MAKING OUR HOME BEAUTIFUL 205
ried, how many more chances for your music to "serve" there will be! I do think that of all reckless wastes the custom of "giving up music" at the altar is one of the most appalling. Marriage and the making of a beautiful home needs all your powers and all your accomplishments; are you going to shut out the most beautiful power and accomplishment, to which you devoted so many years? Most women do not really give up their music until they have little children—just the time in all their lives when they have need of it most. I do not mean for such an obvious reason as giving the children lessons— indeed, that is sometimes a doubtful advantage—but for the formation of their taste, for the atmosphere of beauty that will color all their lives and for the lovely influence that extends with it from mother to child. There is one young woman who used to play so well that every one loved to hear her; now she has two children; they never hear her at all; she has "given up her music." And the other day she said to me, almost in tears: "I can't think where 'Boy' gets his dreadful taste in music; he loves those awful street songs. I must take him to the Young People's Symphony." Ah, what an opportunity she had missed! Not long ago I went to the home of a college professor's wife, the mother of four children, to play with her, four hands, the symphonies of Beethoven. Two of her boys stayed in the room on purpose to gloat over how much better she played than I did. They were too polite to say so, but you could see it in their beaming eyes and in the kindness with which they commended me. One was already fourteen years old; wouldn't you be glad if at that perilous time when boys are only too apt to sheer off from home influences, your boy would be staying in to hear you play, and telling the neighbors afterward, "I tell you, My Mother, she can play just fine!"
It all rests with the spirit, after all; the spirit in which you hold and use your music. You can spend all these years in a sort of absorptive culture, or you can hold your music in trust for the common good. If you feel that, there will always be something coming your way to give you a chance to use it. Then your music will "serve the present age."