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the sleeping boy; and, to her surprise, the only answer made to her communication respecting the child was: "Well, he must stay where he is till to-morrow, at least. It is too late to return to Duncan this afternoon."
For two hours Freddy slept peacefully, and woke with his peculiar crowing laugh, just as the late dinner came upon the table. Mr. Mowley, to his own astonishment, took him in his arms, and gave him his watch, delighted to see how tenderly he held it.
"Let me take him now, sir; dinner is ready," said the smiling housekeeper.
Crash! The watch was hurled across the room; and, coming in contact with the small mantel clock, struck that against a mirror, a piece of which knocked over an expensive glass vase, while Freddy laughed alond at the noise all this destruction occasioned.
Mrs. White trembled; but Mr. Moseley said: "My fault for giving him the watch." And sat down to dine.
"What do you give the boy, Mrs. White?"
"I am sure I don't know. Soft things, I guess; he's got no teeth; I never fed a baby in my life."
"Take care; he '11 grab that knife."
This weapon removed, Freddy made a dash at a tumbler, succeeded in upsetting that down into his bosom, and began to scream.
"Give him something to eat," roared the old gentleman. "Here's some mashed potatoes; they 're soft."
The baby was hungry, and a mouthful of food quieted him.
"He must like it; see how he eats," said Mrs. White, as she gave the child spoonful after spoonful of the white, soft food.
"Here's some soft bread with gravy on it; try that," said Mr. Moseley.
Baby made a hearty meal. All the soft food on the table was tried, and met with his approbation. Squash succeeded potatoes and bread dipped in gravy, and some strawberries mashed in cream and sugar completed the repast.
A crowing, romping evening with his two old friends, and at about nine o'clock Master Freddy fell asleep, and was laid in his clothes on the housekeeper's bed. An hour later the whole household retired, and still the baby slept.
It was near midnight when Mrs. White was awakened by the crying of the child beside her. At first she was bewildered by the sound, but after a moment she recollected the little stranger, and began to pat and soothe it. All in vain; the cry was one of pain, and, after
some minutes passed in a futile attempt to quiet him, Mrs. White rose, and lighted a lamp, drew on a wrapper and pair of slippers, and took the baby in her arms. Some instinct told her that this was a cry, not of fretfulness, but of pain. The poor child's hands were hot and his face flushed, while his screams of agony were varied by moans that went straight to his new nurse's heart. She had no idea what to do. She shrank from the thought of awaking Mr. Moseley, and then she doubted if he knew anything about the matter himself. Meantime, while she was walking up and down, trying in vain to still the baby, the old bachelor was dressing himself, after tossing about, endeavoring not to hear the yells in the housekeeper's room.
"What's the matter? Gracious, what a row!" followed his thundering knock at Mrs. White's door.
"Come in! Oh, sir, the poor baby's sick I I'm sure he's got the croup, or the measles, or some of those things babies have."
'" Sick! nonsense! he screams like a young hyena! Most likely he's hungry again!"
"Seems to me babies do eat in the night. They do; I remember hearing, now, and they give them a drink of milk!"
"Is there any milk in the house?"
"Yes, in the cellar. If you will take him, I'11 get some."
"No; you keep him," said the gentleman, shrinking back; "I '11 go for it."
But baby positively refused to drink the milk; the improper food he had already taken was torturing the poor fellow, who writhed and screamed with pain.
Mrs. White walked him till she was ready to drop; then she rocked him, trotted, petted, and scolded. All useless; pain conquered all her blandishments and threats, and baby screamed on. Then the old gentleman tried his skill, until, wearied out, he tossed Master Fred on the bed with an impatient—" There! scream it out, you little imp!"
And baby obeyed! Shriek followed shriek, moan came after moan, yells were piled up, each one more intensly shrill than the last, till Nature came to aid baby, and he threw the improper mess from his poor little stomach upon Mrs. White's snowy counterpane. The vomiting eased him, and, tired out, he slept soundly.
Morning found the old gentleman cross and the old lady crosser over their broken rest, and they came to breakfast with savage glances at the innocent cause of their trouble. All his merriment was gone; he was only a pale, fretful baby, and his moaning cry was only an aggravation of his former inj urious conduct.
"Mrs. White, we have got rid of that baby!" cried the old gentleman, gleefully; and from the newspaper read aloud Mr. Lawson's advertisement. "Order the carriage, and drive over immediately after breakfast. I don't want him in the house another night!"
Mrs. White shuddered at the idea, and ordered the carriage.
"There's a woman at the door who has been asleep in the barn on. the open lot over the way, asking for a piece of bread," said William, opening the door of the dining-room. "She's got red hair and a blue shawl, maim, and I thought—"
Mrs. White was gone. There at the door stood the cause of all her misery, Keezy, poor Keezy, who had wandered to the old barn, and now, faint with hunger, stood begging a bit of bread. One rapturous cry, and she was at Mrs. White's feet, and ten minutes later the whole party were on their way to Towerdale.
My pen cannot paint the parents' joy when their treasure was once more safely in their home. Keezy was forgiven; and Mr. Moseley never made but one remark about it; he said: "Mrs. White, the next time you go to a parade don't offer to hold a baby."
LADIES ON THE POINT OF MARRIAGE.
How truly important a thing it is to have all worldly concerns fully understood between the fair bride and bridegroom, prior to the wedding! In rich families, or where there are large estates, these affairs are regularly arranged by the lawyers; and should there be (by bare possibility) any dispute after marriage, deeds of settlement can be readily referred to. This is, however, but the adjustment of that highly desirable matter that has been termed "filthy lucre." All the lawyers in the world, putting their imposing heads together, could not control the effect of opposite tempers; and as it is undeniable that young lovers, in their period of courtship, are totally blind to each other's imperfections, it is not until after what is called "the honeymoon" has passed that the little thorns appear which inflict the first wounds on matrimonial bliss, and, if neglected to be soothed and healed at once, grow into more serious maladies. Young brides, it is at this critical juncture, or puncture, that your tact, your best good humor, must be exerted! The admiring man on whom you have bestowed
your hand will be too much gratified in obssrving this conduct not to meet it more than half way, own perhaps his hasty remark, kiss off a soft, indignant tear, and mutual forgiveness of each early petty offence may prevent the growth of many a future grievance.
Although riches have been pronounced a blessing, how often does it occur that the wife who brings money on her side is disappointed —nay, disgusted, in what she fancies may be the niggardly appropriation of the finances? Why ought not she to have a new carriage like
Mrs. , or Mrs. ?Has not the fortune
flowed in from her family? When this notion has found its way into the female head, farewell to matrimonial bliss! The wife remonstrates, and, nine times out of ten, she is the most expert in argument, and her defeated helpmate walks off moodily to the hall of selfishness, his club—where in splendor he endeavors to regain good humor amongst the loungers and idlers that haunt the establishment, and where, if in pique he determines to dine, his palate is tickled with, perhaps, superior cookery to that of his own domicile.
We have been led to these remarks by the accidental perusal of an existing and authentic document, which, if only descriptive of the manners of the period in which it was written, is curious and entertaining.
We cannot imagine that any wife of the present day would propose such preposterous stipulations as those of Elizabeth Spencer, heiress of Sir John Spencer, Lord Mayor of London, some time about the year 1630, and who was married to William, Lord Compton. The lady had made few previous demands, but not long after the conclusion of the nuptial ceremony, she sent her husband a modest and consolatory letter, which is yet extant, and from which the following items, among many others, are verybally taken. It may not be impertinent to add that Lord Compton, as might reasonably be conjectured, after the receipt of such a letter as the following, reaped little comfort from his wife, and less from her large fortune.
EPISTLE FROM LADY ELIZABETH COMPTON TO LORD COMPTOK (LITERALLY Rendered).
"my Sweet Life : Now I have declared to you my mind for the settling of your state, I suppose it were best for me to bethink or consider with myself what Allowance Were MeetEst for me; for, considering what care I have had of your estate, and how respectfully I dealt with those, which both by the laws of of God, of nature, and of civil polity, wit, re
ligion, government, and honesty, you, my dear, are bound to, I pray and beseech you to grant me JE1,600 per annum (quarterly to be paid).
"Also, I would (besides that allowance for my apparel) have £600 added yearly (quarterly to be paid) for the performance of charitable works; and those things I would not, neither will be, accountable for.
"Also, I will have three horses for my own saddle, that none shall dare lend or borrow; none lend but I, none borrow but you.
"Also, I would have two gentlewomen, lest one should be sick, or have some other left. Also, I believe that it is an indecent thing for a gentlewoman to stand mumping alone, when God hath blessed their lord and lady with good estate.
"Also, when I ride a-hunting or hawking, or travel from one house to another, I will have them attending; so, for either of those said women, I Must and Will have for either of them a horse.
"Also, I will have six or eight gentlemen, and I will have my two coaches, one lined with velvet to myself, with four very fair horses; and a coach for my women, lined with sweet cloth, one laced with gold, the other with scarlet, and laced with watched lace and silver, and four good horses.
"Also, I will have two coaohmen, one for my own coach, the other for my women.
"Also, at any time when I travel, I will be allowed not only caroches and spare horses for me and my women, but I will have such carriages as shall be fitting for all orderly purposes: not pestering roy things wjth my women's, nor theirs with chambermaids', nor theirs with washmaids'.
"Also, for laundresses, when I travel, I will have them sent away before with the carriages, to see all safe; and the chambermaids I will have go before with the greens, that the chambers may be ready, sweet, and clean.
"Also, for that it is indecent to crowd myself up with my gentleman usher in my ooach, I •will have him to have a convenient horse, to attend me either in city or in country. And I must have two footmen. And my desire is that yon defray all the charges for me.
*' And for myself, besides my yearly allowance, I would have twenty gowns of apparel, - i x of them excellent good ones, eight of them for the country, and six of them very excellent good ones.
«' Also, I would have, to pnt me in my purse, j£2,000 and £200, and so for you to pay my debts.
"Also, I will have £6,000 to buy me jewels, and £4,000 to buy me a pearl ohain.
"Now, seeing I am so reasonable unto you, I pray you to find my children apparel, and their schooling, and also my servants (men and women) their wages.
"Also, I will have my houses furnished, and all my lodging-chambers to be suited with all such furniture as is fit—as beds, stools, chairs, suitable cushions, carpets, silver warming-pans, cupboards of plate, fair hangings, and such like; so for my drawing-chambers in all houses I will have them delicately furnished, both with hangings, couch, canopy, glass, carpet, chair-cushions, and all things thereunto belonging.
"Also, my desire is that you will pay all my debts, build Ashby-House, and purchase lands, and lend no money (as you love God) to the Lord Chamberlain (Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk), which would have all—perhaps your life—from you. Remember his son, my Lord Walden, what entertainment he gave me when we were at the Tilt-yard. If you were dead he said he would be a husband, a father, a brother, and he said he would marry me. I protest I grieve to see the poor man have so little wit and honesty to use his friend so vilely. Also, he fed me with untruth concerning the Charterhouse; but that is the least: he wished me much harm—you know him. God keep you and me from such as him.
"So now I have declared to you what I would have, and what I would not have, I pray that when you bo an earl to allow me £1,000 more than / now desire, and double attendance! "Your loving wife,
Certain contemporary historians have asserted that the lady's large fortune turned her lord's head. Query—Had the above letter nothing to do with that calamity?
Gon's Lovr.—The following lines are said to have been written by a person commonly esteemed an absolute idiot. A ray from the sanctuary, revealing the mercies of redemption as well as of creation, must surely have glanced, across his mind.
"Could we With Ink the ocean (111,
Were the whole earth of parchment made,
And every man a scribe by trade:
Wonld drain the ocean dry;
Though stretched from sky to sky."
THE SECRET OF LOUISE HASTINGS.
"Something must be done; I can bear this no longer."
I remember just the spot where, as I spoke these words, I paused between the table and the rug in my small parlor—small, but pleasant and tasteful, as I had often congratulated myself, looking at the pretty lace curtains and the Brussels carpet, its dark moss-green ground flushed and warm with tropical roses.
I, Louise Hastings, had carried for a whole week a slow, steady heartache. Sometimes this aching had suddenly sprang into a quick, fierce life, and pain which seemed as though it would smother my breath and drive my reason into a great whirl of madness. But that was when I looked off to the future, and remembered the past; and my will was stubborn and my pride was strong; and I held down memory and imagination with all the might of both, for I dreaded every recurrence of that fierce, ohoking pain as I would have dreaded tongues of fire leaping suddenly along my shrinking nerves. So I had borne myself before my husband and any one with whom I chanced to be thrown steadily enough, perhaps with a little added dignity; but that no one would be likely to observe who had not the key to it.
I had been a wife, loving and deeply beloved, for a year, and that winter was the twentyfourth of my life. It was the thirtieth of that of Maurice Hastings, my husband, who had been for four years a physician in the old town of Woolcottville, where we had resided ever since our marriage.
I was an only child, and my parents died before my remembrance. My aunt, who had adopted me, was a childless widow in very comfortable circumstances, and she was very fond of me, and had indulged every wish of mine, so far as her fortune permitted. At nineteen, with small knowledge of the world and smaller of my own heart, I had become the betrothed wife of Henry Somers, whose mother was an old and beloved friend of my nrnit.
Harry was a spoiled child; so was I. We fancied that we adored each other. He had all those charms of conversation, those graces of person and manner which are so apt to attract the fancy of a young, inexperienced girl; he was intelligent, enthusiastic, full of warm,
generous impulses; but I could not penetrate beneath these, and see that the character of Henry Somers lacked moral force and discipline. For a while we got on very smoothly together; then certain antagonisms in our characters began to develop themselves. Both were highspirited, both unconsciously selfish and exacting; so, during the second six months of oar engagement, we had frequent jars, recriminations, and reconciliations. Then Harry went West to survey some lands in which his father had been speculating.
We were to have been married on his return, and we parted with mutual protestations of eternal fidelity. But Henry Somers was impulsive and susceptible; his absence was necessarily prolonged; and an old friend of his father's with whom he passed several weeks had a young and beautiful daughter, in whose, society he was constantly thrown. I was grieved to find that his letters grew less frequent, and that there was a sensible diminution in their first ardor.
My aunt was not a woman to submit quietly to this, if I had been; and she soon obtained indubitable evidence that Harry had involved himself in a flirtation which was most dishonorable, with the relations that we occupied to each other. Her indignation was keen; her fears were aroused for the happiness of the child who was dearer to her than life. She laid the facts before me, and stimulated my pride into dissolving our engagement.
But the knowledge of Harry's perfidy was a terrible stroke to me, for my faith in him had been boundless, and he was the idol of my girlish dreams and fancies. But the bitter experience did me good. That great sorrow thundered in a wild storm over my soul, but it passed away, leaving it better and stronger: and as I have lived to know that the aim and end of all living is to become this, I have thanked God for the rain in the morning of my life.
A year and two half later I met my husband for the first time at a quiet little watering-plsce situated near a cove where we had gone for the sea air and bathing.
Maurice Hastings was unlike any of the wen with whom I had been thrown; he was grave, thoughtful, stndious; yet there was a spring of keen humor in his nature, which sparkled in his deep gray eyes and flashed in ripples of light over the fine, grave face.
Each was interested in the other from the beginning. His conversation formed a vivid contrast with that of any other man's I had ever known, as we walked down on the beach in the sweet summer evenings, and watched the great white temples of mist rising slowly up from the ocean, and lifting their silver colonnades to the stars. Our talk ranged everywhere; on nature and art, philosophy, history, religion. I felt my whole nature expanding and intensifying as I listened, and the graceful flatteries and insipid talk with which I had formerly been entertained now grew vapid and disagreeable. Not that Maurice Hastings was pedantic, but to me his conversation was full of stimulation and suggestion.
It did not take us long to penetrate the mutual interest which each took in the other. Maurice was the sincerest and most candid of men, and though he seldom flattered me, still the look of pleased interest and amusement which flashed down on me as we stood on the yellow sands bordered with a great silver blossoming of spray, deepened into one of tenderness before that fair chapter in my life was closed. My aunt was pleased with Maurice, still she was very ambitious for my future, and the thought that I should marry a country physician with no prospect but his profession was not gratifying to her pride. But, spite of herself, Maurice daily compelled more of her respect, and my engagement with Harry Somers had shown her how much better than wealth is it for a woman to have a strong, true heart to depend on.
Woolcottville was not so far from New York but that Maurice could see me for a few days every month; and in a little while those days had become to me the precious jewels strung along the thread of the weeks.
My mind and heart had found before they had passed out from the gates of girlhood the companionship which they had lingered and thirsted for, and life had something better and holier than the mere living for selfish enjoyment and happiness. And in one of those visits Maurice told me those most blessed and tender words wliose memory still thrills my heart, and •hakes, while I write, the old, sweet tears into my eyes.
My aunt gave her consent to my choice, on the whole, with cheerfulness; and the next ipring Maurice brought me to his home, the •mall, graceful cottage lying like a white shell Vol. Lxiv.—38
among green surges of larches and cedars, and here there went over my head in great light and love my first year of wifehood.
Sometimes there stole across my heart, when I sat by the side of my husband, a little shadow, and that was the thought that my life had one secret from hiin, for I had never revealed my engagement to Harry Somers. It had been my intention to do this, but my aunt had dissuaded me from it. I was young, and had great faith in her wisdom and discretion, and I did not altogether perceive that her standard was a worldly and politic one; that she had no lofty stand-point, no high ideals of living; and, kind and generous though she was, that her wisdom was only that other day and generation. So when I turned snddenly to her, one morning, from the piano, where I had been practising my music-lesson for the day, while she was carefully washing some old-fashioned china, which had heen preserved as heir-looms in the family, and said to her: "Aunt Eliza, don't you think that it is my duty to inform Maurice of my engagement with Harry Somers ?" she answered me :—
"Don't do anything of the kind, my child; a man has no right to be inquisitive about such matters, so long as they in no wise concern himself. You would only annoy and pain Maurice by making any allusion to the subject, and it will be much wiser to keep still. I have known serious trouble to result from injndicious disclosures of this kind."
"But, aunty, it doesn't seem quite honorable, somuhow. If Maurice were in my place, I should want to know the whole truth."
"That is quite natural, Louise ; but he would be wiser to lock up the secret in his own heart. You will be glad if you take my advice."
And I took it, but I was not satisfied. One night, not long before our marriage, I said to Maurice, as we sat together on the divan in the alcove beyond the parlor:—
"I wonder what your faults are; I haven't found one out yet!"
The grave face bent on me its sweet and tenderest smile. "They will come soon enongh, my little girl. You know the •true work and aim of marriage is to improve each other; to grow better, nobler in all aspirations and living."
"But everybody, almost, fancies it is only to be happier in one way or another, according to their tastes and feelings."
"I know it; but we must get at a higher range of vision than that. As for my faults, you '11 find them out soon and fast enough, I 'fl promise you."