« ÎnapoiContinuă »
It came with spring's soft sun and showers,
But its companions pass’d away,
Thus life begins—its morning hours,
Beneath the parent roof we meet
I HAVE often had occasion to remark the fortitude, with which woman sustains the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those disasters, which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their character, that, at times, it approaches to sublimity. Nothing can be more touching, than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness, while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and supporter of her husband under misfortune, and abiding, with unshrinking firmness the bitterest blasts of adversity.
As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage about the oak, and been lifted by it into sunshine, will, when the hardy plant is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with its caressing tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs ; so is it beautifully ordered by
Providence, that woman, who is the mere dependent and ornament of man in his happier hours, should be his stay and solace when smitten with sudden calamity; winding herself into the rugged recesses of his nature, tenderly supporting the drooping head, and binding up the broken heart.
These observations call to mind a little domestic story, of which I was once a witness. My intimate friend, Leslie, had married a beautiful and accomplished girl, who had been brought up in the midst of fashionable life. She had, it is true, no fortune; but that of my friend was ample, and he delighted in the anticipation of indulging her in every elegant pursuit, and administering to those delicate tastes and fancies, that spread a kind of witchery about the sex.
Never did a couple set forward, on the flowery path of early and well suited marriage, with a fairer prospect of felicity. It was the misfortune of my friend, however, to have embarked his property in large speculations; and he had not been married many months, when, by a succession of sudden disasters, it was swept from him, and he found himself reduced to almost penury. For a time, he kept his situation to himself, and went about with a haggard countenance, and a breaking heart. His life was but a protracted agony; and what rendered it more insupportable was, the necessity of keeping up a smile in the presence of his wife; for he could not bring himself to overwhelm her with
She saw, however, with the quick eyes of affection, that all was not well with him. She inarked his altered looks and stifled sighs, and was not to be deceived by his sickly and vapid attempts at cheerfulness. She tasked all her sprightly powers and tender blandishments to win him back to happiness; but she only drove the arrow deeper into his soul. The more he saw cause to love her, the more torturing was the thought that he was soon to make her wretched. A little while, thought he, and the smile will vanish from that cheek; the song will die away from those lips; the lustre of those eyes will be quenched with sorrow; and the happy heart, which now beats lightly in that bosom, will be weighed down, like mine, by the cares and miseries of the world.
At length he came to me, one day, and related his whole situation in a tone of the deepest despair. When I had heard him through, I enquired, “Does your wife know all this?” At the question, he burst into an agony of tears.
I saw bis grief was eloquent, and I let it have its flow; for sorrow relieves itself by words. When his paroxysm had subsided, and he had relapsed into moody silence, I resumed the subject gently, and urged him to break his situation, at once, to his wife. “Believe me, my friend,” said I, stepping up and grasping him warmly by the hand,“ believe me, there is, in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes, in the dark hour of adversity. No man knows what the wife of his bosom is no man knows what a ministering angel she is until he has gone with her through the fiery trials of this world."
Some days afterwards, he called upon me in the evening. He had disposed of his dwelling-house, and taken a small cottage in the country, a few miles from town. He had been busied all day in sending out furniture. The new establishment required few articles, and those of the simplest kind. All the splendid furniture of his late residence had been sold, excepting his wife's harp.
He was now going out to the cottage, where his wife had been all day, superintending its arrangement. My feelings had become strongly interested in the progress of this family story, and, as it was a fine evening, I offered to accompany him.
He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and, as we walked out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing.
“Poor Mary!” at length broke, with a heavy sigh, from his lips.
“ And what of her ?" asked I; “has any thing happened to her ?”
“Has she repined at the change ?”
“Repined ! she has been nothing but sweetness and good humor. Indeed, she seems in better spirits than I have ever known her; she has been to me all love, and tenderness, and comfort !"
“Admirable girl !” exclaimed I. “You call yourself poor, my friend; you never were so rich : you never knew the boundless treasures of excellence you possessed in that woman."
After turning from the main road, up a narrow lane, so thickly shaded by forest trees, as to give it a complete air of seclusion, we came in sight of the cottage. It was humble enough in its appearance for the