OUR married life had commenced, and this was HOME. As I opened my eyes in our new abode, the rays of the morning sun were penetrating the muslin curtains, the air was, fill with the fragrance of mignionette, and in the adjoining room I heard a loved voice warbling my favourite air.
On the different articles of furniture lay a hundred things to remind me the change which had taken place in mode of life. There lay the bouquet of orange flowers worn by Micelle on our wedding day; here stood her work basket; a little further on, and my eye fell on her small bookcase, ornamented with her school prizes and several other volumes, recent offerings from myself. Thus all my surroundings indicated that I was no longer alone. Till then in my independence I had merely skirted the great army of humanity, measuring all things with regard to my own strength only. I had now entered its ranks; accompanied by a fellow traveller, whose powers and feelings must be consulted, and whose tenderness must be equalled by the protecting love shed around her. A few weeks ago I should have fallen unnoticed and left no void, henceforward my lot lay bound in that of others. I had taken root in life, and for the future must fortify and strengthen myself for the protection of the nests which would in time be formed beneath my shade.
Sweet sense of responsibility, which elevated without alarming me! What had Marcelle and I to fear? Was not our departure on the voyage of life like that of Athenian Theori for the island of Delos, sailing to the sound of harps and songs while crowned with flowers? Did not our hearts beat responsive to the chorus of youth’s protecting genii?
Strength said, “What matters the task? Feel you not that to you it will all be easy? It is the weak alone who weigh the burden. Atlas smiled, though he bore the world on his shoulders.”
Faith added, “Have confidence, and the mountains which obstruct your path shall vanish like clouds; the sea shall bear you up, and the rainbow shall become a bridge for your feet.”
Hope whispered, “Behold, before lies repose after fatigue; plenty will follow after scarcity. On, on, for the desert leads to the promised land.”
And lastly, a voice more fascinating than any, added, “Love one another; there is not on earth a surer talisman; it is the ‘Open Sesame’ which will put you in the possession of all the treasures of creation.”
Why not listen to these sweet assurances? “Cherished companions of our opening career, my faith in you is strong; you, who, like unto the military music which animates the soldier’s courage, lead us, intoxicated by your melody, on to the battle field of life.” What can I fear from a life through which I shall pass with Marcelle’s arm entwined in mine? The sun shines on the commencement of our journey; forward over flowery fields, by hedges alive with song, through ever-verdant forests! Let one horizon succeed another! The day is so lovely, and the night yet so distant!
While thus occupied with my newborn happiness, I had risen and joined Marcelle, who had already taken possession of her domestic kingdom.
Everything must be visited with her; her precocious housewifery must be admired; her arrangements must be applauded. First she showed me the little ‘salle à manger,’ dedicated to the meals which would unite us in the intervals of business: to this cause it owed the air of opulence and brightness which Marcelle had carefully striven to impart to it. China, silver, and glass, sparkled on the shelves. Here lay rich fruits half hidden in moss; there, stood freshly-gathered flowers–everything spoke of the reign of grace and plenty. From thence we passed into the salon, the closed curtains of which admitted only a soft and subdued light, which fell on statuettes ornamenting the consoles, and the gilt frames on the walls: on the tables lay scattered in graceful negligence, albums, elegancies of papier mache, and carved ivory; precious nothings which had constituted the young girl’s treasures. At the farther end, the folds of a heavy curtain concealed the bower, sacred to the lady of the castle. Here admittance was at first denied me, and I was obliged to have recourse to entreaty before the drapery was raised for our entrance.