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This chequered life with sorrow is replete! Some evils are by Providence ordained; Some by our own illsorted fancies framed! And these the worst;—since nor Philosophy Can aid-nor yet Religion influence. When Heaven affliction sends, we bow our heads, And pray for patience—so Religion aids; When we do injuries sustain, we call Philosophy to give us strength of mind! But, when our follies rob us of our peace, What hope?—where seek we consolation then? The grief of folly can admit no cure; Save in the wisdom of resolved amendment. That it is more difficult to keep a lover, than to win one, is a truth universally allowed ; yet, like many other painful truths, it is rather lamented as a misfortune not to be obviated, than considered as a fault of our own creation, for which the remedy lies in our own power. Courtship is too commonly made a system of mutual deception, each striving to conceal their faults, and magnify their virtues, in order to enhance their power: not reflecting, that possession tears away the veid, and renders every trifling defect more glaringly conspicuous. This is one cause of the failure in matrimonial happiness. Another, and
more important one, is, the eagerness with which young women display their attractions, before marriage, and their negligence afterwards; as if it was the business of a wife to render herself disagreeable in the eyes of a husband, though it had bcen her pride, as a mistress, to make herself fascinating to the senses of her lover.
This too common, and frequently fatal error, was destructive to the happiness of Mr. and Mrs. Love
Equals in birth and fortune, they had met without restraint; and by their own desire, and under the sanction of their friends, they had entered into the marriage state, with every prospect of permanent happiness. Alas! these hopes were transient. The tender Isabel too soon found the ardent lover transformed into a cool and well-bred husband. She was wretched; and imagined herself the most unfortunate woman in the world: yet never once supposed the cause to originate in herself.
Isabel Hardingham was the only daughter of weak and indulgent parents : she had been initiated in all he superfluous accomplishments suitable to her birth and fortune ; but her mind was uninformed. Young, handsome, elegant, full of gaiety and animation, she had attracted the regard of Lovemore, a young man of fashion, who had vivacity enough to be charmed with the gaieties of the world, yet sense enough to wish for the comforts of a domestic fireside. To him Isabel Hardingham appeared in every respect calculated to become the delightful companion he sought for-a companion, whose wit and vivacity would be the subject of universal admiration in public, while her perpetual good humour should be an irresistible charm in private.
A facetious old clergyman, in the country, used archly to bid his young friends“ beware of the first quarrel, and they would be sure to live happy all their lives.” The first quarrel of Mr. and Mrs. Love
more was indeed the death blow to their
Isabel had formed her estimate of domestic duty precisely upon the plan of action by which her father's armother's conduct was regulated ; not taking into consideration the difference between her father and husband, both in point of age and disposition. Her husband was young, and of a volatile teniper; her father old, and of a dull, quiet, insipid disposition, willingly subject to the control of her mother; but widely different was the character of Lovemore, and widely different the mode of treatment requisite to secure his happiness in the marriage state.
The first few weeks of their marriage had been spent in gaiety-in a perpetual round of visiting; and Isabel was the happiest of the happy. When, however, this round of gaiety was passing away, she began to feel it her duty, as a good wife, to become grave and steady: a sacrifice by no means required at her hands, nor pleasing in the eyes of Mr. Love
i who told her, half in jest, and half in earnest, that had he required a grave old housekeeper, he could have hired one, without taking out a license for the purpose. Isabel felt offended; he laughed at her gravity ; but his levity increased the offence: and, reproaching him with cruelty, she wept like a wayward child. He craved her pardon ; but there was so much ridicule in his manner, that, far from appeasing her anger, he only irritated her the more: and thinking it a point of wisdom to fly from the approach of a storm, he left her without saying where he was going, or when he should return.
This was an aggravation not to be endured ; and Isabel gave way to all the bitterness of vexation.
Lovemore, whose temper was extremely good, was really sorry at the uneasiness which he had occasioned to Isabel ; and, willing to convince her that he had no intention of giving her pain, he went to a jeweller's and purchased an elegant ornament, two
cornelian hearts, fancifully linked together by a chain of roses, as a peace offering.
On his return, he found the irritated fair one, pale and dejected, and her eyes swollen with tears. Grieved to see her thus seriously unhappy, he seated himself by her; and putting his arm round her waist, was about to kiss her, when she peevishly repulsed him, and bade him take his seat more distant. Lovemore bore her petulance with great goodhumour, and told her laughing, that she had been a spoiled child, but he must not allow her to be a spoiled wife: yet, he added, she was likely to become one, for he had brought a love gift, to plead his pardon. He then presented the ornament, which she refused ; and when he urged 'her acceptance, and offered to fasten it round her neck, she threw it from her with disdain.
Lovemore was now, in his turn, offended; and withdrew to his study: leaving her to recover her temper at leisure, or to brood over her anger till she was weary.
Trifling as this quarrel was, the seeds of discord were sown; and the growth was rapid. They loved each other tenderly ; but their tempers did not assijhilate. Lovemore, as already observed, was gay and volatile ; Isabel grave and sentimental: when he went abroad, she was wretched till his return, yet never greeted that return with smiles. He usually found her pensive and sullen ; ever complaining of his absence ; yet when he was present, evincing no ray of pleasure in his society. If he proposed her going out, she would decline his invitation ; if he wished her to read, or play, or sing, she would complain of headache, or lassitude ; if he read, or sung to her, she listened with a coldness bordering on apathy: and she, by degrees, became so negligent of her person, that Lovemore, disappointed in his hopes of * pleasing companion, sought refuge from a disagreeWe home, in a vortex of dissipation; whilst the un
happy Isabel remained sullenly at home, the prey of
Lovemore, too manly to engage in incessant quarrels, warded off her perpetual inquiries of—“ Where tre was going?”—“Where he had been to?”– “When he would return?”—or,“Whether he would dine at home?" with the most perfect goodbreeding ; but with a degree of coldness which tortured her to the soul: and, to add to her sorrow, her maid Muslin brought her intelligence that Mr. Lovemore was intimate with a lady from Bath, a young, lovely, and attractive widow. This information she had gained from Mr. William, a conceited fop-the confidant of all his master's follies, his valet, and principal favourite. There was a little flirtation going on between muslin and William ; and they were sometimes on very good terms: whilst, at others, she would interfere with his amusements, and spoil his game when at cards—to his great mortification ; for he piqued himself upon his skill, and could not bear to be disturbed when at play, by a woman, even though his acknowledged mistress.
Among the numerous train of Mr. Lovemore's acquaintance, the most particular were, Sir Brilliant Fashion, a light, airy whimsical coxcomb ; and Sir Bashful Constant, a country squire. The latter,