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Science and Irts.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1857.
knock at the street-door caused the liveliest emotions THE LOST ENVO Y.
arising from the hope that it might be our much-loved On the afternoon of Saturday, the 25th of November brother. At length, one evening in December, my 1809, two travellers, accompanied by a servant, arrived father received an express from Lord Wellesley, at the post-house of Perleberg, in Upper Saxony, en requesting his immediate attendance at Apsley House, route from Berlin to Hamburg, and immediately ordered his lordship having something of importance to comhorses. They travelled with Prussian passports, but municate. On my father's return, we were all alarmed under fictitious names. Of the elder of the two, little, at his pale and dejected aspect. He informed us that unfortunately, is known; but that little is so full of government had received intelligence of the sudden sinister significance, that I am persuaded I am doing and mysterious disappearance of my brother at Perle. him no injustice in branding him as an agent of the berg, a small town on the route from Vienna, where French police. He will be known to us throughout this he had stopped for rest and refreshment.'* paper as the merchant Krüger. His companion was an A reward of L.1000 was immediately offered by the Englishman of the name of Bathurst, a son of the then British government, and another of equal amount by Bishop of Norwich, returning from a secret diplomatic the relatives of the missing envoy, for any authentic mission to the court of Vienna. Mr Bathurst seemed information as to his fate; and his wife prepared in to be labouring under some terrible apprehensions. person to set out in search of him, as soon as the Throughout the journey, all his actions had been Baltic ports should be free from ice. In the spring of marked by an air of indecision, which to the several 1810, accordingly, she proceeded to Stockholm, whence, post-masters seemed unaccountable. At Perleberg, under the protection of Swedish passports, she entered the horses which he had ordered on his arrival, were Prussia through Pomerania, and reached Berlin in countermanded before they could be harnessed. Not safety. At Berlin she found, to her astonishment, a feeling himself safe, as he said, in the post-house, he safe-conduct awaiting her from the emperor Napoleon, went, about five o'clock in the afternoon, to Captain and, armed with it, she at once proceeded to Perleberg. Klitzing, the Prussian governor of the town, and I entreat the reader to bear this circumstance in mind, begged for a safeguard, which at seven in the evening as I shall have occasion to refer to it in the sequel. he dismissed. During some hours, he was engaged at At Perleberg, Mrs Bathurst's inquiries were met by his desk in a small room of the house, and was seen statements so conflicting as to impede rather than to to burn a number of papers which he took from his facilitate her search. Whether her husband was dead portfolio. On another occasion, he was observed in or was still alive; whether, if dead, he had fallen the kitchen standing before the fire, playing with his by his own hand, or had perished beneath the knife watch, and counting his money in the presence of a of some ruffian marauder or political assassin; and crowd of postilions, hostlers, and tapsters. At length, whether, if alive, he had been the victim of violent about nine o'clock in the evening, the horses were abduction, or had voluntarily absconded, were quesagain ordered to be in readiness; but when the post- tions which she found herself unable to solve, and master went to announce the packing of the carriage, which no astuteness lias yet been found equal to Mr Bathurst had disappeared. From that hour to free from obscurity and confusion. It appeared that, this, his fate has remained shrouded in impenetrable immediately on Mr Bathurst's disappearance, his mystery.
servant had waited on the governor, and apprised him In England, in the meantime, his return had been of the circumstance. Klitzing, who was preparing for anxiously expected by the cabinet and his relations. a ball which was to be held that evening in the Crown "We knew,' says his sister, 'the dangers to which he Hotel, immediately sent for the civic authorities, and was exposed on his journey, surrounded as he was by desired them to make all possible inquiries into the enemies on all sides; while the impossibility of any case. No lack of zeal can be charged against these intelligence being received of him by letter rendered gentlemen. They at once arrested Krüger and the us doubly anxious and uncertain. Day after day servant, and placed them under the guard of a troop passed, and no tidings of him arrived. It was con- of cuirassiers. They took possession of all Mr cluded that he had taken a circuitous route, and Bathurst's property, with the exception of a rich travelled incognito to avoid falling into the hands of fur-cloak which was missing. They sent scouts into the French. Weeks, however, elapsed, and we still the town and into the neighbouring country; but heard nothing of the missing one. The agonising suspense of his wife and relations it would be difficult
* Memoirs and Correspondence of Dr H. Bathurst, Lord Bishop to describe. I perfectly well remember that every 1 of Norwich. By his Daughter. London. 1853.
when on Sunday morning they waited on the governor, the town, was ransacked for many days with hounds, it was found that all their researches had been in vain. sticks, nets, and other instruments, but without success. Not a trace of the missing man had been discovered. The town itself, and the gardens which surround it,
And now it was that the first suspicious circum- were similarly rummaged. The disreputable resorts stance connected with the conduct of Klitzing occurred. frequented by the younger Schmidt, every cellar and After charging the magistrates to prosecute their in- loft attached to the taverns wherein it could be ascerquiries with the utmost ardour, and especially to do tained he had been drinking or dancing, the posttheir best to probe the mystery of the missing cloak, house, and the cellar of the town-hall, which was used he announced his intention of going into the country as a taproom, were especially scrutinised; but all for a few hours. But his return was deferred till research was fruitless. The magistrates were in Monday evening, when he explained his lengthened despair, and had reluctantly resolved to abandon the absence by saying that he had been at Berlin for the search, when, precisely six weeks after the envoy's purpose of obtaining instructions. In the interim, the disappearance, his pantaloons were found, perforated magistrates had been indefatigable. It was necessary by two shot-holes, on the border of a fir-wood near the to obtain a clue to the identification of the abstracted town. cloak, which none of them had seen, and for this pur- They were discovered by a woman of the name of pose Mr Bathurst's servant was sent for. His deposi. Weide, who, in company with the wife of a shoemaker, tion was taken down in writing, and, on the governor's had gone to the forest for the ostensible purpose of return, was laid before him. Klitzing's character had gathering brushwood. They were found stretched at always stood high ; but his behaviour on this occasion length upon the ground, and turned inside out; but, looks suspiciously like an attempt to stifle all inquiries although saturated with the rain which had fallen in that might lead to unpleasant disclosures affecting his torrents during many weeks, a few lines, in the handgovernment or its task-masters, the French police. He writing of the missing man, which were discovered, threw the servant's deposition into the fire ; he stormed scribbled on a scrap of paper, in one of the pockets, at the magistrates, accused them of arbitrary practices were still easily decipherable. But, as the pantaloons and of investing the case with an undue importance, could not have been exposed to such a deluge for many and threatened to report their conduct to the authori- hours, without the waters obliterating the writing, ties in Berlin. A feud, which lasted for many weeks, and reducing the paper itself to pulp, the conclusion and effectually prevented a proper sifting of the whole is a fair one that they had been thus ostentatiously affair, was the consequence of this impeachment. laid out for the purpose of strengthening the impresKrüger and the servant of the lost envoy succeeded in sion that their wearer had been murdered and stripped evading their guards; and the first intimation which by the hostler Schmidt. The note in the missing man's the Perleberg authorities received of the former's handwriting was addressed to his wife, and was safely whereabout was when, nearly three weeks after Mr conveyed to her. It had evidently been written in Bathurst's disappearance, the burgomaster saw in a great haste, and in terrible perturbation. It set forth Berlin paper a notification that an unknown person, the dangers to which the writer was exposed from his calling himself the merchant Krüger, had arrived in enemies; expressed great fears that he should never that city from Perleberg. Immediate inquiries were reach England, and inveighed bitterly against the made respecting him, of the police of the capital; an Russians and the Count d'Entraigues ;* by whom, he exhibition of official zeal for which the police minister said, his ruin had been brought about. Weide and the expressed his thanks, at the same time courteously shoemaker's wife, on their discovery being communiassuring his correspondents that it was unnecessary cated to the magistrates, underwent a rigorous examinfor them to trouble themselves further in the matter, ation ; the fir-wood was once more thoroughly searched, that all was right,' and that the pretended merchant and the surrounding country scoured for miles; but Krüger was the companion of the missing envoy. Of no further trace of the missing man could be discovered. the unfortunate man's servant, no trace could be dis- The women were liberated and rewarded; the peasants covered; but it transpired that Mr Bathurst had been were presented with ten quarts of brandy and a cask warned by a friend in Berlin to beware of his attend- of beer; and Captain Klitzing and the magistrates of ant, and that his suspicions of treachery had been Perleberg sat down to report to their superiors in strengthened by finding in the man's possession a bill Berlin at once their discovery and their despair. for L.500, of which he could give no good account. Such was the intelligence which awaited the arrival
The Perleberg authorities were now completely at of Mrs Bathurst at Perleberg, and which she commufault. Every document which might have served nicated to her friends in England. The impression to aid their councils was studiously withheld from which it left upon her own mind, and the universal them by the governor. Suddenly, however, it was impression of the public mind at home, was, that her announced that a certain hostler of the name of husband had been forcibly abducted by the agents of Schmidt, who had been in the kitchen of the post the French government, who then swarmed in every house when Mr Bathurst so imprudently exhibited city and town of the continent; and that Klitzing, his purse and watch, had absconded, and that the Krüger, and the servant of the luckless envoy, had missing cloak had been found in the possession of his been accessories to the deed. That Napoleon was not family. Schmidt himself was never afterwards heard troubled with any over-scrupulosity in such matters, of; but his wife and son, both of whom were persons when state purposes could be subserved by the seizure of notoriously bad character, were brought before the of important papers, is well known; but, in justice magistrates, and, after a rigid examination, which to Klitzing, it can only be supposed that he consented elicited nothing, beyond a bare suspicion, to implicate to take part in the dark transaction under the debasing either of them in the murder or abduction of the influence of the terror inspired and universally felt unfortunate traveller, were each sentenced to eight throughout Prussia by the French occupation. Two weeks' imprisonment for concealment of the stolen incidents, to one of which I have already referred, property.
deepened the impression created by the Perleberg But the doom of the vanished man remained as revelations into something approaching to conviction. mysterious as ever. A reward of ten thalers had, at When on the eve of starting for the continent, Mrs the instigation of Klitzing, been offered to any one who should bring him to the magistracy either dead or * A French spy, then resident in London. A few months after alive. The river Steppenitz was drained of its waters Mr Bathurst's disappearance, D'Entraigues was assassinated by his during two days, while search was made along its bed; government, some of whose secrets the count had betrayed, or every barn, hedge, ditch, and wood, for miles around / imprudently permitted to escape him.
Bathurst had written to the French emperor for pass-the post-louse. Mr Bathurst was evidently labouring ports to guarantee her unmolested freedom in prose- under great mental agitation, and, whether from cold cuting her travels and inquiries. Fearing his refusal, or fear, shivered from head to foot. At the request of she had set out, as we have seen, by way of Sweden, Klitzing, the girl made the visitor some tea, which her change of purpose being kept a profound secret revived him greatly. While drinking it, he spoke from all save her immediate relations and the British wildly of the dangers which had threatened him along cabinet. Napoleon, however, had received-probably the whole route from Vienna, and said that he must be from D'Entraigues—such accurate intelligence of her quickly off if he would reach the coast in safety. intended movements, that, as I have already stated, After pressing upon the girl some money, which, howshe found, on her arrival in Berlin, passports, under his ever, she refused, the stranger took his leave; but own hand, awaiting her at the French ambassador's. upon going to the window to look after him, she was The other incident indicates still more clearly the surprised to see him walking rapidly in a direction agency employed in perpetrating the crime, and the quite opposite to that which led to the post-house. end to which the victim came. While the search Shortly afterwards, the younger Schmidt called in after Mr Bathurst was still hot, the governor of quest of him, and on being informed of the route he Magdeburg, distant about fifty miles from Perle- had taken, followed fast upon his footsteps. In a few berg, assured a lady one night in the ball-room that hours afterwards, the town was in a commotion at the the English ambassador was confined in the neigh- stranger's disappearance. Such was the story told by bouring fortress. Hearing of the fact during her the Perleberg physician's wife to the sister of Mrs continental explorations, the agonised wife repaired Bathurst in 1852 ; but she spoke,' as that lady to Magdeburg, waited upon the governor, and implored remarked, “in so hurried and excited a manner, that it him to tell her the truth. He at once admitted appeared like a tale told by rote, and made up accordhaving made the statement referred to, but assured ing to directions at the time.' It is further to be Mrs Bathurst that he had made it by mistake, and observed that, if the lady meant to imply that Mr that the prisoner in question was one Louis Fritz, a Bathurst was overtaken at this time, and immediately spy of Mr Canning's. Mrs Bathurst begged earnestly hustled away by Schmidt, the story is inconsistent to see the man: but Fritz, she was told, had been with the fact of the former having at nine o'clock in sent some time before into Spain. On_inquiring at the evening ordered his carriage to be in readiness, the Foreign Office after her return to England, Mrs and his bill at the post-house to be made out. Bathurst found that no such person as Fritz had ever The fact, moreover, is, that Auguste Schmidt was, been employed by the British government. The pro- about six months after Mr Bathurst's disappearance, bability is, therefore, great that Mr Bathurst perished, actually arrested at the instance of his family, and a victim to the odious policy of Napoleon, in the tried for the murder ; but the case completely broke fortress of Magdeburg:
down. Another attempt to bring the crime home to It cannot be denied, however, that this hypothesis him was made through the instrumentality of an abandoes not wholly harmonise with circumstances which, doned woman of the name of Hacker, whose house was whether true or false, were at least at the time very much frequented by Schmidt, and lay in the direction generally reported. It is certain that in one of his last said to have been pursued by the missing man after letters to his wife, Mr Bathurst had expressed his leaving Klitzing. Hacker stated that at the time of intention of returning by Colberg and Stockholm; and the occurrence, a party of French soldiers was billeted a story is still told by the peasantry of Schwerin, how, upon her, and that they, in conjunction with Schmidt, at a late hour on that fatal night, a stranger called at who had lured Mr Bathurst to the house, committed the house of a consul in the neighbourhood of Wismar the murder. The body, she added, had been carried on the coast of Mecklenburg, and requested an inter- to a distant part of the coast, and buried in the sand, view with him. The man, however, being absent, the upon which all traces of disturbance must have been servant asked what name she should mention. The speedily obliterated. But the woman afterwards conanswer, given in German with a foreign accent, was: fessed that the story had been a pure fabrication, and "Never mind that;' but she was desired to say that that she was utterly ignorant of the fate which had an English gentleman wished to see her master at the befallen the Lost Envoy. post-house at an early hour on the following morning. When the consul called as directed, however, he found that his midnight visitor had departed, leaving no A WOMAN'S THOUGHTS ABOUT WOMEN. message. In the course of the day, the wrecks of two boats which had foundered at sea, were washed ashore; and in one of these, it is supposed, the stranger had THE WORLD. It is a word capable of as diverse interembarked. But if this stranger were indeed Mr pretations or misinterpretations as the thing itself-a Bathurst, how are we to account for the subsequent thing by various people supposed to belong to heaven, discovery of his trousers in the neighbourhood of man, or the devil, or alternately to all three. But this Perleberg ?
is not the place to argue the pros and cons of that The only other hypothesis which seems to demand doctrinal theology which views as totally evil the same examination, is that which ascribes to the hostler world which its Creator pronounced to be very good,' Schmidt and his son Auguste the murder of the the same world in and for which its Redeemer lived missing man. That the younger Schmidt liad been as well as died; nor, taking it at its present worst, much in contact with Mr Bathurst throughout the a sinful, miserable, mysterious, yet neither wholly afternoon of the 25th of November, is beyond a doubt; comfortless, hopeless, nor godless world, shall I refer and, if we could rely upon its authenticity, a story told further to that strange manichæanism which believes by a lady, now the wife of a physician at Perleberg, that anything earth possesses of good can have sprung but who was, at the time of Mr Bathurst's disappear from any other source than the All-good, that any ance, connected with the household in which Captain happiness in it could exist for a moment, unless Klitzing lodged, would go far to fix the crime upon the derived from Infinite Perfection. fugitive hostler and his profligate son. About five A woman of the world'— Quite a woman of the o'clock in the afternoon of the day of the disappear- world – A mere woman of the world'—with how ance, a stranger, whom the girl understood afterwards many modifications of tone and emphasis do we hear to be Mr Bathurst, called at the house, and requested the phrase ; which seems inherently to imply a contrato see the governor. The reader is already aware that diction. Nature herself has apparently decided for this was for the purpose of soliciting a safeguard at women, physically as well as mentally, that their
natural destiny should be not of the world. In the how, and those who never had any interest in it except earliest ages of Judaism and Islamism, nobody ever their own beloved selves. seems to have ventured a doubt of this-it was A woman of the sort I write of may in one sense be Christianity alone that raised the woman to her rightful placed at the lowest deep of womanhood, because her and original place, as man's sole help-meet, bone of his centre of existence is undoubtedly herself. You may bone, and flesh of his flesh, his equal in all points of trace this before you have been introduced to her five vital moment, yet made suited to him by a harmonious minutes : in the sweet manner which so well simulates something which is less inferiority than difference. a universal benevolence, being exactly the same to And this difference will for ever exist. Volumes every body-namely, everybody worth knowing; in the written on female progress; speeches, interminable, air of interest with which she asks a dozen polite or delivered from the public rostrum in female treble, kindly questions, of which she never waits for the which from that very publicity and bravado, would answer; in the instinctive consciousness you have that convert the most obvious ‘rights' into something very all the while she is talking agreeably to you, or flatterlike a wrong; biographies numberless of great women ingly listening to your talented conversation, her atten-ay, and good—who, stepping out of their natural tion is on the qui vive after everybody and everything sphere, have done service in courts, camps, or diplo- throughout the room—that is, everything that conmatic bureaus: all these exceptional cases will never cerns herself. As for yourself, from the moment you set aside the universal law, that woman's proper place have passed out of her sight, or ceased to minister to is home. Not merely
her amusement or convenience, you may be quite
certain To suckle fools and chronicle small-beer
you will have as completely slipped out of her
memory, as if you had vanished into another sphere. Shakspeare, who knew us well, would never have made Her sphere cannot contain you; for though it seems any but an Iago say so—but to go hand-in-hand with so large, it has no real existence; it is merely a man on their distinct yet parallel roads, to be within reflection of so much of the outer earth as can be doors what he has to be in the world without-sole taken into one small drop of not over-clear water, influence and authority in the limited monarchy of which constitutes this woman's soul. home.
Yet waste not your wrath upon her—she is as much Thus, to be a woman of the world,' though not to be pitied as blamed. Do not grow savage at hearing essentially a criminal accusation, implies a state of her, in that softly pitched voice of hers, talk sentiment being not natural, and therefore not happy. Without by the yard, while you know she snubs horribly in any sentimental heroics against the hollowness of such private every unlucky relative she has ; whose only an existence, and putting aside the religious view of hours of quiet are when they joyfully deck her and it altogether, I believe most people will admit that no send her out to adorn society. Do not laugh when woman living entirely in and for the world, ever was, she criticises pictures, and goes into raptures over ever could be, a happy woman; that is, according to books which you are morally certain she has never the definition of happiness which supposes it to consist either seen or read; or if she had, from the very in having our highest faculties most highly developed, character of her mind, could no more understand, and in use to their fullest extent. Any other sort of than your cat could appreciate Shakspeare. Contemn happiness, either dependent on externally favourable her not, for her state might not have been always circumstances, or resting on safe negations of ill, we thus; you know not the causes which produced it; must be considered to possess in common with the and-stay till you see her end. oyster; indeed, that easy-tempered and steadfast There is a class of worldly women which, to my mollusk, if not in love, probably has it in much mind, is much worse than this; because their shams greater perfection than we.
are less cleverly sustained, an ideal of good (for Starting with the proposition that a woman of the every human being must have one-the conqueror his world is not a happy woman; that if she had been, crown, and the sot his gin-bottle) is far lower and most likely she never would have become what she is more contemptible. The brilliant woman of society has I do not think it necessary to nail her up, poor painted usually her pet philanthropies, her literary, learned, jay, as a 'shocking example' over society's barn-door, or political penchants, in which the good she thirsts around which strut and crow a great many fowls quite after, though unreal, is the imitation of a vital reality; as mean and not half so attractive. For she is very and in spite of itself, is often useful to others. But charming in her way—that is, the principal and best this pseudo-woman of the world has no ideal beyond type of her class ; she wears à merveille that beautiful fine dresses, houses, carriages, acquaintances, and even mask said to be the homage paid by vice to virtue.' these she does not value for their own sakes; only And since the successful imitation of an article argues because they are superior to her neighbour's. a certain acquaintance with the original, she may once You will find her chiefly among the half-educated upon a time have actually believed in many of those nouveaux riches of the professional classes, vainly strirthings which she now so cleverly impersonates-virtue, ing to attain to their level—the highest point visible on heroism, truth, love, friendship, honour, and fidelity. her horizon. And this is no happy altitude of learning, She is like certain stamped-out bronze ornaments, an or intelligence, or refinement; but merely a certain admirable imitation of real womanhood-till you walk position '-a place at a dinner-party, or a house in a round her to the other side.
square. The woman of the world is rarely a very young While the first kind of woman always has a degree
It stands to reason, she could not be. To of sway in society, this one is society's most prostrate young people, the world is always a paradise-a fool's slave. She dare not furnish her house, choose her paradise devoutly believed in: it is not till they have servants, eat her food, pay her visits, or even put the found out its shams that they are able to assume them. gown on her back, and the bonnet on her head, save By that time, however, they have ceased to be fools: it by rule and precedent. She will worry herself and takes a certain amount of undoubted cleverness to you about the veriest trifles of convenance—such as make any success, or take any rule in the world. whether it is most genteel to leave one card with the
By the world, I do not mean the aristocratic Vanity- corner turned down, or to expend a separate card upon fair-let those preach of it who move up and down or each member of the family. To find herself at a keep stalls therein-I mean the world of the middle full-dress soirée in demi-toilette would make this poor classes-the society into which drift the homeless, lady miserable for a month; and if by any chance you thoughtless, ambitious, pleasure-loving ; those who omitted paying her the proper visit of inquiry after have no purpose in life except to get through it some an entertainment, she would consider you meant a
personal insult, and, if she dared-only she seldom is superior to the weakness of washing her hands or ventures on any decisive proceedings—would cut your combing her hair properly, whose milliner and dressacquaintance immediately.
maker must evidently have lived about the year one, The celebrated Mrs Grundy keeps her in a state of and who, in her manners and conversation, often mortal servitude. Even in London, which to a lady breaks through every rule of even the commonest of medium age, established character, and decent civility. How the same thoroughly respectable set, behaviour, is the most independent place in the world; which would be shocked to let its young daughters where, as I once heard said: 'My dear, be assured you take a morning shopping in Regent Street, unprotected are not of the least importance to anybody-may go by a tall footman, will carry them at night to a soirée anywhere, dress anyhow, and, in short, do anything given by a Lady Somebody, of rather more than you like except stand on your head'-even here she doubtful reputation, till a rich marriage, which in its is for ever pursued by a host of vague adjectives, utter lovelessness and hypocrisy may have been, in * proper,' correct,' 'genteel,' which hunt her to death the sight of Heaven, the foulest of all her sins, in the like a pack of rabid hounds.
sight of man covered every one of them at once. True, the world, like its master, is by no means so Yet this world' which, when we come to look at it, black as it is sometimes painted: it often has a seems nothing-less than nothing-a chimera that no foundation of good sense and right feeling under its honest heart need quail at for a moment-is at once most ridiculous and wearisome forms; but this woman the idol and the bête noire of a large portion of womensees only the forms, among which she blunders like kind during their whole existence. Ay, from the one of those quack-artists who pretend to draw the day when baby's first wardrobe must be of the most human figure without the smallest knowledge of extravagant description, costing in lace, braiding, and anatomy. Utterly ignorant of the framework on embroidery almost as much as mamma's marriage which society moves, she is perpetually straining at outfit-which was a deal too fine for her stationgnats and swallowing camels, both in manners and when all the while unfortunate baby would be quite as morals. To her, laborious politeness stands in the pretty and twice as comfortable in plain muslin and stead of kindliness; show, of liospitality ; etiquette, of lawn; down to the last day of our subjugation to decorum. Les bienséances, which are only valuable as fashion, when we must needs be carried to our per. being the index and offering of a gentle, generous, and manent repose under a proper amount of feathers, and benevolent heart, are to this unfortunate woman the followed by a customary number of mourning-coaches brazen altar upon which she immolates her own -after being coaxed to it-useless luxury! by a satincomfort and that of everybody connected with her. lined coffin, stuffed pillow, and ornamental shroud.
• What will the world say ? '-—' All very right; but In the intermediate stage, marriage, we are worse you see we live in the world. Or, speaking of some off still, because the world's iron hand is upon us at one—A good soul enough, but totally ignorant of the a time and under circumstances when we can most world. It is worth while pausing a moment to consider keenly feel its grinding weight. what this world' is that women seem at once to run "Do you think,' said a young lady once to me, 'that after and to be so terribly afraid of.
Henry and I ought to marry upon less than four Not the moral world, which judges their sins- hundred a year?' with, alas, how short-sighted and unevenly balanced a No, certainly, my dear, because you marry for so judgment, often !-but the perpetually changing world many people's benefit besides your own. How, for of custom, which regulates their clothes, furniture, instance, could your acquaintance bear to see moreen houses, manner of living, sayings, doings, and suffer- curtains, instead of the blue and silver damask you ings. Take it to pieces, and what is it? Nothing were talking of ? And how could you give those but a floating atmosphere of common-place people, charming little dinner-parties which, you say, are surrounding certain congeries of people, a little less indispensable to one in your position, without three ordinary, the nucleus of which is generally one person servants, or a boy in buttons as well ? Nay, if you decidedly extra-ordinary, who, by force of will, posi- went into society at all, of the kind you now keep, a tion, intellect, or character, or by some unquestionable fifth of Henry's annual income would melt away in magnitude of virtue or vice, stands out distinctly dresses, bouquets, and white kid-gloves. No, my dear from the average multitude, and rules it according to girl, I can by no means advise you to marry upon less his or her individual choice. All the rest are, as I than four hundred a year.' said, a mere atmosphere of nobodies; which atmosphere My young friend looked up, a little doubtful if I can be cloven any day-one sees it done continually, were in jest or earnest; and Mr Henry gave vent to by a single flesh-and-blood arm: yet in it the woman an impatient sigh. I thought—'Poor things !' for of the world allows herself to sit and suffocate; dare they were honestly in love, and there was no earthly not dress comfortably, act and speak straightforwardly, reason why they should not marry. live naturally, or sometimes even honestly. For will hundreds more are thus wasting the best years of she not rather run in debt for a bonnet, than wear lier their life, the best hopes of their youth, love, home, old one a year behind the mode? give a ball, and stint usefulness, energy-and God only knows how much the family dinner for a month after ? take a large besides-and for what? Evening-parties, dresses, and house, and furnish handsome reception-rooms, while gloves, a fine house, and blue and silver curtains ? her household pigs together anyhow in untidy attic Yet a woman of the world would have said that this bed-chambers, and her servants swelter on shake- couple were quite right; that if they had married and downs beside the kitchen fire? She prefers this a lived afterwards with the honest prudence that alone hundred times to stating plainly, by word or manner: would have been possible to a young man of Mr • My income is so much a year-I don't care who Henry's independent character, they must infallibly knows it-it will not allow me to live beyond a certain have gone down in society, have dropped out of their rate, it will not keep comfortably both my family and natural circle, to begin life as their parents did, as society; therefore, society, you must just take us as most middle-class parents have begun life, narrowly we are, without any pretences of any kind; or you may and humbly. Though without much fear of positive shut the door, and-good-bye!'
starvation, they must have given up many luxuries, And society, in the aggregate, is no fool. It is have had to learn and practise many domestic econoastonishing what an amount of “eccentricity' it will mies which probably never had come into the head of stand from people who will take the bull by the horns, either lady or gentleman; and yet love might have too fearless or too indifferent to think of consequences. taught them, as it teaches the most ignorant. They How respectfully it will follow a clever woman who would undoubtedly have had to live, for the next few