+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

Two little months agone, am very wretched.
I am a lonely woman: in the morning
He drudges with his boys; then comes the dinner
A short, sad meal ; and thenhear you that organ?—
I hate those notes he calls ' a winding bout
Of linked sweetness.' Then, at eventide,
He reads aloud some dismal tragedy,
Or puritanic sermon. I'm weary on 't."

"Mary, I grieve for you ; but not because
Of what you think your loneliness. Believe me,
There's something heavier than a weary hour
Heavier to bear, in this new life of yours.
Forgive me, if I say the fault is one
That oft besets our sexwe seek delights
When man asks only sympathy. Knew you not
What manner of mind was his ?—what earnestness ?
Deep contemplationproud and resolute will
A poet's tenderness, but yet withal
The heroic heart, to do and suffer all things
For duty ? Mary, you must mould your spirit
To his more lofty nature. Did he win you
By common blandishmentsby bows and smiles ?—
Talk'd he, as Charles's cavaliers would talk,
When they danc'd at Forest-hill ? "

"I thought him beautiful
I knew him wise; he held my soul subdued
To his most absolute power. I loved and trembled
And yet I loved. I was a giddy girl,
Brought up in country pleasures. My heart yearns
For the old revelries. And, then, I dread
To listen to his talk, of kings discrown'd
For their misdoings, and of mitred bishops
Thrust from the altar. He is very stern.
Would I had never left my father's house!"

"Your father's house was a strange house for him
To find a wife inso short a courtship, too!
But now your Husband's party must be yours,
And not your father's. 'Tis an evil time
Friend against friend, and brother against brother.

"My brothers are with the King ; they draw the
Of loyal subjects. My Husband does not fight,
Save with the pen; but he writes bitter words
Foul, rebel words, they say. I cannot read them:
I will not listen when he eagerly paces
The garden up and down, declaiming loud
His eloquent sentences, of Liberty,
And private Judgmentand I know not what.
Would I had never left my father's house ! "

A year has gone since Mary was a bride.
She sits at her father's hearth. The autumn flowers
Have perish'd at Forest-hill, and now the earliest
Are blooming there. Mary has gather'd both
Fled from her Husband. A false cheerfulness
Flickers about her face; there is no radiance
Of inward peace now beaming from her eyes.
Ofttimes is gaiety within that house:
Lovelocks are floating in the midnight dance;
Cups are there drain'd, with tipsy shouts of joy
At rumours of success, and threats of vengeance
Pour'd forth with curses, as some news is heard
Of rebel daring. The King's quarters are nigh,
Some five miles off, at Oxford. Volunteers,
And plumed ensigns, reckless, fiery spirits,
Hover round Mary. There are sometimes sneers
Whisper'd, not very low, at widow'd wives;
And some would think that freedoms might be safe.
But Mary keeps her innocence: the mind,
Undisciplin'd and weak, is gathering strength.
At first, she never uses her Husband's name:
She is plain Mary. Now and then she hears
Men speak that name in hatred; but they speak
With fear, too, of his might. There comes one thither
Who loved him once ; they parted in deep anger.
Milton and Cleveland went their several ways.
But Cleveland speaks no bitter word to Mary
Of that old College friend. He has within him
The poet's yearnings ; and the nobleness
With which a poet bows before the genius
Even of a rival and an enemy.
Though wassail, and the license of the camp,
Made him a scorner and a ballad-monger,
He scorn'd not him who wrote that lofty book
The ' Areopagitica." Mary hears
From him some gentle memories of the man
Whose soul had awed her. Then remorse creeps in ;
And she daily weeps to think what cold replies
Her stubbornness had given his mild requests,
And then his brief commands, for her return.

The summer comes. Fear is within that house
Where late was revelrygalliards and country-rounds,
And moonlit madrigals on dewy lawns.
Fear now abides there, for the news has reach'd
Of Naseby field. Ruin is drawing near.
The sequestrators come; and Mary's father
Hurries to London.

Ellen is sitting in her father's house
A garden-house, in the City. She is reading.
A grave and learned book is on her knee
'The Doctrine and the Discipline of Divorce.'
" Down, idle fancies ! Perish, wicked thoughts !
Thou great logician, thou hast steep'd thy argument
In the deep dye of thy hopes. I could hope, too ;
But I will strive against temptation. Lord,
Forgive my erring and tumultuous thoughts!
It cannot beit is not truethat difference
Of temperincompatibilitymake
A cause of final separation. Yet
How hard it is !—
It is not just ; for what a crowd would rush,
Upon that plea, to sever household ties,
Play false with oaths—"

Mary is on the threshold.
Another minute, and she bathes the cheek
Of Ellen with hot tears.

"I knew him not
Knew not his greatnessnor his gentleness.
I wrong'd him, Ellen ; yet he hath redeem'd
My father from deep ruin. Will he spurn me ?
Yes, he will spurn me. Ellen, I would ask
Forgiveness, and then die."

The book is shut.
Another morn, and Mary's Husband comes
At Ellen's bidding. There is mystery.
A soband then a silencethen a rush,
Mary is kneeling at her Husband's feet,
And Ellen joins their hands.


IT is commonly asserted, and as
commonly believed, that there are seventy
thousand persons in London who get up every
morning without the slightest knowledge as
to where they shall lay their heads at night.
However the number may be over or
understated, it is very certain that a vast quantity
of people are daily in the above-mentioned
uncertainty regarding sleeping accommodation,
and that when night approaches, a great
majority solve the problem in a somewhat (to