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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 3 (June 1, 1937)

Pensive and Expensive

Pensive and Expensive.

He has seen that look in his wife's projectors before, and it has always resulted in his taking off his coat and rolling up his shirtsleeves. Not that she is inhuman. She always softens the blow by saying “we.” She says, “I think we will dig up the lawn and resow it,” or “Isn't it time we put new posts in the back fence?” But she knows that he knows that, when she says “we,” she means only half of what she says.

An innocent listener might think, “What a wife!” He might regard her as a kind of late-model Boadicea or Helen of Troy, or one of those old-fashioned girls who weren't afraid to
“Broods over him like the Sphinx giving the human sacrifices the once-over.”

“Broods over him like the Sphinx giving the human sacrifices the once-over.”

be themselves and share the white man's burden. But no so! The married man knows that the pronoun “we,” when used connubially, is always first-person-singular. It is a figure of speech. The wife supplies the speech and the husband the figure.

So, when—at eventide—she broods over him like the Sphinx giving the human sacrifices the once-over, the flavour goes out of his flake-cut, the strength goes out of his legs, the cubic content is spilt out of his heart and even the warmth of the fire seems to go cold. Unless his spirit has been thoroughly broken by recurrent attacks on his male morale, he will put up a futile resistance. He will try to sidetrack her although he knows full well that she's a single-track loco. He will say, “By the way; I saw the Deadbeat-Snobsons to-day in their new car. I don't know how they do it.” It's a low trick to play on a woman, but, as he never gets away with it, it doesn't really matter. Or he might mention a hat he has (not) seen in town—the despicable coward!

page 47

Presently she puts on the pressure, and he is sausage-meat in her hands. She says, dreamily, “I've been thinking, Harold—–”

Then, of course, he knows that she's about to put horror in his horoscope.

When a woman says that she has been thinking she means merely that she has come to a decision, which is quite a different thing. That's where the female is the superior sex. A man has to think a long time before he can decide anything. But not a woman. She can decide things with no thought at all. At the shortest notice she can decide on anything from taking a bath to taking a world tour; from making a cake to making a fuss, from doughnuts to divorce, and from bad to worse.