167 Sober Husbands (1853) By Fanny Fern
“If your husband looks grave, let him alone; don’t disturb or annoy him.”
Oh, pshaw! were I married, the soberer my husband looked, the more fun I’d rattle about his ears. Don’t disturb him! I guess so! I’d salt his coffee—and pepper his tea—and sugar his beef-steak—and tread on his toes—and hide his newspaper—and sew up his pockets—and put pins in his slippers—and dip his cigars in water,—and I wouldn’t stop for the great Mogul, till I had shortened his long face to my liking. Certainly, he’d “get vexed;” there wouldn’t be any fun in teasing him if he didn’t; and that would give his melancholy blood a good, healthful start; and his eyes would snap and sparkle, and he’d say, “Fanny, will you be quiet or not?” and I should laugh, and pull his whiskers, and say decidedly, “Not!” and then I should tell him he hadn’t the slightest idea how handsome he looked when he was vexed, and then he would pretend not to hear the compliment—but would pull up his dickey, and take a sly peep in the glass (for all that!) and then he’d begin to grow amiable, and get off his stilts, and be just as agreeable all the rest of the evening as if he wasn’t my husband; and all because I didn’t follow that stupid bit of advice “to let him alone.” Just as if I didn’t know! Just imagine me, Fanny, sitting down on a cricket in the corner, with my forefinger in my mouth, looking out the sides of my eyes, and waiting till that man got ready to speak to me! You can see at once it would be—be—. Well, the amount of it is, I shouldn’t do it!
Fern Leaves from Fanny’s Port-folio. Second Series, Fanny Fern, Public Domain