Looking Through the Past into the Future

Matilda Norman Cavitt

Here is a little gem printed in a Texas newspaper sometime in the 1890’s, by my best guess.  It was saved by “Aunt Tillie” Cavitt, and was found in her possessions upon her death.  Readings from the past are like a window into the soul of an earlier time.  The following essay is something to ponder in the year 2010.

The Charm of Reserve

Do not be too anxious to give away yourself, to wear your heart upon your sleeve.  It is not only unwise, but it is wrong to make your secret soul common property; for you bring the delicate things of the heart into contempt by exposing them to those who can not understand them.  If you throw pearls before swine, they will trample them under their feet.  Nor, again, should you claim too much openness as a duty due to you from your child, your friend, your wife, or your husband.  Much of the charm of life is ruined by exacting demands of confidence.  Respect the natural modesty of the soul; its more delicate flowers of feeling close their petals when they are touched too rudely.  Wait with curious love, with eager interest, for the time when, all being harmonious, the revelation will come of its own accord, undemanded.  The expectation has its charm, for as long as life has something to learn, life is interesting; as long as a friend has something to give, friendship is delightful.

Those who wish to destroy all mystery in those they love, to have everything revealed, are unconsciously killing their own happiness.  It is much to be with those who have many things to say to us which we can not bear now.  It is much to live with those who sometimes speak to us in parables, if we love them.  Love needs some indefiniteness, in order to keep its charm.  Respect, which saves love from the familiarity which degrades it, is kept vivid, when we feel that there is a mystery in those we love which comes of a depth of character.  Remember, that in violating your own reserve, or that of another, you destroy that sensitiveness of character which makes so much of the beauty of character; and beauty of character is not so common as to make it not a cruel thing to spoil it.