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The Wedding Guest by T.S. Arthur

Part 4 out of 5

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"How did you feel, Nellie, when I threatened a separation?"

"I felt as if you couldn't be coaxed into it."

"Get down, this instant!",

And down went Nellie, with a little delicious peal of laughter. A
profound silence of four minutes continuance.

"I don't know that I care if you come back."

And back went Nellie, keeping her bewitching little mouth closed,
until she could drop her face upon her husband's shoulder, and laugh
to her heart's content.

"Do you know, Nellie, that some men would have sulked a month over
your conduct to-night? Haven't you got an indulgent husband?"

"That I have. You don't thrust wrong constructions on my folly; and
that is the very reason I am going to try and be as good and
innocent as you think me. I feel as if I have been acting _so_


OH! ask not a home in the mansions of pride,
Where marble shines out in the pillars and walls;
Though the roof be of gold, it is brilliantly cold,
And joy may not be found in its torch-lighted halls.
But seek for a bosom all honest and true,
Where love once awakened will never depart;
Turn, turn to that breast like the dove to its nest,
And you'll find there's no home like a home in the heart.

Oh! link but one spirit that's warmly sincere,
That will heighten your pleasure and solace your care;
Find a soul you may trust as the kind and the just,
And be sure the wide world holds no treasure so rare.
Then the frowns of misfortune may shadow our lot,
The cheek-searing tear-drops, of sorrow may start,
But a star never dim sheds a halo for him
Who can turn for repose to a home in the heart.


OUR married life had commenced, and this was HOME. As I opened my
eyes in our new abode, the rays of the morning sun were penetrating
the muslin curtains, the air was, fill with the fragrance of
mignionette, and in the adjoining room I heard a loved voice
warbling my favourite air.

On the different articles of furniture lay a hundred things to
remind me the change which had taken place in mode of life. There
lay the bouquet of orange flowers worn by Micelle on our wedding
day; here stood her work basket; a little further on, and my eye
fell on her small bookcase, ornamented with her school prizes and
several other volumes, recent offerings from myself. Thus all my
surroundings indicated that I was no longer alone. Till then in my
independence I had merely skirted the great army of humanity,
measuring all things with regard to my own strength only. I had now
entered its ranks; accompanied by a fellow traveller, whose powers
and feelings must be consulted, and whose tenderness must be
equalled by the protecting love shed around her. A few weeks ago I
should have fallen unnoticed and left no void, henceforward my lot
lay bound in that of others. I had taken root in life, and for the
future must fortify and strengthen myself for the protection of the
nests which would in time be formed beneath my shade.

Sweet sense of responsibility, which elevated without alarming me!
What had Marcelle and I to fear? Was not our departure on the voyage
of life like that of Athenian Theori for the island of Delos,
sailing to the sound of harps and songs while crowned with flowers?
Did not our hearts beat responsive to the chorus of youth's
protecting genii?

_Strength_ said, "What matters the task? Feel you not that to you it
will all be easy? It is the weak alone who weigh the burden. Atlas
smiled, though he bore the world on his shoulders."

_Faith_ added, "Have confidence, and the mountains which obstruct
your path shall vanish like clouds; the sea shall bear you up, and
the rainbow shall become a bridge for your feet."

_Hope_ whispered, "Behold, before lies repose after fatigue; plenty
will follow after scarcity. On, on, for the desert leads to the
promised land."

And lastly, a voice more fascinating than any, added, "Love one
another; there is not on earth a surer talisman; it is the 'Open
Sesame' which will put you in the possession of all the treasures of

Why not listen to these sweet assurances? "Cherished companions of
our opening career, my faith in you is strong; you, who, like unto
the military music which animates the soldier's courage, lead us,
intoxicated by your melody, on to the battle field of life." What
can I fear from a life through which I shall pass with Marcelle's
arm entwined in mine? The sun shines on the commencement of our
journey; forward over flowery fields, by hedges alive with song,
through ever-verdant forests! Let one horizon succeed another! The
day is so lovely, and the night yet so distant!

While thus occupied with my newborn happiness, I had risen and
joined Marcelle, who had already taken possession of her domestic

Everything must be visited with her; her precocious housewifery must
be admired; her arrangements must be applauded. First she showed me
the little '_salle manger_,' dedicated to the meals which
would unite us in the intervals of business: to this cause it owed
the air of opulence and brightness which Marcelle had carefully
striven to impart to it. China, silver, and glass, sparkled on the
shelves. Here lay rich fruits half hidden in moss; there, stood
freshly-gathered flowers--everything spoke of the reign of grace and
plenty. From thence we passed into the salon, the closed curtains of
which admitted only a soft and subdued light, which fell on
statuettes ornamenting the consoles, and the gilt frames on the
walls: on the tables lay scattered in graceful negligence, albums,
elegancies of papier mache, and carved ivory; precious nothings
which had constituted the young girl's treasures. At the farther
end, the folds of a heavy curtain concealed the bower, sacred to the
lady of the castle. Here admittance was at first denied me, and I
was obliged to have recourse to entreaty before the drapery was
raised for our entrance.

The cabinet was lighted by a small window, over which hung a blind,
representing a gothic casement of painted glass, the bright colours
of which were now rendered more brilliant by the sunlight which
streamed through. The principal furniture consisted of a pretty
lounging chair and the work table, near which I had so often seen
Marcelle seated with her embroidery when I passed under her aunt's
window. Her pretty flower-stand, gay with her favourite flowers,
occupied the window in which hung a gilt-wire cage, the melodious
prison-house of her pet bird; and lastly, there stood fronting the
window, the bureau, consecrated since her school-days, to her
intimate correspondence.

She showed it to me with an almost tearful gravity. Everything it
contained was a relic, or souvenir. That agate inkstand had belonged
to her elder sister, who died just when Marcelle was old enough to
know and love her; this mother-of-pearl paper-cutter was a present
to her from her aunt, before she became her adopted child; this seal
had belonged to her father! She half-opened the different drawers,
for me to peep at the treasures they contained. In one were the
letters of her dearest school-friend, now married, gone abroad, and
therefore lost to her; in another, were family papers; lower down,
her certificates for the performance of religious obligations,
prizes obtained, and examinations passed--the young girl's humble
patent of nobility!--and last of all, in the most secret corner, lay
some faded flowers, and the correspondence which, with the consent
of her Aunt Roubert, we had interchanged when absent from each

In the contents of this bureau, were united all the touching and
pleasing reminiscences of her former life; they formed Marcelle's
poetic archives, whither she often retired in her hours of solitude.
Often, on my return from business, I found her here, smiling, and
seemingly perfumed by memories of the past.

Ah! thought I, why have not men also some spot thus consecrated to
like holy and sweet remembrances, a sanctuary replete with tokens of
family affection, and relics of youth's enthusiasm? Our ancestors,
in their pride, cut out of the granite rock safe depositories for
the proofs of their empty titles and long pedigrees; is it
impossible for us to devote some obscure corner to the annals of the
heart, to all that recalls to us our former noble aspirations, and
generous hopes?

Time has torn from the walls the genealogical trees of noble
families, but he has left space for those of the soul. Let us seek
the origin of our decisions, our sympathies, our repugnances, and
our hopes, and we shall ever find that they spring from some
circumstance of by-gone days. The present is rooted in the past. Who
has met by chance with some relic of earlier years, and has not been
touched by the remembrances called forth? It is by looking back to
the starting-point, that we can best calculate the distance
traversed; it is in so doing that we feel either pleasure or alarm.
Truly happy is the man who, after gazing on the portrait of his
youth, can turn towards the original and find it unimpaired by age!

These reflections were interrupted by the sound of my father's
voice, which brought us out of Marcelle's retreat to welcome him. He
came to see our new abode, and add his satisfaction to our
happiness. He was a gentle stoic, whose courage had ever served as a
bulwark to the weak, and whose inflexibility was but another name
for entire self-abnegation; he was indulgent to all, because he
never forgave himself, and ever veiled severity in gentleness. His
wisdom partook neither of arrogance nor passion; it descended to the
level of your comprehension, and while pointing upwards, led you by
the hand, and guided the ascent. It was a mother who instructed,
never a judge who condemned.

Though pleased with my choice, and happy at seeing us united, he had
nevertheless refused a place at our fireside. "These first hours of
youth are especially your own," he had said to me with a paternal
embrace; "an old man would throw a shadow over the meridian sunshine
of your joy. It is better that you should regret my absence, than
for one moment feel my presence a restraint. Besides, solitude is
necessary to you, as well as to me--for _you_ to talk of your hopes
for the future, for _me_ to recall remembrances of the past. Some
time hence, when my strength is failing, I will come to you, and
close my eyes in the shadow of your prosperity."

And all my entreaties had been unavailing: the separation was
unavoidable. Now, however, Marcelle sprang forward to meet him, and
led him triumphantly across the room, to begin a re-examination of
its treasures. My father listened to all, replied to all, and smiled
at all. He lent himself to our dreams of happiness, pausing before
each new phase, to point out a hope overlooked before, or a joy
forgotten. While thus pleasantly occupied, time slipped away
unnoticed, until Marcelle's aunt arrived.

Who was there in our native town who did not know Aunt Roubert? The
very mention of her name was sufficient to make one gay. Left a
widow in early life, and in involved circumstances, she had, by dint
of activity, order, and economy, entirely extricated herself from
pecuniary difficulty. Of _her_ might be said with truth, that
"_sa part d'esprit lui avait t donnee en bon
sens_." Taking reality for her guide, she had followed in the beaten
track of life, carefully avoiding the many sharp flints which
caprice scatters in the way. Always on the move, alternately setting
people to rights, and grumbling at either them or herself, she yet
found time to manage well her own affairs, and to improve those of
others--a faculty which had obtained for her the name of "_La Femme
de menage de la Providence_." Vulgar in appearance, she was
practical in the extreme, and results generally proved her in the
right. Her nature was made up of the prose of life, but prose so
clear, so consistent, that, but for its simplicity, it would have
been profound.

Aunt Roubert arrived, according to custom, a large umbrella in hand,
while her arm was loaded with an immense horsehair bag. She entered
the little cabinet, where we were seated, like a shower of
hail:--"Here you are at last," she exclaimed, "I have been into
every room, in search of you, Do you know, my dear, that the chests
of linen have arrived?"

"Very well, I will go and see after it," said Marcelle, who, with
one hand in my father's, and the other in mine, seemed in no hurry
to stir.

"You will go and see after it," repeated Aunt Roubert, "that will be
very useless, for you will find no place to put it in; I have been
over your abode, my poor child, and instead of a home I find a
'_salon de theatre_.'"

"Why, aunt," exclaimed Marcelle, "how can you say so? Remi and his
father have just been through the rooms, and are delighted with

"Don't talk of men and housekeeping in the same breath," replied
Madame, in her most peremptory tone; "see that they are provided
with a pair of snuffers and a bootjack, and they will not discover
the want of anything else; but I, dear friend, know what a house
should be. In entering the lobby just now, I looked about for a
hook, on which to hang my cloak, and could find nothing, but
flowering stocks! My dear, flowers form the principal part of your

Marcelle endeavoured to protest against the assertion by enumerating
our stock of valuables, but she was interrupted by her aunt.

"I am not talking of what you have, but of what you have not," she
said; "I certainly saw in your salon some little bronze

"Marmozettes!" I cried, "you mean statuettes of Schiller and

"Possibly," Aunt Roubert quietly replied, "they may at a push serve
as match holders; but, dear friend, in the fire-place of your office
below, I could see neither tongs nor shovel. On opening the
sideboard, I found a charming little silver-gilt service, but no
soup ladle, so one can only suppose that you mean to live on
sweetmeats; and lastly, though the '_salle manger_ is
ornamented with beautifully gilt porcelain, the kitchen
unfortunately is minus both roasting-jack and frying-pan! Good
heavens, these are most unromantic details, are they not?" added
she, noticing the gesture of annoyance which we were unable
altogether to repress; "but as you will be obliged to descend to
them whenever you want a roast or an omelette, it would perhaps be
as well to provide for them."

"You are right!" I replied, a little out of humour, for I had
noticed Marcelle's confusion, "but such omissions are easily
rectified when their need is felt."

"That is to say, you will wait until bed-time to order the
mattrass," replied Aunt Roubert; "well, well, my children, as you
will, but now your attendance is required on your linen, which
awaits you in the lobby; I suppose my niece does not propose to
arrange it in her birdcage, or flower-stand; can she show me the
place destined for it?"

Marcelle had coloured to the roots of her hair, and stood twisting
and untwisting her apron-string.

"Ah well! I see you have not thought of that," said the old aunt;
"but never mind, we will find some place to put it in after
breakfast; you know we are to breakfast together."

This was a point Marcelle had not forgotten, and she forthwith led
the way to her breakfast-table.

At the sight of it my father gave a start of pleased surprise. In
the centre stood a basket of fruit, flowers, and moss, round which
were arranged all our favourite dainties; each could recognize the
dish prepared to suit his taste. After having given a rapid glance
round, Madame Roubert cried out,

"And the bread, my child?"

Marcelle uttered a cry of consternation.

"You have none," said her aunt, quietly; "send your servant for
some." Then lowering her voice, she added, "As she will pass by my
door, she can at the same time tell Baptiste to bring the large
easy-chair for your father, and I hope you will keep it. Your gothic
chairs are very pretty to look at but when one is old or invalided,
what one likes best in a chair, is a comfortable seat."

While awaiting the servant's return, Madame Roubert accompanied
Marcelle in a tour round our abode. She pointed out what had been
forgotten, remedied the inconvenience of several arrangements, or
superseded them with better, doing it all with the utmost cheerful
simplicity. Her hints never bordered on criticisms; she showed the
error without astonishment at its having been committed, and without
priding herself on its discovery.

When she had completed her examination, she took her niece aside
with her accounts. Marcelle fetched the little rosewood case which
served her as a cash box, and sat down to calculate the expenses of
the past week. But her efforts to produce a satisfactory balance,
seemed useless. It was in vain that she added and subtracted, and
counted piece by piece her remaining money, the deficit never
varied. Astounded at such a result, and at the amount spent, she
began to examine the lock of her box, and to ask herself how its
contents could have so rapidly disappeared, when Aunt Roubert
interrupted her.

"Take care," she said in one of her most serious tones. "See, how
from want of careful account-keeping you already suspect others;
before this evening is here you will be ready to accuse them. It
always is so. The want of order engenders suspicion, and it is
easier to doubt the probity of others than one's own memory. No lock
can prevent that, my child, because none can shelter you from the
results of your own miscalculations. There is no safeguard for the
woman at the head of a household, like a housekeeping-book which
serves to warn her day by day, and bears faithful witness at the end
of the month. I have brought you such a one as your uncle used to
give me."

She drew it from her bag, and presented it to Marcelle.

It was an account-book bound in parchment, the cover of which was
separated like a portfolio into three pockets, destined for
receipts, bills, and memoranda. The book itself was divided into
several parts, distinguished one from the other by markers
corresponding to the different species of expenditure, so that a
glance was sufficient to form an estimate, not only of the sum
total, but also of the amount of expenditure, in each separate

The whole formed a domestic budget as clear as it was complete, in
which each portion of the government service had its open account
regulated by the supreme comptroller.

M. Roubert, who had been during his life a species of unknown
Franklin, solely occupied in the endeavour to make business and,
opinions agree with good sense, had written above, each chapter a
borrowed or unpublished maxim to serve as warning to its possessor.
At the beginning of the book the following words were traced in red

_"Economy is the true source of independence and liberality."_

Farther on, at the head of the division destined to expenses of the

_"A Wise man has always three cooks, who season the simplest food:
Sobriety, Exercise, and Content."_

Above the chapter devoted to benevolence:--

_"Give as thou hast received"_

And lastly, on the page destined to receive the amount of each
month's savings, he had copied this saying of a Chinese

_"Time and patience convert the mulberry leaf into satin."_

After having given us time to look over the book, and read its wise
counsels, Aunt Roubert explained to Marcelle the particulars of its
use, and endeavoured to initiate her in domestic book-keeping.


TRULY hath the poet said that, "Trifles swell the sum of human
happiness and woe." Our highest and holiest aspirations, our purest
and warmest affections, are frequently called forth by what in
itself may be deemed of trivial importance. The fragrant breath of a
flower, the passing song of the merry milk-maid, a soothing word
from one we love, will often change the whole current of our
thoughts and feelings, and, by carrying us back to the days of
childhood, or bringing to our remembrance some innocent and happy
state which steals over us like a long-forgotten dream, will
dissipate the clouds of sorrow, and even the still deeper shades of
falsity and evil.

How many of the great events of life have their origin in trifles;
how many deep, heart-felt sorrows spring from neglect of what seemed
to us a duty of little or no account--something that could be done
or left undone as we pleased!

Alas! this is a dangerous doctrine. Let us endeavour to impress upon
the minds of our children that no duty is trifling; that nothing
which can in any way affect the comfort and happiness of others is

The happiness of domestic life, particularly of married life,
depends almost wholly upon strict attention to trifles. Between
those who are united by the sacred tie of marriage, nothing should
be deemed trivial. A word, a glance, a smile, a gentle touch, all
speak volumes; and the human heart is so constituted that there is
no joy so great, no sorrow so intense, that it may not be increased
or mitigated by these trifling acts of sympathy from one we love.

Nearly three months had elapsed since the papers had duly announced
to the public that Mary, daughter of Theodore Melville, had become
the bride of Arthur Hartwell; and the young couple had returned from
a short bridal tour, and were now quietly settled in a pleasant
little spot which was endeared to Arthur by having been the home of
his youthful days. He had been left an orphan at an early age, and
the property had passed into the hands of strangers, but he
continued to cherish a strong attachment for the "old place," as he
termed it, and he heard with joy, some few months before his
marriage, that it was for sale; and without even waiting to consult
his intended bride, he purchased it for their future home. This was
a sad disappointment to Mary, for she had fixed her affections upon
a pretty romantic little cottage, half hid by trees and shrubbery,
which was situated within two minutes' walk of her father's house;
and which, owing to the death of the owner, was offered for sale
upon very favourable terms. In her eyes it possessed every
advantage, and as she mentally compared it with the old-fashioned
dwelling of which Arthur had become the possessor, she secretly
conceived a strong prejudice against the spot where the duties and
pleasures of the new sphere which she was about to enter were to
commence; particularly as it was five miles distant from her
parents, and not very near to any of her early friends.

Some faint attempts were made to induce Arthur to endeavour to get
released from his bargain, and to become the purchaser of the pretty
cottage, but in vain. He was delighted to have become the owner of
what appeared to him one of the loveliest spots on the earth, and
assured Mary that the house was vastly superior to any cottage,
advancing so many good reasons for this assertion, and describing in
such glowing terms the beauty of the surrounding scenery, and the
happiness they should enjoy, that she could not help sympathizing
with him, although her dislike to her future home remained unabated.

The first few weeks of her residences there passed pleasantly
enough, however. All was new and delightful. The grounds about the
house, although little cultivated, were beautiful in the wild
luxuriance of nature; the trees were loaded with rich autumnal
fruits; and even the old-fashioned mansion, now that it was new
painted, and the interior fitted up in modern style, assumed a more
favourable aspect. It was a leisure time with Arthur, and he was
ever ready to accompany Mary to her father's; so that she became
quite reconciled to the distance, and even thought it rather an
advantage, as it was such a pleasant little ride.

But as the season advanced, Arthur became more engrossed with
business. The rides became less frequent, and Mary, accustomed to
the society of her mother and sister, often passed lonely days in
her new home, and her dislike to it in some degree returned. Her
affection for her husband, however, prevented the expression of
these feelings, and she endeavouved to forget her loneliness in
attention to household duties; reading, and music; but these
resources would sometimes fail.

It was one of those bright afternoons in the latter part of autumn,
when the sun shines forth with almost summer-like warmth, and the
heart is gladdened with the departing beauty of nature. Mary was
seated alone in her pleasant parlour, with her books and her work by
her side.

"How I wish Arthur would return early!" she said, aloud, as she
gazed from their open window. "It will be such a lovely evening. We
could have an early tea, and ride over to father's and return by
moonlight; it would be delightful;" and filled with this idea, she
really expected her husband, although it still wanted two hours of
the usual time of his return; and laying aside her work, began to
make some preparations for the evening meal. She was interrupted by
a call from an old friend who lived nearly two miles distant, and,
intending to pass the afternoon at Mr. Melville's, had called to
request Mary to accompany her.

The young wife was in considerable perplexity. She had a great
desire to go to her father's, but she was unwilling to have Arthur
return home and find her absent; and moreover, she felt a strong
impression that he would himself enjoy the ride in the evening, and
would, perhaps, be disappointed if she were not at home to go with
him. So, with many thanks the invitation was declined, the visiter
departed, and Mary returned with a light heart to the employment
which the visit had interrupted.

Janet, the assistant in the kitchen, entered into the feelings of
her mistress, and hastened to assist her with cheerful alacrity,
declaring that she knew "Mr. Hartwell would be home directly,--it
was just the evening for a ride," &c.&c.--this ebullition of her
feelings being partly caused by sympathy with the wishes of her
young mistress, and partly by her own desire to have the house to
herself for the reception of some particular friends, who had
promised to favour her with their company that evening.

But alas! the hopes of both mistress and maid were destined to be
disappointed. The usual time for Arthur's return passed by, and
still he did not appear, and it was not until the deepening
twilight had almost given place to the deeper shades of evening,
that Mary heard his well known step, and springing from the sofa
where she had thrown herself after a weary hour of watching, she
flew to the door to greet him.

"Oh, Arthur!" she exclaimed, forgetful that he was quite ignorant of
all that had been passing in her mind for the last few hours, "how
could you stay so late? I have waited for you so long, and watched
so anxiously. It is quite too late for us to go now."

"Go where, Mary?" was the surprised reply. "I did not recollect that
we were to go anywhere this evening. I know I am rather late home,
but business must be attended to. I meant to have told you not to
expect me at the usual hour."

This was too bad. To think that she had refused Mrs. Elmore's kind
invitation, and had passed the time in gazing anxiously from the
window, when she might have enjoyed the society of father, mother,
and all the dear ones at home; and now to find that Arthur actually
knew that he should not return till late, and might have saved her
this disappointment, it was really very hard; and Mary turned away
to hide the starting tears, as she replied,

"You might have remembered to have told me that you should not be
home till dark, Arthur, and then I could have gone with Mrs. Elmore.
She called to ask me to ride over to father's with her, but I would
not go, because I felt so sure that you would come home early and
take me to ride yourself this pleasant evening."

"You had no reason to expect it," said Arthur, rather shortly, for
he felt irritated at the implied reproach of Mary's words and
manner, and for the first time since their marriage, the husband and
wife seated themselves at the table with unkind feelings busy in
their hearts. Mary remained quite silent, while Arthur vented his
irritation by giving the table an impatient jerk, exclaiming,

"I really wish Janet could learn to set a table straight! I believe
her eyes are crooked."

This was an unfortunate speech, for Mary, in her desire to expedite
Janet's preparations for tea, had herself arranged the table; at
another time she would have made a laughing reply, but just now she
did not feel like joking, and the remark only increased the weight
at her heart.

These grievances may seem very trifling, and indeed they are so; but
our subject is trifles, and if the reader will examine his own
heart, he will find that even little troubles sometimes produce a
state which even the addition of a feather's weight renders

Thus it was with Mary. She made an ineffectual attempt to eat, but
the food seemed to choke her; and rising abruptly, she seated
herself at the piano and commenced a lively tune in order to hide
her real feelings.

There was nothing strange in this. Arthur frequently asked her to
play to him when be felt disposed to remain at the table longer than
she did, and he had often said that he liked the ancient custom of
having music at meals; but this evening music had lost its charm;
the lively tune was not in unison with his state of feeling, and he
hastily finished his supper and left the room. This was another
trial, and the ready tears gushed from Mary's eyes as she left the
piano, and summoning Janet to remove the tea things, she bade her
tell Mr. Hartwell when he came in, that she had a bad headache and
had gone to her own room.

Arthur returned from his short walk in less than half an hour, quite
restored to good humour by the soothing effects of the lovely
evening, and somewhat ashamed that he had been disturbed by so
trifling a cause.

"Perhaps Mary would like to take a walk," he said, to himself, as he
entered the house. "It is not too late for that, and to-morrow I
will endeavour to take the wished-for ride."

He was disappointed when Janet delivered the message, and going up
stairs opened the door of their sleeping apartment; but Mary's eyes
were closed, and fearful of disturbing her, he quietly returned to
the parlour and endeavoured to amuse himself with a book until his
usual hour of going to rest.

The next morning all seemed as usual; for sleep has a renovating
power on the mind as well as the body, and in little troubles as
well as in great.

Husband and wife spoke affectionately to each other, and secretly
wondered how such trifles could have disturbed them; but no allusion
was made to the subject, for the very reason that the unpleasant
feeling which had arisen between them had sprung from so trifling a
cause. The trouble could scarcely be defined, and therefore they
judged it better to say nothing about it. In some cases this is
well, but, generally, it is better to speak openly even of little
difficulties; especially those which may arise in the first part of
married-life, as this frankness enables husband and wife to gain an
insight into all those trifling peculiarities of character which
each may possess, and on attention to which, much of their future
happiness may depend.

Weeks and months passed on, and, apparently, all was going happily
with our young friends. Mary had become more accustomed to passing
some hours of each day alone, and her solitude was frequently
enlivened by a visit from her mother, sister, or some young friend
of her school-girl days. Arthur still appeared devotedly attached to
her, and she certainly returned his affection most sincerely, and
yet both felt that there was a change. It could scarcely be defined,
and no cause could be assigned for it. They would have indignantly
rejected the idea, that they loved each other less than formerly,
but there was certainly less sympathy between them; they were not so
closely united in every thought and feeling as they once had been.
No unkind words had passed on either side, at least none which could
really be regarded as such, for the trifles which had gradually
produced this feeling of separation were almost too insignificant to
call forth absolute unkindness; yet still they did their work slowly
but surely.

Mary was the petted child of indulgent parents. Arthur had early
lost both father and mother, and his childhood had passed with but
little of the genial effects of female influence. He had spent most
of his time at a school for boys, where, although his intellect was
well cultivated, and his morals strictly attended to, there was
little done to call forth those warm affections of which every young
heart is susceptible. And as he grew to manhood, although his
principles were excellent, and his feelings warm and tender, there
was a want of that kindliness and gentleness of manner, and above
all, of that peculiar faculty of adapting himself to the wants of a
female heart, which would not have existed had he been blessed with
the care of a mother, or the affectionate sympathy of a sister.

His acquaintance with Mary before their marriage had been of short
duration, and these traits in his character had passed unobserved
during the excitement of feeling which generally marks the days of
courtship; but as this state passed away, and his usual habits
returned, Mary's sensitive heart was often wounded by trifling
inattentions, although never by wilful neglect. Arthur was fond of
study, and in his leisure hours he would sometimes become so
entirely absorbed in some favourite author, that even Mary's
presence was forgotten, and the evening passed away without any
effort on his part to cheer her evidently drooping spirits. Not that
he was really selfish: it was mere thoughtlessness, and ignorance of
those attentions which a woman's heart demands. If Mary had
requested him to lay aside his graver studies and read aloud in some
work interesting to her, or pass an hour in cheerful conversation,
or listening to music, he would have complied without hesitation,
and, indeed, with pleasure; but she remained silent, secretly
yearning for little acts of kindness, which never entered the mind
of her husband. Another peculiarity which gave the young wife much
pain, was that Arthur never or very rarely uttered words of
commendation or approval. If anything was wrong he noticed it at
once, and requested a change; but if right, he never praised. This
is a common error, and it is a great one. Approval from those we
love is as refreshing to the human heart as the dew to the fading
flower; and to at woman's heart it is _essential_: without it all
kindly affections wither away; the softest, most delicate feelings
become blunted and hard; the heart no longer beats with warm,
generous emotions--it is cold, palsied, and dead.

Even in the most trifling details of domestic life, approval is
encouraging and sweet. The weary wife and mother who has passed
through a day of innumerable little vexations and difficulties, is
cheered by the pleasant smile with which her husband takes his seat
at the tea-and feels new life as she listens to his commendations of
some favourite dish which she has placed before him.

True, it is but a trifle, but it speaks to the heart.

We will give our readers a short specimen of the habit to which we
allude. Breakfast was on the table, and a part of the hot cakes and
smoking ham had been duly transferred to Arthur's plate. He ate
sparingly, and his looks plainly showed that something was wrong.
Presently he said--"Mary, dear, I think you must look a little more
strictly after Janet. She grows very careless; this bread is
decidedly sour, the ham is half cooked, and worse than all,
breakfast is ten minutes too late."

Mary's quiet reply, that she would "endeavour to have it right
another time," was quite satisfactory; pleasant remarks followed,
and Arthur left home with a cheerful good morning.

Another breakfast time arrived. Mary's own personal attention had
secured sweet bread, and she had risen half an hour earlier than
usual to insure that all was done properly and in season.

Punctually the well prepared dishes were placed upon the table,
again Arthur's plate was well filled, and, to do him justice, its
contents were eaten with keen relish; but no look or word of
approval was given to show that he understood and appreciated the
effort which had been made to meet his wishes.

All was right, and therefore there was nothing to say. To some this
might have been satisfactory, but not to Mary. She longed for a word
or smile to show that she had given pleasure.

But it is not to be supposed that all these petty causes of
complaint were on one side. Arthur often felt grieved and somewhat
irritated by Mary's altered manner or moody silence, showing that he
had offended in ways unknown to himself; and there were also times
when her ridicule of his somewhat uncultivated taste granted harshly
on his feelings. Her continued dislike to the "dear old place" was
another source of regret; and before the first year of married life
had expired, feelings had sometimes been busy in both their hearts
which they would have shuddered to have confessed even to

Winter and spring had passed away, and summer was again present with
its birds and flowers. Mary was in her garden one lovely afternoon
arranging some favourite plants, when her attention was attracted to
a small cart laden with some strange old-fashioned-looking
furniture, which had stopped at their gate. She at first supposed
that the driver wished to inquire the way, but to her surprise he
carefully lifted a large easy-chair, covered with leather and
thickly studded with brass nails, from the wagon, and brought it
toward the house, bowing respectfully as he approached her, and
inquiring where she wished to have it put.

"There is some mistake," said Mary; "these things are not for us."

"Mr. Hartwell sent them here, ma'am," was the reply; "and here is a
bit of a note for your leddyship."

Mary received the proffered slip of paper, and hastily read the
following lines:--

"You will be pleased, dear Mary, to find that I have at length
discovered the purchaser of my mother's easy-chair, and the old
clock which formerly stood in our family sitting-room, and have
bought them of him for a moderate price. They are valuable to me as
mementos of my boyish days, and you will value them for my sake."

But Mary had a great dislike to old clocks, and leather-bottomed
chairs, and she was little disposed to value them even for Arthur's
sake. She, however, directed the man where to place them, and
returned to the employment which he had interrupted. Arthur's
business demanded his attention until a late hour that evening, and
he had said when he left home that he should take tea in the city.
Mary retired to rest before his return, and nothing was said
concerning the old furniture until the following morning.

Indeed, it seemed so perfectly worthless to Mary, that the
recollection of it had passed from her mind; but it was recalled by
the sudden inquiry of her husband as he finished dressing and
prepared to go down stairs.

"Oh, Mary, dear, where did you have the old chair and clock placed?
Was I not fortunate to find them?"

"Very," replied Mary, with forced interest; "although I hardly know
what you will do with them. I had them put in the shed for the

"In the shed!" exclaimed Arthur; "but you are right, Mary, they need
a little rubbing off; please to let Janet attend to them this
morning, and I will show you the very places where they used to stand
in the parlour. How delighted I shall be to see the old clock in its
accustomed corner, and to seat myself in the very chair where I have
so often sat with my dear mother!"

Mary uttered an involuntary, exclamation of horror.

"Why, Arthur, you do not really intend to place those hideous old
things in our parlour?"

"Certainly I do. I see nothing hideous in them. They are worth all
our fashionable furniture put together. What is your objection to
them, Mary?"

"I have every objection to them," was her almost indignant reply.
"They would form the most ludicrous contrast to the rest of our

"I see nothing ludicrous or improper in putting them in their old
places," said Arthur, warmly. "They are dear to me as having
belonged to my parents and I cannot see why you should wish to deny
me the pleasure of having them where I can enjoy the recollections
which they recall."

"Put them in the garret, or in your own little room where you keep
your books, if you like," answered Mary; "but if you have any regard
to my feelings, you will keep them out of my sight. I think the
sacrifice which I make in living in this old-fashioned place is
enough, without requiring me to ornament my parlour with furniture
which was in use before I was born. However, I do not expect much
consideration for my opinions and tastes;" and, overpowered with a
mixed feeling of indignation and regret for the warmth with which
she had spoken, Mary burst into tears.

"You have certainly showed little regard for my feelings," was
Arthur's irritated reply; "and perhaps, I may also say with truth,
what your words imply; I have little reason to expect regard and
consideration;" and hastily leaving the room, he was on his way to
his office before Mary had composed herself sufficiently to descend
to the breakfast room.

"Has Mr. Hartwell breakfasted?" she inquired, with surprise, as she
saw the solitary cup and plate which Janet had placed for her.

"He took no breakfast, ma'am. I think he was in great haste to reach
the office."

"He has a great deal to attend to, just now," replied her mistress,
unwilling that Janet should suspect the truth; but as soon as the
girl left the room, her excited feelings again found vent in tears.

Bitterly did she regret what had passed. It was the first time that
harsh words had been uttered by either and they seemed to have
lifted the veil which had long been drawn over thoughts and feelings
which had tended to dissimilarity and separation.

The year passed in rapid review before her, and she felt that there
was a great and fearful change, the cause of which she could not
define, for she had no distinct charges to bring against Arthur, and
as yet, she attached little blame to herself. The unkind manner in
which she had spoken that morning, was indeed regretted; but this
seemed the only error. It was certainly unreasonable in Arthur to
expect her to yield willingly to such strange whim.

But he no longer loved her, she was sure of this; and proof after
proof of his inattention to her wishes, and neglect of her feelings,
came to her mind until she was almost overwhelmed with the view of
her own misery, which imagination thus placed before her.

And this was the anniversary of their marriage! One short year
before and they had exchanged those mutual vows which then appeared
unchangeable. How soon happiness had fled! And to think that this
climax of their troubles should happen upon this very day, which
ought to have been consecrated to tender remembrances!--this was the
hardest thought of all; but probably, Arthur did not even remember
the day. As these and similar thoughts passed through Mary's mind,
her tears redoubled, and fearful that Janet would surprise her in
this situation, she rose hastily to go to her own room. In doing
this her eye suddenly rested upon a small parcel addressed to
herself, which lay upon her little work-table, and taking it in her
hand she passed quickly up the stairs, just in time to avoid the
scrutinizing eye of Janet, who, shrewdly suspecting that something
was wrong, had resolved to be uncommonly attentive to her young
mistress, in the hope of discovering the cause of the trouble.

Mary locked the door of her own apartment, and observing that the
address on the package was in Arthur's handwriting, she hastily tore
off the envelope, discovering a beautiful edition of a volume of
poems for which she had expressed a wish--unheeded and unheard, as
she deemed it--some days before. Her own name and that of her
husband were written upon the blank leaf, and the date showed that
it was designed as a gift for this very day; a proof that he
remembered the anniversary which she had supposed so entirely

It was but a trifling attention--one of those pleasant little
patches of blue sky which we sometimes see when the remainder of the
heavens is covered with clouds--but it produced an entire revulsion
of feeling. A flood of gentle and tender emotions filled the heart
of the young wife; the faults of her husband now appeared to her as
nothing, while his many virtues stood out in bold relief; she,
alone, had been to blame in the little difficulties which had sprung
up between them, for a playful remonstrance on her part would, no
doubt, have dispelled the coldness of manner which had sometimes
troubled her, and induced him to pay those little attentions which
her heart craved. He had always, in every important matter, been
very, very kind to her, and how often she had opposed his wishes and
laughed at his opinions!

But it was not yet too late; she would regain the place in his
affections which she still feared she had forfeited; and with the
childish, impulsive eagerness which marked her character, Mary
hastened to the shed, and summoning Janet to her assistance, was
soon busily at work on the old furniture, which, an hour ago, she
had so much despised. The old clock-case soon shone with an
unequalled polish, and the chair (sic) seeemed to have renewed its
youth. But where should they be placed? for Arthur had left the
house without designating the spot where they had formerly stood.

"It would be so delightful to have them just where he wished, before
he comes home!" thought Mary, and it was with real joy that she
turned to receive the greeting of a worthy old lady, who was one of
the nearest neighbours, and having lived on the same place for the
last forty years, had undoubtedly been well acquainted with the old
chair and clock, and could tell the very place where they ought to

This proved to be the case. The lady was quite delighted to meet
such old friends, and assisted Mary in arranging them with the
utmost pleasure.

"There, dear," she exclaimed, when all was completed, "that is
exactly right. It seems to me I can almost see my old friend, Mrs.
Hartwell, in her favourite chair, with her pretty little boy, your
husband that is now, by her side. Poor child! it was such a sad loss
to him when she died; I am glad he has found such a good wife; it is
not every one who thinks so much of their husband's feelings as you
do, my dear."

Mary blushed a little at this somewhat ill-deserved praise, but
thanked her worthy visiter, for her kindness, and exerted herself so
successfully to make her long call agreeable, that the good lady
went home with the firm impression that "'Arthur Hartwell had got
one of the best wives in the country."

The hours seemed long until the usual time for Arthur's arrival; and
with almost trembling eagerness Mary heard his step in the entry.
Her tremulous but Pleasant "good evening," met with rather a cold
return, but she was prepared for this, and was not discouraged. Tea
was on the table, and they sat down. Arthur's taste had been
scrupulously consulted, and the effort to please did not, as was too
often the case, pass unnoticed.

From a desire to break the somewhat awkward silence, or from some
other motive, he praised each favourite dish, and declared he had
seldom eaten so good a supper.

Rising from table, they proceeded as usual to the parlour; and now
Mary was amply rewarded for the sacrifice of her own taste, if
sacrifice it could be called, by the surprise and pleasure visible
in her husband's countenance as he looked around, and by the
affectionate kiss which he imprinted upon her cheek.

"And you will forgive my hasty words, will you not?" Mary whispered
softly as he bent his head to hers.

"They will never again be remembered," was the reply; "and I have
also much to ask your forgiveness for, Mary, for I have thought much
and deeply, to-day, dearest, and I find that I have been very
deficient in many of the most essential qualities of a husband. But
let us sit down together in this old chair, which with me is so
strongly associated with the memory of my dear mother, that it seems
as if her spirit must be near to bless us; and we will review the
past year a little, and you will let me peep into your heart, and
give me a clearer insight into its feelings and wants."

A long and free conversation followed, in which the husband and wife
gained more real knowledge of each other's characters than they had
obtained in the whole of their previous acquaintance. All coldness
and doubt was dispelled, and they felt that they loved more tenderly
and truly than ever before.

"And now, dearest, we will sum up the lesson which we are to
remember," said Arthur, playfully, as the lateness of the hour
reminded them that the evening had passed unheeded away. "_I_ am to
think _more_ of trifles, and you are--"

"To think _less_" added Mary, smilingly. "Let us see who will
remember their lesson the best."


THERE are certain pairs of old-fashioned-looking pictures, in black
frames generally, and most commonly glazed with greenish and crooked
crown glass, to be occasionally met with in brokers' shops, or more
often, perhaps, on cottage walls, and sometimes in the dingy, smoky
parlour of a village tavern or ale-house, which said pictures
contain and exhibit a lively and impressive moral. Some of our
readers, doubtless, have seen and been edified by these ancient
engravings; and, for the benefit of those who have not, we will
describe them.

The first picture of the pair represents a blooming and blushing
damsel, well bedecked in frock of pure white muslin, if memory
serves us faithfully, very scanty and very short-waisted, as was the
fashion fifty years ago, and may again be the fashion in less than
fifty years hence, for aught we can tell. Over this frock is worn a
gay spencer, trimmed with lace and ornamented with an
unexceptionable frill, while the damsel's auburn curls are
surmounted with a hat of straw fluttering with broad, true blue
ribbons, which fasten it in a true love-knot, under the dimpled

Her companion (for she has a companion) is a young countryman in
glossy boots, tight buckskins, gay flapped waistcoat, blue or brown
long-waisted and broad-skirted coat, frilled shirt, and white
kerchief, innocent of starch, who smiles most lovingly, as with fond
devotion [here, gentle reader, is the moral of the picture], he
bends lowlily, and chivalrously places at the disposal of the fair
lady, hand, arm, and manly strength, as she pauses before a
high-backed stile which crosses the path, leading, if we mistake
not, to the village church. Beneath this picture, reader, in Roman
capitals, are the words:--"BEFORE MARRIAGE."

We turn to the second picture; and there may be seen the same
high-backed stile, the same path, and the same passengers. Painfully
and awkwardly is the lady represented as endeavouring, unaided, to
climb the rails, while beyond her is the companion of her former
walk--her companion still, but not her helper--slowly sauntering on,
and looking back with an ominous frown, as though chiding the delay.
Beneath this picture are the significant words:--"AFTER MARRIAGE."

One could wish these pictures were only pictures; but, in sober
earnest, they are allegories, and too truthfully portray what passes
continually before our eyes: the difference, to wit, between the two
states there presented. Truly, indeed, has it been said, "Time and
possession too frequently lessen our attachment to objects that were
once most valued, to enjoy which no difficulties were thought
insurmountable, no trials too great, and no pain too severe. Such,
also, is the tenure by which we hold all terrestrial happiness, and
such the instability of all human estimation! And though the ties of
conjugal affection are calculated to promote, as well as to secure
permanent felicity, yet many, it is to be feared, have just reason
to exclaim,

"'Once to prevent my wishes Philo flew;
But time, that alters all, has altered you.'

"It is, perhaps, not to be expected that a man can retain through
life that assiduity by which he pleases for a day or a month. Care,
however, should be taken that he do not so far relax his vigilance
as to induce a belief that his affection is diminished. Few
disquietudes occur in domestic life which might not have been
prevented; and those so frequently witnessed, generally arise from a
want of attention to those mutual endearments which all have in
their power to perform, and which, as they are essential to the
preservation of happiness, should never be intentionally omitted."

This witness, dear reader, is true. The neglect of those little
attentions which every married couple have it in their power to show
to each other, daily, hourly, is a sure method of undermining
domestic happiness. Let every married reader bear this in mind, and
reflect upon it; for it is an undeniable truth.

It was a full quarter of a century ago that the writer first saw the
pair of engravings which he has described. They were hanging over
the fire-place of a newly-married cottager. "There," said she,
laughing, as she pointed to the second picture; "you see what I have
to expect."

She did not expect it, though! Such an attentive, kind, and
self-denying lover, as her "old man," as she called him in sport,
had been, would never change into a morose brute, who could suffer
his wife to climb over an awkward stile without help, and scold her
for her clumsiness.

Reader, not many months since we saw poor Mary, prematurely gray and
time-stricken. For years she has been living apart from her husband,
her children scattered abroad in the world, and she is sad and
solitary. And thus it was:--_He_, the trusted one, tired of being
the fond lover of the picture, soon began to show himself the
husband. _She_, the confiding one, stunned by some instances of
neglect, reproached and taunted. He resented these reproaches as
unjust, and to prove them so, redoubled his inattentiveness to her,
absented himself from home, and bestowed his attentions elsewhere.
_She_ copied his example, and by way of punishment in kind, lavished
her smiles and kindnesses in other quarters. _He_--but why go on?
Years--sad years of crimination and recrimination, of provocation,
and bitter reproaches, and suspicion, and mutual jealousy, and
dislike, and hatred, wore away. At length they parted. What became
of the pair of pictures, we often wonder.

"For about two years after I was married," says Cobbett, in his
Advice to a Husband, "I retained some of my military manners, and
used to romp most famously with the girls that came in my way; till
one day, at Philadelphia, my wife said to me, in a very gentle
manner 'Don't do that, _I do not like it._' That was quite enough; I
had never thought on the subject before; one hair of _her_ head was
more dear to me than all the other women in the world, and this I
knew that she knew; but I now saw that this was not all that she had
a right to from me; I saw that she had the further claim upon me
that I should abstain from everything that might induce others to
believe that there was any other woman for whom, even if I were at
liberty, I had any affection."

"I beseech young married men," continues he, "to bear this in mind;
for, on some trifle of this sort the happiness or misery of a long
life frequently turns. If the mind of a wife be disturbed on this
score, every possible means ought to be used to restore it to peace;
and though her suspicions be perfectly groundless--though they be
wild as the dreams of madmen--though they may present a mixture of
the furious and the ridiculous, still the are to be treated with the
greatest lenity and tenderness; and if, after all, you fail, the
frailty is to be lamented as a misfortune, and not punished as a
fault, seeing that it must have its foundation in a feeling towards
you, which it would be the basest of ingratitude, and the most
ferocious of cruelty, to repay by harshness of any description."

"The truth is," adds the same writer, "that the greatest security of
all against jealousy in a wife is to show, to _prove_ by your acts,
by your words also, but more especially by your _acts_, that you
prefer her to all the world; and I know of no act that is, in this
respect, equal to spending in her company every moment of your
leisure time. Everybody knows, and young wives better than anybody
else, that people, who can choose, will be where they like best to
be, and that they will be along with those whose company they like
best. The matter is very plain; and I do beseech you to bear it in
mind. Nor do I see the use, or sense, of keeping a great deal of
company as it is called. What company can a man and woman want more
than their two selves, and their children, if they have any? If here
be not company enough, it is but a sad affair. This hankering after
company proves, clearly proves, that you want something beyond the
society of your wife; and _that_ she is sure to feel most acutely;
the bare fact contains an imputation against her, and it is pretty
sure to lay the foundation of jealousy, or of something still

Addressed, as these sentiments are, to the husband, they are equally
applicable to the wife; and on the part of domestic happiness, we
urge upon our readers, all, to prove their constancy of attachment,
by mutual kind offices and delicate attentions, in health and in
sickness, in joy and in sorrow; by abstinence from all that may
wound; and by an honest preference of _home_ enjoyments above all
other enjoyments.

But to keep alive this honest preference, there must be,--in
addition to other good qualifications which have heretofore passed
under review,

1. _Constant cheerfulness and good humour._ A wife and mother who is
perpetually fretful and peevish; who has nothing to utter to her
husband when he returns from his daily occupation, whatever it may
be, or to her children when they are assembled around her, but
complaints of her hard lot and miserable destiny; who is always
brooding over past sorrows, or anticipating future evils; does all
she can, unconsciously it may be, to make her hearth desolate, and
to mar for ever domestic happiness. And the husband and father who
brings to that hearth a morose frown, or a gloomy brow; who silences
the prattling tongue of infancy by a stern command; who suffers the
annoyances and cares of life to cut into his heart's core, and
refuses to be comforted or charmed by the thousand endearments of
her whom he has sworn to love and cherish; such a one does not
deserve domestic happiness.

Young reader, and expectant of future domestic bliss take a word of
advice: Be good-tempered. You have not much to try your patience
now; by-and-by your trials will come on. Now, then, is the time to
practise good-temper in the little vexations of life, so as to
prepare you for future days. No doubt there are many little rubs and
jars to fret and shake even you; many small things, not over and
above agreeable to put up with. Bear them you must; but do try and
bear them without losing your temper. If a man have a stubborn Or
skittish horse to manage, he knows that the best way to deal with it
is by gentle, good-humoured coaxing. Just so it is in other things:
kindness, gentleness, and downright good-humour will do what all the
blustering and anger in the world can not accomplish. If a wagon
wheel creaks and works stiff, or if it skids instead of turning
round, you know well enough that it wants oiling. Well, always carry
a good supply of the oil of good temper about with you, and use it
well on every needful occasion; no fear then of creaking wheels as
you move along the great highway of life.

Then, on the part, still, of domestic happiness, would we earnestly
advise a decent, nay, _a strict regard to personal habits,_ so far,
at least, as the feelings of others are concerned. "It is seldom."
writes a traveller, "that I find associates in inns who come up to
my ideas of what is right and proper in personal habits. The most of
them indulge, more or less, in devil's tattooing, in snapping of
fingers, in puffing and blowing, and other noises, anomalous and
indescribable, often apparently merely to let the other people in
the room know that they are there, and not thinking of anything in
particular. Few seem to be under any sense of the propriety of
subduing as much as possible all sounds connected with the animal
functions, though even breathing might, and ought to be managed in
perfect silence." Now, if it were only in inns that disagreeable
personal habits are practised, it would not much interfere with the
happiness of nine-tenths of the people in the world; but the
misfortune is that _home_ is the place where they are to be noticed
in full swing--to use a common expression. Indeed, perhaps there are
few persons who do not, in a degree at least, mar domestic happiness
by persisting in personal peculiarities which they know are
unpleasant to those around them. Harmless these habits maybe in
themselves, perhaps; but inasmuch as they are teasing, annoying, and
irritating to others, they are not harmless. Nay, they are criminal,
because they are accompanied by a most unamiable disregard to the
feelings of others.

To make home truly happy, _the mind must be cultivated._ It is all
very well to say that a man and his wife, and their children, if
they have any, ought to be company enough for each other, without
seeking society elsewhere; and it is quite right that it should be
so: but what if they have nothing to say to each other, as
reasonable and thinking beings?--nothing to communicate beyond the
veriest common-places--nothing to learn from each other?--nothing
but mere animal enjoyments in common? Imagine such a case, reader,
where father, mother, and children are sunk in grossest ignorance,
without knowledge, without intellectual resources, or even
intellectual powers, without books, or any acquaintance with books,
or any desire for such acquaintance! What domestic happiness can
there be in such a case? As well might we talk of the domestic
happiness of a Dog-kennel or sheep-pen, a stable or a pig-stye. And
just in proportion as ignorance predominates, so are the chances of
domestic happiness diminished. Where there is great ignorance, and
contentment with ignorance, there is vice; and vice is not
happiness--it cannot be. Therefore, all other things equal, that
family will have the greatest chance of the greatest share of
domestic happiness where each member of it has the mind to take in,
and the heart to give out, a constant succession of fresh ideas,
gained from observation, experience, and books. Reader, think of
these things.


"These summer wings
Have borne me in my days of idle pleasure;
I do discard them."

"And, Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand."

WE have a young relative, about whom we are going to relate a little
anecdote connected with insect history, which requires, however, a
few prefatory words.

At the age of seventeen Emily S. "came out," gilt and lettered, from
the Minerva Press of a fashionable boarding-school, and was two
years afterwards bound (in white satin) as a bride. In the short
period intervening between these two important epochs, she had had a
prodigious run of admiration. Sonnets had been penned on her
pencilled brow, and the brows of rival beauties had contracted at
the homage paid to hers. All this Emily had liked well
enough--perhaps a little better than she ought; but where was the
wonder? for besides excuses general (such as early youth and early
training) for loving the world and the world's vanities, she had an
excuse of her own, in the fact that she had nothing else to love--no
mother, no sister, no home--no home at least in its largest and
loving sense. She was the orphan but not wealthy ward of a
fashionable aunt, in whom the selfish regrets of age had entirely
frozen the few sympathies left open by the selfish enjoyments of

When Emily married, and for a few months previous, it was of course
to be presumed that she _had_ found something better than the world
whereon to fix the affection of her warm young heart. At all events,
she had found a somebody to love _her_, and one who was worthy to be
loved in return. Indeed, a better fellow than our friend F--does
not live; but though fairly good-looking, and the perfect gentleman,
he was not perhaps exactly the _description_ of gentleman to excite
any rapid growth of romantic attachment in the bosom of an admired
girl of nineteen.

Why did she marry him? Simply because amongst her admirers she liked
nobody better, and because her aunt, who was anxious to be relieved
of her charge, liked nobody so well;--not because he had much to
offer, but because it was little he required.

Soon after their marriage the happy pair set out for Paris.
F--though his means were slender and tastes retired, made every,
effort (as far as bridegroom could so feel it) to gratify his lively
young wife by a stay at the capital of pleasure. After subsequent
excursion, they returned within a year to England, and settled at a
pretty cottage in Berkshire, to which we speedily received a cordial
invitation. It was no less readily accepted; for we were anxious to
behold the "rural felicity," of which we little doubted our friends
were in full possession.

The result, however, of a week's sojourn at their quiet abode, was
the reluctant opinion that, somehow or another, the marriage
garments of the young couple did not sit quite easy; though to point
out the defect in their make, or to discover where they girted, were
matters on which it required more time to form a decided judgment.
One thing, however, was pretty obvious. With her matronly title,
Emily had not assumed an atom of that seriousness--not sad, but
sober--which became her new estate; nor did she, as we shrewdly
suspected, pay quite as much attention to the cares of her little
_mnage_ as was rendered incumbent by the limited amount of her
husband's income. She seemed, in short, the same thoughtless
pleasure-loving, pleasure-seeking girl as ever; now that she was
captured, the same volatile butterfly as when surrounded and chased
by butterflies like herself. But her captor? asks some modern
Petruchio--had he not, or could he not contrive to clip her pinions?

Poor F--! not he! he would have feared to "brush the dust" from
off them; and, from something of this over-tenderness, had been
feeding, with the honeyed pleasures of the French capital, those
tastes which (without them) might have been reconciled already to
the more spare and simple sociabilities of a retired English
neighbourhood. He was only now trying the experiment which should
have been made a year ago, and that with a reluctant and undecided

Poor Emily! her love of gayety had now, it is true, but little scope
for its display; but it was still strongly apparent, in the
rapturous regret with which she referred to pleasures past, and the
rapturous delight with which she greeted certain occasional breaks
in the monotony of a country life. An approaching dinner-party would
raise her tide of spirits, and a, distant ball or bow-meeting make
them swell into a flood. On one or two of such occasions, we fancied
that F--, though never stern, looked grave--grave enough to have
been set down as an unreasonable fellow; if not by every one, at
least by that complex "everybody" who declared that his wife was
"one of the prettiest and sweetest little women in the world," and,
as everybody must be right, so of course it was.

Rarely, indeed, had our gentle Benedick beheld the face of his
"Young May Moon" absolutely obscured; but then it had always been
his care to chase away from it every passing or even approaching
cloud; and he would certainly have liked, in return, that its very
brightest rays should have shone on him direct, instead of reaching
him only, as it were, reflected from what in his eyes, certainly,
were very inferior objects.

We had passed some weeks at our entertainer's cottage when rumours
got afloat, such as had not disturbed for many a year the standing
and sometimes stagnant pool of Goslington society. The son of Lord
W--was about to come of age, and the event was to be celebrated by
grand doings; a varied string of entertainments, to be wound up, so
it was whispered, by a great parti-coloured or fancy ball. Rumours
were soon silenced by certainty, and our friends were amongst those
who received an invitation to meet all the world of Goslington and a
fragment of the world of London, about to be brought into strange
conjunction at W--Castle. What shapes! grotesque, and gay, and
gorgeous--ghosts of things departed--started up before the sparkling
eyes of Emily, as she put the reviving talisman into F--'s hand.
No wonder that her charmed sight failed to discover what was,
however, sufficiently apparent, that her husband's delight at the
honour done them by no means equalled hers. Indeed, we were pretty
certain that not merely dissatisfaction, but even dissent, was to be
read in his compressed lip, and, for once, forbidding eye.

Nothing was said then upon the subject; but we saw the next morning
something very like coolness on the part of F--towards his wife,
which was returned on hers by something very like petulance. Ah!
thought we, it all comes of this unlucky fancy ball! We had often
heard it declared by our friend that he hated every species of
masquerade, and would never allow (though this as certainly before
his marriage) either sister, wife, or daughter of his to attend one.
But, besides this aversion for such entertainments in general, he
had reasons, as we afterwards gathered, for disliking, in
particular, this fancy ball of Lord W--'s. Amongst the "London
World" Emily would be sure to meet several of her quondam
acquaintances, perhaps admirers; and though he was no jealous
husband, he preferred, on many accounts, that such meetings should
be avoided.

The slight estrangement spoken of did not wholly pass away, though
so trifling were its tokens that no eye less interested than our own
might have noticed their existence. Indeed, neither of the parties
seemed really angry with the other, appearing rather to think it
incumbent on them to keep up a certain show of coolness; but
whenever the sunny smile of Emily broke even partially through the
half-transparent cloud, it dissolved in an instant the half-formed
ice of her husband's manner. By mutual consent the subject of the
fancy ball seemed left in abeyance, and while in every circle, for
miles round, it formed the central topic, in ours it was the theme
forbid. Thence we tried to infer that it was a matter abandoned, and
that Emily's better judgment, if not her good feeling, had
determined her to give up her own liking, on this the very first
occasion on which, we believe, her husband had ever thwarted it.

Well--whether, as with us, awaited in silence, or, as with the many,
harbingered by the music of many voices--the grand event marched on;
and a day was only wanted of its expected arrival when business
called F--to London, from whence he was not to return till late at
night. Soon after his departure, which followed an early breakfast,
we left Emily, as we supposed, to the business of her little
household, and repaired, as was our wont, to the library,--a small
apartment which our friend F--had made the very bijou of his
pretty cottage. It was tastefully fitted up in the gothic style,
with a window of painted glass,--a window, by the way, especially
suited to a book-room, not merely as pleasing to the eye but for a
correspondence which has often struck us. The many-coloured panes,
through which the light of day finds entrance, form no unfitting
symbol of a library's contents, whereby the light of intelligence is
poured upon the mind through as many varied mediums, from the deep,
cold, black and blue of learned and scientific lore to the glowing
flame colour and crimson of poetry and romance. Having taken down a
choice copy of the Faery Queen, we committed our person to an ebony
arm-chair, and our spirit to the magic guidance of our author's
fancy. Obedient to its leading, we were careering somewhere betwixt
earth and heaven, when a slight noise brought us down for a moment
to our proper sphere; yet hardly,--for on looking up we beheld,
standing in the wake of a coloured sun-beam, from which, on wing of
gossamer, she seemed to have just descended, an unexpected
apparition of surpassing grace and beauty. Titania's self, just
stepped upon the moonlit earth, could scarcely have stood poised on
an unbroken flower-stalk, in form more airy, in attitude more
graceful, with countenance more radiant than those of Emily F--,
as, arrayed in likeness of the Faery Queen, she thus burst upon our
view, and with an air half-archly playful, half-proudly triumphant,
enjoyed our bewildered surprise, and received the involuntary homage
of our admiration.

We saw in a moment how the matter stood; Emily was really going to
the fancy ball; and this, of the Queen of Fays, was the fantastic
and too bewitching costume she had chosen to assume. Knowing her
kind heart, and having believed that its best affections had been
gained by her estimable husband, if not bestowed on him at first, we
were vexed and disappointed in our young relation, and felt it only
right to give, if we could, a check to her buoyant vanity, by
letting her feel the weight of our disapproval,--shown, if not
expressed. "So I see, Emily," said I, in the coldest tone, "I see,
after all, that you are going to this foolish ball."

The beaming countenance of the beautiful sylph darkened in a moment,
like a cosmoramic landscape. "And why not?" returned she, pettishly;
"I suppose, then, you don't approve."

"_My_ approbation can be of very little import, if you possess that
of your own heart, and that of your husband. Under what character,
pray, does he attend you? I suppose he plays Oberon to your

Emily's face reddened. Some strong emotion heaved her bosom, and I
saw that pride alone kept the starting tears from overflowing.
"Charles," said she, with an attempt at assumed indifference, "will
not be there at all; I am to go with Lady Forrester."

We felt more vexed than ever, and wished to say something which might
yet hinder the young wife's intention; but while considering what that
something should be, or whether, indeed, our age and slight relationship
gave a sufficient right to say anything, we looked down for a moment on
our still open book. Of that moment Emily availed herself to effect an
escape, and on raising our eyes we only caught a glimpse of her
glittering wings as she glided through the doorway. Our first impulse
was to recall her; our next thought, to leave her to herself. If her
better nature still struggled, remonstrance of ours, we considered,
might only serve to set wounded pride against it; and wounded passions,
like wounded bravoes, fight most desperately. We saw no more of our
young hostess till the hour of dinner, to which we sat down to a
_tte--tte._ Emily's sweet face had regained all its usual expression
of good humour, and by almost an excess of attention, and an effort at
more than ordinary liveliness, she strove to make amends for the slight
ebullition of temper stirred up by the morning's incident; but her
sociability seemed forced, and we felt that our own was much of the same

Our after-dinner sitting was soon ended for an evening stroll. It
had been a sultry day towards the end of August; the lazy zephyrs
had been all asleep since noontide; so, with a view to meet the
first of them which should happen to be stirring, we directed our
steps towards a high open heath, or common. Its summit was crowned
by a magnificent beech, towards which we slowly ascended, under a
shower of darts levelled by the declining sun; and, on arriving at
the tree, were right glad to seat ourselves on the circular bench
which surrounded its smooth and bulky bole.

Here, in addition to the welcome boons of rest and shade, we were
presented gratis with the exhibition of a finer panorama, than the
Messrs. Barker ever yet produced.

What a scene of tranquil splendour lay before us! one of those
glowing pictures of the declining day and declining year, whereon,
like a pair of dying painters, they seem to have combined their
utmost skill and richest colours in order to exceed, in a last
effort, all the productions of their meridian prime.

After a few moments of silent admiration, we were on the point of
exclaiming to our young companion, "Oh! who could prefer the most
brilliant ball-rooms to a scene like this?" but we checked the
impulse; for perhaps, thought we, the "still small voice," which
speaks from all around us, is even now whispering to her heart. But
never, we believe, was adder more deaf to the accents of the
"charmer" than was Emily at that moment to those of nature. Her
mind, we are pretty sure, was still running, and all the faster as
she approached it, on that fancy ball. Perhaps she suspected that
ours was following the same turn, and knowing of old our habit of
making observations upon insects, she, by a little womanly artifice,
availed herself of it to divert their course. Pointing with her
parasol to a long procession of brown ants, which were crossing the
foot-worn area beneath the tree,--"Look," said she, "I suppose they
are going home to bed."

"Or perhaps to a ball," rejoined we, "quite unable to resist the
pleasure of taking our fair cousin in her own _ruse_; but let us
follow them, and see."

Emily was delighted at having, as she thought, so ingeniously set us
on our hobby, and attended us to the spot whither we had traced the
little labourers. Their populous settlement bore no appearance of
evening repose. Other trains were approaching in various directions,
to meet that which we had followed, and a multitude was covering the
conical surface of, the ant-hill, as if taking a farewell bask in
the glowing sunset. Amidst the congregated many, and distinguished
from the common herd by very superior bulk and four resplendent
wings, were several individual ants, which Emily (as well she might)
mistook for flies, and inquired accordingly what could be their
business in such incongruous society. "They are no flies," said we,
"but ants themselves--female ants,--though with somewhat of the air,
certainly, of being in _masquerade_ or _fancy costume_. But say what
we will of their attire, we must needs confess that they are in
their proper places; for they are the _matrons_ of the community,
and, as we see, they are _at home_."

Our young companion made no reply; but stooping down, seemed wholly
engrossed by examination of the ant-hill. "Look," exclaimed she,
presently; "there is one of these portly dames without any wings at
all. I suppose some of her neighbours have taken up a spite against
her, and combined to strip her of her glittering appendages."

"By no means," we answered, "_she has laid them aside by her own
voluntary act._ Only see, my dear Emily, here is one of her sisters
even now employed in the business of disrobing."

We both stooped, and watched narrowly the curious operation to which
we had directed our young friend's attention. One of the larger
insects in question was actively employed in agitating her wings,
bringing them before her head, crossing them in every direction,
throwing them from side to side, and producing so many singular
contortions as to cause them all four to fall off at the same
moment, leaving her reduced to the same condition as her wingless
sister. Fatigued, apparently, by her late efforts, she reposed
awhile, after the accomplishment of her purpose, brushed her denuded
corselet with her feet, and then proceeding to burrow in the soft
earth of the hillock, was speedily lost to our observation. "How
very odd!" said Emily; "what can possibly be the meaning of such a
strange, unnatural proceeding?"

"I will tell you," replied we, "that which has been thought fully to
explain its intention. This insect female, in common with her
sisters, has hitherto been privileged to lead a life of entire
indolence and pleasure. A few days since, having risen from her
lowly birth-place on those discarded pinions, we might have seen her
disporting in the air with some gay and gallant companions, of
inferior size, but winged like herself. But now her career of
pleasure, though not of happiness, being at an end, her life of
usefulness is about to begin, and, in character of a matron, she is
called to the performance of such domestic duties as will henceforth
confine her to the precincts of her home.

"Of what use now, therefore, are the glittering wings which adorned
and became her in her earlier youth? Their possession might only,
perchance, have tempted her to desert the post which Nature, under
Divine guidance, has instructed her to fill. Obedient to its
teaching, she has thus despoiled herself of the showy pinions which
(essential to her enjoyment in the fields of air) would only have
encumbered her in the narrower but more important sphere of home."

Emily listened in silence to our lecture on Entomology, which must
have been delivered, we suppose, with peculiar clearness, as she did
not, according to her usual custom, follow it up by any further
inquiry or comment. We soon afterwards bid adieu to the insect
community, and wended our way homewards.

F--returned from London the same evening; but availing ourselves
of an old friend's freedom, we had retired to bed before his

Next morning ushered in the day, "the great, the important day" of
the fancy ball--neither "heavily" nor "in clouds;" yet greatly did
we fear that the pleasant sunshine which greeted our opening eyes
would be met with no answering beams at the breakfast-table of our

How agreeably, therefore, were we surprised, when, on entering the
parlour, we at once perceived an expression of more perfect serenity
on the countenances both of F--and his pretty wife, than had been
worn by either since the day of that confounded invitation.

"Ah!" thought we, "it's pretty plain how the matter is ended; that
wicked little fairy has wrought her charms for something--has
carried her point--and will carry her willing captive to the ball.
What poor weak fools fond husbands are! Thank heaven that--Well!
perhaps better so than worse."

Breakfast proceeded; chat in plenty; but not a syllable about the
fancy ball; till, bursting to know how the case, so long pending,
had really ended, we ventured on a pumping query--"At what hour,
Emily," said we, "does Lady Forrester come to take you to the ball?"

"I have written to prevent her calling."

"Oh, then, you are going under other escort?" and we looked slyly at

"I am not going at all," said Emily.

Here she put in ours her little white hand, and looked up archly in
our face,--_"I am not going, for I have laid aside my wings!"_

"My good fellow!" said F--, as he took our other hand; "you
deserve to be made President of the Entomological Society."


THE following passages from the diary of a young English wife may be
read with profit here. The lesson taught is well worth treasuring in
the memory.

_May_ 1.--Just three months to-day since William and I were married.
What a happy time it has been, and how quickly it has passed! I am
determined to begin and keep a journal again as I used to do before
I married, if it be only to mark how the days go by--one happier
than the other. How different from the days of our long courtship,
when there was always something to be anxious about; whilst now,
nothing but death can ever part us, and it seems to me as if all the
trials of life must be easy to bear when borne together. Dear
William! How kind he has been to me, and how cheerful and
good-tempered he always is. He was saying only this morning that he
did not think we had had a single _tiff_ since we married; and I am
sure it would have been my fault if we had. Gratitude alone ought to
keep me from quarrelling with William, if nothing else would,
considering all he has done for me. How nice he made this place
ready for me when we married! I cannot think how he ever contrived
to save enough out of his salary to buy such handsome furniture. To
be sure he always says that it is my setting it off so well that
makes it look better than it is; and yet, except the muslin curtains
to the window, and the table-cover, and my work-box, and the
flowers, I have not done much. I almost wish he had left me more to
do, for time does hang heavy on my hands sometimes when he is away.
I wish that some of my neighbours would make acquaintance with me;
for I know no one hereabouts. That Mrs. Smith who lives next door,
looked towards the window as she passed this morning, and seemed
inclined to stop--I only wish she would; it would be so pleasant to
have a neighbour occasionally coming in for a chat, and I should
pick up a bit of news perhaps to tell William in the evening. Now I
think of it, I will just go up stairs and take a look at his shirts;
it is just possible that there may be a button off, though they were
all new when he married; or perhaps his stockings want running at
the heels. I wonder I did not think of that before. There is nothing
like preventing holes from coming.

_May_ 2.--Told William last night of my plan of keeping a diary, and
he thinks it a good one, and has given me the old ledger, in which
he says I can scribble away as much as I like. And really, after
writing so much as I used for Aunt Morris, it is easier I believe
for me than for most people to write down what happens each day and
what passes in my mind. To my great surprise, who should come in
this morning but Mrs. Smith, from next door! One would think she had
peeped over my shoulder, and seen what I wrote about her
yesterday--but she says that she has long been thinking of coming
in, only she did not know whether I should be inclined to be
sociable. She seems a most respectable and pleasant kind of person,
and really quite superior to the other people in the lane. She said
she felt sure by my looks as she had seen me going to church on
Sunday with William, that I was not a common sort of person, and
said moreover that William was a very genteel-looking young man, and
remarkably like a nephew of hers who is in quite a large way of
business in Manchester. Mrs. Smith admires my room very much, only
she says her house has an advantage over ours, in having a passage,
instead of the front door opening into the room. She had, in fact, a
partition put up after she came, to divide one off, and says it is
astonishing how much more comfortable it makes the place, besides
looking more genteel. I have often wondered myself that William did
not choose a house that had this convenience, and I am sure it will
be cold in winter to have the door opening right into one's room in
this way, besides making the chimney smoke. Mrs. Smith has asked me
to look in, as often as I can, and says it will be quite a charity
to sit with her now and then, she is so lonely.

_May_ 3.--I think William is glad that I am at liberty to have a
friendly neighbour--only he says he is afraid that Mrs. Smith is
rather above us in the world, and might not suit our humble ways. I
do not think this, however; but if it were so, I would rather
associate with those who are above me than below me. I mentioned to
William what she told me about the alteration she had made in her
house, but he did not seem as if he thought it would be so great an
improvement. After breakfast I put on my bonnet and shawl, and went
in to Mrs. Smith's. She keeps a little maid-servant, I find, which I
had no idea of before. I found her sitting at work quite in style,
and really it is quite astonishing how snug her house seems in
consequence of the alteration she has made. The sitting-room is of
course so much smaller, but that is nothing compared to the comfort
of the passage; I should not have thought that the houses could ever
have been built alike, hers is so superior to ours. To be sure the
style of her furniture is perhaps better than ours, and the papering
handsomer, and her carpet goes all over her room, and she has a very
handsome hearth-rug. Altogether I could not help fancying our place
looked quite mean and shabby after I came back. But then I said to
myself, that William and I were after all only beginning the world,
and who knows what we may not be able to do by-and-by. Nothing is
more likely than that William should have his salary raised in a
year or two, and perhaps some day go into business himself.

_May_ 4.--William got home nice and early last night, and read aloud
to me for more than an hour. It was very kind of him, and the book
was very interesting, but somehow or other I think I would rather
have talked to him. I wanted to tell him several things that Mrs.
Smith had said to me--especially about the putting up of that
partition being such a trifling expense. I did get it said at last;
but it is astonishing how little he seems to care about what would
be such a great improvement to our place. Of course he cannot
understand as well as I do how disagreeable it is for people to be
coming to the door, and lifting the latch and looking straight in at
me as I sit at work--just the same as in any cottage in the country.
I think William rather forgets that I never was accustomed to this
kind of thing at home. Last night even, when the postman came; if he
had not been so anxious to read his letter, he might have noticed
how the draught from the open door made the candle flare, and the
tallow ran down all over my nice bright candlestick. The letter was
from his father, asking him to give a couple of pounds toward's
fitting out his brother George for Australia. William means to send
it, I see, and really I am very glad that he can assist his
relations, and should never think of saying a word against it--only
it shows that be has plenty of spare money, and that it is not so
much the expense of the thing that makes him seem to dislike the
idea of altering our place. He keeps saying, "My dear, I think it is
very well as it is," and "My dear, it seems very comfortable to me;"
but that is no reason why it should not be better, as I tell him.

_May_ 5.--Mrs. Smith came in this morning and brought her work, to
have, as she said, a friendly gossip with me. She is really a most
pleasant and sociable person, and says she is sure we shall suit
each other uncommonly well. I told her that I had mentioned to
William about the passage she had contrived to her house, but that
he did not seem to think it would be so great an improvement. "I
dare say not," said she, laughing; "husbands very often don't like
new plans unless they are themselves the first to propose them; but
such a young wife as you ought to have your way in such a matter." I
took care to tell her that William was the kindest and most
good-natured creature in the world, and that no husband could be
more anxious to please a wife. "Then," said she, "if that be the
case, take my word for it he will end by making the alteration you
want." This quite emboldens me to say a little more to William about
our having this partition put up; because I should not like Mrs.
Smith to fancy that my wishes have no weight with him. I will see
what I can do to-night when he comes home.

_May_ 6.--I am afraid I vexed William last night, and only wish I
could unsay two or three things that I said about the making of this
passage. I begin to think I was foolish to get such a fancy into my
head. After tea, just as he was going to open out his book, I
ventured to say, "I wish you would talk to-night, dear William,
instead of read, for I have so little of your company." In a minute
he had shut his book, and drawn his chair up to mine, and said so
good-naturedly, "Well, little Fanny, and what shall we talk about?"
that I felt quite afraid of beginning upon the subject I had in my
mind. By-and-by, however, I broached it, and said I really had set
my heart upon having our room altered like Mrs. Smith's, and that I
was sure it would be done for very little expense, even supposing
our landlord would not do it for us. William said he could not think
of even asking him to do it, after having put the house into such
complete repair when we came here; and he added, that he had fancied
that I was pleased with the place, and thought it comfortable. "So I
was, dear William," said I; "but I had no idea till I tried, how
uncomfortable it is to sit in a room with a front door opening into
it in this way--it is like sitting in the street." William looked so
vexed as I said this, I did not speak for some time. Then all at
once he said, "Well, Fanny, as I wish you to be happy and
comfortable, I suppose you must have your way in this matter. I
cannot exactly say that I cannot afford it, because you know I do
not spend all my salary upon housekeeping; but there were some books
that I thought of buying, that, after all, I can wait for very
well:--So if you like to speak to John Wilson, I dare say he would
do the job as cheaply as any one--he can make an estimate of what it
would cost, and let me know." I thanked William, most heartily, for
his consent, and I am sure that when the passage is once made, he
will be as pleased as any one with the improvement. And yet I do not
feel quite satisfied at the idea of his going without his books, and
only wish he had the money for them as well.

_May_ 7.--Happening to see John Wilson passing down the lane on the
way to his work, I called him in to consult him about putting up the
partition. He made a very careful measurement, and then after
calculating wood-work, and paint, and time, he said he thought he
could do it for two pounds ten. I thought it would not have been
more than two pounds at most; but i had forgotten about the inner
door, with its handle and hinges, &c. It seems a great deal of
money, I must say. William's books I know would only have cost
thirty shillings, for I have a list of them that he made one

_May_ 8.--Somehow or other I could hardly make up my mind after all,
last night, to tell William about John Wilson's estimate; but when I
did get it said, he made me feel quite at ease by the open way in
which he talked about it with me, and planned it all just as if he
thought it as desirable as I do. This is particularly kind of him,
because I know he thinks all the time that we could do very well
without it. Before we went to bed, too, he took out the little purse
in which he keeps his savings (the very purse I made him before we
married), and taking out the 2 10s., told me to keep the
money myself ready to pay John Wilson, as he said he might be
spending it perhaps if it was not out of his way. "You know," said
he, laughing, "I pass the book-shop every evening on my way home,
and I cannot answer for myself." I could not help feeling very much
this kindness of William's in giving up his wishes so readily to
mine in the matter, and I told him so--and really it quite kept me
awake half the night thinking about it. I think the very sight of
that purse brought back to my remembrance how I used to say to
myself that when once I was William's wife I would try so hard to
make him happy, and sacrifice all my wishes to his. I began to feel
that after all it would not make me half as happy to have my own way
as for him to be pleased with me; and in spite of his trying not to
let me see it, I cannot help fancying that he was a little hurt at
my being discontented with my little home, that had given me such
satisfaction at first and in which we have been so happy. I begin to
think that I was foolish in being persuaded by Mrs. Smith that my
snug little house wanted anything to complete my happiness.
Happiness! How ridiculous it seems to write that word in connexion
with such a trifle as this. As if William and I were not too happy
to care about whether our house is as good as our neighbour's! I am
determined after all to give up this affair of the passage
altogether. I have half a mind--nay, I am quite, resolved, to spend
the money instead upon those books for William. How surprised he
will be!

_Afternoon of the same day_.--After coming to the decision I did
this morning, I put on my things, and set off into the town. I don't
think I ever walked faster than I did to that bookseller's shop.
Luckily they had all the books I wanted, or if they are not quite
right William has only to change them afterwards. They did not cost
as much as I had calculated, too, and with the discount that they
gave me I had enough left for the little hanging bookshelves that
William took such a fancy to at the cabinet-maker's the other day. I
got them all home this afternoon--books as well as shelves--and in
less than an hour after their arrival, the nail was knocked into the
wall opposite the fire-place; the shelves hung, and all the books
arranged upon them. How nice they look, and how pleased will dear
William be when he returns! I declare I would not exchange the
happiness I now feel in giving him pleasure for the finest house,
with the grandest entrance to it too, that ever was built. Six
o'clock: and William will be home at seven!


AND first, let us speak to the young husband, in the words of the
author of that excellent little volume, "A Whisper to a
Newly-Married Pair."

'Earnestly endeavour to obtain among your acquaintance the character
of a _good husband_; and abhor that _would-be_ wit, which I have
sometimes seen practised among men of the world--a kind of coarse
jesting on the bondage of the _married state_, and a laugh at the
shackles which a _wife_ imposes. On the contrary, be it your pride
to exhibit to the world that sight on which the wise man passes such
an encomium: _Beautiful before God and men are a man and his wife
that agree together._ (Ecclus. xxv, 10)

Make it an established rule to consult your wife on all occasions.
_Your_ interest is _hers_: and undertake _no_ plan contrary to her
advice and approbation. Independent of better motives, what a
responsibility does it free you from! for, if the affair turn out
ill, you are spared reproaches both from her and from your own
feelings. But the fact is, she who ought to have most influence on
her husband's mind, is often precisely the person who has least; and
a man will frequently take the advice of a stranger who cares not
for him nor his interest, in preference to the cordial and sensible
opinion of his wife. A due consideration of the domestic evils such
a line of conduct is calculated to produce, might, one would think,
of itself be sufficient to prevent its adoption; but, independent of
these, policy should influence you; for there is in woman an
intuitive quickness, a sagacity, a penetration, and a foresight into
the probable consequences of an event, that make her peculiarly
calculated to give her opinion and advice.--"If I was making up a
plan of consequences," said the great Lord Bolingbroke, "I should
like first to consult with a sensible woman."

Have you any male acquaintance, whom, on reasonable grounds, your
wife wishes you to resign? Why should you hesitate? Of what
consequence can be the civilities, or even the friendship, of any
one, compared with the wishes of her with whom you have to spend
your life--whose comfort you have sworn to attend to; and who has a
right to demand, not only such a trifling compliance, but great
sacrifices, if necessary?

Never witness a tear from your wife with apathy or indifference.
Words, looks, actions--all may be artificial; but a _tear_ is
unequivocal; it comes direct from the _heart_, and speaks at once
the language of truth, nature, and sincerity! Be assured, when, you
see a tear on her cheek, her heart is touched; and do not, I again
repeat it, do not behold it with coldness or insensibility!

It is very unnecessary to say that contradiction is to be avoided at
all times: but when in the presence of others, be most particularly
watchful. A look, or word, that perhaps, in _reality_, conveys no
angry meaning, may at once lead people to think that their presence
alone restrains the eruption of a discord, which probably has no
existence whatsoever.

Some men, who are married to women of inferior fortune or connexion,
will frequently have the meanness to upbraid them with the
disparity. My good sir, allow me to ask what was your motive in
marrying? Was it to oblige or please _your wife_? No, truly; it was
to oblige and please _yourself_, your own dear self. Had she refused
to marry you, you would have been (in lover's phrase) a very
miserable man. Did you never tell her so? Therefore, really, instead
of upbraiding her, you should be very grateful to her for rescuing
you from such an unhappy fate.

It is particularly painful to a woman, whenever her husband is
unkind enough to say a lessening or harsh word of any member of her
family: invectives against herself are not half so wounding.

Should illness, or suffering of any kind, assail your wife, your
tenderness and attention are then peculiarly called for; and if she
be a woman of sensibility, believe me, a look of love, a word of
pity or sympathy, will, at times, have a better effect than the
prescriptions of her physicians.

Perhaps some calamity, peculiarly her own, may befall her. She may
weep over the death of some dear relative or friend; or her spirits
and feelings may be affected by various circumstances. Remember that
your sympathy, tenderness, and attention, on such occasions, are
particularly required.

A man would not, on any account, take up a whip, or a, stick, and
beat his wife; but he will, without remorse, use to her language
which strikes much deeper to her heart than the lash of any whip he
could make use of. "He would not, for the world," says an ingenious
writer, "cut her with a _knife_, but he will, without the least
hesitation, cut her with his _tongue_."

I have known some unfeeling husbands, who have treated their
luckless wives with unvaried and unremitting unkindness, till
perhaps the arrival of their last illness, and who then became all
assiduity and attention. Bat when that period approaches, their
remorse, like the remorse of a murderer, is felt too late; the die
is cast; and kindness or unkindness can be of little consequence to
the poor victim, who only waits to have her eyes closed in the long
sleep of death!

Perhaps your wife may be destitute of youth and beauty, or other
superficial attractions, which distinguish many of her sex: should
this be the case, remember many a plain face conceals a heart of
exquisite sensibility and merit; and her consciousness of the defect
makes her peculiarly awake to the slightest attention or inattention
from you: and just for a moment reflect--

"What is the blooming tincture of the skin,
To peace of mind and harmony within?
What the bright sparkling of the finest eye,
To the soft soothing of a calm reply?
Can loveliness of form, or look, or air,
With loveliness of words or deeds compare?
No: those at first the unwary heart may gain;
But these, these only, can the heart retain."

Your wife, though a gentle, amiable creature, may be deficient in mental
endowments, and destitute of fancy or sentiment; and you, perhaps a man
of taste and talents, are inclined to think lightly of her. This is
unjust, unkind and unwise. It is not, believe me, the woman most gifted
by nature, or most stored with literary knowledge, who always makes the
most comfortable wife; by no, means: _your_ gentle, amiable helpmate may
contribute much more to your happiness, more to the regularity, economy,
and discipline of your houses and may make your children a much better
mother, than many a brilliant dame who could trace, with Moore, Scott,
and Byron, every line on the map of taste and sentiment, and descant on
the merits and demerits of poetry, as if she had just arrived fresh from
the neighbourhood of Parnassus.

Should your wife be a woman of sense, worth, and cultivation, yet not
very expert at cutting out a shirt, or making paste, pies, and puddings
(though I would not by any means undervalue this necessary part of
female knowledge, or tolerate ignorance in my sex respecting them), yet
pray, my good sir, do not, on this account _only_, show discontent and
ill-humour towards her. If she is qualified to be your bosom friend, to
advise, to comfort, and to soothe you;--if she can instruct your

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