Ten commandments – love of neighbour – false witness against neighbour
THE DEMONS OF THE FIRESIDE (HOW UNREST AND STRIVE IS CAUSED AT HOME BY TWO LITTLE WORDS)
Why these two little words, under so terrible a title – “the demons of the fireside?”
Does an evil spirit conceal himself beneath these insignificant letters?
The Abbé Allemand, a servant of God well experienced in the preservation of youth, used to say to young men when going out in the evening: “Be on your guard; there is a demon hidden under every leaf of the trees.” – These are words, too, in which a demon really seems to hide, judge from all evil they effect under the semblance of good-nature.
Hear how the two which we have written above have been scourged by the pen of an intelligent woman of the world:
There are two words so short that they are frequently uttered before reflection has time to repress them.
So light that they flutter from mouth to mouth, without our even knowing from whose lips they originally came.
So powerful that they justify slander, authorise calumny, reassure the most timid consciences, and spread about, without contradiction, the gossip which destroys reputations and causes the ruin and despair of families.
So wicked that they rob youth of its joys, old age of its dignity and repose, loving hearts of their pure confidence, and nearly every one of some part of his happiness.
Guard your homes
So loved that they find access to every house. No reunion is without them; they are found, indeed, in places from which it would seem that their wickedness should exclude them.
So sprightly that they lend animation to conversation, brighten up the most obtuse minds, furnish subjects of interminable gossip to the most taciturn persons.
They are called: “They say.”
“They say…” serves as a mask to a skeleton in the household, or to one of those vampires which formerly were said to come in the night, troubling the sleep and sucking the blood of their victims.
It is not blood that the monster, hidden under the two words, “they say,” sucks; it is character and honour.
Could we not exorcise this terrible and indefatigable demon of the fireside? – We could, if lies, malice, hatred, and the petty meannesses of vanity were replaced in the human heart by truth, justice, kindness, and love of our neighbour…
But, alas! this happy time will never come, and to the end of the world the demon of slander and calumny will reign, concealed under the perfidious mask, formed by the words, “they say.”
Tips on how to make this demon flee
What we must do is never harbour this demon.
Come together, honest, loyal hearts, and resolve:
- Never to utter the hypocritical words, “they say,” replete, as they most likely are, with the dishonour of a family.
- To stop, from the very first, the person who pronounces them, asking simply: Who is this mysterious personage, whom you call “They”?
- Never to believe what reaches you through this messenger, “They say…”, whose profession is to lie, but who secretly chuckles over the credulous dupes of his falsehoods.
-From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889