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ways evaporates before I get through. I'd rather pay any body five dollars a day to do it for me than do it myself. The fact is, that I have neither fancy nor nerves for this kind of thing."
"Well, granting, then, that you can do nothing for your fellow-creatures unless you are to do it in the most genteel, comfortable and picturesque manner possible, is there not a great field for a woman like you, Florence, in your influence over your associates? With your talents for conversation, your tact and self-possession, and lady-like gift of saying any thing you choose, are you not responsible, in some wise, for the influence you exert over those by whom you are surrounded?"
"I never thought of it," replied Florence.
"Now, you remember the remarks that Mr. Fortesque made, the other evening, on the religious services at church?"
"Yes, I do; and I thought then he was too bad."
"And I do not suppose there was one of j you ladies in the room that did not think so too; but yet the matter was all passed over with smiles, and with not a single insinuation that he had said any thing unpleasing or disagreeable."
"Well, what could we do? One does not want to be rude, you know."
"Do!—could you not, Florence, you who have always taken the lead in society, and who have been noted for always being able to say and do what you please,—could you not have shown him that those remarks were unpleasing to you, as decidedly as you certainly would have done if they had related to the character of your father or brother? To my mind, a woman of true moral feeling should feel herself as much insulted when her religion is treated with contempt, as if the contempt were shown to herself. Do you not know the power which is given to you women to awe and restrain us in your presence, and to guard the sacredness of things which you treat as holy? Believe me, Florence, that Fortesque, infidel as he is, would reverence a woman with whom he dared not trifle on sacred subjects."
Florence rose from her seat with a heightened color, her dark eyes brightening through tears.
"I am sure what you say is just, cousin, and yet I have never thought of it before. I will—I am determined to begin, after this, to live with some better purpose than I have done."
"And let rne tell you, Florence, in starting a new course, as in learning to walk, taking the first step is every thing. Now, I have a first step to propose to you."
"Well, you know, I suppose, that among
your train of adorers you number Colonel Elliot?"
"And perhaps you do not know what is certainly true, that among the most discerning and cool part of his friends, Elliot is considered as a lost man."
"You astonish me, Edward! what do you mean?"
"Simply this, that with all his brilliant talents, his amiable and generous feelings, and his success in society, Elliot has not self-control enough to prevent his becoming confirmed in intemperate habits."
"I never dreamed of this," replied Florence. "I knew that he was spirited and free, fond of society, and exciteable, but never suspected any thing beyond."
"Elliot has tact enough never to appear in ladies' society when he is not in a fit state for it," replied Edward; " but yet it is so." "But is he really so bad?" "He stands just on the verge, Florence— just where a word fitly spoken might turn him. He is a noble creature, full of all sorts of fine impulses and feelings, the only son of a mother who doats on him, the idolized brother of sisters who love him as you love your brothers, Florence: and he stands where a word, a look—so they be of the right kind— might save him."
And why, then, do you not speak to him?" said Florence.
Because I am not the best person, Florence. There is another who could do it better—one whom he admires, who stands in a position which would forbid his feeling angry—a person, cousin, whom I have heard in gayer moments say, that she knew how to say any thing she pleased, without offending any body."
"Oh, Edward!" said Florence, coloring, "do not bring up my foolish speeches against me—and do not speak as if I ought to interfere in this matter, for indeed I cannot do it. I never could in the world; I am certain I could not."
"And so," said Edward, "you whom I have heard say so many things which no one else could say, or dared to say—you, who have gone on with such laughing assurance in your own powers of pleasing,shrink from trying that power when a noble and generous heart might be saved by it. You have been willing to venture a great deal for the sake of amusing yourself, and winning admiration, but you dare not say a word tor any high or noble purpose. Do you not see how you confirm what I said of the selfishness of you women?"
"But you must remember, Edward, this is a matter of great delicacy."
"That word delicacy is a charming coverall, in all these cases, Florence. Now, here is a fine noble-spirited young man, away from his mother and sisters, away from any family friend who might care for him, tempted, betrayed, almost to ruin, and a few words from you, said as a woman knows how to say them, might be his salvation. But you will look coolly on and see him go to destruction, because you have too much delicacy to make the effort, like the man that would not help his neighbor out of the water because he had never had the honor of an introduction."
"But, Edward, consider how peculiarly fastidious Elliot is—how jealous of any attempt to restrain and guide him."
"And just for that reason it is that men of his acquaintance can do nothing with him. But what are you women made with so much tact and power of charming for, if it is not to do these very things that we men cannot do? It is a delicate matter—true; and has not Heaven given to you a fine touch, and a nice eye for just such delicate matters? Have you not seen, a thousand times, that what might be resented, as an impertinent interference on the part of a man, comes to us as a flattering expression of interest, from the lips of a woman V
"Well, but, cousin, what would you have me dol how would you have me do it?" said Florence, earnestly.
"You know that Fashion, who makes so many wrong turns, and so many absurd ones, has at last made one right one, and it is now a fashionable thing to sign the Temperance Pledge. Elliot himself would be glad to do it, but he foolishly committed himself against it in the outset, and now feels bound to stand to his opinion. He has, too, been rather rudely assailed by some of the apostles of the new state of things, who did not understand the peculiar points of his character; in short, I am afraid that he will feel bound to go to destruction for the sake of supporting his own opinion. Now, if I should undertake with him, be might offer to shoot me; but I hardly think there is anything of the sort to be apprehended in your case. Just try your enchantments; you have bewitched wise men into doing silly things, before now; try, now, if you can't bewitch a foolish man into doing a wise thing."
Florence smiled archly, but instantly grew more thoughtful.
"Well, cousin," she said, "I will try. Though I think you are rather liberal in your ascriptions of power, yet I can put the matter to the test of experiment."
* * * * *
Florence Elmore was, at the time we speak of, in her twentieth year. Born in one of the wealthiest families in , highly
educated and accomplished, idolized by her parents and brothers, she had entered society as one born to command. With much native nobleness, and magnanimity of character, with warm and impulsive feelings, and a capability of everything high or great, she had hitherto lived solely for her own amusement, and looked on the whole brilliant circle by which she was surrounded, with all its va1 rious actors, as something got up for her special diversion. The idea of influencing any one, for better or worse, by anything she ever said or did, had never occurred to her. The crowd of admirers, of the other sex, who, as a matter of course, were always about her, she regarded as so many sources of diversion; but the idea of feeling any sympathy with them as human beings, or of making use of her power over them for their improvement, was one that had never entered her head.
Edward Ashton was an old bachelor cousin of Florence's, who, having earned the title of oddity, in general society, availed himself of it to exercise a turn for telling the truth to the various young ladies of his acquamtance, especially to his fair cousin Florence. We remark, by the by, that these privileged truth-tellers are quite a necessary of life to young ladies, in the full tide of society; and we really think it would be worth while for every dozen of them to unite to keep a per- * son of this kind, on a salary, for the benefit of the whole; however, that is nothing to our present purpose; we must return to our fair heroine, whom we left, at the close of the last conversation, standing in a deep reverie, by the window.
"It's more than half true," she said to herself, "more than half. Here am I, twenty years old, and 1 never have thought of anything, never have done anything, except to amuse and gratify myself; no purpose—no object—nothing high—nothing dignified— nothing worth living for!—only a parlor-ornament, heigh-ho! Well, I really do believe I could do something with this Elliot; and yet—how I dread to try."
Now, my good readers, if you are anticipating a love story, we must hasten to put in our disclaimer; you are quite mistaken in the case. Our fair, brilliant heroine was, at this time of speaking, as heart-whole as the diamond on her bosom, which reflected the light in too many sparkling rays ever to absorb it. She had, to be sure, half in earnest, half in jest, maintained a bantering platonic sort of friendship with George Elliot; she had danced, ridden, sung, and sketched with him; but so had she with twenty other young men; and as to coming to anything tender with such a quick, brilliant, restless creature, Elliot would as soon have undertaken to sentimentalize over a glass of soda water. No, there was decidedly no love in the case,
"What a curious ring that is!" said Elliot to her a day or two after, as they were 1 reading together.
"It's a knight's ring," said she, playfully, as she drew it off, and pointed to a coral cross eet in the gold—"a ring-of the red-crossed knights. Come, now, I've a great mind to bind you to my service with it."
"Do, lady fair!" said Elliot, stretching out his hand for the ring.
"Know, then," said she, "if you take this pledge, that you must obey whatever commands I lay upon you in its name."
"I promise!" said Elliot, in the mock heroic, and placed the ring on his finger.
An evening or two after, Elliot attended
Florence to a party at Mrs. B 's. Every
thing was gay and brilliant, and there was no lack either of wit or wine. Elliot was standing in a little alcove, spread with refreshments, with a glass of wine in his hand. "I forbid it; the cup is poisoned," said a voice in his ear. He turned quickly, and Florence was at his side. Every one was busy, with laughing and talking, around, and nobody saw the sudden start and flush that these words produced, as Elliot looked earnestly in the lady's face. She smiled, and pointed • playfully to the ring; but after all, there was in her face an expression of agitation and interest which she could not repress, and Elliot felt, however playful the manner, that she was in earnest, and as she glided away in the crowd, he stood with his arms folded, and his eyes fixed on the spot where she disappeared.
"Is it possible that I am suspected—that there are things said of me, as if / were in danger?" were the first thoughts that flashed through his mind. How strange that a man may appear doomed, given up, and lost, to the eye of every looker-on, before he begins to suspect himself! This was the first time that any defined apprehension of loss of character had occurred to Elliot, and he was startled as if from a dream.
"What the deuce is the matter with you Elliot? you look as solemn as a hearse!" said a young man near by.
"Has Miss Elmore cut you V asked another.
"Come, man, have a glass," said a third.
"Let him alone—he's bewitched," said a fourth; "I saw the spell laid on him. None of us can say but our turn may come next."
An hour later that evening, Florence was talking with her usual spirit, to a group who were collected around her, when, suddenly looking up, she saw Elliot, standing in an
abstracted manner at one of the windows that looked out into the balcony.
"He is offended, I dare say," she thought; "but why should I care 1 For once in my life I have tried to do a right thing, a good thing; I have risked giving offence for less than this, many a time." Still, Florence could not but feel tremulous when, a few moments after, Elliot approached her, and offered his arm for a promenade. They walked up and down the room, she talking volubly, and he answering yes and no, and anything else, at cross purposes, till at length, as if by accident, he drew her into the balcony which overhung the garden. The moon was shining brightly, and everything without, in its placid quietness, contrasted strangely with the busy, hurrying scene within.
"Miss Elmore," said Elliot, abruptly, "may 1 ask you, sincerely, had you any design in a remark you made to me in the early part of the evening?"
Florence paused, and though habitually the most practised and self-possessed of women, the color actually receded from her cheek, as she answered—
"Yes, Mr. Elliot—I must confess that I had."
"And is it possible, then, that you have heard anything?"
"I have heard, Mr. Elliot, that which makes me tremble for you, and for those whose life I know is bound up in you; and, tell me, were it well, or friendly in me, to know that such things were said, that such danger existed, and not to warn you of it?"
Elliot stood a few moments in silence.
"Have I offended? Have I taken too great a liberty?" said Florence, gently.
Hitherto Elliot had only seen in Florence the self-possessed, assured, light-hearted woman of fashion; but there was a reality and depth of feeling in the few words she had spoken to him, in this interview, that opened to him entirely a new view in her character.
"No, Miss Elmore," said he, earnestly, after some pause; " I may be pained, offended [ cannot be. To tell the truth, I have been thoughtless, excited, dazzled; my spirits, naturally bouyant have carried me, often, too far, and, lately, I have often painfully suspected my own powers of resistance; I have really felt that I needed help, but have been too proud to confess, even to myself, that 1 needed it. You, Miss Elmore, have done what, perhaps, no one else could have done. I am overwhelmed with gratitude, and I shall bless you for it to the latest day of my life. I am ready to pledge myself to anything you may ask on this subject."
"Then," said Florence, "do not shrink from doing what is safe and necessary and right for you to do, because you have once said you would not do it. You understand mer
"Precisely," replied Elliot; "and you shall be obeyed." %
It was not more than a week before the news was circulated, that even George Elliot had signed the Pledge of Temperance. There was much wondering at this sudden turn among those who had known his utter repugnance to any measure of the kind, and the extent to which he had yielded to temptation; but few knew how fine and delicate had been the touch, to which his pride had yielded.
Written for the Ladies' Garland.
ENVY AND REVENGE.
BY MERCY SHELDON.
When I cast the eye of the mind over the vast ocean of time, as connected with the omnipotent existence of the Almighty, I can discern, in plain and legible characters, the following legacy bequeathed and secured to the little ones of the Great Shepherd's flock —truth will prevail, and envy and revenge will assuredly meet their just reward.
Envy and revenge were the moving passions of Satan when he sought, with a tongue smoothed with the oil of flattery, and lips that were a burning echo of guile and falsehood, to tempt our first parents from the path of duty and detach their affections from the God that created them, while he covered them and their posterity with sin, ignominy, and shame.
Since that eventful period, the temptations to indulge the passions, which are natural to all mankind, has been so easily and universally accomplished, that Satan is not under the necessity of occupying the low and contemptible habitation of a reptile, but has found, and still finds, easy access to that image of the Almighty—man.
We need only look back upon past ages, and around us at present, to feel, with overwhelming force, that the two most powerful passions that actuate the wicked to deeds of bloodshed, treachery, and crime, are envy and revenge. But we can also see, that there has been and will be those, that, by a strict adherence to the principles of truth and love, will rise above and put under their feet these evil passions and sinful propensities.
This should be, and is, a consolation to the wronged and oppressed, to the truthful and the lovers of truth; and the dark fiery waves of falsehood and deceit, emanating from the hearts of Satan's followers, will eventually roll back with overwhelming judgments, to bury beneath the wrath and justice of Jehovah's indignation, the envious, the revenge
ful, and the professor of religion, that, from a jspirit of malice, envy or revenge, will stoop !to falsehood, deceit and calumny, to injure !and detract from the merit of the innocent and worthy, and impress the stamp of their own evil conduct on the guiltless and just.
Much has been Written on the virtues and angel-like qualities of the female character, and wit and wisdom might be exchanged without fully enumerating and expressing the amiable qualities and praiseworthy deeds of one portion of the female sex, while it would be as difficult to delineate, in plain and correct ideas, the wickedness, the depravity, and disgusting vices of a certain portion, that are j looked upon by the world as the elite of fashion and grandeur. *
I have seen the female, blest with opportunities for improving in all the refinements of mental, moral, and religious cultivation, sacrificing her beauty, her talents, her worth, and influence, at the altar of envy and revenge. If she met with another more beautiful, more wealthy, or more highly favored of fortune in any one particular, she would not hesitate to aim at her reputation the poisoned shafts of slander, and envy is not slow to invent, nor afraid to execute. Even the church member, the professed follower of Christ's example, I have known to indulge in this unhallowed sin, and who, by the nicely polished profession of sincerity and goodness, attempt, by the outward parade of almsgiving and church attending, to ride to heaven on flowery beds of ease, without cherishing or abiding by any of the principles that constitute the christian character, truth love, charily, justice.
Borne along by their own evil passions, when they meet with worth and virtue, combined with the principles of truth and justice, they cannot but discern their own inferiority; j but instead of adopting the course that their judgment admires, which secures to others all the better and more exalted qualities of j intellectual worth and christian excellence, they attempt, by the grovelling spirit of envy j and revenge, to build up their own tottering j credit on the downfall and ruin of their innoIcent victim.
It is painful to see these vices prevail to so great an extent, and among that portion of the female sex who profess to be patterns of meekness and piety, without one apparent desire or effort to overcome them. In the dark ages of pagan superstition, revenge was sanctioned by public opinion; but even then was its curse more lightly felt than in this enlightened age, and especially in our privileged country, where general knowledge is placed within the reach of all, and the principles of christianity are so universally and extensively circulated. Then it was openly accomplished, now it is treacherously and deceitfully effected. How many a virtuous character has been traduced—how many noble and generous hearts have been grieved— how many confiding and unsuspecting friends have been pained, by some revengeful or envious associate, who could not make them bow with themselves at the shrine of falsehood and flattery.
200 Evening before Marriage—Kiss for a Blow—To F. P. Vol. VI.
These practicgs become in time a seated habit, subversive of that charity and love our Saviour commanded us to observe and possess. It is a prevailing sin of our age, and those that do not overcome it will eventually fall, and grea(-wiU ,be the fall thereof. We must master the feelings that would prompt us to revenge, and schoqj our affections to christian forbearance and love; then envy, with ita train of evil attendants, will flee the heart over which it has reigned, and in its stead will spring up the peaceable fruits of righteousness, which establishes in the mind independenceof thought, and firmnessof character; a love for truth, and fearlessness to advocate it when we see it denied and abused.
Brutus, Cayuga Co., N. Y.
EVENING BEFORE WEDDING.
"I will tell you," continued the aunt to Louisa, "one thing which I have fully proved. It will go far toward preventing the possibility of any discord after marriage."
"Tell me!" said Louisa, anxiously.
"It is this:—demand of your bridegroom, as soon as the marriage is over, a solemn vow, and promise also yourself, never, even in jest, to dispute, or express any disagreement. I tell you never! for what begins in mere bantering, will lead to serious earnest . Avoid expressing any irritation at one another's words. Mutual forbearance is the great secret of domestic happiness. If you nave erred, confess it freely, even if confession cost you some tears. Further, promise faithfully and solemnly, never upon any pretext or excuse, to have any secrets or concealments from one another: but to keep you private affairs from father, mother, brother, sister, relations, and the world. Let them be known only to each other and your God. Remember that any third person admitted to your confidence, becomes a party to stand between you. They will naturally side with one or the other. Promise to avoid this and renew the vow upon every temptation. It will preserve that perfect confidence, that union, which will indeed make you as one. Oh, if the newly married would but practice this spring of connubial peace, how many unions would be happy, which are now miserable.
A KISS FOR A BLOW.
A visitor once went into a school at Boston, where he saw a boy and a girl on one seat, who were brother and sister. In a moment of thoughtless pission, the little boy struck his sister. The little girl was provoked, and raised her hand to return the blow. Her face showed that rage was working within, and her clenched fist was aimed at her brother, when her teacher caught her eye.
"Stop, my dear," said she, " you had much better kiss your brother than to strike him."
The look and the word reached ber heart. Her hand dropped. She threw her arms round his neck, and kissed him. The boy was moved. He could have stood against the blow, but he could not withstand a sister's kiss. He compared the provocation he had given her with the return she had made, and the tears rolled down his cheeks. This affected the sister, and with her little handkerchief she wiped away his tears. But the sight of her kindness only made him cry the faster; he was completely subdued.
Her teacher then told the children always to return a kiss for a blow, and they would never get any more blows. If men and women, families and communities and nations would act on this principle, this world would almost cease to be a vale of tears.— Youths' Cab.
Written for the Ladies' Garland.
There ispnetry that is not written. It is living in the hearts of many to whom rhyme is a mystery.
BY SOSAK W.LSON. "P
Thou ask'st for poetry—but why,
Dear Frances ask of me?
Spirits of poetry?
Yes! and their presence banishes
Despondency and strife,— Thy parents' tenderness and care, And gen'rous sympathy are there,
The poetry of life!
Cherish the inspiration now
By thy young spirit caught, And thou wilt find in after years, This beauteous world no " vale of tears," As thankless hearts have taught.
Cherish the spiritual light
Which throws on all around
Pray that a humble, thankful heart,
In grief and joy be apiven, And that earth's poetry may be A prelude to the harmony
Thou hop'st to join in Heaven.