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versations were animated, and for a time were participated in by all. Glowing with warmth and animation, after a number of other topics had been exhausted, the ever-prolific theme of matrimony was brought upon the tapis. This, in some respect, was perhaps peculiarly appropriate to the exigency of the occasion; but, unfortunately, it was suffered to take a turn, the only result of which, if left unchecked, would be likely, in time, to grow into an unconquerable evil.

This untimely interruption of the general harmony which marked their intercouse for a few moments previous was caused by some of the young husbands present, who were disposed to treat the subject in the most disagreeable light, by inveighing against matrimony, and by ridiculing that condition and its vaunted pleasures, when compared with their former "single blessedness." Some of the coarser minded among them went so far and this in the presence of their wivesas to discourse eloquently upon the bright fields for various achievements which would be open to them, and upon which they might enter, if they were unmarried.

"I would travel," said one.

"I too," said another. "I would explore the old world, and feast upon its curiosities and its wonders, ere I became a settled man."

"I would enter the lists of fame at home," said a third. "I would not yield to the blind impulses

of Cupid until I had reached the highest seat in the council of state."

My choice," said a fourth, "were I permitted to recommence my career, should be the navy, instead of a wife.”

"And mine the army."

Thus they proceeded through their lengthened category; but, alas! none said they would endeavor to make themselves and their wives contented and happy in their then present condition. All that they did say, though without apparently any malicious or evil intent, broadly implied that their wives were burdens to which they were chained, and which kept them from rising.

But there are some things too exalted to be assailed with the trifling jest; and there are hearts whose chords are too exquisitely sensitive to resist the withering influence of the impious sneer, when coming from those they love, be the motive what it will. It was evident that the words which fell from the lips of some of the party descended like drops of molten lava upon the hearts of their young and trusting wives, rendering them incapable of continuing their participation in the evening's enjoyments. This, though readily noticed by others, and particularly by Mr. and Mrs. Mayland, was entirely overlooked or unheeded by those who were the cause of it.

Painful indeed was the result to all but such as were its active promoters. Mr. Mayland, who had

withdrawn his voice, and was sitting a silent spectator of what was going forward during this part of the conversation, was justly indignant at the excesses of his guests, and longed for an opportunity not only to change the tenor of their unbecoming observations, but to administer, at the same time, without involving any breach of hospitality, some suitable and effectual rebuke. They, however, continued their bitter remarks: finally, noticing Mr. Mayland's silence, one of them approached, and tapping him upon the shoulder, said, —

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"Well, Mayland, here you sit as quiet as a mouse. What do you think of the matter advantages and disadvantages? What would you do if you were not married?”

His (Mayland's) sweetheart wife was sitting a little distance from him when this question was propounded. She had been highly delighted that her dear husband had abstained from the reckless flow of words which had been passing; but now, seeing that he was directly appealed to, her heart leaped, and she riveted her eyes upon him with mingled emotions of hope and fear. It was not at that moment a matter of much difficulty to read her countenance. It seemed to ask, "And am I, too, to be compromised by my husband, as my friends have been by theirs?" But her suspense was of short duration.

"What would I do?" slowly repeated the lover husband; and then, turning to meet the glance of

his wife, he continued, "I would go immediatein search of Miss " (repeating her maiden name,)" offer to her my heart and hand, be blessed by receiving hers in return, and then get married as soon as possible.

This unexpected reply, so deliberately and firmly expressed, had the effect to produce instant silence. The satirical portion of the young gentlemen understood and appreciated its full force. They were suddenly abashed. It was a contrast with their own conduct too striking not to have its own weight. The young wife, who was the subject of it, was so deeply affected, so filled with gratitude, that she had been spared the infliction of a pain she so fervently deprecated, that she sprang from her seat, and fell upon his neck, and with a tear of joy glistening in her eye, said, in a subdued tone,

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"My beloved husband, that answer is in consonance with what, to me, you have ever been. Would that I were more worthy of your most devoted affection."

"More worthy, my dear wife," he returned; more worthy you cannot be. You are to me a jewel of inestimable worth. Deprived of you, life would be to me but one unrelieved blank."

He then impressed upon her forehead an impassioned kiss, and seated her gently beside him.

But the scene did not end here. The voices of those who, a few moments before, were loudest

in vain prattle, were now hushed in silence; and that silence needed to be broken by some spirit that could suggest a different and more agreeable pastime than that in which they had just been indulging, but which none now seemed disposed to renew. At this crisis, a married sister of the husband who had so suddenly changed the order of things, which she viewed with much satisfaction, noticed, likewise, the kiss, and for the purpose of putting an end to the awkward intermission, playfully asked, directing attention to her brother, —

"Are you not ashamed to be courting here before all the company?"

"The company," he returned, with an air of triumph which he could not well repress, "will please excuse us. We did not commence our regular courtship until after marriage, and it is not yet ended. We trust that it may continue through the whole course of our natural lives, and that we may spend our honeymoon in heaven."

This was enough. The scene was indeed changed. The offending gentlemen immediately became fully convinced of the pernicious tendency of their conduct - frankly acknowledged their error apologized to their wives kissed them all round, and soon retired in perfect good humor, all well pleased with the lesson they had learned, and which was perhaps the means of saving them from many after years of discontent, alienation, and misery.

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