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more as I perceived that Maria, while she
showed me my faults with kindness, did not
at all fondle her own.

Our wedding-day was fixed; and I ordered
a carriage for two persons. Company was
invited, and Maria and I were married.
Nothing can be more commonplace than all
this, excepting perhaps it be, that my wife
and I agreed to understand the ceremony in
an earnest and real sense, and to live accordingly.
The result has been, that now, after
having been married five-and-twenty years
(we celebrate our silver nuptials to-morrow),
we love each other better, and are happier
together than we were in the first hour of our
union. We have, therefore, come to the
conclusion, that unhappiness in marriage does not
proceed from the indissolubility of marriage,
as some say, but because the wedding-service
is not realised in the marriage.

Do not speak to me of the felicity of the
honey-moon. It is but the cooing of doves!
No! we must walk together along thorny
paths, penetrate together the most hidden
recesses of life, live together in pleasure and
pain, in joy and in sorrow; must forgive and
be forgiven; and afterwards love better, and
love more. And as time goes on, something
marvellous occurs; we become lovely to each
other, although wrinkles furrow the cheek and
forehead; and we become more youthful,
though we add year to year. Then no longer
have worldly troubles, misfortunes, and
failings, any power to dim the sun of our
happiness, for it radiates from the eye and the
heart of our friend; and when our earthly
existence draws to its close, we feel indeed that
our life and our love are eternal. And this
supernatural feeling is quite natural after all,
for the deeper and the more inwardly we
penetrate into life, the more it opens in its
depth of eternal beauty. Many happy
husbands and wives will testify to this.

But, observe, husband or wife! To qualify
as such a witness, you must have been at
some little pains to find—"the right one."
Don't take the wrong one, inconsiderately.



AT the time when Robert of Normandy
was taken prisoner by his brother King
Henry the First, Robert's little son was only
five years old. This child was taken, too,
and carried before the King, sobbing and
crying; for, young as he was, he knew he
had good reason to be afraid of his royal
uncle. The King was not much accustomed
to pity those who were in his power, but his
cold heart seemed for the moment to soften
towards the boy. He was observed to make
a great effort, as if to prevent himself from
being cruel, and ordered the child to be taken
away; whereupon a certain Baron who had
married a daughter of Duke Robert's (by
name, Helie of Saint Saen) took charge of
him, tenderly. The King's gentleness did
not last long. Before two years were over, he
sent messengers to this Lord's Castle to seize
the child and bring him away. The Baron
was not there at the time, but his servants
were faithful, and carried the boy off in his
sleep and hid him. When the Baron came
home, and was told what the King had done,
he took the child abroad, and, leading him by
the hand, went from King to King and from
Court to Court, relating how the child had a
claim to succeed to the throne of England,
and how his uncle the King, knowing that
he had that claim, would have murdered him,
perhaps, but for his escape.

The youth and innocence of the pretty
little WILLIAM FITZ ROBERT (for that was his
name) made him many friends at that time.
When he became a young man, the King of
France, uniting with the French Counts of
Anjou and Flanders, supported his cause
against the King of England, and took many
of the King's towns and castles in Normandy.
But, King Henry, artful and cunning always,
bribed some of William's friends with money:
some with promises: some with power. He
bought off the Count of Anjou, by promising
to marry his eldest son, also named WILLIAM,
to the Count's daughter: and indeed the
whole trust of this King's life was in such
bargains, and he believed (as many another
King has done since, and as one King did
in France a very little time ago,) that every
man's truth and honor can be bought at some
price. For all this, he was so afraid of William
Fitz Robert and his friends, that, for a long
time, he believed his life to be in danger, and
never lay down to sleep, even in his palace,
surrounded by his guards, without having a
sword and buckler at his bedside.

To strengthen his power still more, the
King with great ceremony betrothed his
eldest daughter MATILDA, then a child only
eight years old, to be the wife of Henry the
Fifth, the Emperor of Germany. To raise her
marriage-portion he taxed the English people
in a most oppressive mannerthen treated
them to a great procession, to restore their
good humourand sent Matilda away, in fine
state, with the German ambassadors, to
be educated in the country of her future

And now his Queen, Maud the Good,
unhappily died. It was a sad thought for that
gentle lady, that the only hope with which
she had married a man whom she had never
lovedthe hope of reconciling the Norman
and English racesfailed. At the very time
of her death, Normandy and all France was
in arms against England; for, so soon as his
last danger was over, King Henry had been
false to all the French powers he had promised,
bribed, and bought, and they had naturally
united against him. After some fighting,
however, in which few suffered but the
unhappy common people (who always suffered,
whatsoever was the matter), he began to

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