holds the reins, if I had such an unreasonable creature to deal with. I think as much of my wife as any man, but I want her to know her place, and I know mine."

"What do you call her place?"

"I call her place staying at home and attending to her own affairs. Were I a laboring man I would never want my wife to take in work. When a woman has too much on hand, something has to be neglected. Now I always furnish my wife with sufficient help and supply every want but how I get the living, and where I go, and what company I keep, is my own business, and I would not allow the best woman in the world to interfere. I have often heard women say that they did not care what their husbands did, so that they provided for them; and I think such conclusions are very sensible."

"Well, John, I do not think so. I think a woman must be very selfish, if all she cares for her husband is, to have a good provider. I think her husband's honor and welfare should be as dear to her as her own; and no true woman and wife can be indifferent to the moral welfare of her husband. Neither man nor woman can live by bread alone in the highest and best sense of the term."

"Now Paul, don't go to preaching. You have always got some moon struck theories, some wild, visionary and impracticable ideas, which would work first rate, if men were angels and earth a paradise. Now don't be so serious, old fellow; but you know on this religion business, you and I always part company. You are always up in the clouds, while I am trying to invest in a few acres, or town lots of solid terra firma ."

"And would your hold on earthly possessions, be less firm because you looked beyond the seen to the unseen?"

"I think it would, if I let conscience interfere constantly, with every business transaction I undertook. Now last week you lost $500 fair and square, because you would not foreclose that mortgage on Smith's property. I told you that 'business is business,' and that while I pitied the poor man, I would not have risked my money that way, but you said that conscience would not let you; that while other creditors were gathering like hungry vultures around the poor man, you would not join with them, and that you did not believe in striking a man when he is down. Now Paul, as a business man, if you want to succeed, you have got to look at business in a practical, common sense way. Smith is dead, and where is your money now?"

"Apparently lost; but the time may come when I shall feel that it was one of the best investments I ever made. Stranger things than that have happened. I confess that I felt the loss and it has somewhat cramped my business. Yet if it was to do over again, I don't think that I would act differently, and when I believe that Smith's death was hurried on by anxiety and business troubles, while I regret the loss of my money, I am thankful that I did not press my claim... Continue reading book >>

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