« PreviousContinue »
goest thou ?'
and such things will occur in the happiest unions. At length their mutual feelings dictated avoidance of too frequent contact.
• You are sentimental, and sometimes irritable,' said the count, one day, to his wife. “So am I. It is useless to have these idle dif. ferences. We will not interfere with each other, but each take our own way.
We can be sincerely attached, without letting our attachment torment us to death.'
The countess acquiesced in her husband's sensible view of the matter, and henceforth they led an almost separate existence. Rarely meeting, except at meals, no one asked, 'Whence comest or whither
In this complaisant manner, they lived in peace and harmony.
One evening, in the twentieth year of their marriage, they attended the theatre, and were charmed with the delightful picture of domestic life and connubial happiness which the play represented. They returned full of the feelings which had been excited in their susceptible hearts. The love of their youth seemed revived, and they sat conversing affectionately by the fireside, before supper.
* Ah!' said the countess, ‘it would all be charming, if we could only remain young !
• You, at least, have no reason to regret the loss of youth,' said her husband, tenderly. Few women remain so youthful and lovely. Indeed, I can see no difference between you now, and the day of our marriage. Some little faults of temper, perhaps, are discoverable ; but that we must all expect; for were it not for these, our happiness would be too great for this earth. Indeed, were I to live my again, you would be my choice.'
* You are kind and gallant,' answered the countess, with a sigh; • but think what I was twenty years ago, and what I am now !'
Now a lovely wife - then a lovely maiden! I would not exchange the one for the other,' said her husband, kissing her affectionately.
We want but one thing, my love, to perfect our happiness,' said the countess.
• Ah! I understand you; an only child, to perpetuate your virtues and graces. Heaven may yet bless us.'
• We should be indeed happy; but then an only child causes more anxiety and care, than pleasure ; lest, by some accident, we should lose it. Two children
• You are right; and not two, but three; for with two, if we lose one, there is the same anxiety and fear, lest we should be robbed of the other. I trust that heaven will yet hear our prayers, and bestow upon us three children.' My beloved friend,' said the countess, smiling, 'three are almost We should be placed in a new embarrassment ;
for example, if they were all sons
Good! We have five-and-twenty thousand florins a year; enough for us and for them. I would place the eldest in the army; of the second I would make a diplomatist; neither requires much expense ; and we have rank, friends, and influence.'
• But you forget the youngest !' • The youngest! By no means! He shall be in the church; a
- perhaps a prebend.'
What can you
• What ! a priest ? - my son a priest ? No, indeed! Beside, he has no prospect of advancement.'
•No prospect of advancement ? — and why not? He might become an abbot, a bishop, or even a cardinal.'
Never! I would never be the mother of a monk, and see my son with the shaven crown and dark habit of the cloister! be thinking of ? If I had a hundred sons, not one should be a priest !'
You are in a very strange temper, my dear wife, to withhold your consent to a profession which would not only be for his happiness and advantage, but ours.'
'Call it temper, or what you please, I care not. But I firmly declare, that I shall never consent; and remember, Sir, a mother has some right.'
*Very little. The father has the authority, and superior knowledge.'
But the father is often wrong; his superior knowledge' is not infallible.'
• Ab well! I, at least, do not claim knowledge that I do not possess; and I repeat, when the time arrives, I shall act as I think proper, without paying the slightest attention to your ridiculous and unfounded prejudices.'
I am aware, Sir, that you are my lord and husband; but I desire you to know, that I have not yet the honor of being your servant.'
• Nor am I your fool, Madam! I have ever yielded to you - perhaps too much. Ill humor I can bear and forgive; beside, little quarrels give variety and incident to life. But this foolishness is too intolerable.'
• Much obliged to you! Practice proves how much you have yielded. I beg to know who has ever given up most ? For long years I have endured your faults in silence, and magnanimously pardoned them, as more the errors of education and the understanding, than of the heart. But the most angelic forbearance and amiability can be too severely tried.'
• There you are quite right. Had I not the most forbearing, forgiving disposition in the world, I could not have borne your ill humor and caprice so long. But I must plainly say, that it is too much, to expect me to be the obedient servant of folly. I can bear the yoke no longer.'
* I too will plainly say, what I have long thought, that you are a haughty, self-conceited egotist; a heartless man, always talking of 'feeling' and 'love' which you do not possess. Such people always boast of what they have not.' • That is the reason you speak so frequently of
frequently of your amiable disposition, and fine mind. You may deceive others, perhaps ; thank heaven, I was undeceived, long ago! Virtue, with you, is nothing more than a feminine affectation. The more intimately I know you, the more does this disgust me. Indeed, I should not be very miserable, if you should wish to return to your family, and leave me in peace.'
• You have anticipated my wishes ! A more tedious, conceited egotist was surely never created to amuse a sensible woman; and after a man becomes ridiculous in the eyes of his wife, you must know there can be no greater happiness, than for her to be speedily rid of him.'
• Extremely amiable, truly! All is then unmasked. I take you at your word. Adieu! Truly, it seems like some pleasing dream! In the morning the matter shall be duly arranged.'
• The earlier, the better, my Lord Count !' And so they parted. The next morning, a notary was sent for; witnesses came; the act of divorce was written and signed by both; and notwithstanding the entreaties and remonstrances of friends and relatives, the separation took place.
Thus was a long and apparently happy union suddenly broken. A ridiculous dispute about the future destinies of three sons, who were yet by no means in the world, had broken a tie which should have been for eternity.* And yet both the count and countess belonged to the better class of mankind, and had no faults worse than the frailties to which all are subject.
Did you call the story amusing?' asked Louise, sorrowfully; 'it has made me very sad. I can easily comprehend how unhappiness and disagreement can affect excellent people; but as you have made me fearful and anxious, can you not encourage and comfort me ? What a fate to lose my husband's love !'
• What do you mean ? asked her aunt.
*Ah! my dear aunt; could I always remain young, I might then be certain of
husband's constancy.' *You are still in error, my beloved child; for even if you should remain beautiful, and blooming, as you are to-day, your husband's eyes would become so accustomed to your loveliness, as to view it with indifference. And yet familiarity is the greatest enchantress in the world, and one of the most beneficent fairies in our home. She knows no difference between the beautiful and the ugly. The husband grows old; familiarity prevents the wife from perceiving the change. On the contrary, should the wife remain
and beautiful, and the husband become old, the consequences might be unhappy; for the old are sometimes jealous and exacting. It is better as it has been ordered, in wisdom and love, by the Almighty Father. If you should become a withered old woman, and your husband remain a blooming youth, how could you expect to retain his heart ?'
· Alas! I know fiot!' sighed Louise.
'I will tell you,' continued her aunt, 'two things, which I have fully proved. The first will go far toward preventing the possibility of any discord; the second is the best and surest preservative of feminine charms.'
SOMETHING kindred with this, is the story of two peasant sons of Erin, who, in that maudlin state where a little difference of opinion goes a great way, were occupying a position under a hedge, by a meadow-side, one pleasant summer night. They were very chatty and loving, uniil one chanced to remark, I wish I had as much land as I can see sky;' to which the other replied : 'I wish I had as many cattle as I can see stars, this blessed minute.' 'Where would you put them?' asked the first, with some asperity. I'd put 'em on your land, sure!' 'Not by a d-d sight! I'd like to see you after trying that game!' A regular fray soon caine off; and when, with bloody noses and cracked crowns, they paused to recruit their wasted strength : 'Now where's your land ?' said the one; and where's your catile ?' asked the other. The storm of passion subsided at once, as the ridiculous absurdity of the quarrel Aashed upon them.
• Tell me !' said Louise, anxiously.
• The first is this : demand of your bridegroom, as soon as the marriage ceremony is over, a solemn vow, and promise also yourself, never, even in jest, to dispute, or express any disagreement; I tell you, NEVER! — for what begins in mere bantering, will lead to serious earnest. Avoid expressing any irritation at one another's words. Mutual forbearance is one great secret of domestic happiness. If you have erred, confess it freely, even if confession cost you some tears. Farther, promise faithfully and solemnly, never, upon any pretext or excuse, to have any secrets or concealments from each other; but to keep your private affairs from father, mother, brother, sister, relations, and the world. Let them be known only to each other, and to your God. Remember that any third person admitted into your confidence, becomes a party to stand between you. They will naturally side with one or the other. Promise to avoid this, and renew the vow upon every temptation. It will preserve that perfect confidence, that union, which shall indeed make you as one. Oh, if the newly married would but practice this simple duty, this secret spring of connubial peace, how many unions would be happy, that are now miserable!'
Louise kissed, fervently, the hand of her aunt, and said: 'I see it all. Where there is not this implicit confidence, the pair remain, even after their marriage, as strangers. They cannot understand each other; and without mutual confidence, there can be no real happiness. And now, dear aunt, what is the best means of
preserving female beauty?'
Her aunt smilingly answered: “We cannot conceal from ourselves that we love and admire what is beautiful, more than what is not ; but what peculiarly pleases, what we really call beautiful, is not hair or complexion, form or color. These may please in a picture or a statue ; but in life, it is the mind, the soul, which displays itself in every look and word, and charms alike in joy or sorrow.
This, too, is expected from, and alone renders worthy of love, a beautiful exterior. We find a vicious man hateful and disgusting, even if polished and elegant in manners and appearance. A young female, who would retain the love and admiration of her husband, after the charms of person which had attracted him have vanished, must keep bright, and in constant play, the graces of the mind, the virtues of the soul. Wisdom and prudence do not always increase with years, while faults and passions generally do. Virtue, however, cannot change. It is the same throughout eternity; unalterable, like its divine author. If, therefore, you would preserve your union inviolate and happy, upon earth, and be rëunited to the beloved one in heaven, 'keep your heart with all diligence;' so shall you retain that spiritual beauty, that more perfect loveliness, which your husband will love and admire, long after the cheek has faded, and the form lost its symmetry. I am not a hypocritical devotee, nor an old woman, dead to all the pleasures and enjoyments of life. I am but seven-and-twenty. I enter with avidity into the pleasures and feelings of the world; but I say to you, there is no other security for enduring happiness.'
Louise threw her arms round the neck of her aunt, and kissed her tenderly.
X. L. P.
Thine artless boy, to whom thy smile
Was sunsbine, and thy frown sad night,
It veiled from me thy loving light)
And gazed on many a classic scene,
Which once was ours, would intervene,
That pleasant home of fruits and flowers,
When by the Hudson's verdant side,
And he we loved, at eventide
Those scenes are fled; the rattling car
O'er flint-paved streets profanes the spot,
Of Bethlebem' and ' Forget-me-not;'
I've pored o'er many a yellow page
Of ancient wisdom, and have won,
Or poet ne'er have taught thy son
If e'er, through grace, my God shall own
The offerings of my life and love,
Amid the ransom'd hosts above,
For thee and heaven; for thou didst tread
The way that leads to that blest land;
By thy kind words, and patient hand;