Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Wedding Guest by T.S. Arthur

Part 5 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

children, enliven your fireside by her conversation, and receive and
entertain your friends in a manner which pleases and gratifies you;--be
satisfied: we cannot expect to meet in a wife, or indeed in any one,
exactly all we could wish. "I can easily," says a sensible friend of
mine, "hire a woman to make my linen and dress my dinner, but I cannot
so readily procure a _friend_ and _companion_ for myself, and a
preceptress for my children." The remark was called forth by his
mentioning that he had heard a gentleman, the day before, finding fault
with his wife, an amiable, sensible well-informed woman, because she was
not clever at pies, puddings, and needle-work! On the other hand, should
she be sensible, affectionate, amiable, domestic, yet prevented by
circumstances in early life from obtaining much knowledge of books, or
mental cultivation, do not therefore think lightly of her; still
remember she is your companion, the friend in whom you may confide at
all times, and from whom you may obtain counsel and comfort.

Few women are insensible of tender treatment; and I believe the number
of those is small indeed who would not recompense it with the most
grateful returns. They are naturally frank and affectionate; and, in
general, there is nothing but austerity of look and distance of
behaviour, that can prevent those amiable qualities from being evinced
on every occasion. There are, probably, but few men who have not
experienced, during the intervals of leisure and reflection, a
conviction of this truth. In the hour of absence and of solitude, who
has not felt his heart cleaving to the wife of his bosom? who has not
been, at some seasons; deeply impressed with a sense of her amiable
disposition and demeanour, of her unwearied endeavours to promote and
perpetuate his happiness, and of its being his indispensable duty to
show, by the most unequivocal expressions of attachment and of
tenderness, his full approbation of her assiduity and faithfulness? But
lives not he that has often returned to his habitation fully determined
to requite the kindness he has constantly experienced, yet,
notwithstanding, has beheld the woman of his heart joyful at his
approach without even attempting to execute his purpose?--who has still
withheld the rewards of esteem and affection; and, from some motive, the
cause of which I never could develop, shrunk from the task of duty, and
repressed those soft emotions which might have gladdened the breast of
her that was ever anxious to please, always prompt to anticipate his
desires, and eager to contribute everything that affection could
suggest, or diligence perform, in order to promote and perpetuate his

When absent, let your letters to your wife be warm and affectionate. A
woman's heart is peculiarly formed for tenderness; and every expression
of endearment from the man she loves is flattering and pleasing to her.
With pride and pleasure does she dwell on each assurance of his
affection: and, surely, it is a cold, unmanly thing to deprive her
virtuous heart of such a cheap and easy mode of gratifying it. But,
really, a man should endeavour not only for an affectionate, but an
agreeable manner of writing to his wife. I remember hearing a lady say,
"When my husband writes to me, if he can at all glean out any little
piece of good news, or pleasing intelligence, he is sure to mention it."
Another lady used to remark, "My husband does not intend to give me
pain, or to say anything unpleasant when he writes; and yet, I don't
know how it is, but I never received a letter from him, that I did not,
when I finished it, feel comfortless and dissatisfied."

I really think a husband, whenever he goes from home, should always
endeavour, if possible, to bring back some little present to his wife.
If ever so trifling or valueless, still the attention gratifies her; and
to call forth a smile of good-humour should be always a matter of

Every one who knows anything of the human mind, agrees in acknowledging
the power of _trifles_, in imparting either pain or pleasure. One of our
best writers, speaking on this subject, introduces the following sweet

"Since trifles make the sum of human things,
And half our misery from those trifles springs,
O! let the ungentle spirit learn from thence,
A _small_ unkindness is a _great_ offence.
To give rich gifts perhaps we wish in vain,
But all may shun the guilt of giving pain."

So much of happiness and comfort in the wedded life depends upon the
wife, that we cannot too often nor too earnestly engage her thoughts
on the subject of her duties. Duty, to some, is a cold, repulsive
word, but only in the discharge of duties that appertain to each
condition in life, is happiness ever secured. From the "Whisper" we
copy again:--

'Endeavour to make your husband's habitation alluring and delightful
to him. Let it be to him a sanctuary to which his heart may always
turn from the ills and anxieties of life. Make it a repose from his
cares, a shelter from the _world_, a _home_ not for his person only,
but for his _heart_. He may meet with _pleasure_ in other houses,
but let him find _happiness_ in his _own_. Should he be dejected,
soothe him; should he be silent and thoughtful, or even peevish,
make allowances for the defects of human nature, and, by your
sweetness, gentleness, and good humour, urge him continually to
_think_, though he may not _say_ it, "This woman is indeed a comfort
to me. I cannot but love her, and requite such gentleness and
affection as they deserve."

I know not two female attractions so captivating to men as delicacy
and modesty. Let not the familiar intercourse which marriage
produces, banish such powerful charms. On the contrary, this very
familiarity should be your strongest incitement in endeavouring to
preserve them; and, believe, me, the modesty so pleasing in the
_bride_, may always, in a great degree, be supported by the _wife_.

"If possible, let your husband suppose you think him a _good_
husband and it will be a strong stimulus to his being so. As long as
he thinks he possesses the character, he will take some pains to
deserve it: but when he has once lost the name, he will be very apt
to abandon the reality altogether. "I remember at one time being
acquainted with a lady who was married to a very worthy man.
Attentive to all her comforts and wishes, he was just what the world
calls a very good husband; and yet his manner to his wife was cold
and comfortless, and he was constantly giving her _heart_, though
never her _reason_, cause to complain of him. But she was a woman of
excellent sense, and never upbraided him. On the contrary, he had
every cause for supposing she thought him the best husband in the
world; and the consequence was, that instead of the jarring and
discord which would have been inevitably produced had she been in
the habit of finding fault with him, their lives passed on in
uninterrupted peace.

I know not any attraction which renders a woman at all times so
agreeable to her husband, as cheerfulness or good humour. It
possesses the powers ascribed to magic: it gives charms where charms
are not; and imparts beauty to the plainest face. Men are naturally
more thoughtful and more difficult to amuse and please than women.
Full of cares and business, what a relaxation to a man is the
cheerful countenance and pleasant voice of the gentle mistress of
his home! On the contrary, a gloomy, dissatisfied manner is a poison
of affection; and though a man may not seem to notice it, it is
chilling and repulsive to his feelings, and he will be very apt to
seek elsewhere for those smiles and that cheerfulness which he finds
not in his own house.

In the article of dress, study your husband's taste, and endeavour
to wear what he thinks becomes you best. The opinion of others on
this subject is of very little consequence, if _he_ approves.

Make yourself as useful to him as you can, and let him see you
employed as much as possible in _economical_ avocations.

At dinner, endeavour to have his favourite dish dressed and served
up in the manner he likes best. In, observing such trifles as these,
believe me, gentle lady, you study your own comfort just as much as

Perhaps your husband may occasionally bring home an unexpected guest
to dinner. This is not at all times convenient. But beware, gentle
lady, beware of frowns. Your fare at dinner may be scanty, but make
up for the deficiency by smiles and good humour. It is an old
remark, "Cheerfulness in the _host_ is always the surest and most
agreeable mode of welcome to the guest." Perhaps, too, unseasonable
visiters may intrude, or some one not particularly welcome may come
to spend a few days with you. Trifling as these circumstances may
be, they require a command of feeling and temper: but remember, as
you journey on, inclination must be continually sacrificed; and
recollect also, that the _true_ spirit of hospitality lies (as an
old writer remarks), not in giving great dinners and sumptuous
entertainments, but in receiving with kindness and cheerfulness
those who _come_ to you, and those who _want_ your assistance.

Endeavour to feel pleased with your husband's bachelor friends. It
always vexes and disappoints a man when his wife finds fault with
his favourites--the favourites and companions of his youth, and
probably those to whom he is bound not only by the ties of
friendship, but by the cords of gratitude.

Encourage in your husband a desire for reading aloud at night. When
the window curtains are drawn, the candles lighted, and you are all
seated after tea round the fire, how can his time be better
employed? _You_ have your work to occupy you: _he_ has nothing to do
but to sit and to think; and perhaps to think too that this family
scene is extremely stupid. Give interest to the monotonous hour, by
placing in his hand some entertaining but useful work. The pleasure
which you derive from it will encourage him to proceed; while
remarks on the pages will afford improving and animating topics for

Is he fond of music? When an appropriate moment occurs, sit down
with cheerfulness to your piano or harp; recollect the airs that are
wont to please him most, and indulge him by playing those favourite
tunes. Tell me, gentle lady, when was your time at this
accomplishment so well devoted? While he was your _lover_, with what
readiness, and in your very best manner, would you touch the chords;
and on every occasion what pains did you take to captivate! And now
that he is become your _husband_ (me thinks at this moment I see a
blush mantling in your cheek), now that he is your husband, has
pleasing him become a matter of indifference to you?

Particularly shun what the world calls in ridicule, "Curtain
lectures." When you both enter your room at night, and shut to your
door, endeavour to shut out at the same moment all discord and
contention, and look on your chamber as a retreat from the vexations
of the world, a shelter sacred to peace and affection.

I cannot say I much approve of man and wife at all times opening
each other's letters. There is more, I think, of vulgar familiarity
in this than of delicacy or confidence. Besides, a sealed letter is
sacred; and every one likes to have the first reading of his or her
own letters.

Perhaps your husband may be fond of absenting himself from home, and
giving to others that society which you have a right to expect:
clubs, taverns, &c., &c., may be his favourite resort. In this case
it may perhaps be necessary to have recourse to mild reasoning; but
never--I again repeat--never to clamorous dispute. And the fonder he
seems of quitting his home, the greater should be your effort to
make yourself and your fireside agreeable to him. This may appear a
difficult task; but I recommend nothing that I have not myself seen
successfully practised. I once knew a lady who particularly studied
her husband's character and disposition; and I have seen her, when
he appeared sullen, fretful, and inclined to go out, invite a
friend, or perhaps a few friends, to spend the evening, prepare for
him at dinner the dish she knew he liked best, and thus, by her
kind, cheerful manner, make him forget the peevishness which had
taken possession of him. Believe it from me, and let it take deep
root, gentle lady, in your mind, that a good-humoured deportment, a
comfortable fireside, and a smiling countenance, will do more
towards keeping your husband at home than a week's logic on the

Is he fond of fishing, fowling, &c.? When those amusements do not
interfere with business or matters of consequence, what harm can
result from them? Strive then to enter into his feelings with regard
to the pleasure which they seem to afford him, and endeavour to feel
interested in his harmless accounts and chat respecting them. Let
his favourite dog be your favourite also; and do not with a surly
look, as I have seen some wives put on, say, in his hearing, "That
Cato, or Rover, or Ranger, is the most troublesome dog and the
greatest pest in the world."

If the day he goes out on these rural expeditions be cold or wet, do
not omit having his shirt and stockings aired for him at the
fireside. Such little attentions never fail to please; and it is
well worth your while to obtain good humour by such easy efforts.

Should he be obliged to go to some distant place or foreign land, at
once and without indecision, if circumstances render it at all
practicable, let your determination be made in the beautiful and
expressive language of Scripture: _Entreat me not to leave thee, nor
to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will
go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my
people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest will I die, and there
will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but
death part thee and me._ (Ruth i. 16, 17.) If his lot be
comfortless, why not lessen those discomforts by your society? and
if pleasure and gayety await him, why leave him exposed to the
temptations which pleasure and gayety produce? A woman never appears
in so respectable a light, never to no much advantage, as when under
the protection of her husband.

Even occasional separations between man and wife I am no friend to,
when they can be avoided. It is not to your advantage, believe me,
gentle lady, to let him see how well he can do without you. You may
probably say, "Absence is at times unavoidable." Granted: I only
contend such intervals of absence should be short, and occur as
seldom as possible.

Perhaps it may be your luckless lot to be united to an unkind
husband--a man who cares not whether he pleases or displeases,
whether you are happy or unhappy. If this be the case, hard is your
fate, gentle lady, very hard! But the die is cast; and you must
carefully remember that no neglect of duty on _his_ part can give a
legitimate sanction to a failure of duty on _yours_. The sacredness
of those ties which bind you as a wife remain equally strong and
heavy, whatever be the conduct of your husband; and galling as the
chain may be, you must only endeavour for resignation to bear it,
till the Almighty, by lightening it, pleases to crown your
gentleness and efforts with success.

When at the Throne of Grace (I address you as a religious woman), be
fervent and persevering in your prayers for your husband; and by
your example endeavour to allure him to that heaven towards which
you are yourself aspiring: that, if your husband _obey not the
word_, as the sacred writer says, _he may, without the word_, be won
by the conversation (or conduct) of the wife.

Your husband, perhaps, may be addicted to gambling, horse-racing,
drinking, &c. These are serious circumstances; and mild
remonstrances must be occasionally used to oppose them; but do not
let your argument rise to loud or clamorous disputing. Manage your
opponent like a skilful general, and constantly watching the
appropriate moment for retreat. To _convince_ without _irritating_,
is one of the most difficult as well as most desirable points of
argument. Perhaps this may not be in your power: at all events, make
the attempt, first praying to God for direction, and then leaving to
him the result.

Or, gentle lady, you may, perhaps, be united to a man of a most
uncongenial mind, who, though a very good sort of husband, differs
from you in every sentiment. What of this? You must only make the
best of it. Look around. Numbers have the same and infinitely worse
complaints to make; and, truly, when we consider what real misery
there is in the world, it seems the height of folly fastidiously and
foolishly to refine away our happiness, by allowing such worthless
trifles to interfere with our comfort.

There are very few husbands so bad as to be destitute of good
qualities, and probably, very decided ones. Let the wife search out
and accustom herself to dwell on those good qualities, and let her
treat _her own_ errors, not _her husband's_, with severity. I have
seldom known a dispute between man and wife in which faults _on both
sides_ were not conspicuous; and really it is no wonder; for we are
so quick-sighted to the imperfections of others, so blind and
lenient to our own, that in cases of discord and contention, we
throw all the blame on the opposite party, and never think of
accusing ourselves. In general, at least, this is the case.

I was lately acquainted with a lady, whose manner to her husband
often attracted my admiration. Without appearing to do so, she would
contrive to lead to those subjects in which he appeared to most
advantage. Whenever he spoke, she seemed to listen as if what he was
saying was of importance. And if at any time she differed from him
in opinion, it was done so gently as scarcely to be perceived even
by himself. She was quite as well informed (perhaps more so) and as
sensible as himself, and yet she always appeared to think him
superior in every point. On all occasions she would refer to him,
asking his opinion, and appearing to receive information at the very
moment, perhaps, she was herself imparting it. The consequence was,
there never was a happier couple, and I am certain he thought her
the most superior woman in the world.

I repeat, it is amazing how trifles--the most insignificant
trifles--even a word, even a look,--yes, truly, a look, a
glance--completely possess the power, at times, of either pleasing,
or displeasing. Let this sink deep into your mind: remember, that to
endeavour to keep a husband in constant good humour is one of the
first duties of a wife.

Perhaps, on some occasion or other, in the frolic of the moment,
without in the least degree intending to annoy you, your husband may
toy, and laugh, and flirt, while in company, with some pretty girl
present. This generally makes a wife look foolish; and it would be
as well, nay, much better, if he did not do so. But let not a shade
of ill humour cross your brow, nor even by a glance give him or any
one present, reason to think his behaviour annoys you. Join in the
laugh and chat, and be not outdone in cheerfulness and good humour
by any of the party. But remember, gentle lady, there must be no
_acting_ in this affair: the effort must extend to your _mind_ as
well as your _manner_; and a, moment's reasoning on the subject will
at once restore the banished sunshine. The incomparable Leighton
says, "The human heart is like a reservoir of clear water, at the
bottom of which lies a portion of _mud_: stir the mud, and the water
gets all sullied. In like manner does some strong passion or peevish
feeling rise in the heart, and stain and darken it as the mud does
the water." But should there be a prospect of your husband often
meeting with this lady in question, endeavour at once to break off
the intimacy by bringing forward some pretext consistent with truth
(for to _truth_ everything must be sacrificed), such as, You do not
like her; The intimacy is not what you would wish, &c. Never,
however, avow the _real_ reason: it will only produce discord, and
make your husband think you prone to jealousy--a suspicion a woman
cannot too carefully guard against. And there is often in men an
obstinacy which refuses to be conquered of all beings in the world
_by a wife_. A jealous wife (such is the erroneous opinion of the
ill-judging world) is generally considered a proper subject for
ridicule; and a woman ought assiduously to conceal from her husband,
more than from any one else, any feeling of the kind. Besides, after
all, gentle lady, your suspicions _may_ be totally groundless; and
you may possibly be tormenting yourself with a whole train of
imaginary evils. As you value your peace, then, keep from you, if
possible, all such vexatious apprehensions, and remember, a man can
very ill bear the idea of being suspected of inconstancy even when
_guilty_; but when _innocent_, it is intolerable to him.'

Dr. Boardman, in his excellent "Hints on Domestic Happiness," has
uttered a timely warning against the depraving influence of Clubs,
to which some young married men resort, to their own injury and the
destruction of domestic peace.

'I have to do, at present,' he says, 'with certain "avocations and
habits which contravene the true idea of home, and are prejudicial
to domestic happiness." I have spoken at some length, in this view,
of a life of fashionable dissipation, particularly in its influence
upon the female sex. The whole range of public amusements might
fairly be considered as within the sweep of my subject; but there is
one topic which it will not do to pass by. Equal justice ought, in a
series of lectures like this, to be meted out to both sexes; and I
feel bound to say a few words in respect to CLUBS.

One reason why I do this ha's been given. A second is, that in so
far as large cities are concerned, one can hardly sever the mental
association which links together Clubs and domestic happiness--or
unhappiness. I bring against these institutions no wholesale
denunciation. I neither say nor believe that all who belong to them
are men of profligate character. I cannot doubt that they comprise
individuals not only of high social standing, but of great personal
worth. But in dealing with the institutions themselves, I must be
permitted to express the conviction that they are unfavourable to
the culture of the domestic affections, and hurtful to the morals
and manners of society. That this is the common opinion respecting
them is beyond a question. Of the respectable people who pass by any
fashionable Club-House in an evening, the thoughts of a very large
proportion are probably directed, for the moment, with the most
intensity, to the homes of its tenantry, with the feeling, "Those
would be happier homes if this establishment were out of the way."

The mildest conception of these associations which any one can
insist upon, is that given by Mr. Addison, who says, "Our modern
celebrated Clubs are founded upon eating and drinking, which are
points wherein most men agree, and in which the learned and the
illiterate, the dull and the airy, the philosopher and the buffoon,
can all of them bear a part." They must be greatly scandalized if
billiards and cards do not enter as largely into the recreations
they supply, as eating and drinking. There must be _some_ potent
attractions which can draw a set of gentlemen away from all other
scenes and engagements, domestic and social, moral and religious,
literary and political, and hold them together to a late hour, for
many nights in succession. If it is social reading, the authors they
read may well be flattered with the honours paid them. If it is

"The feast of reason and the flow of soul."

the talkers must have rare conversational powers. If it is politics,
the country must have zealous patriots among her sons. If it is
science, no wonder that under the pressure of this prodigious
research, the lightning lends its wings to knowledge, that the
subjugated earth hastens to reveal its deep _arcana_ to mortal eyes,
and that planet after planet should come forth out of the
unfathomable abyss of space, and submit to be measured, and weighed,
and chronicled, as their older sisters have been. But this is going
too far even for the charity which "believeth all things." Those who
have never been initiated into the _penetralia_ of these
institutions, know enough of them to be satisfied that they are not
precisely schools of science--or, if they are, that the sciences
they exult in, are not those which soar towards heaven, but those
which have to do with the auriferous bowels of the earth, and the
full-fed cattle upon its surface.

To come more directly to the point, the allegation made against
these Clubs--made in the name of ten thousand injured wives and
mothers and children--is, that they become a sort of RIVAL HOME to
the home _they_ occupy; that the influence they exert over their
members, loosens their domestic ties, indisposes them to their
domestic duties, and not unfrequently seduces them into habits of
intemperance and gambling. The clients I represent in this argument
contend that they are an unnecessary institution--that where
gentlemen wish to associate together for literary purposes, there
are always within their reach lyceums, athenums, libraries, and
societies without number; and that as to a social relaxation, it can
be had without setting up a quasi-monastery. They urge with truth
that any course of social amusements pursued systematically and
earnestly by a combination of gentlemen, to the exclusion of ladies,
will as really tend to impair, as the companionship of cultivated
women does to refine, the manners, and the sensibilities of the
heart; that, as a matter of fact, those who become addicted to these
coarser pleasures, lose their relish for the best female society;
and that the old home sinks in their esteem, as the new one rises.
These charges, which cannot be gainsayed, bear not only upon married
men, but young men; for the tastes and habits fostered by the Clubs,
are precisely those which go to alienate them from the paternal
roof, and to unfit them to become heads of families.

After noting down my own reflections on this subject, I met with
some observations upon it by an eminent female writer (the best
writer, probably, that sex has produced), which one portion of my
hearers, as least, will thank me for quoting: they are graphic,
forcible, and suggestive: "The Clubs generate and cherish luxurious
habits, from their perfect ease, undress, liberty, and inattention
to the distinctions of rank; they promote a love of play, and, in
short, every temper and spirit which tends to _undomesticate_; and
what adds to the mischief is, all this is attained at a cheap rate
compared with what may be procured at home in the same style. A
young man in such an artificial state of society, accustomed to the
voluptuous ease, refined luxuries, soft accommodations, obsequious
attendance, and all the unrestrained indulgences of a fashionable
Club, is not to be expected after marriage to take very cordially to
a _home_, unless very extraordinary exertions are made to amuse, to
attach, and to interest him; and he is not likely to lend a helping
hand to the union, whose most laborious exertions have hitherto been
little more than a selfish stratagem to reconcile health with
pleasure. Excess of gratification has only served to make him
irritable and exacting; it will, of course, be no part of his
project to make sacrifices--he will expect to receive them; and,
what would appear incredible to the _Paladins_ of gallant times, and
the _Chevaliers Preux_ of more heroic days, even in the necessary
business of establishing himself for life, he sometimes is more
disposed to expect attentions than to make advances." "These
indulgences, and this habit of mind, gratify so many passions, that
a woman can never hope successfully to counteract the evil by
supplying at home, gratifications which are of the same kind, or
which gratify the same habits. Now a passion for gratifying vanity,
and a spirit of dissipation, _is_ a passion of the same kind; and,
therefore, though for a few weeks, a man who has chosen his wife in
the public haunts of fashion, and this wife a woman made up of
accomplishments, may, from the novelty of the connexion and of the
scene, continue domestic; yet, in a little time she will find that
those passions to which she has trusted for making pleasant the
married life of her husband, will crave the still higher pleasures
of the Club; and while these are pursued, she will be consigned over
to solitary evenings at home, or driven back to the old

If there is any real foundation for these strictures, it cannot
excite your surprise that in vindicating the domestic constitution,
these associations should be arraigned and condemned as tending to
counteract its beneficent operation. The Family is a divine
ordinance. It is God's institution for training men. It is vitally
connected with the destinies of individuals and nations. Whatever
interferes, therefore, with its legitimate influence, must be
criminal in God's sight, and a great social evil. On this ground,
Clubs are to be reprobated. They are unfavourable to the domestic
virtues. They make no man a better husband or father, a better son
or brother. If some have mixed in them without being contaminated,
this is more than can be said of all. They have inspired many a man
with a disrelish for his home; have made many a young wife water her
couch with tears; and kept many a widowed mother walking her
parlours in lonely anguish till after midnight, awaiting the return
of her wayward son from the card-table. Does it become a community,
who would guard their homes as they do their altars, because they
know their altars will not long be worth guarding if their homes are
desecrated to encourage CLUBS?

The following should be read by every woman in the country, married
or unmarried--yes, it should be committed to memory and repeated
three times a day, for it contains more truth than many volumes that
have been written on the subject:--

'How often we hear a man say, I am going to California, Australia,
or somewhere else. You ask him the reason of his going away, and the
answer is, in nine cases out of ten, I am not happy at home. I have
been unfortunate in business, and I have made up my mind to try my
luck in California. The world seems to go against me. While fortune
favoured me, there were those whom I thought to be my friends, but
when the scale turned, they also turned the cold shoulder against
me. My wife, she that should have been the first to have stood by
me, and encourage me, was first to point the finger of scorn and
say, "It is your own fault; why has this or that one been so
fortunate? If you had attended to your business as they have, you
would not be where you are now." These and other like insinuations,
often drive a man to find other society, other pleasures, in
consequence of being unhappy at home. He may have children that he
loves, he cannot enjoy life with them as he would; he may love them
as dearly as ever; yet home is made unpleasant in consequence of
that cold indifference of the wife. Now, I would say to all such
wives, sisters, and in fact, all females, deal gently with him that
is in trouble; remember that he is very easily excited. A little
word, carelessly thrown out, may inflict a wound time never can
heal. Then be cautious; a man is but human--therefore he is liable
to err. If you see him going wrong, ever meet him with a smile, and
with the kiss of affection; show that you love him by repeated acts
of kindness; let your friendship be unbounded; try to beguile his
unhappy hours in pleasant conversation. By so doing, you may save
yourself and children from an unhappy future.

When a man is in trouble, it is but a little word that may ruin him;
it is but a little word that may save him.'

Marriage, says Jeremy Taylor, is the proper scene of piety and
patience; of the duty of parents and the charity of relations. Here
kindness is spread abroad, and love is united and made firm as a
centre. Marriage is the nursery of Heaven. The virgin sends prayers
to God, but she carries but one soul to him; but the state of
marriage fills up the numbers of the elect, and hath in it the
labour of love and the delicacies of friendship, the blessing of
society, and the union of hands and hearts. It hath in it less of
beauty but more of safety than the single life; it hath more ease
but less danger; it is more merry and more sad; it is fuller of
sorrows and fuller of joys; it lies under more burdens, but is
supported by all the strengths of love and charity, and those
burdens are delightful. Marriage is the mother of the world, and
preserves kingdoms, and fills cities and churches, and Heaven
itself. Celibole, like the fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in
perpetual sweetness, but sits alone, and is confined and dies in
singularity; but marriage, like the useful bee, builds a house, and
gathers sweetness from every flower, and labours and unites into
societies and republics, and sends out colonies, and feeds the world
with delicacies, and obeys their king, and keeps order, and
exercises many virtues, and promotes the interest of mankind, and is
that state of good things to which God hath designed the present
constitution of the world.

The every-day married lady is the inventor of a thing which few
foreign nations have as yet adopted either in their houses or
languages. This thing is "comfort." The word cannot well be defined;
the items that enter into its composition being so numerous, that a
description would read like a catalogue. We all understand however
what it means, although few of us are sensible of the source of the
enjoyment. A widower has very little comfort, and a bachelor, none
at all--while a married man, provided his wife be an every-day
married lady--enjoys it in perfection. But he enjoys it
unconsciously, and therefore ungratefully; it is a thing of
course--a necessary, a right, of the want of which he complains
without being distinctly sensible of its presence. Even when it
acquires sufficient intensity to arrest his attention, when his
features and his heart soften, and he looks round with a half smile
on his face, and says, "This is comfort!" it never occurs to him to
inquire where it all comes from. His every-day wife is sitting
quietly in the corner; it was not she who lighted the fire, or
dressed the dinner, or drew the curtains; and it never occurs to him
to think that all these, and a hundred other circumstances of the
moment, owe their virtue to her spiriting; and that the comfort
which enriches the atmosphere, which sparkles in the embers, which
broods in the shadowy parts of the room, which glows in his own full
heart, emanates from her, and encircles her like an aureola.

When once a woman is married, when once she has enlisted among the
matrons of the land; let not her fancy dream of perpetual
admiration; let her not be sketching out endless mazes of pleasure.
The mistress of a family has ceased to be a _girl_. She can no
longer be frivolous or childish with impunity. The _angel_ of
courtship has sunk into a _woman_; and that woman will be valued
principally as her fondness lies in retirement, and her pleasures in
the nursery of her children. And woe to the mother who is obliged to
abandon her children during the greater part of the day to
hirelings--no, not obliged; for there is no duty so imperious, no
social convenience or fashionable custom so commanding, as to oblige
her to such shameful neglect: _for maternal care, let her remember,
supercedes all other duties_.

In the matrimonial character which you have now assumed, gentle
lady, no longer let your fancy wander to scenes of pleasure or
dissipation. Let _home_ be now your _empire_, your _world_! Let
_home_ be now the sole scene of your wishes, your thoughts, your
plans, your exertions. Let _home_ be now the stage on which, in the
varied character of wife, of mother, and of mistress, you strive to
act and shine with splendour. In its sober, quiet scenes, let your
heart cast its anchor, let your feelings and pursuits all be
centred. And beyond the spreading oaks that shadow and shelter your
dwelling, let not your fancy wander. Leave to your husband to
distinguish himself by his valour or his talents. Do you seek for
fame at _home_; and let the applause of your God, of your husband,
of your children, and your servants, weave for your brow a
never-fading chaplet.

An ingenious writer says, "If a painter wished to draw the very
finest object in the world, it would be the picture of a wife, with
eyes expressing the serenity of her mind, and a countenance beaming
with benevolence; one hand lulling to rest on her bosom a lovely
infant, the other employed in presenting a moral page to a second
sweet baby, who stands at her knee, listening to the words of truth
and wisdom from its incomparable mother."

I am a peculiar friend to cheerfulness. Not that kind of
cheerfulness which the wise man calls the _mirth of fools_,--always
laughing and talking, exhausting itself in jests and puns, and then
sinking into silence and gloom when the object that inspired it has
disappeared. No--no! The cheerfulness I would recommend must belong
to the heart, and be connected with the temper, and even with the
principles. Addison says, "I cannot but look on a cheerful state of
mind as a constant, habitual gratitude to the great Author of
nature. An inward cheerfulness is an implicit praise and
thanksgiving to Providence under all its dispensations: it is a kind
of acquiescence in the state wherein we are placed, and a secret
approval of the Divine Will in his conduct towards us." I think
there is something very lovely in seeing a woman overcoming those
little domestic disquiets which every mistress of a family has to
contend with; sitting down to her breakfast-table in the morning
with a cheerful, smiling countenance, and endeavouring to promote
innocent and pleasant conversation among her little circle. But vain
will be her amiable efforts at cheerfulness, if she be not assisted
by her husband and the other members around; and truly it is an
unpleasant sight to see at family when collected together, instead
of enlivening the quiet scene with a little good-humoured chat,
sitting like so many statues, as if each was unworthy of the
attention of the other. And then, when a stranger comes in, O dear!
such smiles, and animation, and loquacity! "Let my lot be to please
at home," says the poet; and truly I cannot help feeling a
contemptuous opinion of those persons, young or old, male or female,
who lavish their good humour and pleasantry in company, and hoard up
sullenness and silence for the sincere and loving group which
compose their fireside.

They do not behold home with the same eyes as did the writer of the
following lines:--

"'Home's the resort of love, of joy, of peace;''
So says the bard, and so say truth and grace;
Home is the scene where truth and candour move,
The only scene of _true_ and genuine _love_.
'To balls, and routs for fame let others roam,
Be mine the happier lot to please at home.'
Clear then the stage: no scenery we require,
Save the snug circle round the parlour fire;
And enter, marshall'd in procession fair,
Each happier influence that governs there!
First, Love, by Friendship mellow'd into bliss,
Lights the warm glow, and sanctifies the kiss;
When, fondly welcomed to the accustom'd seat,
In sweet complacence wife and husband meet;
Look mutual pleasure, mutual purpose share,
Repose from labours to unite in care!
Ambition! Does Ambition there reside?
Yes: when the boy, in manly mood astride,
With ruby lip and eyes of sweetest blue,
And flaxen locks, and cheeks of rosy hue,
(Of headstrong prowess innocently vain),
Canters;--the jockey of his father's cane:
While Emulation in the daughter's heart
Bears a more mild, though not less powerful, part,
With zeal to shine her little bosom warms,
And in the romp the future housewife forms:
Think how Joy animates, intense though meek,
The fading roses on their grandame's cheek,
When, proud the frolic children to survey,
She feels and owns an interest in their play;
Tells at each call the story ten times told,
And forwards every wish their whims unfold."

"To be agreeable, and even entertaining, in our family circle," says
a celebrated writer, "is not only a positive duty, but an absolute

We cannot help quoting the following passage from Miss H. More, as
an admirable illustration of true sweetness of temper, patience, and
self-denial--qualities so essential in a wife and mistress of a
family:--"Remember, that life is not entirely made up of great
evils, or heavy trials, but that the perpetual recurrence of petty
evils and small trials is the ordinary and appointed exercise of
Christian graces. To bear with the feelings of those about us, with
their infirmities, their bad judgments, their ill-breeding, their
perverse tempers--to endure neglect where we feel we have deserved
attention, and ingratitude where we expected thanks--to bear with
the company of disagreeable people, whom Providence has placed in
our way, and whom he has perhaps provided on purpose for the trial
of our virtue--these are the best exercise; and the better because
not chosen by ourselves. To bear with vexations in business, with
disappointments in our expectations, with interruptions in our
retirement, with folly, intrusion, disturbance, in short, with
whatever opposes our will and contradicts our humour--this habitual
acquiescence appears to be the very essence of self-denial. These
constant, inevitable, but inferior evils, properly improved, furnish
a good moral discipline, and might well, in the days of ignorance,
have superseded pilgrimage and penance." Another remark of the same
author is also excellent: "To sustain a fit of sickness may exhibit
as true a heroism as to lead an army. To bear a deep affliction
well, calls for as high exertion of soul as to storm a town; and to
meet death with Christian resolution, is an act of courage in which
many a woman has triumphed, and many a philosopher, and even some
generals, have failed."


"I allude to that false and contemptible kind of decision which we
term _obstinacy_;--a stubbornness of temper which can assign no
reasons but mere will, for a constancy which acts in the nature of
dead weight, rather than strength-resembling less the reaction of a
powerful spring, than the gravitation of a big stone."


"I HAVE said, Mrs. Wilson, that it is my will to have it so, and I
thought you knew me well enough to know that my will is unalterable.
Therefore, if you please, let me hear no more about it."

"But, my dear husband, the boy--"

"_But_, madam, I assure you there is no room for _buts_ in the
matter. Am I not master of my own house, and fully capable of
governing it?"

"Yes, certainly, my dear, only I happen to know something about this
school, which I think would influence you in forming a judgment, if
you would listen to me for a moment."

"My judgment is already formed, madam, and is not likely to be
altered by anything a woman could say. You may be a very good judge
of the merits of a pudding, or the size of a stocking, but this is a
matter in which I do not wish for any advice."

So Master James Wilson, a little, delicate, backward boy of ten
years, was sent to a large public school, in which the amount of
study required was so much beyond his ability, and the rules so
severe, that the heavy penalties daily incurred, seriously affected
both his health and happiness. It was with an aching heart that the
fond mother saw him creeping slowly to school in the morning with a
pale and dejected countenance, and returning home, fatigued in body,
soured in spirit, and rapidly learning to detest the very sight of
his books, as the instruments of his wretchedness. The severity of
the husband and father had in this instance produced its usual
unhappy effect, by tempting Mrs. Wilson to injudicious indulgence of
her son in private, and the perpetual oscillations between the
extremes of harshness and fondness thus experienced, rendered the
poor boy a weak and unprincipled character, anxious only to escape
the consequences of wrongdoing, without any regard to the motives of
his conduct.

Not many months after his entrance into the public school, he was
violently thrown to the ground during recess, by an older boy, and
his limb so much injured by the fall, that a long and dangerous
illness was the consequence. Mrs. Wilson was extremely desirous to
try the effects of the cold water treatment on the diseased limb,
but her husband had adopted a system of his own, composed of all the
most objectionable features of other systems, and would not
relinquish such an opportunity of testing his skill as a physician.
The child was accordingly steamed and blistered until the
inflammation became frightful; and then cupping, leeching, &c., were
resorted to, without any other effect than greatly to reduce the
strength of the patient.

"Husband," Mrs. Wilson ventured at last to say, "the poor child is
getting worse every day; and if he lives through it, will, I fear,
lose his limb; will you not try what Dr. S. can do with the
cold-water treatment?"

"If I could be astonished at any degree of folly on the part of a
woman," was his reply, "I should be surprised at such a question. I
am doing what I think best for the boy, and you are well aware that
my mind was long since made up about the different systems of
medicine. Do you confine yourself to nursing the child, and leave
his treatment to me."

Ah, this domestic "making up one's mind!" It is a process easily and
often rapidly gone through, but its consequences are sometimes so
far-reaching and abiding, that we may well tremble as we hear the
words carelessly pronounced.

After a period of intense suffering, James Wilson rose from his
sick-bed, but he had lost for ever the use of the injured limb; and
his mother could not but feel that it was in consequence of the
ignorant and barbarous treatment he had received. But remonstrance
was vain; the law of the Medes and Persians was not more unalterable
than that which regulated the household of Mr. Wilson, not only in
matters of consequence, but in the smallest details of domestic

A new cooking apparatus had long been needed in the kitchen of Mr.
Wilson, and as this was a matter clearly within her province, his
wife hoped she might be able to procure a range which had often been
declared indispensable by her domestics. But in this, she was doomed
to be disappointed. Her husband remembered the cooking-stove which
had been the admiration of his childhood, and resolved, if a change
must be made, to have one of that identical pattern in his own

"But your mother's stove, though a good one for those days," said
Mrs. Wilson, "was one of the first invented, and destitute of most
of the conveniences which now accompany them. It consumed, beside,
double the amount of fuel required in one of the modern stoves."

"What an absurd idea! A stove is a stove. I take it, and what was
good enough for my mother is good enough for my wife. That which
answered all the purposes of cooking in so large a family as my
father's, might suffice, I should imagine, in our small one. At any
rate, I choose to get this pattern, and therefore no more be said on
the subject."

It was nothing to Mr. Wilson, that the expenditure of fuel, and
time, and labour was so greatly increased by his arrangement--it was
nothing that his wife was constantly annoyed by complaints, threats,
and changes in her kitchen, or that several mortifying failures in
her _cuisine_ had resulted from the obstinate refusal of the oven to
bake--what was all this to the luxury of having his own way in his
own house?

But the pleasures of absolutism are not unalloyed. Mr. Wilson, like
other despots, was obeyed only from necessity; and whenever an
opportunity occurred of cheating him, it was generally improved. His
wife was a quiet, timid woman, with no pretensions to brilliancy of
intellect, but possessing what is far better, good common sense, a
warm heart, and tastes and feelings thoroughly domestic. With a
different husband--one who understood her disposition, and would
have encouraged her to rely on her own judgment, and to act with
energy and efficiency, she would have made a useful and happy wife
and mother; but as it was, neglected and regarded as a mere
household drudge--with all her warm affections chilled and driven
back upon her own heart--she became a silent schemer, an adroit
dissimulator, seeking only (in self-defence as she believed) to
carry out her own plans as often as possible, in spite of her lord
and master.

Mr. Bennet, the neighbour and friend of Mr. Wilson, was shocked at
the petty tyranny he evinced, and thanked his stars that he knew
better than to follow such an example. Though so long accustomed to
consult only his own inclinations (for Mr. Bennet married late in
life), he took pleasure in referring everything to the choice of his
amiable companion, only reserving to himself the privilege of the
veto, that indispensable requisite to a "proper balance of power."
Let us intrude on the conjugal _tte--tte_, the first year after
marriage, that we may better understand the meaning of this
"reserved right." The parties were about to commence housekeeping,
and the subject under consideration was the renting of a house.

"Which of those houses do you intend to take?" inquired the wife.

"Just which you prefer, my dear. I wish you to please yourself in
the matter."

"Well, then, if I may choose, I shall say the cottage by all
means--the other house is sadly out of repair, much larger than we
need, and will require so much furniture to make it comfortable."

"I am rather surprised at your choice, my dear--the rooms at the
cottage are so small, and those in the other house so large and
airy--do as you please, but I must say I am surprised. Such nice
airy rooms."

"But they are gloomy and dilapidated, and will require so much
expense to make them comfortable. Still, if you prefer them--"

"Oh, that is nothing, you are to choose, you know, but I dislike
small, confined rooms, and the cottage is nothing but a

"Do you not remember how we used to admire it when Mrs. Murray lived

"Oh, certainly, certainly, take it if you like; but the rooms are so
small, and I never can breathe in a small room. Those in the large
house are just the right size, and not at all gloomy in my eyes; but
of course do as you please. I rather wonder at your choice,

"Well, then, what do you say to the new house on the hill? That is
neither too large nor too small, and it is such a convenient
distance from your office; besides the grounds are delightful. I
could be very happy there."

"Really, Mrs. Bennet, you have a singular taste. The neighbourhood
is, I dare say, detestable, and the dampness of the walls, the smell
of new paint, and a hundred other things, would be hard to bear.
Notwithstanding, if you choose the new house, we will take it; but
the rooms in the other tenement are so large and airy, and I do so
like large rooms--well, what do you say?"

With a suppressed sigh, the young wife answered--"I think, on the
whole, we had better take the large house."

"I was sure you would come over to my opinion!" was the husband's
exulting exclamation; "see what it is to have a sensible wife, and
an accommodating husband."

The large house was taken, and various were the discomforts
experienced by Mrs. Bennet in her new abode. The chimneys smoked,
the rain came in through numerous crevices in the roof, and the wide
halls, and lofty apartments, many of which were unfurnished, struck
a chill to the heart of the lonely wife, who, if she visited them
after sunset, trembled at the sound of her own footfalls echoing
through the house. But she made few complaints, and Mr. Bennet, even
if aware of some trifling annoyances, was happy in the consciousness
that he had magnanimously submitted to his wife the choice of a
habitation. Fortunately for him, that wife was a woman of sense,
firmness, and principle, who studied her husband's peculiarities
that she might as far as possible adapt herself to them; though, it
must be confessed, the attempt was often fruitless, and she was
compelled to acknowledge to her own heart, that the open assumption
of authority is not the only way in which domestic despotism
manifests itself.

When Mr. Bennet became a father, in the first gush of parental
emotion he forgot even the exercise of the _veto_, in reference to
the arrangements for the comfort of the little stranger, so that for
a few weeks the happy mother carried out her own plans without any

"Have you decided on a name for this dear little girl?" said Mrs.
Bennet, as they sat together, one morning, caressing the object of
so many hopes, and of so much affection.

"I wish you to name her, my dear," he replied; "it is your privilege
to do so."

"I should like to call her Mary, if you have no objection--it is the
name of my mother, therefore very dear to me."

"Is it possible you can like that common name so well? For my part I
am tired of the very sight and sound of it. It can be nicknamed,
too, and Molly, you must confess, is not very euphonious. I hoped
you might choose the name of Ruth: it is a scriptural name, simple
and sweet."

"It happens, unfortunately, to be one I particularly dislike, but as
you do not like Mary, perhaps we can select one in which we shall
both agree. What do you say to Martha? It is our sister's name, and
a scriptural one also," she added, with a smile.

"Oh, I should never think of anything but Patty. Surely you could
select a better name than that. Ruth is much prettier--what a pity
you do not like it! I admire it greatly; but my taste is not much.
Well, please yourself, only I am sorry you cannot fancy Ruth."

"How would you like Lucy? There can be no objection to that on the
score of nicknames, and it is easily spoken."

"Yes, and so is Polly, if that were all. But you must think of some
other name beside Lucy. I once knew a girl of that name who was my
perfect aversion, and she has spoiled it for me. Ruth is the best
name, after all, pity you cannot think so. But choose something
else, if you please."

Various were the names suggested by Mrs. Bennet, and rejected by her
husband, some on one ground, and some on another, still with the
same ending--"I wish you could like Ruth"--until wearied by the
discussion, and hopeless of gaining anything by its continuance, she
replied to his request that she would please herself--

"Let her be called Ruth, if you prefer it."

"How delighted I am that we are always of the same opinion at
last--it quite repays me for the concession some might imagine me to
make in submitting these things to the judgment of my wife."

As years passed on, and matters of greater importance came up for
decision, Mrs. Bennet was sometimes compelled from principle to
abide by her own opinion, though at an expense of personal comfort
which few could appreciate. She had yielded so long and so often to
the wearisome pertinacity of her husband, that when she first dared
to do what he had always boasted of permitting, he could hardly
credit his senses.

"Do you really mean," he inquired one day, long after the scene we
have just described, "to forbid young Barton's visiting our

"Did you not tell me to do just as I pleased about it?"

"Yes, to be sure--but I thought you would of course take my advice
about it, as usual."

"I could not, because I know, what you do not, that young Barton is
a depraved and dangerous character, and Ruth and Harry are just of
an age to be attracted by the false glitter of his external
advantages. Where the temporal and eternal welfare of my children is
concerned, my dear husband, you must allow me to follow my own
convictions of duty. In all things where conscience is not
concerned, I shall, as I have uniformly done, yield my own
preference and wishes to yours."

"Well," said Mr. Bennet to himself, as he turned away, "women are
inexplicable beings, and I begin to think neighbour Wilson's way of
managing them is better than mine, after all. If you give them even
a loophole to creep out at, they will be sure, sooner or later, to
rebel openly, and set up for themselves. I am too old to change now,
but if I were to begin life again, I would manage so as to secure
submission from my wife on all points. It is the only way to
preserve domestic harmony."

It was at the close of a lovely day in the "month of roses," that
Robert Manly brought his youthful bride to their own pleasant home,
and for the fist time, welcomed her as its mistress. They were both
very happy, for young love shed its roseate hues over all around,
and they had just spoken those solemn words which bound them to each
other, in joy and sorrow, sickness and health, prosperity and
adversity, till separated by death.

"What a paradise it is!" exclaimed the delighted Ellen; "I shall
want nothing on earth, but the occasional society of my friends, to
render my felicity complete."

A kiss was the only reply of the husband, as he gazed tenderly on
the bright face so fondly upturned to his own, for though he had
early learned the sad lesson of which she was yet ignorant, that
perfect and abiding happiness is not the growth of earth, he could
not rudely dispel her dream of bliss, by reflections that must have
seemed unsuited to the occasion. Young as he was, Robert Manly had
been trained in the school of adversity, and its stern but valuable
lessons had not been thrown away upon him. The only son of his
mother, and she a widow, he had been compelled, almost in childhood,
to depend upon his own exertions for support, and, carefully guarded
by his excellent parent from evil companions and influences, had
early established a character for energy and integrity, which was
worth more to him than thousands of gold and silver. He was now a
partner in the respectable mercantile firm which he had first
entered as a poor and friendless clerk; and was reaping the rich
reward of uprightness and honour, in the confidence and respect of
all with whom he was associated in business. While still very young,
he formed an attachment for the daughter of his employer, a lovely,
dark-eyed girl, whose sweet voice and, endearing attentions to the
lonely boy won his heart, before he had thought of regarding her in
any other light than that of a playful and engaging child. She had
grown up to womanhood at his side, and every year strengthened the
tie that bound them to each other, though he could not but feel with
pain, that the education she was receiving was far from being a
useful or rational one. As the youngest of a large family, and the
pet and plaything of the whole, Ellen was trained in the very lap of
luxury and indulgence; and her lover was compelled to admit to
himself, that however highly educated, amiable, and accomplished she
might be, she was wholly ignorant of many things pertaining to her
duties as the mistress of a family. To his mother, the dear
confidant of all his joys and sorrows, he expressed his
apprehensions on this subject.

"Have you committed yourself, my son?" she inquired.

"Certainly, in honour, and in fact. I love Ellen with all my heart,
and have no doubt that her native strength of character, and
affection for me, will make her all I could desire, when once she
feels the necessity for exertion."

"Youth is always sanguine," was the reply; "however, my dear boy,
from my heart I pray that your hopes be fulfilled. I regret that you
have chosen a wife who will have everything to learn after marriage,
but the choice is made, and much will now depend on yourself, as
regards the result. You will find that deficiency of knowledge in
domestic matters, on the part of a wife, materially affects the
comfort and happiness of her husband; and if, on feeling this, you
become impatient and ill-humoured, this will discourage and alienate
her, and the almost certain loss of domestic happiness will be the
consequence. On the contrary kindness and encouragement on your
part, if she is what you think her, will be a constant stimulus to
exertion, and thus in time all your expectations may be realized.
Fortunately, you have been brought up by an old-fashioned mother,
who believed that boys might be made useful at home, and have
learned much that will be of advantage to you both in a home of your
own. Never forget, my son, that a kind expression of your wishes
will do far more to influence the conduct of a woman of sense who
loves you, than harshness or rebuke. The power of gentleness is
always irresistible, when brought to bear on noble and generous

The lesson thus given, was not forgotten or disregarded. Soon, after
his marriage, young Manly found that, lovely, accomplished, and
intelligent as she was, his wife was wholly incompetent to the task
of managing a household; and when, by the discharge of a worthless
servant, they were for the first time left alone, her perplexity and
helplessness would have been ridiculous, had not the subject been
too serious to be thus disposed of. As it was, he lost neither his
spirits nor his temper, but cheerfully and hopefully sought, through
her affections, to rouse her to exertion.

"I am certain there is nothing about the house you cannot do as well
as others," he said to her as she was lamenting her deficiencies,
"if you will only make the attempt; and the plainest food would be
far sweeter to me prepared by my wife, than the most costly
delicacies from any other hand. Our united skill will, I have no
doubt, prove a fair substitute for the help we have lost, until we
can procure more valuable assistance."

Thus encouraged, the young wife, with tears and smiles contending on
her sunny face, commenced the work of practical housekeeping, and,
though her mistakes and failures were almost innumerable, had made
so much progress before another girl was found, that she was deeply
interested in her duties, and determined to understand them
thoroughly. The next time her kitchen was left vacant (for in our
country these things are constantly happening), she was in a measure
independent, and it was one of the proudest moments of her life,
when she placed before her husband bread of her own making, which he
pronounced the most delicious he had ever eaten. Let not my young
readers suppose that Mrs. Manly sacrificed any part of her
refinement by becoming a skilful and useful housewife. She still
dearly loved music, and drawing, and literature, and communion with
cultivated minds, and was not less a lady in the parlour because she
had learned the uses and importance of the kitchen. But we will let
her speak for herself, of the change wrought in her habits and
views, in a conversation with the mother of her beloved Robert.

"Will you not now come to us," she said, "and take up your abode
with us permanently? If you knew how much and how long we have both
wished it, I am sure you would not refuse.

"I do know it, my dear," replied the venerable matron, "but I have
hitherto refused, because I thought it best for you both, to learn
to depend on your own resources as early as possible. I knew too
that a young housekeeper, to whom everything is strange and new,
might find it embarrassing to have an old woman in so, near a
relation, always looking on, and noticing defects should any happen
to exist. I have therefore, until now, preferred remaining by
himself, but I have not been estranged from you in heart. I have
watched with the most intense interest your whole course thus far,
and, my beloved child, I can no longer withhold the need of
approbation which is so justly your due. I own, I trembled for the
happiness of my dear son, when I learned that his choice had fallen
on a fashionably educated young lady, like yourself, but I knew not
as he did, the sterling worth of character concealed beneath that
glittering exterior. The God of his fathers has indeed been gracious
to him, in giving him a treasure whose price is above rubies, even a
virtuous woman, in whom his heart can safely trust."

"Oh, my dear mother!" exclaimed the young wife, while tears choked
her utterance, "you would not say so if you knew all--if you knew
how entirely I owe everything that I now am, and all my present
happiness, to the generous forbearance, the delicate kindness of my
beloved husband. He has borne with my ignorance and helplessness,
encouraged my first miserable attempts to do right, and soothed and
praised me when ready to despair of ever becoming what I ought to
be. He has taught me that the true end and aim of life is not to
seek my own enjoyment, but the good of others, and the glory of my
Father in Heaven. From my inmost soul I thank you for training up
such a son and such a husband, and earnestly pray that I may be
enabled so to guide my own darling boy, that some heart may thus be
blessed by my exertions, as mine has been by your maternal care and
faithfulness, for my own experience has convinced me that the
training of the boy has far more to do with forming the character of
the husband, than all other influences combined."


Book of the day: