Part 2 out of 5
But she had already sunk back in an apparent slumber, and hour after
hour those calm but agonized parents sat watching by her side, at
times almost believing that the spirit had indeed gone, so deep was
the repose of that last earthly slumber.
At length she aroused, and with the same beautiful smile which had
played upon her features when she sunk to rest, again exclaimed,
"I am so very happy, dear mother; will you call me your good little
Eva once more?"
In a voice almost suffocated with emotion, the desired words were
again breathed forth, and long and fervent kisses imprinted upon the
child's pale cheek.
"My heart is so glad!" she murmured. "Oh, mother, kiss my brothers
when I am gone, and smile upon them and call them good. It is like
the sunlight on a cloudy day.
"Put your face close to mine, dear father, and let me whisper in
your ear. Call poor mother good, sometimes, and kiss her as you do
me, now that I am dying, and she will never look so sad any more."
"I will, my precious child! I will!" And the head of the strong man
bowed upon his breast, and he wept.
A change passed over the countenance of the little one.
"The angels will take me now," she whispered. The eyelids closed,
there was no struggle, but the parents saw that her mission on earth
was ended. Henceforth she would rejoice in the world where all is
light and love.
The mother wept not as she gazed upon that lifeless clay. She wept
not as she laid the little form upon the bed, and straightened the
limbs already stiffening in the embrace of death; but when her
husband clasped her to his bosom, and uttered words of endearing
affection, a wild scream burst from her lips, and she sunk back in
his arms, apparently as unconscious as the child who lay before
A long and alarming state of insensibility was succeeded by weeks of
fever and delirium.
How many bitter but useful lessons did the husband learn as he
watched by her bed-side! Often in the still hours of the night, when
all save himself slumbered, she would gaze upon him with that
earnest, loving, but reproachful look, which he well remembered to
have seen in years gone by, and murmur,
"Just one kind glance, Henry, one little kiss, one word of love and
And then as he bent fondly over her, that cold, fixed expression,
which she had so long worn, would again steal over her countenance,
and mournfully she added,
"Too late, too late. The heart is seared and dead. See, little Eva
stands and beckons me to the land of love. Yes, dear one, I come."
But the crisis came, and though feeble as an infant, the physicians
declared the danger past. Careful nursing, and freedom from
excitement, would restore the wife and mother to her family.
With unequalled tenderness did her husband watch over her, but with
returning health returned also that unnatural frigidity of manner.
There was no response to his words or looks of love.
Was it, indeed, too late? Had his knowledge of the wants of a
woman's heart come only when the heart, which once beat for him
alone, had become as stone?
It was the anniversary of their marriage. Eleven years before they
had stood at the altar and taken those holy vows. Well did Henry
Howard recollect that bridal morning. And how had he fulfilled the
trust reposed in him? With bitter remorse he gazed upon the wreck
before him, and thought of that gentle being once so full of love
An earnest prayer broke from his lips, and his arms were clasped
"Mary, dear Mary," he whispered, "may not the past be forgotten?
Grievously have I erred, but believe me, it has been partly through
ignorance. An orphan from my earliest childhood, I knew not the
blessing of a mother's love. Cold and stern in my nature, I
comprehended not the wants of your gentle spirit. I see it all now:
your constant self-denial, your untiring efforts to please, until,
wearied and discouraged, your very heart's-blood seemed chilled
within you, and you became the living image of that cold
heartlessness which had caused the fearful change.
"But may we not forget the past? Will you not be once more my
loving, joyous bride, and the remainder of my life shall be devoted
to your happiness?"
Almost fearful was the agitation which shook that feeble frame, and
it was long before there was a reply.
At length, in the words of little Eva, she whispered, "Oh my
husband! My own dear husband! My heart is so glad! I had thought it
cold and dead, but now it again beats responsive to your words of
love. The prayers of my angel-child have been answered, and
happiness will yet be ours. My dear, dear Eva, how often have I wept
as I thought of my coldness toward her, and yet all power to show my
earnest love seemed gone for ever."
"It slumbered, dearest, but it is not gone. The breath of affection
will again revive your warm-hearted, generous nature, and our
remaining little ones will rejoice in the sunshine of a mother's
love. Our Eva, from her heavenly home, will gaze with joy upon those
she held so dear."
Another year, and few would have recognised that once dreary home.
Life's sunbeams shone brightly now. Those little messengers to the
human heart,--the look of love, the gentle touch, the word of
praise,--all, all were there. Trifles in themselves, but ah, how
essential to the spirit's Life!
LETTERS TO A YOUNG WIFE
FROM A MARRIED LADY.
MY DEAR LIZZIE,
I have just received the pleasing intelligence of your marriage with
one so worthy of your trust and affection. Of course, you are very
happy; for there is no more perfect happiness for a young and loving
woman than to centre her heart's best feelings upon one being--to
feel her destiny bound up in his--to become, as it were, a very part
of his life. Perhaps, at such a time, my dear girl, it may seem
unkind to throw the least shadow over the bright sky of your
happiness; but I cannot refrain from giving you some little advice
now, at the outset of your new life.
You are looking forward--are you not?--with perfect confidence to
the future. You think that the sea upon which you are launched, will
ever remain calm and untroubled as now; that you will go on for ever
thus, joyous and happy--thus, free from care and sorrow; but, Oh,
remember, there is no sunshine that is not clouded over sometimes;
no stream so smooth as to be always undisturbed. Then, make up your
mind to have cares, perplexities, and trials, such as have never
troubled you before; and be prepared to meet them.
As yet, you are to your husband the same perfect being that you were
before marriage, free from all that is wrong--your follies even
regarded as delightful. You are now placed upon a pedestal--a very
goddess; but, believe me, you must soon descend to take your place
among mortals, and well for you if you can do it gracefully. Believe
me, dearest, I have no wish to sadden your spirit--only to prepare
it for the trials which _must_ come to perplex it.
You must learn to have your faults commented upon, one by one, and
yet be meek and patient under reproach. You must learn to have those
sayings which you have heard praised as witticisms, regarded as mere
nonsense, You must learn to yield even when you seem to be in the
right; to give up your will even when your husband seems obstinate
and unreasonable; to be chided when you expected praise, and have
your utmost endeavours to do rightly regarded as mere duties. But,
be not cast down by this dark side of the picture. You will be
happier, spite of all these trials, than you have ever been, if you
only resolve to be firm in the path of duty; to strive to do well
always; to return a kind answer for a harsh word, and, above all, to
control your temper. There may be times when this may seem
impossible; but always remember that one angry word provokes
another, and that thus the beautiful gem of wedded affection is
tarnished, until what seemed to be the purest gold is found only
gilded brass. Amiability is the most necessary of all virtues in a
wife, and perhaps the most difficult of all others to retain.
Pray fervently for a meek forbearing spirit; cherish your kindly
impulses, and leave the rest to your Father in Heaven.
I shall, if you like, write you again upon this subject. You know I
have been wedded long enough to have had some little experience, and
if it can benefit you, you are welcome to it.
Adieu for awhile. Ever your friend.
MY DEAR LIZZIE,
I hardly know whether pleasure or pain was the uppermost feeling of
my mind, while reading your reply to my last letter. You have some
secret disappointment preying upon your young and thus far happy
heart; and although you speak favourably of your new duties: as a
wife, still there is not that _couleur de rose_ about your
descriptions of the present which used to tinge those of the future.
You have felt already, have you not, that the world has interests
for your husband other than those connected with yourself--that he
can be very happy even when you are not present to share his
happiness? You are not the first, dear Lizzie, who has been thus
awakened from an exquisite dream of love; yet do not repine nor
fret, for that will only increase your sorrow, but reason with
yourself. Think how many claims there are upon your husband's time
and society--claims to which he must bow if he wish to retain the
position he now holds. Before your marriage, you were the all
engrossing object of his thoughts--all that he depended upon for
happiness. There was all the excitement of winning you for his wife,
which caused him for a time to forego every other pleasure which
might interfere with this one great object. But now that is all
over. Like all others, he must proceed onward, and ever look forward
to something yet to be attained.
You say that he has left you alone one whole evening, and that you
punished him for it by appearing very much offended when he
returned. Now, dear Lizzie, was that the way to cure him of not
appreciating your society? By making yourself thus disagreeable upon
his return, would he not rather delay that return another time?
Think over what I have written, and when he is obliged to leave you
again, wear no sullen frowns, nor gloomy looks, but part from him
with smiles and pleasant words; amuse yourself during his absence
with your books, your music, your work; make everything around you
wear a cheerful look to welcome him home; and believe me, he will
appreciate the kindness which is thus free from selfishness.
A man's home must ever be a sunny place to him, and it should be a
wife's most pleasant duty to drive for ever from his hearth-side
those hideous sister spirits, discontent and gloomy peevishness.
This way that young wives have of punishing their husbands, always
comes back upon themselves with double force. Any man, however
unreasonable he appears, may be influenced by kindly words and happy
smiles, and there is not one, however affectionate and domestic,
that will not be driven away by sullen frowns and discontented
Do not allow, my dear girl, these feelings of gloom and sadness to
grow upon you. Believe me, you can overcome them if you will, and
now is the time for you to exert all your power of self-control.
I know there is much to make a young married woman sad. Ere many
days of wedded life are past she begins to feel the difference
between the lover and the husband. She misses that entire devotion
to her every whim and caprice which is so delightful that all
absorbed attention to her every trifling word; that _impressiveness_
of manner which is flattering and pleasing; and she almost fancies
that she is a most miserable, neglected personage.
This is a trying moment for a young and sensitive woman, but if she
only reason with herself, and resolve to yield no place in her
spirits to feelings of repining, she will be happier--far happier
with her husband as he is, than were he to retain all the devotion
of the lover.
I know this seems difficult to believe: but reflect a moment.
Suppose your husband should remain just the same as he was before
marriage, should give up all other society for you, should be
constantly repeating his protestations of love, constantly hanging
around you, watching your every step, living upon your very breath
as it were; do you not agree with me in thinking that all this would
after awhile become very tiresome? Would you not get weary of such a
perpetual display of affection, and would you feel any pride in a
husband who made no advancement in the world, even though it were
given up for you? No, no! Think this all over, and you will see that
it is just as well for you to relinquish his society sometimes; that
is, if you welcome his return with a happy face.
Try my experiment, dear, when next he leaves you, and write me the
result. Adieu for awhile.
MY DEAR LIZZIE,
A severe illness has prevented my answering your kind letter for
some weeks, but now I am quite well again, and hope to continue
without further interruption our pleasant correspondence.
Your last letter I have read and re-read, not without, I must
confess, some little secret misgiving as to whether you have not
taken one step to mar the happiness of your married life, now so
perfect in its beauty.
You speak, in your own whole-souled affectionate manner, of a
_friend_ with whom you have met, and whose kindness has so won your
affection and gratitude, that you have opened your whole heart to
her. Now, my dear Lizzie, that same little heart of yours is quite
too precious a volume to be thus shown to every new comer who wins
upon you by a few kindly words. You have given it to your husband;
let it be kept, then, only for his gaze; open every page of it for
his inspection, and let him correct whatever errors he may find
traced thereupon. Believe me, dear, you will find no truer or more
disinterested confidant than him to whom you have pledged your
Do not think I wish to discourage all friendships with your own sex.
Oh, no; they possess too great a charm to be thus rudely thrown
aside. To me, there is hardly a more lovely sight in the world than
the union of two congenial spirits in the tie of sincere and
unselfish affection. But I do not dignify with the name of
friendship those caprices of the moment, which so often assume its
title and usurp its place. A young girl meets another at an
assembly--she is pleased with her manners; thinks her amiable,
because she smiles frequently; intellectual, because she converses
easily; winning and fascinating, because she receives some kind
attentions from her. Forthwith they become devoted _friends_. In a
few weeks they discover that they are not so congenial as they
imagined, and the _friendship_ is broken off. Away with such
desecration! One might as well compare the scenes of forest, grove,
and field in a theatre, to those painted by nature's own hand, as
this momentary impulse to that noble, unwavering affection which
gives such beauty and dignity to the female character. There are
many imitations of the precious gem, but although they are equally
bright and beautiful at first, they soon tarnish and show themselves
in their true and ungilded state.
There is another part of your letter, dear Lizzie, which gives me
much uneasiness. After your _piquant_ description of the soiree you
attended, you say that you were quite a belle there, and that you
met again Frank H--, your former admirer, who was very devoted to
you. Lizzie, dear Lizzie, do not think thus, do not act thus, do not
write thus a second time. Remember you are a wife. A sacred, solemn
duty is yours, which will require all your powers to perform with
unwavering fidelity. Let me be frank with you, darling, and tell you
that love of admiration has ever been your greatest fault, and is
one of the most dangerous that a young wife can have. Check it,
control it now, before it has led you farther into a snare which may
involve your everlasting happiness. If you find it impossible to
drive it away from you entirely, endeavour to centre it upon your
husband. Think of your personal appearance only so far as it will
please him; your dress, so far as it will gratify his taste; your
intellect, as it will make his home agreeable; your musical powers,
as they will enable you to give him pleasure; learn to view all your
charms and powers of pleasing in this light; improve them with this
view, and all will go well with you and your married life.
I was quite charmed with your description of your sweet little home,
dear Lizzie! What a lovely place it must be, and what a beautiful
prospect of happiness there is before you!
You must be very watchful, dear, of your husband's tastes and
peculiarities. Always continue to have his favourite seat ready when
he comes home wearied with the day's business; his favourite
slippers ready for immediate use; his favourite dishes set before
him. There is much influence to be gained over a man by thus proving
to him that he has been thought of while absent, and his particular
fancies remembered. Always have a cheerful home, a bright fire, a
happy welcoming smile, and, believe me, you will have a domestic
I was very happy to learn that you tried the experiment I
recommended, and met with so pleasant a result. Cultivate the
cheerfulness you seem to have regained; do not allow a shadow to
rest upon your spirit, and you will be doubly rewarded in the
devoted affection of your husband, and the approval of your own
conscience. Adieu for awhile.
My DEAR LIZZIE,
I have thought many, many times of your last beautiful, _wife-like_
letter. It was so full of tenderness--so full of a spirit of
humility--so free from all selfishness, that it called from my heart
a gush of the warmest emotion. I have read it again and again, and
each time with an increased feeling of interest and pleasure.
You are in the right path, now, darling--God grant that you may
never be induced to deviate from it! Go on as you have commenced,
and, believe me, more happiness will be yours than you have ever
dreamed of. There is no richer treasure in this world--no greater
blessing--no more unalloyed happiness to a woman than the perfect
trust and love of a good husband. The tie that binds the wedded is
one that must be guarded well, or it may become partially unloosed,
and it is almost impossible ever to fasten it as at first.
Cherish that all-absorbing love for your husband, which now so fills
your breast; regard nothing as beneath your watchful attention which
adds to his happiness; consult his wishes, his tastes, in all your
actions, your habits, your dress. Above all, _never deceive_ him. Be
able ever to meet him with an unflinching eye, a true and honest
Ever be guided by the lovely light of principle; let this direct you
in all your paths; keep your eye fixed upon it; lose not sight of it
a moment, for it beams from a beautiful home of peaceful happiness,
whither it would lead you, and where all arrive who follow its
Cultivate in your heart a love of _home_ and home duties. Strive to
make that place as attractive as possible, and do everything in your
power to render it an agreeable resting-place for your husband. The
daily routine of home duties, when performed in the right spirit,
diffuse a feeling of cheerfulness over one's heart that can never be
found in the applause of the world, or the gratification of any
Endeavour to make your husband's evenings at home as pleasant as you
are able; call forth your powers of pleasing; bring up his favourite
topics of conversation; amuse him with music; do all that you can to
convince him that he has a most delightful wife, and trust me, dear
girl, you will never fail to make his own "ingle side" the happiest
spot in the world to him.
I once knew a wife who complained to me, with many tears, that her
husband left her, evening after evening, to pass his time in the
reading-room of a hotel. Rallying the husband upon his desertion of
so pleasant a wife, he replied to me, that he had commenced his
married life with the determination to be a kind, domestic husband,
but that he had actually been driven from his home and for what, do
you imagine, my dear Lizzie? Why, because he had not the simple
privilege of enjoying a cigar! Yes, his wife actually would not
allow him to smoke in the parlour where their evenings were passed,
because, forsooth, she was afraid of spoiling her new curtains!
They, it seems, were of more importance to her than the comfort of
her husband. He had been confirmed in the habit of smoking for
years, and could not pass an evening without it. He did not feel
inclined to sit alone in a cold, cheerless room, so he went to a
neighbouring hotel, which he found so lively and pleasant that he
came to the conclusion, for the future, to enjoy his cigars there.
You may smile, and look upon this as a trifle, and so it was; yet
was it of sufficient importance to drive a man from his own
fireside, and render a woman lonely and unhappy.
Life is made up of trifles, and it is by paying attention to
opportunities of winning love by _little things_ that a wife makes
her husband and herself happy. Are such means, then, to be neglected
when they lead to such results?
I must bid you adieu now for a while, dear Lizzie. I think of you
very, very often, and pray most fervently that you may be enabled so
to perform your duties as a wife as to be a blessing to your husband
and an example to all womankind.
Ever your friend.
BEHOLD, how fair of eye, and mild of mien
Walks forth of marriage yonder gentle queen;
What chaste sobriety whene'er she speaks,
What glad content sits smiling on her cheeks,
What plans of goodness in that bosom glow,
What prudent care is throned upon her brow,
What tender truth in all she does or says,
What pleasantness and peace in all her ways!
For ever blooming on that cheerful face,
Home's best affections grow divine in grace;
Her eyes are rayed with love, serene and bright;
Charity wreathes her lips with smiles of light;
Her kindly voice hath music in its notes;
And Heaven's own atmosphere around her floats!
BE GENTLE WITH THY WIFE.
BE gentle! for you little know
How many trials rise;
Although to thee they may be small,
To her, of giant size.
Be gentle! though perchance that lip
May speak a murmuring tone,
The heart may beat with kindness yet,
And joy to be thine own.
Be gentle! weary hours of pain
'Tis woman's lot to bear;
Then yield her what support thou canst,
And all her sorrows share.
Be gentle! for the noblest hearts
At times may have some grief,
And even in a pettish word
May seek to find relief.
Be gentle! none are perfect here--
Thou'rt dearer far than life,
Then husband, bear and still forbear--
Be gentle to thy wife.
A TRUE TALE OF LIFE.
IN one of the New England States, the little church-bell in Chester
village rung merrily in the clear morning air of a bright summer's
day. It was to call the people together, and they all obeyed its
summons--for who among the aged, middle-aged, or the young, did not
wish to fitness the marriage ceremonies of their favourite, Ellen
Lawton? Ere the tolling of the bell had ceased, the gray-haired man
was leaning on the finger-worn ball of his staff, in the corner of
his antiquated pew; the hale, healthy farmer came next; and then the
seat was filled with rosy-cheeked boys and girls, till the dignified
matron brought up the rear at the honourable head. The church became
quiet, eager eyes were fastened upon the door. Presently a tall form
entered, that of a handsome man, apparently about thirty years of
age, on whose arm was leaning, in sweet childlike smiling trust, the
young and loved Ellen Lawton, whose rose-cheek delicately shaded the
pale face, and who looked more beautiful in her angel loveliness
than ever before, even to the eyes of the humble villagers, to whom
she ever was but a "thing of beauty" and "a joy for ever." If thus
she looked to familiar eyes, how transcendently beautiful must she
have appeared to him, who this hour was to make her his own chosen
bride, the wife of his bosom, the pride, the priceless jewel of his
heart. They stood before the altar; he cast his dark eye upon
her--she raised hers, beaming in their blue depths, all full of love
and tenderness, and as they met his, the orange blossoms trembled
slightly in her auburn tresses, and the rose-tint, deepened on her
cheek. The voice of the man of God was heard, and soon Frederic
Gorton had promised to "love, cherish, and protect," and Ellen
Lawton to "love, honour, and obey." As it ever is, so it was
_there_, an interesting occasion--one that might well cause the eye
to fill with tears, the heart to hope, fearfully but earnestly hope,
that that young girl's dreams may not too soon fade, that in him to
whom she has given her heart she may ever find a firm friend, a
ready counsellor, a kind and forbearing spirit, a sympathizing
interest in all her thoughts and emotions. On this occasion many
criticising glances were thrown upon the handsome stranger, and many
whispers were circulated.
"I fear," said one of the deacon's good ladies, "that he is too
proud and self-willed for our gentle Ellen;" and she took off her
spectacles, which she wiped with her silk handkerchief, as if she
thought they were wearied of the long scrutiny as her own very eyes.
Is there truth in the good lady's suspicion? Look at Frederic
Gorton, as he stands there in his stateliness, towering above his
bride, like the oak of the forest above the flower at its foot. His
eye is very dark and very piercing, but how full of tenderness as he
casts it upon Ellen's up-turned face! His brow is lofty, and pale,
and stern, but partially covered with long dark hair, with which
lady's finger had never toyed. His cheek was as if chiselled from
marble, so perfect had the hand of nature formed it. His
mouth--another space of Ellen's unpenetrating discernment, would
have been reminded of Shakspeare's
"O, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful
In the contempt and anger of his lip."
There was about it that compression, so indicative of firmness,
which, while it commands respect, as often wins love.
A perfect contrast to him, was the fairy thing at his side; gentle
as the floating breeze of evening, trusting as true-hearted woman
ever is, lovely, amiable, and beautiful, she was just one to win a
strong man's love; for there is something grateful to a proud man in
having a delicate, gentle, confiding girl place all her love and
trust in him and making all her happiness derivable from his will
and wish. Heaven's blessing rest upon him who fulfils faithfully
that trust reposed in him, but woe be unto him who remembers not his
vows to love and to cherish!
The marriage service over, the friends of Ellen pressed eagerly
around her, offering their many wishes for her long life and
happiness. The gray-haired man, and aged mother in Israel, laid
their hands on the young bride's fair head, and fervently prayed
"God bless thee;" and not a few there were who gave glances upward
to Frederic Gorton, and impressively said,
"Love as we have loved the treasure God transfers to thee."
The widowed mother of Ellen gazed upon the scene with mingled
emotions. Ellen was her eldest child, and had been her pride, her
joy, and delight since the death of her husband, many years before.
She was giving her to a stranger, whose reputation as a man of
talent, of worth, and honourable position in the world was
unquestioned; but of whose private character she had no means of
acquiring a knowledge. It was all uncertainty if a stern, business
man of the world, should supply the tenderness and devoted love of a
fond mother, to her whose wish had been hitherto scarcely ever
disregarded. Yet it might be--she could only hope, and her trust was
in "Him who doeth all things well."
For the two previous years Ellen had been at a female boarding
school in a neighbouring state, on the anniversaries of which she
had taken an active part in the examinatory exercises. Frederic
Gorton, who was one of the board, was so much pleased with her, that
he made of the teachers minute inquiries in regard to her character,
which were answered entirely satisfactorily--for Ellen had been a
general favourite at school, as well as in her own village.
Afterward he called on her frequently, and on her final return home,
Frederic Gorton, who had ever been so confident in his eternal old
bachelorship, accompanied her, and sought her from her mother as his
bride. Seldom does one so gifted seek favour of lady in vain; and
Ellen Lawton, hitherto unsought and unwon, yielded up in silent
worship her whole heart, that had involuntarily bowed itself in his
presence, and became as a child in reverence.
But Frederic Gorton had lived nearly thirty-five years of his life
among men. His mother had died in his infancy, his father soon
after, and he, an only child, had been educated in the family of an
old bachelor uncle.
The influence of woman had never been exerted on his heart. In his
boyhood he had formed, from reading works of fiction, an idea of
woman as perfection in all things; but as he grew in years and in
wisdom, and learned the falsity of many youthful ideas and dreams,
he discarded that which he had entertained of woman, and knowing
nothing of her, but by her general appearance of vanity and love of
pleasure, he cherished for her not much respect, and regarded her as
an inferior, to whom, he thought in his pride, he at least would
never level himself by marriage. He smiled scornfully, on learning
his appointment as trustee of the female school, and laughingly said
to an old bachelor companion:--
"They will make me to have care of the gentle weak ones, whether I
will or no."
"O, yes," replied his friend, who was somewhat disposed to be
satiric, "classically speaking, '_pulchra faciant te prole
parentum_.' Depend upon it this will be your initiation; you will
surely, upon attendance there, be caught by the smiling graces of
some pretty Venus--but, be careful; remember there is no escape when
once caught. Ah, my friend, I consider you quite gone. I shall soon
see in the morning daily--'Married, on the 12th, Hon. Frederic
Gorton, of M--, to Miss Isabella, Mary, or Ellen Somebody, and
then, be assured, my best friend, Fred, that I shall heave a sigh
_imo pectore_, not for myself only, but for you."
Some prophecies, jestfully uttered, are fulfilled--so were those of
Frederic's friend; and when they next met, only one was a bachelor.
But we will return to that bright morning when the bell had rung
merrily--when Ellen Lawton had returned from the village church to
her childhood home as Ellen Gorton, and was to leave it for a new
home. After entering the parlour, Mr. Gorton said,
"Now, Ellen, we will be ready to start in as few moments as
"Yes," answered Ellen, "but I wish to go over to Aunt Mary's, just
to bid her good-bye."
"But my dear," answered Frederic, "there is not time;" looking at
"Just a moment," persisted Ellen, "I will hurry. I promised Aunt
Mary; she is sick and cannot leave her room."
And, as Frederic answered not, and as Ellen's eyes were brimful of
tears, she could but half see the impatience expressed on his
countenance, and hastily departed.
But, Aunt Mary had innumerable kisses to bestow upon her favourite,
and many words and wishes to utter, brokenly, in a voice choked with
tears; and it was many minutes ere she could tear herself away, and
on her return she met several loiterers from the church, who stopped
her to look, as they said, upon her sweet face once more, and list
to her sweet voice again. She hurried on--Mr. Gorton met her at the
door, and taking her hand, said, sternly,
"Ellen, I wish you not to delay a moment in bidding adieu to your
friends--you have already kept me waiting too long."
There was no tenderness in his voice as he uttered this, and it fell
as a weight upon Ellen's heart, already saddened at the thought of
the parting with her mother and home friends, which must be now, and
which was soon over.
As the carriage rolled away, Ellen grieved bitterly. Mr. Gorton, who
really loved Ellen sincerely and fondly, encircled her waist with
his arm, and said, kindly,
"Do you feel, Ellen, that you have made too great a sacrifice in
leaving home and friends for me?"
"O, no," answered Ellen, raising to his her love-lit countenance,
"no sacrifice could be too great to make for you; but do you not
know I have left all I had to love before I loved you? And they will
miss me too at home, and will think of me, how often, too, when I
shall be thinking of you only! Think it not strange that I weep."
Nevertheless, Mr. Gorton did think it strange. He had no idea of the
tender associations clustering around one's home. He had no idea of
the depth and richness and sweetness of a mother's love, of a
sister's yearning fondness, for they ever had been denied him;
consequently the emotions that thrilled the heart of his bride could
find no response and met with no sympathy in his own. It was rather
with wonder, than with any other sensation, that he regarded her
sorrow. Was she not entering upon a newer and higher sphere of life?
Was she not to be the mistress of a splendid mansion? Was she not to
be the envied of many and many a one who had feigned every
attraction and exerted every effort for the station, she was to
assume; and should she weep with this in view?
Thus Mr. Gorton thought--as man often reasons.
After having proceeded a little distance, they came within view of
an humble cottage, when Ellen said,
"I must stop here, Mr. Gorton, and see Grandma Nichols (she was an
elderly member of the church of which Ellen was a member), and when
I was last to see her, she said, as she should not be able to walk
to to see me married, I must call on her, or she should think me
proud. I will stop for a moment--just a moment," she added, after a
pause, observing he did not answer.
They were just opposite the cottage at that moment, yet he gave no
orders to stop. With a fresh burst of tears, Ellen exclaimed,
"Please, Mr. Gorton, let me see her. I may never see her again, and
she will think I did not care to bid her a last farewell."
But Mr. Gorton said,
"Really, Ellen, I am very much surprised at the apparent necessity
of trifles to make your happiness. You went to see your aunt after I
had assured you there was not time. I wish you to remember that your
little wishes and whims, however important they may scene to you,
cannot seem of such importance to me as to interfere with my
arrangements. What matters it if my bride do not say farewell to an
old woman whom I never heard of, and shall never think of again, and
who will soon probably die and cease to remember that you slighted
And he laid Ellen's head upon his shoulder, and wiping the tears
from her face, wondered of what nature incomprehensible she was.
But, it _did_ matter to her in more respects than one, that she was
not permitted to call at the cottage. A mind so sensitive as Ellen's
feels the least neglect and the slightest reproof, and is equally
pained by giving cause for pain, as receiving. Besides, how much was
expressed in that last sentence of Mr. Gorton's, accompanying the
denial of her simple request! How much contained in that denial,
too! How plainly she read in it the future--how fully did it reveal
the disposition of him by whose will she saw she was herself to be
hereafter governed! Though her mind was full of these thoughts,
there was no less of love for him--love in Ellen Lawton could never
change, though she wondered, too, how he could refuse what seemed to
her so easy to grant. And so they both silently pursued their way,
wondering in their hearts as to the nature of each other. This,
however, did not continue long; and soon Ellen's tears ceased to
flow, and she listened, delighted, to the eloquent words of her
gifted husband, spoken in the most musical and rich of all voices.
Woman will have love for her husband so long as she has admiration,
and Ellen knew she would never cease to admire the talents and
brilliant acquirements of Frederic Gorton.
After several days travel through a delightfully romantic country,
they reached the town of M--, where was the residence of Mr.
Gorton. It was an elegant mansion, the exterior planned and finished
in the most tasteful and handsome style--the interior equally
so--and furnished with all that a young bride of most cultivated
taste could desire. The eye of Ellen was delighted and surprised,
even to tears, and inaudibly, but fervently in her heart she
murmured, "how devotedly will I love him who has provided for me so
much comfort and splendour, and how cheerfully will I make
sacrifices of my feelings, 'my wishes and my whims,' for him who has
loved me so much as to make me his wife!" and she gazed into her
husband's face through her tears, and kissed reverently his hand.
"Why weep you, my Ellen? Are you not pleased?"
"O, yes; but you have done too much for me. I can never repay you,
only in my love, which is so boundless I have not dared to breathe
it all to you, nor could I."
Gorton looked upon her in greater astonishment than before. Tears he
had ever associated with sorrow; and surely, thought he, here is no
occasion for tears, and he said,
"Well, if you love me, you will hasten to wipe away those tears, and
let me see you in smiles. I do not often smile myself, therefore the
more need for my lady to do so. Moreover, we may expect a multitude
of callers; and think, Ellen, of the effect of any one's seeing the
bride in tears."
Calling a servant to conduct her to her dressing-room, and
expressing his wish for her to dress in her most becoming manner, he
It is unnecessary to say that Ellen was admired and loved by all the
friends of her husband, even by his brother judges and politicians.
Herbert Lester, the particular friend of Mr. Gorton, whose prophecy
had thus soon been verified, came many miles to express personally
his sympathy and condolence. These he changed to congratulations,
when he felt the influence of the grace and beauty of the wife of
his friend--and he declared that he would make an offer of his hand
and heart, could he find another Ellen.
Meanwhile time passed, and though Ellen was daily called upon to
yield her own particular preferences to Mr. Gorton's, as she had
done even on her bridal day, she was comparatively happy. Had she
possessed less keenness of sensibility, she might have been happier;
or had Mr. Gorton possessed more, that he could have understood her,
many tears would have been spared her. Oftentimes, things
comparatively trifling to him would wound the sensitive nature of
Ellen most painfully, and he of course would have no conception
_why_ they should thus affect her.
Occupied as he was mostly with worldly transactions and political
affairs, Ellen's mind often, in his absence, reverted to the scenes
of her youth, and her childhood home, her mother, and the bright
band of her young sisters; and longings would come up in her heart
to behold them once more.
Two years having passed without her having seen one member of her
family, she one day asked Mr. Gorton if it would not be convenient
soon to make a visit to Chester. He answered that his arrangements
would not admit of it at present--and coldly and cruelly asked her
if she had yet heard of Grandma Nichols' decease. Ellen answered
not, and bent her head over the face of her little Frederic, who was
sleeping, to hide her tears. Perceiving her emotion, however, he
"Ellen, I assure you it is impossible for me to comply with your
wish, but I will write to your mother, and urge her to visit
us--will not that do?"
Ellen's face brightened, as with a beam of sunshine, and springing
to her husband's side, she laid her glowing cheek upon his, and then
smiled upon him so sweetly that even the cold heart of Frederic
Gorton glowed with a warmth unusual.
Seven years passed away, leaving their shadows as the sun does. And
"But matron care, or lurking woe,
Her thoughtless, sinless look had banished,
And from her cheek the roseate glow
Of girlhood's balmy morn had vanished;
Within her eyes, upon her brow,
Lay something softer, fonder, deeper,
As if in dreams some visioned woe
Has broke the Elysium of the sleeper."
Never yet, since that bright bridal morn, had Ellen looked upon her
native village, though scarcely three hundred miles separated her
from it. Now her heart beat quick and joyfully, for her husband had
told her that business would call him to that vicinity in a few
days, and she might accompany him. With all the willful eagerness of
a child she set her heart on that visit, and from morning till night
she would talk with her little boys of the journey to what seemed to
her the brightest, most sacred spot on earth, next to her present
home. And the home of one's childhood! no matter how sweet, how-dear
and beloved the home the heart afterwards loves, it never forgets,
it never ceases most fondly to turn back to the memories, and the
scenes, and the friends of its early years.
One fault, if fault it might be called, among so many excellencies
in Ellen's character, was that of putting off "till to-morrow what
should be done today." This had troubled Mr. Gorton exceedingly,
who, prompt himself, would naturally wish others to be so also, and
notwithstanding his constant complaints, and Ellen's desire to
please him, she had not yet overcome her nature in that respect,
though she had greatly improved. The evening preceding the intended
departure, Mr. Gorton said to his wife,
"Now, Ellen, I hope you will have everything in readiness for an
early departure in the morning. Have the boys and yourself all ready
the moment the carriage is at the door, for you know I do not like
to be obliged to wait."
Almost before the stars had disappeared in the sky, Ellen was busy
in her final preparations. She was sure she should have everything
in season, and wondered how her husband could suppose otherwise,
upon an occasion in which she had so much interest. Several minutes
before the appointed time, Ellen had all in readiness for departure,
the trunks all packed and locked, the children in their riding
dresses and caps; and proceeding from her dressing-room to the front
hall door, she was thinking that this time, certainly, she should
not hear the so oft repeated complaint--
"Ellen, you are always too late!"--when, to her dismay, she met
Georgie, her youngest boy, dripping with mud and water from the
brook, whence he had just issued, where, he said, he had ventured in
chase of a goose, which had impudently hissed at him, which insult
the young boy, in his own conception a spirited knight of the
regular order, could not brook, and in his wrath had pursued the
offender to his place of retreat, much to the detriment of his
Ellen was in consternation; but one thing was evident--Georgie's
dress must be changed. With trembling hands she unlocked a trunk,
and sought for a change of dress, while the waiting-maid proceeded
to disrobe the child.
Just at this moment Mr. Gorton entered, saying the carriage was at
the door. Various things had occurred that morning to perplex him,
and he was in a bad humour. Seeing Ellen thus engaged with the
trunk, as he thought, not half packed, various articles being upon
the carpet, and Georgie in no wise ready, the cloud came over his
brow, and he said, harshly,
"I knew it would be thus, Ellen--I have never known you to be in
readiness yet; but you must know I am not to be trifled with."
And with this, not heeding the explanation she attempted to make, he
seized his valise and left the room. Jumping into the carriage, he
commanded the driver to proceed.
Ellen heard the carriage rolling away in astonishment. She ran to
the door, and watched it in the distance. But she thought it could
not be possible he had gone without her--he would return: and she
hastened the maid, and still kept watching at the door. She waited
in vain, for he returned not.
The excitement into which Ellen was thrown by the anticipation of
meeting her friends once more, may be readily imagined by those
similarly constituted with her, and the reaction occasioned by her
disappointment, also. Her heart had been entirely fixed upon it, and
what but cruelty was it in her husband to deprive her thus so
unreasonably of so great an enjoyment--to her so exquisite a
In the sudden rush of her feelings, she recalled the last seven
years of her life, and could recollect no instance in which she had
failed doing all in her power to contribute to her husband's
happiness. On the other hand, had he not often wounded her feelings
unnecessarily? Had he ever denied himself anything for her sake, but
required of her sacrifice of her own wishes to his?
The day wore away, and the night found Ellen in a burning fever. The
servant who went for the physician in the early morning, said she
had raved during the latter part of the night. As the family
physician entered the room, she said, mildly,
"O, do not go and, leave me! I am all ready--all ready. Do not
go--it will kill me if you go."
The doctor took her hand; it was very hot; and her brow was terribly
throbbing and burning. He remained with her the greater part of the
day, but the attack of fever on the brain had been so violent that
no attempt for relief was of avail.
She grew worse and about midnight, with the words--
"O, do not go, Mr. Gorton,--do not go and leave me!"--her spirit
took its flight.
And the morning dawned on Ellen in her death-sleep--dawned as
beautiful as that bright one, when the bell rang merrily for her
bridal. Now the dismal death-note's pealed forth the departure of
her spirit to a brighter world. Would not even an angel weep to look
upon one morning, and then upon the other?
The birds, from the cage in the window, poured forth their songs;
but they fell unheeded on the ears they had so often delighted. The
voices of Fred and Georgie, ever as music to the loving heart of the
young mother, would fall thrillingly on her ear no more. She lay
there, still and cold--her dreams over--her hopes all passed by--the
sun of her young life set--and _how_?
People came in, one after another, to look upon her--and wept that
one so young and good should die. They closed her eyes--they laid
her in her grave-clothes, and folded her pale hands--and there she
And now we leave that chamber of the too-early dead. Mr. Gorton's
feelings of anger soon subsided. In a few hours he felt oppressed
with a sense of the grief Ellen would experience. His feelings
prompted him to return for her. Several times he put his head out of
the window to order the driver to return, but, his, pride
intervening, he as often desisted. Yet his mind was ill at ease. He,
also, involuntarily, reviewed the period of his wedded life. He
recalled the goodness, and patience, and sweetness, which Ellen had
ever shown him--the warm love she had ever evinced for him: and his
heart seemed to appreciate, for the first time, the value and
character of Ellen. He felt how unjust and unkind he had often been
to her--he wondered he could have been so,--and resolved that,
henceforth, he would show her more tenderness.
As he stopped for the night, at a public-house, his resolution was
to return early in the morning. Yet, his business must be attended
to. It was a case of emergency. He finally resolved to intrust it
with a lawyer acquaintance, who lived a half day's ride distant from
where he then was. Thus he did; and, about noon of the following
day, returned homeward. He was surprised at his own uneasiness and
impatience. He had never so longed to meet Ellen. He fancied his
meeting with her--her joy at his return--her tears for her
disappointment--his happiness in restoring _her_ heart to happiness,
by an increasing tenderness of manner, and by instantly gratifying
her wish of a return home.
All day and night he travelled. It was early morning when he arrived
at his own door. He was surprised at the trembling emotions and
quickened beating of his heart, as he descended the steps of his
carriage, and ascended those to his own door. He passed on to the
room of his wife. The light gleamed through the small opening over
the door, and he thought he heard whispers. Softly he opened the
door. O! what a terrible, heart-rending scene was before him!--The
watchers left the room; and Mr. Gorton stood alone, in speechless
agony, before the being made voiceless by himself.
The sensibility so long slumbering within his worldly, hardened
heart, was aroused to the very keenness of torture. And Ellen,
gentle spirit that she was,--how would she have grieved to have seen
the heart she had loved so overwhelmed with grief, regret, remorse,
"Ellen! my own Ellen!"
But she could not hear!
"I have killed thee, gentlest and best!"
But the kindness of her heart was not open _now_!
"I forgive thee," could not fall from those lips so pale!
"I love thee," could never come upon his ear
again--_never_--"NEVER!" thrilled his soul, every chord of which was
strung to its intensity!
If anything could have added to the grief inconsolable of the man
stricken in his sternness and pride, it was the grief of his two
motherless boys, as they called on their mother's name in vain, and
asked him why she _slept_ so long!
Few knew why Ellen died so suddenly and so young; but, while Mr.
Gorton preserved in his heart her memory and her virtues, he
remembered, and mourned in bitterness and unavailing anguish, that
it was him own thoughtless; but not the less cruel, unkindness, that
laid her in her early grave.
Never came the smile again upon his face; and never, though fond
mammas manoeuvred and insinuated, and fair daughters flattered and
praised, did he wed again; for his heart was buried with his Ellen,
whom he too late loved as he should have loved. His love--"It came
a sunbeam on a blasted flower."
Washington Irving, in his beautiful "Affection for the Dead," says:
"Go to the grave of buried love, and meditate. There settle the
account with thy conscience, for every past benefit unrequited,
every past endearment unregarded. Console thyself, if thou canst,
with this simple, yet futile tribute of regret, and take warning by
this, thine unavailing sorrow for the dead, and henceforward be more
faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the
MAN AND WOMAN.
AN eloquent, true, and beautiful article from the pen of a woman and
a wife (and no woman not a _wife_, do we believe fully competent to
write on this subject), recently met our eyes in the pages of a
periodical. Its title was "Conjugial Love." The Latin word conjugial
was used by the writer to indicate the true spiritual union of man
and wife in contradistinction to the mere natural union as expressed
in the word conjugal. From this article let us make an extract--
"Man is an angular mathematical form, exactly _true_, but not
beautiful. Woman seizes this form, and from the crucible of her warm
love she moulds the truth into grace and beauty. For man's
understanding deals in outermost truths. But the Lord has blessed
woman with perceptive faculties above the sphere of man's reason,
and while he looks to the outermost relations of things she at a
glance perceives the inmost. Hence she becomes, as it were, the soul
of his _thought_; she is the will and he the intellectual principle;
she is governed and guided by him, while he in all things is
modified by her will, and scarce recognises his own crude thought in
her plastic feminine representation of it; hence he thinks
oftentimes that he acts from her wisdom, forgetting that she has no
wisdom except through him.
"Thus woman dwells in the heart of man, as in some fair and stately
palace, and she looks forth into his garden of Eden, his whole
spirit world of thought; she knows every lofty tree, every blooming
flower and odorous plant and herb for the use of man, and every
singing bird that soars heavenward in her beautiful domain, and she
culls the fairest of flowers and weaves bright garlands, and adorns
the brow of her beloved with his own thoughts, while he even thinks
that she is bestowing treasures out of herself upon him. This gives
to woman a sportive grace, a gentle lovingness, an apparent
wilfulness, a delight in the power which she has through man, while
she knows that he is the link that binds her to Heaven, and thus she
is humble and grateful and yielding in the height of her power. How
beautiful is the life of conjugial partners! The woman flows into
the thought of man like influent life; she knows all things that are
in him, hence she can adapt herself to his every variation; she
calms him when excited, elevates him when he is depressed, regulates
him by her heaven-given power, as a good heart regulates the
judgment. The Lord loves the man through the woman, and loves the
woman through the man, and these two distinct and separate confluent
streams, from the fountain of Divine life, rejoice in their blessed
and beautiful union, as like ever does when it meets its like. And
it is only when the two streams unite that they can reflect the
Divine image; they are noisy, turbulent, and turbid; until the
meeting of the waters of life, and then in a calm, serene, deep, and
beautiful blessedness they flow on so softly and smoothly that the
holy heavens and the Divine sun mirror themselves in the clear
waters; and if night, chill and drear, draws its darkening curtain
around them, soon the silver moon of a trusting faith floods them
with a gentle radiance, and bright stars of intelligence gild the
night's darkness, and they patiently await the dawn of an eternal
day, when their joyous waters will again flow in the _sunshine_ of
"When the Lord in His Divine Providence brings the _two_ together,
in this life, that were created the one for the other, their union
is wrought out by slow degrees. The false and evil is to be put off
before the Divine life can ultimate itself--an unceasing
regeneration is going on--a purifying from self-love is the daily
life of two partners. The wisdom which the man has from the Lord,
and the love which the woman has from Him, are ever seeking
conjunction. But the false and the evil that clings to every earthly
being is constantly warring against this Heavenly union; in
conjugial partners, hell is opposed to heaven, and it is only by a
steady looking to the Lord, that Heavenly love can be preserved. The
Lord opens the inmost degree of thought and feeling in the two, and
elevates their love to higher planes, and thus increases their joys
and felicities; and when it is a true spiritual love, an entire
union of heart and mind, then the two have entered heaven, and enjoy
its beautiful blessedness even while their material bodies yet dwell
upon this coarse outer world.
"How wonderful is the wisdom of the Lord! How blessed is His love,
in thus creating two that they may become a _one_! The sympathy, the
gentle affection, the loving tender confidence, that, like magnetic
thrills, makes one conscious of the inmost life of the other, gives
a charm--a fulness of satisfaction--a serene blessedness to
existence, that no isolated being can possibly conceive of, let
external circumstances be what they may.
"Conjugial love is independent of external circumstances; it is
heaven-derived, and receives nothing from the earth. It gives
heavenly joy to all of its surroundings. It is that glorious inner
sunshine of life, that blesses the poor man as boundlessly as the
rich. And how beautiful it is for _two_ to realize that time and
space have nothing to do with their union. In each other they see
eternity; they know from whence their emotions flow, and know that
the fountain is Infinite. The Lord is the beginning and end; to
them, the first and the last. They live _in_ Him, _from_ Him, and
_to_ Him. They love only His Divine image in each other; they seek
to do good to others, as organs of His Divine life. He is the glory
and blessedness of their whole being.
"And if such blissful emotions can be realized in this cold, hard,
ungenial, outer life, what must it be when the two pass into the
conscious presence of the Divine Father, and behold each other not
in angular material forms, and dead material light, but in the
Divine light of Heaven, in Heavenly forms,--radiant in intelligence
glowing in the rosy love of eternal youth--beautiful in the 'beauty
of the Lord?'"
How pure, how wise, how beautiful! Here is the true doctrine, that
man and woman are not equal in the sense so often asserted in these
modern times; that they are created with radical differences, and
that the life of neither is perfect until they unite in marriage
union--one man with one wife.
THE FAIRY WIFE.
A MERCHANT married a Fairy. He was so manly, so earnest, so
energetic, and so loving, that her heart was constrained toward him,
and she gave up her heritage in Fairyland to accept the lot of
They were married; they were happy; and the early months glided away
like the vanishing pageantry of a dream.
Before the year was over he had returned to his affairs; they were
important and pressing, and occupied more and more of his time. But
every evening as he hastened back to her side she felt the weariness
of absence more than repaid by the delight of his presence. She sat
at his feet, and sang to him, and prattled away the remnant of care
that lingered in his mind.
But his cares multiplied. The happiness of many families depended on
him. His affairs were vast and complicated, and they kept him longer
away from her. All the day, while he was amidst his bales of
merchandise, she roamed along the banks of a sequestered stream,
weaving bright fancy pageantries, or devising airy gayeties with
which to charm his troubled spirit. A bright and sunny being, she
comprehended nothing of care. Life was abounding in her. She knew
not the disease of reflection; she felt not the perplexities of
life. To sing and to laugh--to leap the stream and beckon him to
leap after her, as he used in the old lover-days, when she would
conceal herself from him in the folds of a water-lily--to tantalize
and enchant him with a thousand coquetries--this was her idea of how
they should live; and when he gently refused to join her in these
childlike gambols, and told her of the serious work that awaited
him, she raised her soft blue eyes to him in a baby wonderment, not
comprehending what he meant, but acquiescing, with a sigh, because
he said it.
She acquiesced, but a soft sadness fell upon her. Life to her was
Love, and nothing more. A soft sadness also fell upon him. Life to
him was Love, and something more; and he saw with regret that she
did not comprehend it. The wall of Care, raised by busy hands, was
gradually shutting him out from her. If she visited him during the
day, she found herself a hindrance and retired. When he came to her
at sunset he was preoccupied. She sat at his feet, loving his
anxious face. He raised tenderly the golden ripple of loveliness
that fell in ringlets on her neck, and kissed her soft beseeching
eyes; but there was a something in his eyes, a remote look, as if
his soul were afar, busy with other things which made her little
heart almost burst with uncomprehended jealousy.
She would steal up to him at times when he was absorbed in
calculations, and throwing her arms around his neck, woo him from
his thought. A smile, revealing love in its very depths, would
brighten his anxious face, as for a moment he pushed aside the
world, and concentrated all his being in one happy feeling.
She could win moments from him, she could not win his life; she
could charm, she could not occupy him! The painful truth came slowly
over her, as the deepening shadows fall upon a sunny Day, until at
last it is Night: Night with her stars of infinite beauty, but
without the lustre and warmth of Day.
She drooped; and on her couch of sickness her keen-sighted love
perceived, through all his ineffable tenderness, that same
remoteness in his eyes, which proved that, even as he sat there
grieving and apparently absorbed in her, there still came dim
remembrances of Care to vex and occupy his soul.
"It were better I were dead," she thought; "I am not good enough for
Poor child! Not good enough, because her simple nature knew not the
manifold perplexities, the hindrances of _incomplete_ life! Not good
enough, because her whole life was scattered!
And so she breathed herself away, and left her husband to all his
gloom of Care, made tenfold darker by the absence of those gleams of
tenderness which before had fitfully irradiated life. The night was
starless, and he alone.
A BRIEF HISTORY, IN THREE PARTS, WITH A SEQUEL.
A GLANCE--a thought--a blow--
It stings him to the core.
A question--will it lay him low?
Or will time heal it o'er?
He kindles at the name--
He sits and thinks apart;
Time blows and blows it to a flame,
Burning within his heart.
He loves it though it burns,
And nurses it with care;
He feels the blissful pain by turns
With hope, and with despair.
Sonnets and serenades,
Sighs, glances, tears, and vows,
Gifts, tokens, souvenirs, parades,
And courtesies and bows.
A purpose and a prayer;
The stars are in the sky--
He wonders how e'en hope should dare
To let him aim so high!
Still hope allures and flatters,
And doubt just makes him bold;
And so, with passion all in tatters,
The trembling tale is told.
Apologies and blushes,
Soft looks, averted eyes,
Each heart into the other rushes,
Each yields, and wins a prize.
A gathering of fond friends,--
Brief, solemn words, and prayer,--
A trembling to the fingers' ends,
As hand in hand, they swear.
Sweet cake, sweet wine; sweet kisses,
And so the deed is done;
Now for life's waves and blisses,
The wedded two are one.
And down the shining stream,
They launch their buoyant skiff,
Bless'd, if they may but trust hope's dream,
But ah! Truth echoes--"If!"
If health be firm--if friend be true--
If self be well-controlled,
If tastes be pure--if wants be few--
And not too often told--
If reason always rule the heart--
If passion own its sway--
If love--for aye--to life impart
The zest it does to-day--
If Providence, with parent care,
Mete out the varying lot--
While meek contentment bows to share,
The palace, or the cot--
And oh! if Faith, sublime and clear,
The spirit upwards guide--
Then bless'd indeed, and bless'd for ever,
The bridegroom and the bride!
"EVER, evermore!" repeated a young man, bending with a smile over
the fair face that rested on his breast.
"Yes! evermore!" softly breathed the smiling lips upon which he
gazed, and. evermore shone from the melting, heavenly eyes.
"And you believe all these bright fancies you have been telling me
of, darling?" asked the young man.
"Ah! yes--they are truth to me; they dwell in my heart of
hearts--they belong to the deepest and sweetest mysteries of my
being. I gaze out through the glory upon life, and I see no
coldness, no darkness--everything is coloured with bright radiance
from the eternal world. It is happiness that gives me this beautiful
view. I have known that the world was filled, with love, but I have
never so clearly seen it before. And sure I am that if I were to die
now, this same splendour of love would still be poured through my
soul; for it is myself, and I cannot lose it. If you were next week
in Europe, far from me, would not your inner world be illumined with
love and hope?"
"It certainly would!
"And can you doubt the durability, the truth and reality of this
inner-life? Can this clay instrument be of any moment farther than
it serves to develop life, in this, our first school?--we should not
confound the earthly dwelling with the free man who makes it his
temporary home. Ah! Horace, I feel, I am, sure, you will some day
enjoy all these ennobling thoughts with me, and then existence will
also be to you sublime."
An expression of radiant hope flitted over the young man's face, and
he kissed the soft lips and eyes of his betrothed, while he
murmured, "I would suffer the loss of all happiness on earth, I
would bear every stroke the Almighty might inflict, if I
_could_ believe as you do, of a life beyond this. I am no unbeliever,
you know. I read my Bible daily, but beyond this world everything to
me is misty and dark. I shudder at the ghastliness of the grave, and
would forget that I cannot always clasp your warm heart to my own.
You were surely sent to be my good angel, to teach me all that is
gentlest and best in my nature, and this holy love _must_ last
evermore. I have always smiled at the idea of love, at first sight,
but when I first saw your face, Elma, none ever was so welcome; yet
if you had not proved all that your face and manner promised, I
should not have fallen in love. I half-believe matches are made in
Heaven--ours will be Heaven-made, if any are. You think human beings
are made for each other, as the saying is, do you not?"
"Yes! returned Elma, smiling, "I _hope_ we are made to be partners
in this world, and a better one, but how can I know it? When my
happy womanhood first dawned, I had wild, sweet dreams that here on
earth I and many others would surely meet the true half that
belonged to us--one with whom every thought would find a response. I
have met many whose views are like mine, and yet whose natures are
so different that we could not see each other's souls; perhaps if
they had loved me, I could have seen more clearly--but my rebellious
heart went forth to meet you, although I tried so long to turn
away--although I trembled to think the religion of our natures was
"I once thought, love, that I should never win you--it was your pale
lips and the mournful intensity of your look, when we met after a
long absence, that gave me new hope; and I have often wondered,
Elma, why you gave so unhesitating an assent, when you had for
months at a time avoided me at every opportunity."
"It was because my views had changed in a manner--although still
believing in the fitness of two out of the whole universe for each
other, I began to think that on earth these very two might each have
a mission to others, and others to them, which would more fully call
out their characters, and perhaps develop the dark traits necessary
to be conquered--so that perfect harmony might be evolved from
chaos. It once seemed to me, with the views I held, that it would be
a sin for me to unite my destiny with one who did not sympathize
with me on all points. But the sad fate of Augusta Atwood made me
reflect deeply. She was my bosom friend, and never did mortal go to
the altar with brighter hopes--never did human being love more
unreservedly. She whispered to me as I arranged her hair on the
morning of her bridal:--'This seems to me like the beginning of my
heavenly life--there is not a height or depth of my soul that
Charles's nature does not respond to--I _know_ that we two are truly
one." And so it seemed for two happy years--his character took every
one by surprise, perhaps himself, and now Augusta is a miserably
neglected wife, toiling on like an angel to reap good from her
desolated earth-life. Yet we see that her mighty love was not a true
interpreter. No doubt her lover was sincere at the time in believing
that they not only felt, but thought alike. I have known many
instances, very many, where two, perhaps equally good and true, have
thought themselves fitted for each other and none else; yet on the
death of one, they have found a companion who was still more
especially made for them. Thus we see that this is a matter where
there appears to be little certainty and many mistakes. Doubtless,
there are some few blessed ones who truly find their better--half;
but in this sinful, imperfect state of life, we cannot believe that
we are in an order sufficiently harmonious to have this a sure
thing. Perhaps one-third of the women in the world never even loved
half as well as they felt themselves capable of loving, simply
because no object presented himself who could call forth all the
music of a high and noble nature.
"So many a soul o'er life's drear desert faring,
Love's pure congenial spring unfound, unquaffed,
Suffers, recoils, then thirsty and despairing
Of what it would, descends and sips the nearest draught."
But, Elma, my child, it is not pleasant to me that you should have a
single doubt that _we_ are not dearer to each other than any other
mortals could ever be in this world, or the beautiful one you love
to dream of."
"I am telling you, Horace, the thoughts that have been in my mind--I
only feel now that you are good and gifted, and I love you more than
I ever dreamed of loving."
"And you, sweet, are the breath of my life. It is heavenly to know
that God has given you, and you alone, to be the angel ministrant of
my oft tempestuous life: you have risen like a star over my cloudy
horizon--may the light of the gentle star shine on my path, until it
leads me unto the perfect day!"
"Only the light of the Sun of Righteousness can do that," returned
Elma; then, with a tear glistening on her lash, she added, "I hope
God will help me to be good and pure, that I may be a medium of
good, and not evil to you."
Most blessedly passed the days to that hopeful maiden; it was a
treasure full of all promise to have, not only the happiness of her
lover, but as she trusted, his best good committed to her charge,
next to God. When she knelt in the morning hour, her prayer was ever
a thanksgiving--she lifted up the gates of her soul that the King of
Glory might come in, and His radiant presence permeated her whole
being--she left to Him the control of her life, all the strange
mysteries of heavenly policy, which she felt and knew would ultimate
in perfecting her too worldly nature; and she went forth,
angel-attended, to her duties, fusing into them this effluent life
that dwelt so richly within her. Every word of kindness and love
that dropped from her soft, coral lips, bore with it a portion of
the smiling life that overflowed her spirit. When she arose, her
constant thought was, "Another day is coming, in which the work of
progress may go on: I may perhaps this day conquer some evil, or do
some humble good, that will fit me to be a still better angel to
Horace, and which shall beautify my mansion in the Heavens."
At length the bridal day came, and fled also like other days, save
that a sweeter brightness enwrapped the soul of Elma; so six months
or more flitted away in delicious dream-life, for outward things
made comparatively slight impression; Elma lived and loved more than
she thought. But one morning reflection and pain came together; the
latter led in the former, a long-forgotten friend, and the young
wife asked herself how far she had travelled onward and upward since
the bridal days, since her path had been all sunshine;--she bowed
her head and wept bitterly. "Not for me, at least," she sighed, "is
constant happiness a friend,--not yet am I fitted to enjoy the
highest harmony of life. 'Therefore, burn, thou holy pain, thou
purifying fire!' It is meet I should be wounded where my deepest
joys are lodged. I see that it is the lash of pain which must drive
me through the golden gates. Yes! I will arise, and thank my Father
that He has not been as unmindful of my eternal well-being as I
would be myself, if left to wander only among flowers of love and
And what was this grief that awoke the bride from her blissful
dream? It would seem the merest nothing to the strong man of the
world, to the gay woman who glides, superficially through existence.
But many a young bride will understand how it might be more
sorrowful than the loss of houses and lands. It was the husband's
first frown, his first petulant word; it was the key that opened
Elma's understanding to the true estate of the past. She could no
longer blind her eyes, as she had done, to a certain worldliness in
her husband, and which had also reached her through him. This
morning, that revealed so much, Horace had impatiently exclaimed as
Elma held forth her Bible to him, as usual,--
"I have not time for that now, child!" and hastily kissing her, he
put on his hat, and went forth to his business.
A pale anguish settled on Elma's face as she sunk upon a chair.
"Is this the beginning of sorrows?" she murmured; "he never spoke to
me so before, perhaps he will often do so again. If it had been
about anything else, I think I could have borne it better! Oh God!
is the angel leaving our Paradise?"
And she thought over and over again of this worldliness in her
husband, and his want of the high standard in religion that was so
dear to her; she felt that she was, in a measure, deceived in
him,--surely once he seemed to dwell in an atmosphere that was more
spiritual. Yes! Elma was deceived in him, but Horace had not
deceived her. In the happy glow of his successful love, he had
caught the warmth of Elma's thoughts; they had charmed his
imagination, in a measure commended themselves to his understanding,
and made a temporary impression upon him heart, so that he went out
among men with a more benevolent spirit than he had ever done
before. But truth, to be abiding, must be sought after with an eager
thirst; and it came to Horace crowned with flowers; he condescended
to take the charmer in, and obeyed her for awhile, then she was
forgotten, he thought not why, and he imperceptibly returned to the
real self, which Elma had never before had an opportunity to become
Three years went by. Horace was a devoted husband, no being on earth
was to him so perfect as his wife--no human being had ever exerted
over him the quiet, holy influence that belonged to Elma. She had
gradually accomplished infinitely more than she suspected, yet many
a time, and oft, had he caused her grieved tears to fall like rain.
Many a time had despairing prayers risen from her soul for him,
while she breathed out to her God a cry for strength. She felt that
she saw through a glass darkly; but she sought with most earnest
heart for every duty, knowing that thus her pathway would lead
continually to a more sure and steady light.
Elma often wondered that so much joy was given to her earthly life;
but she understood the true philosophy, for her every grief was
regarded as a special messenger from the spirit-land, and amid her
tears she looked up, and resolutely answered to the call,
"Excelsior!" She was ever receiving with gratitude the blessings
that clustered about her lot, and, as it were, transmuting all
common things into pleasures, by seeking out a brightness in them.
But a heavier trial was in store for the wife than she had
anticipated. Horace had been very unfortunate in business; he bore
it with more gentleness than Elma had expected, but it wore upon his
spirits; day after day he was busied in settling up, and came home
with a look of sadness and anxiety. One evening he came in with a
"What is the news?" asked his wife, as she read his face.
"I have an offer of a clerkship, at a very good salary, eighteen
hundred dollars a year!"
"We can get along admirably with that!" said Elma, with a bright
smile. "You know we are retrenching our expenses so much, that we
can live on half that, and the rest can go towards your debts. In a
few years you will be able to pay all you owe, will you not?"
"Perhaps so, by exerting every faculty, and living on less than you
"Oh! well, we can!" was the eager response. "I'll manage to get
along on almost nothing; as small a sum as you choose to name. Every
trifling deprivation will be an actual delight, that helps to
discharge those debts. It will, indeed!" she added, as Horace smiled
at her enthusiasm.
"I believe you, little one, every word you say!" and, with an air of
cheerful affection, such as he had not shown for weeks, the husband
drew his wife's head upon his breast, and, forgetful of cold
business cares and the world, they were gay, tender, and happy.
It was with a different look that Horace entered his home the next
evening; a shadow fell on Elma's heart when she saw him, and the
evening meal passed in silence.
"What are you thinking of, Horace?" she timidly asked, some time
after, approaching him as he stood by the window, gazing out
gloomily into the star-lighted street.
"I have received a better offer, and have determined to accept it."
It must be known that Horace came quickly to a decision, and then
persevered in it; none knew the vanity of striving to change him,
when fairly resolved, better than Elma; but in small matters he was
yielding as Elma herself. She stood in a fearful silence, looking
into his face, which he had turned towards her.
"I am going to California!" he said, almost sternly, for he feared
Elma's tenderness might unman him.
"Not without me?" she asked, with pleading eyes.
"Yes! Elma, I cannot take you, for I shall be constantly travelling,
and subject to the greatest hardships,--you could not bear it! I
shall be back in a year and a half."
"I could bear anything better than to be left behind--you do not
know as well as I what would be the greatest hardship for me. Ah!
Horace, do not put me to this dreadful trial. Let me go with you,
and you will find that I will not utter a complaint. You can leave
me at some place, while you travel over the roughest country--you
may be sick, and need me. I fear men grow hard and selfish there,
and what you gain in purse, you may lose in what is dearest to me.
'It is not good for man to be alone.'"
"Hush, darling; every word is vain!" answered Horace, clasping her
to his breast, and kissing her with passionate vehemence. For the
first time in his life he wept without any restraint over her. "Do
you think anything but duty would tear me from you? It is my duty to
be just to all men, and to pay what I owe as soon as I can."
"But take me!" sobbed Elma.
"Dear child! you must be reasonable. I know that you fear the
influence about me will not be as angelically pure as your own, and
I love you for that fear. I shall go where no man will care for my
soul as you do; but I shall not forget you, Elma. Now, cheer up, and
show me the ready resolution you have always had at hand."
"I never had such a cruel blow as this before!" returned Elma, in an
entire abandonment of grief. "Oh! take me with you, Horace, and
nothing in the world will be hard for me."
The wife's pleadings were vain, and in a week she parted from her
husband. After he had gone, she won back a spirit of resignation;
indeed, as soon as she found her doom was sealed, she gathered up
her strength, and strove to cheer Horace, whose spirits sunk
miserably when he had no longer to support Elma. She laid out a plan
for her life during her widowhood, as she called it, and this plan
was after the example of One who went about doing good. The weary
time passed slowly, but each day added a little gem to Elma's
heavenly life, and when, at length, she received her husband's last
letter before his return, her thanks gushed forth in gladness, as
they had so often before done, in holy confidence. Part of his
letter ran thus:--
And now, dear love, having told you of the outward success which has
met my efforts, let me tell you a little of the heart that belongs
to you--which you have won from darkness to light. It is filled with
images of hope and love, and a light from your spirit shines through
all--have been ever with me, ever leading me to that 'true light
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' I often gave
you pain, my darling, when we were together; it was unintentional,
and sprang from the evil of my nature; and a thousand times, when
you did not suspect it, your gentle look and touch brought to my
spirit better thoughts, and the thoughts brought better words and
deeds. You have been the angel of my life still more during our
separation; for my soul has yearned for your dear presence
constantly, and every day I have said to myself, 'Would this please
Elma?' and when I have been enabled to do a kindness, my heart
glowed at the thought of Elma's approval. Your blessed spirit never
seems so near to me as when I lift up my soul in prayer. I sometimes
fancy your prayers, beloved, have unlocked the Kingdom of Heaven for
me. Good bye, dearest life, we shall soon meet.
And when they met, the joy of their first wedding days seemed
doubled. Elma rejoiced at the discipline she had been through, for
it had better fitted her for the joyful existence that was before
her. It had now become more of a habit for her soul to dwell in a
heavenly atmosphere--she had learned to rely steadfastly upon her
God for the good gifts of her life, and they were showered upon her
abundantly; doubly beautiful, they were shared by a heart in unison.
LIVING LIKE A LADY.
MR. HAMILTON BURGESS was a man of limited means, but having married
a beautiful and amiable woman, he resolved to spare no expense in
surrounding her with comforts, and in supporting her, as he said,
"like a lady."
"My dear Ammy," said Mrs. Burgess, to her indulgent husband, about a
year after their marriage--"My dear Ammy"--this was the name she
called him by _at home_--" you are too kind to me, altogether. You
are unwilling that I should work, or do anything towards our
support, when I actually think that a little exertion on my part
would not only serve to lighten your expenses, but be quite as good
for my health and spirits as the occupations to which my time is now
"Oh, you industrious little bee!" exclaimed Mr. Burgess, "you have
great notions of making yourself useful, I declare! But, Lizzie, I
shall never consent to your propositions. I did not marry you to
make you my slave. When you gave me this dear hand, I resolved that
it should never be soiled and made rough by labour--and it never
shall, as long as I am able to attend to my business."
Mrs. Burgess would not have done anything to displease her husband
for the world, and she accordingly allowed him to have his way
without offering farther remonstrance.
But Hamilton's business was dull, and it required the greatest
exertion on his part, and the severest application, to raise
sufficient money to meet the daily expenses of his family.
"My affairs will be in a better state next year," he said to
himself, "and I must manage to struggle through this dull season
some way or another. I will venture to run in debt a little, I
think; for any way is preferable to reducing our household
expenditures, which are by no means extravagant. At all events,
Lizzie must not know what my circumstances are, for she would insist
upon a change in our style of living, and revive the subject of
doing something towards our support."
Mr. Burgess then ventured to run in debt a little; he did not
attempt to reduce the expenses of his housekeeping; he never gave
his wife a hint respecting the true state of his business matters,
but insisted upon her accepting, as usual, a liberal allowance of
funds to meet her private expenses.
Lizzie seemed quite happy in her ignorance of her husband's
circumstances, never spoke again of assisting to support the
establishment, but seemed to devote herself to the pursuit of quiet
pleasures, and to procuring Hamilton's happiness. But Mr. Burgess's
circumstances, instead of improving, grew continually worse. His
venture of "running in debt a little," resulted in running in debt a
great deal. Thus the second year of his married life passed, and the
dark shadows of disappointed hope and the traces of corroding care
began to change the aspect of his brow.
One day a friend said to Hamilton--
"I am surprised at your conduct! Here you are, making a slave of
yourself, while your wife is playing the lady. She is not to blame;
it is _you_. She would gladly do something for her own support, if
you would permit her; and it would be better for her and for you.
Remember the true saying--
'Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do!'"
"What do you mean?" demanded Hamilton, reddening.
"I mean that, _generally speaking_, young wives of an ardent
temperament, when left to themselves, with nothing but their
pleasures to occupy their minds, are apt to forget their husbands,
and find enjoyment in such society as he might not altogether
"Sir, you do not know my wife," exclaimed Hamilton. "She, thank
Heaven, is not one of those."
"I hope not," was the quiet reply.
Although Hamilton Burgess had not a jealous nature, and would never
have entertained unjust suspicions of his wife, these words of his
friend set him to thinking. He remembered that Lizzie was always
happy, however he might be oppressed with cares; and now he wondered
how it was that she could be so unmindful of everything except
pleasure, while he was so constantly harassed. The consistent Mr.
Hamilton Burgess undoubtedly forgot that he had taken the utmost
pains to conceal his circumstances from his wife.
It was in this state of mind that Mr. Burgess one day left his
business, and went home unexpectedly. It was at an hour when Lizzie
least thought of seeing him, and on this occasion she appeared
considerably embarrassed; nor did Mr. Burgess fail to observe that
she was very tardy in making her appearance in the sitting-room.
On another occasion, Mr. Burgess returned home under similar
circumstances, and going directly to his wife's room, found, to his
astonishment, that he could not gain admittance. After some delay,
however, during which Hamilton heard footsteps hurrying to and fro
within, and whispering, Mrs. Burgess opened the door, and, blushing
very red, attempted to apologize for not admitting him before.
"Who was with you?" demanded Hamilton.
"With _me_?" cried Lizzie, much confused.
"Yes, madam. I heard whispering, and I am sure somebody just passed
through that side door."
"Oh, that was nobody but Margaret!" exclaimed Mrs. Burgess, hastily.
Hamilton could ill conceal his vexation; but he did not intimate to
his wife that he suspected her of equivocation, nor did she see fit
to attempt a full exposition of the matter.
Nothing was said of this incident afterwards; but for many weeks it
occupied Hamilton's mind. All this time he was harassed with cares
of business, and his brow became more darkly shrouded in gloom as
his perplexities thickened. At last the crisis came! Mr. Burgess saw
the utter impossibility of longer continuing his almost profitless
trade, under heavy expenses, which not only absorbed his small
capital, but actually plunged him into debt. But one honest course
was left for him to pursue; and he resolved to close up his affairs,
and sell off what stock he had to pay his debts.
It was at this time that Mr. Burgess saw in its true light the error
of which he had been guilty, in opposing his wife's desire to
economize, and devote a portion of her time to useful occupation.
"Had I allowed her to lighten our expenses in this way," thought he,
"I might not have been driven to such extremities. And what has been
the result of my folly? Why, I have kept her ignorant of our poverty
until the very last, and now the sudden intelligence that we are
beggars, will well nigh kill her!"
Satisfied of the danger, if not the impossibility, of keeping the
secret longer from his wife, Mr. Burgess went home one day, resolved
to break the intelligence to her without hesitation. Entering the
house with his latch-key, he went directly to Lizzie's room, which
he entered unceremoniously. To his surprise, he found on the table a
gentleman's cap, of that peculiar fashion which he had seen worn by
postmen and dandies about town. Anxious for an explanation, he
looked around for his wife; but Lizzie was not in the room. Then
hearing voices in another part of the house, he left the room by a
different door from that by which he had entered, and hastened to
the parlour, where he expected to find Mrs. Burgess in company with
the owner of _that cap_. To his surprise, he found the parlour
vacant, and meeting Margaret in the hall a moment after, he
impatiently demanded his wife.
"She is in the room, sir," said the domestic.
Without saying a word, Hamilton again hastened to Lizzie's room,
where he found her reading a late magazine with affected
"Madam," cried he, angrily, "what does this mean? Here I have been
chasing you all over the house, without being able to catch you.
What company have you just dismissed?"
"What company?" asked Lizzie.
"Yes, madam, what company?"
"Do not speak so angrily, dear Ammy. Why are you so impatient?"
"Because I wish to know what gentleman has been favouring you with
such a confidential visit!"
Hamilton remembered other occasions when, on his coming home
unexpectedly, his wife had shown signs of embarrassment; and, added
to this, her present equivocation rendered him violently jealous.
She appeared to shrink from him in fear, and became alternately red
and pale, as she answered--
"There has been no gentleman here to see me!"
"No one, dear Ammy!"
Mr. Burgess was on the point of demanding to know who was the owner
of the cap which he had seen on his wife's table, and which had now
mysteriously disappeared; but emotion checked him, and he paced the
floor in silence.
"This is too much!" he muttered, at length, in the bitterness of his
heart. "I could endure poverty, without uttering a complaint for
myself; I could endure anything but this!"
"Why, Ammy, what is the matter?" cried Mrs. Burgess, in alarm.
"Nothing--only we are beggars!" answered Hamilton, abruptly.
"Have you been unfortunate?" calmly asked his wife, affectionately
taking him by the arm.
"Yes--the most unfortunate of men! I am ruined--we are
"Dear Ammy, you must not let this cast you down. Business failures
frequently happen, but they ought never to destroy domestic
happiness. Come, how bad off are we? Are we really beggars?"
"My creditors will take everything," answered Hamilton, gloomily.
"They will not take us from each other," said Lizzie.
Mr. Burgess looked at his young wife with a bitter smile.
"Are you such a deceiver?" he muttered through his teeth. "Can you
talk thus when you have just dismissed a lover?"
"Sir!" cried Mrs. Burgess, a glow of indignation lighting her fair
face. "What do you mean?"
"Don't deny what I say!" replied Hamilton. "You were having an
interview with a gentleman when I came in."
Lizzie trembled with indignation.
"I saw his cap on the table!"
Lizzie laughed outright. "Come here," she said, leading her husband
Hamilton followed her, and she went to a bureau, unlocked a deep
drawer, and opening it, called her husband's attention to its
It was half full of caps!
Hamilton looked at Lizzie in perplexity. Lizzie looked at Hamilton,
"I suppose that you will now declare that there are twenty gentlemen
in the house," said Mrs. Burgess.
"Lizzie!"' cried her husband, clasping her hands, "I am already
ashamed of my suspicions. I ask your forgiveness. But explain this