For previous parts of this article click the 'On Impulsiveness' tag below.
The Impulsive Girl as a fellow-traveller is at first slight alluring, but is to be avoided by all who value their peace of mind. A friend of mine was once going on a Swiss tour with two girls, A and B. A was a bight, ardent, impulsive creature; B was quiet, undemonstrative, and usually considered rather cold.
"My only regret," said my friend, "is that B is going with us. I am afraid she will act as a wet blanket. I don't think the most glorious prospect would rouse her to enthusiasm. While as for A, it is positively refreshing to see her delight. If she and I were only going alone together, it would be perfect."
"Do not be too sure," I replied oracularly.
"Well, of course we must make the best of B's society," replied my friend; and we parted.
Two months later, we met again.
Oh where could this be heading, Mrs Watson?
"Oh, it has been delightful," she told me. "But if it had not been for B I really don't know what I should have done."
"And yet you did not want her," I suggested.
"Did I not really? Well, she was the very greatest comfort, always helpful, kind, sensible, ready in any little emergency; while it was quite surprising, in glorious scenery, what depths of feeling showed themselves in her quiet nature."
"And A?" I hazarded.
"Oh, I was sadly disappointed in her. She was always restless, wanting to go somewhere or do something than different from what we had planned. Of course she kept losing her keys and getting into small difficulties; that I did not mind so much; but it was a little trying when, for instance, we were in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, for her to want to drag us there and then to Zermatt, all because she chanced to hear some stray tourist say Zermatt was finer. She was really most provoking and unreasonable, and even now I believe she feels our tour has only been half a success. She always wanted to act on the impulse of the moment."
"Did she not enjoy the scenery as much as you expected?"
"She had only one set of adjectives for everything. A dress that took her fancy, a good table d'hote, the Jungfrau; all were 'too lovely' pronounced in just the same tone. B showed far more appreciation, though she is so quiet. I made up my mind," concluded my friend, with emphasis, "never to travel with a thoroughly impulsive person anymore."
In the foregoing instances, which are by no means exaggerated, the points raised may seem to be trivial. But nothing that affects the comfort and happiness of other people is of slight account. As Keble says:
"We scatter seeds with careless hand
And dream we ne'er shall see them more;
But for a thousand years
Their fruit appears
In weeds that mar the land,
Or healthful store.
"The deeds we do, the words we say -
Into still air they seem to fleet;
We count them ever past;
But they shall last:
In the dread judgment they
And we shall meet."
The Self-Control that will save the naturally impulsive from being driven about hither and thither at the mercy of their own inclinations and whims, and that will be a priceless boon to every woman, no matter what her disposition, shall form the subject of a future essay.