All Our Lives: Alice Duer Miller

By Henry Wise Miller | Go to book overview

III

Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make the sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

OUR married life was successful, but whether because we broke all the rules, or in spite of that, I do not know. Many people--and that included members of our own family-- thought we were crazy. My mother-in-law told me a few days before we were married that it was still not too late, if I wanted to change my mind. And thirty years later, my mother remarked, at a large family luncheon: "Alice, I don't see why you haven't divorced Harry years ago." This at my own dinner table.

The trouble is that I have never been able to think of myself as a husband. I find it a little shocking to hear a man allude casually to a woman as his wife. It's a word I use with difficulty.

I doubt if this trait is as strange as it sounds. A man may still cling to a sense of freedom. He may take that part of his life as something for himself alone; feel, quite properly, the matter is nobody else's business. There is an African tribe with whom marriage is a secret pact, inviolable and known only to the married couple. Any public recognition is taboo.

A cable code Alice and I used had two words. One meant, "I love you." The other, "This is strictly between ourselves."

The Abbé Sieyès was asked what he had done in the French Revolution and replied, "J'ai survécu." All I know is we stayed married. But I have no advice to give on the subject. I haven't

-100-

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All Our Lives: Alice Duer Miller
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • I 3
  • II 44
  • III 100
  • IV 158
  • V 172
  • Acknowledgments *
  • VI 197
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