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THE WEDDING GUEST:
A FRIEND OF THE BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM.
EDITED BY T.S. ARTHUR.
THERE is no relation in life so important--none involving so much of
happiness or misery, as that of husband and wife. Yet, how rarely is
it, that the parties when contracting this relation, have large
experience, clear insight into character, or truly know themselves!
In each other, they may have the tenderest confidence, and for each
other the warmest love; but, only a brief time can pass ere they
will discover that the harmonious progression of two minds, each of
which has gained an individual and independent movement is not
always a thing of easy attainment. Too soon, alas! is felt a jar of
discord--too soon self-will claims an individual freedom of action
that is not fully accorded; and unless there is wisdom and
forbearance, temporary or permanent unhappiness is sure to follow.
Much has been written on the true relation of married partners, and
we cannot do a better service to the bride and bridegroom, than by
gathering words of wisdom on this subject from all sources within
our reach, and presenting them in as attractive a form as possible.
And this we have done in the present volume, to which, as the
title-page indicates, we bear only the relation of editor. In it
will be found pictures of life, serious counsel, earnest admonition,
and hints and suggestions, which, if wisely followed, will keep the
sky bright with sunshine, or scatter the gathering clouds ere they
break in angry storms. May this "WEDDING GUEST" receive as warm a
welcome as we desire.
THE EVENING BEFORE MARRIAGE 7
THE WIFE 14
THE BRIDE'S SISTER 34
LOVE vs. HEALTH 35
THE YOUNG HOUSEKEEPER 45
TO AN ABSENT WIFE 57
THE WORD OF PRAISE 58
LETTERS TO A YOUNG WIFE FROM A MARRIED LADY 71
THE WIFE 82
BE GENTLE WITH THY WIFE 83
A TRUE TALE OF LIFE 84
MAN AND WOMAN 102
THE FAIRY WIFE--AN APOLOGUE 106
A BRIEF HISTORY, IN THREE PARTS, WITH A SEQUEL 109
ELMA'S MISSION 111
LIVING LIKE A LADY 128
LADY LUCY'S SECRET 133
A WORD FOR WIVES 144,
NO JEWELLED BEAUTY 147
THE FIRST MARRIAGE IN THE FAMILY 148
ONLY A FEW WORDS 156
THE TWO HOMES 163
LOVE'S FAIRY RING 170
FANNIE'S BRIDAL 172
THE LOVER AND THE HUSBAND 182
A HOME IN THE HEART 192
A LEAF FROM A FAMILY JOURNAL 193
DOMESTIC HAPPINESS 224
A SYLVAN MORALITY; OR, A WORD TO WIVES 282
PASSAGES FROM A YOUNG WIFE'S DIARY 245
HINTS AND HELPS FOR MARRIED PARTNERS 254
THREE WAYS OF MANAGING A WIFE 285
THE WEDDING GUEST.
THE EVENING BEFORE MARRIAGE.
"WE shall certainly be very happy together!" said Louise to her aunt
on the evening before her marriage, and her cheeks glowed with a
deeper red, and her eyes shone with delight. When a bride says _we_,
it may easily be guessed whom of all persons in the world she means
"I do not doubt it, dear Louise," replied her aunt. "See only that
you _continue_ happy together."
"Oh, who can doubt that we shall continue so! I know myself. I have
faults, indeed, but my love for him will correct them. And so long
as we love each other, we cannot be unhappy. Our love will never
"Alas!" sighed her aunt, "thou dost speak like a maiden of nineteen,
on the day before her marriage, in the intoxication of wishes
fulfilled, of fair hopes and happy omens. Dear child, remember
this--_even the heart in time grows cold._ Days will come when the
magic of the senses shall fade. And when this enchantment has fled,
then it first becomes evident whether we are truly worthy of love.
When custom has made familiar the charms that are most attractive,
when youthful freshness has died away, and with the brightness of
domestic life, more and more shadows have mingled, then, Louise, and
not till then, can the wife say of the husband, 'He is worthy of
love;' then, first, the husband say of the wife, 'She blooms in
imperishable beauty.' But, truly, on the day before marriage, such
assertions sound laughable to me."
"I understand you, dear aunt. You would say that our mutual virtues
alone can in later years give us worth for each other. But is not he
to whom I am to belong--for of myself I can boast nothing but the
best intentions--is he not the worthiest, noblest of all the young
men of the city? Blooms not in his soul, every virtue that tends to
make life happy?"
"My child," replied her aunt, "I grant it. Virtues bloom in thee as
well as in him; I can say this to thee without flattery. But, dear
heart, they bloom only, and are not yet ripened beneath the sun's
heat and the shower. No blossoms deceive the expectations more than
these. We can never tell in what soil they have taken root. Who
knows the concealed depths of the heart?"
"Ah, dear aunt, you really frighten me."
"So much the better Louise. Such fear is right; such fear is as it
should be on the evening before marriage. I love thee tenderly, and
will, therefore, declare all my thoughts on this subject without
disguise. I am not as yet an old aunt. At seven-and-twenty years,
one still looks forward into life with pleasure, the world still
presents a bright side to us. I have an excellent husband. I am
happy. Therefore, I have the right to speak thus to thee, and to
call thy attention to a secret which perhaps thou dost not yet know,
one which is not often spoken of to a young and pretty maiden, one,
indeed, which does not greatly occupy the thoughts of a young man,
and still is of the utmost importance in every household: a secret
from which alone spring lasting love and unalterable happiness."
Louise seized the hand of her aunt in both of hers. "Dear aunt! you
know I believe you in everything. You mean, that enduring happiness
and lasting love are not insured to us by accidental qualities, by
fleeting charms, but only by those virtues of the mind which bring
to each other. These are the best dowry which we can possess; these
never become old."
"As it happens, Louise. The virtues also, like the beauties of the
body, can grow old, and become repulsive and hateful with age."
"How, dearest aunt! what is it you say? Name me a virtue which can
become hateful with years."
"When they have become so, we no longer call them virtues, as a
beautiful maiden can no longer be called beautiful, when time has
changed her to an old and wrinkled woman."
"But, aunt, the virtues are nothing earthly."
"How can gentleness and mildness ever become hateful?"
"So soon as they degenerate into insipid indolence and
"And manly courage?"
"Becomes imperious rudeness."
"And modest diffidence?"
"Turns to fawning humility."
"And noble pride?"
"To vulgar haughtiness."
"And readiness to oblige?"
"Becomes a habit of too ready friendship and servility."
"Dear aunt, you make me almost angry. My future husband can never
degenerate thus. He has one virtue which will preserve him as he is
for ever. A deep sense, an indestructible feeling for everything
that is great and good and noble, dwells in his bosom. And this
delicate susceptibility to all that is noble dwells in me also, I
hope, as well as in him. This is the innate pledge and security for
"But if it should grow old with you; if it should change to hateful
excitability; and excitability is the worst enemy of matrimony. You
both possess sensibility. That I do not deny; but beware lest this
grace should degenerate into an irritable and quarrelsome mortal."
"Ah, Dearest aunt, if I might never become old! I could then be sure
that my husband would never cease to love me."
"Thou art greatly in error, dear child! Wert thou always as fresh
and beautiful as to-day, still thy husband's eye would by custom of
years become indifferent to these advantages. Custom is the greatest
enchantress in the world, and in the house one of the most
benevolent of fairies. She render's that which is the most
beautiful, as well as the ugliest, familiar. A wife is young, and
becomes old; it is custom which hinders the husband from perceiving
the change. On the contrary, did she remain young, while he became
old, it might bring consequences, and render the man in years
jealous. It is better as kind Providence has ordered it. Imagine
that thou hadst grown to be an old woman, and thy husband were a
blooming youth; how wouldst thou then feel?"
Louise rubbed her chin, and said, "I cannot tell."
Her aunt continued: "But I will call thy attention to at secret
"That is it," interrupted Louise, hastily, "that is it which I long
so much to hear."
Her aunt said: "Listen to me attentively. What I now tell thee, I
have proved. It consists of _two parts_. The _first part_, of the
means to render a marriage happy, of itself prevents every
possibility of dissension; and would even at last make the spider
and the fly the best of friends with each other. The _second part_
is the best and surest method of preserving feminine attractions."
"Ah!" exclaimed Louise.
"The former half of the means, then: In the first solitary hour
after the ceremony, take thy bridegroom, and demand a solemn vow of
him, and give him a solemn vow in return. Promise one another
sacredly, _never, not even in mere jest, to wrangle with each
other_; never to bandy words or indulge in the least ill-humour.
_Never!_ I say; never. Wrangling, even in jest, and putting on an
air of ill-humour merely to tease, becomes earnest by practice. Mark
that! Next promise each other, sincerely and solemnly, _never to
have a secret from each other_ under whatever pretext, with whatever
excuse it may be. You must, continually and every moment, see
clearly into each other's bosom. Even when one of you has committed
a fault, wait not an instant, but confess it freely--let it cost
tears, but confess it. And as you keep _nothing secret from each
other_, so, on the contrary, preserve the privacies of your house,
marriage state and heart, from _father, mother, sister, brother,
aunt, and all the world._ You two, with God's help, build your own
quiet world. Every third or fourth one whom you draw into it with
you, will form a party, and stand between you two! That should never
be. Promise this to each other. Renew the vow at each temptation.
You will find your account in it. Your souls will grow as it were
together, and at last will become as one. Ah, if many a young pair
had on their wedding day known this simple secret, and straightway
practised it, how many marriages were happier than, alas, they are!"
Louise kissed her aunt's hand with ardour. "I feel that it must be
so. Where this confidence is absent, the married, even after
wedlock, are two strangers who do not know each other. It should be
so; without this, there can be no happiness. And now, aunt, the best
preservative of female beauty?"
Her aunt smiled, and said: "We may not conceal from ourselves that a
handsome man pleases us a hundred times more than an ill-looking
one, and the men are pleased with us when we are pretty. But what we
call beautiful, what in the men pleases us, and in us pleases the
men, is not skin and hair and shape and colour, as in a picture or a
statue; but it is the character, it is the soul that is within
these, which enchants us by looks and words, earnestness, and joy,
and sorrow. The men admire us the more they suppose those virtues of
the mind to exist in us which the outside promises; and we think a
malicious man disagreeable, however graceful and handsome he may be.
Let a young maiden, then, who would preserve her beauty, preserve
but that purity of soul, those sweet qualities of the mind, those
virtues, in short, by which she first drew her lover to her feet.
And the best preservative of virtue, to render it unchanging and
keep it ever young, is _religion_, that inward union with the Deity
and eternity and faith--is piety, that walking with God, so pure, so
peaceful, so beneficent to mortals.
"See, dear heart," continued the aunt, "there are virtues which
arise out of mere experience. These grow old with time, and alter,
because, by change of circumstances and inclination, prudence alters
her means of action, and became her growth does not always keep pace
with that of our years and passions. But religious virtues can never
change; these remain eternally the same, because our good is always
the same, and that eternity the same, which we and those who love us
are hastening to enter. Preserve, then, a mind innocent and pure,
looking for everything from God; thus will that beauty of soul
remain, for which thy bridegroom to-day adores thee. I am no bigot,
no fanatic; I am thy aunt of seven-and-twenty. I love all in
innocent and rational amusements. But for this very reason I say to
thee--be a dear, good Christian, and thou wilt as a mother, yes, as
a grandmother, be still beautiful."
Louise threw her arms about her neck, and wept in silence, and
whispered, "I thank thee, angel!"
ROSA LEE was dressed in her bridal garments, and as she knelt in all
the bloom of her maidenly beauty, angels must have rejoiced over
her; for the spirit of the maiden was in a heaven of love, and she
knelt in the fulness of her joy, to pour out her gratitude to the
Heavenly Father, that "seeth in secret." Yes, alone in her chamber,
the young girl bowed herself for the last time, and as the thought
flashed over her mind, that when next she should kneel in that
consecrated place, it would not be alone, but that manly arms would
bear up her drooping form, and two voices would mingle as one in the
holy prayer, a gushing tenderness flooded the heart of the beautiful
bride, and light as from Heaven pervaded her whole being, and she
could only murmur, "Oh, how beautiful it is to love!"
But bustling steps and voices approach; and Rosa hears one step that
sends at thrill to her heart. In the next moment, the maiden, with
the rosy glow of love upon her cheek, and the heaven-light yet
beaming in her eyes, stood face to face with her lover. Her eyes met
his, in that calm, confiding look of an unbounded affection, and, as
her hand rested on his arm, strength seemed to flow into her from
him, and she looked serene and placid as pure water, that reflects
the moonbeams of heaven; and yet, her smiles came and went like
these same waters when the ripples sparkle in the glad sunshine.
The bridal party moved forward to the festive hall, where
sympathizing friends were gathered to greet them, as a married pair,
and the heart of Rosa opened to the holy marriage ceremony with a
sense of heavenly rapture.
To her it was as a new and beautiful revelation, when she heard the
oft-repeated words, "In the beginning created He them male and
female." Ah, yes. It was beautiful to realize that she was created
for her beloved Paul, and that in all the vast peopled universe of
God, there was not another being so adapted to him as she was.
Ah, this was the beautiful marriage joy, that earth so seldom
witnesses. These were of "those whom God hath joined together." And
Paul Cleves felt it in his inmost soul, as he turned towards his
congratulating friends with his delicate and beautiful bride leaning
upon his arm.
Ah, how he watched every vibration of her feelings! suddenly she had
become the pulse of his own soul. As a maiden, he had loved her with
a wondrous tenderness and devotion. But now, as a wife! There was at
once a new and quite different relation established between them.
Paul was so filled with this new perception of blessedness, that he
would fain have left the gay company, that he might pour out the
beautiful thought that possessed him, to gladden the heart of Rosa;
and when he looked his wish to her, she smiled, and whispered to
him, "Eternity is ours, and we are not to live for ourselves alone."
And here was a new mystery to him. She was revealed to him as
another self, with power to read his every thought. And yet it was
it better self, for she prompted him to disinterested acts; and away
went the glad Paul to shower his attentions upon all those to whom
life came not so joyously. And an aged grandmother, and a palsied
aunt, almost feared that the handsome bridegroom had forgotten his
fair bride, in his warm and kindly interest for them.
Happy Paul! he had found an angel clothed in flesh and blood, who
was for ever to stand between him and his old hard, selfish nature.
Something of this thought passed through his mind, as his eye
glanced over the crowd in search of his beloved and beautiful one.
But she, on the other side, was quite near. He felt her soft
presence, and as he turned he caught the light of her loving smile.
Yes, she appreciated his self-sacrifice, and as he gazed upon her,
his delighted mind and satisfied heart felt a delicious sense of the
coming joy of the eternal future.
And the gay bridal passed away, but its light and its joy seemed to
overflow all the coming days. And Paul Cleves at length found
himself in that reality of which he had so often dreamed, and for
which he had so passionately yearned. Yes, he was in his own quiet
home, with Rosa by his side.
Months had passed; he had settled into the routine of his business,
and she in that of her domestic life; and now it was evening. Paul
had come to his home from the labours of the day, with a beautiful
hope in his heart; for to him his _home_ was the open door of
Heaven. He carried into it no hard, selfish thought, but entered it
with the certainty of blessedness, and peace, and love.
Rosa's heart was in her eyes, when it was time for Paul to come. How
carefully she foresaw his every want! And when she had prepared
everything that her active love could suggest to promote his
pleasure and comfort, then she took her place at the window to watch
for his coming. This evening watch was a beautiful time to the young
wife, for she said "Now, will I think of God, who made for me a
being to love." And at this time, it was always as if the great sun
of Heaven shone upon her.
And now, Paul passes the bridge, to which Rosa's eye can but just
reach. And--is it not wonderful?--Paul's figure is distinguished,
even if there be many others, in the dim twilight, crossing that
bridge. Ah! how well she knows his figure; to her it is the very
form of her love. She sees her whole thoughts and desires embodied
in him. And now, he passes the corner of a projecting building,
which for a time partially conceals him from her sight.
And how her delight increases as he approaches; the nearer he comes,
the more her heart opens to the Divine sun of Heaven. She feels as
if she could draw its radiations down upon him. She waits at the
window to catch his first glad look of recognition, then she flies
to the door, and no sooner is it opened and closed again, than Paul
clasps her to his heart, and presses upon her warm lips such kisses
as can join heart to heart.
The evening meal being over, then Paul turns to his peculiar
delight--to listening to Rosa's thoughts and feelings. All day, he
hears of worldly things; but with Rosa he hears of heavenly things.
Her heart feeds upon his thoughts, and assimilates them into new and
graceful forms of feminine beauty, and Paul sits and listens, full
of love and wonder, to his own thoughts, reproduced by the vivid
perceptive powers of his wife. For instance, this morning Paul was
reading in the Bible, as he always does to Rosa, before he leaves
for his business, and he paused on the words, "then Abraham gave up
the ghost, and died in a good old age, and full of years, and was
gathered to his people;" and he remarked that in this verse there
was a most striking affirmation of a future existence; for that
Abraham being gathered to "his people," must imply that these people
yet lived, or why should mention be made of that fact? And now, in
this beautiful evening hour, when Paul asked Rosa what she had been
thinking of all day, behold she had a whole Heaven-world to open
before him. With her arms clasped around his neck, and her clear,
bright eyes looking into his, she answered--
"Oh, Paul, I have been so happy all day. Do you remember what you
told me about Abraham being gathered to 'his people' this morning?
Well, I have been thinking about it, with such a delight in the
thought of those living people, to whom we will be gathered after
death. You left me with a beautiful thought, dear Paul, and it
seemed as if the angels gathered around me, and told me so many more
things, that I have written all my thoughts down."
"Where are they?" said Paul, feeling such a delight in the
possession of these written thoughts. And Rosa, drawing a paper from
her pocket, leans her cheek upon his head, and reads:--
"'Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, and
full of years, and was gathered to his people.' How beautiful is
this verse of the holy Word of God! It seems to open to us a glimpse
"After death, we are told, that he was 'gathered to his people.'
What a blessed rest and enjoyment comes over us, even in this world,
when we find ourselves with '_our_ people!'
"When congenial spirits meet, all strife and contention ceases; and
how each hastens to give to the other of the fulness of his thought
and feeling! Such moments in our life are as if Heaven had come down
to us, and fleeting and transient as the moment may be, its memory
lives with us as a heavenly light, fed from above; and when we
realize a continued existence of the harmony of thought and feeling
of an ever-flowing communication of pure sentiments, of kindly
affections, and of that delight in perceiving good and truth in
others, which makes them one with us,--then we have a glimpse of
that Heaven to which Abraham ascended, and in which he was 'gathered
to his people.'
"I love to read this verse, and imagine what the angels would think
if they could hear the words as I read them. And, truly, although
angels do not hear through our gross material atmosphere, can they
not _see_ the image of what we read in our minds? It is beautiful to
think that they can; and it is pleasant to conceive how an angelic,
perfectly spiritual mind would understand these words, 'And Abraham
gave up the ghost.' The angels would see that the spirit of Abraham
had laid off that gross material covering, which was not the real
man--only the appearance of a man. To angels, this body, which
appears to us so tangible, must be but the _ghost_ of a reality, for
to them the spirit is the reality.
"With us, in this outer existence, the laying off of the body is
death, that symbol of annihilation; it is as if our life ceased,
because we no longer grasp coarse material nature. But with the
angels, the laying off of the body is birth; it is the beginning of
a beautiful, new existence. The spirit then moves and acts in a
spiritual world of light and beauty. It no longer moves dimly in
that dark, material world which is as but a lifeless, ghostly
counterpart of the living, eternal spirit-world.
"Thus, it seems to me, the angels would understand the words 'And
Abraham gave up the ghost.' And the words which follow would have
for them a far different signification than to us. For with us 'old
age' presents the idea of the gradual wasting away and deterioration
of the powers of the body it is the shadow from the darkened future,
foretelling the end of life. But angels see the spirit advancing
from one state of wisdom to another, and to grow old in Heaven must
be altogether different from growing old on earth; and we can only
conceive of a spirit as growing for ever more active, intelligent,
and beautiful, from the heavenly wisdom and love in which it
develops. Imagine an angel, who has lived a thousand years in
Heaven; his faculties must have all this time been perfecting and
expanding in new powers and activities; whereas, on earth, the
material body, in 'threescore years and ten,' becomes so cumbrous
and heavy, so disorganized and worn out, that the spiritual body can
no longer act in it; hence 'an old man, full of years,' appears to
the angels as one whose spirit has passed through so many changes of
state; consequently has thought and loved so much that it has
increased in activity, life, and power, and thus spiritual
progression must be onward to an eternal youth.
"Does it not thrill the soul with the joy of a beautiful hope to
imagine Abraham, or any loving spirit, as rising from the material
to the spiritual world, 'full of years,' or states of wisdom and
love, for ever to grow young among his 'own people?'
"What to Abraham, now, were all of those flocks, and herds, and men
servants, and maid servants, that had made his earthly riches? They
were nothing more to him, in his new heavenly life, than that ghost
of a, body 'he gave up.' The only riches he could carry with him
were his spiritual riches--his powers of thinking and feeling. All
of his outer life was given to him to develop these powers. All of
his natural surroundings were as a body to his natural thoughts and
feelings, in which they might grow to the full stature of a man,
that he might become 'full of years,' or states.
"And thus to us is given a natural world; and its duties and ties
are all important, for within the natural thought and feeling the
spiritual thought and feeling grows, as does the soul in its
material body. And like as the soul ever feels within itself a
separate existence, higher, and above that of its material
organization, so also does the spiritual thought and feeling realize
itself in its world of natural thoughts and affections; it sighs to
be gathered to its 'own people,' even while it loves its natural
ties. And, now and then, it has beautiful glimpses of the
consociation of spirits according to spiritual affinities.
"The love of the spirit, thus warmed into life, should descend into
its natural ties. Uncongenial brothers and sisters are often thrown
together and bound by the most indissoluble natural ties. We should
cultivate these natural affections and family ties as types of the
beautiful spiritual consociations of Heaven.
"Our spirit must grow in the constant exercise of natural
affections, or we can have no capacity for the spiritual. If in this
world we live morose, ungenial lives, crushing down the budding
affections, and the active thoughts springing from them, can we ever
be angels? No, assuredly not; for the angels are like the Heavenly
Father, in whose light of love they live. They delight to do good to
every created being, whether good or evil. They would not, and could
not recognise an evil person as a congenial spirit, but for the sake
of awakening in him some spark of a beautiful love, a disinterested
thought and affection; they would crown his whole life with loving
kindness and tender compassion. A true, heavenly angel could be
happy in the effort to do good to the most fallen human spirit; and
should not we imitate them, that we may be as one of them, one in
thought and feeling with them?
"To love!--love with our every power of being--is the only eternal
reality. From love springs thought; and thought and affection are
the flesh and blood of the spirit. The spirit grows upon what it
feeds, as does the body upon its material food; and to stint the
spirit of its food is a sad detriment to our after-life.
"A perception of the heavenly life should arouse us to a power of
loving every human being that we come in contact with, and make us
realize that to love and serve is the happiness of angels, and the
principle which conjoins men and angels to God."
When the last word was breathed, as it were, in a soft, holy
brightness, from Rosa's lips, Paul sealed them with a kiss. How much
he had learned from the perception of a mind that was so wholly
gentle and feminine, that its substance seemed all of love; of a
love that received the impression only of heavenly things!--while
he, with all of his brilliant talents and masculine understanding,
felt that his contact was with this hard outer world of material
facts and realities; and that oftentimes the very density of the
atmosphere in which his mind dwelt obscured and clouded the delicate
moral perceptions of his being.
But Rosa saw above him, and revealed to him those beautiful inner
truths that were to give form and character to his outer life. Yes;
Paul had uncongenial brothers and sisters, and his more refined
tastes and pursuits would have led him away from them. But Rosa,
with her womanly tact, and grace, and lovingness, led him out from
the mists of selfishness into the halo of a more genial and
beautiful light, and he felt his heart grow warm with an
"Ah, Rosa," he said, "there comes over me a new and more beautiful
perception of the holy marriage relation; and, like another Adam, I
realize that an Eve is created for me from my own breast. My thought
grows so _living_ in you, Rosa,--this morning, so unconsciously, was
taken from me but a dry rib, and now God grants to me this beautiful
Eve! Ah, Rosa, my heart is so full of gratitude for the beautiful
gift of your thoughts to me,--I realize so fully that you are a
'help meet for me.'"
Happy Rosa! She gazed into Paul's eyes, and caressed him with her
soft touches, and said--
"Oh, Paul, Paul! when I look at you, and think that some day you
will be an angel of Heaven, and that I will see your glorious,
spirit-beauty, my heart is so happy; for then I can feel, dear Paul,
that our love stretches far away beyond this world and this life;
and if I love you so much here, what will it be when I see you in
the beautiful heavenly light?"
"Your fancy is dreaming of what I will be; and can you not dream for
me of how bright and beautiful my Rosa will be in that heavenly
"Ah, yes," said Rosa, "that too is pleasant, for I love to be
beautiful, dear Paul, for your sake; and today I was thinking of how
happy I should make you--not I, but the Lord will make you happy,
dear Paul, through me; and is not that a beautiful thought--that it
is God loving us through each other?"
How holy love grew at once to Paul! though at first he did not see
this beautiful truth as clearly as did Rosa. But she went on, in her
loving way, and very soon she raised him into that inner sunshine in
which she dwelt, and then he saw it all clearly, for she said--
"You know, dear Paul, that we read in the Bible that 'God is a sun,
and that He is the fountain of life,' and thus all life flows from
Him into us, just as in the tiny flowers upon the earth comes the
warm living ray of the material sun, developing in them beautiful
colours and odours--so the life-ray from God fills us with warm
affections. We are but dead forms--the power and the life is in Him,
and if we were cut off from Him, how could we love each other?"
Paul was convinced, and did not fail to make Rosa realize the
Heaven-derived life and power that was in him. And as they kneeled
together in their evening devotions, and Paul clasped his wife in
his arms, how clearly he felt the influence of that Divine sun upon
his soul, filling it with a gushing, yearning tenderness for his
beloved and beautiful one; and how fervently he prayed that the
light might grow in her, and through her descend to him! Beautiful
are the prayers of such loving hearts, for the inner door of their
existence then opens, and the great King of Glory enters in, and
they are in the Lord, and the Lord is in them.
Yes, Paul had found a wife--not an external type or shadow of one to
mock and vex his soul with an unsatisfactory pretence, but a most
blessed and eternal reality. He was married not only in the sight of
men, but before God and the angels. And the heart of Rosa responded
to his mind as truly and unfailingly as his heart beat to the breath
of his lungs. She was as his inner life, and he felt himself strong
to guard and protect her as he would his own existence. She had
become one with him, and henceforth there was no separate existence
for these two.
So serenely and lovingly flowed their life in its interior light and
beauty, that cares and anxieties seemed scarce to touch their
states. True, these came to them in the guise of those calamities
and disappointments, that so often sweep as the destructive tornado
over the lower lives of the earth-loving children of men. But as
their affections were spiritual, they were not wounded by the
earth-sorrows. Their treasures were laid up _above_, where "moth and
rust doth not corrupt." Paul realized this when he saw Rosa hold her
dead baby in her arms and smile through her tears. And yet this was
her "little Paul" that she loved with such an intense delight and
devotion; because in him, all the day long, she saw that wonderful
life of God manifested in such a heavenly innocence and purity, as
in a tiny image of her own Paul. Yet, when the spirit of the child
was gone, she adorned the clay form in which it had dwelt, with such
loving care, and laid it in its little coffin, that her hand might
serve it to the very last, and then turned and rested her head in
the bosom of her husband as a wounded bird in its downy nest.
Paul's love seemed to lift her to the Heaven to which her baby had
gone; and when, after a few days, she urged him to leave her and go
to his office where his duties called him, Paul feared that she
would feel lonely, and would fain have stayed beside her. But she
"No, dear Paul; I shall never be alone again; the spirit of the
child will be with me: it is so beautiful to have loved him on
earth, for now I can love him in Heaven." And so Paul left her, not
as one in a dark land of sorrow, but floating in a world of light
and love. And how eagerly he hastened back to his gentle, stricken
dove, and folded her to his heart, as though he would shield her
from all sorrow! But he scarce found a sorrow; she was all light and
joy, and said--
"Oh, Paul, I am so happy, for I have been thinking all day how happy
the angels must be to have my little Paul with them! It seemed to me
that I could see them adorning him with heavenly garments, and I
could see his happy smile; and I was glad that he was no longer
oppressed by his weak, earthly body. Yes, he is now a blessed angel
in Heaven, and is it not beautiful, dear Paul, that we have given an
angel to Heaven?"
Thus was the earth-sorrow turned to a heavenly joy. And though other
children were born to Paul and Rosa, yet their chief delight in them
was, that they were to be angels in Heaven. How often Rosa said,
"Paul, they are the children of the Lord--not ours; only we have the
loving work to teach them for Heaven."
Through Rosa, Paul realized this beautiful truth, and earnestly
strove to impart truth to the tender and impressible minds of his
children; he presented it to them in the most beautiful and
attractive forms. But it was Rosa that made them love it and live in
it; it was the teachings of the father that fell like "golden
grains" in the earth of their minds; but it was the gentle,
never-ceasing culture of the mother, that caused it to spring up
into the sunshine of Heaven, and bear the fruit of kind and loving
actions. When Paul saw this, he felt himself a man in the true sense
of the word; one, who could perform the highest uses in life,
without being clogged and thwarted by the want of concert in action
by his partner in life. Thus it is that a harmony of thought and
feeling produces a harmony in action.
And how elevated and noble became all the ends of Paul's life! It
was Rosa that elevated and refined them, and directed them
Heavenward. It was beautiful to see how she could draw down the
light of Heaven into all the outer life. Everything on earth seemed
to her but the symbol of something in Heaven. And when Paul once
gave her money, she thanked him with such a grateful warmth of
affection, that he laughingly asked her, if she loved money, that
she was so grateful for it. She answered, "Yes, Paul; I love your
money, because you have worked for it; and when you give it to me,
it seems to our outer life what truth is to our inner life. If you
gave me no truth, I could not adorn your inner life with love; and
if you gave me no money, I could not adorn your outer life with
good. I could not alone attain either money or truth. I should be
very poor, dear Paul, both spiritually and naturally, without you.
But you, as a husband, bring me truth and money. With the first I
call the angels around you; with the second I call earthly friends
around you; and thus, both your inner and outer life are made glad
and warm and genial."
And Paul knew this; for his home was beautiful,--a feminine taste
and tact reigned through it, and Rosa's diffusive charity made him
the centre of a circle to whom he dispensed not only earthly goods,
but the noble thoughts of his large understanding. And Paul realized
that while he guided all things by his wisdom, given to him of God,
Rosa was as the motive power to his existence. Her influence
pervaded his every thought and feeling, and while it made his life
upon earth so full and perfect, it allied him to Heaven; and thus he
held her in his house and heart as the Holy of holies.
Happy is the earth if it have one pair of such married ones, for
through such, the Spirit and life of God descend upon the earth, and
bind it to Heaven. But blessed, yea most blessed will be the earth
when it has many such, for then the heavenly sunshine will flood the
whole earth with its light and glory, and the Lord, who is the
centre and source of this glorious Sun, will see His image
reflected, in its mercy and tender beauty, in the lives of the
dwellers upon earth, even as it now is seen by Him in those of the
dwellers in Heaven, and thus will the "kingdom of God" come upon
earth "as it is in Heaven."
IN the truest sense of the word, woman was created to be man's
comforter, a joyous helpmate in hours of sunshine, a soother, when
the clouds darken and the tempests howl around his head; then,
indeed, we perceive the divinely beautiful arrangement which
marriage enforces. Man in his wisdom, his rare mental endowments, is
little fitted to bear adversity. He bows before the blast, like the
sturdy pine which the wintry storm, sweeping past, cracks to its
very centre; while woman, as the frail reed, sways to and fro with
the fierce gust, then rises again triumphant towards the blackening
sky. Her affection, pure and steadfast, her unswerving faith and
devotion, sustain man in the hour of darkness, even as the trailing
weed supports and binds together the mighty walls of some mouldering
Would you know why so many unhappy marriages seem to falsify the
truth that they are made in Heaven? Why we see daily diversity of
interests, and terrible contentions, eating the very life away, like
the ghoul in the Arabian tales, that prayed on human flesh? It is
that women are wrongly educated. Instructed, trained, to consider
matrimony the sole aim, the end of their existence, it matters not
to whom the Gordian knot is tied, so that the trousseau, wedding,
and eclat of bridehood follow. Soon the brightness of this false
aurora borealis fades from the conjugal horizon; and the truths of
life, divested of all romance, in bitterness and pain rise before
them. Unfitted for duties which must be fulfilled, physically
incapacitated for the responsibilities of life--mere school-girls in
many instances--the chains they have assumed become cables of iron,
whose heavy weight crushes into the heart, erasing for ever the
footprints of affection, and leaving instead the black marks of
deadly hate. Then comes the struggle for supremacy. Man in his might
and power asserts his will, while woman, unknowing her sin, unguided
by the divine light of love, neglects, abandons her home; then come
ruin, despair, and death. God help those mistaken ones, who have
thus hurried into union, ignorant of each other's prejudices,
opinions, and dispositions, when too late they discover there is
not, nor ever can be, affinity between souls wide as the poles
Notwithstanding these miserable unions, we must consider marriage
divine in its origin, and alone calculated to make life blessed. Who
can imagine a more blissful state of existence than two united by
the law of God and love, mutually sustaining each other in the
jostlings of life; together weathering its storms, or basking
beneath its clear skies; hand in hand, lovingly, truthfully, they
pass onward. This is marriage as God instituted it, as it ever
should be, as Moore beautifully says--
"There's a bliss beyond all that the minstrel has told,
When two that are linked in one heavenly tie,
With heart never changing and brow never cold,
Love on through all ills, and love on till they die!"
To attain this bliss, this union of the soul, as well as of hands,
it is necessary that much should be changed. Girls must not think,
as soon as emancipated from nursery control, that they are qualified
to become wives and mothers. If woman would become the true
companion of man, she must not only cultivate her intellect, but
strive to control her impulses and subdue her temper, so that while
yielding gently, gracefully, to what appears, at the time, perhaps,
a harsh requirement, she may feel within the "calm which passeth all
understanding." There must be a mutual forbearance, no fierce
wrestling to rule. If there is to be submission, let the wife show
how meekly Omnipotent love suffereth all things. Purity, innocence,
and holy beauty invest such a love with a halo of glory.
Man, mistake not then thy mate, and hereafter, bitterly repenting,
exclaim at the curse of marriage. No, no, with prudent foresight,
avoid the ball-room belle--seek thy twin soul among the
pure-hearted, the meek, the true. Like must mate with like; the
kingly eagle pairs not with the owl, nor the lion with the jackal.
Neither must woman rush blindly, heedlessly, into the noose,
fancying the sunny hues, the lightning glances of her first admirer,
true prismatic colours. She must first chemically analyze them to be
sure they are not reflected light alone, from her own imagination.
That frightsome word to many, "old maid," ought not to exercise any
influence over her firmly balanced mind; better far, however, lead a
single life, than form a sinful alliance, that can only result in
misery and wretchedness. Some of the purest and best women that ever
lived, have belonged to that much decried, contemned sisterhood.
Wed not, merely to fly from an opprobrious epithet; assume not the
holy name of wife, to one who brings trueness of heart, wealth of
affection, whilst you have nought to offer in return but cold
respect. Your first love already lavished on another: believe me,
respect, esteem, are but poor, weak talismans to ward off life's
trials. Rise superior to all puerile fancies; bear nobly the odium
of old maidism, if such be thy fate, and if, like Sir Walter Scott's
lovely creation, Rebecca, you are separated by an impassable gulf
from your heart's chosen, or have met and suffered by the false and
treacherous, take not any chance Waverley who may cross your path.
Like the high-souled Jewess, resolve to live on singly, and strive
with the means God has given you, to benefit, to comfort your
Would man and woman give to this all-important subject, so vital to
their life-long happiness, the consideration it requires, we should
not so often meet with men broken in spirit--_memento mori_ legibly
written on their countenances; with women prematurely old--unloving
wives, careless husbands. Meditate long before you assume ties to
endure to your life's end, mayhaps to eternity. Pause even on the
altar-stone, if only there thou seest thy error; for a union of
hands, without hearts, is a sin against high heaven. Remember,
"There are two angels that attend, unseen;
Each one of us; and in great books record
Our good and evil deeds. He who writes down
The good ones, after every action, closes
His volume; and ascends with it to God;
_The other keeps his dreadful day-book open_
_Till sunset, that we may repent; which doing,_
_The record of the action fades away,_
_And leaves a line of white across the page."_
THE BRIDE'S SISTER.
OH, sister, darling, though I smile, the tears are in my heart,
And I will strive to keep them there, or hide them if they start;
I know you've seen our mother's glance ofttimes so full of woe,
The grief-sob rises to the lips that bid her first-born go.
It is not that she doubts his love to whom thou'st given thine,--
The fear that he may coldly look upon his clasping vine;
But, oh, she feels however loved and cherished as his wife,
Though calm her lily may float down upon the stream of life;
Yet, by her own glad married years, she knows that clouds will stray,
And tears will sometimes fill thy cup, though kissed by love away;
And she will not be near her flower to lay it on her breast--
'Tis thus--'tis thus the young birds fly, and leave the lonely nest!
Oh, sister, darling, I shall miss thy footfall on the stair,
Beside my own, when good-words have followed good-night prayer;
And miss thee from our pleasant room, and miss thee when I sleep,
And feel no more thy twining arms and soft breath on my cheek.
And I shall gaze with tearful eyes upon thy vacant chair--
Sweet sister, wherefore, wherefore go, 'tis more than I can bear!
Forgive me, Lizzie, do not weep--I'm strong again, and calm,
"Our Father" for my aching heart will send a spirit-balm.
Now let me bind this snowy veil amid thy silken hair,
The white moss-rose and orange buds upon thy bosom fair;
How beautiful you are to-night! Does love such charms impart?
An angel's wing methinks has stirred the waters of your heart;
So holy seem its outlets blue where sparkle yet the tears,
Like stars that tremble in the sky when not a cloud appears.
Art ready now? The evening wanes; the guests will soon be here,
And the glad bridegroom waits his own. God bless thee, sister dear!
LOVE vs. HEALTH.
ABOUT a mile from one of the Berkshire villages, and separated from
it by the Housatonic, is one of the loveliest sites in all our old
county. It is on an exhausted farm of rocky, irregular, grazing
ground, with a meadow of rich alluvial soil. The river, which so
nearly surrounds it as to make it a peninsula "in little," doubles
around a narrow tongue of land, called the "ox-bow"--a bit of the
meadow so smooth, so fantastic in its shape, so secluded, so adorned
by its fringe of willows, clematises, grape-vines, and all our
water-loving shrubs, that it suggests to every one, who ever read a
fairy tale, a scene for the revels of elves and fairies. Yet no
Oberon--no Titania dwelt there; but long ago, where there are now
some ruinous remains of old houses, and an uncouth new one, stood
the first frame house of the lower valley of the Housatonic. It was
inhabited by the last Indian who maintained the dignity of a Chief,
and from him passed to the first missionary to the tribe. There
Kirkland, the late honoured President of Harvard College, was born,
and there his genial and generous nature received its first and
ineffaceable impressions. Tenants, unknown to fame, succeeded the
The Indian dwelling fell to decay; and the property has now passed
into the bands of a poet, who, rumour says, purposes transforming it
to a villa, and whose occupancy will give to it a new consecration.
Just before its final high destiny was revealed, there dwelt there a
rustic pair, who found out, rather late in life, that Heaven had
decreed they should wear together the conjugal yoke. That Heaven had
decreed it no one could doubt who saw how well it fitted, and how
well they drew together.
They had one child--a late blossom, and cherished as such. Little
Mary Marvel would have been spoiled, but there was nothing to spoil
her. Love is the element of life, and in an atmosphere of love she
lived. Her parents were people of good sense--upright and simple in
their habits, with no theories, nor prejudices, ambitions, or
corruptions, to turn the child from the inspirations of Heaven, with
which she began her innocent life.
When little Mary Marvel came to be seven years old, it was a matter
of serious consideration how she was to be got to the district
school on "the plain" (the common designation of the broad village
street), full a mile from the Marvels secluded residence. Mrs.
Marvel was far better qualified than the teachers of the said
school, to direct the literary training of her child. She was a
strong-minded woman, and a reader of all the books she could
compass. But she had the in-door farm-work to do--cheese to make,
butter to churn, &c. and after little Mary had learned to read and
spell, she must be sent to school for the more elaborate processes
of learning--arithmetic, geography, &c.
"Now, Julius Hasen," said Marvel to his only neighbour's son, "don't
you want to call, as you go by, days, with your little sister, and
take our Mary to school? I guess she won't be a trouble. She could
go alone; but, somehow, mother and I shall feel easier--as the river
is to pass, &c.--if you are willing."
A kind boy was Julius; and, without hesitation, he promised to take
Marvel's treasure under his convoy. And, for the two years
following, whenever the district school was in operation, Julius
might be seen conducting the two little girls down the hill that
leads to the bridge. At the bridge they loitered. Its charm was
felt, but indefinable. It was a spell upon their senses; they would
look up and down the sparkling stream till it winded far away from
sight, and at their own pretty faces, that smiled again to them, and
at Julius skittering the stones along the water, (a magical rustic
art!) That old bridge was a point of sight for pictures, lovelier
than Claude painted. For many a year, the old lingered there, to
recall the poetry of their earlier days; lovers, to watch the rising
and setting of many a star, and children to play out their
"noon-times" and twilights. Heaven forgive those who replaced it
with a, dark, dirty, covered, barn-like thing of bad odour in every
sense! The worst kind of barbarians, those, who make war--not upon
life, but upon the life of life--its innocent pleasures!
But, we loiter with the children, when we should go on with them
through the narrow lane intersecting broad, rich meadows, and shaded
by pollard willows, which form living and growing posts for the
prettiest of our northern fences, and round the turn by the old
Indian burying-ground. Now, having come to "_the plain_," they pass
the solemn precincts of the village Church, and that burying-ground
where, since the Indian left his dead with us, generations of their
successors are already lain. And now they enter the wide village
street, wide as it is, shaded and embowered by dense maples and
wide-stretching elms; and enlivened with neatly-trimmed court-yards
and flower-gardens, It was a pleasant walk, and its sweet influences
bound these young people's hearts together. We are not telling a
love-story, and do not mean to intimate that this was the beginning
of one--though we have heard of the seeds nature implants
germinating at as early a period as this, and we remember a boy of
six years old who, on being reproved by his mother for having kept
his book open at one place, and his eye fixed on it for half an
hour, replied, with touching frankness--
"Mother, I can see nothing there but Caroline Mitchell! Caroline
Little Mary Marvel had no other sentiment for Julius than his sister
had. She thought him the kindest and the best; and much as she
reverenced the village pedagogues, she thought Julius's learning
profounder than theirs, for he told them stories from the Arabian
Nights--taught them the traditions of Monument Mountain--made them
learn by heart the poetry that has immortalized them, and performed
other miracles of learning and teaching, to which the schoolmaster
Children's judgments are formed on singular premises, but they are
usually just conclusions. Julius was an extraordinary boy, and,
fortunately, he was selected on that account, and not because he was
sickly and could do nothing else (not uncommon grounds for this
election), for a liberal education. Strong of heart and strong in
body, he succeeded in everything, and without being a charge to his
father. He went through college--was graduated with honour--studied
law--and, when Mary Marvel was about nineteen, he came home from his
residence in one of our thriving Western cities, for a vacation in
his full legal business.
His first visit was to the Marvels, where he was received with as
much warmth as in his father's home. As he left the house, he said
to his sister Anne, who was with him--
"How shockingly poor Mary is looking!"
"Shockingly! Why, I expected you would say she was so pretty!"
"Pretty! My dear Anne, the roses on your cheek are worth all the
beauty that is left in her pale face. What have they done to her?
When you were children, she was at robust, round little thing--and
so strong and cheerful--you could hear her voice half a mile,
ringing like a bell; and now it's 'Hark from the tomb a doleful
sound!' When I last saw her--let me see--four years ago--she
was--not perhaps a Hebe--but a wholesome-looking girl."
"Julius!--what an expression!"
"Well, my dear, it conveys my meaning, and, therefore, is a good
expression. What has been the matter? Has she had a fever? Is she
"Julius! No! Is that the way the Western people talk about young
ladies?--Mary is in poor health--rather delicate; but she does not
look so different from the rest of our girls--I, you know, am an
"Thank Heaven, you are, my dear Anne, and thank our dear, sensible
mother, who understands the agents and means of health."
"But Mary's mother is a sensible woman too."
"Not in her treatment of Mary, I am sure. Tell me how she lives.
What has she been about since I was here?"
"Why, soon after you went away, you know, I wrote to you that she
had gone to the--School. You know her parents are willing to do
everything for her--and Mary was very ambitious. They are hard
students at that school. Mary told me she studied from eight to ten
hours a day. She always got sick before examination, and had to send
home for lots of pills. I remember Mrs. Marvel once sending her four
boxes of Brandreth's at a time. But she took the first honours. At
the end of her first term, she came home, looking, as you say, as if
she had had a fever."
"And they sent her back?"
"Why, yes, certainly--term after term--for two years. You know Mary
was always persevering; and so was her mother. And now they have
their reward. There is not a girl anywhere who surpasses Mary for
"Truly, they have their reward--infatuated people!" murmured Hasen.
"Have they taken any measures to restore her health, Anne?"
"Oh, yes. Mrs. Marvel does not permit her to do any hard work. She
does not even let her sweep her own room; they keep a domestic, you
know; and, last winter, she had an air-tight stove in her room, and
it was kept constantly warm, day and night. The draft was opened
early; and Mrs. Marvel let Mary remain in bed as long as she
pleased; and, feeling weak, she seldom was inclined to rise before
nine or ten."
"Go on, Anne. What other sanitary measures were pursued?"
"Just such as we all take, when we are ill. She doctors, if she is
more unwell than usual; and she rides out almost every pleasant day.
There is nothing they won't do for her. There is no kind of pie or
cake, sweetmeat or custard, that Mrs. Marvel does not make to tempt
her appetite. If she wants to go to 'the plain,' Mr. Marvel
harnesses, and drives over. You know, father would think it
ridiculous to do it for me."
"Worse than ridiculous, Anne!--What does the poor girl do? How does
she amuse herself?"
"I do believe, Julius, you are interested in Mary Marvel!"
"I am. I was always curious as to the different modes of suicide
people adopt. Has she any occupation--any pleasure?"
"Oh, yes; she reads for ever, and studies; she is studying German
"What in the world makes you pity Mary, Julius?"
"Because, Anne, she hag been deprived of nature's best
gift--defrauded of her inheritance: a sound constitution from
temperate, active parents. One may have all the gifts, graces,
charms, accomplishments, under Heaven, and, if they have not health,
of what use or enjoyment are they? If that little, frail body of
Mary Marvel's contained all that I have enumerated, it would be just
the reverse of Pandora's box--having every good, but one curse that
"Dear Julius, I cannot bear to hear you talk so of Mary. I expected
you would like her so much. I--I--hoped--. She is so pretty, so
Lovely--she is fit for Heaven."
"She may be, Anne,--I do not doubt it; but she is very unfit for
earth. What has her good, devoted, sensible, well-informed mother
been about? If Mary had been taught the laws of health, and obeyed
them, it would have been worth infinitely more to her than all she
has got at your famous boarding-school, Ignorance of these laws is
culpable in the mothers--disastrous, fatal to the daughters. It is a
_disgrace_ to our people. The young women now coming on, will be as
nervous, as weak, as wretched, as their unhappy mothers--languishing
embodiments of diseases--mementos of doctors and pill-boxes,
dragging out life in air-tight rooms, religiously struggling to
perform their duties, and dying before they have half finished the
allotted term of life. They have no life--no true enjoyment of
"What a tirade, Julius! Any one would think you were a cross old
"On the contrary, my dear Anne, it is because I am a young bachelor
and desire not to be a much older one, that I am so earnest on this
subject. I have been travelling now for two months in rail-cars and
steamers, and I could fill a medical journal with cases of young
women, married and single, whom I have met from town and country,
with every ill that flesh is heir to. I have been an involuntary
auditor of their charming little confidences of 'chronic headaches,'
nervous feelings,' 'weak-backs,' 'neuralgia,' and Heaven knows what
"Oh, Julius! Julius!"
"It is true, Anne. And their whole care is, gentle and simple, to
avoid the air; never to walk when they can ride; never to use cold
water when they can get warm; never to eat bread when they can get
cake, and so on, and so on, through the chapter. In the matter of
eating and drinking, and such little garnitures as smoking and
chewing, the men are worse. Fortunately, their occupations save most
of them from the invalidism of the women. You think Mary Marvel
"No--not beautiful, perhaps,--but very, very pretty, and so
"Well," rejoined Julius, coldly, after some hesitation, "Mary is
pretty; her eye is beautiful; her whole face intelligent, but so
pale, so thin--her lips so colourless--her hands so transparent,
that I cannot look at her with any pleasure. I declare to you, Anne,
when I see a woman with a lively eye, a clear, healthy skin, that
shows the air of Heaven visits it daily--it may be, roughly--if it
pleases, Heaven to roughen the day,--an elastic, vigorous step, and
a strong, cheerful voice, I am ready to fall down and do her
Julius Hasen was sincere and zealous in his theory, but he is not
the first man whose theories Love has overthrown. "Love laughs at
locksmiths." and mischievously mocks at the stoutest bars and bolts
Hasen passed the summer in his native town. He renewed his intimacy
with his old neighbours. He perceived in Mary graces and qualities
that made him feel the heavenly and forget the earthly; and, in
spite of his wise, well-considered resolution, in three months he
had impressed on her "pale cheek" the kiss of betrothal, and slipt
an the third finger of her "transparent hand," the "engagement
But, we must do Julius Hasen justice. When his laughing sister
rallied him on his inconsistency, he said--
"You are right, Anne; but I adhere to my text, though I must now
uphold it as a beacon--not as an example. I must say with the
Turk--'It was written.'"
He was true to himself and true to his wife; and, at the risk of
shocking our young lady readers, we must betray that, after the
wedding-ring, Hasen's first gift to Mary was--"The Principles of
Physiology applied to the Preservation of Health, and the
Improvement of Physical and Mental Education; by Andrew Combe, M.
D." This book (which should be studied by every Mother in the United
States) he accompanied by a solemn adjuration, that she would study
and apply it. He did not stop here. After his marriage, he bought
two riding-horses--mounted his bride on one and himself on the
other, and thus performed the greater part of the journey to
Indiana--only taking a rail-car for convenience, or a steamer for
And, arrived at his Western home, and with the hearty acquiescence
of his wife, who only needed to know the right, to pursue it, she
began a physical life in obedience to the laws laid down by the said
oracle, Andrew Combe.
Last fall, six years since his marriage, he brought his wife and two
children to visit his Eastern friends. In reply to compliments on
all hands, on his wife's improved health and beauty, he laughingly
proposed to build, on the site of the old Indian dwelling, a
quadrangular Temple, dedicated to the Four Ministers to Health--Air,
Water, Exercise, and Regimen!
THE YOUNG HOUSEKEEPER.
"I HOPE, Emily, that you don't think I expect you to work--to spend
the bright morning hours in the kitchen, when we commence keeping
house," said George Brenton to his young wife.
This remark was made as he left the room, in reply to something
which Emily had been saying relative to their projected plan of
housekeeping. Mrs. Anderson, her mother, entered the parlour at one
door, as her son-in-law left it by another. "And I hope," said she,
"that, for your own sake as well as your husband's, you will not
think of fulfilling his expectations--that is, strictly speaking."
"And why not? George is always pleased to have any suggestion of his
attended to, however indirectly it may be made."
"He would not be pleased, if on trial it should compromise any of
his customary enjoyments. George's income, as yet, is not sufficient
to authorize you to keep more than one girl, who must be the
maid-of-all-work; and even if you should be so fortunate as to
procure one who understands the different kinds of household labour,
there will be times when it will be necessary for you to perform
some part of it yourself--much more to superintend it."
"But, mother, you know how I always hated the kitchen."
"This is a dislike which necessity will, or at least ought to
overcome. You have never felt that there was much responsibility
attached to the performance of such household tasks as I have always
required of you, and in truth there never has been, as I could
always have very well dispensed with them. I required them for your
own good, rather than my own. Before habits of industry are formed,
necessity is the only thing which will overcome our natural
propensity to indulge in indolence."
"I am sure that I am not indolent. I always have my music,
embroidery, or reading to attend to. As to being chained down to
household drudgery, I cannot think of it, and I am certain that it
would be as much against George's wishes as mine."
"It would undoubtedly be gratifying to him, whenever he had an hour
or two, which he could spend at home, to see you tastefully dressed,
and to have you at leisure so as to devote your time wholly to him."
"You make George out to be extremely selfish, which I am sure he is
"No, not more so than we all are."
"Why, mother, I am sure you are not selfish. You are always ready to
sacrifice your own enjoyment for the sake of promoting that of
"I have been subjected to a longer course of discipline, than either
you or George. I have lived long enough to know, that the true
secret of making ourselves happy is to endeavour to make others so.
This is, at least, the case with all those whose finer sensibilities
have not been blunted, or, more properly speaking, have been rightly
cultivated. But it will do no good to enter into a metaphysical
discussion of the subject. The course proper to be pursued by a
woman, whose husband's income is rather limited, appears to me
"The course proper for me to pursue, is that which will best please
"Certainly, and that is precisely what I would advise you to do; but
I don't think that literally acting upon this suggestion of his,
respecting domestic duties, will please him for any great length of
Emily made no reply to this. She had decided in her own mind to obey
the wishes of George, more especially as they exactly accorded with
A few weeks from the time of the foregoing conversation, George and
Emily Brenton commenced housekeeping. Their house was neatly and
handsomely furnished, and through the influence of Emily's mother,
Experience Breck, a girl thirty-five years old, who well understood
domestic, labour, undertook to perform the duties of chambermaid,
laundress, and cook, for what all concerned considered a reasonable
Their home, to make use of George's words, the first time he saw
Emily's parents after everything was satisfactorily arranged, "was a
little paradise." Pedy (the diminutive for Experience) was the best
of cooks and clear-starchers, and never had he tasted such savory
soups, and meat roasted so exactly to a turn, or such puddings and
such pastry; and never had it been his fortune to wear shirt-bosoms
and collars, which so completely emulated the drifted snow.
"And Emily too--she was the dearest and most cheerful of wives, and
so bright an atmosphere always surrounded her, that one might almost
imagine that she was a bundle of animated sunbeams. She was always
ready to sing and play to him, or to listen while he read to her
from some favourite author."
This eulogy was succeeded by an invitation to Mr. and Mrs. Anderson
to dine with them the ensuing day, that they might judge for
themselves that he did not colour the picture of their domestic
bliss too highly.
The invitation was accepted; and Emily could not help taking her
mother aside to tell her that since they saw each other, she had
done nothing but read and play on the beautiful harp her uncle gave
her, except that when she grew tired of these, she sewed a little;
"and yet," she added, with a bright smile, "George has never given
me, an unkind look--much more an unkind word."
"And you have been housekeeping four whole days."
"Eight days, mother!"
"It is only four days since everything was arranged, and you
commenced talking your meals regularly at home."
"I know, but then if we can live happily four days, we can four
"Yes, if Pedy could always live with you."
"She appears to be quite well satisfied with her situation," was
There was one at work, however, though neither he nor they realized
it, who was sapping their happiness at its very foundation. This was
an honest, intelligent farmer, by the name of Simon Lundley, who one
day, when in the city, happened to overhear the praises bestowed on
Pedy Breck by George Brenton, touching her excellence as a cook and
"If," thought he, "she could do these well, the same good judgment
would direct her how to excel in making butter and cheese; and as
his mother, who kept his house, was growing old and infirm, it
appeared to him that it would be convenient for her to have some
person to assist her in the performance of these and other onerous
duties belonging to the in-door work of a farm. He had seen Pedy a
few months previous, when on a visit to a sister who resided in the
neighbourhood of his home, and remembered of having thought it
strange that she had never married as well as her sister, as she was
remarkably good-looking." Simon Lundley, therefore, the next Sunday,
about sunset, arrayed in a suit of substantial blue broadcloth,
boldly presented himself at George Brenton's front door, and
inquired if Miss Breck was at home. It proved to be a fortunate, as
well as a bold step. Pedy recognised him at once, and had a kind of
a vague prescience as to the object of his visit, or such might have
been the inference drawn from the deep crimson which suddenly
suffused her cheeks.
From that time he visited her regularly every Sunday, and it was
soon decided that they should be married in season to enable her to
pack the fall butter. This decision she, for sometime, delayed to
communicate to Emily, from sheer bashfulness. She could not, she
said, when she at last had wrought herself up to what appeared to
her the very pinnacle of boldness, make up her mind to tell her
before, for the life of her, but then, she did suppose that Simon
kind of had her promise that she would be married to him in just
three weeks from the next Sunday.
Emily immediately called on her mother to communicate to her the
melancholy information. Mrs. Anderson saw that these were what might
be termed "minor trials," for her daughter in prospective. She hoped
that she would be discreet enough not to allow them to be magnified
into what might appropriately be called major trials.
"Don't you think, mother," said Emily, "that you can manage to find,
me a girl as good as Pedy?"
"I think it will be impossible. Pedy is a kind of _rara avis_ in all
that appertains to housekeeping. She excels in everything. You will
be obliged now to limit your expectations. If you can obtain a girl
who knows how to cook well, it is the best you can hope to do. Even
that, I am afraid, will prove very difficult."
"It appears to me that if girls who are obliged to work for a living
understood what was for their good, they would be at more pains to
inform themselves relative to what is expected of them."
"A great difficulty lies in the want of competent teachers. Such
things are not known by instinct; and experience, though a good, is
a slow teacher."
"If I have got to stay in the kitchen all the time to teach a girl,
I may as well do the work myself."
"I will do the best I can for you, but you must not expect me to
find you a girl who will fill Pedy's place, and do not, for your own
sake--leaving George out of the question--be too afraid of the
Mrs. Anderson fulfilled the promise she made her daughter. She did
her best, and felt tolerably well satisfied at being able to find a
girl who had done the cooking in a large family in the country for
more than a year.
Pedy Breck left Mrs. Brenton on Saturday after tea, and Deborah
Leach took her place on Monday morning. Emily gave her a few general
directions and as usual, seated herself in the parlour with her
books, her music, and her embroidery, as resources against ennui.
Deborah, also, was abundantly provided with the means to keep her
out of idleness. She said to herself, after receiving the directions
from Emily, that she "guessed there wouldn't be time for much grass
to grow under her feet that day."
Deborah did not possess Pedy's "sleight" at doing housework, and she
felt a little discouraged when she found that, besides washing and
preparing the dinner, she would be obliged to wash the dishes and do
"I should think that she might take care of her own chamber," she
said to herself; "and I don't think it would hurt her delicate hands
a great deal, even if she should wash the dishes."
In consideration of its being washing-day, George had sent home
beefsteak for dinner, and Pedy, the same as she always did, had made
some pies on Saturday, and placed them in the refrigerator for
Sunday and Monday. Deborah had not been much accustomed to broiling
steaks, as the family where she had been living considered it more
economical, when butter brought such a high price, to fry them with
slices of pork; but knowing the celebrity of her predecessor in
everything pertaining to the culinary art, she exerted her skill to
the utmost, and succeeded in doing them very well, and in tolerable
season, so that George, after he came home, had to wait for dinner
only ten minutes, which passed away very quickly, as time always did
when he was with Emily.
Deborah's first attempt at pastry was a decided failure. It was
plain that she had never been initiated into the mysteries of making
puff paste, nor did she, when telling over what she called her
grievances to a friend, think it worth while, she said, "to _pomper_
the appetite by making pies sweet as sugar itself, when there were
thousands of poor souls in the world that would jump at a piece of
pie a good deal sourer than what Mr. Brenton and his idle, delicate
wife pretended wasn't fit to eat. She was sure that she put two
heapin' spoonfuls of sugar into the gooseberry pie, and half as much
into the apple pie, and Miss Brenton might make her fruit pies, as
she called 'em, herself the next time, for 'twas a privilege she
didn't covet by no means."
But Mrs. Brenton did not covet the privilege more than she did, and
after a great show of firmness on the subject, declaring to herself
and her intimate friend that she never would give up, and that there
was no use talkin' about it, she concluded she would try again, if
Mrs. Brenton would stand right at her elbow and tell her the exact
quantity of _ingredences_ she must put into each pie.
"I s'pose you calc'late to do the ironing?" she said to Emily, on
"No, I am sure I don't," was Emily's reply. "I thought you had done
"Well, I havn't--I expected that you were agoing to do it. Miss
Hodges, the woman I lived with before I came here, always did it,
and she was the richest and genteelest woman in the place. She used
to say there wasn't that girl on the face of the earth, that she
would trust to starch and iron her fine linens and muslins, and
Emily merely said that she was not in the habit of doing such things
herself, and that she should expect her to do them.
Deborah went about her task very unwillingly. She told Emily that
she knew she should sp'ile the whole lot, and she proved a true
prophetess. The shirt-bosoms and collars bore indisputable evidence
that she was not stinted for fuel, the hot flat-iron having left its
full impress upon some, while "Charcoal Sketches," of a kind never
dreamed of by Neal, were conspicuous on others. As for the muslins
and laces, being of a frailer fabric, they gave way beneath the
vigorous treatment to which they were subjected, and exhibited mere
wrecks of their former selves. Not a single article was wearable
which had passed through the severe ordeal of being starched and
ironed by Deborah, and what was still more lamentable, many of them
could not even, like an antique painting or statue, be restored.
"This is too bad," said George, as he contemplated his soiled and
scorched linen. "It appears to me, Emily, that you might have seen
what the girl was about before she spoiled the whole."
"How could I," said Emily, "when she was in the kitchen and I was in
the parlour--hem-stitching your linen handkerchiefs? Pedy never
needed any overseeing."
Some linen of a coarser texture which had passed through Pedy's
hands, was obliged to be resorted to on the present occasion, while
Emily concealed her chagrin from George on account of the
destruction of some Brussels lace, the gift of the same generous
uncle who gave her the harp. She silently made up her mind that for
the future she would not trust such articles to the unskilful
Hitherto George, who probably had recalled to mind what he had said
to Emily previous to commencing housekeeping, had never, except in a
playful manner, alluded to the ill-dressed food which daily made its
appearance on the table. To-day, however, when they returned from
church and sat down to dinner, probably owing to being a little sore
on the subject of the soiled linen, Emily saw him knit his brows in
rather a portentous manner, while, in no very amiable tone of voice,
"It appears to me that this girl don't understand how to do anything
as it ought to be done--not even to boil a piece of corned beef.
This is as salt as the ocean, and hard as a flint. If the girl has
common sense, I am sure she could do better if you would give her a
few directions. I confess that I am tired of eating ill-cooked meat,
half-done vegetables, and heavy bread, and of drinking a certain
muddy decoction, dignified by the name of coffee."
"Such food is, of course, no more palatable to me than to you; but I
thought, by what I have heard you stay, that you would not be
pleased when you came home to dinner to see me with a flushed face
and in an unbecoming dress, which must be the case if I undertake to
do the principal part of the cooking myself, and to superintend the
"We must try and get some one that will do better," said George.
"I don't think that it will be of any use," replied Emily. "We may
as well try her another week."
The truth was, she had had, for several days, a dim perception that
the indolence she had indulged in since released from her mother's
influence, was not half so delightful as she had anticipated. Her
physical and mental energies had remained so entirely quiescent,
that she began to think it would be rather a luxury to be a little
fatigued. She moreover half suspected that Deborah might, and would
do better, if not embarrassed with that feeling of hurry and
perplexity, which so many of what in colloquial phrase are sometimes
termed slow-moulded people, experience when obliged to divide their
attention among a variety of objects.
Monday morning, Emily determined that she would turn over a new
leaf: and a bright leaf it proved to be. She told Deborah, that for
the future she should take care of her own room, prepare the
dessert, and starch and iron all the nicer articles.
"I am glad to hear you say so, ma'am, I am sure," said Deborah, "for
when I have to keep going from one thing to another, my head spins
around like a top, and I can't do a single thing as it ought to be
done. How Pedy Breck got along so smooth and slick with the work, I
don't know, nor never shall. I can make as good light bread as ever
was--I won't give up to anybody--but when I made the last, my mind
was all stirred up with a puddin'-stick as 'twere, and I couldn't
remember whether I put any yeast into it or not."
From this time all went well. Deborah, in her slow way, proved to be
a treasure. She told Emily that, "Give her time, nobody could beat
her at a boiled dish, apple-dumplings, or a loaf of bread," and the
result proved that her words were no vain boast."
"I have concluded to follow your advice," said Emily, the next time
she saw her mother, "and look into the kitchen occasionally."
"I am glad to hear it, and I have no doubt that you will enjoy
yourself much better for it."
"I am certain that I shall--I do already. You can't imagine what
queer, fretful-looking lines were beginning to show themselves on
George's brow. He would have looked old enough for a grandfather in
a few years, if I had gone on trying to realize the hope he
expressed, that I would abstain from the performance of all
household tasks. And I should have looked quite as old as he, I
suspect, for I believe that the consciousness of neglected duties is
one of the heaviest burdens which can be borne."
TO AN ABSENT WIFE.
'TIS Morn:--the sea breeze seems to bring
Joy, health, and freshness on its wing;
Bright flowers, to me all strange and new,
Are glittering in the early dew,
And perfumes rise from every grove,
As incense to the clouds that move
Like spirits o'er yon welkin clear,--
_But I am sad--thou are not here!_
'Tis Noon:--a calm, unbroken sleep
Is on the blue waves of the deep;
A soft haze, like a fairy dream,
Is floating over wood and stream;
And many a broad magnolia flower,
Within its shadowy woodland bower,
Is gleaming like a lovely star,--
But I am sad--_thou art afar!_
'Tis Eve:--on earth the sunset skies
Are painting their own Eden dyes;
The stars come down and trembling glow,
Like blossoms in the waves below;
And like an unseen sprite, the breeze
Seems lingering midst these orange trees,
Breathing its music round the spot,--
But I am sad--_I see thee not!_
'Tis Midnight:--with a soothing spell
The far-off tones of ocean swell--
Soft as a mother's cadence mild,
Low bending o'er her sleeping child;
And on each wandering breeze are heard
The rich notes of the mocking bird,
In many a wild and wondrous lay,--
But I am sad--_thou art away!_
I sink in dreams:--low, sweet, and clear,
Thy own dear voice is in my ear:--
Around my cheek thy tresses twine--
Thy own loved hand is clasped in mine,
Thy own soft lip to mine is pressed--
Thy head is pillowed on my breast;
Oh, I have all my heart holds dear,
_And I am happy--thou art here!_
THE WORD OF PRAISE.
A LITTLE thing is a sunbeam--a very little thing. It streams through
our casement, making the cheerful room still more cheerful; and yet
so accustomed are we to its presence, that we notice it not, and
heed not its exhilarating effect.
But its absence would be quickly seen and felt. The unfortunate
prisoner in his dimly-lighted cell would hail with rapture that
blessed stream of light; and the scarcely less imprisoned inmates of
the more obscure streets of our crowded cities would welcome it as a
messenger from Heaven.
It is even thus with the sunbeams of the human heart. Trifling
things they are in themselves, for the heart is wonderfully
constituted, and it vibrates to the slightest touch; but without
them life is a blank--all seems cold and lifeless as the marble slab
which marks the spot where the departed loved one lies.
A gloomy home was that of Henry Howard, and yet all the elements of
human happiness seemed to be there. Wealth sufficient to secure all
the comforts and many of the luxuries of life, was theirs, and both
husband and wife were regarded by their numerous acquaintances as
exceedingly intelligent and estimable people--and so indeed they
were. The light tread of childhood was not wanting in their home,
although its merry laugh was seldom heard, for the little children
seemed to possess a gravity beyond their years, and that glad
joyousness which it is so delightful to witness in infancy, was with
them seldom or never visible.
Life's sunbeams seemed strangely wanting, yet the why and wherefore
was to the casual observer an unfathomable mystery.
Years before, that wife and mother had left the home of her
childhood a happy and trusting bride. Scarcely seventeen, the love
which she had bestowed upon him who was now her husband, was the
first pure affections of her virgin heart, and in many respects he
was worthy of her love, and, as far as was in his nature, returned
it. Her senior by many years, he was possessed of high moral
principles, good intellectual endowments, and an unblemished
reputation among his fellow men.
But there was a cold, repulsive manner, at variance sometimes with
his more interior feelings, which could ill meet the warm,
affectionate disposition of his young wife, who, cherished and
petted in her father's house, looked for the same fond endearments
from him to whom she had given all.
Proud of her beauty and intelligence, charmed with her sprightliness
and wit, the man was for a time lost in the lover, and enough of
fondness and affection were manifested to satisfy the confiding
Mary, who had invested her earthly idol with every attribute of
perfection. But as months passed on, and he again became immersed in
his business, his true character, or, more properly speaking, his
habitual manners, were again resumed, and the heart of the wife was
often pained by an appearance of coldness and indifference, which
seemed to chill and repulse the best affections of her nature.
Tears and remonstrance were useless, for the husband was himself
unaware of the change. Was not every comfort amply provided, every
request complied with? What more could any reasonable woman desire?
Alas! he knew but little of a woman's heart; of that fountain of
love which is perpetually gushing forth toward him who first caused
its waters to flow: and still less did he know of the fearful effect
of the constant repressing of each warm affection. He dreamed not
that the loving heart could become cold and dead, and that his own
icy nature would soon be rejected in the devoted being who now clung
to him so fondly.
It was but in little things that he was deficient, mere trifles, but
still they constituted the happiness or woe of the wife of his
The loving glance was seldom returned, the affectionate pressure of
the hand seemed unfelt, the constant effort to please remained
unnoticed. One word of praise, one kindly look, was all that was
desired, but these were withheld, and the charm of life was gone.
Gradual was the change. Bitter tears were shed, and earnest
endeavours to produce a happier state of things were sometimes made,
but in vain. Oh! could the husband but have known how wistfully that
young creature often gazed upon him as he sat at the evening meal
upon his return from business, and partook of luxuries which her
hand had prepared in the hope of eliciting some token of
approbation--could he have seen the anxious care with which domestic
duties were superintended, the attention paid to the toilette, the
constant regard to his most casually expressed wishes, surely,
surely he would have renounced for ever that cold, repulsive manner,
and clasped to his bosom the gentle being whom he had so lately
vowed to love and cherish.
But he saw it not--felt it not. Still proud of her beauty and
talents, he loved to exhibit her to an admiring world, but the fond
endearments of home were wanting. He knew nothing of the yearnings
of that devoted heart; and while the slightest deviation from his
wishes was noticed and reprimanded, the eager and intense desire to
please was unheeded--the earnestly desired word of praise was never
The first year of wedded life passed away, and a new chord was
awakened. Mary had become a mother; and as she pressed the babe to
her bosom, new hopes were aroused. The clouds which had gathered
around her seemed passing away, and the cheering sunbeams again
broke forth. The manifest solicitude of her husband in the hour of
danger, the affection with which he had gazed on the countenance of
his first-born, were promises of happy days to come.
But, alas! these hopes were but illusory. All that a father could do
for the welfare of an infant was scrupulously performed, but its
expanding intellect, its innocent playfulness, soon remained
unmarked--apparently uncared for.
"Is he not lovely?" exclaimed the fond mother, as the babe stretched
his little hands and crowed a welcome as the father entered.
"He seems to be a good, healthy child," was the quiet reply. "I see
nothing, particularly lovely in an infant six months old, and if I
did I would not tell it so. Praise is very injurious to children,
and you should school yourself from the first, Mary, to restrain
your feelings, and utter no expressions which will have a tendency
to foster the self-esteem common to us all. Teach your children to
perform their duties from a higher motive than the hope of praise."
A chill like that of mid-winter came over the heart of the wife as
she listened to the grave rebuke.
There was truth in the words. Our duties should be performed from
higher motives than the approbation of our fellow men; but that
little word of praise from those we love--surely, surely it cannot
be hurtful. It is one of life's brightest sunbeams, encouraging the
weak, soothing the long-suffering, bringing rest to the weary and
hope to the desponding.
Something of this Mary longed to urge, but her husband had already
turned away, and the words died on her lips.
Time passed on. Another and another child had been added to the
number, until four bright little faces were seen around the family
table. The father seemed unchanged. Increasing years had altered
neither the outer nor the inner man, but in the wife and mother few
would have recognized the warm-hearted, impulsive girl, who ten
years before had left her fathers home, with bright visions of the
future floating before her youthful mind.
Whence came that perfect calmness of demeanour, that almost stoical
indifference to all that was passing around her? To husband,
children, and servants she was the same. Their comfort was cared
for, the routine of daily duties strictly performed, but always with
that cold, lifeless manner, strangely at variance with her natural
But the change had come gradually, and the husband noticed it not.
To him, Mary had only grown more matronly, and, wisely laying aside
the frivolity of girlhood, had acquired the sedateness of riper
years. True, there were moments when his indifference was somewhat
annoying. Although he never praised, he often blamed, and his
lightest word of rebuke was at first always met with a gush of
tears, but now there was no sign of emotion; the placid countenance
remained unchanged, and quietly he was told that his wishes should
be attended to. Certainly this was all that he could desire, but he
would have liked to feel that his pleasure or displeasure was a
matter of more consequence than it now appeared to be.
And yet the warm affections of the heart were not all dead. They
slumbered--were chilled, paralyzed, starving for want of their
proper and natural nourishment, but there was still life, and there
were times when the spirit again thrilled with rapture, as the
loving arms of childhood were twined around the mother's neck, or
the curly head rested upon her bosom.
But to the little ones, as to others, there was the same cold
uniformity of manner, a want of that endearing tenderness which
forms so close a tie between mother and child. Their health, and the
cultivation of their minds, were never neglected, but the education
of the heart remained uncared for, and the spot which should have
bloomed with good and true affection, was but a wilderness of weeds.
The two eldest children were promising boys of seven and nine years
old. Full of health, and buoyant, although constantly repressed
spirits, they thought not and cared not for aught save the supply of
their bodily wants; but with the third child, the gentle Eva, it was
far otherwise. From infancy her little frame had been so frail and
delicate, that it seemed as if the spirit was constantly struggling
to leave its earthly tenement; but her fifth year was rapidly
approaching, and still she lingered a blessed minister of love in
that cheerless home.
How wistfully she gazed upon the mother's face as she unweariedly
performed the many little offices necessary for her comfort, but
ever with the same frigid, unchanging manner! How earnestly she
longed for that manifestation of tenderness which she had never
felt! Even the stern father spoke to her in gentler and more subdued
tones than was his wont, and would sometimes stroke the silky hair
from her white forehead, and call her his "poor child."
But it was the fondness of a mother's love for which the little one
yearned, and with unerring instinct she felt that beneath that calm
and cold exterior, the waters of the fountain were still gushing.
Once, when after a day of restless pain she had sunk into an uneasy
slumber, she was aroused by the fervent pressure of that mother's
kiss, and through her half-opening eyelids she perceived the tears
which were flowing over her pale face. In an instant the arms of the
affectionate child were clasped about her neck, and the soft voice
"Dearest mother, do you not love your little Eva?"
But all emotion was instantly repressed, and quietly as ever came
"Certainly, my child, I love you all. But lie down now, and take
some rest. You have been dreaming."
"'Twas such a happy dream," murmured the patient little sufferer, as
obedient to her mother's words she again closed her eyes, and lay
motionless upon her pillow. Once more she slept, and a sweet smile
beamed upon her countenance, and her lips moved as if about to
speak. The watchful mother bent over her.
"Kiss me again, dear mother," lisped the slumberer. "Call me your
dear little Eva."
None could tell the workings of that stricken heart, as hour after
hour the mother watched by her sleeping child; but the dawn of
morning found her still the same; statue-like as marble, that once
speaking face reflected not the fires within.
Day after day passed on, and it was evident that the spirit of the
innocent child would soon rejoice in its heavenly home.
She could no longer raise her wasted little form from the bed of
pain, but still her deep blue eyes gazed lovingly upon those around
her, and her soft voice spoke of patience and submission.
The last hour drew near, and the little sufferer lay in her mother's
arms. The destroyer claimed but the frail earthly covering, and even
now the immortal soul shone forth in its heavenly brightness.
"Am I not going to my Father in Heaven?" she whispered, as she gazed
earnestly upon her mother's face.
"Yes, dearest, yes," was the almost inaudible reply.
"And will the good angels watch over me, and be to me as a mother?"
again asked the child.
"Far, far better than any earthly parent, my dear one."
A radiant smile illumined the countenance of the dying child. The
fond words of her mother were sweet music to her ear.
The father approached, and bent over her.
"My little Eva," he whispered, "will you not speak to me?"
"I love you, dear father," was the earnest answer, "and when I am in
Heaven I will pray for you, and for my poor mother;" and again those
speaking eyes were riveted upon the mother's face, as if she would
read her inmost griefs.
The physician entered, and, in the vain hope of prolonging life,
judged it necessary to make some external applications to relieve
the difficulty of breathing, which was fast increasing. The pain was
borne without a murmur.
"Do I not try to be patient, mother?" whispered that little voice.
"Yes, darling, you are a dear, patient, good little girl."
An expression of happiness, amounting almost to rapture, beamed in
Eva's face, at these words of unqualified praise.
"Oh, mother! dear, dear mother," she exclaimed, "will you not always
call your little Eva your dear, good little girl? Oh, I will try to
be so very good if you will. My heart is so glad now," and with the
strength produced by the sudden excitement, she clasped her feeble
arms about her mother's neck.
"Her mind begins to wander," whispered the physician to the father;
but there was no reply. A sudden light had broken upon that stern
man, and motionless he stood, and listened to the words of his dying