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loosening the bonds of matrimony, and if there is an objection on the the experiment, as tried in the part of the other, society considers Principalities, is not encouraging. the question; nor are there any It is needless to point out the un- domestic details too minute for dishappiness to which such a state of cussion en plein comité.
Where things may often give rise—where, art and literature are ignored, for instance, the marriage has lasted where newspapers are unread, and for an unusually long period, and the only subject of discussion is one of the parties is opposed to its local politics, which is soon exdissolution, but is forced into con- hausted, if it were not for the eversenting to it by the other-or where recurring incidents which society the children are separated from the furnishes by the very nature of its parent most attached to them. It composition, it would be indeed is true that, the society being small, dull; but there is a freshness and they can nearly always meet; but a piquancy about these topics which that does not compensate for the never lose their flavour. The old rupture of the home ties. The fact ladies, running through the circumis, that home ties, as we under- stancés attendant upon all their stand them, necessarily cannot ex- own divorces, bring the benefit of ist, and that it would not do for a the accumulated experiences of young person in these countries to four marriages to bear for the benebe troubled with too much depth of fit of the young friend who is makfeeling. There is a good deal of ing, under their advice and instrucpassion and of caprice; but where tion, her second matrimonial venthe men cannot claim the respect of ture. To a stranger it seemed odd the women, it is evident that the to sit and discuss with the indivionly kind of affection worth any- dual most interested, whether she thing—that which is based upon ought to change her husband now esteem-is unknown. Both men or put off that function, and to and women, consequently, very eas- hear advice given after dinner openily get over their love-affairs, and ly upon the subject; then, perhaps, domestic troubles do not exist
, be- to see the couple in the same room, cause there is nothing domestic in though if things had come to this the country-not even annoyance. stage, they were each devoted in a Everything is canvassed in the small different direction, generally with society, and the chief topics of con- the view of preparing something versation are the changes and chan- beforehand; for it is considered the ces of that matrimonial life which height of absurdity and imprudence is so singularly composed. The to allow a divorce to come upon family is society at large. Every- you suddenly, and to find yourself body's private affairs are common stranded without either a husband property, and the most delicate in esse or in posse. questions of existence are referred In giving this description of soby both parties to the world. There ciety as it exists in these countries, is a charming confidence existing I do not mean to pass any unkind between society and the individuals criticism
Unless one is who compose it, and who confide prepared for it, there is something in it, enlist its sympathies, and, in rather startling when one rememcases of differences, endeavour to bers that one is still in Europe; gain its suffrages. Thus, before a but every country has its peculiar divorce takes place, the pros and conventional standard, and ours is cons form the principal topic of con- not perhaps so perfect that we can versation at every evening reunion. afford to carp_too much at our The husband has his friends, the neighbour's. Their religion sancwife hers; for although it is not tions the principle, or, as we should necessary to quarrel before this de- call it, the want of principle, upon scription of separation, still the pro- which society exists, and their conposition has to come first from one; sciences do not reproach them; but
it does seem that the more it is up amid discussions derogatory to examined the less can be said in its their parents in particular, and to favour. Whatever be the cause, there the sexes in general, to acquire a can be no doubt that, as a race, the sense of honour? If possible, the Moldo-Wallachians do not occupy a standard will get lower and lower high position in European estima- with each new generation, and the tion, and one cannot help thinking only way to raise it would be by that their religious and social views sending the children to be educated have something to do with it. It in countries where virtue, public has been so much the habit of tra- and private, is considered essential vellers to accept their hospitality to the respect of the community, and and then to abuse them, that it is where vices are visited with its conwith hesitation one ventures to give demnation. Such a thing as being impressions more or less unfavour- expelled from society is unknown able to the general existing state of in the Principalities, simply because things; but their amiable qualities it would be impossible for a man cannot blind one to what appears to to commit any crime bad enough us evils in their society; nor can for such a fate. There is no reason their warm hospitality and lavish why all this should not be changed. generosity prevent one from stating The moral capabilities of the race opinions elsewhere, which it was may be as high as those of any useless to attempt to dissemble other, if they only had the chance even while in their society. It is of developing them; but they lathe earnest desire to see a new era bour under the disadvantage of dawn upon the country that leads being, in this remote corner of one to condemn the old; nor do Europe, the perpetual subject of the inhabitants express themselves intrigue to the great powers who satisfied with their political or so- protect them, and who have from cial condition, nor with the position the first set an example of polithey occupy in the eyes of Europe. tical immorality in every transThe peculiar relations in which the action connected with the destiny sexes stand towards each other ren- of these provinces. Whether they der cliivalry on the part of the men have contaminated the Powers, an impossibility. The sentiment or the Powers have contaminated is totally unknown among them, them, is difficult to determine; but and there is, consequently, no basis the atmosphere seems charged with for that sense of honour which intrigue -- social, political, national, should pervade every other relation and diplomatic. 'Before these counin life. No man who does not tries can be regenerated, they must know what is due to a woman can get rid of a protectorate which deform the faintest conception of what moralises them, of a Prince who is due to another man; for it is so plunders them, and of a religion much easier to fulfil the generous and which degrades them. Whether noble instincts of oue's nature in they would be in a better plight the former than in the latter case, separated from each other, ruled that we may take it for granted over by princes of foreign extracthat those who fail in the simplest tion, and unprotected by any, one, will fail in the most difficult duties which is their ambition; or incorof life.
porated into the two neighbouring The most melancholy considera- Powers, which is their dread, it is tion growing out of this state of difficult to determine. So far as things is that connected with the they are themselves concerned, no rising generation. How is it pos- change could be for the worse; and sible for children troubled with so far as the peace and tranquillity doubt from infancy as to who are of Europe are concerned, almost their nearest relations, trained in an any change would be for the atmosphere of deceit, and brought better.
It was just as Bella said; Alice thing for those women whose grace had sent of that poor boy“ twice and beauty win homage and devoas much in love as ever." Poor fel- tion thus to sport with the affeclow! what a strange conflict was tions of their worshippers, and that that that raged within him !-all in this exercise of a cruel power that can make life glorious, give they find an exquisite delight. But ecstasy to the present and hope to Alice was too proud and too highthe future, mingled with every- hearted for such an ignoble pastime. thing that can throw a gloom over But then he had read too that existence, and make it a burden and women sometimes fancy that, by & task. Must it be ever thus ?- encouraging a devotion they never must the most exquisite moments mean to reward, they tend to of our life, when we bave youth elevate men's thoughts, ennobling and hope and health and energy, their ambitions, and inspiring be dashed with fears that make them with purer, holier hopes. us forget all the blessings of our What if she should mean this, and lot and deem ourselves the most no more than this? Would not her wretched of created beings?
very hatred be more bearable than In this feverish alternation he such pity? For a while this cruel travelled along homeward – now thought unmanned him, and he thinking of the great things he sat there like one stunned and could do and dare to win her love, powerless, now forth-shadowing the time when For some time the road had led all hope should be extinguished, between the low furze-clad hills of and he should walk the world alone the country, but now they had and forsaken. He went over in gained the summit of a ridge, and memory-who has not done so at there lay beneath them that wild one time or other ?-all she had coast-line, broken with crag and said to him at their last meeting, promontory towards the sea, and inasking what ground there might be land swelling and falling in every for bope in this, what reason for fanciful undulation, yellow with belief in that. With what intense the furze and the wild broom, but avidity do we seek for the sands of grander for its wide expanse than gold in this crushed and crumbled many, a scene of stronger features. rock! how eagerly do we peer to How dear to his heart it was! How catch one glittering grain that shall inexpressibly dear the spot that whisper to us of wealth hereafter! was interwoven with every incident
Surely, thought he, Alice is too of his life and every spring of his good and too true-hearted to give hope! There the green lanes he me even this much of hope if she used to saunter with Alice--there meant me to despair. Why should the breezy downs over which they she offer to write to me if she in- cantered-yonder the little creek tended that I was to forget her? where they had once sheltered from "I wonder," muttered he, in his a storm; he could see the rock on dark spirit of doubt--"I wonder if which he at a fire in boyish imitathis be simply the woman's way of tion of a shipwrecked crew! It treating a love she deems beneath was of Alice that every crag and ber?" He had read in some book cliff
, every bay and inlet, spoke. or other that it is no uncommon "And is all that happiness gone for ever?" cried he, as he stood and rapid river, swarming with alligazing at the scene. "I wonder,” gators; the grassy slope, where thought he, "could Skeffy read her they had their house, and the tiny thoughts and tell me how she feels garden whose flowers, stuck down towards me? I wonder will he at daybreak, were withered before ever talk to her of me, and what noon !-too faithful emblems of the will they say?" His cheek grew joys they illustrated ! hot and 'red, and he muttered to 'Surely," thought he, “no boy himself, “Who knows but it may be had ever such a rare playfellow as in pity ?" and with the bitterness of Dolly; so ready to take her share the thought the tears started to his in all the rough vicissitudes of a eyes and coursed down his cheeks. boy's pleasures, and yet to bring to
That same book-how it rankled, them a sort of storied interest and like a barbed arrow, in his side ! - captivation which no mere boy that same book said that men are could ever have contributed. What always wrong in their readings of a little romance the whole waswoman—that they cannot under- just because she knew how to imstand the finer, nicer, more subtle part the charm of a story to all springs of her action, and in their they did and all they planned !" coarser appreciation they constant- It was thus thinking that he enly destroy the interest they would tered the cottage. So still was give worlds to create. It was as everything that he could hear the this thought flashed across his scratching noise of a pen as a ramemory the car-driver exclaimed pid writer's hand moved over the aloud, " Ah, Master Tony, did ever paper. He peeped cautiously in and you see as good a pony as yon? saw Dolly seated, writing busily he's carried the minister these at a table all strewn over with eighteen years, and look at him, manuscript: an open book, supporthow he jogs along to-day !"
ed by other books, lay before her, He pointed to a little path in at which from time to time she the valley where old Doctor Stewart glanced. ambled along on his aged palfrey, Before Tony had advanced a step the long mane and flowing tail of she turned round and saw him. the beast marking him out though "Was it not strange, Tony ?" said nigh half a mile away.
she, and she flushed as she spoke, Why didn't I think of that be- "I felt that you were there before fore ?" thought Tony. "Dolly Stew- I saw you; just like long ago, when art is the very one to help me. She I always knew where you were has not been bred and brought up hid." like Alice, but she has plenty of "I was just thinking of that same keen woman's wit, and she has all long ago, Dolly," said he, taking a a sister's love for me besides. I'll chair beside her, "as I came up just go and tell her how we parted, through the fields. There everyand I'll ask her frankly what she thing is the same as it used to be says to it."
when we went to seek our fortune Cheered by this bright idea, he across the sandy desert, near the pursued his way in better spirits, Black Lake." and soon reached the little path "No," said she, correcting; "the which wound off from the high- Black Lake was at the foot of road through the fields to the burn- Giant's Rock, beyond the rye field.” side. Not a spot there unassociat- "So it was, Dolly; you are right." ed with memories, but they were “Ah, Master Tony, I suspect ] the memories of early, boyhood. have a better memory of those days The clump of white "thorns they than you have. To be sure, I have used to call the Forest, and where not had as many things happening they went to hunt wild beasts; the in the meanwhile to trouble these little stream they fancied a great memories."
There was a tone of sadness in “What a good girl you are!" her voice, very slight, very faint said he, and he fixed his eyes full indeed, but still enough to tinge upon her; nor did he know how these few words with melancholy. admiringly till he saw that her face,
"And what is all this writing her forehead, and even her neck, about ?" said he, moving his hands were crimson with 'shame and conthrough the
papers. “Are you fusion. composing a book, Dolly ?"
“There is no such great goodness "No," said she, timidly; "I am in doing what is simply one's duty," only translating a little German said she, gravely. story. When I was up in London, “ I don't know that, Dolly.” I was lucky enough to obtain the Come, come, Tony, you never insertion of a little fairy tale in a fancied yourself a hero, just because small periodical meant for children, you are willing to earn your bread, and the editor encouraged me to and ready to do so by some sacrifice try and render one of Andersen's of your tastes and habits." stories; but I am a very sorry The allusion recalled Tony to himGerman, and, I fear me, a still sor- self and his own cares, and after a rier prose writer; and so, Tony, the few seconds of deep thought he work goes on as slowly as that said, “I am going to make the venbridge of ours used long ago. Do you ture now, Dolly. I am called away remember when it was made, we to London by telegraph, and am to never had the courage to pass over leave to-morrow morning.” it! Mayhap it will be the same “And are you fully prepared, with my poor story, and, when Tony, for the examination ?'' finished, remain unread.”
Luckily for me, they do not re" But why do you encounter such quire it. Some accidental want of a piece of labour ?" said he. “This people has made them call in all must have taken a week or more!" the available fellows at a moment's
"A month yesterday, my good warning, and in this way I may Tony: and very proud I am, too, chance to slip into the service unthat I did it in a month."
challenged." “ And for what, in heaven's “Nay, but Tony,” said she, rename ?"
proachfully, "you surely could face “For three bright sorereigns, the examination ?” Master Tony !” said she, blushing. “I could face it just as I could
“Oh, I didn't mean that,” said face being shot at, of course, but he, in deep shame and confusion. with the same certainty of being "I meant only, why did you engage bowled Don't you know, on such a hard task."
Dolly, that I never knew my gram“I know you didn't mean it, mar long ago till you had dinned it Tony; but I was so proud of my into my head; and as you never success as an author, it would out. come to my assistance now, I know Yes," said she, with a feigned air of well what my fate would be.” importance, “I have just disposed “My dear Tony," said she, “ do of my copyright; and you know, get rid once for all of the habit of unTony, Milton did not get a great deal derrating your own abilities: as my more for · Paradise Lost. You see," dear father says, people very easily added she seriously, “what with make self-depreciation a plea of poor papa's age and his loneliness, indolence. There, don't look so and my own not over-great strength, dreary; I'm not going to moralise in I don't think I shall try (at least the few last minutes we are to have not soon) to be a governess again; together. Talk to me about yourand it behoves me to be as little as self." I can of a burden to him; and af- “It was for that I came, Dolly," ter thinking of various things, I said he, rising and taking a turn or have settled upon this as the best.” two up and down the room; for in