These are the quietest talks of all. They are about the hallowed things of the sacred inner circle, of which they who know them speak in soft tones and reverential spirit, and then only to those whose hearts are sympathetic, and only at such times as the heart-mood is dominant.
The purpose of sending out this little home messenger was formed some seven years ago, and the work of preparation has been going on since then, though the brooding over the ideals themselves runs through a much longer time.
That purpose came as a direct result of letters received, and interviews sought, regarding the true ideals of home-life, and asking about helpful literature on the subject. These letters and interviews, coming through many years, have been from all parts of the United States, from Canada, from the British Isles and Colonies, and from foreign-mission lands; from all classes of people; and from those of well matured years as well as from young people, with the latter predominating. These have been so pleadingly earnest in their inquiry, and have revealed such real perplexity touching these vital matters, that coming from such wide and varied circles, they seem clearly to indicate a need both deeply felt, and wide-spread.
It will be found that the talks run through a cycle of life, from the time of the making of the life-friendship and the home, until the same sacred time in the life of those who come, and grow up in that home.
This simple little book is like the things of which it talks in one important particular. It takes two in one to make friendship and home, and to grow friendship's finest fruit. And it likewise takes two in one to talk of such things. And even as it is impossible to draw a dividing line between the two in friendship or in home, so it is found quite impossible, as the little book goes out, to draw a line between the work of each one engaged in its writing, so interwoven are both the thought and the language.
A fuller treatment of the subject of the fourth chapter, "The Finest Friendship's Finest Fruits," is published separately, under the title, "The Quietest Talk."