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talked quietly about Ashbrook matters, and the books I had been reading, and any matter that suggested itself till we returned to the parlor. Then I took up my crocheting again, and he busied himself with looking over the columns of the Ashbrook Gazette for a half hour.
At length he laid down the paper. "Do you play much now, Ellen ?" he asked.
"But a little; I have neglected practising of late," I answered.
"And your French?"
"I have given that up," I answered, as briefly.
'' What is that work you have in your hand?"
"Hum—it looks as complicated as one of my lawsuits. You used to work little dogs in red and yellow yarns when I was here. Where are they now f"
"The dogs or the yarns, Mr. Abbot f"
"Both; they went together, I believe. They were yarn dogs."
"I gave them up long ago."
"You commenced German last fall, you wrote me."
"I gave that up almost as soon as I commenced it."
"What haven't you given up, Ellen f Not your visit to Boston, I hope"—laying his hand upon the letter on the table.
I was very angry, and I knew I grew very red. "You have read Laura Dashington's cold, insolent letter, and yet I suppose you would have me thrust myself upon her. Go back, and tell her I despise her, and am ashamed that I ever called her friend! I will never go there to see her or Grace Dashington, your promised wife, never, no, never!" And I bent over my work, while a hot tear of mortification dropped upon the shining needle.
Mr. Abbot rose suddenly, and in an instant was at my side and bending over me. The work and crochet-needle were taken from my hand, and he spoke in a strange, husky voice: "Ellen, darling Ellen, it is my turn to say never now! J love you, I came here for you, and I want you to return to Boston with me, my wife. I will go back without you—never!" And his arms were around me in a tight clasp.
I was astonished, not frightened, but so astonished that I trembled violently. I did not know what to reply for many moments, and then I said the very thing I ought not to have said—" And Miss Grace Dashington?"
"Innocent 1 As though I could go through the ordeal of six bridesmaids in red silk! No; I can make a two hours' plea before a crowded
court-room, but I could not undergo that!" he said, mischievously; then added, iu tones of deepest tenderness: "My little Nelly, did you ever think I could love anybody else except your own sweet, fresh self, grown up from charming girlhood into more charming womanhood here in secluded Ashbrook? If you have so thought, you did not know the depths of my heart. I am many years older than you, I know, Nelly, but 1 will love you all the stronger and better for that. And now I want to take you home with me; not for the little visit we had in mind, but for a lifelong one, as my own dear little wife."
"Provided I love you, you mean," I could not help adding, a little saucily.
"Of course, and provided mamma raises no extreme objections to receiving her daughter's godfather as her son," he answered, with mock deference, but a show of tender triumph, also, as he sought to read his answer in my eyes.
What that answer was you can perhaps guess, reader, when mamma returned and found Mr. Abbot sitting beside me as though he had appointed himself guardian over all my future; and when Willie entered, later, rosy with skating, and still eyeing our guest with a dogged expression of dislike, his countenance underwent a great change as that gentleman called out: "Come here and shake hands with me, Willie 1 Your sister has just promised that Parson Priest may marry us, and she will go back with me to Boston to live; and, if you are a clever lad, and restrain your incendiary propensities, you shall study law in my office yet, after all."
Will saw that he had been exposed, but he gave his hand manfully, saying, with a very red face: "I'm sorry about the Horace, Mr. Abbot, but I was a little mad, you see; and I guess Nell didn't feel any too clever, either!" And, with a roguish glance, he ran from the parlor.
Four weeks later, clinging to my husband'3 arm, I was in the great crowd pouring out of the vestibule of the Boston Theatre, after an opera in which Patti had sung.
"Why, Esquire Abbot, how have you been for this age, aud why have you neglected us so! Here's Gracie herself to scold you," I heard in a familiar voice at my husband's elbow.
I felt myself drawn forward into view by his arm placed around me. "I have been very well, thank you, Mrs. Dashington. But here must be my excuse for neglecting you; ladies, allow me to introduce to you my wife."
Reader, fancy for yourself the looks I encountered. Chagrin, pique, it would have been hatred had Laura Dashington possessed a nature strong enough for that feeling; it mat that with her black-eyed sister-in-law. I can never describe them to you. It was a meeting to be seen and remembered. There was a faint essay at offering of white gloved fingers, hardly touched by mine; then we passed on, leaving behind us one surprised and another proud white face.
"The six bridesmaids fell through 'at one fell swoop,' " said my husband, with a sarcastic laugh, as our carriage rolled away. "I would not speak so of every woman, Ellen; but I am justified in saying it of Grace Dashington I"
"And I cried at Laura's wedding, I remember, and would not be comforted," I said, half bitterly, after a little silence.
"I read the difference in your natures even then, for I predicted the fading out of the romantic school-girl attachment, you know, Nelly," said Mr. Abbot.
"Yes, Edward," I answered, a little sadly. I could no longer respect Lanra Dashington, but I could not help giving a sigh to the broken dream, the memory of "my most intimate friend."
A PLEA FOR JEALOUSY.
IT HARRY HARKWOOD LEECH.
And shall we own finch judgment 1 No: as soon
English Bards, Ac.
It has become, it seems, as natural to poets and writers of this age to denounce "the greeneyed monster," as for ladies of this era to don crinoline and do the "Lancers;" and yet it seems strange that no voice shall be raised, no pen poised in defence, of this attribute of passion, growing out of the love of humanity, and chastened by the very spirit of suffering. The odium attached to a man or woman known to be jealous is punishment indeed severe, without the cruel pangs which cause the malady. And here let us say (writing incased in the armor of our stoic philosophy), that it will generally be proven that the most ingenuous natures, the most delicate, finely-strung organisms, are those most susceptible to the sting of the scorpion shot out from the lips or the eyes of the beloved ; and yet this suffering becomes the more poignant as the jeers of the observers
greet the unhappy one, the scoffers themselves being but recovered victims of the madness.
We adore Sophronia (how can we help it'.) we live in the light of her glorious eyes, which beam softly as a harvest moon upon sleeping waters; we are thrilled by her tender voice, transported by the pressure of her soft hand. Her graceful form sways like wavy, pendulous leaves stirred by caressing zephyrs. Her voice is the soul of harmony, and its rich cadences fill our spirit in the twilight with a strange thrilling joy; there is a new revelation to our heart, a more perfect, though dimly expressed, joy born to our soul. Yes, we adore Sophronia! Do you blame us?
But our idol is not a luminary which beams for us alone; her heart a shrine at which we only shall tenderly worship. Nay! Sir Judkyn Fopp, with his title and eyeglass, wig, false teeth, and fat account at the bankers, receives many a warm flash from Sophronia's eyes. Heavens I we detect him raising the not unwilling maiden's hand to his lips behind the heavy curtains in the drawing-room, and then
"The storms, whose lightnings ever glare.
Tempests, whose thunders never cease to roll; The storms of love when maddened to despair, The furious tempests of the jealous soul,"
break over us in all their force, laden with all their anguish. Say, thou critic? if Sophronia's voice sounded not with a deeper meaning to us than to others, if her eyes expressed not a tenderer mystery, should we be thus 'whelmed with grief at her coquetry, which we term inconstancy? or afflicted with that passion which out of passion grows f
Perfect love should beget perfect confidence I Ah! but this is philosophy. Does it originate with Plutarch, or Alcibiades, or Epaminondasr And if from neither sage, let us humbly ask what lover was a philosopher while he loved? "Perfect confidence," to be sure, in the purity of Sophronia, else how could she enchain us so! But that Sir Judkyn should press the hand so sacred to us, should receive the glanoes of those eyes which always beam with a tender significance to us—Ah! Mrs. Barbauld, that sweet poetess, so little known, so little read, expressed in some stanzas all this strange whirl of jealous thought, and defended it, too, much better than we can do in stubborn prose. They ran—
"Is it to quench thy joy in tears.
To nurse strange doubts and gronndleas fears? If pangs of jealousy thou hast not prov'd.
Though she were fonder and more true
Than any nymph old poets drew,
"If any hopes thy bosom share.
Or any cares but his thy breast enthral,
And reigns a tyrant, if he reigns at all."
So thus we shall olaim it proven that love cannot exist without the ogre jealousy sitting beside the throne and whispering to us as each courtier bends the knee—"He loves thy Queen 1 0 Fool I" That, where the tender passion revels on, in one luxurious term of peace, Cupid has less reason to be proud of his acolytes, who holding up the blazing tapers before their eyes are blinded by their glare, and consumed to ashes, ere they feel the devouring flame. We therefore place our humble protest against such severe condemnation of that disease (for it can be no less, we admit), jealousy, and look with suspicion upon that
"Base pack of yelping hounds,
by denouncing a weakness born of our strength of Love, which latter nurtures our understanding, reveals our tenderest impulses, develops our highest nature, while refining our hearts, cultivating our brains, and leading us by a subtle tuition to higher and purer duties of life.
And yet we would not assert there are not loves as deep and ardent as ever poet sung, whose subjects with lofty purpose, pure hearts, and strong wills, banish from courtship and honeymoon the monster with the emerald eyes; yet they possess minds and souls complicate, godlike, and wonderful, and prove exceptions to the throbbing mass who pulsate through the world swayed by its passions, and tortured by its will. We have in this paper intended to speak, be it remembered, of a jealousy springing from a genuine passion, which, at least, lacks not dignity; not a spasm merely, but the hope of a life; not an offshoot from vanity, a gaudy flower which would live beneath gaslight, bot a shrinking, soft-petalled plant blushing and fragrant and fit to be worn over the heart. And so with an assuring friendliness would we approach a jealous man or woman, touched with a suffering which must not reveal itself; made sad by the signs of a sorrow that could not be expressed; full of a charity and kindness which demanded not constant utterance or actual expression, but the tender help of sympathy for a natural sadness which might penetrate ourselves the instant after. And as (we think Thackeray happily expresses it so), in no republic or monarchy, we are exempt from the tax of befriending poverty and weakness, of respecting age, and honoring our father
and mother, so let us sneer less at Sophronia's lover, and when Sir Judkyns presses the maiden's hand in the corner, cease laughing at the youth who looks on trembling and flushed, and remember to
"Deal with men in misery Like one, who may himself be miserable."
BT FAiririB «IIVIM BItr/OK.
When love was new and truth was strong,
I met the maid—scarce more thanachild—
She did not seem as others seemed
'Mong envious thorns and blighted buds,
She knew no home of stately pride,
Her sire was but a humble man,
Yet, dwelling in a simple cot,
A lonely cottage by the sea—
I owned her fair as fair could be!
For hand of sculptor never gave
Nor heart of painter e'er conceived
And airy threads, by fairies spun
Were coarse and dim it once compared
Those red-roBe lips—that holy brow—
Sure, they were radiant gleamings sent
For she was not as mortals are;
No human heart to her was given; And uoeding but an angel's wings
To fit her for her native heaven.
She could not feel as we whose souls
She could not find in love like ours
And so I hushed my impious heart,
To know no peace, or hope, or joy,
Long, fickle years have passed since then;
My life is in its summer now, And many are the weary lines
Which care has traced across my brow.
Yet still I hold one treasure fast,
And still I keep one memory bright
Wall, winter '$ on hand for sartin, this time! goodness sake! how the snow does come down! 'Pears as if somebody's feather beds was a emptyin' their contexts ont in infusion. I like to see it snow, now, that's a fact; it looks kinder sociable like, and makes anybody feel as if they 'd be contented to set for everlastingly afore a birch fire, and orack walnuts. Land o' the livin'! sich a hand as yer Uncle Reuben was for walnuts you never seed in all your born pilgrimage I He 'd set and eat and eat, and throw shells into the fire, till he 'd put it all out; and git his stummak in sich a perdicam«nt that his vest buttons warn't of no kind of count at all 1 He was a parfect gluttonous for walnuts 1
Yer Uncle was a good man, but he had his failin's; everybody has; and one of his was eatin' walnuts to completion; and another was his idees about wimmen's rights. He was powerfully perposed to wimmen's gwine anywhere, or sayin' anything, more 'n yes and no, when they was spoke to; he allers said that a woman's spear was rite to hum in the buzzum of her family; takin' keer of her children and fryin' sarsingers for her husband 1 Reuben was a case for sarsingers.
Another thing about yer Uncle Reuben complexed me perdidgously; he wam't willin' for me to go to a tea-drinkin', or quiltin', or frolicin'; said that we wimmen folks was apt to gossip and tattle when we got together, and for his part he warn't a-gwine to lend his countenance to it! Nobody asked him to, that I know of—his countenance warn't so muoh that he needed to be so mighty 'fraid of it.
A year ago last spring, the Watermelonville folks took it into their heads to have a May party; go out into the bushes airly in the mornin', sarch for posies, make somebody a queen by putting rosies on her head, and finish nil up by dancin' round a pole, and playin' hunt-the-slipper.
Deacon Grant he asked me to go, and I kinder thought it over, and concluded I should like to. Folks, you know, is never too old to injoy theirselves, and for my part, I don't think it's any hurt to laff. Annermils don't laff, and anybody that don't laff, and don't hold to laffin', is an annermil; and needn't feel any troubled about
their soul, 'cause they can't have any I Now, there 's old Aunt Sally Brewster—clever woman, and a grand hand to knit striped mittens—bnt her face is part a mile long if not longer, and its 's euuff to give anybody a pain in their dyspepsia to look at her. My vittels don't disgnst at all when I eat where she is, and I allers feel as if I 'd been packed up tight in a box, and fed through a knot-hole.
Poor Aunt Sally 1 my heart aches for her! she leads an orful onhappy life, and her husband, poor critter, is nothing but a skeleton with a jacket and trowsis on I He has to run into the house and shut hisself down sullur when the wind blows, for fear it '11 kerry him clean off to nowhere! They do pnrtend to say that Tom Sykes sent his dog over to Aunt Sally's, to Btay while he and his wife went to their darter's a visitin' for a week, and when they got back, the dog was in a kinder consumption. He didn't live above two days, and it 'a my 'pinion that lie died of the solomcolics —ketched 'em of Aunt Sally I
Wall, I kept on thinkiu' about the May party, and I asked yer uncle about it. He was readin' the "Peradventures of Sam Patch," and could not hear nothin' at all; so I let him alone till he got sot down to supper. I kuowed I 'd got him safe then, for he wouldn't leave his vittels for all the scoldin' forty wimmen could do.
"Reuben," sez I, "I 'm a-gwine to the May party, next Tuesday."
"Are ye?" sez he; "I want to know."
"Yes, I kalkulate to," sez I, "and I should like it if you 'd jest spur up ami go with me! What's the use of stayin' rite iu the chimbly corner for, allers?"
"What do you want to go for, 'Phena?" sez he; "seems to me an old woman like you had better let young folks and their capers alone."
"1 ain't an old woman," sez I, for my sperit was up; "I ain't but two year older than you are, Rube Bordergrass; and you warn't too old last winter to kiss Bets Larratee at Uncle Josh's Thanksgiving time. I should be ashamed of myself.''
"I beg yer pardon, 'Phena; I didn't mean nothin'—you ain't no age at all! Not a day old, as I 'm a sinner I"
Reuben's doxology kinder pacified me, an> ]
I looked across the table into the lookin'-glass, and felt rather tickled at the putty face I seed redexioned there. When I was eighteen years old, the fellers all said that there warn't a hansnmer gal in the town than 'Phena Grimes. Quite flatteratin', warn't itf Wall, I smoothed out my cap strings, and sez I:—
"Wall, Renben, I'm glad you've come to your senses. Seein' as how you have, I '11 jest ezplotorate the diagram of this party to your onderstandin'. Furst, we 're all to git up at four o'clock in the mornin', and gw'out into Gen. Gordon's woods and git all the dowers and evergreens we can find; Second, we 're to meet in Mr. Hall's store, and make all the leaves and things into bokays and crowners; Third, we 're to go to the Common, esquarted by a band of music, and choose the puttiest gall in the hull heap for a May Queen. Afterwards, they '11 dance, and play, and have a good time eatin' and drinkin' lemonade. They've got a pole histed rite on the middle of the green, and they '11 all dance round that."
"Dance round a fiddlestick !" sez yer uncle, cross as could be. "Don't make a fool of yerself, 'Phena; Natur' did the job up fur ye putty thoroughly, I should think I Git up at four o'clock, indeed! You '11 wet your feet wet as water, and have the tizzich wuss than ever.'' And with that Renben whisked ont a big slice of pork, and snapped it down as if it had been a muskeeter.
"Land sake, Renben !" sez I, "I shall wear my Ingy scrubbers, and hold up my gownd!"
"Humph !" sez Renben, shortly; and, grabbing a little mountain of gingerbread, he made tracks for the barn. But I warn't discurraged; only more detarmined than ever. You jest try to drive me, and you '11 be likely to find out that you '11 have to work for it!
I said not bin' more to Renben about the party, but I asked Napoleon Alexander his opinion, and he sed I'd better git myself fixed, and go with him and Julietta. So when the mornin' come—May mornin'—I was out of bed afore the crowers had begun their crowing; and, arter wakin' up Napoleon and Julietta, I got breakfast all on the table for Reuben, and then we sot forth for Gordon's woods. There was a sight of other folks a-stirrin', though it was nigh 'bout as dark as Egypt; and I wanted >'apol«on to go home and git the lantern, but he said it would be lighter when the sun riz.
Everybody seemed to enjoy theirselves wonderfully, laffin', shoutin', and performin'. Napoleon he got Mary Ann Ward by the arm, aad they scampered round like two wild crit
ters, peepin' in nnder every bush, into all the frog-pnddles, and twisting up every bit of moss to see if there warn't a frog somewhere. For my part, it was so dark I couldn't see to find anything, and I'd forgot to bring my specs, which made it wuss. Howsomever, I didn't want to be behindhand, and I picked a handful of spruce boughs, a sprig of hemlock, and a bunch of witch-hazel burs ; that was something towards it.
Bym-by I stepped on somethin' that moved, and I'm ter'ble 'fraid of snakes—the picter of one will make me shiver any time.
"Marciful gracious !" I soreamed, at the top of my voice. "Snakes I snakes! A snake has got me by the gownd! Massy!"
Everybody within earshot took'to their heels and run, and I run, too, as fast as the fastest, the oritter hangin' to my gownd, and lashin' me with his tail every other step! I was almost throwed into the hydrostatics! I exerted myself to the last grain of strength, and went rite over Gen. Gordon and Polly Place, where they was squat down on the ground, tryin' to tell whether they'd found a toad-stool or a blue violet. The Gen'ral is an orful skeery man, and they say he wasn't good to his wife, and sense her disease he 's been afeared to go out of the house arter sunset, for fear of seein' her apparition! Sense he's been stickin' up to Polly Place, he's been ten times shyer 'n ever, and when I sailed over him, he thought his wife had got him for sartin, and he jumped up with an orful cry, and streaked it for home. He'd a'got there in a little while if it hadn't been for a swamp between him and there, and in his condition of mind he didn't think of swamps; so on he went, and landed rite into that mndhole. and stuck fast 1 Poll Plaoe she screamed murder, and Deacon Grant—the Deacon is brave as a lion—heerd the noise, and cum rite to us.
"Land soul!" sez he, "what's all this clatter about?"
"A snake, Deacon," sez I, "is holdin' onto my gownd skirt, and the Gen'ral is stuck in the bog!"
"Land soul !" sez he, "you don't say!"
And with that he ketched the snake rite by the head, and held it up afore my eyes. Gracious! come to find out, it wasn't a snake, but a long, big black root that had got hitched into my gownd!
Didn't I feel a leetle 'shamed when I seed Uf I shouldn't wonder if I did, but I laffed and let it go. 'Twa'n't no laffin' matter for Gen'ral Gordon, though! When they got him