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W O M A N'S TRUE GLORY.
BY A NEW CONTRIBUTOR.
I am no more a child ; the days are gone,
The lovely days, which distance brightens now,
And read the future on my smoother brow,
I've launched me out upon a treacherous sea,
Our little span of snowy sail must be,
He whom I love stands ever at the helm,
Erect and firm, far looking to descry
Our fragile bark, where softly cradled lie
So when the skies are blue, the water calm,
We gently sail, beneath his watchful care,
And toyeth with the soft and curling hair
But when the storm arises, and the spray
Of this most vexed and billowy sea of life
And hide me from the fury and the strife,
And I must fold my baby to my breast,
And shelter him as others sheltered me;
To bear our lot, whate'er that lot may be,
Should be to find in this her joy and pride.
To scatter her poor deeds afar and wide ;
There let her reign, and never wish to roam!
W I DO WS :
OR RANDOM THOUGHTS ON HUMAN NATURE IN GENERAL.
• Wey should I make a man my trust?- WATTS.
If there is one class of beings placed in a more enviable position than another, it is that of widows !
• But are you serious ?'
How literal! Yes, sufficiently serious. There is nothing so trying to an imaginative temperament as to be asked in the midst of your highest flights if you are serious. I am not upon oath, recollect; and take notice, if I am to be so uncourteously interrupted in every step of my progress, I know not what I may be left to say. I conceive that I have a right to utter my sentiments freely, and I intend to exercise it ; for I am a sort of female Logan, owing allegiance to no one, and not sunk to the earth by the ever-present consciousness that one imprudent word or act may compromise the peace and reputation of another. Yes, I avow it boldly and unhesitatingly, that I am a spinster by compulsion; and viewing myself as an injured, a highly injured individual, am not to be censured if I cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!
There was a time when my bosom was susceptible of the 'soft impeachment,' and tenderness and pity would not have permitted even the shadow of a frown. I have seen the time wheu I was good as ever I was; but years and disappointments have done their work; for no son of Adam has ever come to me, and with a sort of hang-dog' look, besought me to 'crown his passion. What I might have been under other circumstances, it is useless to speculate; what I am, is but too evident. Let the guilt rest where it belongs. If any therefore, by a sense of ill-desert, and careless if by implication I seem to bear hard upon one part of the human family, I again distinctly affirm, that if one class of beings are more privileged than another, it is that of widows. Not that I would speak of the process by which they become so as either pleasant or desirable, or that I would recommend any steps to produce such a result. Certainly not, for there is danger attending it; danger that it may not succeed, and infinite danger if it does. It would therefore be far better could we be born widows; but since that cannot be, we must view matters as they are, and take things as they come.
In speaking of this favored class, I would observe that I refer not to poor tearful creatures sinking under the weight of a ' numerous small family' and the responsibilities of a boarding-house, but to young, sprightly relicts, with handsome persons and handsome fortunes. Why, just think of it! Escaped from the reproach of spinstership, entitled to all the respect which matrimony can confer, and
yet free ; free to say what they please, do what they please, and buy what they please. Can any thing he wanting ?
There is a vast deal said and written of the susceptibility of the female bosom, and the readiness with which they yield to the fascinations of the sterner sex. Love, love, love is supposed to have the entire possession of their hearts; but I say it without fear of contradiction, that this same reproach of celibacy leads more women to assume the chains of wedlock than all other circumstances beside. Other things doubtless have their influence. Credulity, *thy name is woman!' Living beneath the paternal roof, and sharing with others an affection strong but always tranquil, our whole soul is in tears as we listen to those words of passion which men know so well how to utter, and which women are so ready to believe. Oh! these are woman's triumphs! Look at man when he has attained the summit of earthly greatness. Can his situation compare in sublimity with that of the woman he loves, when he lays all his honors at her feet, and tells her they are worthless and less than worthless unless she will share them ! But in dwelling on my sex's triumphs I forget my individual wrongs; and with additional ferocity I return to the Nero-like feeling, · Would that all the lords of the creation could be resolved into one great hand, that so I might refuse it !
But my subject is widows. Let me give you the history of one. It was the misfortune of Alice Derville to lose her parents at an early age, and with an infant brother to be consigned to the care of a maternal uncle, who though he was of a peaceful and enduring spirit himself, had a wife with a nose as sharp as a needle, and a temper conformable. But before we place them in their future home, it may not be amiss to give some hints respecting their new relations. Mr. Benson's lot was a common one. He had narrow means, but it had been compensated by other blessings in the shape of — boys. He had borne up without flinching till he could enumerate seven olive-branches round his table; but when the astounding fact was forwarded to him that two more links were added to the family chain, he yielded for a moment to an acerbity of feeling and intemperance of expression equally unwonted and effective. In vain did his friends hint to him of accidents by flood and field ;' in vain did his spiritual adviser endeavor to excite his pride by naming him the successful rival of the ancient patriarchs; he was not to be moved by uncertain or by abstract considerations. Nor were there wanting sources of disquiet from without. A childless individual had given utterance to the sentiment, that “as but a given number could be annually added to the human family, if certain selfish ones monopolized two, others must go without them!' This piece of logic malevolence was not slow in bringing to his ears; and although anxious to repair his error, he made a solemn tender of the unconscious innocents upon the spot; yet it was indignantly rejected, and it needed but this last drop to fill his cup to overflowing.
It was while staggering, as it were, under this back-load of mortality, that this fresh consignment of youthful relatives reached him: and though the cry · Pour on, I will endure !' burst from his meek lips, yet burdened as he was, it might well be feared that he would be fairly prostrated. Gentle hope and patient endurance could do much; still, as is conclusively urged in the fervent language of poetry,
'A MAN's a man, and a can's a can,
but as he looked on the faces of the orphans, and thought of his solemn engagement to provide for them as his own, (no very magnificent promise,) he nerved himself to the task, and redoubled his exertions. His stronger, if not better half, participated little with him in these emotions. Neither the beauty of Alice, and a sweetness of temper never surpassed, had any permanent effect upon her feelings; and the poor orphan's childhood was passed in the performance of distasteful tasks, or in the midst of turbulence and confusion. It was no slight addition to her misfortunes that she retained vivid recollections of a quiet and elegant home, where affection, not riot, was the presiding genius of the place, and where there was ever a kind hand to soothe her infant sorrows; but there was one bright spot in her life. In looking upon her brother Charles, and in sympathizing with his sanguine aspirations, she forgot her own misery, and their years rolled away and brought her to the confines of womanhood.
Determined no longer to eat the bitter bread of dependence, the most indigestible, it is said, of all mortal compounds, Alice resolved to gain a subsistence by her own exertions; and a school was with difficulty obtained. It is an easy thing to prate of the delight of teaching the young idea how to shoot,' but we very much doubt whether any one ever truly loved this species of archery. Alice's experience differed in no respect from that of others. She had no cherub children, of beauty so transcendent and tempers so angelic that she was tortured with the apprehension that they were too good to live.' No; on the contrary, those who clustered round her table were no fancy children, but substantial flesh and blood, daubed with molasses-candy, and redolent of bread-and-butter. Poor Alice! she was unfitted for her task. She loathed the tedious routine, the drawling tone, the little dirty hands ; (ah! would they ever be fit to be offered or solicited in marriage ?) the dull intellect. Her soul died within her at the distressing announcements of 'pinching' and * punching,' and all the thousand painful casualties so constantly occurring in the 'flowery paths of knowledge ;' and above all, she deprecated in herself that school-ma'am look and school-ma'am tone; and wearied and disheartened with her lot, her health sank under it.
It was while recovering from the tedious illness to which we have alluded, that an incident occurred of deep and general interest in the village. A childless widower had come to pass the winter months with a married sister; and report had not failed to add that he was the possessor of unbounded wealth. Fraternal affection was the ostensible cause of this visit to Mrs. Simmons, but Malice had whispered that it was for the removal of a genteel malady, called in common parlance 'the gout;' and of which he had so long been in possession that he might fairly be said to own it; and when others had it, they had borrowed it.
The first appearance of Mr. Lintot in public was not highly imposing. He was short and thick-set, and his countenance was entirely concealed by the voluminous folds of a red woollen comforter. His vuter garment reached nearly to the ground, and left nothing visible but a pair of large worsted socks, which as they ambled slowly and gingerly along, gave plausibility to the report to which I have alluded. He had a gold-headed cane in his hand, and though he carried it in rather a degagée style in level places, yet the conclusion forced itself irresistibly upon the mind that it was employed as much for service as for show.
Never had Mrs. Simmons been so popular! What throngs of visitors, and what urgent entreaties that her guest should be 'sociable!' But the good lady had her own plans, and the first bright morning saw her and her brother moving slowly over to see the Bensons. Nor had Mrs. Benson ever appeared so engaging. Her usual vinegar aspect was softened down to a little pleasant lemonade, an agreeable acid just thrown in to temper the cloying sweetness; and dear Alice' was called ; and one glance did its work, for from that hour the socks walked regularly in the same direction, and always stopped in for a rest at the Bensons. And then his tastes were so simple, so easily satisfied! None of your foreign nick-nacks, your olives, your sardines, for him ; nothing but the simple produce of the orchard for his money! Ah! Mrs. BENSON, control your feelings!
Things began to look rather suspicious touching their visitor; and though poor dear Mr. Benson insisted that his cupidity was excited by a certain corner-lot of which he was the owner, and that he would soon be in treaty for it, his more discriminating partner saw all how it was, as round as a ring. Nor was it long before she gave him an opportunity to reveal his feelings, and the result showed the correctness of her conclusions. In language characteristic, and without circumlocution, he intimated his admiration of her niece and his wish to instal her as future mistress of his establishment. But Mrs. Benson was too good a diplomatist to yield at the outset. She felt her power, and made the most searching inquiries; but he answered without flinching, and up to the mark. In the matter of age, he called himself fifty ; but when he hastily added the saving clause that he was worth twice as many thousands as he had years, her only regret was that he had not reached the grand climacteric. She enlarged upon the beauty of Alice and the number and importance of her admirers, and so worked upon his fears that in the generosity of his heart he offered to settle upon her half his fortune. This was the point to which she had been constantly aiming; and bidding him on his departure be of good courage, sought the presence of her niece.
If the offer of Mr. Lintot was made without any great outlay of VOL. XXIX.