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bearing effect on him. Of all the past 24 hours most sweet to me is that of evening. It is of a winter's evening, that I am more capable of being happy than in any other portion of life, & thus has it been since my earliest recollection.
During the day, while I sewed Susan read to me, many a pleasant stormy day did we pass in the course of this winter, seated by a blazing fire, the storm that passed without, but made us more sensible of our comfort when Julia's disposition was so sweet, & cheerful, that she was easily amused, & whole days have we read aloud, while she & Maty were playing on the carpet without our being interrupted by them. She had a table & a set of pewter tea cups, these afforded inexhaustible amusement after drinking a day cups of tea, every thing would be washed up, the table cleared &c all for the sake of my again setting it out in a different corner, or in a different manner, besides she had cards, & blocks of wood with large letters marked on, which used to be built up in every possible form--She is a remarkably active child, always in motion, always intently occupied, whatever she does is done with all her heart & soul. I never had to come at her, I required however the most absolute obedience, but this was not often. I left her as much as possible to herself & indulged her in every thing which was not hurtful to her, or troublesome to others. She was between 2 & 3 years old, but she could not speak a single word. Her intelligent countenance & expressive gestures, made us ac - quainted with all her wants.-- She was very fat & robust, full face, broadened cheeks, fair complexion & sparkling eyes. She had little hair, but wore cap on.
In the spring, my situation making exercise necessary my kind & attentive husband, used to make me ride almost every afternoon - many were the pleasant walks we had about the city, & which derived an interest from another object we had in view. We were in search of a small farm, to which we might retreat in the sickly season. For this purpose we explored all the cross roads & lanes - for a long while our search was vain.
having effect on him. Of the past 24 hours most sweet to me in that of evening. of a winter's evening, that I [feel scrached through] am more capabale of being happy than in my other portion of life, & thus has it been since my earliest recollection. During the day, while I sewed Susan read to me, many a pleasant stormy day did we pass in the course of this winter, seated by a blazing fire, the storm that passed without, but, made us more sensible of our comforts within. Julia's disposition was so sweet, & cheerful, that she was easily amused, & whole days have we read aloud, while she & [Marty?] were playing on the carpet without being interrupted by them. She had a table & a set of pewter tea cups, there and afforded inexhaustible amusement, after drinking a dozen cups of tea, every thing would be washed up, the table cleaned a cup all for the pastime of again setting it out in a different corner, or in a different manner, besides she had cards & clocks of wood work large letters marked on,which need to be built up in every possible form. She is a remarkably active child, always in motion, always intently accepted, situation, she does, is done with all her heart & soul. I never had to correct her, & she requied however the most absolute obedience, but this was not often, I left her as much as possible to herself & indulged her in every thing which was not hurtful to her, or troublesome to others. She was between 2 & 3 years old, but a [?] she could not speak a single word her intelligent countenance & expressive gestures made us ac- quainted with all her wants. - She was very fat and robust, her face broadened cheeks, fair complexion & sparkling eyes. She had little hair, but wore cap on.
In the spring, my situation making exercise necessary my kind & attentive husband, tried to make me ride almost every afternoon -- many were the [alemant ?] walks we [show?] about the city & which derived an interest from another object we had in view. We were in search of a small farm, which we might retreat in the sickly season. For this purpose we explored all the crop roads & lanes for a long while our search was in vain
Fiction: The Young Wife
to use her best endeavours to restore his health and cheerfulness. The faults of his character and errors of his life, if not totally concealed, were at least so palliated by the partial affection of his mother and the generous nature of her husband, that she looked upon him as "more sinned against than sinning," and pitied, more than she blamed the frailties of a too impetuous, too ardent temper. His apearance was more than pleasing--it was interesting--it did not elicit admiration, but excited sympathy, the most irresistible of all attractions. The exuberance of his imagination--the quickness of his perceptions had at College obtained him the reputation of genius--but his deficiency in sound judgment and practical common sense, had deprived him of the advantages such a reputation might have gained, and left him the sport of his passions and his fancies. Mary had hitherto been the inseparable companion of her children; she was not only their instructress, but their playmate. As their noise and restlessness evidently disturbed the shattered nerves of the invalid, after giving them their lessons, Mary consigned them to the care of their nurse, while with her work-stand placed beside the cushioned chair in which Charles reclined, she passed most of the day in reading to or conversing with him, whilst his fond mother sat by, proud of the talent her son displayed. She dared to make no enquiries into late occurrences, nor indulge herself in reminiscences of the past, and therefore said little herself, but watched with delight the kind attentions lavished on him by Mary. When she read, Charles leaning back in his chair, and shading his eyes with his hands, would gaze on her sweet, expressive face, that mirrored every emotion described by the poet or the novelist. And then her voice! How soothingly did its soft tones fall on the perturbed spirits of the invalid! What power has the voice! Can the forms or colours of beauty so sway the soul-exalting, exciting, soothing its every emotion? Charles Lovel had known woman only in her most frail and frivolous aspect. The daughters of fashion and folly and frailty. He had admired, loved and followed, but never respected them. He looked on the whole sex as alike weak and vain--the slaves of caprice and inclination, and thought virtue but a name. The endearing attentions Mary bestowed, with all the frankness of a sister, he mistook for evidences of less pure and holy feelins, and therefore yielded unresistingly to the delightful sensations such tender cares excited. To the infinite gratification of his mother his health rapidly improved. The dejection of his spirits had fled, and been succeeded by the most animating cheerfulness. His dimmed eye regained all its sparkling intelligence, and spoke more eloquently than his tongue. Mrs. Murray had feared that with renovated health his desire for company and amusement would have revived, and she saw with surprise her restless, pleasure-seeking son contentedly passing days and weeks in their quiet family circle without even evincing a wish for change or variety. Mr. Murray, buried in his office among his dusty books and papers, wholly engrossed with his professional duties, seldom or ever joined his family except at meals. The tea-table detained him longest; he would then sometimes forget business, and linger to talk over with his friend the scenes of their boyhood, always recalling such incidents as exhibited the character of Charles in the fairest point of view. "I never envied you but once," said he one evening, "though you so often bore off from me the College honours, and that was the moment when you fearlessly plunged into the water to rescue a poor boy who had fallen through the ice. Yes, when you brought him ashore and was hailed by the acclamations of our companions, a sensation of bitter envy stung my bosom. But thank God it was short-lived. I loved you too well for it to last long. But once did I say? Alas! I remember one other rash, weak and criminal moment. It was on an occasion when you were unjustly accused at school, and rather than betray the real culprit, you bore a severe flogging to save the poor little fellow. I felt every stroke in my heart's core, and wept bitterly, but when I witnessed the enthusiastic admiration of the scholars, who were aware of the truth, and the passionate gratitude of the real offender, I envied you the strokes, for which I had before wept, and was jealous of the popularity you acquired. Charles I am still your debtor," continued he, stretching out his hand and cordially grasping that of his friend. "But, my dear fellow, you forget all the shocking tricks I played you--all my mad frolics, in which you suffered much more than your share, were the account fairly cast up. It is I, who ever was, and ever must remain your debtor." The candour and frankness of his confessions, added to the traits of courage and generosity, related by her husband, could not fail of charming and interesting Mary. As Mr. Lovel's health returned, walks and rides through the beautiful country which surrounded the village where they lived, most pleasantly diversified their quiet lives. The innocent and artless Mary, sincerely attached as she was to her worthy husband, continued long unconscious of the new feelings awakened in her bosom. She never dreamed that too much tenderness could be felt by a wife or mother, for one she called her brother. Her intuitive delicacy made her shrink from the liberties which, under this title, Charles sometimes attempted to take. Free as were his opinions and habits respecting the sex, her unpretending simplicity and purity had a restraining influence which secured her from any avowal of the unhallowed sentiments he cherished, and thus unconscious of the danger that lurked beneath the flowery path she trod, she pursued her way, delighting and delighted. Her sense of duty, however, was [unimpaired]; and when she perceived that her constant cares and attendance were no longer necessary, now that Mr. Lovel's health was perfectly restored, she determined to resume her usual occupations. But she was surprised to find that they no longer had the interest that they once had; surprised that her thoughts often wandered from her book--that she felt an impatience she had never before felt while instructing her children--that she was annoyed by their prattle when,
with her book lying in her lap, she sat lost in reverie. She felt astonished at the pleasure she experienced when called to the parlour, as formerly it had been with regret that she quitted the retirement of her own apartment. But the fact was so--and a startling fact it was. She became conscious that her most agreeable hours were those passed with their interesting inmate. She felt bewildered for a while by the opposition of her duties--the newness of her sensations--the change in her mind, which no longer found any satisfaction in solitary study--she was alarmed by her growing indifference for those things that had once constituted her whole of happiness. This anxious, disturbing consciousness haunted her solitary hours--yet why or wherefore she could not define. She tried to explain herself to her husband, who she looked on as her best and truest, as well as dearest friend; and accused herself to him of finding more pleasure in the company of his friend, Charles Lovel, than she found in that of her children. Her husband smiled at what he called her scrupulosity, and asked her what could be more natural than for a mind cultivated like her's, to find more enjoyment in an intercourse with a congenial mind, than in the prattle of children. Was not Charles the same as a brother, and had she ever reproached herself with the preference she had given to her brother Henry's society when he visited them. Had Mr. Murray known more of the world, or of human nature--had his own experience taught him the dangerous force of the passions--the deceitfulness of the human heart, he would not have argued thus, nor would he have introduced such an inmate into his family. Virtuous and dispassionate himself--calm and constant in his affections, he never conceived of the possibility, nay, of the existence of a sentiment in the bosom of his wife, inimical to the sacred tie by which they were united. Would that this possibility did not exist--would that the affections were as unalienable, as unchangeable as the marriagae bond. But as the common experience of mankind--the annals of human life--the records of courts of justice abound in fatal examples of the inconstancy of the affections, let religion and reason, let prudence and vigilance, guard this sacred fountain of domestic happiness and virtue. Neither ignorance or innocence afford sufficient protection against this insidious foe, which must be known in order to be guarded against. Temptation must be avoided--exposure to danger prevented. But is this done? On the contrary, have we not daily examples in the most virtuous and prudent families, of inmates being admitted, sometimes of one, sometimes the other sex, whose domestication has proved fatal to the peace, and too often the virtue of the husband or the wife. Miss Edgeworth, in her story of Leonora, has given a powerful and affecting exposition of the fatal consequences resulting from the admission of an artful woman into a happy family. Doubtless her experience might have furnished many examples, where young and undesigning female friends have unintentionally wrought the same mischief--that of alienating the affections of a husband from his wife. My observation of human life, though far more restricted, would afford many sad instances of the fallibility and inconstancy of the human heart, and it is a warning to those who are not aware of the danger of domesticating young and attractive guests in the bosoms of their families, that I have been induced to write this narrative and disclose facts made known to me by one now released from suffering and sorrow. But to return from this long digression. As we have said, though a good and kind husband, Mr. Murray was no fit counsellor for a tender and inexperienced creature like his Mary. Left then solely to her own guidance, what would have been the consequence of the perilous situation in which she was now placed, if her native purity had not guarded her simplicity, if she had not habitually regulated her thoughts and feelings by the highest of all standards, that of the gospel! Educated by her pious parents in the strictest principles of our holy religion, constantly had her mother from her earliest childhood impressed on her mind the omnipotence of God, from which there was no escape; his omniscience from which there could be no concealment. That the darkness and solitude of midnight could not veil any action--nor the deepest recesses of the heart conceal any feeling. Often had she emphatically pointed out to her the difference between the human and divind tribunal to which men are amenable. The first can take cognizance only of actions. And as action may be concealed, its laws may be evaded--its punishment escaped. But not so with that divine tribunal, before which thought is action. Thus "the felt presence of Deity" had always exercised a controlling and purifying influence--guarding her in the hour of temptation--supporting her in the hour of affliction. Oh, ye wise men of the world--ye Legislators and Philosophers, compared with this divine aegis, what are all your laws, your prison walls, bars and bolts, your theories, your maxims and restrictions? The sternest and most sanguinary decrees ever passed by Constantine and other sovereigns, were less effective in the preservation of conjugal fidelity and virgini purity than this sublime sentiment--"The felt presence of Deity." Actual, personal guilt, was an idea that never entered the mind of Mary--to her the violation of the seventh commandment seemed as impossible as that of the sixth, and there is no virtuous woman, to whom, I presume, the commission of murder does not feel like an impossibility. No, the preference she felt for the society of Charles over that of her children--the growing indifference to her duties and former occupations, were the only causes of the alarm and uneasiness she suffered. But now since she had disclosed the state of her mind to her husband, and he had dissipated her scruples, she felt relieved. "No longer," thought she, "shall his good mother reproach me with unkindness to her son." As instinctive sense of propriety had induced the virtuous Mary to seclude herself from the too pleasing society of Charles Lovel. A sense of duty now made her resolve to resume her late intimate intercourse. Ah, her instinct was the safest guide! She had not only pained, but if
repeatedly kissing his sweet; dear mamma, he crept up coldly and timidly, and held up his little mouth, which Mary as coldly kissed. At this moment she caught her husband's eye fixed on her. What a look! It was one of reproach, almost of anger. She felt it chill her very heart. He did not say a word, but coming forward took the little boy in his arms, and carried him, himself, to the nursery. Not a volume of words could more fully have expressed the displeasure of her husband. That night Mary's pillow was drenched in tears--bitter tears. Her conscience smote her--but she suppressed its monitions, by aggravating what she called (not what she felt) the undeserved displeasure of her husband. The next morning when they met at table the looks and manners of each were cold, and as Mary handed the large cup to Mr. Murray, she coloured and trembled, and he, instead of his usual pleased and bland manner on receiving any little kind attention, took it silently as if not noticing the change. Through the day Mary's spirits were much dejected--to her children, particularly, her manner was unkind. Charles marked her disturbance, and rallied her on what he called a matrimonial fracas. "Your lord and master has been a little spoiled, my good lady, or he never would be so easily out of temper. The way to break him of these freaks is not to humor him as you have done. Had I been you he should not have had his favourite cup for a month to come." "I have been the spoiled child," replied Mary, her eyes swimming in tears. "Oh, Charles!" exclaimed she, "unkindness would soon break my heart!" She clasped her hands over her eyes and wept with unrestrained emotion. Charles took these hands, wiped the tears from them and looking fondly in her face.-- "How cruel," said he, "thus to distress you. Come, my dear sister, let us walk--the air will revive you. This husband of yours wants tutoring; remmber what I say, do not spoil him by concession, or you will become a very slave to his caprices." Mary's spirits were revived by air and exercise, until again dejected by the presence of her husband, who still looked thoughtful and absent. She felt glad when he left the house--she felt as if a dark, heavy cloud had passed away, and the sun shone forth. Mr. Murray's affection lay at the very bottom of his heart, and seldom overflowed in words or caresses, except to his children. Of an evening when he came home they would spring to his arms, cling round his neck, and sit on his knees. It was only with them his quietude and placidity yielded to any thing like gaiety. But their mirth was contagious, and he often found himself romping and playing with them in a manner litle accordant with his natural gravity. Tutored by their gentle mother they were never obstreperous or rude; though nothing less than her continual restraining influence could so have regulated their exuberant spirits and hasty tempers. "I often think, Mary," said her husband to her on one occasion, "that were it not for your training, Henry would be a sad little tyrant; he has a terrible temper." Too soon this good father found this opinion verified. Often when he now came home he found the child quarrelling with his little sister; her play-things broken--her frock torn--her face streaming with tears. One day, particularly, he felt really shocked at the condition in which he found the children. Henry in his passion had thrown a piece of broken china at his sister,--it had cut her cheek, and the blood was streaming from the wound. After ascertaining the cause, he hastily enquired for their mother, and how they came to be left alone. "She has gone to walk with uncle Charles," said Meta. "But has she not given you your lessons this morning." "She gave us holiday," said Henry, gruffly, not yet recovered from his father's correction. "Holiday!" said his father; "I did not know you had holidays." "Oh yes," said the little Meta, "Mamma gives us holidays very often--she is very good, she lets us play almost all day long." Mr. Murray said nothing. But after reproving and reconciling the children, and giving them in charge to his mother, he took his hat and walked out. Doubts, dreadful doubts, flashed across his mind--flashed like lightning from a dark cloud, then left it in obscurity. No it could not be. His good, his lovely, his pure-minded wife--the hitherto dotingly fond mother of his precious children. No it could not be. And his friend, his grateful, obliged friend! The thing was impossible! He would dismiss it from his mind. But what could it be that had thus changed his wife? Doubtless some household matter had disturbed her. He had observed that of late their servants had been several times changed--this of course had given her more care--taken up more of her time, and might have produced considerable vexation, and consequently diverted her attention from her children, and made her temper more irritable. This was so natural that he could not blame her--she was to be excused for her little negligences to him and the children--he must try by increased kindness on his part to sooth this irritation--to compensate her for her domestic troubles. Women had trying duties to perform--it was no wonder their gentleness and patience sometimes gave way. He accused himself of not having been sufficiently kind and attentive--and after a long, lonely walk returned home full of resolutions by increased kindness to dissipate the disturbance under which he perceived his wife laboured. Every now and then in spite of himself the same dreadful doubts would shoot through his mind--but he as quickly banished them. Still they so far affected him as to make him watch more than he ever had before the looks and manners of both Mary and Charles. There was nothing he could find fault with in either. When he was present Mary appeared entirely engaged with her work, whilst he and Charles coversed with little interruption from either of the ladies. As he was absent all day, he knew not how his family passed their time. He knew not that whole mornings were spent together by Charles and Mary, while the household cares were devolved on his mother,--that of afternoons they rambled until near the time of his return. But what most distressed and perplexed him was Mary's altered manner
to himself, and the sadness that seemed settled on her spirits. Where now was the frank and cordial manner with which she used to welcome him back--the glad and joyous countenance--the gay and tender voice--the elastic step--the kind vigilance and activity--the alacrity for every duty which had made his home so happy, his wife so dear? And his children! Ah, there was the keenest pang! there was the strangest effect of Mary's altered disposition! Surely she must be sick--some insidious disease was preying on her health and spirits--change of air and scene would certainly prove beneficial. The quiet and monotony of home had become wearisome. It was the constant activity of his life, the variety of places to which his business called him, that doubtless had preserved his health and spirits. The last excursion Mary had made, he now recollected, had had a delightfully animating effect, and as she observed at the time, had made home more agreeable to her. She was always delighted in accompanying him on his distant circuits. The court he was soon to attend was in a charming part of the country, where he had some kind friends, and though the autumn was far advanced, the season was still delightful for travelling, and the country still beautiful. He made his arrangements accordingly, and wishing to give Mary an agreeable surprise, did not tell her of his design until a day or two previous to setting out. Poor Mary, she looked any thing but pleased--she looked troubled, distressed, and after some hesitation said she felt no inclination to leave home--that having just hired a man servant she could not leave home. This objection was quickly overruled by Mrs. Murrary's offering to take charge of the family. "But the children," said Mary, hesitatingly; "how can I leave them--I should be so anxious I could not enjoy myself." She caught her husband's scrutinizing glance, and blushed--blushed all over--then got up and went to the window to hide the embarrassment her internal consciousness produced. And has it come to this--the artless, the ingenuous Mary is guilty of equivocation. She is conscious of feelings which she wishes to conceal from her husband! Aye, of feelings she dare not acknowledge to herself! How certain is the progression of evil--it is never stationary. One drop of poison can diffuse itself through the whole body, and destroy life itself. So can one vicious sentiment spread its deleterious and fatal influence through the whole moral system. How vigilantly then should the avenues of access be guarded, and the endeavour be, to keep the heart with all diligence, since out of it are the issues of life! Mr. Murray checked the harsh reply he was about to make. He did not say, as his feelings impelled him to say, "talk not of anxiety about children whom you so sadly neglect." No, he did not speak, but he deeply felt it. He was silent until he had mastered his angry emotion, and then mildly, but firmly, said--"Mary, I am persuaded a change of scene will do you good. I insist on your making the experiment, and shall expect you to be in readiness the day after to-morrow." she did no reply, and he left the room, again to wander forth and think his own sad thoughts--to wrestle with doubts that would intrude themselves, and to ponder on the best method of restoring his dear Mary to her former self, and of recovering his own peace of mind. Arduous and futile task! Unknown to himself he had been swayed in his scheme of removing her from home, by the suspicions which he believed he had crushed--but they lurked in his bosom, and prompted the wish of separating her from Charles, and in spite of his endeavours to behave with unchanged frankness to his friend, he had thrown a reserve into his manner which had betrayed to that interested observer the real state of his feelings. Perhaps it was the natural effect of such a discovery, and not any peculiar malignancy of disposition in Charles, to make him feel irritated and angry at the suspected jealousy of his friend, and feelings akin to revenge sprung up in his breast. The gratitude and affection he had felt for years was changed into the gall of bitterness. It is no less true that we hate those whom we injure, than that we love those whom we benefit--for such are the natural fruits of the malignant or benevolent dispositions of the heart. In the present case this new born malevolence prompted Charles to add injury to injury, and when he met Mary, soon after her husband had left her, and learned the project that had been formed, of carrying her from home, he would have given vent to his evil passion had he not feared he might thus frustrate his own wishes. The words had almost escaped him--"Pho! Mary, he is only jealous." Had he done so, he would have torn the bandage off her eyes, and she would have discovered it was not a brother's love he felt, nor a sister's affection she indulged. His effort had been to blindfold her as to this dangerous truth. Hitherto he had succeeded--while too effectually he had chilled her maternal and conjugal affections. "Why do you not refuse at once? you are too tame and yielding. Come, my sister, summon up courage, and tell this lordly husband of yours that you are a free agent--show a little proper spirit and you will soon see the tables reversed, and instead of obeying you will be obeyed." Mary shook her head. "It is too late to learn that lesson, even had I the disposition to do so. No, Charles, I am too feeble to stand alone, I need support, and must cling to that support, or perish." "Oh, Mary, cling then to your brother." He pressed the hand he held in his, and would have drawn her to him, had she not shrunk from his arm and snatched away her hand. "Do not talk thus--I entreat you do not. You known not how unhappy you make me. It is my duty to obey my husband." "Your duty--yes, your duty, but not your pleasure--and is inclination never to be followed? This, indeed, is slavery. Tell him at once, Mary, that you will not take this journey." "I cannot--indeed I cannot, Charles--so let me go and prepare to obey my husband." "Detestable phrase," muttered Charles--but seeing her resolute he no longer detained her. Mary retired to her room, but instead of hurrying herself with preparations, she threw herself on her bed, and covering her head with a
pillow, wept and sobbed with unchecked emotion. Her conscience whispered she was wrong--very wrong. In vain did she try to silence its reproaches--in vain did she try to persuade herself of the innocence of her attachment to Charles. Or, when conscience continued its accusations, she would palliate her weakness by replying to her monito, that affections were involuntary--that feelings could not be commanded, though actions might, and that while these were conformed to the dictates of duty, she had nothing to reproach herself with. But conscience was not satisfied with this sophistry, and Mary was miserable. Why did she not seek that divine assistance, which at an earlier period she had sought? Why not go to that source of consolation which in other troubles had proved so efficacious? Alas! her present sorrows were such as she dared not carry to the throne of grace--rather, were it possible, she would conceal them from the all-searching eye. By degrees she had left off all communion with God; devotion had no longer any attraction for her soul; self-examination she avoided. To probe her own heart was too painful--she sought in the reveries of imagination to lose the upbraiding thoughts which marred all her present enjoyment. Her only relief from uneasiness and dissatisfaction was in the society of Charles. But even that was transient; for only while she listened to his beguiling words was her mind divested from its perplexities. And now she must leave him--leave him, to be alone with her husband. She scarcely knew wherefore, but fear mingled with her reluctance at the idea. But go she must, and she must endeavour to do it with as good a grace as possible. The weather was favourable, and Mr. and Mrs. Murray commenced their journey. Yes, the weather was favourable: the air was mild, the sun shone bright, and the aspect of the country was beautifully varied by the rich and glowing tints of autumn. Nature looked as though she were dressed for a festival-but she appeared so only to those who looked upon her through the medium of festive, at least happy minds. It is not in the power of external objects to awaken the sentiment of beauty or loveliness, or grandeur, by simply impressing the organ of sight. The child, the idiot, the ignorant and uncultivated, may possess a more keen and distinct vision, than the poet or philosopher, but how different the impression made by the same objects on these individuals. Yet, not more so than is produced by scenes, viewed through differing states of feeling by the same person. It is the soul which imparts beauty and loveliness to nature; clothes her in smiles or in frowns, in gladness or gloom. The soul of Mary was sad--the heart of Mr. Murray was chilled; and bright and glowing as were the earth and sky, to these travellers they appeared neither lovely or cheerful; the restraint they felt could not be shaken off, and they journeyed on in coldness and silence, or with now and then a brief observation on some passing object. "Oh, who would believe," thought Mary, "that I am the same being who travelled this some road, ten years ago, a young and happy bride. With what rapture did my heart swell; it seemed as though my bosom were too small to hold it, as if it must burst its narrow prison, so surcharged was it with the fulness of joy and love; and methinks it must have burst, had not these feelings found vent in words, in tears and tender transport." And once stealing a glance at her husband--"Are you he, who awoke these transports. Oh! that it might be so still--that our hearts could again mingle every thought and every feeling--that every glance of the eye were again a messenger of love, and not a spy. Oh! why cannot it be so? How completely happy I then was--what a change the few last months has wrought. Would that our affections depended on our will; then should mine flow with the same warmth that they once did--then should I be again happy; now I must be miserable. Oh! could my feelings obey, how quickly would I enforce obedience--but the affections cannot be commanded." "Mary you are mistaken; you wilfully deceive yourself--had you kept your heart with all diligence, the enemy that is now destroying your peace could never have found an entrance. This first neglect was your first error. But still, after access was gained, this enemy could not have thrown your feelings into such a state of rebellion, had you not entertained your disguised foe as a friend--a pleasing, a dear friend. Soon, every sentiment of thought rallied round the standard--rebels, all, to your holiest duties and affections. Now they are indeed strong--but, Mary, they are not invincible. Rely not on your own strenght; that indeed would be too feeble; but implore the assistance of Divind Power, and be assured, if asked [iR] humility and sincerity, it will not be denied. Go, unhappy woman go." Thus whispered her guardian angel--for is not conscience a guardian angle? "I cannot go," replied her fond and feeble heart. "Rather say you will not--for this is the truth. Oh, the deceitfulness of the heart! deceiving us not only as to the nature of our feelings, but even the nature of our wishes, persuading us we desire to do right, at the very time when we cling most fondly to what is wrong." Distressed and anxious as was the state of Mr. Murray's mind, it was, compared with that of his wife, at peace. He suffered not from the warfare of contending passions--from the conflicts between love and duty--from the reproaches of an offended conscience; his sorrow was unmingled with bitterness, or self-condemnation--it was a tender sorrow, that saddened but did nor irritate his feelings. "My poor Mary," thought he, as he looked tenderly at her, "I should have known better--I should not have thus exposed thee; through my imprudence this evil has fallen on us; and shall I not then by gentleness and kindness endeavour to repair it. Could I but talk freely to her, tell her all I feel, wish, design; but her cold reserve shuts my lips--I have not resolution to say, "Charles must leave us"--yet it must be so. But whither will he go? That however is of less moment than the peace, the virtue, the welfare of my wife and children. My duty is clear--a sacrifice must be made--not however of these precious objects; these it is my duty to save at all hazards. And will her peace be restored?
will her affections return? ah, there is the doubt, the horrid doubt!"The incidents of this journey, or the characters of those they met, would have as little interest for the reader as they had for the travellers. Absorbed by the world within their own bosoms, the things of the world without passed like shadows over their minds. No melting mood had opened Mary's heart to her husband-a cold reserve closed every avenue to the communion he so firmly hoped for; and after ten day's absence they returned home, more distressed and dissatisfied than when they left it. As the carriage approached, the children ran out to meet it-and then regaining the court-yard, stood at the gate eagerly watching the letting down the steps, clapping their hands for joy: and the moment their mother was within reach, springing to her arms, clasping her neck, and kissing her cheeks.The mother's feelings through numbed, were not dead; at this moment they revived in all their pristine warmth, and she returned their caresses with a fondness that filled the father's heart with delight. "All will yet be well," thought he. Taking a hand of each, she advanced to the door where old Mrs. Murray stood to receive and welcome her. Mary looked this way and that, but she saw not him she looked for-and a shadow passed over her bright countenance-momentary as it was, her husband perceived it, and sighed. Mrs. Murray, who well understood the enquiring glance, observed, that her son did not know of their intended return on that evening, or she was sure he would have been at home. Henry and Meta, still holding each a hand, drew their mother into the parlour, and turned her attention to the tea-table, which they had decked out with the last flowers of the season. "See, mamma," exultingly exclaimed Meta, "here is a rose, the last rose-I do believe it came on purpose for you.""The dear child has been watching its opening these three days," said Mrs. Murray."And here," said Henry, who did not like to be outdone, "here is some scarlet honey-suckles. But you look tired mamma, come and sit by the fire; see how it blazes-Meta and I gathered ever so many faggots on purpose to have a great blaze when you come home."Mary took the offered seat, and threw off her bonnet and cloak; she smiled on her children, but smiled sadly-and often repeated, "what did you say Henry? what did you say my sweet Meta?" She had eyes, but had not seen the beauties of the country through which she had passed. She had ears, but she did not now hear the fond prattle of her children. Her ears were listening only for a well known footstep-and at the slightest sound she would start. When the door opened she would turn her head, while unheedingly her little boy and girl talked on to her whose thoughts were far away.The tea-things were removed-Mrs. Murray's work-basket was placed on the table-the maid came for the children, who begged her the indulgence of sitting up later; but as their mother took little notice of their request, Mr. Murray told them she was fatigued, and that their noise might disturb her. To reconcile them to their disappointment, he said he would then go and unlock the trunks and give them the presents their mamma had brought them. Hastily they kissed her for good night, and off they scampered with great glee, quite indifferent to remaining the half hour longer, with dear, dear mamma.Of what is the human heart made? of self-all of self! From infancy to manhood, still the same.Yes, reader, in all ages, in all countries, from the first to the last-deceitful too, above all things, clothing its vilest feelings in the twilight garb of purity and goodness."You had best retire early, my dear," said Mr. Murray, as he left the room-"I have business in my office which will detain me until late."This was a relief to Mary; she brightened up, and drawing her chair close to the table, and leaning her arm on it, she looked eagerly at Mrs. Murray. Her eyes spoke as plainly as need be, and the old lady replied to their interrogatory-"Oh Mary, you need not expect to see Charles to-night, for he often does not come home till the morning. But you need not look so alarmed-though to tell the truth, I am far from easy, and have been much troubled in my mind.""What, what is the matter?" exclaimed Mary."I hope nothing is the matter, my dear; you knew it was quite natural that he should feel very lonely after you and William went away; the house must have been very dull-an old woman like me is no company for a young man.""Well?" said Mary, interrupting her."Well, my dear, it was not to be expected he would content himself at home-and I ought not to have been uneasy at his being always out; nor should I have felt so, had he come back to-night." She paused-she hesitated."Does he never return at night?""Why, Mary, I may as well tell the truth at once-at least to you. But I should be sorry William were to know.""Know what? In pity tell me mother, and keep me not thus in suspense.""Why," said Mrs. Murray, still hestitating-"I am afraid-yet it may be all a mistake-so do not blame your poor brother too hastily. I am afraid he spends his time at the tavern.""Heaven forbid!" exclaimed Mary, clasping her hands."I may be, I hope I am wrong," said his mother. "But he has looked so strangely, and talked so wildly of late, calling himself a wretch, a ruined man, and a -""Poor Charles!" sighed Mary."Oh, my dear, now you have come home, I dare say all will go right again-for indeed Mary you do just what you please with him. Did I not tell you, you alone could save him from his unhappy courses."Mary replied not, but pleading fatigue, took up a candle, and said she would go to bed."Do not leave me with unkind thoughts of my poor son; do not Mary-have you not promised to love him as your own brother?"Mary sighed. "I feel no unkindness, mother; if it depends on me, Charles shall yet be saved.""Bless you, bless you for that," said the old lady, kissing her pale cheek.Mary passed an almost sleepless night; her imagination had pourtrayed her meeting with Charles in such glowing colours. She took it for
granted he would learn from the letter which she had written the day, nay, the probable hour, of her reaching home, and doubted not his coming out on the road to meet the carriage. For the last mile, her head was often put out of the window on some pretence or other, and she eagerly examined every one she saw at a distance, in each person expecting to recognise Charles. But when arrived at home, she found him absent, she felt offended, as well as distressed."Suspense," thought she, "would have been less intolerable than this dreadful certainty. How has my fancy pictured him retracing out favourite walks, musing the hours away on the same seats where we have often sat; poring over the same books we read together; dwelling on each favourite passage, and associating my idea with every tender image pictured by the poet. And he has passed his days and his nights at a tavern!"Will fond woman be ever deceived-will she forever believe that man loves as woman loves? Suffer then, she must.Apprized by his mother of Mary's and William's return, Charles made his appearance in the morning, but not until the time when he knew Mr. Murray would have left the house. There was some embarrassment in his manner, which was increased by the distant and reserved air Mary assumed. He would have embraced her as brothers are entitled to embrace a sister, but she repelled his advances, and turning away her face, burst into tears. This was unfortunate, it betrayed the whole extent of her weakness. Could she have preserved her assumed reserve, and asserted a proper dignity, the restraint she had hitherto imposed on him might have been continued. But poor Mary had, as we have said, passed a sleepless, wretched night: and her delicate frame could not support the resolutions her mind had formed.Charles saw, and seized on his advantage. He caught her in his arms, he pressed her to his bosom, and wiped away her tears. "My Mary, my sister!" he exclaimed, "whence this displeasure?"He knew not that Mary was informed of his derelictions, and therefore spoke with the confiding tenderness he had been accustomed to. She could only weep. He led her out into the piazza, and by degrees she became composed. It was not in Mary's nature to reproach one she loved for suspected unkindness.Her wounded pride and sensibility were soothed by his humble and flattering manner. She could only resolve to forgive and forget. Henry and Meta were playing in the yard-on seeing their mother they ran to her to thank her again and again for the pretty toys she had brought them; and when she returned to the parlour, they followed in order to display their new treasures to uncle Charles.Mary drew her work-table by her, and took out her work, and Charles, as usual, sat down beside her, and took up a book, finding he could not continue his discourse, and very much put out by the presence of the children. He commanded himself, however, sufficiently to examine and admire the gifts of their dear mamma, and she, pleased with seeing them pleased, encouraged their rather noisy demonstrations of delight. Charles felt he could not bear this scene much longer, and wishing to be alone with Mary, he told them he was going to read aloud, and they had best go and play."We do not want to leave dear mamma," said Meta."You shall not read," cried Henry, snatching the book and throwing it away, "we want to play with mamma."Charles coloured violently, raised his arm, but checked himself in time; he bit his lip, started up and wakled the floor. Mary saw with pain these indications of angry passion, and thought it best to avoid any further irritation, so she bade the children go play, as she wished to hear their uncle Charles read. She ordered Henry to pick up and restore the book. The child would not obey her; she angrily repeated her command, and he reluctantly and sullenly obeyed. She again bade them go to play in the yard."It is very cold, mamma," said Meta."Yes, a storm is coming," said Henry, "but no matter, Meta, mamma don't want us." So saying, he dragged the unwilling Meta from the room.Mary's bosom was stung by self-reproach."I ought not to have yielded;" thought she. "I ought not to have sent those dear little creatures away."But, alas, how often did she now do what she ought not to do-and how easily did Charles beguile her of her sense of error. Both felt some dissatisfaction with the recent scene, and to get rid of such unpleasant sensations, he took the book, and commenced reading, while Mary resumed her work. The tale was a deeply interesting one;-all the passionate emotions of unhallowed love were eloquently pourtrayed, and so adorned by the charmes of genius as to disguise their native deformity, and to awaken interest in every bosom. "To err is human-to forgive divine," thought Mary. "I, alas! am but human."So totally and deeply was she absorbed in this story, that she marked not the gathering clouds-she heard not the rushing of the winds, or the pelting of the rain, until she was startled from her all-engrossing attention, by the abrupt opening of the door-she looked up, her husband entered, with a countenance dark as the storm, leading in the children completely drenched with rain."What is the meaning of this?" exclaimed he, in a loud and angry voice. "Why were these children sent out in such weather, instead of being alowed to stay by you?"Mary looked thunderstruck. Conscience-struck she certainly was. She tremblingly replied, "she had not sent them into the rain-until that moment she did not even know that there was a storm.""Not know there was a storm?" cried her husband. "How could you be employed to be insensible of such a storm?" and he looked almost furiously at Charles."I really, William, see nothing wonderful in the circumstance; we were deeply interested in the book, and he was reading," replied Mary,
somewhat offended by the sternness of his manners."Nothing wonderful that a mother should forget her children," reiterated Mr. Murray."No," said Charles, coolly; "I presume you are not always thinking of them."If looks could strike down a man, the looks of William would have felled Charles to the ground."You have never been a father," he replied; "no, nor a husband," he added in a lower and muttered tone. Seeing Mary had not risen to take the children.-"Go, woman," said he, "and instantly attend to the children.""It was not I that told papa you sent us out into the rain, mamma," said the little Meta, as soon as they had left the room."Whosoever did tell him so, told a falsehood," replied her mother, petulantly.Henry hung his head, conscious he had, under the influence of angry feelings, misrepresented what his mother had said; ashamed, yet not penitent, he muttered,-"I am sure I told you a storm was coming.""Do not dare to contradict me," exclaimed his mother, catching him by the arm."Dear, dear mamma, don't be so angry," cried Meta, throwing her arms round her neck.Mary threw herself in a chair, and burst into tears. In her passion of grief and indignation, she for some moments forgot the condition of her children. She started up and rang violently. The maid ran up."Change these children's clothes," said she.They were taken away. She then walked the room in an agitation she could not subdue. "To command me like a servant-to reprove me as a culprit, and in the presence of my children and Charles-it is unbearable. I have, as Charles said, been too obedient, too yielding. Could not a mother's feelings have been trusted to? Oh, he little knows me-kindness might mould me to whatever he wishes-but harshness-indignity! I have submitted too long. There are limits to a husband's authority."Thus did she indulge a thousand unkind feelings, which, if not restricted, will soon grow into ungovernable passions, and tyrannize over reason and virtue. The germ of every evil propensity exists in human nature, as truly as that of noxious plants does in the bosom of the earth, unknown and unsuspected, until developed by circumstances, which call the latent principle into activity. Let not the most amiable and excellent of our race believe that there is one exempt from this innate tendency to evil. Who that knew Mary would ever have believed it possible that the malignant and vindictive feelings, now convulsing her very soul, existed in her gentle and affectionate nature. Search deeply into your own, reader, and you may, perhaps, discover that though dormant and inert, those reptile passions lie hidden there. Oh, beware of awakening them by the vivifying warmth of any indulgence prohibited by Virtue and Religion.It was a pity, a great pity, that Mr. Murray had spoken so harshly to his wife. He lamented the moment he had uttered his ungentle command, the violence into which he had been betrayed. But the situation in which he found his children-the representation of Henry-the discovery of Mary and Charles so deeply engaged, and he apparent indifference to his remostrance, had provoked him beyond all self-command.The sneering coolness of Charles' reply raised passion to its highest pitch, and no sooner had Mary left the room, that he gave vent to his long smothered feelings."Ungrateful man!" exclaimed he, "would you sting the bosom that warmed you into life?""Do you mean to reproach me with your benefits-then they are annulled," cried Charles. "If I am ungrateful you are mean, base--""Stop, stop, Charles, nor provoke me farther-there are limits even to my forbearance.""You need not tell me that; your conduct to your lovely, injured wife, show these limits not to be very extensive.""Name her not-name her not," cried William, with rekindled passion, "lest you force me to command you to quite this house.""Jealous, too!" sneered Charles."Leave my sight ungrateful wretch, ere I strike one beneath the shelter of my own roof," said William, letting fall the arm he had, in his passion, raised."I fear you not," retorted Charles, "for tyrants are always cowards-but you shall repent of this. I go," muttering as he quitted the room; "yes, I go, but not alone."William did not hear these muttered words. He had turned to a window, against which he supported his frame, trembling and quivering with suppressed passions.What was now to be done? His wife was offended, perhaps justly offended by his harshness. The man he had loved and cherished from boyhood turned from the only home he had on earth-the kind heart of William relented."Houseless and friendless and pennyless! Poor Charles! what will his aged parent say? She who has ever been a fond, indulgent mother to me. How wretched I have made her. And my wife, my Mary, who, in spite of all her coldness, is dearer to me that ever. Oh, I am miserable-very miserable. And where is this misery to be staid? We are all unhappy, What fatality has wrought this ruin? A few months sinse and I would have said there was not a happier family on earth. Home to me was a paradise of sweets, the sweets of pure affection. No care ever saddened the countenance of Mary-bright with love and gladness it welcomed me to the joys of home. How often has she come forth to meet me, attended by our little ones, who sported before her, literally strewing her path with flowers. How have they sprung into my arms, while hers have been thrown around us-and she has exclaimed,--'thus I encompass all my treasures!' Blessed days, and will you never return? And whence is all this change-this ruin? Alas! the serpent entered my paradise of love and joy.-Fatal error-yet could it be an error to give a shelter to a destitute? I felt it a virture-a humanity. How could I suspect-how foresee the fatal consequences. Such perfect, unbounded confidence had I in my Mary's love! Alienation of her affection! I should have thought myself criminal to have harboured such a thought! Strange, strange mystery of the human heart! And can one vicious inclination thus taint the