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النشر الإلكتروني

The poor matchmaker who cries matches in the streets is a more deserving and a far more blameless character than she who plans them in her silken boudoir, and makes them where the young and giddy meet.

How few such matchmakers think of the heavy responsibility of a task undertaken through interest or sport, and carried on in cupidity, or in idleness !

If none would willingly have to answer for a death, surely none who reflect would choose to have to answer for a marriage! True, there is no happiness so great as wedded happiness.

“ They who joy would win, must share it.

Happiness was born a twin.” But certainly there is no misery to be at all compared with wedded misery. What cares, what sufferings would not be aggravated by a heavy and eternal chain ! And to feel that the soulless, frivolous manæuvres of another, not one's own free will, had bound one in such a chain, makes it heavier and more galling still.

Beware, ye matchmakers ! few bless, and many revile you.

But the universal matchmaker, anxious to get all the spinsters and bachelors of her acquaintance married as fast as possible, is a rare character, a genuine amateur. Hers is something of the feeling of the actor in Nickleby, who, when he performed the part of Othello, blackened his whole body, in gratuitous self-sacrificing enthusiasm for the art.

The ordinary matchmaker is only anxious to get those married who are in some way dependent on, or whose interests are linked with hers. She takes no concern in the marriages of others, unless they can in any way militate against or forward her own designs, plots, and plans : the matches she meditates, once made, all the world beside may be in full enjoyment of “single blessedness.”

The matchmaker we speak of is generally a mother. Mothers are Nature's matchmakers; but, as with gamblers, repeated successes put people on their guard : those who always hold good cards, and play them well,

at last find none who will venture to engage with them. There are the "Deadly Smooths” of Almacks, and the opera-box, as well as of Crockford's, plumed, jewelled, and not unlike their own caps and hats, all satin and blonde without, and all pins and wire within. They watch, and wait, more “deadly,” more “smooth” than their celebrated namesake, and engaging poor novices, at frightful odds, to play for the most fearful of stakes.

Enough of them; their triumphs must be limited; for, their reputation as matchmakers confirmed, their occupation, like Othello's, is gone-for ever.

Mrs. Lindsay, our matchmaker, is not one of these. The fashionable manœuvring mammas are now hackneyed characters—the same in all their evolutions, and wearisome in their sameness. All women of fashion are alike, whether as daughters, mothers, wives, or widows : they never want the touch of art, but the touch of nature that they want, indeed.

Our matchmaker, then, is a parvenue. To be a parrenue proves talent of some kind, and, what is rarer still, perseverance of all kinds. An orphan, she showed her talent first by making a match for herself. She married a gentleman-poor, but yet a gentleman. She then contrived to get her brothers allied to women of fortune, and afterwards, as they were vulgar, and “provided for,” she cut them. At the opening of our tale she has two daughters yet on her hands; two she has already disposed of.

Mrs. Lindsay was very proud of those matches; and yet they might have cured her of matchmaking. One, a young and delicate girl, doatingly fond of her parents and her home, and extremely simple in her tastes, she married to a sordid man, going out as a judge to India. There, in wretched health, she pines in vain for home and pure air. What to her is the pomp she cannot enjoy, the jewels around her wasted neck and arms, and the money-getting husband, yellow and cold as his own guineas! Yet it was “ a splendid match ;” at least, so said the world and the matchmaker.

Another, a timid creature, was married to a sporting squire, who tried to make an amazon of her; but, driving her one day, spite of her terror and dismay, in a tandem to cover, the leader took fright-he was thrown into a horsepond, and she was dashed against a tree, and carried home lifeless.

The poor mother! she had been so proud of that match: it had been so envied by mothers and daughters. She was the most to be pitied, for the bride's escape was a happy one. The man was a domestic tyrant, who rated women far below horses, or even dogs. Death was surely preferable to life with him!

One would have deemed that these unhappy matches would have sickened the mother of matchmaking. But what gambler, what speculator is deterred by failure ! Experience shows it only rouses him to further risks. Matchmaking is the worst kind of speculation, the worst species of gambling: the capital speculated away is happiness — the stake gambled for is the life of life.

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