Married Life, Its Shadows and Sunshine
by T. S. Arthur
THREE WAYS OF
RULING A WIFE.
THE FIRST AND
GUESS WHO IT IS!
IS MARRIAGE A
THE UNLOVED ONE.
THE highest, purest, best and holiest relation in life is that of
marriage, which ought never to be regarded as a mere civil contract,
entered into from worldly ends, but as an essential union of two
minds, by which each gains a new power, and acquires! new capacities
for enjoyment and usefulness. Much has been said and written about
the equality of the sexes, and the rights of woman; but little of all
that has been said or written on this subject is based upon a
discriminating appreciation of the difference between man and woman;
a difference provided by the Creator, who made them for each other,
and stamped upon the spirit of each an irresistible tendency towards
The many evils resulting from marriage do not arise from a failure
in our sex to recognise the equality of man and woman, or the rights
of the latter; but from hasty, ill-judged and discordant alliances,
entered into in so many cases, from motives of a mere external
nature, and with no perception of internal qualities tending to a
true spiritual conjunction. Oppression and wrong cannot flow from
true affection, for love seeks to bless its object.—If, therefore,
man and woman are not happy in marriage, the fault lies in an
improper union, and no remedy can be found in outward constraints or
appliances. Let each, under such circumstances, remove from himself
or herself a spirit of selfish opposition; let forbearance,
gentleness, and a humane consideration, the one for the other, find
its way into the heart, and soon a better and a brighter day will
dawn upon them; for then will begin that true interior conjunction
which only can be called marriage. Happily, we have the intellectual
ability to see what is true, and the power to compel ourselves to do
what reason shows us to be right. And here lies the power of all to
rise above those ills of life which flow from causes in themselves.
To aid in this work, so far as discordant marriage relations are
concerned, and to bind in closer bonds those whose union is internal,
is the present volume prepared. That it will tend to unite rather than
separate, where discord unhappily exists, and to warn those about
forming alliances against the wrong of improper ones, the author is
This book is the second in the series of "ARTHUR'S LIBRARY FOR THE
HOUSEHOLD." The third in the series will be "THE TWO WIVES; OR, LOST
AND WON," which is nearly ready for publication.
THREE WAYS OF MANAGING A HUSBAND.
TO those who have never tried the experiment, the management of a
husband may seem a very easy matter. I thought so once, but a few
years' hard experience has compelled me to change my mind. When I
married Mr. John Smith, which was about ten years ago, I was not
altogether blind to his faults and peculiarities; but then he had so
many solid virtues, that these were viewed as minor considerations.
Besides, I flattered myself that it would be the easiest thing in the
world to correct what was not exactly to my taste. It is no matter of
especial wonder that I should have erred in this, for Mr. John Smith,
while a lover, really appeared to have no will of his own, and no
thought of himself. It was only necessary for me to express a wish,
and it was gratified.
I soon found, much to my disappointment, that there is a marked
difference between a husband and a lover: it was at least so in the
case of Mr. Smith, and observation, since I have had my eyes open,
satisfies me that it is so in most cases. I must own, in justice to
all parties, however, that this difference is made more apparent by a
want of knowledge, on the other side, in regard to the difference
between the relation of a wife and a sweetheart—between the wooed
and the won.
There were a good many little things in Mr. Smith, which I had
noticed before marriage, that I made up my mind to correct as soon as
I had an opportunity to apply the proper means. He had a fashion of
saying "Miss" for "Mrs.," as "Miss Jones" and "Miss Peters" for "Mrs.
Jones" and "Mrs. Peters." This sounded exceedingly vulgar to my ears,
and I waited almost impatiently for the time to come when I could use
the prerogative of a wife for its correction. He had, an ungraceful
way of lounging in his chair and half reclining on the sofa, even in
company, that was terrible. It made me uneasy from head to foot. Then
he said, "I shew it to him" for "I showed it to
him,"—"of-ten" for "oft'n"—and "_obleeged" for "obliged."
Besides these, there were sundry other things that worried me not a
little. But I consoled myself with the reflection that when I became
Mrs. Smith all these little matters would vanish like frost in the
sunshine. I was, alas! doomed to be mistaken. But let me give my
experience for the benefit of those who are to come after me.
We had been married just ten days, and I had begun to feel that I
was really a wife, and had a right to say and do a little as I
pleased, when Mr. Smith said to me, as we sat quite lover-like on the
sofa in the evening,
"I met Miss Williams as I came home this evening—"
"For mercy's sake, Mr. Smith! don't say
Miss when you speak
of a married woman. It is excessively vulgar." I was not aware that I
had spoken in a very offensive way, but I noticed an instant change in
Mr. Smith. He replied, with some dignity of tone, and manner—
"I ask your pardon, madam; but I didn't say
Miss. I am not
quite so ignorant as all that comes to."
"Oh, yes, Mr. Smith, but you did say it," I replied, quite
astonished at this unexpected denial.
"Excuse me for saying that you are in error," he returned, drawing
himself up. "I never say Miss for Mrs."
"Why, Mr. Smith! You always say it. I have noticed it a hundred
times. I believe I can hear pretty correctly."
"In this instance you certainly have not."
Mr. Smith was growing warm, and I felt the blood rushing to my
face. A rather tart reply was on my lips, but I bit them hard and
succeeded in keeping them closed.
A deep silence followed. In a little while Mr. Smith took up a
newspaper and commenced reading, and I found some relief for a heavy
pressure that was upon my bosom, in the employment of hem-stitching a
And this was the return I had met for a kind attempt to correct a
mistake of my husband's, that made him liable to ridicule on the
charge of vulgarity! And to deny, too, that he said "_Miss," when I
had been worried about it for more than a year! It was too bad!
After this Mr. Smith was very particular in saying, when he spoke
of a married woman to me, Misses. The emphasis on the second
syllable was much too strongly marked to be pleasant on my ears. I was
terribly afraid he would say "_Mistress," thus going off into the
opposite extreme of vulgarity.
This first attempt to put my husband straight had certainly not
been a very pleasant one. He had shown, unexpectedly to me, a humour
that could by no means be called amiable; and by which I was both
grieved, and astonished. I made up my mind that I would be very
careful in future how I tried my hand at reforming him. But his
oft-repeated "he shew it to me," and "_obleeged," soon fretted
me so sorely, that I was forced to come down upon him again, which I
did at a time when I felt more than usually annoyed. I cannot
remember now precisely what I said to him, but I know that I put him
into an ill-humour, and that it was cloudy weather in the house for a
week, although the sun shone brightly enough out of doors. "_He shew
it to me," and "_obleeged" were, however, among the things that had
been, after that. So .much was gained; although there were times when
I half suspected that I had lost more than I had gained. But I
persevered, and, every now and then, when I got "worked up" about
something, administered the rod of correction.
Gradually I could see that my husband was changing, and, as I felt,
for the worse. Scarcely a year had passed before he would get into a
pet if I said the least word to him. He couldn't bear any thing from
me. This seemed very unreasonable, and caused me not only to sigh,
but to shed many a tear over his perverseness. From the thoughtful,
ever considerate, self-sacrificing lover, he had come to be
disregardful of my wishes, careless of my comfort, and indifferent to
my society. Still I felt by no means inclined to give him up; was by
no means disposed to let him have his own way. It was clear to my mind
that I had rights as well as he had; and I possessed resolution enough
to be ready to maintain them. His self-will and indifference to my
wishes roused in me a bitter and contentious spirit; and, in an evil
hour, I determined that I would make a struggle for the mastery. An
opportunity was not long delayed. The Philharmonic Society had
announced one of its splendid concerts. A lady friend, who had
frequently attended these concerts, called in to see me, and, by what
she said, filled me with a desire to enjoy the fine musical treat that
had been announced for that very evening.
When Mr. Smith came home at dinner he said, before I had time to
mention the concert—
"Mary, I've taken a fancy to go and see Fanny Ellsler to-night,
and, as there will be no chance of getting a good seat this afternoon,
I took the precaution to secure tickets as I came home to dinner. I
would have sent the porter with a note to know whether there was any
thing to prevent your going to-night, but he has been out all the
morning, and I concluded that, even if there should be some slight
impediment in the way, you could easily set it aside."
Now this I thought too much. To go and buy tickets to see Fanny
Ellsler dance, and take it for granted that I would lay every thing
aside to go, when I had set my heart on attending the Philharmonic
"You are a strange man, Mr. Smith," said I. You ought to know that
I don't care a fig about seeing Fanny Ellsler. I don't relish such
kind of performances. You at least might have waited until you came
home to dinner and asked the question. I don't believe a word about
the good seats all being taken this morning. But it's just like you!
To go and see this dancers toss her feet about was a thing you had
made up your mind to do, and I was to go along whether I liked it or
"You talk in rather a strange way, Mrs. Smith," said my husband,
"I don't see that I do," replied I, warming. "The fact is, Mr.
Smith, you seem to take it for granted that I am nobody. Here I've
been making all my calculations to go to the Philharmonic to-night,
and you come home with tickets for the theatre! But I can tell you
plainly that I am not going to see Fanny Ellsler, and that I am going to the Philharmonic."
This was taking a stand that I had never taken before. In most of
my efforts to make my husband go my way, he had succeeded in making me
go his way. This always chafed me dreadfully. I fretted and scolded,
and "all that sort of thing," but it was no use, I could not manage
him. The direct issue of "I won't" and "I will" had not yet been
made, and I was some time in coming to the resolution to have a
struggle, fiercer than ever, for the ascendency. I fondly believed
that for peace' sake he would not stand firm if he saw me resolute.
Under this view of the case, I made the open averment that I would
not go to the theatre. I expected that a scene would follow, but I
was mistaken. Mr. Smith did, indeed, open his eyes a little wider,
but he said nothing.
Just then the bell announced that dinner was on the table. Mr.
Smith arose and led the way to the dinner-room with a firm step.
Before we were married he wouldn't have dreamed of thus preceding me!
I was fretted at this little act. It indicated too plainly what was in
Dinner passed in silence. I forced myself to eat, that I might
appear unconcerned. On rising from the table, Mr. Smith left the
house without saying a word.
You may suppose I didn't feel very comfortable during the
afternoon. I had taken my stand, and my intention was to maintain it
to the last. That Mr. Smith would yield I had no doubt at first. But,
as evening approached, and the trial-time drew near, I had some
Mr. Smith came home early.
"Mary," said he, in his usual pleasant way, "I have ordered a
carriage to be here at half-past seven. We mustn't leave home later,
as the curtain rises at eight."
"What curtain rises? Where do you think of going?"
"To see Fanny Ellsler, of course. I mentioned to you at dinner-time
that I had tickets."
This was said very calmly.
"And I told you at dinner-time that I was going to the
Philharmonic, and not to see this dancer." I tried to appear as
composed as he was, but failed in the attempt altogether.
"You were aware that I had tickets for the theatre before you said
that," was the cold answer he made.
"Of course I was."
"Very well, Mary. You can do as you like. The carriage will be here
at half-past seven. If you are then ready to go to the theatre, I
shall be happy to have your company." And my husband, after saying
this with a most unruffled manner, politely bowed and retired to the
I was on fire. But I had no thought of yielding.
At half-past seven I was ready. I heard the carriage drive up to
the door and the bell ring.
"Mary," called my husband at the bottom of the stair-case, in a
cheerful tone, "are you ready?"
"Ready to go where?" I asked on descending.
"To the theatre."
"I am ready for the concert, "I answered in as composed a voice as
I could assume.
"_I am not going to the concert to-night, Mrs. Smith. I thought you
understood that," firmly replied my husband. "I am going to see Fanny
Ellsler. If you will go with me, I shall be very happy to have your
company. If not, I must go alone."
"And I am going to the Philharmonic. I thought you understood
that," I replied, with equal resolution.
"Oh! very well," said he, not seeming to be at all disturbed. "Then
you can use the carriage at the door. I will walk to the theatre."
Saying this, Mr. Smith turned from me deliberately and walked away.
I heard him tell the driver of the carriage to take me to the Musical
Fund Hall; then I heard the street-door close, and then I heard my
husband's footsteps on the pavement as he left the house. Without
hesitating a moment for reflection, I followed to the door, entered
the carriage, and ordered the man to drive me—where? I had no ticket
for the concert; nor could I go alone!
"To the Musical Fund Hall, I believe, madam," he said, standing
with his fingers touching the rim of his hat.
I tried to think what I should do. To be conquered was hard. And it
was clear that I could not go alone.
"No," I replied, grasping hold of the first suggestion that came to
my mind. "Drive me to No.—Walnut street."
I had directed him to the house of my sister, where I thought I
would stay until after eleven o'clock, and then return home, leaving
my husband to infer that I had been to the concert. But long before I
had reached my sister's house, I felt so miserable that I deemed it
best to call out of the window to the driver, and direct him to
return. On arriving at home, some twenty minutes after I had left it,
I went up to my chamber, and there had a hearty crying spell to
myself. I don't know that I ever felt so bad before in my life. I had
utterly failed in this vigorous contest with my husband, who had come
off perfectly victorious. Many bitter things did I write against him
in my heart, and largely did I magnify his faults. I believe I thought
over every thing that occurred since we were married, and selected
therefrom whatever could justify the conclusion that he was a
self-willed, overbearing, unfeeling man, and did not entertain for me
a particle of affection.
It was clear that I had not been able to manage my spouse,
determined as I had been to correct all his faults, and make him one
of the best, most conciliating and loving of husbands, with whom my
wish would be law. Still I could not think of giving up. The thought
of being reduced to a tame, submissive wife, who could hardly call
her soul her own, was not for a moment to be entertained. On
reflection, it occurred to me that I had, probably, taken the wrong
method with my husband. There was a touch of stubbornness in his
nature that had arrayed itself against my too earnest efforts to bend
him to my will. A better way occurred. I had heard it said by some
one, or had read it somewhere, that no man was proof against a woman's
On the present occasion I certainly felt much more like crying than
laughing, and so it was no hard matter, I can honestly aver, to
appear bathed in tears on my husband's return between eleven and
twelve o'clock from the theatre. I cried from vexation as much as
from any other feeling.
When Mr. Smith came up into the chamber where I lay, I greeted his
presence with half a dozen running sobs, which he answered by
whistling the "Craccovienne!" I continued to sob, and he continued to
whistle for the next ten minutes. By that time he was ready to get
into bed, which he did quite leisurely, and laid himself down upon his
pillow with an expression of satisfaction. Still I sobbed on, thinking
that every sighing breath I drew was, in spite of his seeming
indifference, a pang to his heart. But, from this fond delusion a
heavily drawn breath, that was almost a snore, aroused me. I raised up
and looked over at the man—he was sound asleep.
A good hearty cry to myself was all the satisfaction I had, and
then I went to sleep. On the next morning, I met Mr. Smith at the
breakfast table with red eyes and a sad countenance. But he did not
seem to notice either.
"I hope you enjoyed yourself at the concert last night," said he.
"I was delighted at the theatre. Fanny danced divinely. Hers is truly
the poetry of motion!"
Now this was too much! I will leave it to any reader—any female
reader, I mean—whether this was not too much. I burst into a flood
of tears and immediately withdrew, leaving my husband to eat his
breakfast alone. He sat the usual time, which provoked me
exceedingly. If he had jumped up from the table and left the house, I
would have felt that I had made some impression upon him. But to take
things in this calm way! What had I gained? Nothing, as I could see.
After breakfast Mr. Smith came up to the chamber, and, seeing my face
buried in a pillow, weeping bitterly—I had increased the flow of
tears on hearing him ascending the stairs—said in a low voice—
"Are you not well, Mary?"
I made no answer, but continued to weep. Mr. Smith stood for the
space of about a minute, but asked no further question. Then, without
uttering a word, he retired from the chamber, and in a little while
after I heard him leave the house. I cried now in good earnest. It was
plain that my husband had no feeling; that he did not care whether I
was pleased or sad. But I determined to give him a fair trial. If I
failed in this new way, what was I to do? The thought of becoming the
passive slave of a domestic tyrant was dreadful. I felt that I could
not live in such a state. When Mr. Smith came home at dinner-time I
was in my chamber, ready prepared for a gush of tears. As he opened
the door I looked up with streaming eyes, and then hid my face in a
"Mary," said he, with much kindness in his voice, "what ails you?
Are you sick?" He laid his hand upon mine as he spoke.
But I did not reply. I meant to punish him well for what he had
done as a lesson for the future. I next expected him to draw his arm
around me, and be very tender and sympathizing in his words and
tones. But no such thing! He quietly withdrew the hand he had placed
upon mine; and stood by me, I could feel, though not see, in a cold,
"Are you not well, Mary?" he asked again.
I was still silent. A little while after I heard him moving across
the floor, and then the chamber door shut. I was once more alone.
When the bell rang for dinner, I felt half sorry that I had
commenced this new mode of managing my husband; but, as I had begun,
I was determined to go through with it. "He'll at least take care how
he acts in the future," I said. I did not leave my chamber to join my
husband at the dinner table. He sat his usual time, as I could tell by
the ringing of the bell for the servant to change the plates and bring
in the dessert. I was exceedingly fretted; and more so by his
returning to his business without calling up to see me, and making
another effort to dispel my grief.
For three days I tried this experiment upon my husband, who bore it
with the unflinching heroism of a martyr. I was forced, at last, to
come to; but I was by no means satisfied that my new mode was a
failure. For all Mr. Smith's assumed indifference, I knew that he had
been troubled at heart, and I was pretty well satisfied that he would
think twice before provoking me to another essay of tears. Upon the
whole, I felt pretty sure that I had discovered the means of doing
with him as I pleased.
A few weeks of sunshine passed—I must own that the sun did not
look so bright, nor feel so warm as it had done in former times—and
then our wills came once more into collision. But my tears fell upon a
rock. I could not see that they made the least perceptible
impression. Mr. Smith had his own way, and I cried about it until I
got tired of that sport, and in very weariness gave over. For the
space of a whole year I stood upon tears as my last defensible
position. Sometimes I didn't smile for weeks. But my husband
maintained his ground like a hero.
At last I gave up in despair. Pride, self-will, anger—all were
conquered. I was a weak woman in the hands of a strong-minded man. If
I could not love him as I wished to love him, I could at least obey.
In nothing did I now oppose him, either by resolute words or tears. If
he expressed a wish, whether to me agreeable or not, I acquiesced.
One day, not long after this change in my conduct towards my
husband, he said to me, "I rather think, Mary, we will spend a couple
of weeks at Brandywine Springs, instead of going to Cape May this
I replied, "Very well, dear;" although I had set my heart on going
to the Capes. My sister and her husband and a number of my friends
were going down, and I had anticipated a good deal of pleasure. I did
not know of a single person who was going to the Brandywine Springs.
But what was the use of entering into a contest with my husband? He
would come off the conqueror, spite of angry words or ineffectual
"The Springs are so much more quiet than the Capes," said my
"Yes," I remarked, "there is less gay company there."
"Don't you think you will enjoy yourself as well there as at the
Now this was a good deal for my husband to say. I hardly knew what
to make of it.
"If you prefer going there, dear, let us go by all means," I
answered. I was not affecting any thing, but was in earnest in what I
Mr. Smith looked into my face for some moments, and with unusual
affection I thought.
"Mary," said he, "if you think the time will pass more pleasantly
to you at the Capes, let us go there by all means."
"My sister Jane is going to the Capes," I remarked, with some
little hesitation; "and so is Mrs. L—and Mrs. D—, and a good many
more of our friends. I did think that I would enjoy myself there this
season very much. But I have no doubt I shall find pleasant society at
"We will go to the Capes," said my husband promptly and cheerfully.
"No," said I, emulous now for the first time in a new cause. "I am
sure the time will pass agreeably enough at the Springs. And as you
evidently prefer going there, we will let the Capes pass for this
"To the Capes, Mary, and nowhere else," replied my husband, in the
very best of humours. "I am sure you will enjoy yourself far better
there. I did not know your sister was going."
And to the Capes we went, and I did enjoy myself excellently well.
As for my husband, I never saw him in a better state of mind. To me
he was more like a lover than a husband. No, I will not say that
either, for I can't admit that a husband may not be as kind and
affectionate as a lover; for he can and will be if managed rightly,
and a great deal more so. Whenever I expressed a wish, it appeared to
give him pleasure to gratify it. Seeing this, instead of suffering
myself to be the mere recipient of kind attentions, I began to vie
with him in the sacrifice of selfish wishes and feelings.
It is wonderful how all was changed after this. There were no more
struggles on my part to manage my husband, and yet I generally had
things my own way. Before I could not turn him to the right nor the
left, though I strove to do so with my utmost strength. Now I held
him only with a silken fetter, and guided him, without really
intending to do so, in almost any direction.
Several years have passed since that ever-to-be-remembered, happy
visit to Cape May. Not once since have I attempted any management of
my husband, and yet it is a rare thing that my wish is not, as it
used to be before we were married, his law. It is wonderful, too, how
he has improved. I am sure he is not the same man that he was five
years ago. But, perhaps, I see with different eyes. At any rate, I am
not the same woman; or, if the same, very unlike what I then was.
So much for my efforts to manage a husband. Of the three ways so
faithfully tried, my fair readers will be at no loss to determine
which is best. I make these honest confessions for the good of my
sex. My husband, Mr. John Smith, will be no little surprised if this
history should meet his eye. But I do not believe it will interrupt
the present harmonious relations existing between us, but rather tend
to confirm and strengthen them.
RULING A WIFE.
AS a lover, Henry Lane was the kindest, most devoted,
self-sacrificing person imaginable. He appeared really to have no
will of his own, so entire was his deference to his beautiful Amanda;
yet, for all this, he had no very high opinion of her as an
intelligent being. She was lovely, she was gentle, she was good; and
these qualities, combined with personal grace and beauty, drew him in
admiration to her side, and filled him with the desire to possess her
as his own.
As a husband, Henry Lane was a different being. His relation had
changed, and his exterior changed correspondingly. Amanda was his
wife; and as such she must be, in a certain sense, under him. It was
his judgment that must govern in all matters; for her judgment, in
the affairs of life, was held in light estimation. Moreover, as a
man, it was his province to control and direct and her duty to look
to him for guidance.
Yet, for all this, if the truth must be told, the conclusions of
Amanda's mind were, in ordinary affairs, even more correct than her
husband's judgment; for he was governed a great deal by impulses and
first impressions, instead of by the reason of which he was so proud,
while she came naturally into the woman's quick perceptions of right
and propriety. This being the case, it may readily be seen that there
was a broad ground-work for unhappiness in the married state. Amanda
could not sink into a mere cipher; she could not give up her will
entirely to the guidance of another, and cease to act from her own
It took only a few months to make the young wife feel that her
position was to be one of great trial. She was of a mild and gentle
character, more inclined to suffer than resist; but her judgment was
clear, and she saw the right or wrong of any act almost
instinctively. Love did not make her blind to every thing in her
husband. He had faults and unpleasant peculiarities, and she saw them
plainly, and often desired to correct them. But one trial of this kind
sufficed to keep her silent. He was offended, and showed his state of
mind so plainly, that she resolved never to stand in that relation to
As time progressed, the passiveness of Amanda encouraged in Lane
his natural love of ruling. His household was his kingdom, and there
his will must be the law. In his mind arose the conceit that, in every
thing, his judgment was superior to that of his wife: even in the
smaller matters of household economy, he let this be seen. His taste,
too, was more correct, and applied itself to guiding and directing her
into a proper state of dressing. He decided about the harmony of
colours and the choice of patterns. She could not buy even a ribbon
without there being some fault found with it, as not possessing the
elements of beauty in just arrangements. In company, you would often
hear him say—"Oh, my wife has no taste. She would dress like a fright
if I did not watch her all the time."
Though outwardly passive or concurrent when such things were said,
Amanda felt them as unjust, and they wounded her more or less
severely, according to the character of the company in which she
happened at the time to be; but her self-satisfied husband saw
nothing of this. And not even when some one, more plainly spoken than
others, would reply to such a remark—"She did not dress like a fright
before you were married," did he perceive his presumption and his
But passiveness under such a relation does not always permanently
remain; it was accompanied from the first by a sense of oppression
and injustice, though love kept the feeling subdued. The desire for
ruling in any position gains strength by activity. The more the young
wife yielded, the more did the husband assume, until at length Amanda
felt that she had no will of her own, so to speak. The con- viction of
this, when it formed itself in her mind, half involuntarily brought
with it an instinctive feeling of resistance. Here was the forming
point of antagonism—the beginning of the state of unhappiness
foreshadowed from the first. Had Amanda asserted her right to think
and act for herself in the early days of her married life, the jar of
discord would have been light. It now promised to be most afflicting
in its character.
The first activity of Amanda's newly forming state showed itself in
the doing of certain things to which she was inclined,
notwithstanding the expression of her husband's disapproval.
Accustomed to the most perfect compliance, Mr. Lane was disturbed by
"Oh, dear! what a horrid looking thing!" said he one day, as he
discovered a new dress pattern which his wife had just purchased
lying on a chair. "Where in the world did that come from?"
"I bought it this morning," replied Amanda.
"Take it back, or throw it into the fire," was the husband's rude
"I think it neat," said Amanda, smiling.
"Neat? It's awful! But you've no taste. I wish you'd let me buy
The wife made no answer to this. Lane said a good deal more about
it, to all of which Amanda opposed but little. However, her mind was
made up to one thing, and that was to take it to the mantuamaker's.
The next Lane saw of the dress was on his wife.
"Oh, mercy!" he exclaimed, holding up his hand, "I thought you had
burnt it. Why did you have it made up?"
"I like it," quietly answered Mrs. Lane.
"You like any thing."
"I haven't much taste, I know," said Amanda, "but such as it is, it
is pleasant to gratify it sometimes."
Something in the way this remark was made it disturbed the
self-satisfaction which was a leading feature in Mr. Lane's state of
mind; he, however, answered—"I wish you would be governed by me in
matters of this kind; you know my taste is superior to yours. Do take
off that dress, and throw it in the fire."
Amanda did not reply to this, for it excited feelings and produced
thoughts that she had no wish to manifest. But she did not comply
with her husband's wishes. She liked the dress and meant to wear it,
and she did wear it, notwithstanding her husband's repeated
condemnation of her taste.
At this time they had one child—a babe less than a year old. From
the first, Lane had encroached upon the mother's province. This had
been felt more sensibly than any thing else by his wife, for it
disturbed the harmonious activity of the natural law which gives to a
mother the perception of what is best for her infant. Still, she had
been so in the habit of yielding to the force of his will, that she
gave way to his interference here in numberless instances, though she
as often felt that he was wrong as right. Conceit of his own
intelligence blinded him to the intelligence of others. Of this Amanda
became more and more satisfied every day. At first, she had passively
admitted that he knew best; but her own common sense and clear
perceptions soon repudiated this idea. While his love of predominance
affected only herself, she could bear it with great patience; but when
it was exercised, day after day, and week after week, in matters
pertaining to her babe, she grew restless under the oppression.
After the decided, position taken in regard to her dress, Amanda's
mind acquired strength in a new direction. A single gratification of
her own will, attained in opposition to the will of her husband,
stirred a latent desire for repeated gratifications; and it was not
long before Lane discovered this fact, and wondered at the change
which had taken place in his wife's temper. She no longer acquiesced
in every suggestion, nor yielded when he opposed argument to an
assumed position. The pleasure of thinking and acting for herself had
been restored, and the delight appertaining to its indulgence was no
more to be suppressed. Her husband's reaction on this state put her in
greater freedom; for it made more distinctly manifest the quality of
his ruling affection, and awoke in her mind a more determined spirit
Up to this time, even in the most trifling matters of domestic and
social life, Lane's will had been the law. This was to be so no
longer. A new will had come into activity; and that will a woman's
will. Passive it had been for a long time under a pressure that
partial love and a yielding temper permitted to remain; but its
inward life was unimpaired; and when its motions became earnest, it
was strong and enduring. The effort made by Lane to subdue these
motions the moment he perceived them, only gave them a stronger
impulse. The hand laid upon her heart to quiet its pulsations only
made it beat with a quicker effort, while it communicated its
disturbance to his own.
The causes leading to the result we are to describe have been fully
enough set forth; they steadily progressed until the husband and wife
were in positions of direct antagonism. Lane could not give up his
love of controlling every thing around him, and his wife, fairly
roused to opposition, followed the promptings of her own will, in
matters where right was clearly on her side, with a quiet
perseverance that always succeeded. Of course, they were often made
unhappy; yet enough forbearance existed on both sides to prevent an
open rupture—at least, for a time. That, however, came at last, and
was the more violent from the long accumulation of reactive forces.
The particulars of this rupture we need not give; it arose in a
dispute about the child when she was two years old. As usual, Lane
had attempted to set aside the judgment of his wife in something
pertaining to the child, as inferior to his own, and she had not
submitted. Warm words ensued, in which he said a good deal about a
wife's knowing her place and keeping it.
"I am not your slave!" said Amanda, indignantly; the cutting words
of her husband throwing her off her guard.
"You are my wife," he calmly and half contemptuously replied; "and,
as such, are bound to submit yourself to your husband."
"To my husband's intelligence, not to his mere will," answered
Amanda, less warmly, but more resolutely than at first.
"Yes, to his will!" said Lane, growing blind from anger.
"That I have done long enough," returned the wife. "But the time is
past now. By your intelligence, when I see in it superior light to
what exists in my own, I will be guided, but, by your will—never!"
The onward moving current of years, which, for some time, had been
chafing amid obstructions, now met a sudden barrier, and flowed over
in a raging torrent. A sharp retort met this firm declaration of
Amanda, stinging her into anger, and producing a state of
recrimination. While in this state, she spoke plainly of his
assumption of authority over her from the first,—of her passiveness
for a time,—of being finally aroused to opposition.
"And now," she added, in conclusion, "I am content to be your wife
and equal, but will be no longer your passive and obedient slave."
"Your duty is to obey. You can occupy no other position as my
wife," returned the blind and excited husband.
"Then we must part."
"Be it so." And as he said this, Lane turned hurriedly away and
left the house.
Fixed as a statue, for a long time, sat the stunned and wretched
wife. As the current of thoughts again flowed on, and the words of
her husband presented themselves in even a more offensive light than
when they were first uttered, indignant pride took the uppermost
place in her mind.
"He will not treat me as a wife and equal," she said, "and I will
no longer be his slave."
In anger Lane turned from his wife; and for hours after parting
with her this anger burned with an all-consuming flame. For him to
yield was out of the question. His manly pride would never consent to
this. She must fall back into her true position. He did not return
home, as usual, at dinner-time; but absented himself, in order to
give her time for reflection, as well as to awaken her fears lest he
would abandon her altogether. Towards night, imagining his wife in a
state of penitence and distressing anxiety, and feeling some
commiseration for her on that account, Mr. Lane went back to his
dwelling. As he stepped within the door, a feeling of desertion and
loneliness came over him; and unusual silence seemed to pervade the
house. He sat down in the parlour for some minutes; but hearing no
movement in the chamber above, nor catching even a murmur of his
child's voice, a sound for which his ears were longing, he ascended
the stairs, but found no one there. As he turned to go down again he
met a servant.
"Where is Mrs. Lane?" he asked.
"I don't know," was answered. "She went out this morning, and has
"Where is Mary?"
"She took Mary with her."
"Didn't she say where she was going?"
Mr. Lane asked no more questions, but went back into the room from
which he had just emerged, and, sitting down, covered his face with
his hands, and endeavoured to collect his thoughts.
"Has she deserted me?" he asked of himself in an audible husky
His heart grew faint in the pause that followed. As the idea of
desertion became more and more distinct, Mr. Lane commenced searching
about in order to see whether his wife had not left some communication
for him, in which her purpose was declared. But he found none. She had
departed without leaving a sign. The night that followed was a
sleepless one to Lane. His mind was agitated by many conflicting
emotions. For hours, on the next day, he remained at home, in the
expectation of seeing or hearing from Amanda. But no word came. Where
had she gone? That was the next question. If he must go in search of
hers in what direction should he turn his steps? She had no relations
in the city, and with those who resided at a distance she had
cultivated no intimacy.
The whole day was passed in a state of irresolution. To make the
fact known was to expose a family difficulty that concerned only
himself and wife; and give room for idle gossip and gross detraction.
Bad as the case was, the public would make it appear a great deal
worse than the reality. In the hope of avoiding this, he concealed the
sad affair for the entire day, looking, in each recurring hour, for
the return of his repentant wife. But he looked in vain. Night came
gloomily down, and she was still absent.
He was sitting, about eight o'clock in the evening, undetermined
yet what to do, when a gentleman with whom he was but slightly
acquainted named Edmondson, called at the door and asked to see him.
On being shown in, the latter, with some embarrassment in his
"I have called to inform you, that Mrs. Lane has been at my house
"At your house!"
"Yes. She came there yesterday morning; and, since that time, my
wife has been doing her best to induce her to return home. But, so
far, she has not been able to make the smallest impression. Not
wishing to become a party to the matter, I have called to see you on
the subject. I regret, exceedingly, that any misunderstanding has
occurred, and do not intend that either myself or family shall take
sides in so painful an affair. All that I can do, however, to heal
the difficulty, shall be done cheerfully."
"What does she say?" asked Lane, when he had composed himself.
"She makes no specific complaint."
"What does she propose doing?"
"She avows her intention of living separate from you, and
supporting herself and child by her own efforts."
This declaration aroused a feeling of indignant pride in the
husband's mind. "It is my child as well as hers," said he. "She may
desert me, if she will; but she cannot expect me to give up my child.
To that I will never submit."
"My dear sir," said Mr. Edmondson, "do not permit your mind to
chafe, angrily, over this unhappy matter. That will widen not heal,
the breach. In affairs of this kind, pardon me for the remark, there
are always faults on both sides; and the duty of each is to put away
his or her own state of anger and antagonism and seek to reconcile
the other, rather than to compel submission. As a man, you have the
advantage of a stronger and clearer judgment,—exercise it as a man.
Feeling and impulse often rule in a woman's mind, from the very
nature of her mental conformation; and we should remember this when
we pass judgment on her actions. There is often more honour in
yielding a point than in contending for it to the end, in the face of
threatened disaster. Let me then urge you to seek a reconciliation,
while there is yet opportunity, and permit the veil of oblivion to
fall, while it may, over this painful event. As yet, the fact has not
passed from the knowledge of myself and wife. Heal the breach, and the
secret remains where it is."
"If she will return, I will receive her, and forgive and forget
all. Will you say this to her from me?"
"Why not go to her at once? See her face to face. This is the best
and surest way."
"No," said Lane, coldly. "She has left me of her own choice; and,
now, she must return. I gave her no cause for the rash act. Enough
for me that I am willing to forgive and forget all this. But I am not
the man to humble myself at the feet of a capricious woman. It is not
"Mr. Lane, you are wrong!" said the visitor, in a decided tone.
"All wrong. Do you believe that your wife would have fled from you
without a real or imagined cause?"
"No. But the cause is only in her imagination."
"Then see her and convince her of this. It is the same to her, at
present, whether the cause be real or imaginary. She believes it
real, and feels all its effects as real. Show her that it is
imaginary, and all is healed."
Lane shook his head.
"I have never humbled myself before a man, much less a woman," said
This remark exhibited to Mr. Edmondson the whole ground-work of the
difficulty. Lane regarded a woman as inferior to a man, and had for
her, in consequence, a latent feeling of contempt. He could
understand, now, why his wife had left him; for he saw, clearly,
that, with such an estimation of woman, he would attempt to degrade
her from her true position; and, if she possessed an independent
spirit, render her life wellnigh insupportable. Earnestly did he seek
to convince Lane of his error; but to no good effect. As soon as all
doubt was removed from the mind of the latter in regard to where his
wife had gone, and touching the spirit which governed her in her
separation from him, his natural pride and self-esteem—self-respect,
he called it—came back into full activity. No, he would never humble
himself to a woman! That was the unalterable state of his mind. If
Amanda would return, and assume her old place and her old relation, he
would forget and forgive all. This far he would go, and no farther.
She had left of her own free will, and that must bring her back.
"You can say all this to her in any way you please; but I will not
seek her and enter into an humble supplication for her return. I have
too much self-respect—and am too much of a man—for that. If she
finds the struggle to do so hard and humiliating, she will be the more
careful how she places herself again in such a position. The lesson
will last her a life-time."
"You are wrong; depend upon it, you are wrong!" urged Mr.
Edmondson. "There must be yielding and conciliation on both sides."
"I can do no more than I have said. Passive I have been from the
first, and passive I will remain. As for our child, I wish you to say
to her, that I shall not consent to a separation. It is my child as
much as hers; moreover, as father, my responsibility is greatest, and
I am not the man to delegate my duties to another. Possession of the
child, if driven to that extremity, I will obtain through aid of the
law. This I desire that she shall distinctly understand. I make no
threat. I do not wish her to view the declaration in that light. I
affirm only the truth, that she may clearly understand all the
consequences likely to flow from her ill-advised step."
The more Mr. Edmondson sought to convince Mr. Lane of his error,
the more determinedly did he cling to it; and he retired at last,
under the sad conviction that the unhappy couple had seen but the
beginning of troubles.
Alone with his own thoughts, an hour had not elapsed before Mr.
Lane half repented of his conduct in taking so unyielding a position.
A conviction forced itself upon his mind that he had gone too far and
was asking too much; and he wished that he had not been quite so
exacting in his declarations to Mr. Edmondson. But, having made them,
his false pride of consistency prompted him to adhere to what he had
The night passed in broken and troubled sleep; and morning found
him supremely wretched. Yet resentment still formed a part of Mr.
Lane's feelings. He was angry with his wife, whom he had driven from
his side, and was in no mood to bend in order to effect a
reconciliation. At mid-day he returned from his business, hoping to
find her at home. But his house was still desolate. With the evening
he confidently expected her, but she was not there. Anxiously he sat,
hour after hour, looking for another visit from Mr. Edmondson, but he
came not again.
In leaving her husband's house, Mrs. Lane had gone, as has been
seen, to the house of a friend. Mrs. Edmondson was an old school
companion, between whom and herself had continued to exist, as they
grew up, the tenderest relations. When she turned from her husband,
she fled, with an instinct of affection and sympathy, to this friend,
and poured her tears in a gild agony of affliction upon her bosom. In
leaving her husband, she was not governed by a sudden caprice; nor was
the act intended to humble him to her feet. Nothing of this was in her
mind. He had trenched upon her province as a wife and mother;
interfered with her freedom as an individual; and, at last, boldly
assumed the right to command and control her as an inferior. The
native independence of her character, which had long fretted under
this rule of subordination, now openly rebelled, and, panting for
freedom, she had sprung from her fetters with few thoughts as to
The first day of absence was a day of weeping. Mrs. Edmondson could
not and did not approve of what had been done.
"I am afraid, Amanda, that you have only made matters worse," said
she, as soon as she could venture to suggest any thing at all upon
the subject. "It is always easier to prevent than to heal a breach.
The day has not yet closed. There is time to go back. Your husband
need never know what has been in your mind. This hasty act may be
entirely concealed from him."
But the long suffering wife had been roused to opposition. A new
current of feeling was sweeping across and controlling her mind. She
was, therefore, deaf to the voice of reason. Still her friend, as in
duty bound, urged her to think more calmly on the subject, and to
retrace the steps she had taken. But all was in vain. This being so,
her husband, as has been seen, called upon Mr. Lane, and informed him
that his wife was at his house. From this interview Mr. Edmondson
returned disheartened, and reported all that had been said on both
sides to his wife.
"My husband saw Mr. Lane last evening," said Mrs. Edmondson to
Amanda on the next day.
"He did!" Amanda looked eagerly into the face of her friend, while
she became much agitated.
"Yes. He called to let him know that you were here."
"What did he say?"
"He wishes you to return. All will be forgotten and forgiven."
"He said that?"
"I have done nothing for which I desire forgiveness," said Amanda,
coldly, and with the air of one who is hurt by the words of another.
"If he will not have me return as his wife and equal, I can never go
"For the sake of your child, Amanda, you should be willing to bear
"My child shall not grow, up and see her mother degraded."
"She is his child as well as yours. Do not forget that," said Mrs.
Edmondson. "And it is by no means certain that he will permit you to
retain the possession of an object so dear to him."
The face of Mrs. Lane instantly flushed at this, a suggestion which
had not before been presented to her mind.
"Did he refer to this subject in conversing with your husband?"
inquired Amanda, with forced calmness.
"What did he say?"
"That, in any event, he could not and would not be separated from
his child. And you know, Amanda, that the law will give to him its
"The law!" There was a huskiness in Mrs. Lane's voice.
"Yes, Amanda, the law. It is well for you to view this matter in
all its relations. The law regards the father as the true guardian of
the child. If, therefore, you separate yourself from your husband,
you must expect to bear a separation from your child; for that will
be most likely to follow."
"Did he speak of the law?" asked Mrs. Lane, in a still calmer
voice, and with a steady eye.
"It would not be right to conceal from you this fact, Amanda. He
did do so. And can you wholly blame him? It is his child as well as
yours. He loves it, as you well know; and, as its father, he is
responsible for it to society and to Heaven. This separation is your
act. You may deprive him of your own society; but, have you a right,
at the same time, to rob him of his child? I speak plainly; I would
not be your friend did I not do so. Try, for a little while, to look
away from yourself, and think of your husband; and especially of the
consequences likely to arise to your child from your present act. It
will not be a mere separation with passive endurance of pain on
either side. There will come the prolonged effort of the father to
recover his child, and the anguish and fear of the mother, as she
lives in the constant dread of having it snatched from her hands. And
that must come, inevitably, the final separation. You will have to
part from your child, Amanda, if not in the beginning, yet finally.
You know your husband to be of a resolute temper Do not give him a
chance to press you to extremity. If he should come to the
determination to recover his child from your hands, he will not stop
short of any means to accomplish his purpose."
Mrs. Lane made no reply to this; nor did she answer to any further
remark, appeal, or suggestion of her friend, who soon ceased to speak
on the subject and left her to her own reflections, hoping that they
might lead her to some better purpose than had yet influenced her in
the unhappy business. On the day after, Mr. Edmondson met Lane in the
"I was about calling to see you," said the latter, "on the subject
of this unhappy difficulty, to which, so reluctantly to yourself, you
have become a party. It may be that I am something to blame. Perhaps I
have been too exacting—too jealous of my prerogative as a husband. At
any rate, I am willing to admit that such has been the case; and
willing to yield something to the morbid feelings of my wife. What is
her present state of mind?"
Mr. Edmondson looked surprised.
Remarking this, Lane said quickly, "Is she not at your house?"
"No," replied Mr. Edmondson, "she left us yesterday. We believed
that she had gone home. My wife had a long conversation with her, in
which she urged her, by every consideration, to return; and we had
reason to think, when she left our house, that she went back to you."
"Such is not the case," said Mr. Lane, with disappointment, and
something of sadness in his tone. "I have not seen her since the
morning of our unhappy difference. Where can she have gone?"
Mr. Edmondson was silent.
"Did she say that she was going to return home?" asked Mr. Lane.
"No. But we had reason to think that such was her intention. Have
you heard nothing from her?"
"Not a word."
"It is strange!"
Mr. Lane heaved a deep sigh. A few more brief questions and answers
passed, and then the two men separated. The forsaken husband went
home with a sadder heart than he had yet known. The absence of his
wife and child for several days—both objects of real affection—and
absent under such peculiar and trying circumstances, had subdued, to
a great extent, his angry feelings. He was prepared to yield much. He
would even have gone to his wife, and acknowledged that he was partly
in error, in order to have brought about a reconciliation. Something
that she had said during their last, exciting interview, which he had
rejected as untrue, or not causes of complaint, had represented
themselves to his mind; and in the sober reflecting states that were
predominant, he saw that he had not in all things treated her as an
equal, nor regarded her at all times as possessing a rational freedom
as independent as his own. Though he did not excuse her conduct, he
yet thought of it less angrily than at first, and was willing to yield
something in order to restore the old relations.
Anxiety and alarm now took possession of his mind. The distance
between them had become wider, and the prospect of a reconciliation
more remote. Amanda had gone, he could not tell whither. She had
neither money nor friends; he knew not into what danger she might
fall, nor what suffering she might encounter. It was plain from the
manner of her leaving the house of Mr. Edmondson, that her resolution
to remain away from him was fixed. He must, therefore, seek her out,
and invite her to return. He must yield if he would reconcile this sad
difficulty. And he was now willing to do so. But, where was she?
Whither should he go in search of the wanderer?
The very means which her friend had taken to induce Mrs. Lane to
return to her husband, had driven her farther away. The hint touching
her husband's legal rights in the child, and his resolution to assert
them, filled her with the deepest alarm, and determined her to put it
beyond his power, if possible, to deprive her of the only thing in
life to which her heart could now cling. Toward her husband, her
feelings were those of an oppressed one for an oppressor. From the
beginning, he had almost suffocated her own life by his pressure upon
her freedom of will. She remembered, with, tears, his tenderness and
his love; but soon would come the recollection of his constant
interference in matters peculiarly her own; his evident contempt for
her intellect; and his final efforts to subdue her rising
independence, and make her little less than a domestic slave—and the
fountain of her tears would become dry. Added to all this, was the
fact of his resolution to recover his child by law. This crushed out
all hope from her heart. He had no affection left for her. His love
had changed to hate. He had assumed toward her the attitude of a
persecutor. Nothing was now left for her but self-protection.
In leaving the home of her husband, Mrs. Lane had exercised no
forethought. She made no estimate of consequences, and provided for
no future contingencies. She was blind in her faint-heartedness, that
was little less than despair. Any thing was better than to remain in a
state of submission, that had become, she felt, intolerable. Leaving
thus, Mrs. Lane had taken with her nothing beyond a few dollars in her
purse, and it was only an accident that her purse was in her pocket.
All her own clothes and those of her child, except what they had on,
were left behind.
Alarmed at the threat of her husband, Mrs. Lane, a few hours after
the conversation with Mrs. Edmondson, in which his views were made
known to her, took her child and went away. In parting with her
friend, she left upon her mind the impression that she was going
home. This was very far from her intention. Her purpose was to leave
New York, the city of her residence, as quickly as possible, and flee
to some obscure village, where she would remain hidden from her
husband. She had resided, some years before, for a short time in
Philadelphia; and thither she resolved to go, and from thence reach
some point in the country. On leaving the house of her friend, Mrs.
Lane hurried to the river and took passage in the afternoon line for
As the cars began their swift movement from Jersey City, a feeling
of inexpressible sadness came over her, and she began to realize more
distinctly than she had yet done, her desolate, destitute, and
helpless condition. After paying her passage, she had only two
dollars left in her purse; and, without money, how was she to gain
friends and shelter in a strange city? To add to her unhappy
feelings, her child commenced asking for her father.
"Where is papa?" she would repeat every few minutes. "I want to go
to my papa."
This was continued until it ended in fretfulness and complaints at
the separation it was enduring. Tears and sobs followed; and,
finally, the child wept herself to sleep.
A new train of feelings was awakened by this incident. In leaving
her husband, Mrs. Lane had thought only of herself. She had not once
considered the effect of a separation from its father upon her child.
Little Mary's heart was full of affection for the two beings whom
nature prompted her to love. Her father's return from business had
always been to her the happiest event of the day; and, when she sprang
into his arms, her whole being would thrill with delight. Days had
passed since she had seen her father, and she was pining to meet him
again to lay her head upon his bosom—to feel his arms clasped tightly
All this was realized by the mother, as the child lay sleeping on
her arm, while the swift rolling cars bore them farther and farther
away from the home she was leaving. Is it just to the child?
Distinctly did this thought present itself in her mind. For a long
time she mused over it, her feelings all the while growing more and
more tender, until something like repentance for the step she had
taken found its way into her mind—not for what she was herself
suffering, but for the sake of her child. She had not thought of the
effect upon little Mary, until the pain of absence showed itself in
This idea arose clearly before her—she could not push it aside;
and, the more she pondered it, the more troubled did she become, from
a new source. Would not the separation so deeply afflict the child as
to rob her of all happiness?
While these thoughts had full possession of the mother's mind, Mary
slept on and dreamed of her father, as was evident from the fact
that, more than once, she murmured his name.
When night came down, its effect upon Mrs. Lane was more sadly
depressing, for it brought her into a clearer realization of her
unhappy condition. Where was she going? What was the uncertain future
to bring forth? All was as dark as the night that had closed around
At length the cars reached Bristol, and it became necessary to
leave them, and pass into the boat. In lifting Mary in her arms, to
bear her from the cars, the child again murmured the name of her
father, which so affected Mrs. Lane, that her tears gushed forth in
spite of her efforts to restrain them. Letting her veil fall over her
face to conceal this evidence of affliction from her
fellow-passengers, she proceeded with the rest; and, in a little
while, was gliding swiftly down the river. It was ten o'clock when
they arrived in Philadelphia. For an hour previous to this time, the
mind of the fugitive had been busy in the effort to determine what
course she should take on gaining the end of her journey. But the
nearer she came to its termination, the more confused did she become,
and the less clearly did she see the way before her. Where should she
go on reaching the city? There as no one to receive her; no one to
whom she could go and claim protection, or even shelter.
This state of irresolution continued until the boat touched the
wharf, and the passengers were leaving. Mary was awake again, and
kept asking, every few moments, to go home.
"Yes, dear, we will go home," the mother would reply, in a tone of
encouragement, while her own mind was in the greatest uncertainty and
"Why don't papa come?" asked the child, as one after another moved
away, and they were left standing almost alone. At this moment, an
Irishman, with a whip in his hand, came up, and said—
"Want a carriage, ma'am?"
Mrs. Lane hesitated a moment or two, while she thought hurriedly,
and then replied—
"Very well, ma'am; I'll attend to you. Where is your baggage?"
"I have only this basket with me."
"Ah! well; come along." And Mrs. Lane followed the man from the
"Where shall I drive you?" he asked, after she had entered the
There was a pause, with apparent irresolution.
"I am a stranger here," said Mrs. Lane innocently. "I want to
obtain pleasant accommodations for a day or two. Can you take me to a
"Faith, and I can—as good as the city will afford. Do you wish one
of the tip-top places, where they charge a little fortune a week; or
a good comfortable home at a reasonable price?"
"I want a comfortable, retired place, where the charges are not
"Exactly; I understand."
And the driver closed the door, and, mounting his box, drove off.
At the end of ten minutes the carriage stopped, the steps were let
down, and Mrs. Lane, after descending, was shown into a small
parlour, with dingy furniture. A broad, red-faced Irish woman soon
appeared, at the summons of the driver.
"I've brought you a lady customer, Mrs. McGinnis, d'ye see? And
you're just the one to make her at home and comfortable. She's a
stranger, and wants a quiet place for a day or two."
"And, in troth, she'll find it here, as ye well say, John Murphy.
Will the lady put off her bonnet? We'll have her room ready in a
jiffy! Much obleeged to yees, John Murphy, for remembering us. What a
darlint of a child; bless its little heart!"
"What must I pay you?" asked Mrs. Lane, hoarsely, turning to the
"One dollar, ma'am," was replied.
Mrs. Lane drew forth her purse, towards which the Irishwoman
glanced eagerly, and took therefrom the sum charged, and paid the man,
who immediately retired. The landlady followed him out, and stood
conversing with him at the door for several minutes. When she
returned, she was less forward in her attentions to her guest, and
somewhat inquisitive as to who she was, where she had come from, and
whither she was going. All these Mrs. Lane evaded, and asked to have
her room prepared as quickly as possible, as she did not feel very
well, and wished to retire. The room was at length ready, and she
went up with little Mary, who had again fallen to sleep. It was
small, meagerly furnished, and offensive from want of cleanliness. In
turning down the bed clothes, she found the sheets soiled and rumpled,
showing that the linen had not been changed since being used by
previous lodgers. The first thing that Mrs. Lane did, after laying her
sleeping child upon the bed, was to sit down and weep bitterly. The
difficulties about to invest her, as they drew nearer and nearer,
became more and more apparent; and her heart sank and trembled as she
looked at the unexpected forms they were assuming. But a single dollar
remained in her purse; and she had an instinctive conviction that
trouble with the landlady on account of money was before her. Had she
been provided with the means of independence, she would have instantly
called a servant, and demanded a better room, and fresh linen for her
bed; but, under the circumstances, she dared not do this. She had a
conviction that the Irishwoman was already aware of her poverty, and
that any call for better accommodations would be met by insult. It was
too late to seek for other lodgings, even if she knew where to go, and
were not burdened with a sleeping child.
Unhappy fugitive! How new and unexpected were the difficulties that
already surrounded her! How dark was the future! dark as that old
Egyptian darkness that could be felt. As she sat and wept, the folly
of which she was guilty in the step she had taken presented itself
distinctly before her mind, and she wondered at her own blindness and
want of forethought. Already, in her very first step, she had got her
feet tangled. How she was to extricate them she could not see.
Wearied at last with grief and fear, her mind became exhausted with
its own activity. Throwing herself upon the bed beside her child,
without removing her clothes, she was soon lost in sleep. Daylight
was stealing in, when the voice of little Mary awakened her.
"Where's papa?" asked the child, and she looked with such a sad
earnestness into her mother's face, that the latter felt rebuked, and
turned her eyes away from those of her child. "Want to go home,"
lisped the unhappy babe—"see papa."
"Yes, dear," soothingly answered the mother.
Little Mary turned her eyes to the door with an expectant look, as
if she believed her father, whom she loved, was about to enter, and
listened for some moments.
"Papa! papa!" she called in anxious tones, and listened again; but
there was no response. Her little lip began to quiver, then it curled
grievingly; and, falling over, she hid her face against her mother and
Tenderly did the mother take her weeping child to her bosom, and
hold it there in a long embrace. After it had grown calm she arose,
and adjusting her rumpled garments, and those of Mary, sat down by
the windows to await the events that were to follow. In about half an
hour a bell was rung in the passage below, and soon after a girl came
to her room to say that breakfast was ready.
"I wish my breakfast brought to me here," said Mrs. Lane.
The girl stared a moment and then retired. Soon after, the Irish
landlady made her appearance.
"What is it ye wants, mum?" said that personage, drawing herself up
and assuming an air of vulgar dignity and importance.
"Nothing," replied Mrs. Lane, "except a little bread and milk for
"Isn't yees coming down to breakfast?"
Mrs. Lane shook her head.
"Ye'd better. It's all ready."
"I don't wish any thing. But if you'll send me up something for my
child, I will be obliged to you."
The landlady stood for some moments, as if undecided what she
should do, and then retired. About half an hour afterwards, a dirty
looking Irish girl appeared with a waiter, on which were the articles
for which she had asked.
"Don't ye want any thing for yerself, mum?" asked the girl, with
some kindness in her voice.
"No, I thank you," was replied.
"You'd better eat a little."
"I've no appetite," said Mrs. Lane, turning her face away to
conceal the emotion that was rising to the surface.
The girl retired, and the food brought for the child was placed
before her; but she felt as little inclined to eat as her mother, and
could not be induced to take a mouthful. Turning from the offered
food, she raised her tearful eyes to her mother's face, and in a
choking voice said—"Go home, mamma—see papa."
The words smote, like heavy strokes, upon the mother's heart. How
great a wrong had she done her child! But could she retrace her steps
now? Could she go back and humble herself under the imperious will of
her husband? Her heart shrunk from the thought. Any thing but that! it
would crush the life out of her. An hour she sat, with these and
kindred thoughts passing through her mind, when the girl who had
brought up Mary's breakfast came in and said—"Won't yees walk down
into the parlour, mum, while I clean up your room?"
"Is any one down there?" asked Mrs. Lane.
"No, mum," was answered by the girl.
With some reluctance Mrs. Lane descended to the small, dingy
parlour, which she found adjoining a bar-room, whence there came the
loud voices of men. From a window she looked forth upon the street,
which was narrow, and crowded with carts, drays, and other vehicles.
Opposite were old houses, in which business of various kinds was
carried on. One was occupied by a cooper; another used as a
storehouse for fish; another for a grog-shop. Every thing was dirty
and crowded, and all appeared bustle and confusion. It was plain to
her that she had fallen in an evil place, and that her first business
must be escape. As she sat meditating upon the next step, there came
suddenly, from the bar-room, the sound of angry voices, mingled with
fierce threats and shocking blasphemy. Springing to her feet in
terror, Mrs. Lane caught up her child, and was about starting from the
door without any covering upon her head, when the landlady intercepted
"What's the matter with yees? Where are ye going?"
With quivering lips, and face white with alarm, Mrs. Lane
replied—"Oh, ma'am! get me my things and let me go."
"Ye can go when ye pays yer bill, in welcome," replied the woman.
"How much is it?"
"It's a dollar and a half."
The Irishwoman looked steadily at Mrs. Lane, and saw, by the change
in her countenance, what she had expected, that she had not as much
money in her possession.
"Won't a dollar pay you?" asked Mrs. Lane, after standing with her
eyes upon the floor for some moments. "I've had nothing but my
night's lodging and surely a dollar will pay for that."
"Indade and it won't, then! Sure, and yer breakfast was got. If ye
didn't ate it, I'm not to fault.
"Here is a dollar," said Mrs. Lane, taking out her purse. "I'm sure
it's full pay for all I've received."
"And d'ye mane to call me an ould chate, ye spalpeen, ye!"
indignantly replied the landlady, her face growing red with anger,
while she raised her huge fist and shook it at her terrified guest,
who retreated back into the parlour, and sank, trembling, into a
"As if I wasn't an honest woman," continued the virago, following
Mrs. Lane. "As if I'd extort on a lone woman! Give me patience! When
ye pays the dollar and a half, ye can go; but not a foot shall ye
take from my door until then."
A scuffle took place in the bar-room at that moment, attended by a
new eruption of oaths and imprecations.
Quickly sprinting from her chair, Mrs. Lane, with Mary in her arms,
glided from the room, and ran panting up-stairs to her chamber, the
door of which she locked behind her on entering.
Half an hour of as calm reflection as it was possible for Mrs. Lane
to make brought her to the resolution to leave the house at all
hazards. Where she was to go, was to be an afterthought. The greatest
evil was to remain; after escaping that, she would consider the means
of avoiding what followed. Putting on her bonnet and shawl, and taking
her basket, she went down-stairs with her child, determined, if
possible, to get away unobserved, and after doing so, to send back, by
any means that offered, the only dollar she possessed in the world to
the landlady. No one met her on the stairs, and she passed the
parlour-door unobserved. But, alas! the street-door was found locked
and the key withdrawn. After a few ineffectual attempts to open it,
Mrs. Lane went into the parlour, and, standing there, debated for some
moments whether she should leave the house by passing through the
bar-room, or wait for another opportunity to get away by the private
en-trance. While still bewildered and undetermined the landlady came
in from the bar-room.
The moment she saw her guest, she comprehended the purpose in her
"Where are ye going?" said she in a quick sharp voice, the blood
rising to her coarse sensual face.
"I am going to leave your house," replied Mrs. Lane, in as firm a
voice as she could command. As she spoke she drew forth her purse,
and taking out the solitary dollar it contained,
added—"Unfortunately, this is all the money I have with me, but I
will send you the other half-dollar."
But the landlady refused to take the proffered money, and replied,
"A purty how d'you do, indeed, to come into a genteel body's house,
and then expect to get off without paying your bill. But ye don't
know Biddy McGinnis—ye don't! If yees wants to go paceable, pay the
dollar and a half. But until this is done, ye shall not cross my
"I can't stay here! What good will it do?" said Mrs. Lane, wringing
her hand. "It's all the money I've got; and remaining won't increase
the sum, while it adds to the debt. Better let me go now."
"Indade, and ye'll not go, thin, my lady! I'll tache yees to come
into a respectable body's house without as much money in yer pocket
as 'll pay for the night's lodging. I wonder who ye are, any how! No
better than ye should be, I'll warrint!"
While speaking, the Irishwoman had drawn nearer and nearer, and now
stood with her face only a few inches from that of her distressed
guest, who, bursting into tears, clasped her hands together, and
"Let me go! let me go! If you have the heart of a woman, let me
"Heart of a woman, indade!" returned Mrs. McGinnis, indignantly.
"Yer a purty one to talk to me about the heart of a woman. Stalein
into a body's house at twelve o'clock at night, and thin tryin' to go
off without paying for the lodgings and breakfast. Purty doings!"
"What's the matter here?" said a well dressed man, stepping in from
the bar-room and closing the door behind him. "What do you mean by
talking to the lady in this way, Mrs. McGinnis? I've been listening
There was an instant change in the Irishwoman. Her countenance
fell, and she retreated a few steps from the object of her
"What's all this about? I should like to know," added the man in a
decided way. "Will you explain, madam?" addressing Mrs. Lane, in a
kind voice. "But you are agitated. Sit down and compose yourself."
"Let her pay me my money, that's all I want," muttered the
In a moment the man's purse was drawn from his pocket. "What does
she owe you?"
"A dollar and a half, bad luck till her!"
"There's your money, you old termagant!" And the man handed her the
amount. "And now, as you are paid, and have nothing more to say to
this lady, please to retire and let her be freed from your presence."
"Yees needint call me ill names, Misther Bond," said the woman, in
a subdued voice, as she retired. "It doesn't become a jentilman like
you. I didn't mane any harm. I only wanted my own, and sure I've a
right to that."
"Well, you've got your own, though not in a way that does either
you or your house much credit," returned the man. "The next time you
are so fortunate as to get a lady in your hotel, I hope you'll know
better how to treat her."
Mrs. McGinnis retired without further remark, and the man turned to
Mrs. Lane, and said, in a kind, respectful manner,
"I am sorry to find you so unhappily situated, and will do any
thing in my power to relieve you from your present embarrassment. Your
landlady here is a perfect virago. How did you happen to fall into
Encouraged by the kindness of the man's address, as well as from
the fact that he had rescued her from a violent woman, Mrs. Lane,
after composing herself, said—
"I came in from New York last night, and, being a stranger, asked
the cabman to take me to a good hotel. He brought me here. I happened
to have but two dollars in my purse, he charged one for carriage
"Finding into what a wretched place he had brought me, I wished to
leave this morning, but have been prevented because I could not pay a
dollar and a half when I had only a dollar. I told her to let me go,
and I would send her the balance claimed; but she only met the
proposition by insult."
"The wretch!" exclaimed the man, indignantly. "I happened to be
passing, and, hearing her loud voice, glanced in at the window. In an
instant I comprehended, to some extent, the difficulty; and, knowing
her of old, came in to see if something were not wrong. She is a bad
woman, and her house is a snare for the innocent. It is fortunate for
you that I came at the right moment!"
Mrs. Lane shuddered.
"And now, madam," said the man, "what can I do for you? Have you
friends in the city?"
"I am an entire stranger here," replied Mrs. Lane.
"Were you going farther?
"Yes," was answered after some hesitation.
"Where do your friends reside?"
"In New York."
"This is your child?" was said, after a pause.
There was something in the man's manner, and in the way he looked
at her, that now made Mrs. Lane shrink from, as instinctively as she
had at first leaned towards him. Beneath his steady eye her own
drooped and rested for some moments on the floor.
"Is your husband in New York?" pursued the man.
This question caused the heart of Mrs. Lane to bound with a sudden
throb. Her husband! She had deserted him, her natural and lawful
protector, and already she was encompassed with difficulties and
surrounded by dangers. What would she not at that moment have given
to be safely back in the home she had left? To the last question she
gave a simple affirmative.
"Where do you wish to go when you leave here?" inquired the man,
who had perceived a change in her and understood its nature.
"I wish to be taken to a good hotel, where I can remain a day or
two, until I have time to communicate with my friends. My being out
of money is owing to an inadvertence. I will receive a supply
immediately on writing home."
The man drew his purse from his pocket, and, presenting it, said—
"This is at your service. Take whatever you need."
Mrs. Lane thanked him, but drew back.
"Only get me into some safe place, until I can write to my
friends," said she, "and you would lay both them and me under the
The man arose at this, and stepping into the bar room, desired the
bar-keeper to send for a carriage. From a stand near by one was
called. When it came to the door, he informed Mrs. Lane of the fact,
and asked if she were ready to go.
"Where will you take me?" she asked.
"To the United States Hotel," replied the man. "You could not be in
a safer or better place."
On hearing this, Mrs. Lane arose without hesitation, and, going
from the house, entered the carriage with the man, and was driven
away. Drawing her veil over her face, she shrank into a corner of the
vehicle, and remained in sad communion with her own thoughts for many
minutes. From this state of abstraction, the stopping of the carriage
aroused her. The driver left his seat and opened the door, when her
companion stepped forth, saying as he did so—
"This is the place," and offering at the same time his hand.
As Mrs. Lane descended to the street, she glanced with a look of
anxious inquiry around her. Already a suspicion that all might not be
right was disturbing her mind. Two years before she had been in
Philadelphia, and had stayed several days at the United States Hotel.
She remembered the appearance of the building and the street, but now
she did not recognise a single object. All was strange.
"Is this the United States Hotel?" she asked eagerly.
"Oh, yes, ma'am," was the smiling reply. "We are at the private
Her bewildered mind was momentarily deceived by this answer, and
she permitted herself to be led into a house, which she soon
discovered not to be an hotel. The most dreadful suspicions instantly
seized her. So soon as she was shown into. a parlour, the man retired.
A woman came in shortly afterwards, who, from her appearance, seemed
to be the mistress of the house. She spoke kindly to Mrs. Lane, and
asked if she would walk up into her room.
"There has been some mistake," said the poor wanderer, her lips
quivering in spite of her efforts to assume a firm exterior.
"Oh, no, none at all," quickly replied the woman, smiling.
"Yes, yes there is. I am not in the hotel where I wished to go. Why
have I been brought here? Where is the man with whom I came?"
"He has gone away; but will return again. In the mean time do not
causelessly distress yourself. You are safe from all harm."
"But I am not where I wished to go," replied Mrs. Lane. "Will you
be kind enough to give me the direction of the United States Hotel,
and I will walk there with my child."
The woman shook her head.
"I could not permit you to go until Mr. Bond returned," said she.
"He brought you here, and will expect to find you when he comes
"I will not remain." And as she said this in a firm voice, Mrs.
Lane arose, and, taking her little girl in her arms, made an attempt
to move through the door into the passage. But the woman stepped
before her quickly, and in a mild, yet decided way, told her that she
could not leave the house.
"Why not?" asked the trembling creature.
"Mr. Bond has placed you in my care, and will expect to find you on
his return," answered the woman.
"Who is Mr. Bond? What right has he to control my movements?"
"Did you not place yourself in his care?" inquired the woman. "I
understood him to say that such was the case."
"He offered to protect me from wrong and insult."
"And, having undertaken to do so, he feels himself responsible to
your friends for your safe return to their hands. I am responsible to
"Deceived! deceived! deceived!" murmured Mrs. Lane, bursting into
tears and sinking into a chair, while she hugged her child tightly in
her arms, and laid its face against her own.
The woman seemed slightly moved at this exhibition of distress, and
stood looking at the quivering frame of the unhappy fugitive, with a
slight expression of regret on her face. After Mrs. Lane had grown
calm, the woman said to her:
"Is your husband living?"
"He is," was answered, in a steady voice.
"Where does he reside?" continued the woman.
"In New York," replied Mrs. Lane.
"What is his name?"
Mrs. Lane reflected, hurriedly, for some moments, and then gave a
correct answer, adding, at the same time, that for any attempted
wrong, there would come a speedy and severe retribution. The next
inquiry of the woman was as to her husband's occupation, which was
also answered correctly.
"And now," added Mrs. Lane, with assumed firmness, "you had better
let me retire from this place immediately, and thus avoid trouble,
which, otherwise, you would be certain to have. My husband is a
merchant of influence, and a man who will not stop at half measures
in seeking to redress a wrong. This man, whoever he may be, who has
so basely deceived me, will find, ere long, that he has done an act
which will hot go unpunished, and that severely. As for yourself, be
warned in time, and let me go from this place."
Again Mrs. Lane sought to pass from the room, but was prevented.
The woman was neither harsh, rude, nor insulting in her manner, but
firmly refused to let her leave the house, saying—"I am responsible
for your safe keeping, and cannot, therefore, let you go."
She then urged her to go up-stairs and lay off her things, but Mrs.
Lane refused, in the most positive manner, to leave the parlour.
"You will be more comfortable in the chamber we have prepared for
you," said the woman, coldly; "but you must do as you like. If you
want any thing, you can ring for it."
And saying this, she turned from the room, and locked the door
through which she retired. The instant she was gone, Mrs. Lane sprang
towards one of the front windows, threw it up and attempted to draw
the bolt which fastened the shutter; but her effort was not
successful: the bolt remained immovable. On a closer inspection, she
found that it was locked. The back window was open, but a glance into
the yard satisfied her that it would be useless to attempt escape in
that way. Hopeless in mind and paralyzed in body, she again sank down
Little Mary, who had been left standing on the floor during this
effort to escape, now came up to where she had thrown herself upon a
sofa, and, laying her little face upon her breast, looked tearfully
at her, and said, in a low, sorrowful voice—"Won't papa come? I want
my papa—my dear papa."
Not a word could the mother reply to her unhappy child, who, in her
folly, she had so wronged. Oh, what would she not have given at that
moment to see the face of her husband!
Five or six hours had passed. In a small sitting room, near the
parlour in which Mrs. Lane was still a prisoner, stood the man named
Bond, and the woman who had received her.
"Mrs. Lane did you say she called herself?" said the man, with a
sudden change of manner—"and from New York?"
"Did you inquire her husband's business?"
"She said he was a merchant of standing, and threatened both you
and me with the severest consequences, if she were not instantly
"Can it be possible!" remarked the man, and he stood in a musing
attitude for some time. "I'm a little afraid this affair is not going
to turn out quite so pleasantly as I at first supposed. I think I know
"Yes. We have had several business transactions together, if he is
the individual I suppose him to be."
"Then you had better get her off of your hands as quickly as
possible; and this will be no hard matter. Only open the cage-door,
and the bird will fly."
"Confound that Irish huzzy! She and her John Murphy have scared up
a nice bit of adventure for me."
"Both you and they ought to have known better than to expect any
thing but trouble from a woman with a baby. As it is, the best thing
for you is to get her off of your hands forthwith."
"I don't like to give up after progressing so far. It isn't my
"A wise man foresees evil, and gets out of its way."
"True; and my better course is to step aside, I suppose. But what
shall we do with her?"
"Open the cage-door, as I said, and let her escape."
"Where will she go?"
"Have you any concern on that head?"
"Some. Moreover, I don't just comprehend the meaning of her visit
here alone at night, and without money. I wonder if, after all, there
isn't a lover in the case, who has failed to meet her."
"Most likely," returned the woman.
"In that event, why may not I take his place?"
"It will require her consent. Better have nothing more to do with
her, and thus keep out of the way of trouble.
"Her husband, if she be the wife of the man I think she is," said
Bond, "will hardly stop at half-way measures in an affair like this."
"So much the more reason for keeping out of his way."
"Perhaps so; and yet I like adventure, especially when spiced with
a little danger. Upon second thought, I'll let her remain here until
"Just as you like. But I've been unable to get her up-stairs; and
she can't stay in the parlour all night."
"No. She must go to the chamber you have prepared for her."
"How will we get her there?"
"Use every effort you can to induce her to comply with our wishes
in this respect. I will come in after nightfall, and, if you have not
been successful, will remove her by force."
With this understanding, the partners in evil separated.
Soon after parting with Mr. Edmondson, who had informed Mr. Lane
that his wife was no longer at his house, and when the latter had
begun to feel exceedingly anxious, he met a gentleman who said to
him, "When do you expect Mrs. Lane back?"
It was with difficulty that the deserted husband could refrain from
the exhibition of undue surprise at such an unexpected question.
"I was over the river yesterday afternoon with a friend who was on
his way to Philadelphia," added the man, "and saw your lady in the
"Good morning," said Mr. Lane, as he looked at his watch, and then
turned away with a hurried manner.
It was half-past eleven o'clock. At twelve a line started for the
South. Lane was on board the steamboat when it left the dock. Six
hours and a half of most intense anxiety were passed ere the unhappy
man reached Philadelphia. On arriving, he took a carriage and visited
all the principal hotels, but not a word could he hear of his wife. He
then bethought him to make some inquiries of the hackman whom he had
"Were you at the wharf last night when the New York line came in?"
he asked, as he stood with his hand on the carriage-door, after
leaving one of the hotels, again disappointed in his search.
"I was," replied the hackman.
"Did you get any passengers?"
"Did you see any thing of a lady with a child?"
The hackman thought for a little while, and then replied—
"Yes, I did. There was a lady and a child, nearly the last on the
boat. John Murphy drove them away."
"Where can I find John Murphy?" eagerly enquired Mr. Lane.
"He's probably on the stand."
"Drive me there if you please." And he sprang into the carriage.
In a few minutes they were at a carriage stand; and Mr. Lane heard
the driver call out, as he reined up his horses—"Hallo! there, John
Murphy! here's a gentleman who wants to see you."
The person addressed came up as Mr. Lane descended from the
"I understand," said Lane, "that you received a lady and child in
your carriage, last night, from the New York line. Where did you take
"Who said that I did?" boldly inquired the man addressed.
"I said so!" as firmly replied the driver who had given the
information to Mr. Lane. "What interest have you in denying it?"
Murphy evinced some surprise at this, and looked a little dashed,
but repeated his denial.
A new fear instantly seized Mr. Lane. His wife might have been
entrapped into some den of infamy, through means of the driver she
had employed to convey her to an hotel. The thought affected him like
an electric shock.
"You are certain of what you say?" asked Mr. Lane, turning to the
hackman he had employed.
"Certain," was answered positively.
"Is there a police officer near at hand?" was the next inquiry.
This was intended as no threat; and Murphy understood its meaning.
The eyes of Mr. Lane were fixed on his face, and he saw in it a
guilty change. No reply being made to the question about a police
officer, Mr. Lane said, addressing the accused hackman—
"If you wish to escape trouble, take me instantly to the house
where I can find the lady you took from the boat last night. She is my
wife, and I will go through fire and water to find her; and let him
who stands in my way take the consequences."
Murphy now drew Mr. Lane aside, and said a few words to him
"Can I depend upon what you say?" eagerly asked the latter.
"Yes, upon honour!" replied the hackman.
"You must go with me," said Lane.
"I cannot leave the stand."
"I will call a policeman and compel you to go with me, if you don't
accompany me peaceably. As I live, I will not part from you until I
find her! Take your choice—go quietly, or under compulsion."
There was a fierce energy in the excited man that completely
subdued the Irish hackman, who, after a further, though feeble
remonstrance, got into the carriage with Mr. Lane, and was driven off.
The course taken was out—street. Some distance beyond Washington
Square, the carriage stopped before a house, in which Mr. Lane was
informed that he would find the woman whom Murphy had taken from the
boat the night before. He stepped out quickly, and, as he sprang
across the pavement, Murphy, who was out of the carriage almost as
soon as he was, glided around the corner of a street, and was beyond
recall. A quick jerk of the bell was answered by a female servant, who
held the door only partly open, while Lane addressed her.
"Wasn't there a woman and child brought here last night?" said he,
in an agitated manner.
"No, sir," replied the girl; and, as she spoke, she made an attempt
to close the door, seeing which, Mr. Lane thrust a part of his body
in and prevented the movement.
"Are you certain?" he asked.
"I am," was positively answered, while the girl strove to shut the
door by forcing it against Mr. Lane. At this moment something like a
smothered cry from within reached his ears, when, throwing open the
door with a sudden application of strength that prostrated the girl,
he stepped over her body and entered the vestibule. Just then there
arose a wild cry for help! He knew the voice; it came from one of the
parlours, into which he rushed. There he saw his wife struggling in
the arms of a woman and a man, while his frightened child stood near,
white and speechless with terror. As he entered, Amanda saw him.
"Oh, my husband!" she exclaimed. In a moment she was released, and
the man and woman fled from the room, but not before the face of the
former was fully recognised by Mr. Lane.
Little Mary had already sprung to her father, and was quivering and
panting on his breast.
"Oh! take me away quickly—quickly!" cried Mrs. Lane, staggering
towards her husband and falling into his arms.
Without waiting for explanations, Mr. Lane went from the house with
his wife and child, and, placing them in the carriage at the door,
was driven to an hotel.
The reader doubtless understands the scene we have just described.
The man named Bond was in the act of carrying out his threat to
remove Mrs. Lane to a chamber by force when her husband appeared.
Of all that passed between the severely-tried husband and wife
after their meeting, it behooves us not to write. The circumstances we
have detailed were exceedingly painful to the parties most
interested; but their effect, like the surgeon's knife, was salutary.
Mr. Lane afterwards regarded his wife from an entirely different point
of view, and found her a very different woman from what he had at
first believed her to be. He saw in her a strength of character and a
clearness of intellect for which he had never given her credit; and,
from looking down upon her as a child or an inferior, came to feel
towards her as an equal.
His indignation at the treatment she had received in Philadelphia
was extreme. The man named Bond he knew very well, and he at first
determined to call him to account personally; but as this would lead
to a mortifying notoriety and exposure of the whole affair, he was
reluctantly induced to keep silence. Bond has never crossed his way
since: it might not be well for him to do so.
Some years have passed. No one who meets Mr. and Mrs. Lane, at home
or abroad, would dream that, at one time, they were driven asunder by
a strong repulsion. Few are more deeply attached, or happier in their
domestic relations; but neither trespasses on the other's rights, nor
interferes with the other's prerogative. Mutual deference, confidence,
respect, and love, unite them with a bond that cannot again be broken.
THE INVALID WIFE.
"MY poor head! It seems as if it would burst!" murmured Mrs. Bain,
as she arose from a stooping position, and clasped her temples with
both hands. She was engaged in dressing a restless, fretful child,
some two or three years old. Two children had been washed and
dressed, and this was the last to be made ready for breakfast.
As Mrs. Bain stood, with pale face, closed eyes, and tightly
compressed lips, still clasping her throbbing temples, the bell
announcing the morning meal was rung. The sound caused her to start,
and she said, in a low and fretful voice—
"There's the breakfast bell; and Charley isn't ready yet; nor have
I combed my hair. How my head does ache! I am almost blind with the
Then she resumed her work of dressing Charley, who struggled,
cried, and resisted, until she was done.
Mr. Bain was already up and dressed. He was seated in the parlour,
enjoying his morning paper, when the breakfast bell rang. The moment
he heard the sound, he threw down his newspaper, and, leaving the
parlour, ascended to the dining-room. His two oldest children were
there, ready to take their places at the table.
"Where's your mother?" he inquired of one of them.
"She's dressing Charley," was answered.
"Never ready in time," said Mr. Bain, to himself, impatiently. He
spoke in an under tone.
For a few moments he stood with his hands on the back of his chair.
Then he walked twice the length of the dining-room; and then he went
to the door and called—
"Jane! Jane! Breakfast is on the table."
"I'll be there in a minute," was replied by Mrs. Bain.
"Oh, yes! I know something about your minutes." Mr. Bain said this
to himself. "This never being in time annoys me terribly. I'm always
ready. I'm always up to time. But there's no regard to time in this
Mrs. Bain was still struggling with her cross and troublesome
child, when the voice of her impatient husband reached her. The sound
caused a throb of intenser pain to pass through her aching head.
"Jane, make haste! Breakfast is all getting cold, and I'm in a
hurry to go away to business," was called once more.
"Do have a little patience. I'll be there in a moment," replied
"A moment! This is always the way."
And Mr. Bain once more paced backwards and forwards.
Meantime the wife hurriedly completed her own toilet, and then
repaired to the dining-room. She was just five minutes too late.
One glance at her pale, suffering face should have changed to
sympathy and pity the ill-humour of her thoughtless, impatient
husband. But it was not so. The moment she appeared, he said—
"This is too bad, Jane! I've told you, over and over, that I don't
like to wait after the bell rings. My mother was always promptly at
her place, and I'd like my wife to imitate so good an example."
Perhaps nothing could have hurt Mrs. Bain more than such a cruel
reference of her husband to his mother, coupled with so unfeeling a
declaration of his will concerning her—as if she were to be the mere
creature of his will.
A sharp reply was on the tongue of Mrs. Bain; but she kept it back.
The pain in her head subsided all at once; but a weight and
oppression in her breast followed that was almost suffocating.
Mr. Bain drank his coffee, and eat his steak and toast, with a
pretty fair relish; for he had a good appetite and a good
digestion—and was in a state of robust health. But Mrs. Bain ate
nothing. How could she eat? And yet, it is but the truth to say, that
her husband, who noticed the fact, attributed her abstinence from food
more to temper than want of appetite. He was aware that he had spoken
too freely, and attributed the consequent change in his wife's manner
to anger rather than a wounded spirit.
"Do you want any thing?" asked Mr. Bain, on rising from the table
and turning to leave the room. He spoke with more kindness than
"No," was the wife's brief answer, made without lifting her eyes to
her husband's face.
"In the sulks!"
Mr. Bain did not say this aloud, but such was his thought, as he
turned away and left the house. He did not feel altogether
comfortable, of course. No man feels comfortable while there is a
cloud upon the brow of his wife, whether it be occasioned by
peevishness, ill-temper, bodily or mental suffering. No, Mr. Bain did
not feel altogether comfortable, nor satisfied with himself, as he
walked along to his store; for there came across his mind a dim
recollection of having heard the baby fretting and crying during the
night; and also of having seen the form of his wife moving to and fro
in the chamber, while he lay snugly reposing in bed.
But these were unpleasant images, and Mr. Bain thrust them from his
While Mr. Bain took his morning walk to his store, his lungs freely
and pleasurably expanding in the pure, invigorating air, his wife, to
whose throbbing temples the anguish had returned, and whose relaxed
muscles had scarcely enough tension to support the weight of her
slender frame, slowly and painfully began the work of getting her two
oldest children ready for school. This done, the baby had to be washed
and dressed. It screamed during the whole operation, and when, at
last, it fell asleep upon her bosom, she was so completely exhausted,
that she had to lie down. Tears wet her pillow as she lay with her
babe upon her arm. He, to whom alone she had a right to look for
sympathy, for support, and for strength in her many trials, did not
appear to sympathize with her in the least. If she looked sober from
the pressure of pain, fatigue, or domestic trials, he became
impatient, and sometimes said, with cruel thoughtlessness, that he was
tired of clouds and rain, and would give the world for a wife who
could smile now and then. If, amid her many household cares and
duties, she happened to neglect some little matter that affected his
comfort, he failed not to express his annoyance, and not always in
carefully chosen words. No wonder that her woman's heart melted—no
wonder that hot tears were on her cheeks.
Mr. Bain had, as we have said, an excellent appetite; and he took
especial pleasure in its gratification. He liked his dinner
particularly, and his dinners were always good dinners. He went to
market himself. On his way to his store he passed through the market,
and his butcher sent home what he purchased.
"The marketing has come home," said the cook to Mrs. Bain, about
ten o'clock, arousing her from a brief slumber into which she had
fallen—a slumber that exhausted nature demanded, and which would
have done far more than medicine for the restoration of something
like a healthy tone to her system.
"Very well. I will come down in a little while," returned Mrs.
Bain, raising herself on her elbow, and see about dinner. What has Mr.
Bain sent home?"
"A calf's head."
"A calf's head."
"Very well. I will be down to see about it." Mrs. Bain repressed
any further remark.
Sick and exhausted as she felt, she must spend at least two hours
in the kitchen in making soup and dressing the calf's head for her
husband's dinner. Nothing of this could be trusted to the cook, for
to trust any part of its preparation to her was to have it spoiled.
With a sigh, Mrs. Bain arose from the bed. At first she staggered
across the room like one intoxicated, and the pain, which had
subsided during her brief slumber, returned again with added
violence. But, really sick as she felt, she went down to the kitchen
and passed full two hours there in the preparation of delicacies for
her husband's dinner. And what was her reward?
"This is the worst calf's head soup you ever made. What have you
done to it?" said Mr. Bain, pushing the plate of soup from before
him, with an expression of disgust on his face.
There were tears in the eyes of the suffering wife, and she lifted
them to her husband's countenance. Steadily she looked at him for a
few moments; then her lips quivered, and the tears fell over her
cheeks. Hastily rising, she left the dining room.
"It is rather hard that I can't speak without having a scene,"
muttered Mr. Bain, as he tried his soup once more. It did not suit
his taste at all; so he pushed it from him, and made his dinner of
As his wife had been pleased to go off up-stairs in a huff, just at
a word, Mr. Bain did not feel inclined to humour her. So, after
finishing his dinner, he took his hat and left the house, without so
much as seeking to offer a soothing word.
Does the reader wonder that, when Mr. Bain returned in the evening,
he found his wife so seriously ill as to make it necessary to send
for their family physician? No, the reader will not wonder at this.
But Mr. Bain felt a little surprised. He had not anticipated any
thing of the kind.
Mrs. Bain was not only ill, but delirious. Her feeble frame,
exhausted by maternal duties, and ever-beginning, never-ending
household cares, had yielded under the accumulation of burdens too
heavy to bear.
For a while after Mr. Bain's return, his wife talked much, but
incoherently; then she became quiet. But her fever remained high, and
inflammation tended strongly towards the brain. He was sitting by the
bedside about ten o'clock, alone with her, when she began to talk in
her wandering way again; but her words were distinct and coherent.
"I tried to do it right," said she, sadly; "but my head ached so
that I did not know what I was doing. Ah me! I never please him now
in any thing. I wish I could always look pleasant—cheerful. But I
can't. Well! well! it won't last for ever. I never feel
well—never—never—never! And I'm so faint and weak in the morning!
But he has no patience with me. He doesn't know what it is to
feel sick. Ah me!"
And her voice sighed itself away into silence.
With what a rebuking force did these words fall upon the ears of
Mr. Bain! He saw himself in a new light. He was the domestic tyrant,
and not the kind and thoughtful husband.
A few days, and Mrs. Bain was moving about her house and among her
children once more, pale as a shadow, and with lines of pain upon her
fore-head. How differently was she now treated by her husband! With
what considerate tenderness he regarded her! But, alas! he saw his
error too late! The gentle, loving creature, who had come to his side
ten years before, was not much longer to remain with him. A few brief
summers came and went, and then her frail body was laid amid the clods
of the valley.
Alas! how many, like Mrs. Bain, have thus passed away, who, if
truly loved and cared for, would have been the light of now darkened
hearths, and the blessing and joy of now motherless children and
THE FIRST AND LAST QUARREL.
"IF I am his wife, I am not his slave!" said young Mrs. Huntley,
indignantly. "It was more than he dared do a month ago."
"If you love me, Esther, don't talk in this way," said Mrs.
"Am I his slave aunt?" and the young bride drew herself up, while
her eyes flashed.
"No, Esther, you are his wife."
"To be loved, and not commanded! That is the difference, and he has
got to learn it."
"Were Edward to see and hear you now, do you think your words,
manner, and expression would inspire him with any new affection for
"I have nothing to do with that. I only express a just indignation,
and that is a right I did not alienate when I consented to become his
"You are a silly girl, Esther," said Mrs. Carlisle, "and I am
afraid will pay dear for your folly. Edward has faults, and so have
you. If you understood the duties and responsibilities of your
position, and felt the true force of your marriage vows, you would
seek to bend into better forms the crooked branches of your husband's
hereditary temper, rather than commit an irreparable injury by roughly
breaking them. I was not pleased with Edward's manner of speaking; but
I must admit that he had provocation: that you were first, and,
therefore, most to blame."
"I objected to going with him to the opera, because I particularly
wanted to call and see Anna Lewis to-night. I had made up my mind to
this, and when I make up my mind to any thing I do not like to be
turned from my purpose."
"Edward resembles you rather too much in that respect. Therefore,
there must be a disposition to yielding and self-denial on one side
or the other, or unhappiness will follow. Hitherto, as far as I have
been able to see, the yielding has all been on the part of Edward,
who has given up to you in everything. And now, when he shows that he
has a will of his own, you become very indignant, and talk bout not
being his slave."
"It is too bad for you to speak so, aunt! You never think I do any
thing right." And Esther burst into tears.
Meantime, Edward Huntley, the husband, was at the opera, listening
to, but not enjoying, the beauties Norma. It was only a month since
he had led to the altar his beautiful bride, and felt himself the
happiest man in the world. Before marriage, he thought only of how he
should please Esther. The preference of his own wishes to hers was
felt as no sacrifice. But, after the hymeneal contract had been
gratified, his feelings began gradually to change. What he had
yielded in kindness was virtually demanded as a right, and against
this, the moment it was perceived, his spirit rose in rebellion. In
several instances, he gave way to what savoured, much more than he
liked, of imperiousness.
Norma had just been brought out, and received with unprecedented
favour. The newspapers were filled with its praises, and the beauties
of the opera were spoken of by every one. A friend lauded it with more
than usual enthusiasm, on the day it was advertised for a third
"You haven't heard it yet!" said he, with surprise, on learning
that Huntley had yet to enjoy that pleasure.
"No, but I think I will buy tickets for to-night."
"Do by all means! And get them at once, or you will not be able to
secure a seat."
It was in the afternoon, and Huntley could not ask his young wife
about it, unless he made a special errand home, which, as he lived
some distance away from his office, would be inconvenient. Not in the
least doubting, however, that Esther would be pleased to go to the
opera, as she had more than once expressed a wish to see and hear
Norma, he secured tickets and considered the matter settled.
Now that the gratification of hearing the opera was so near at
hand, Huntley kept thinking of the enjoyment he was to have, and
wishing for the time to pass more rapidly. He pictured, too, the
pleasure that Esther would feel and express when she found that he had
procured tickets. Half an hour earlier than usual he was at home. He
found Esther and her aunt, Mrs. Carlisle, with whom they were living,
in the parlour.
"We are going to see Norma to-night," said Huntley, in a gay voice,
and with a broad smile upon his face, as he sat down beside Esther
and took her hand.
The tone and look with which this was said chilled the warm
feelings of the young man.
"_I am, at least," said he, in a changed voice.
"And I am not," as promptly, and much more decidedly,
"Oh, yes you are." This was said with a suddenly assumed, half
playful, yet earnest manner. "I have bought tickets, and we will go
"The least you could have done was to have asked me before you
bought tickets," returned Esther. "I wish to go somewhere else
"But, as I have the tickets now, you will go, of course. To-morrow
night will do as well for a visit."
"I wish to make it to-night."
"Esther, you are unreasonable." Huntley knit his brows and
compressed his lips.
"We are quite even then." The pretty lip of the bride curled.
"Esther!" said Huntley, assuming a calm but cold exterior, and
speaking in a firm voice. "I have bought tickets for the opera
to-night, thinking that to go would give you pleasure, and now my
wish is that you accompany me."
"A wish that you will certainly not have gratified. I believe I am
your wife, not your slave to command."
There was something so cutting in the way this was said, that
Huntley could not bear it. Without a word he arose, and, taking his
hat, left the house. In a fever of excitement he walked the street
for an hour and a half, and then, scarcely reflecting upon what he
did, went to the opera. But the music was discord in his ears, and he
left before the performance was half over.
The moment Esther heard the street-door close upon her husband, she
arose and went from the room where she was sitting with her aunt,
moving erect and with a firm step. Mrs. Carlisle did not see her for
two hours. The tea bell rang, but she did not come down from her
chamber, where, as the aunt supposed, she was bitterly repenting what
she had done. In this, however, she was mistaken, as was proved, when,
on joining her in her room for the purpose of striving to console her,
the conversation with which our story opens took place.
When the fit of weeping with which Esther received the reproof her
aunt felt called upon to give, had subsided, Mrs. Carlisle said, in a
most solemn and impressive manner,
"What has occurred this evening may prove the saddest event of your
whole life. There is no calculating the result. No matter whose the
fault, the consequences that follow may be alike disastrous to the
happiness of both. Are you prepared, thus early, for a sundering of
the sacred bonds that have united you? And yet, even this may follow.
It has followed with others, and may follow with you. Oh! the
consequences of a first quarrel! Who can anticipate them?"
The voice of Mrs. Carlisle trembled, and then sank almost into a
sob. Her manner more than her words startled Esther.
"What do you mean, aunt?" said she.
But her aunt was too much disturbed to speak for some minutes.
"Esther," she at length said, speaking in a voice that still
trembled, "I knew a girl, who, at your age, married an excellent, but
proud-spirited young man. Like Edward, the lover yielded too much
when, as the husband, he began to be a little less considerate, and to
act as if he had a will of his own, his wife set herself against him
just as you set yourself against Edward. This chafed him, although he
strove to conceal his feelings. But, in an un- guarded moment, when
his young wife was unusually self-willed, a quarrel of no more serious
character than the one that has occurred this evening, between you and
Edward, took place. They parted in anger as you parted, and—"
The aunt was unable for some time to control her voice sufficiently
to finish the sentence—
"And never met again," she at length said, with such visible
emotion as betrayed more than she had wished to reveal.
"Never met again!" ejaculated Esther, a sudden fear trembling
through her heart, and causing her cheeks to grow pale.
"Never!" was the solemn response.
"Why, dear aunt? Why?" eagerly inquired Esther.
"Pride caused him," said Mrs. Carlisle, recovering her
self-possession, "after a breach had been made, to leave not only his
home, but the city in which he lived. Repenting of her ungenerous
contact, his bride waited anxiously for his return at evening, but
waited it vain. Sadly enough passed the lonely hours of that dreadful
night, and morning found her a sleepless watcher. Days passed, but no
word came from the unhappy wanderer from home and love. A week, and
still all was silence and mystery. At the end of that time a letter
was received from a neighbouring city, which brought intelligence to
his friends that he was there, and lying dangerously ill. By the next
conveyance his almost frantic wife started for the purpose of joining
him. Alas! she was too late. When she stood beside the bed upon which
he lay, she looked only upon the inanimate form of her husband. Death
had been there before her. Esther! thirty years have passed since
then, but the anguish I felt when I stood and looked upon the cold,
dead, face of my husband, in that terrible hour, time has not
Esther had risen to her feet, and now stood with her pale lips
parted, and her cheeks blanched to an ashy whiteness.
"Dear aunt is all this true?" she asked huskily, while she grasped
the arm of her relative.
"Heaven knows it is too true, my child! It was the first and, the
last quarrel I had with my husband. And now, as you value your own
and Edward's peace of mind, be warned by my sad example, and let the
present unhappy difference that has occurred be quickly reconciled.
Acknowledge your error the moment you see him, and make a firm
resolution that you will, under no circumstances, permit the
slightest misunderstanding again to take place. Yield to him, and you
will find him ready as before to yield to you. What he was not ready
to give under the force of a demand, love will prompt him cheerfully
"Oh! if Edward should never return!" Esther said, clasping her
hands together. She had scarcely heard the last sentence of her aunt.
"You need not fear on that account, my child," replied Mrs.
Carlisle, in a voice meant to inspire confidence. "Edward will no
doubt return. Few men act so rashly as to separate themselves at the
first misunderstanding, although, too often, the first quarrel is but
the prelude to others of a more violent kind, that end in severing the
most sacred of all bonds, or rendering the life that might have been
one of the purest felicity, an existence of misery. When Edward comes
home to-night, forget every thing but your own error, and freely
confess that. Then, all will be sunshine in a moment, although the
light will fall and sparkle upon dewy tear-drops."
"I was mad to treat him so!" was Esther's response to this, as she
paced the floor, with uneasy step. "Oh! if he should never return."
Once possessed with the idea that he would not return, the poor
wife was in an agony of fear. No suggestion made by her aunt in the
least relieved her mind. One thought—one fear—absorbed every thing
else. Thus passed the evening, until ten o'clock came. From that time
Esther began to listen anxiously for her husband's return, but hour
after hour went by, and she was still a tearful watcher.
"I shall go mad if I sit here any longer!" murmured Huntley to
himself, as the music came rushing upon his agitated soul, in a wild
tempest, toward the middle of the opera, and, rising abruptly, he
retired from the theatre. How still appeared the half deserted
streets! Coldly the night air fell upon him, but the fever in his
veins was unabated. He walked first up one street and then down
another, with rapid steps, and this was continued for hours. Then the
thought of going home crossed his mind. But he set his teeth firmly,
and murmured audibly,
"Oh! to be defied, and charged with being a tyrant? And has it come
to this so soon?"
The more Huntley brooded, in this unhappy mood, over his wife's
words and conduct, the denser and more widely refracting became the
medium through which he saw. His pride continually excited his mind,
and threw a thick veil over all the gentler emotions of his heart. He
was beside himself.
At one o'clock he found himself standing in front of the United
States Hotel, his mind made up to desert the affectionate young
creature, who, in a moment of thoughtlessness, had set her will in
opposition to his,—to leave the city, under an assumed name, by the
earliest lines, and go, he knew not nor cared not where. Blind
passion was his prompter and guide. In this feverish state he entered
the hotel and called for a bed.
Eleven, twelve, one o'clock came, and found Mrs. Huntley in a state
of wild agitation. Edward had not yet returned. The silence and
evident distress of Mrs. Carlisle struck down the heart of Esther,
almost as much as her own fears. The too vivid recollection of one
terrible event in her own life completely unbalanced the aunt's mind,
and took away all power to sustain her niece.
"I will go in search of him, aunt!" exclaimed Esther, as the clock
struck two. "He cannot leave the city before daylight. I will find
him, and confess all my folly before it is too late."
"But where will you go, my child?" Mrs. Carlisle asked in a sad
"Where—where shall I go?" eagerly inquired Mrs. Huntley.
"It is midnight, Esther. You cannot find him now."
"But I must see him before he leaves me, perhaps for ever! It will
kill me. If I wait until morning, it will be too late."
Mrs. Carlisle bent her eyes to the floor, and for the space of more
than a minute remained in deep thought. She then said, in a calm
"Esther, I cannot believe that Edward will desert you on so slight
a provocation. For a few hours his mind may be blinded with passion,
and be swayed by false judgment. But morning will find him cooler and
more reflective. He will see his error, and repent of any mad act he
may have contemplated. Still, to guard against the worst of
consequences, should this salutary change not take place, I think it
would be best for you to go early to the boat, and by meeting him
prevent a step that may cost you each a life of wretchedness."
"I will do it! He shall not go away! Oh! if I could once more meet
him! all would be reconciled on the instant."
Confident in her own mind that Edward had determined to go away
from the city in the morning, and fully resolved upon what she would
do, Esther threw herself upon the bed, and in snatches of uneasy
slumber passed the remainder of that dreadful night. At day-dawn she
was up, and making preparations for going to the boat to intercept her
"Be self-possessed, my dear niece," urged Mrs. Carlisle, in a voice
that trembled so she could scarcely speak.
Esther tried to reply, but, though her lips and tongue moved, there
was no utterance. Turning away, just as the sun threw his first rays
into her chamber window, she went down stairs, and her aunt, no
longer able to restrain herself, covered her face with her hands and
On the day before, Esther had laid her gloves on one of the parlour
mantels, and she went in to get them. It was so dark that she could
not see, and she, therefore, opened a window and pushed back one of
the shutters. As she did so, a sound between a sigh and a groan fell
upon her ear, and caused her to turn with a start. There lay her
husband, asleep upon one of the sofas! A wild cry that she could not
restrain burst from her lips, and, springing toward him, she threw
her arms about his neck as he arose, startled, from his recumbent
An hour's reflection, alone in the room he had taken at the hotel,
satisfied Huntley that he was wrong in not going home. By the aid of
his night key he entered, silently, at the very time his wife
resolved to seek him in the morning, and, throwing himself upon a
sofa in the parlour to think what he should next do, thought himself
All was, of course, reconciled. With tears of joy and contrition
Esther acknowledged the error she had committed. Huntley had his own
share of blame in his impatient temper, and this he was also ready to
confess He did not, however, own that he had thought of deserting his
wife on such slight provocation, nor did she confess the fearful
suspicion that had crossed her mind.
It was their first and last quarrel.
GUESS WHO IT IS!
"IT will be great deal better for us, Lizzy. America is a country
where all things are in full and plenty; but here we are ground down
to the earth and half-starved by the rich and great in order that
they may become richer and greater. I isn't so there, Lizzy. Don't
you remember what John McClure wrote home, six months after he
crossed the ocean?"
"Yes, I remember all that, Thomas; but John McClure was never a
very truthful body at home and I've always thought that if we knew
every thing, we would find that he wrote with his magnifying glasses
on. John, you know, was very apt to see things through magnifying
"But the testimony doesn't come alone from John. We hear it every
day and from every quarter, that America is a perfect paradise for
the poor, compared to England."
"I don't know how that can be, Thomas. They say that it is full of
wild beast poisonous serpents, and savage Indians, and that the
people are in constant fear of their lives. I'm sure England is a
better place than that, even if we do have to work hard and get but
little for it."
"All that used to be, Lizzy," replied Thomas. "But they've killed
the wild beasts and serpents, and tamed the savage Indians. And there
are great cities there, the same as in England."
But Lizzy could not be convinced. From her earliest childhood she
had never had but one idea of America, and that was as a great
wilderness filled with Indians and wild beasts. Of the former, she
had heard tales that made her blood curdle in her veins. It was in
vain, therefore, for Thomas Ward to argue with his wife about going
to America. She was not to be convinced that a waste, howling
wilderness was at all comparable with happy old England, even if the
poor were "ground down."
As a dozen previous discussions on the subject had ended, so ended
this. Thomas Ward was of the same mind as before, and so was his
wife. The one wished to go, and the other to stay.
Ward had only been married a short time, but the period, short as
it was, proved long enough to bring a sad disappointment of his
worldly hopes. He had been employed as a gentleman's gardener for many
years, and had been able, by strict economy, to lay up a little
money. But soon after his, marriage, through some slight
misunderstanding he lost his place, and had not since been able to
obtain any thing more than transient employment, the return from
which had, so far, proved inadequate to the maintenance of himself
and wife, requiring him to draw steadily upon the not very large fund
that was deposited in the Savings' Bank.
About once a fortnight Thomas would become completely discouraged,
and then he invariably introduced his favourite project of going to
America; but Lizzy always met him when in this mood with a decided
negative, as far as she was concerned and sometimes went so far as to
say, when he grew rather warm on the subject—"It's no use to talk
about it, Thomas; I shall never go to America, that's decided."
This, instead of being a settler, as Lizzy supposed it would be,
only proved a silencer. Thomas would instantly waive all present
reference to the subject. But the less he talked, the more he thought
about the land of plenty beyond the ocean; and the oftener Lizzy said
she would never go to America, the more earnest became his desire to
go, and the more fully formed his resolution to emigrate while
possessed the ability to do so. He did not like Lizzy's mode of
silencing him when he talked about his favourite theme. He had certain
primitive notions about a wife's submission of herself to her husband,
and it not only fretted him, but made him a little resolute on the
subject of going to America when Lizzy declared herself determined not
One day Ward came home with brows knit more closely than usual, and
a firmer and more decided expression upon his tightly-closed lips.
"What's the matter now, Thomas?" asked his wife.
The "now" indicated that Thomas had something to trouble him, more
or less, nearly all the time.
"The matter is, that I'm going to America!" returned Ward, in an
angry tone of voice. "If you won't wish to go, you will only have to
stay where you are. But I've made up my mind to sail in the next
Ward had never spoken to his young wife in such harsh, angry,
rebuking tone of voice since they were married. But the import of
what he said was worse than his manner of saying it. Going to
America—and going whether she chose to go with him or remain behind!
What was this less than desertion? But Lizzy had pride and firmness as
tell as acute sensibilities. The latter she controlled by means of the
former, and, with unexpected coolness, replied—"Well, Thomas, if you
wish to leave me, I have nothing to say. As to that savage country, I
say now only what I have said before—I cannot go."
"Very well; I am not going to stay here and starve."
"We haven't starved yet, Thomas," spoke up Lizzy.
"No, thanks to my prudence in saving every dollar I could spare
while a bachelor! But we're in a fair way for it now. Every week we
are going behindhand, and if we stay here much longer we shall
neither have the means of living nor getting away. I've finished my
job, and cannot get another stroke to do."
"Something will turn up, Thomas; don't be impatient."
"Impatient!" ejaculated Ward.
"Yes, impatient, Thomas," coolly said his wife. "You are in a very
strange way. Only wait a little while, and all will come right."
"Lizzy," said Thomas Ward, suddenly growing calm, and speaking
slowly and with marked emphasis—"I've decided upon going to America.
If you will go with me, as a loving and obedient wife should, I shall
be glad of your company; but if you prefer to remain here, I shall lay
no commands upon you. Will you or will you not go? Say at a word."
Lizzy had a spice of independence about her, as well as a good
share of pride. The word "obedience," as applied to a wife, had never
accorded much with her taste, and the use of it made on the present
occasion by her husband was particularly offensive to her. So she
replied, without pausing to reflect—"I have already told you that I
am not going to America."
"Very well, Lizzy," replied Thomas, in a voice that was
considerably softened, "I leave you to your own choice,
notwithstanding the vow you made on that happy morning. My promise was
to love you and to keep you in sickness and in health, but though I
may love you as well in old England as in a far-off country, I cannot
perform that other promise so well. So I must e'en leave you with my
heart's best blessing, and a pledge that you shall want for no earthly
comfort while I have a hand to work."
And saying this, Thomas Ward left the presence of his wife, and
started forth to walk and to think. On his return, he found Lizzy
sitting by the window with her hands covering her face, and the tears
making their way through her fingers. He said nothing, but he had a
hope that she would change her mind and go with him when the time
came. In a little while Lizzy was able to control herself, and move
silently about her domestic duties; but her husband looked into her
face for some sign of a relenting purpose, and looked in vain.
On the next day, Ward said to his wife—"I've engaged my passage in
the Shamrock, that sails from Liverpool for New York in a week."
Lizzy started, and a slight shiver ran through; her body; but a
cold "Very well" was the only reply she made.
"I will leave twenty pounds in the Savings' Bank for you to draw
out as you need. Before that is gone, I hope to be able to send you
Lizzy made no answer to this, nor did she display any feeling,
although, as she afterwards owned, she felt as if she would have sunk
through the floor, and sorely repented having said that she would not
go with her husband to America.
The week that intervened between that time and the sailing of the
Shamrock passed swiftly away. Lizzy wished a hundred times that her
husband would refer to his intended voyage across the sea, and ask
her again if she would not go with him. But Thomas Ward had no more
to say upon the subject. At least as often as three times had his
wife refused to accompany him to a land where there was plenty of
work and good wages, and he was firm in his resolution not to ask her
As the time approached nearer and nearer, Lizzy's heart sank lower
and lower in her bosom; still she cherished all possible justifying
reasons for her conduct, and sometimes had bitter thoughts against
her husband. She called him, in her mind, arbitrary and tyrannical,
and charged him with wishing to make her the mere slave of his will.
As for Ward he also indulged in mental criminations, and tried his
best to believe that Lizzy had no true affection for him, that she
was selfish, self-willed, and the dear knows what all.
Thus stood affairs when the day came upon which the Shamrock was to
sail, and Ward must leave in the early train of cars for Liverpool,
to be on board at the hour of starting. Lizzy had done little but cry
all night, and Thomas had lain awake thinking of the unnatural
separation, and listening to his wife's but half-stifled sobs that
ever and anon broke the deep silence of their chamber. At last
daylight came, and Ward left his sleepless pillow to make hurried
preparations for his departure. His wife arose also, and got ready
his breakfast. The hour of separation at length came.
"Lizzy," said the unhappy but firm-hearted man, "we must now part.
Whether we shall ever meet again, Heaven only knows. I do not wish to
blame you in this trying moment, in this hour of grief to both, but I
must say that—No, no!" suddenly checking himself, "I will say nothing
that may seem unkind. Farewell! If ever your love for your husband
should become strong enough to make you willing to share his lot in a
far-off and stranger land, his arms and heart will be open to receive
Ward was holding the hand of his wife and looking into her face,
over which tears, in spite of all her efforts to control herself,
were falling. The impulse in Lizzy's heart was to throw herself into
her husband's arms; but, as that would have been equivalent to giving
up, and saying—"I must go with you, go where you will," she braved it
out up to the last moment, and stood the final separation without
trusting her voice in the utterance of a single word.
"God bless you, Lizzy!" were the parting words of the unhappy
emigrant, as he wrung the passive hand of his wife, and then forced
The voyage to New York was performed in five weeks. On his arrival
in that city, Ward sought among his countrymen for such information
as would be useful to him in obtaining employment. By some of these,
the propriety of advertising was suggested. Ward followed the
suggestion, and by so doing happily obtained, within a week after his
arrival, the offer of a good situation as overseer and gardener upon a
large farm fifty miles from the city. The wages were far better than
any he had received in England.
"Are you a single man?" asked the sturdy old farmer, after Ward had
been a day or two at his new home.
"No, sir; I have a wife in the old country," he replied, with a
slight appearance of confusion.
"Have you? Well, Thomas, why didn't you bring her along?"
"She was not willing to come to this country," returned Thomas.
"Then why did you come?"
"Because it was better to do so than to starve where I was."
"It doesn't matter about your wife, I suppose?"
"Why not?" Thomas spoke quickly, and knit his brows.
"If you couldn't live in England, what is your
"I shall send her half of my wages."
"Ah, that's the calculation, is it? But it seems to me that it
would have been a saving in money as well as comfort, if she had come
with you. Does she know any thing about dairy work?"
"Yes, sir; she was raised on a dairy farm."
"Then she's a regular-bred English dairy maid?"
"She is, and none better in the world."
"Just the person I want. You must write home for her, Thomas, and
tell her she must come over immediately."
But Thomas shook his head.
"Won't she come?"
"I cannot tell. But she refused to come with me, although I
repeatedly urged her. She must now take her own course. I felt, it to
be my duty to her as well as to myself, to leave England for a better
land; and if she thinks it her duty to stay behind, I must bear the
separation the best way I can."
"I hope you had no quarrel, Thomas?" said the farmer, in his blunt
"No, sir," said Thomas, a little indignantly. "We never had the
slightest difference, except in this matter."
"Then write home by the next steamer and ask her to join you, and
she will be here by the earliest packet, and glad to come."
But Thomas shook his head. The man had his share of stubborn pride.
"As you will," said the farmer. "But I can tell you what, if she'd
been my wife, I'd have taken her under my arm and brought her along
in spite of all objections. It's too silly, this giving up to and
being fretted about a woman's whims and prejudices. I'll be bound, if
you'd told her she must come, and packed her trunk for her to show
that you were in earnest, she'd never have dreamed of staying behind."
That evening Thomas wrote home to his wife all about the excellent
place he had obtained, and was particular to say that he had agreed
to remain for a year, and would send her half of his wages every
month. Not one word, however, did he mention of the conversation that
had passed between him and the farmer; nor did he hint, even remotely,
to her joining him in the United States.
All the next day Thomas thought about what the farmer had said, and
thought how happy both he and Lizzy might be if she would only come
over and take charge of the dairy. The longer this idea remained
present in his mind, the more deeply did it fix itself there. On the
second night he dreamed that Lizzy was with him, that she had come
over in the very next packet, and that they were as happy as they
could be. He felt very bad when he awoke and found that it was only a
At last, after a week had passed, Thomas Ward fully forgave his
wife every thing, and sat himself down to write her a long letter,
filled with all kinds of arguments, reasons, and entreaties favourable
to a voyage across the Atlantic. Thus he wrote, in part:—
......."As to wild Indians, Lizzy, of which you have such fear,
there are none within a thousand miles, and they are tame enough. The
fierce animals are all killed, and I have not seen a single serpent,
except a garter snake, that is as harmless as a tow string. Come then,
Lizzy, come! I have not known a happy moment since I left you, and I
am sure you cannot be happy. This is a land of peace and plenty—a
Thomas Ward did not know that a stranger had entered the room, and
was now looking over his shoulder, and reading what he had written.
Just as his pen was on the sentence left unfinished above, a pair of
soft hands were suddenly drawn across his eyes, and a strangely
familiar voice said, tremblingly—"Guess who it is!"
Before he had time to think or to guess, the hands passed from his
eyes to his neck, and a warm wet cheek was laid tightly against his
own. He could not see the face that lay so close to his, but he knew
that Lizzy's arms were around him, that her tears were upon his face,
and that her heart was beating against him.
"Bless us!" ejaculated the old farmer, who had followed after the
young woman who had asked at the door with such an eager interest for
Thomas Ward—"what does all this mean?"
By this time Thomas had gained a full view of his wife's tearful
but happy face. Then he hugged her to his bosom over and over again,
much to the surprise and delight of the farmer's urchins, who
happened to be in the room.
"Here she is, sir; here she is!" he cried to the farmer, as soon as
he could see any thing else but Lizzy's face, and then first became
aware of the old gentleman's presence; "here is your English dairy
"Then it's your wife, Thomas, sure enough."
"Oh, yes, sir; I thought she would be along after a while, but
didn't expect this happiness so soon."
"How is this, my young lady?" asked the farmer,
good-humouredly—"how is this? I thought you wasn't going to come to
this country. But I suppose the very next packet after your husband
left saw you on board. All I blame him for is not taking you under
his arm, as I would have done, and bringing you along as so much
baggage. But no doubt you found it much pleasanter coming over alone
than it would have been in company with your husband—no doubt at all
The kind-hearted farmer then took his children out of the room,
and, closing the door, left the reunited husband and wife alone. Lizzy
was too happy to say any thing about how wrong she had been in not
consenting to go with her husband; but she owned that he had not been
gone five minutes before she would have given the world, if she had
possessed it, to have been with him. Ten days afterwards another
packet sailed for the United States, and she took passage in it. On
arriving in New York she was fortunate enough to fall in with a
passenger who had come over in the Shamrock, and from him learned
where she could find her husband, who acknowledged that she had given
him the most agreeable surprise he had ever known in his life.
Lizzy has never yet had cause to repent of her voyage to America.
The money she received for managing the dairy of the old farmer,
added to what her husband could save from his salary, after
accumulating for some years, was at length applied to the purchase of
a farm, the produce of which, sold yearly in New York, leaves them a
handsome annual surplus over and above their expenses. Thomas Ward is
in a fair way of becoming a substantial and wealthy farmer.
MARRYING A TAILOR.
"KATE, Kate!" said Aunt Prudence, shaking her head and finger at
the giddy girl.
"It's true, aunt. What! marry a tailor? The ninth part of a man,
that doubles itself down upon a board, with thimble, scissors, and
"I've heard girls talk before now, Kate; and I've seen them act,
too; and, if I am to judge from what I've seen, I should say that you
were as likely to marry a tailor as anybody else."
"I'd hang myself first!"
"Yes, or jump into the river. Do any thing, in fact, before I'd
marry a tailor."
"Perhaps you would not object to a merchant tailor?"
"Perhaps I would, though! A tailor's a tailor, and that is all you
can make of him. 'Merchant tailor!' Why not say merchant shoemaker,
or merchant boot-black? Isn't it ridiculous?"
"Ah well, Kate," said Aunt Prudence, "you may be thankful if you
get an honest, industrious, kind-hearted man for a husband, be he a
tailor or a shoemaker. I've seen many a heart-broken wife in my day
whose husband was not a tailor. It isn't in the calling, child, that
you must look for honour or excellence, but in the man. As Burns
says—'The man's the goud for a' that.'"
man wouldn't stoop to be a tailor."
"You talk like a thoughtless, silly girl, as you are, Kate. But
time will take all this nonsense out of you, or I am very much
mistaken. I could tell you a story about marrying a tailor, that would
surprise you a little."
"I should like, above all things in the world, to hear a story of
any interest, in which a tailor was introduced."
"I think I could tell you one."
"Please do, aunt. It would be such a novelty. A very
, as brother Tom says. I shall laugh until my sides ache."
"If you don't cry, Kate, I shall wonder," said Aunt Prudence,
"Cry? oh, dear! And all about a tailor! But tell the story, aunt."
"Some other time, dear."
"Oh, no. I'm just in the humour to hear it now. I'm as full of fun
as I can stick, and shall need all this overflow of spirits to keep
me up while listening to the pathetic story of a tailor."
"Perhaps you are right, Kate. It may require all the spirits you
can muster," returned Aunt Prudence, in a voice that was quite
serious. "So I will tell you the story now."
And Aunt Prudence thus began:
A good many years ago,—I was quite a young girl then,—two
children were left orphans, at the age of eleven years. They were
twins—brother and sister. Their names I will call Joseph and Agnes
Fletcher. The death of their parents left them without friends or
relatives; but a kind-hearted tailor and his wife, who lived
neighbours, took pity on the children and gave them a home. Joseph
was a smart, intelligent lad, and the tailor thought he could do no
better by him than to teach him his trade. So he set him to work with
the needle, occasionally sent him about on errands, and let him go to
school during the slack season. Joseph was a willing boy, as well as
attentive, industrious, and apt to learn. He applied himself to his
books and also to his work, and thereby gave great satisfaction to the
good tailor. Agnes was employed about the house by the tailor's wife,
who treated her kindly.
As Joseph grew older, he became more useful to his master, for he
rapidly acquired a knowledge of his trade, and did his work
remarkably well. At the same time, a desire to improve his mind made
him studious and thoughtful. While other boys were amusing
themselves, Joseph was alone with his book. At the age of eighteen he
had grown quite tall, and was manly in his appearance. He had already
acquired a large amount of information on various subjects, and was
accounted by those who knew him a very intelligent young man. About
this time, a circumstance occurred that influenced his whole
after-life. He had been introduced by a friend to several pleasant
families, which he visited regularly. In one of these visits, he met a
young lady, the daughter of a dry-goods dealer, toward whom he felt,
from the beginning, a strong attachment. Her name was Mary Dielman.
Led on by his feelings, he could not help showing her some attention,
which she evidently received with satisfaction. One evening, he was
sitting near where she was chatting away at a lively rate, in the
midst of a gay circle of young girls, and, to his surprise, chagrin,
and mortification, heard her ridiculing, as you too often do, the
business at which he was serving an apprenticeship.
"Marry a tailor!" he heard her say, in a tone of contempt. "I would
drown myself first."
This was enough. Joseph's feelings were like the leaves of a
sensitive plant. He did not venture near the thoughtless girl during
the evening, and whenever they again met, he was distant and formal.
Still, the thought of her made the blood flow quicker through his
veins, and the sight of her made his heart throb with a sudden bound.
From that time, Joseph, who had looked forward with pleasure to the
period when, as a man, he could commence his business, and prosecute
it with energy and success, became dissatisfied with the trade he was
learning. The contemptuous words of Mary Dielman made him feel that
there was something low in the calling of a tailor—something beneath
the dignity of a man. He did not reason on the subject; he only felt.
Gradually he withdrew himself from society, and shut himself up at
home, devoting all his leisure to reading and study. This was
continued until he attained the age of manhood, soon after which he
procured the situation of clerk in a dry-goods store. At his trade he
could easily earn twelve dollars a week; but he left it, because he
was silly enough to be ashamed of it, and went into a dry-goods store
at a salary of four hundred dollars a year. As a clerk he felt more
like a man. Why he should, is more than I can comprehend. But so it
As for Mary Dielman, she was not aware, at the time when she felt
so pleased with the attentions of Joseph Fletcher, that he was a
tailor—a calling for which she always expressed the most supreme
contempt. Her thoughtless words were not, therefore, meant for his
ears. The fact that she had uttered them was not remembered ten
minutes after they were spoken. Why she no longer met the
fine-looking, attentive and intelligent young man, she did not know.
Often she thought of him, and often searched the room for him, with
her eyes, when in company.
Nearly four years passed before they again met. Then Joseph was
greatly improved, and so was the beautiful maiden. The
half-extinguished fire of love, that had been smouldering in their
bosoms, rekindled, and now burned with a steady flame. They saw each
other frequently, and it was not long before the young man told her
all that was in his heart, and she heard the story with tremulous
The father of Mary, although a merchant, was not nearly so well off
in the world as many tailors. His family was expensive and drew too
heavily upon his income. The capital employed in trade was therefore
kept low, and his operations were often crippled for want of adequate
means. He had nothing, therefore, to settle upon his daughter. When
young Fletcher applied for her hand, his salary was five hundred
dollars. Mr. Dielman thought his prospects not over flattering, but
still gave his consent; at the same time advising him not to think of
marriage for a year or two, when he would no doubt be in a better
condition to take a wife.
The young couple, like most young couples, were impatient to be
married; and Joseph Fletcher, in order to be in a condition that
would justify him in talking a wife, was impatient to go into
business. Somehow or other, it had entered his mind that any young
man of business capacity and enterprise could do well in the West;
and he finally made up his mind to take a stock of goods, which he
found no difficulty in obtaining, and go to Madison, in Indiana.
Before starting, however, he engaged to return in six months, or so
soon as he was fairly under way, and make Mary his wife. At the time
named, he was back, when the marriage took place, and he returned
with his bride to Madison.
At the trade of a tailor, the young man had served an
apprenticeship of seven years. He was a good workman, and had, during
the last two years of his apprenticeship, assisted his master in
cutting; so that in the art to which he was educated he was thoroughly
at home; and, in setting it up, would have been sure of success. But
success was by no means so certain a thing in the new pursuit unwisely
adopted. He had been familiar with it for only about two years; in
that time he had performed his part as a clerk to the entire
satisfaction of his employers; but he had not gained sufficient
knowledge of the principles of trade, nor was his experience enlarged
enough to justify his entering into business, especially as he did not
possess a dollar of real capital. The result was as might have been
expected. A year and a half of great difficulty and anxiety was all
the time required to bring his experiment to a close.
Finding that he was in difficulty, two or three of his principal
eastern creditors, whose claims were due, sent out their accounts to
a lawyer, With directions to put them in suit immediately. This
brought his affairs to a crisis. An arrangement was made for the
benefit of all the creditors, and the young man thrown out of
business, with less than a hundred dollars in his pocket. Nearly
about the same time, Mr. Dielman, the father of his wife, failed
As a serious loss has been sustained by his eastern creditors on
account of the unfortunate termination of his business, Fletcher
could not think of going back. He therefore sought to obtain
employment as a clerk in Madison. Failing in this, he visited
Louisville and Cincinnati, but with no better success. He was unknown
in the two last-named cities, and therefore his failure to obtain
employment there was no matter of surprise.
Things now wore a very serious aspect. A few weeks found the
unhappy young man reduced to the extremity of breaking up and selling
his furniture by auction in order to get money to live upon. There was
scarcely a store in Madison at which he had not sought for
employment. But all his efforts proved vain. He had a good trade;
why, you will ask, did he not endeavour to get work at that? You
forget. It was the trade of a tailor!—the calling so despised by his
wife. How could he own to her that he was but a tailor! How could he
break to her the disgraceful truth that she had married a tailor!
The money obtained by selling their furniture did not last a very
"I will make another effort to obtain employment in Cincinnati,"
said the young man, after they were reduced almost to their last
dollar. "It is useless to try any longer in this place. I have waited
and hoped for some favourable turn of fortune, until my heart is
His wife made no objection, for she had none to make.
On the next day, Fletcher left for Cincinnati. He arrived there in
the night. On the following morning, he left the hotel at which he
had stopped, and, going into Main street, entered the first
merchant-tailor's shop that came in his way.
"Have you any work?" he asked.
"We have room for a journeyman, and are in want of one. Can you do
the best work?"
"Did you serve your time in the city?"
"No. I am from the East."
"Very well. Here is a job all ready. You can go to work at once."
The young man did not hesitate. He took the bundle of work that was
given him, and was shown into the back shop. He wrote home
immediately that he had obtained employment, which he hoped would be
permanent, and that he would be in Madison, Saturday about midnight,
and leave again on Sunday evening. He did not say, however, what kind
of employment he had procured. That was a secret he meant, if
possible, to conceal. When he met his wife, he evaded her direct
questions as to the kind of employment he was engaged in, somewhat to
For a month, Fletcher went and returned from Cincinnati, weekly,
bringing home about eight dollars each week, after paying all his
expenses. By that time, his wife insisted so strongly upon going to
Cincinnati with him, and taking boarding, that he could make no
reasonable objection to the step. And so they removed, Fletcher
feeling many serious misgivings at heart, lest his wife should make a
discovery of the truth that she had married only a tailor!
"Where did you say the store was at which you are employed?" she
asked, a day or two after they were comfortably settled at a very
pleasant boarding-house in Cincinnati.
"On Main street," replied Fletcher, a little coldly.
"What is the name of the firm? I forget."
Fletcher could not lie outright to his wife, so he told her the
truth, but with great reluctance.
No more was said then on the subject. About a week afterward, Mrs.
Fletcher said to her husband, "I was along Main street to-day, and
looked at the signs over every dry-goods store that I passed, but I
did not see that of Carter Cassard."
In spite of all he could do, the blood rushed to the face of the
young man, and his eyes fell under the steady look directed toward
him by his wife.
"The store is there, nevertheless," said he. His manner and the
tone in which he spoke excited in the mind of his wife a feeling of
For the next four days, there was a strong conflict in Fletcher's
mind between false pride and duty. It grieves me to say that, in the
end, the former conquered. On Saturday night, he came home with a
troubled look, and told his wife that he had lost his situation,
which he said had only been a temporary one. In this he certainly
went beyond the truth, for he had given it up voluntarily.
The poor young creature's heart sank in her. They had only been in
Cincinnati about two weeks; were among entire strangers, and all
means of subsistence were again taken from them. It is no wonder that
she wept bitterly upon receiving this sudden and distressing
intelligence. To see his wife in tears filled the heart of Fletcher
with the severest pangs. He more than half repented of what he had
done. But the thought of confessing that he was only a tailor made
him firm in his resolution to meet any consequence rather than that.
"He was a fool!" exclaimed Kate, no longer able to restrain her
indignation against the young man, and thus breaking in upon her
"But remember, Kate, how contemptuously he had heard her speak of
his trade, and even vow that she would rather drown herself than
marry a tailor."
"Suppose she did say this, when a thoughtless girl"—
"As you are, Kate."
"Don't bring me into the matter, aunt. But suppose she did say so,
is that any reason for his starving her? He was bound to use his best
efforts for the support of his family, and ought to have been
thankful, under the circumstances, that he was a tailor."
"So I think. And his wife ought to have been thankful too."
"And I suppose she would have been if he had possessed the
manliness to tell her the truth."
"No doubt in the world of that," returned Aunt Prudence, and then
resumed her narrative:
A week was spent by the young man in another vain effort to find
employment as a clerk. Then he avowed his intention to go to
Louisville, and see if nothing could be done there.
"Try longer here, Joseph. Don't go away yet, earnestly and
tearfully pleaded his wife. "You don't know how hard it is for me to
be separated from you. I am lonely through the day, and the nights
pass, oh! so heavily. Something may turn up for you here. Try for a
"But our money is nearly all gone. If I don't go now, I shall have
no means of getting away from this place. I feel sure that I can find
something to do there."
His wife pleaded with him, but in vain. To Louisville he went, and
there got work at the first shop to which he made application. At the
end of a week he sent his wife money, and told her that he had
procured temporary employment. She wrote back asking if she might not
join him immediately. But to this he objected, on the score that, as
his situation was not a permanent one, he might, in a few weeks, be
obliged to leave Louisville and go somewhere else. This, to his wife,
was by no means satisfactory. But she could do no less than submit.
Thus separated, they lived for the next three months, Fletcher
visiting his wife and child once every two weeks, and spending Sunday
with them. During the time, he made good wages. But both himself and
wife were very unhappy. Earnestly did the latter plead with her
husband to be allowed to remove to Louisville. To this however, he
steadily objected. Daily he lived in the hope of securing a clerkship
in some store, and thus, being able to rise above the low condition in
which he was placed. The moment he reached that consummation, so much
desired, he would instantly remove his family.
At length, it happened that Fletcher did not write once, instead of
several times, during one of the periods of two weeks that he was
regularly absent. The Sunday morning when he was expected home
arrived, but it did not bring, as usual, his anxiously looked-for
presence. His wife was almost beside herself with alarm. No letter
coming on Monday, she took her child and started for Louisville in
the first boat. She arrived at daylight, on Tuesday morning, in a
strange city, herself a total stranger to all therein, except her
husband, and perfectly ignorant as to where he was to be found. The
captain of the steamboat kindly attended her to a boarding-house, and
there she was left, without a single clue in her mind as to the means
of finding her husband. Inquiries were made of all in the
boarding-house, but no one had heard even the name of Joseph
Fletcher. As soon as she could make arrangements to get out, Mrs.
Fletcher visited all the dry-goods stores in the city, for in some
one of these she supposed her husband to be employed, although he had
never stated particularly the kind of business in which he was
engaged. This search, after being continued for a greater part of the
day, turned out fruitless. Night found the unhappy wife in an agony of
suspense and alarm. Some one at the boarding-house advised her to have
an advertisement for her husband inserted in a morning paper. She did
not hesitate long about this course. In the morning, a brief
advertisement appeared; and about nine o'clock a man called and asked
to see her.
She descended from her room to the parlour with a wildly throbbing
heart, but staggered forward and sank into a chair, weak almost as an
infant, when she saw that the man was a stranger, instead of her
husband, whom she had expected to meet.
"Are you Mrs. Fletcher?" he asked.
"I am," she faintly replied.
"You advertised for information in regard to your husband?"
"I did. Where is he? Oh, sir, has any thing happened to him?"
"No, ma'am, nothing serious. He has only been sick for a week or
ten days; that is, the man I refer to has. Your husband is a tailor?"
"Is the man you speak of a tailor?" eagerly asked Mrs. Fletcher.
"He is, ma'am; and has been working for me at No.—Fourth street."
"Then he is not my husband," replied the poor wife, bursting into
tears. "My husband is a clerk." In the bitterness of a keen
disappointment, rendered sharper by doubt and fear, Mrs. Fletcher
wept for some minutes. When she could command her feelings to some
extent, she thanked the tailor for calling, and repeated what she had
said, that the man at his house could not be her husband.
"He is from Cincinnati, ma'am; and goes there once in every two
weeks. I know that he has wife and child there," said the man.
"Still he cannot be my husband," replied Mrs. Fletcher; "for my
husband is not a tailor."
"No, not in that case, certainly." And the man owed and withdrew.
All day long the wife waited for some more satisfactory reply to
her advertisement, but no farther response to it was made. The call of
the tailor seemed like a mockery of her unhappy condition.
Night came, and all remained in doubt and darkness; and then the
mind of Mrs. Fletcher turned to the visit of the tailor, half
despairingly, in order to find some feeble gleam of hope. Perhaps,
she said to herself, as she thought about it, there is some mistake.
Perhaps it is my husband after all, and the man is in some error
about his being a tailor. As she thought, it suddenly flashed through
her mind that there had been a good deal of mystery made by her
husband about his situation in Cincinnati as well as in Louisville,
which always struck her as a little strange. Could it be possible that
his real business was that of a tailor? All at once she remembered
that her husband had been particularly silent in regard to his early
history. Trembling with excitement, she left the house about eight
o'clock in the evening, and started for the place where she remembered
that the tailor said he lived. He was in his shop, and recollected her
the moment she entered.
"Can I see the man you told me was named Fletcher?" she asked.
"Yes, ma'am; and I sincerely hope there has been some mistake, and
that you will find him to be your husband; for he is very ill, and
needs to be nursed by a careful hand."
Mrs. Fletcher followed the tailor up stairs, her heart scarcely
beating under the pressure of suspense. In a small chamber in the
third story, the atmosphere of which was close, oppressive, and
filled with an offensive odour, she was shown a man lying upon a bed.
She needed not a second glance, as the dim light fell upon his pale,
emaciated face, to decide her doubts. Her husband lay before her.
Eagerly she called his name, but his eyes did not open. She spoke to
him again and again, but he did not recognise, even if he heard her
On inquiring, she found that he was ill with a violent fever, which
the doctor said was about at its crisis. This had been brought on by
too long continued labour—he having worked, often, sixteen and
seventeen hours out of the twenty-four—by that means earning a third
more wages than any journeyman in the shop.
Alarmed and troubled as she was, Mrs. Fletcher was utterly
confounded by all this. She could not comprehend it. All night she
hovered over the pillow of her husband, giving him medicine at the
proper times, placing the cooling draught to his lips or bathing his
hot forehead. Frequently she called his name, earnestly and tenderly,
but the sound awoke no motions in his sluggish mind. Toward morning,
she was sitting with her face resting against a pillow, when his
voice, speaking distinctly, aroused her from a half slumber into which
she had, momentarily, lost herself. In an instant she was leaning over
him, with his name upon her lips. His eyes were opens and he looked
steadily into her face. But it was evident that he did not know her.
"Joseph! Joseph! don't you know me?" said she. "I am your wife. I
am here with you."
"Poor Mary!" he murmured, sadly, not understanding what was said.
"If she knew all, it would break her heart."
"What would break her heart?" quickly asked his wife.
"Poor Mary! She said she would never marry"—here the sick man's
voice became inarticulate.
But all was clear to the mind of Mrs. Fletcher. She remembered how
often she had made the thoughtless remark to which her husband
evidently referred. The tears again fell over her cheeks, until they
dropped even upon the face of her husband, who, after he had said
this, muttered for a while, inarticulately, and then, closing his
eyes, went off into sleep.
Toward morning a slight moisture broke out all over him, and his
sleep that was heavy, became soft and tranquil. The crisis was past!
In order not to disturb the quiet slumberer, Mrs. Fletcher sat down
by the bedside perfectly still. It was not very long before,
over-wearied as she was, sleep likewise stole over her senses. It was
daylight when she was awakened by hearing her name called. Starting
up, she met the face of her husband turned earnestly toward her.
"Dear husband!" she exclaimed, "do you know me?"
"Yes, Mary. But how came you here?" he said, in a feeble voice.
"We will speak of that at some other time," she replied. "Enough
that I am here, where I ought to have been ten days ago. But that was
not my fault."
Fletcher was about to make some farther remark, when his wife
placed her finger upon his lips, and said—
"You must not talk, dear; your disease has just made a favourable
change, and your life depends upon your being perfectly quiet. Enough
for me to say that I know all, and love you just as well, perhaps
better. You are a weak, foolish man, Joseph," she added, with a smile,
"or else thought me a weak and foolish woman. But all that we can
settle hereafter. Thank God that I have found you; and that you are,
to all appearances, out of danger."
Aunt Prudence looked into Kate's face, and saw that tears were on
"Would you have loved him less, Kate," she asked, "if he had been
"He would have been the same to me whatever might have been his
calling. That could not have changed him."
"No, certainly not. But I have a word or two more to add. As soon
as Fletcher was well enough to go to work, he took his place again
upon the shop-board, his wife feeling happier than she had felt for a
long time. In about six months he rose to be foreman of the shop, and
a year after that became a partner in the business At the end of ten
years he sold out his interest in the business, and returned to the
East with thirty thousand dollars in cash. This handsome capital
enabled him to get into an old and well-established mercantile house
as partner, where he remained until his death. About the time of his
return to the East, you, Kate, were born."
"I!" ejaculated the astonished girl.
"Yes. Their two older children died while they were in Louisville,
and you, their third child, were born about six months before they
"I!" repeat Kate, in the same surprised tone of voice.
"Yes, dear, you! I have given you a history of your own father and
mother. So, as you're the daughter of a tailor, you must not object
to a tailor for a husband, if he be the right kind of a man."
It may very naturally be supposed that Kate had but little to say
against tailors after that, although we are by no means sure that she
had any intention of becoming the bride of one.
THE MAIDEN'S CHOICE.
"TWO offers at once! You are truly a favoured maiden, Rose," said
Annette Lewis to her young friend Rose Lilton, in a gay tone. "It is
husband or no husband with most of us; but you have a choice between
"And happy shall I be if I have the wisdom to choose rightly," was
the reply of Rose.
"If it were my case, I don't think that I should have much
difficulty in making a choice."
"Don't you? Suppose, then, you give me the benefit of your
"Oh, no, not for the world!" replied Annette, laughing. "I'm afraid
you might be jealous of me afterwards."
"Never fear. I am not of a jealous disposition."
"No, I won't commit myself in regard to your lovers. But, if they
were mine, I would soon let it be known where my preference lay."
"Then you won't assist me in coming to a decision? Surely I am
entitled to this act of friendship."
"If you put it upon that ground, Rose, I do not see how I can
"I do put it upon that ground, Annette. And now I ask you, as a
friend, to give me your opinion of the two young men, James Hambleton
and Marcus Gray, who have seen such wonderful attractions in my humble
self as to become suitors for my hand at the same time."
"Decidedly, then, Rose, I should prefer Marcus Gray."
"There is about him, certainly, Annette, much to attract a maiden's
eye and to captivate her heart but it has occurred to me that the
most glittering surface does not always indicate the purest gold
beneath. I remember once to have seen a massive chain, wrought from
pure ounces, placed beside another that was far inferior in quality,
but with a surface of ten times richer hue. Had I not been told the
difference, I would have chosen the latter as in every way more
valuable; but when it was explained that one bore the hue of genuine
gold, while the other had been coloured by a process known to
jewellers, I was struck with the lesson it taught."
"What lesson, Rose?"
"That the richest substance has not always the most glittering
exterior. That real worth, satisfied with the consciousness of
interior soundness of principle, assumes few imposing exterior
aspects and forms."
"And that rule you apply to these two young men?"
"By that rule I wish to be guided, in some degree, in my choice,
Annette. I wish to keep my mind so balanced, that it may not be
swayed from a sound discrimination by any thing of imposing
"But is not the exterior—that which meets the eye—all that we can
judge from? Is not the exterior a true expression of what is within?"
"Not by any means, Annette. I grant that it should be, but it is
not. Look at the fact I have just named respecting the gold chains."
"But they were inanimate substances. They were not faces, where
thoughts, feelings, and principles find expression."
"Do you suppose, Annette, that bad gold would ever have been
coloured so as to look even more beautiful than that which is
genuine, if there had not been men who assumed exterior graces and
virtues that were not in their minds? No. The very fact you adduce
strengthens my position. The time was, in the earlier and purer
ages—the golden ages of the world's existence—when the countenance
was the true index to the mind. Then it was a well-tuned instrument,
and the mind within a skilful player; to whose touch every muscle,
and chord, and minute fibre gave answering melody. That time has
passed. Men now school their faces to deception; it is an art which
nearly all practise—I and you too often. We study to hide our real
feelings; to appear, in a certain sense, what we are not. Look at
some men whom we meet every day, with faces whose calmness, I should
rather say rigidity, gives no evidence that a single emotion ever
crosses the waveless ocean of their minds. But it is not so; the mind
within is active with thought and feelings; but the instrument formed
for it to play upon has lost its tune, or bears only relaxed or broken
"You have a strange, visionary way of talking sometimes, Rose,"
replied Annette, as her friend ceased speaking. "All that may do for
your transcendentalists, or whatever you call them; but it won't do
when you come down to the practical matter-of-fact business of life."
"To me, it seems eminently a practical principle, Annette. We must
act, in all important matters in life, with a just discrimination;
and how can we truly discriminate, if we are not versed in those
principles upon which, and only upon which, right discriminations can
"I must confess, Rose," replied her young friend, "that I do not
see much bearing that all this has upon the matter under discussion;
or, at least, I cannot see the truth of its application. Gold never
assumes a leaden exterior."
"We need not be very eminent philosophers to tell one from the
"No, of course not."
"Very well. Here is Marcus Gray, with a genuine golden exterior,
and James Hambleton with a leaden one."
"I do not grant the position, Annette. It is true that Mr.
Hambleton is not so brilliant and showy; but I have found in him one
quality that I have not yet discovered in the other."
"What is that?"
"Depth of feeling, and high moral principle."
"You certainly do not pretend to affirm that Mr. Gray has neither
feeling nor principle?"
"Of course I do not. I only say that I have never yet perceived any
very strong indications of their existence."
"I am in earnest, Annette. I doubt not that he possesses both, and,
I trust, in a high degree. But he seems to be so constantly acting a
brilliant and effective part, that nature, unadorned and simple, has
no chance to speak out. It is not so with Mr. Hambleton. Every word
he utters shows that he is speaking what he really feels; and often,
though not so highly polished in speech as Mr. Gray, have I heard him
utter sentiments of genuine truth and humanity, in a tone that made my
heart bound with pleasure at recognising the simple eloquence of
nature. His character, Annette, I find it no way difficult to read;
that of Marcus Gray puzzles my closest scrutiny."
"I certainly cannot sympathize with you in your singular notions,
Rose," her friend replied. "I have never discovered either of the
peculiarities in these young men that you seem to make of so much
importance. As for Mr. Gray, he is a man of whom any woman might feel
proud; for he combines intelligence with courteous manners and a fine
person: while this Hambleton is, to me, insufferably stupid. And no
one, I am sure, can call his address and manners any thing like
polished. Indeed, I should pronounce him downright boorish and
awkward. Who would want a man for a husband of whom she would be
ashamed? Not I, certainly."
"I will readily grant you, Annette," said Rose, as her friend
ceased speaking, "that Mr. Hambleton's exterior attractions are not to
be compared with those of Mr. Gray; but, as I said before, in a matter
like this, where it is the quality of the mind, and not the external
appearance of the man alone, that is to give happiness, it behooves a
maiden to look beneath the surface, as I am trying to do now."
"But I could not love a man like Mr. Hambleton, unless, indeed,
there were no possibility of getting any one else. In that case, I
would make a choice of evils between single blessedness and such a
husband. But to have two such offers as these, Rose, and hesitate to
make a choice, strikes me as singular indeed!"
"I do not hesitate, Annette," was the quiet reply.
"Have you, then, indeed decided, Rose?"
"I have—and this conversation has caused me to decide; for, as it
has progressed, my mind has been enabled to see truly the real
difference in the characters of my suitors."
"You have, then, decided in favor of Mr. Gray?"
"Indeed I have not, Annette. Though I admire his fine talents and
his polished exterior, yet I have never been able to perceive in him
those qualities upon which my heart can rest in confidence. He may
possess these in even a higher degree than Mr. Hambleton, but I am
afraid to run so great a risk. In the latter, I know there are moral
qualities that I can love, and that I can repose upon."
"But he is so dull, Rose."
"I really do not think so, Annette. There is not so much flash
about him, if I may use the word, as about Mr. Gray. But as to his
being dull, I must beg to differ with you. To me, his conversation is
"It never is so to me. And, besides all that, his tastes and mine
are as widely different as the poles. Why, Rose, if you become his
wife, you will sink into obscurity at once. He never can make any
impression on society. It is not in him."
"Rather make no impression on society at all, than a false or
disgraceful one, say I," was the firm reply of Rose.
"You cannot, certainly, mean to say," returned her friend, "that
the impression made upon society by Mr. Gray is either a false or
"I should be sorry to make that assertion, for I do not believe
such to be the case," Rose replied. "What I mean is, that I can read
Mr. Hambleton's true character, and I know it to be based upon fixed
and high-toned principles. These can never make the woman who truly
loves him unhappy. They give place to no moral contingencies, by
which hopes are so often wrecked, and hearts broken. Now, in regard
to Mr. Gray, there is nothing in his character, so far as I can, read
it, upon which to predicate safe calculations of this kind. He is
intelligent, and highly interesting as a companion. His personal
appearance and his address are attractive. But all below the exterior
is hidden. The moral qualities of the man never show themselves. I
feel that to give my heart to such a one would be risking too much. Of
course, I must decline his offer."
"Indeed, indeed, Rose, I think you are very foolish!"
"Time will show, Annette."
"Yes, time will show," was the prophetic response. And time did
show that Rose made a right choice, when she accepted the offer of
James Hambleton, and gave him, with her hand, a warm, true heart.
"I KNOW a young lady who will suit you exactly."
"It's a fact. She is just the thing."
"Is she rich?"
"Worth some fifty thousand dollars."
"Are you sure?"
"Certainly. Her father died about a year ago, and she was his only
child. Her mother has been dead many years. The old man was well off,
and his daughter received all of his property, and, as she is of age,
she has it all under her own control."
"Is she handsome?"
"Just so-so. But that don't matter a great deal. Gold is beautiful"
"Exactly. And intelligent?"
"I've seen smarter girls. But that's all the better, you know."
"Yes. Well now, who is she? That's the next question."
"Her name is Margaretta Riston, and she is now living with an old
aunt in Sycamore street."
"Are you acquainted?"
"Then be kind enough to introduce me forthwith. I must make a
conquest of some rich heiress soon, or I shall have to run away, or
petition for the benefit of the Insolvent Law."
"To-night, if you choose."
"Very well—let it be to-night. There is no time to be lost."
"Suppose she won't accept you?"
"She must. I'm as good-looking a fellow as you'll find in a dozen;
and I flatter myself that I have a smooth tongue in my head."
"Well, success to you, I say! But look here, Smith: if you succeed,
I shall expect a premium."
"There'll be no difficulty about that, Perkins. But let me secure
the prize first; and then say how much you'll want. You'll not find
me the man to forget a friend."
"I'm sure of that," responded the other, laughing.
And then the friends shook each other's hands heartily, promising,
as they parted, to meet early in the evening, preparatory to visiting
"You would not have me suspicious of every young man who visits
me!" said Margaretta Riston, in reply to a remark made by her aunt, on
the same evening that the two young men had proposed calling on her.
"I would rather have you suspicious, or, rather, exceedingly
watchful, than to be altogether off of your guard. Many dangers beset
the path of a rich young girl like you. There are, and I am sorry to
say it, too many young men in society, who are mere
money-hunters—young men who would marry an heiress during the first
hour of their acquaintance, and marry her, of course, only for her
"I can hardly credit it, aunt. And I am sure that no young men of
my acquaintance are so selfish and mercenary!"
"In that assumption lies a fatal error, believe me, my dear niece!
Too many, alas! too many young girls have vainly imagined, as you do
now, that, though there might be men of base characters in society,
none such were of their acquaintances. These have awakened from their
fatal error with the sad consciousness that they had become victims to
their fond infidelity. Rather suspect all until you have convincing
evidence to the contrary, than remain unguarded until it is too late."
"But don't you see, aunt, how in this case I would do wrong to
sincere and honest minds? And I cannot bear the thought of doing
wrong to any one."
"You do no wrong to any one, my niece, in with-holding full
confidence until there is evidence that full confidence may be safely
bestowed. In the present evil state of the world, involving, as it
does, so much of false appearance, hypocrisy, and selfish motive, it
is absolutely necessary, especially with one in your situation, to
withhold all confidence, until there is unquestionable proof of
"There is at least one young man, who visits here, that I think is
above such mean suspicions," Margaretta said.
"So I think," the aunt replied.
"Whom do you mean, aunt?"
"I mean Thomas Fielding."
"Thomas Fielding! Well, he may be; but—"
"But what, Margaretta?"
"Oh, nothing, aunt. But I do not like Mr. Fielding so very much."
"Why not, child?"
"I can hardly tell. But there is no character about him."
"No character! Really, Margaretta, you surprise me. There is more
character and principle about him than about any young man who comes
to this house."
"I cannot think so, aunt. He is too tame, prosy, and old-fashioned
"Whom then did you mean?" the aunt asked, with an expression of
concern in her tones.
"Why, Mr. Perkins, to be sure."
The aunt shook her head.
"I am afraid, Margaretta, that Mr. Perkins is a man of few
principles, but thoroughly selfish ones."
"How strangely you talk, aunt! Why, he is any thing but a selfish
man. I am sure he is the most gentlemanly, thoughtful, and polite man
that visits here. He is much more attentive to others, in company,
than Mr. Fielding; and that, I am sure, indicates a kinder regard for
"Not always, Margaretta. It may sometimes indicate a cold-hearted,
calm assurance, assumed for selfish ends; while its opposite may be
from a natural reserve or timidity of character."
"But you don't mean to say, surely, that Mr. Perkins is such a one
as you intimate?"
"If I am correct in my observation, he is all that I have
insinuated. In a word, he is, in my opinion, a mere money-hunter."
"I am sure, aunt, he is not so constant in his attentions as he was
some time, ago; and, if he were merely a money-hunter, he would not,
of course, abate those attentions."
"No—not unless he had discovered a richer prize."
"Indeed, aunt, you wrong him."
"I should be sorry to do so, Margaretta. But I do not form my
opinions hastily. I try to look close before I come to conclusions.
But I have stronger testimony than my own observations."
"What is that?"
"Why, I heard this morning that he is to be married in a few weeks
to Harriet Pomeroy."
"Indeed, you must be mistaken, aunt," said Margaretta, suddenly
rising to her feet.
"I presume not," was the quiet reply. "My information came almost
The entrance of visitors now interrupted the conversation.
"Permit me to introduce my very particular friend, Mr. Smith," said
the individual about whom the aunt and her niece were conversing, as
he entered the handsome parlour of Mrs. Riston.
Mr. Smith and Mr. Perkins were, of course, received with great
affability by Margaretta, who concealed the impression made upon her
mind by the piece of information just conveyed by her aunt.
As for Mrs. Riston, she was studiedly polite, but gave the young
men no very apparent encouragement. An hour soon passed away, and then
the visitors retired.
"Well, Smith, what do you think of her?" asked Perkins, as the two
gained the street.
"You're sure she's worth fifty thousand dollars?"
"Oh, yes. There's no mistake about that."
"But how do you know? This is a matter about which there
should be no mistake."
"I got a friend to examine the transfer books of the bank where the
stock is. Will that satisfy you?"
"You did? And pray why did you do that?"
"A strange question! but I'll tell you, as you seem dull. I had a
notion of her myself."
"And why did you get out of the notion?"
"Because I saw another whom I liked better."
"She was richer, I suppose."
"How can you insinuate such a thing?" And Perkins laughed in a low,
"Ah, I perceive. Well, how much is she worth?"
"About a hundred thousand."
"Are you sure of her?"
"Certainly! The thing's all settled."
"You're a lucky dog, Perkins! But see here, what did you mean by
the premium you talked of for bringing about a match between me and
"Oh, as to that, I was only jesting. But you haven't told me how
you like the young lady yet."
"Oh, she'll do, I reckon," said Smith, tossing his head half
"Do you think you can secure her?"
"Easily enough. But then I must get her away as often as possible
from that old Cerberus of an aunt. I didn't like her looks at all."
"That's clear. Well, she must be wide awake if I commence playing
against her in real earnest. I can win any girl's affections that I
"You have a pretty fair conceit of yourself, I see."
"I wouldn't give a cent for a man that hadn't. The fact is,
Perkins, these girls have but one end in view, and that is to get
married. They know that they have to wait to be asked, and, trembling
in fear lest they shall not get another offer, they are always ready
to jump eagerly at the first."
"Pretty true, I believe. But, Smith, don't you think Margaretta
quite a fair specimen of a girl?"
"Oh, yes. And I have no doubt that I shall love her well enough, if
she don't attempt to put on airs, and throw up to me that she was
rich, and I poor. I'll never stand that."
"She'll not be so foolish, I presume."
"She'd better not, I can tell her, if she doesn't wish to get into
hot water." And the young man laughed at his own half-in-earnest
"He's a very agreeable young man, isn't he, aunt?" said Margaretta,
after the two young men had gone away.
"Who? Mr. Smith, as Mr. Perkins called him?"
"He has a smooth enough tongue, if that is any recommendation; but
I do not like him. Indeed, he is far more disagreeable to me than his
very particular friend, Mr. Perkins."
"Oh, aunt, how can you talk so! I'm sure he was very agreeable. At
least, I thought so."
"That was because he flattered you so cleverly."
"How can you insinuate such a thing, aunt? Surely I am not
so weak and vain as to be imposed upon and beguiled by a flatterer!"
"Some men understand how to flatter very ingeniously; and, to me,
Mr. Smith seemed peculiarly adept in the art. He managed it so
adroitly as to give it all the effect, without its being apparent to
the subject of his experiments."
"Indeed, aunt, you are mistaken. I despise a flatterer as much as
you do. But I am sure that I saw nothing like flattery about Mr.
"I am sorry that you did not, Margaretta. But take my advice, and
be on your guard. That man's motives in coming to see you, believe me,
are not the purest in the world."
"You are far too suspicious, aunt; I am sure you are."
"Perhaps I have had cause. At any rate, Margaretta, I have lived
longer in, and seen much more of the world than you have, and I ought
to have a clearer perception of character. For your own sake, then,
try and confide in my judgment."
"I ought to confide in your judgment, aunt, I know; but I cannot
see as you do in this particular instance."
"Then you ought rather to suspect the correctness of your own
observation, when it leads to conclusions so utterly opposed to
To this Margaretta did not reply. It seemed too much like giving up
her own rationality to assent to it, and she did not wish to pain her
aunt by objections.
On the next evening, a quiet, intelligent, and modest-looking young
man called in, and spent an hour or two with Margaretta and her aunt.
He did not present so imposing and showy an exterior as did Mr. Smith,
but his conversation had in it far more substance and real common
sense. After he had retired, Margaretta said—
"Well, it is no use; I cannot take any pleasure in the society of
"Why not, my dear?" asked the aunt.
"Oh, I don't know; but he is so dull and prosy."
"I am sure he don't seem dull to me, Margaretta. He doesn't talk a
great deal, it is true; but, then, what he does say is characterized
by good sense, and evinces a discriminating mind."
"But don't you think, aunt, that my money has some influence in
bringing him here?" And Margaretta looked up archly into her aunt's
"It may have, for aught I can tell. We cannot see the motives of
any one. But I should be inclined to think that money would have
little influence with Thomas Fielding, were not every thing else in
agreement. He is, I think, a man of fixed and genuine principles."
"No doubt, aunt. But, still, I can't relish his society. And if I
can't, I can't."
"Very true. If you can't enjoy his company, why you can't. But it
cannot be, certainly, from any want, on his part, of gentlemanly
manners, or kind attentions to you."
"No; but, then, he is so dull. I should die if I had no other
"Indeed, my child," Aunt Riston said, in a serious tone," you ought
to make the effort to esteem and relish the society of those who have
evidently some stability of character, and whose conversation has in
it the evidence of mature observation, combined with sound and
virtuous principles, more than you do the flippant nonsense of mere
ladies' men, or selfish, unprincipled fortune-hunters."
"Indeed, aunt, you are too severe on my favourites!" And Margaretta
But to her aunt there was something sad in the sound of that laugh.
It seemed like the knell of long and fondly cherished hopes.
"What do you think of Margaretta Riston, Mary?" asked Thomas
Fielding of his sister, on the next evening after the visit just
"Why do you ask so seriously, brother?" the sister said, looking
into his face, with a smile playing about her lips.
"For a serious reason, sister. Can you guess what it is?"
"Perhaps so, and therefore I will not tax your modesty so far as to
make you confess it."
"Very well, Mary. And now answer my question. What do you think of
"I know nothing against her, brother."
"Nothing against her! Don't you know any thing in her favour?"
"Well, perhaps I do. She is said to be worth some fifty thousand
"Nonsense, Mary! What do I care about her fifty thousand dollars?
Don't you know any thing else in her favour?"
"Why, yes, brother. As long as you seem so serious about the
matter, I think Margaretta a fine girl. She is amiable in
disposition—is well educated—tolerably good-looking, and, I think,
"Yes. Certainly there is nothing extraordinary about her."
"No, of course not."
"Well, brother, what next?"
"Why, simply, Mary, I like Margaretta very much. The oftener I see
her, the more am I drawn towards her. To tell the plain, homely
truth, I love her."
"And don't care any thing about her fifty thousand dollars?"
"No Mary, I don't think I do. Indeed, if I know my own feelings, I
would rather she were not worth a dollar."
"And why so, Thomas?"
"Because, I fear the perverting influence of wealth on her mind. I
am afraid her position will give her false views of life. I wish to
marry for a wife—not for money. I can make money
"Still, Thomas, Margaretta is, I think, an innocent-minded, good
girl. I do not see that she has been much warped by her position."
"So she seems to me, and I am glad that my sister's observation
corroborates my own. And now, Mary, do you think I have any thing to
"Certainly, I do."
"But why do you think so?"
"Because Margaretta must have good sense enough to see that you are
a man of correct principles, and an affectionate disposition."
"Still, she may not see in me that which interests her sufficiently
to induce her to marry me."
"That is true. But I don't believe you have any thing to fear."
"I cannot help fearing, Mary, for the simple reason, that I find my
affections so much interested. A disappointment would be attended
with extreme pain."
"Then I would end suspense at once."
"I will. To-morrow evening I will declare my feelings."
It was about nine o'clock on the next evening, while Mary Fielding
sat reading by the centre-table, that her brother entered hastily,
and threw himself upon the sofa, a deep sigh escaping him as he did
"What ails you, Thomas?" inquired his sister, rising and
But he made no reply.
"Tell me, what ails you, Thomas?" Mary urged, taking his hand
"I have been to see Margaretta," the brother at length replied, in
as calm a voice as he could assume.
"And she has not, surely, declined your offer?"
"She has, and with what appeared to me an intimation that I loved
her money, perhaps, better than herself."
"Surely not, brother!"
"To me it seemed so. Certainly she treated lightly my declaration,
and almost jested with me."
The sister stood silent for some moments, and then said—
"The woman who could thus jest with you, Thomas, is unworthy of
"So I am trying to convince myself. But the trial is a deeply
And painful it proved for many weeks afterwards. But, finally, he
was enabled to rise above his feelings
In the mean time, Mr. Smith had wooed the heiress successfully,
and, in doing so, his own heart had become interested, or, at least,
he deceived himself into the belief that such was the case. He no
longer jested, as he had done at first, about her money, nor
declared, even to his friend Perkins, how strong an influence it had
upon his affections. More serious thoughts of marriage had caused
these selfish motives to retire out of sight and acknowledgment; but
still they existed and still ruled his actions.
The aunt, when Margaretta made known to her that the young man had
offered himself, was pained beyond measure, particularly as it was
evident that her niece favoured the suitor.
"Indeed, Margaretta," said she, earnestly, "he is not worthy of
"You judge him harshly, aunt," the niece replied. "I know him to be
all that either of us could wish for."
"But how do you know, Margaretta?"
"I have observed him closely, and am sure that, I cannot be
deceived in him."
"Alas! my child, if you know nothing beyond your own observation,
you are far more ignorant than you suppose. Be guided, then, by
me—trust more to my observation than your own. He is not the man to
make you happy! Let me urge you, then, to keep him at a distance."
"I should do injustice to my own feelings, aunt, and to my own
sense of right, were I to do so. In a word, and to speak out plainly,
he offered himself last evening, and I accepted him!"
"Rash girl!" exclaimed Mrs. Riston, lifting her hands in
astonishment and pain, "how could you thus deceive your best friend?
How so sadly deceive yourself?"
"Do not distress yourself so, aunt. You have mistaken the character
of Mr. Smith. He is, in every way, a different man from what you
think him. He is altogether worthy of my regard and your confidence.
I do not wish to deceive you, aunt; but you set yourself so
resolutely against Mr. Smith from the first that I could not make up
my mind to brave your opposition to a step which I was fully
convinced it was right for me to take."
"Ah, Margaretta! You know not what you are doing. Marriage is a far
more serious matter than you seem to think it. Look around among your
young acquaintances, and see how many have wedded unhappily. And why?
Because marriages were rushed into from a fond impulse, vainly
imagined to be true affection. But no true affection can exist where
there is not a mutual knowledge of character and qualities of mind.
Now what do you know, really, about Mr. Smith? What does he know about
you? Why, nothing! I want no stronger evidence of his unworthy
motives, than the fact of his having offered himself after a three
weeks' acquaintance. What could he know of you in that time? Surely
not enough to be able to determine whether you would make him a
suitable wife or not—enough, perhaps, to be satisfied of the amount
of your wealth."
"You are unjust towards Mr. Smith," said Margaretta, half
"Not half so unjust as he is towards you. But surely, my niece, you
will reconsider this whole matter, and take full time to reflect."
"I cannot reconsider, aunt. My word is passed, and I would suffer
any thing rather than break my word."
"You will suffer your heart to be broken, if you do not."
"Time will prove that!" and Margaretta tossed her head with a kind
of mock defiance.
"Have you fixed your wedding day?" the aunt asked after a few
"Not yet. But Mr. Smith wants to be married in three weeks."
"In three weeks!"
"Yes; but I told him that I could not get ready within a month."
"A month! Surely you are not going to act so precipitately?"
"I cannot see the use of waiting, aunt, when we are engaged and all
ready. And I can easily get ready in a month."
To this the aunt did not reply. She felt that it would be useless.
After this, Mr. Smith was a regular daily and evening visitor. He
perceived, of course, the unfavourable light in which the aunt viewed
him, and in consequence set himself to work to break down her
prejudices. He was kind and attentive to her on all occasions, and
studied her peculiar views and feelings, so as to adapt himself to
her. But the old lady had seen too much of the world, and was too
close an observer to be deceived. Still she found silent acquiescence
her only course of action.
At the end of the month from the day of their engagement Margaretta
Riston was a happy young bride.
One week after their marriage, Mr. Smith entered the room of his
friend Mr. Perkins, with a pale, agitated countenance.
"What in the world has happened, Smith?" the friend asked, in
"Haven't you heard the news?"
"No. What news?"
"The United States Bank has failed!"
"It is true. And every dollar of Margaretta's money is locked up
"Really that is dreadful! I would sell the stock immediately for
what it will bring, if I were you."
"So I wish to. But neither my wife nor her aunt are willing. And so
soon after our marriage I do not like to use positive measures."
"But the case is urgent. Delay may sweep from you every dollar."
"So I fear. What shall I do then? To have the prize in hand, and
find it thus suddenly escaping, is enough to drive me mad!"
"Sell in spite of them. That's my advice."
And the half crazy young fortune-hunter hurried away. In a few
minutes after, he entered the room where sat his wife and her aunt in
gloomy and oppressed silence.
"The best thing we can do, Margaretta, I am satisfied, is to sell,"
he said, taking a chair beside his wife. "The stock is falling every
hour, and it is the opinion of competent judges that it will not be
worth five dollars in a week."
"And other competent judges are of a very different opinion,"
replied the aunt. "Mr. Day, who was Margaretta's guardian, has just
been here, and says that we must not sell by any means; that after
the panic is over the stock will go up again. The bank, he assures
us, is fully able to meet every dollar, and still have a large
surplus. It would be folly then to sell, especially when there is no
urgent demand for the money."
"There is more urgent demand than you know of," Mr. Smith said to
himself with bitter emphasis. He added aloud,—
"Mr. Day may know something about the matter; but I am sure he is
mistaken in the calculation he makes. It is said this morning, by
those who know, that the assets of the bank are principally in
worthless stocks, and that the shareholders will never get a cent. My
advice, then, is to sell immediately; a bird in the hand is worth two
in the bush."
But both the wife and aunt objected; and so soon after marriage he
felt that positive opposition would come with a bad grace.
Steadily day after day, the stock went down, down, down—and day
after day Mr. Smith persisted in having it sold. The fact was, duns
now met him at every turn, and it was with the utmost difficulty that
he could prevent his wife and her aunt from guessing at the nature of
the many calls of his "particular friends." Money he must have, or he
could not keep out of prison long, and the only chance for his
obtaining money was in the sale of his wife's stock. But at the rates
for which it was now selling, the whole proceeds would not cover the
claims against him. At last, when the stock had fallen to twenty
dollars, Mrs. Smith yielded to her husband's earnest persuasions, and
handed him over the certificates of her stock, that he might dispose
of them to the best possible advantage.
"Mr. Smith is late in coming home to his dinner," the aunt said,
looking at the timepiece.
The young wife lifted her head from her hand, with a sigh, and
"Yes, he is rather late."
"I wonder what keeps him so!" the old lady remarked, about five
minutes after, breaking the oppressive silence.
"I'm sure I cannot tell. I gave him my certificates of stock to
sell this morning."
"You did? I am afraid that was wrong, Margaretta."
"I'm sure I cannot tell whether it is or not, aunt. But I've had no
peace about them, night nor day, since the bank failed."
There was bitterness in the tone of Margaretta's voice, that
touched the feelings of her aunt, and tended to confirm her worst
fears. But she could not, now, speak out plainly, as she had felt
constrained to do before marriage, and therefore did not reply.
For more than an hour did the two women wait for the return of Mr.
Smith, and then they went through the form of sitting down to the
dinner-table. But few mouthfuls of food passed the lips of either of
Hour after hour moved slowly by, but still the husband of
Margaretta appeared not; and when the twilight fell, it came with a
strange uncertain fear to the heart of the young wife.
"What can keep him so late, aunt?" she said, anxiously, as
the lights were brought in.
"Indeed, my child, I cannot tell. I hope that nothing is wrong."
"Wrong, aunt? What can be wrong?" and Margaretta looked her aunt
eagerly and inquiringly in the face.
"I am sure, my child, I do not know. Something unusual must detain
him, and I only hope that something may be evil neither to him nor
Again there was a deep and painful silence—painful at least to one
heart, trembling with an undefinable sensation of fear.
"There he is!" ejaculated Margaretta springing to her feet, as the
bell rang, and hurrying to the door before the servant had time to
"Here is a letter for Mrs. Smith," said a stranger, handing her a
sealed note, and then withdrawing quickly.
It was with difficulty that the young wife could totter back to the
parlour, where she seated herself by the table, and with trembling
hands broke the seal of the letter that had been given her. Her eyes
soon took in the brief words it contained. They were as follow:—
"Farewell, Margaretta! We shall, perhaps, never meet again! Think
of me as one altogether unworthy of you. I have wronged you—sadly
wronged you, I know—but I have been driven on by a kind of evil
necessity to do what I have done. Forget me! Farewell!"
This note bore neither date nor signature, but the characters in
which it was written were too well known to be mistaken.
Mrs. Riston saw the fearful change that passed over the face of her
niece as she read the note, and went quickly up to her. She was in
time to save her from falling to the floor. All through the night she
lay in a state of insensibility, and it was weeks before she seemed to
take even the slightest interest in any thing that was going on around
It was about three o'clock of the day that Mr. Smith got possession
of the certificates of deposit, that he entered the room of his
friend, Perkins. He looked agitated and irresolute.
"Well, Smith, how are you?" his friend said. "Have you sold that
"Indeed! So you have triumphed over your wife's scruples.
Well—what did you get for it?"
"Only eight thousand dollars."
"That was a shameful sacrifice!"
"Indeed it was. And it puts me into a terrible difficulty."
"What is that?"
"Why, I owe at least that sum; and I cannot stay here unless it is
"That is bad."
"Out of the fifty thousand I could have squared up, and it would
not have been felt. But I cannot use the whole eight thousand, and
look Margaretta and her aunt in the face again. And if I don't pay my
debts, you see, to prison I must go."
"You are in a narrow place, truly. Well, what are you going to do?"
"A question more easily asked than answered. Among my debts are
about, four thousand dollars that must be paid whether or no."
debts of honour!"
"Ah, indeed! that is bad. You will have to settle them."
"Of course!" Then, in a loud and emphatic whisper, he said—
have settled them!"
"Indeed! Well, what next? How will you account to your wife for the
"Account to my wife!" and as he said this, he ground his teeth
together, while his lip curled. "Don't talk to me in that way,
Perkins, and cause me to hate the woman I have deceived and injured!"
are you going to do, Smith?"
"I am going to clear out with the balance of the money in my
pocket. I can't stay here, that's settled; and I'm not going away
penniless, that's certain. Margaretta's old aunt has money enough, and
can take care of her—so she's provided for. And I've no doubt but
that she'll be happier without me than with me."
"Where are you going?"
"Somewhere down South."
"At four o'clock this afternoon."
"Well, success to you. There are some rich widows in the Southern
country, you know."
"I understand; but I'm rather sick of these operations. They are a
little uncertain. But good-bye, and may you have better luck than
your friend Smith."
"Good-bye." And the two young men shook hands cordially and parted.
At four o'clock Mr. Smith left for Baltimore—not the happiest man
in the cars by a great deal.
Since that day the confiding young creature who had thrown all into
the scale for him has neither seen him nor heard from him. To her the
light of life seems fled for ever. Her face is very pale, and wears an
expression of heart-touching misery. She is rarely seen abroad. Poor
creature! In her one sad error, what a lifetime of sorrow has been
Of all conditions in life, that of the young heiress, with her
money in her own right, is peculiarly dangerous. The truly worthy
shrink often from a tender of their affection, for fear their motives
may be thought interested; while the mercenary push forward, and by
well-directed flattery, that does not seem like flattery, win the
prize they cannot appreciate.
There are such base wretches in society. Let those who most need to
fear them be on their guard.
It is now but a few weeks since Thomas Fielding, who was despised
and rejected by Margaretta, married a sweet girl in every way worthy
of him. She is not rich in worldly goods, but she is rich in virtuous
principles. The former Fielding does not need; but the latter he can
cherish "as a holy prize."
IS MARRIAGE A LOTTERY?
"I AM afraid to marry," said a young lady, half jesting and half in
earnest, replying to something a friend had said.
"Why so, Ella?" asked one of the company, who had thus far chosen
rather to listen than join in the conversation of half a dozen gay
young girls. She was a quiet, matronly-looking individual, some few
years past the prime of life.
"For fear of being unhappy, Mrs. Harding," replied the first
"What an idea!" exclaimed a gay damsel, laughing aloud at the
singular fear expressed by Ella. "For my part, I never expect to be
happy until I am married."
"If marriage should make you any happier than you are now,
Caroline, the result will be very fortunate. Your case will form an
exception to the rule."
"Oh, no, Ella, don't say that," spoke up the one who had replied to
her first remark. "Happiness is the rule, and unhappiness the
"Then it happens strangely enough," returned Ella, smiling, "that
we are more familiar with the exceptions than the rule."
"No, my dear, that cannot for a moment be admitted. Far more of
happiness than misery results from marriage."
"Look at Ellen Mallory," was answered promptly, "and Mrs. Cummings,
and half a dozen others I could name."
"The two you have mentioned are painful instances, I must admit,
and form the exceptions of which I spoke; but the result is by no
means one that should excite our surprise, for it is a natural
consequence flowing from an adequate cause. If you marry as unwisely
as did the persons you mention, I have no doubt but you will be quite
as wretched as they are—it may be more so."
"I am sure Mr. Mallory is an elegant-looking man," said one of the
company, "and might have had his pick among a dozen more attractive
girls than ever Ellen Martine was."
"All as thoughtless and undiscriminating as she," remarked Mrs.
"Ellen is no fool," returned the last speaker.
"In the most important act of her whole life, she has certainly not
shown herself to be a wise woman," said Mrs. Harding.
"But how in the world was she to know that Mr. Mallory was going to
turn out so badly?" spoke up Ella.
"By opening her eyes, and using the ability that God has given her
to see," was answered by Mrs. Harding.
"Those eyes are wondrous wise, I ween,
That see what is not to be seen,"
the maiden replied.
"Do you then really think, Ella," said Mrs. Harding, "that a young
lady cannot make herself as thoroughly acquainted with a man's real
qualities as to put any serious mistake in marriage entirely out of
"To me, I must confess that marriage seems very much like a
lottery," answered Ella. "We may get a prize, but there are ten
chances to one of our getting a blank."
"If you choose to make it a lottery, it will no doubt become so;
but if entered into from right motives, there is no danger of this
being the case."
"I don't know what you call right motives," said one; "but I'll
tell you a necessary pre-requisite in the man who is to make me a
"Well, child, what is it?"
"Plenty of money. I'm not going to be a poor man's wife, and work
myself to death, all for love—no, not I!"
"I'll have a handsome man for a husband, or none," remarked
"Give me splendid talents," said a third.
"And what must you have, Ella?" asked Mrs. Harding, turning to the
one she addressed.
"All three, if I can get them," replied Ella.
"Beauty, wealth, and talents. These you think would satisfy you?"
"Oh, yes; I should be rather hard to please if they did not."
"Let me relate to you the histories of two friends of mine who
married young," said Mrs. Harding, without remarking upon what had
just been declared. "Perhaps they may contain lessons that it will be
of use for you all to get by heart."
"Oh, yes, do!" said the young ladies, gathering around Mrs.
Harding, who, after a short pause, related what follows.
"In my younger days," began Mrs. Harding, "I had two intimate
friends, to whom I was warmly attached. I loved them for their many
good qualities, and particularly for their unselfishness. To make
others happy, always appeared to give them a double pleasure. They
were nearly of the same age, and possessed equal external advantages;
but their characters were very different. Sarah Corbin, who was a few
months older than her friend and almost constant companion, Harriet
Wieland, was quiet, thoughtful, and observant; while Harriet, who had
great personal attractions, never appeared to look beneath the
surface. She believed every thing to be true that bore the semblance
of truth, to her all that glittered was gold. Like you, and most other
young ladies, we sometimes talked of marriage, and the qualifications
desirable in a good husband. Harriet, whether in a gay or sober mood,
always declared, like Ella here, that he who won her heart must have
riches, manly beauty, and brilliant talents. These she called man's
cardinal virtues. Sarah never had much to say on these matters, and,
when we asked her opinion, she generally replied evasively.
"A young man named Eaverson, answering pretty nearly to the beau
ideal of Harriet Wieland, came from a neighbouring city to reside in
this. He was connected with a wealthy and highly respectable family,
was really a handsome man, and possessed very fine abilities. He had
studied law, and opened his office here for the purpose of pursuing
it as a regular profession; but, not meeting with much practice at
first, he occupied a large portion of his time in literary pursuits,
writing for the magazines and reviews. He also published a small
volume of poetry, which contained many really brilliant specimens of
"Circumstances threw Eaverson into the circle of which we formed a
part, and we were consequently introduced to him. In the course of
time, he began to pay rather marked attentions to Sarah Corbin, at
which I felt a little surprised, as he had met Harriet Wieland quite
as often, and she was far more beautiful and showy, and more likely,
it seemed to me, to attract one like him than the other. Either Sarah
was unconscious that his attentions were more marked in her case, or
she did not wish her observation of the fact to be known, for all our
allusions to the subject were evaded with a seeming indifference that
left our minds in doubt. Such were our impressions at first; but the
sequel showed that she had marked his first advances with lively
interest, and understood their meaning quite as well as we did.
"About Eaverson there was every thing to attract the heart of a
maiden not well guarded; and Sarah found that it required the fullest
exercise of her reason to prevent her from letting every affection of
her mind go out and attach itself to an object that seemed, at first
sight, so worthy of her love. But by nature and from education she was
thoughtful and observant; and a wise mother had taught her that in
marriage external accomplishments and possessions were nothing, unless
united with virtuous principles and well-regulated passions. The
brilliant attractions of Eaverson strongly tempted her to take his
moral fitness for granted; but wiser counsels prevailed in her mind;
and with a vigorous hand laid upon her heart to keep down its errant
impulses, she exercised, with coolness and a well-balanced mind, the
powers of discrimination which God had given for her guidance through
All the time that this process was going on in her mind, we
remained in ignorance of the fact that she ever thought of the young
man, except when he was present, or his name introduced by others. To
her, all that related to marriage was too serious to form the theme
of ordinary conversation, light jests, or idle chit-chat. Rarely
indeed would she have any thing to say, when others spoke lightly or
jested on the subject. This being the case, now that her own mind had
become deeply interested in a matter of most vital importance to her
future welfare, she had no one to disturb the even balance of her
reflections by a thoughtless word, an untimely jest, or a false
opinion flowing from inexperience or a want of ability to read human
nature aright. Silently, freely, and with no biassing influence, in
the unapproachable chambers of her own thoughts did she weigh the
real character of Eaverson, as far as she could understand it,
against what was merely external and personal. The more marked the
attentions of the young man became, the more earnestly did she seek
to comprehend his real character. Every word he uttered in her
presence, every sentiment he expressed, every action and every look
were closely scanned, and their meaning, as having reference to
principles in the mind, sought to be understood. Such careful
scrutiny did not go unrewarded. When Eaverson, soon after her mind
was made up in regard to him, made an offer of his hand, the offer
was unhesitatingly declined. Sarah had seen enough to satisfy her,
that with all his talents, beauty, and wealth, he was wanting in
virtuous principles and a high sense of honour.
"I confess, that, with others, I was greatly surprised when the
fact of Sarah's having declined the hand of Eaverson became known. The
selection of her by one like him seemed so high a preference, and
such a marked tribute to her worth and virtue, that it was scarcely
credible that she could have remained indifferent to his love. But
she saw deeper than we did."
"'I cannot understand the reason of your refusal to accept Mr.
Eaverson's offer?' I said to Sarah, one day, when the conversation
took a turn that gave me an opportunity of alluding to the subject.
'Do you know any thing against him?'
"'Nothing further than the conclusions of my own mind, arising from
a careful observation of his sentiments, manners, and unguarded
expressions,' she replied.
"'Was it from such conclusions that you declined his offer?'
"'From these alone, for I know nothing of his history before he
came to this city, and nothing of his life since he has been here.'
"'May you not possibly be mistaken?'
"'No. From the moment he seemed in the least pleased with me, I
commenced observing him closely. It was not long before I heard him
utter a sentiment, while speaking to another, that showed him to
possess very false views of life in at least one particular. This I
noted, and laid it by in my memory for comparison with any thing else
I might see or hear.'
"'But you would not condemn a man for having erroneous views of
life?' said I.
"'Oh, no; not if his principles be pure. But if false views arise
from a perverted heart, then I would condemn the man. What I heard, I
noticed in order to determine, if possible, from what source it came.
A very long time did not pass, before I saw something that told me
very plainly that the false view which I have mentioned depended more
upon a perversion of the heart than an error in the understanding. I
likewise discovered, very soon, that when in conversation with me, he
was, evidently, more upon his guard, as to what sentiments he
declared, than he was when in conversation with others. But I need not
state particularly the whole process by which I arrived at conclusions
sufficiently clear to warrant my full and prompt rejection of his
"'In what estimation do you hold him?' I asked.
"'As a man without honour or virtue,' she said, decidedly.
"'That is a broad and severe judgment,' I replied.
"'So it is. I have made it for myself. Of course, I cannot expect
others to view him in the same light; nor do I believe many others
would form this conclusion from the evidences that were presented to
my mind. But, as for me, I have no doubt on the subject. Rather than
become his wife, I would suffer death; for a union with him would be,
to me, the depth of misery.'
"The seriousness with which Sarah spoke satisfied me that she
believed all she said, and had, at some cost of feeling, rejected an
offer of marriage that would have been an exceedingly desirable one,
had the character of the man who made it been fully approved.
"A short time after the rejection of his suit by Miss Corbin, I
noticed that Eaverson appeared more inclined to keep company with
Harriet Wieland than before. I could not help feeling regret at this,
for, notwithstanding I thought Sarah had judged the young man rather
severely, I was yet satisfied that there must be some ground for her
conclusions in regard to his character. Slight attentions, encouraged
by Harriet, soon became the bold advances of a lover. A few months
after his suit had been declined by Sarah, he offered himself to her
friend, and was unhesitatingly accepted.
"In the mean time, a young man, whom I will call Williamson, had
met Sarah occasionally, and showed a disposition to win, if possible,
her favourable regard. His exterior was by no means elegant; his
literary attainments were not great; nor was he in the enjoyment of
any thing beyond a moderate income. Place him and Eaverson in almost
any company, and the latter would nearly hide him from view. But,
with the most moderate pretensions, and unattractive exterior,
Williamson's character was formed upon a ground-work of good sense
and virtuous principles. He had little facility of expression, but he
thought clearly, and, in most things, acted from a sound judgment. He
was much pleased with Sarah before Eaverson attempted to gain her
affections; and noticed his advances. For the result he looked with
some interest. When it became clearly apparent that she had thrown him
off, Williamson was satisfied that she was a girl of discrimination
and sound sense, and immediately resolved that he would know her
better. The oftener he met her, and the nearer he observed her, the
more excellent did her character seem in his eyes. The result was an
offer of marriage, which was accepted by Sarah, as much to our
surprise as was her rejection of Eaverson.
"My two young friends were married about the same time. The wedding
of Harriet was a brilliant one, and she was the envy of dozens of
young girls who had hoped and tried to make a conquest of the man who
had chosen to unite his fortunes with hers. Sarah's nuptials were
celebrated in a less imposing manner, and created but little
sensation. Most of her friends thought she had done but poorly.
Whether this were so, will be seen in the sequel.
"Harriet, with all her want of reflection and in-sight into
character, was a young woman of strong feelings, and loved, when she
did love, with something like blind idolatry. Thus she loved her
husband. He was every thing to her, and she believed him as near
perfection as a mortal could well be. The first few months of her
married life passed swiftly away in the enjoyment of as high a degree
of felicity as her mind seemed capable of appreciating. After that, a
shadow fell upon her spirit—dim and almost imperceptible at first,
but gradually becoming denser and more palpable. Harriet had noticed,
from the first, that her husband but rarely spoke of his family, and
always evaded any questions that a natural curiosity prompted her to
make. If he received any letter from home, he carefully concealed the
fact from her. The wealth, respectability, and high standing of his
family made Harriet, as a matter of course, feel desirous of bearing a
more intimate relation to its members than she now did. The more she
thought about this, the less satisfied did she feel. It was the marked
dislike manifested by her husband to any reference to his family, that
first caused a coldness to pass over the heart of the young wife, and
a shadow to dim the bright sunshine of her spirits; for it induced the
thought that something might be wrong. Once give such a thought birth,
and let mystery and doubt continue to harass the mind, and peace is
gone for ever. A thousand vague suspicions will enter, and words,
looks, and actions will have a signification never apparent before.
"Thus it was with my young friend, ere six months had passed since
her wedding-day. To increase her anxious doubts, her husband seemed
to grow cold towards her. This might all be imagination, but the
idea, once in possession of her mind, found numberless sustaining
evidences. He went out more frequently in the evening and stayed out
later than at first. Sometimes he would sit silent and abstracted,
and only reply in monosyllables to her questions or remarks.
"One day he came home to dinner, looking graver than usual. But,
during the meal, there was an evident desire on his part to appear
cheerful and unconcerned; he talked more freely than usual, and even
made many light and jesting remarks. But the veil assumed was too
thin. Harriet's eyes saw through it, and rested only upon the sombre
reality beneath. As they were rising from the table, he said,
"'Harriet, dear! I must run on to New York this afternoon, on
business. The interest of a client in a large estate there requires
my immediate presence in that city.'
"Eaverson did not look his wife steadily in the face as he said
this although he plainly tried to do so. But this she did not remark
at the time. Her mind only rested upon the fact of his going away.
"'How long will you be gone?' she asked in a choking voice.
"'I will try and be back to-morrow. If not, you will at least see
me home on the day after.'
"'Why can't I—'
"She paused—her eyes fell to the floor, and the colour deepened on
"'Go with you?'
"It was in New York that the family of Eaverson resided.
"'Not now,' he quickly answered. 'I am compelled to go in too much
hurry; but the next time business takes me there you shall accompany
"Nothing could be more unsatisfactory than this. Was she not to be
introduced to his family, as his wife, formally? Was she only to go
to the city of their residence at some future time, when business
called her husband there? The thought caused a chill to pass through
her frame. She made no reply. But the paleness that overspread her
face, and the sadness that fell upon her countenance, revealed to her
husband, too plainly, her state of mind. He said nothing, however, to
dispel the gloom she felt. Words, he no doubt felt, would be
"The young wife parted with her husband it tears, and then retired
to her chamber, where she gave way to a paroxysm of grief, that had
its origin more in the accompanying mystery than in the fact of her
husband's absence. I say mystery, for she did not fully credit the
reason he had given for his hurried visit to New York, and felt that
there was a mystery connected with it, that, somehow or other, deeply
affected her happiness.
"After the mind of Harriet had grown calmer, she commenced
restoring to order the few articles in her chamber that had been
disarranged in the hurried preparation made by her husband for his
departure. As she was about placing the coat he had worn in the
morning, and which he had changed for another on going away, in the
wardrobe, her hand pressed against a letter in one of the pockets,
which a sudden curiosity tempted her to read. The direction was in a
small, delicate hand, and the post-mark New York. Hurriedly opening
it, when she saw this, she read its brief contents, which were as
"DEAR HENRY—I heard, indirectly, within the last hour, that you
were married. I cannot believe it, yet the thought has maddened me!
If you do not come to me by to-morrow night, I will go to you on the
following day—for the truth or falsity of what I have heard must be
verified to me at once. If it be true—God help the innocent heart
you have betrayed, and most cruelly wronged. It can only break!
"The trembling hands of the horror-stricken wife could hold the
fatal epistle no longer than to permit her eyes to rest upon the
signature. It then fell rustling to the floor, and she sat pale,
quivering in every nerve, and unconscious of any thing but a wild
whirling of all her senses.
"It was my fortune, or misfortune, to call upon my young friend
just at this time. I was told that she was in her chamber; and, as our
intimacy was very great, I took a liberty we were in the habit of
taking with each other, and went up to her, unannounced. My gentle tap
at her door not being answered, I opened it and went in. As I have
just described her, thus I found her. My entrance but partially
restored her self-command. She stared wildly at me, stretched out her
hands, and made an effort to speak. I sprang toward her, and she fell
forward against my bosom, with a deep groan that made me shudder. Thus
she lay for nearly five minutes as still as a statue. Then a slight
quiver ran through her frame, which was followed by a gush of tears.
For a long time she continued weeping and sobbing, but at length grew
calmer. All this time I could see an open letter lying upon the floor,
which I doubted not was the caused of this distressing scene. When the
self-command of Harriet was at last restored, and she began to reflect
upon the consequences likely to flow from another's witnessing the
wild agitation she had displayed, a shade of anxious confusion passed
over her face. At this moment her eye rested upon the fatal letter,
which she caught up eagerly and concealed. I asked no question, nor
made any remarks. She looked at me steadily for a moment, and then let
her eyes fall thoughtfully to the floor.
"'You are surprised and confounded, no doubt,' she at length said,
mournfully, 'at what you have seen. Pardon me if I refrain from
mentioning the cause. It is one of which I cannot speak.'
"I begged her not to reveal the cause of her affliction, if to do
so were at all in violation of what she deemed right; but to accept my
deepest sympathies, and to put it in my power, if that were possible,
to mitigate, in some degree, the pain of mind she was suffering.
"'That you cannot do,' said she. 'It is beyond the reach of human
"'May Heaven, then, give you strength to bear it,' I returned, with
"'Heaven only can,' she replied in a subdued voice.
"I could say no more, for my ignorance of the cause of her distress
put it out of my power to offer consolation, more particularly as it
was her expressed wish that I should remain in ignorance. I staid an
hour with her, during which time I learned that her husband had been
suddenly called to New York on business. It was one of the unhappiest
hours I ever spent in my life. On going away, I could not help
recalling the conversation I had once held with Sarah Corbin about Mr.
Eaverson, nor help feeling that there might be too much truth in her
declarations that she believed him to be a man without honour or
virtue. There was no doubt in my mind that Harriet's distress was in
some way connected with her husband's absence, and it occurred to me
that the letter I had seen upon the floor, and which she concealed so
eagerly, might not have been intended for her eyes, and might contain
things which for her to know would be fatal to her peace through life.
In this, my conjectures were of course true.
"I called in to see Mrs. Eaverson on the next day, reluctantly, but
from a sense of duty. I found her calm, but pale, and with a look of
distress. She said but little. No allusion whatever was made to the
condition in which I had found her on the previous afternoon. I sat
only half an hour, and then went away. I could not stay longer, for
my presence seemed oppressive to her, and hers was equally so to me.
"On the third day succeeding that on which Mr. Eaverson went to New
York, I saw a newspaper paragraph headed, 'Melancholy Circumstances.'
It related, briefly, that the daughter of respectable and wealthy
parents in New York had been deeply wronged about a year previous by
an unprincipled cousin, whom she passionately loved. The consequence
was, that the young man had to leave the city, under the promise of
never returning to it, unless he consented to marry his cousin. This
penalty was imposed by the father of the girl, who declared his
intention to shoot him if he ever saw him in New York. The result of
this baseness on the part of the young man was the utter estrangement
of his family. They threw him off entirely. But, as he had a handsome
fortune in his own right, and the cause of his removal from New York
did not become generally known, he soon found his way into the best
society in a neighbouring city. Some months afterwards he married a
lovely girl, who was all unconscious of the base retch into whose
keeping she had given the inestimable jewel of her love. A few days
since, the narration proceeded, the cousin, by some means or other,
obtained a knowledge of this fact. She wrote to him demanding an
interview, and threatening that if she did not obtain one in
twenty-four hours, she would immediately come to him and ascertain for
herself, if what she had heard were true. Alarmed for the peace of his
bride, the young man hurried on to New York, and, at the risk of his
life, gained an interview with the lovely girl he had so deeply
injured. He did not attempt to conceal the fact of his marriage, but
only urged the almost broken-hearted victim of his base dishonour not
to do any- thing that could bring to his wife a knowledge of his
conduct, as it must for ever destroy her peace. This confession
blasted at once and for ever all the poor girl's hopes. She gave her
betrayer one long, fixed, intense look of blended agony, reproach, and
shame, and then, without uttering a word, retired slowly from his
presence. She sought her mother, who, from the first, had rather drawn
her into her very bosom than thrown her off harshly, and related what
she had just heard. She shed no tear, she uttered no reproach, but
simply told what her mother had known for months too well. That night
her spirit left its earthly habitation. Whether she died of a broken
heart, or by her own hands, is not known. The family sought not to
investigate the cause,—to them it was enough to know that she was
dead and at peace.
"Whether this statement ever met the eye of Mrs. Eaverson is more
than I can tell. I did not venture to call upon her after I had seen
it. A few weeks subsequently I met her in the street on the arm of
her husband. She was sadly changed, and had the appearance of one
just recovering from a long and severe illness. Eaverson himself had
a look of suffering.
"The notoriety given by the publication of the acts of his base
conduct in New York caused Eaverson to feel little at ease in this
city. Some months afterwards he removed to the South with his wife,
much against the wishes of her friends. Harriet did not want to go,
but she could do no less than accompany her husband.
"Some three years afterwards, it was whispered about that Harriet
had left her husband and returned home to her father; but that the
matter was kept very quiet, and that she had not been seen by any of
her old friends. It was said, that after living some time at the
South, Mr. Eaverson grew indifferent towards his wife. A virtuous
woman, she could not but be deeply shocked on discovering her
husband's want of virtue. This she could not conceal; and its
appearance was a standing reproof and condemnation of his principles
and conduct. No bad man could endure this. Its effect would be
certain estrangement. From dislike towards his wife, his feelings
gradually deepened into hatred. Open abuse soon followed neglect;
when she fled from him, with two young children, and sought the
protection of her father's house.
"It was nearly a year after Harriet's return, before I saw her. I
could hardly believe, when I did meet her and grasp her hand, that
the pale, dejected, care-worn being who stood before me was the same
with the light-hearted, beautiful, gay young girl I had known but a
few years back. Alas! how surely does pain of mind forestall the work
"A few days after this meeting, which made me sad for weeks, I
spent an afternoon and evening with Mrs. Williamson, formerly Sarah
Corbin. She had two children, a boy and a girl, and was living
somewhat secluded, but with every comfort she could desire. Her
husband was a merchant in a good business. When he came home at
tea-time and met his wife, it was with one of those quiet but genuine
smiles that you know come from the heart. He welcomed me, as he always
did, with great cordiality; and then calling for Sarah, his eldest
child, who ran in from the next room the instant she heard his vice,
he took her upon his lap, and, after kissing her with great
tenderness, asked and answered a dozen little questions to her great
delight. At tea-time Mr. Williamson conversed more freely than was
usual with him when I was present. I noticed, as I had often done
before, that, on whatever subject he spoke, his remarks, though few,
were full of good sense, and indicative of close observation. The
slightest deviation from honour or integrity met with his decided
condemnation, while virtuous actions were as warmly approved. I could
perceive, from the expression of his wife's face, and the tones of her
voice when she spoke, that she not only held her husband in high
estimation, but loved him with a tenderness that had grown with years.
Qualities of mind and heart, not external attractions, such as
brilliant accomplishments, beauty, or wealth, had drawn her towards
him at first: these had won her young affections, and they had become
purer and brighter, and increased in attractive power as year after
year went by.
"On going home that evening, I could not help pausing and looking
back. Vividly, as it were but yesterday, came up before my mind my
two young friends when, as maidens, their hands were sought in
wedlock. I remembered how one, with true wisdom, looked below the
imposing exterior and sought for moral worth as the basis of
character in him who asked her hand; while the other, looking no
deeper than the surface, was dazzled by beauty, wealth, and talents.
The result you all have seen."
Mrs. Harding paused in the narrative. Half a dozen eager voices
instantly inquired the ultimate fate of Mrs. Eaverson. "A few years
after her return home," resumed the narrator, "she died. Her husband
during that period neither wrote to her nor visited her. What has
become of him I don't know. Mrs. Williamson is still living,
surrounded by a lovely family of children. Her oldest daughter has
just been married, and, to all present appearances, has united her
fate with one every way worthy of her hand. Mr. Williamson, or rather
Mr. Rierdon, as I should truly have called him, you all know."
"Mr. Rierdon!" exclaimed Ella. "It can't be possible you mean him?"
"Not old Mr. Rierdon!" exclaimed another. "Why he is respected and
loved by every one!"
"I know he is," returned Mrs. Harding, "and well deserves to be.
Yet, when a young man, he had nothing very imposing about him, and
was thought of but little account by a set of young and foolish
girls, just such as you are, whose heads were liable to be turned by
any dashing young fellow with more impudence than brains, or more
talent than principle, who happened to thrust himself forward and
push better men aside. I hope the lesson I have endeavoured to teach
you may not be lost entirely; and that when any one of you has an
offer of marriage, she will look rather at the heart than the
head—at the qualities instead of the accomplishments—of him who
makes it. If she does not, she will be in great danger of committing
the sad mistake made by my excellent but thoughtless young friend,
Harriet Wieland, of whom I never can think without pain."
Whether the narrative of Mrs. Harding had any good effect upon her
hearers, we do not know; but we would fain believe that it had; and
we hope our fair young readers will not forget the important lesson
it teaches. Let them be well assured that marriage is no lottery,
except where it is made so. Every one who will look at the moral
qualities of the object of her regard, instead of at what is merely
external, will see deep enough to enable her to come to a right
decision in regard to him. There is no necessity for mistakes in
THE UNLOVED ONE.
AN EXTRACT FROM "LOVE IN HIGH LIFE."
......FIXED in his resolution to repel every manifestation of
tenderness on the part of his wife, Percy Edwards maintained towards
her the same cold formality, in spite of all her earnest efforts to
break the icy crust of his feelings. He did not love her, and was not
inclined to affect a passion; nay, she was absolutely repulsive to
him, and the least he could do, under the circumstances, was to
protect himself as he did without overt acts of unkindness.
And thus disjoined, instead of united, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards moved
along their way through life, envied by hundreds, who, in exchanging
with them, would have left an Eden of happiness for a dreary
A few months of such an existence completely broke down the spirits
of Kate. She had no pride to sustain her. Thousands, as unloved as
she, seek refuge in pride, pleasure, and a heartless worship at the
gilded shrine of fashion. They meet coldness with a sharp disdain;
and, finding nothing to love at home, turn to what the world has to
offer, and become mere bubbles on the surface of society—prominent,
brilliant, and useless. Nay, worse than useless; for they reflect the
light of heaven falsely, and create discontent in those who see only
their glittering exterior, and vainly imagine it to be the
correspondent of internal delight.
It was not so with Kate; for she was sincere, unselfish, and
true-hearted, and could not seek a false pleasure, when the sources
of real delight became dry. A naiad, at a fountain, the waters of
which had failed, she turned not to another, but bent weeping over
the spot, hoping, yet faint with a long desire to hear the murmur of
the coming stream.
There fell, at last, a gleam of light across her path. In her dark
and cloudy sky arched, beautifully, a bow of promise. Hope, faint,
yet sweet to her spirit, revived, and she looked to the future with a
trembling heart. For a long time she locked in her own thoughts the
dear secret she had discovered and pondered over it with a daily
increasing pleasure. Then it was whispered, low and with a blushing
cheek, to her husband. She was to become a mother!
From that moment she felt that there was a change. From that moment
her husband's manner was different. He was still as polite and formal
as, before; but with these was blended a something that her heart
interpreted as tenderness for his wife; and from this her fainting
spirit drew the aliment that sustained it. If, suddenly coming upon
her now, he surprised her weeping, he did not turn away, silent and
cold, as before; but would speak some word of apparent sympathy, which
instantly dried up the fountains of grief. And thus the time passed,
until another being saw the light—until another voice sounded upon
the air. Oh! with what a thrill of delight did the young mother take
her new-born babe into her arms, and hail it as the bond that was to
bind to hers the heart of her husband. How eagerly did she read the
face of that husband—as he bent over and gazed upon the innocent
being to which she had given birth—and marked its glow of pleasure.
But, he did not look into her face—he had eyes only for his
boy! The mother sighed faintly; but he did not hear the sigh. Her
long lashes fell slowly upon her cheeks, and tears stole from beneath
them; but he turned away without observing she wept.
The bow of promise, which had spanned the heaven of her mind, faded
away; and the light that had lain so warmly upon her path grew dim.
There was love in the heart of her husband only for his child, but
none for her. That dreadful truth came with a shock, felt to the very
centre of her being; and, reacting upon her exhausted system,
disturbed all its vital functions. Fever and delirium laid their
hands upon her, and for many days the light of life but flickered in
the wind that seemed every moment about to extinguish it.
When, at last, through the skill of her physician, the disease
abated, and health, though feeble, began to flow once more through
her veins; and when reason came back, and with it the outgushing
tenderness of the young mother, she found that her babe had been laid
upon another breast, and that from another it was to draw the
sustenance which nature had supplied for it in her own bosom.
Against this her heart arose in instant rebellion. But no freedom
of choice was left her. The physician said that her health was too
slender to admit of the exhaustion attendant upon nursing her own
babe. The husband would not hear of such a thing for a moment. And
her husband's mother older-hearted and more worldly-minded than even
he, openly sneered at the idea of one in her position degrading
herself into a mere child's nurse!
It was all in vain that Kate pleaded, tearfully, for the mother's
highest privilege. Those who had the power forced her into a
compliance with their will; and the fountain in her bosom, that
stirred at the voice of her babe, was suffered to become dry.
From that time, the health of Mrs. Edwards visibly declined; or,
rather, was never restored to its previous condition. She became
subject to fainting fits and long periods of depression, from which
nothing could arouse her. The babe, instead of forming a link between
her and her husband, became a rival in his affections. Mr. Edwards
worshipped his boy; but, for his wife, had no feeling other than
indifference, if not absolute dislike. All this Kate saw; and it
extinguished her last and dearest hope.
To those who could only look upon the surface, Mr. Edwards was
regarded as one of the kindest and most attentive of husbands; and
when a rumour of his wife's fits of gloomy depression of spirits went
abroad, the fault was attributed to herself, and laid to the charge of
a naturally capricious and dissatisfied temper.
"If she had fewer of life's blessings," said one, "she would be
happier. The very surplus of every thing makes her appetite pall."
"Any woman, situated as she is," remarked another, "who is not
contented, deserves to be wretched. I have no sympathy for her. Her
husband I know very well, and know him to be one of the kindest and
most indulgent of men."
"He has indulged her too much," alleged another.
These impressions the elder Mrs. Edwards strengthened and
confirmed, whenever she had occasion to say any thing on the subject.
"Percy has rather a gloomy time of it," she would sometimes remark,
when allusion was made to the subject; and then, when the inquisitive
would ask as to the cause of Kate's strange conduct, she would shake
her head gravely, and say—
"Over-indulgence has spoiled her."
"It's hard to tell what ails her, unless it be the desire for some
impossible thing. Some minds are never content. To multiply their
blessings is but to multiply their misery."
"Heaven knows what ails her! Percy would give worlds for that
knowledge, if with it came also the remedy."
The rapid decline in his wife's health, or rather its failure,
after the birth of her child, to come back its old standard united to
her lowness of spirits—naturally gave her husband some concern, and
he consulted her physician as to the cause. He, as the profession
generally do, assigned a physical cause, and recommended change of
"Let her go to the sea-shore, or among the Mountains," said he.
And this change was proposed to Kate.
"I saw Doctor R—to-day," said her husband, after the interview,
"and he recommends a few weeks on the sea-shore, or somewhere among
"I don't wish to go," replied Kate, in a low, sad voice.
"But your health, Kate," said Mr. Edwards.
"I shall be just as well at home," she replied.
"No, I will not admit that. Doctor R—is sure that a change of air
will do you good; and what he says is reasonable."
Kate made no answer. Mr. Edwards continued to urge the matter upon
her; but she had no more to say.
On the same evening Percy called to see his mother.
"How is Kate?" inquired the latter.
"No better. I saw Doctor R—about her to-day, and he says a change
of air is absolutely necessary, and recommends a few weeks at the
Bedford Springs, or at Newport, or Cape May."
"No doubt it would do her much good."
"No doubt in the world. But, as in every thing else of late, she is
opposed to just what her friends recommend to her as best."
"She doesn't want to go?"
"No, of course not."
"Did you tell that the doctor recommended the change?"
"Yes. But she insists upon it that she will be just as well at
"A compliment to the medical opinion of Doctor R—!
"Isn't it? I wish you would see her, and urge her to go somewhere."
"Very well; though I don't know that what I say will be of much
use. I am not one of her favourites."
"See her, at any rate. It won't do to let her sink down and die, as
she certainly will if something cannot be done to arouse her."
"I will call upon Mrs. Harrison and tell her what the doctor says.
She has great influence over her; and can persuade her to go if any
The mother of Kate heard what the doctor had said, and approved of
his recommendation. She knew, better than any one else, the true
nature of the disease from which her daughter was suffering; and,
although she did not hope for much from a change of scene, yet she
believed the effect would be salutary rather than otherwise. So she
went to see her immediately. She found her, as usual, alone in her
chamber, with a sad countenance, and a drooping, listless air. After
inquiring, tenderly, about her health, she said—
"I understand that Doctor R—recommends a change of air."
"What all doctors recommend when they do not know the cause and
nature of a disease," replied Kate, with a faint smile.
"But I think, with Doctor R—, that a few weeks at the sea-shore
will be of great benefit. The change will interest your mind as well
as invigorate your body."
"A temporary benefit may be derived from such a change," said Kate;
"but it cannot be permanent. When I return, I will sink again; and,
perhaps, lower, from the unnatural excitement to which I have been
"Kate, my child, it is wrong for you to give up in this way. Your
disease is more of the mind than of the body; and you have the power
to arouse yourself and throw it off, if you will."
"The power, mother! I, the power!" exclaimed Kate, in a voice that
made her mother start.
"Have you not?" inquired Mrs. Harrison calmly.
"Has the bird, whose wing is broken, the power to fly?" asked Kate.
"Unless you make an effort to throw off your present state of mind,
you cannot live. And are you willing to die, and leave this dear
child in the hands of those who cannot love it as you do?"
"Has it not already been taken from me? Does it not draw its
existence from another breast?"
"But your health required—"
"My health! mother! My very life depended upon the privilege you
have all denied me. Do you want the proof? Look at that shadowy
hand"—and she held up the thin white member against the light, which
almost shone through it—"and at this shrunken face," and she laid her
hand upon her colourless cheek. "Restore the fountain that has been
dried, and let my babe drink at it, and there is some hope. None
"That is impossible, Kate"—
"And just as impossible is my return to health through the means
"But, for the sake of your friends, you ought to be willing to try
the means of restoration prescribed by a physician in whom we all
"Friends?" said Kate, half to herself. "Friends? Have I any
"My child, why do you speak in this way?" asked her mother, in a
voice half sorrowful, half reproving.
"_Friends seek your good, not their own pleasure," continued Kate.
"Have I any who may be called by so excellent a name?"
And she shook her head mournfully.
"Have you not a husband?" said Mrs. Harrison.
Kate again shook her head; and then, after a pause, replied—
"There is a man who calls himself my husband; but he is so only in
"Kate! Kate!" exclaimed her mother, "are you mad? How dare you
utter such language?"
"A heart that is breaking, mother," said the unhappy creature, "may
be pardoned, if, in a moment of intense suffering, it is betrayed
into an expression of pain."
A long and gloomy silence followed this remark, which smote with
the apparent force of a hammer upon the heart of Mrs. Harrison. No
further attempt was made, at the time, to induce Kate to yield to the
wishes of her friends. Her mother endeavoured, rather, to draw off her
mind from thoughts such as those to which she had just given
utterance. But, she was none the less deeply impressed with the
belief that the change proposed would be beneficial; nor did she
intend abandoning her efforts to induce her daughter to go from home
for a short season. At the first opportunity she had an interview
with Mr. Edwards, and held a conference with him on the subject of
Kate's mental disease. She found him rather reserved, and disinclined
to much conversation on the subject. But, on pressing the matter upon
him, he was more free to say what was in his mind. To her expressions
of concern for Kate, he responded with much apparent earnestness; said
that it gave him great concern, and that he was satisfied she could
not live over a few years if some change did not take place.
"Since the birth of her child," said he, "she has never regained
her strength. That dangerous fever gave her system a terrible shock."
"I'm afraid," returned her mother, "that we erred in not permitting
her to nurse her child—what she so earnestly desired to do. She
cannot, it seems, get over that."
"She has never said so to me."
"But no later than yesterday she alluded to it while I talked with
her, and in a way that satisfied me of her having taken the matter
far more deeply to heart than I had imagined."
"That is a weakness, as you must yourself see, Mrs. Harrison. Apart
from considerations of health, I would not have my wife a mere wet
nurse; and I am surprised that she should have thought of such a
"The desire was but a natural one," replied Mrs. Harrison. As to
there being any thing degrading in the act of a mother giving
nourishment to her own babe, as some strangely enough seem to think,
I cannot see it. I drank at my mother's breast, and my child, in
turn, drank at mine; and, I believe, it would have been far better
for Kate at this moment if she had done the same for her own
off-spring. In this matter, people are going against nature; and
whenever this is done, evil of some kind must inevitably follow."
"But, Mrs. Harrison," returned Edwards, "her state of health puts
this out of the question. You know that she was dangerously ill, and
that if a nurse had not been provided for the child, it would have
"I know all that. But, when the sudden illness abated, and she was
able to give nourishment to her babe, all, with one accord, denied
her a mother's privilege, though she plead for it day after day with
tears. Ah, Percy! I fear a great and irreparable wrong was then
"It may be so. But I cannot believe but that we acted rightly. Our
motives were at least good."
"No one doubts that."
'I am sure, if she would consent to leave home for a few weeks, her
health would improve," said Percy Edwards.
"It would, no doubt, benefit her. But she has an unconquerable
reluctance to going. Still, I think we may induce her to do as we
wish. Only we must act towards her with great tenderness. I am
afraid—pardon me for speaking plainly—that you do not consider,
sufficiently, her weak state. She needs to be treated with the
gentleness and affection that we show to a child."
Mr. Edwards looked surprised at this remark.
"I am sure, Mrs. Harrison," he replied, "no man could do more for
the happiness of a woman, than I do for that of Kate. How I could act
differently is more than I can imagine."
"It may be natural to you, Mr. Edwards," said Mrs. Harrison, "but
you are wanting in that tenderness of manner so grateful, nay, so
essential to the heart of a wife."
"I speak plainly, because the necessity for doing so is imperative.
Your manner towards Kate has ever been respectful, polite, attentive,
but not affectionate; and without the latter, the former never can
satisfy the heart of a loving woman. I do not blame you for this. It
may all be natural; but I feel it to be my duty to speak of it now,
and to suggest, at least temporarily, a change."
Mr. Edwards did not reply for some moments. He then said—
"Mrs. Harrison, I must own that what you allege surprises me. You
charge me, by implication at least, with want of affection for my
"No, Percy," returned the lady quickly. "I did not mean to say
that. I only spoke of your manner towards her, which lacks the warmth
a woman's heart requires. I have not said that you did not love her."
"I do not see how I can act differently; for I see no defect in my
conduct," said the young man, with a repellant manner. "If my wife
misinterprets the manner in which I treat her, and makes herself
unhappy about it, that is no fault of mine. She ought to have the
good sense to take me as I am, and not make herself wretched because
I am not what I cannot be."
"You still misunderstand me, Percy," urged (sic) the the mother of
Kate. "I did not say that your wife made herself wretched because
your manner towards her was not different. I only suggested a
modification of it, at least for the present, as a means of aiding in
her return to a healthier state of mind. But we will say no more about
this. I have frankly opened my mind to you, and thus far discharged my
duty. You must now act as your own heart directs."
Percy showed no inclination to continue the subject. His manner
plainly enough indicated that the conversation had given him no
pleasure; and that he believed the mother of Kate to have exceeded
the privilege of her position. When they parted, it was with the most
formal politeness on both sides.
After Mrs. Harrison parted with Percy Edwards, the young man
remained alone for nearly an hour. Sometimes he walked the floor with
hurried steps, his manner greatly excited; sometimes he sat beside a
table, with his head leaning upon his hand, so buried in thought as to
be almost motionless; and sometimes he muttered to himself, as he
aroused up from these fits of abstraction.
"Ah me!" he sighed, at last, rising slowly from his chair, and
beginning to walk about, but with less agitation of manner than
before exhibited. "This was a great mistake,—the one great error of
my life. How blind I was not to have foreseen just such a result as
this! I never had the smallest impulse of affection for her, and
never can have. Both are unhappy in our bonds, and both will be so
until death severs the unnatural tie. Ah me! A hundred thousand as a
marriage portion, doubled on my own side, with half a million in
prospect, does not put a single drop of honey in this cup, which
grows more bitter with every draught. The worldly advantage is all
very well. I am satisfied with that. But it comes at too heavy a
cost. And poor Kate"—there was something of pity in the tone with
which this was uttered—pity, not tenderness—" she has been the most
wronged in this business. But the alliance was of her father's own
seeking. His were the offered inducements, and I am not to be blamed
if the temptation proved too strong for me. To a great extent, I can
protect myself, though not fully. There are, thorns in my pillow which
can neither be covered nor removed. Ah me! I wish Kate would seek, as
I do, in coldness and indifference, the protection she needs. Her
mother's observation is correct. There is no tenderness in my manner,
and I have not meant that there should be. I have not treated her
unkindly, for I wished to avoid all cause for complaint or reproach. I
wished to stand clear before the world; and I am clear. If she beat
herself against the bars of her cage, am I to blame? No, no! Let her
yield to the necessity of her position, as I do. Let her avail herself
of all the sources of forgetfulness within her reach—and there are
many—and live passionless, if not happy. But she will not. If some
speedy change do not take place, she cannot live a year. The world is
quick in its imputation of wrong; and a whisper from her friends may
thrill a thousand hearts with a suspicion of foul play, if she go down
to the grave in so short a period after our marriage. And there is yet
another consideration,—my interest in her father's large estate. How
will that be affected? Having sacrificed so much for this
consideration, it must not be abandoned now."
Edwards continued to move about the room, in deep reflection, for a
considerable time longer. Then he went slowly up to his wife's
chamber. She was lying upon the bed, with her face buried in a
pillow. She did not stir, although his footfall was distinct upon the
floor. Edwards went to the bedside, and leaning over, said, with more
affection in his voice than he had ever used since their marriage,
taking her hand in his, with a gentle pressure, at the same time—
"Kate, it grieves me to see you so ill both in body and mind."
There was an instant quiver in every limb, before so motionless;
but the sufferer neither arose nor made any reply.
"Unless something be done for your relief," continued Mr. Edwards,
in the same tone, "you cannot live. You know how much we are all
afflicted, and how anxious we all feel on account of your loss of
health and spirits."
The hand of his wife was still in his, and he held it with the same
gentle pressure, that was now as gently returned. The impulse of Mr.
Edwards was to remove his hand the instant Kate showed this
consciousness of a tenderer manifestation than he was accustomed to
give; but he restrained himself, and still let his hand rest upon
hers. He felt that she was listening to him, and that he had the
ability to influence her as he would, if he used the power of a
well-counterfeited regard. After a few moments' silence, he went
"I am sure that a change of air and a change of scene will do you
good. This Doctor R—has already said, and you know that we all agree
in the opinion. Now, will you not, to relieve the minds of your
friends, even if you feel reluctant to quit this seclusion into which
you have shrunk, make an effort? I am ready to go with you, at any
moment. Come! arouse yourself; if not for your own sake, for ours, for
The way in which this was said, more than the words themselves,
acted like a charm upon Mrs. Edwards. The almost pulseless lethargy
into which she had fallen passed off quickly, and rising up, she
pushed back the matted hair from her face, and said, "I know you all
think me perverse and unreasonable, and I may be so to some extent;
but I will try to do as you wish. I feel as weak in mind and body as
a child; and, like a child, I will submit myself to your direction.
Only, Percy,"—her voice had a most touching pathos as she said
this,—"_love me as a child! Speak to me as gently, as tenderly as
you did just now, and I will be the happiest being alive."
As she spoke, she leaned over towards her husband, and, burying her
face on his bosom, sobbed aloud.
Cold-hearted as was Percy Edwards, this exhibition moved him. It
was unexpected, and, therefore, he was not prepared to meet it in the
way he would otherwise have done. As Kate lay weeping upon his bosom,
and almost clinging to him, he experienced a change of feeling towards
her. Pity melted into tenderness, and, on the impulse of the moment,
he drew his arm around her, and, bending down, touched his lips to her
A happier moment the trembling wife had not known for years.
"You will make a short visit to Newport?" said Mr. Edwards, as
Kate's feelings grew calmer.
"Oh, yes," she whispered, "if you wish me to do so."
"Only on account of your health," he replied, "I know it will do
"Oh, certainly I will go. Forgive me for having before hesitated a
moment; it was a childish weakness. But I will try hereafter to act
with more reason."
The pressure of a tenderly spoken word revealed to Percy Edwards a
hidden treasure in the love of a woman, worthy, truly worthy of a
full reciprocation. Her heart was open and panting before him. Alas!
for the man, that he could not prize the untold wealth he had only to
reach forth his hand and take. But the lover of himself and the world
is ever blind to what are life's real blessings. Thus blind was Percy
Deluded into the belief that a genuine affection had been awakened
in the breast of her husband, Kate felt the motions of a new life
Satisfied that if he again fell back into his old habit of treating
his wife, she would at once relapse into her former state of
depression, Mr. Edwards maintained a certain appearance of affection,
much as the effort cost him. It was wonderful to see the effect upon
Mrs. Edwards. Her countenance became cheerful, her voice lost its
even, passionless tone, and she evinced an interest in much that was
passing around her. Preparations were immediately commenced for a
visit to Newport, and in a week from the time she was aroused from the
lethargy into which she had fallen, she left for that fashionable
resort, in company with her husband and several friends.