Monday, February 6, 2012

Little Women on Love and Ambition

As the girls and I continue listening to Little Women (17 cd's!), I'm (not surprisingly) relating more to Marmee than I did before my own mothering days.  We certainly share many of the same hopes for our children.

Here is Mrs. March responding to her two oldest about some hurtful gossip they've overheard:
   "I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good; to be admired, loved, and respected; to have a happy youth, to be well and wisely married, and to lead useful, pleasant lives, with as little care and sorrow to try them as God sees fit to send.  To be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman; and I sincerely hope my girls may know this beautiful experience.  It is natural to think of it, Meg; right to hope and wait for it, and wise to prepare for it; so that, when the happy time comes, you may feel ready for the duties and worthy of the joy.  My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world,--marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting.  Money is a needful and precious thing,--and, when well used, a noble thing,--but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for.  I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace."
And later, speaking about whether she'd rather have her daughter marry a rich man:
   "Money is a good and useful thing, Jo; and I hope my girls will never feel the need of it too bitterly, nor be tempted by too much.  I should like to know that John was firmly established in some good business, which gave him an income large enough to keep free from debt and make Meg comfortable.  I'm not ambitious for a splendid fortune, a fashionable position, or a great name for my girls.  If rank and money come with love and virtue, also, I should accept them gratefully, and enjoy your good fortune; but I know, by experience, how much genuine happiness can be had in a plain little house, where the daily bread is earned, and some privations give sweetness to the few pleasures.  I am content to see Meg begin humbly, for, if I am not mistaken, she will be rich in the possession of a good man's hart, and that is better than a fortune."

1 comment:

Jeannine said...

This is wonderful, Barbara~ thank you for sharing. I couldn't agree more with Marmee...such wisdom!