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A Sylvan Morality; Or, A Word To Wives
by [?]

“These summer wings
Have borne me in my days of idle pleasure;
I do discard them.”

“And, Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.”

WE have a young relative, about whom we are going to relate a little anecdote connected with insect history, which requires, however, a few prefatory words.

At the age of seventeen Emily S. “came out,” gilt and lettered, from the Minerva Press of a fashionable boarding-school, and was two years afterwards bound (in white satin) as a bride. In the short period intervening between these two important epochs, she had had a prodigious run of admiration. Sonnets had been penned on her pencilled brow, and the brows of rival beauties had contracted at the homage paid to hers. All this Emily had liked well enough–perhaps a little better than she ought; but where was the wonder? for besides excuses general (such as early youth and early training) for loving the world and the world’s vanities, she had an excuse of her own, in the fact that she had nothing else to love–no mother, no sister, no home–no home at least in its largest and loving sense. She was the orphan but not wealthy ward of a fashionable aunt, in whom the selfish regrets of age had entirely frozen the few sympathies left open by the selfish enjoyments of youth.

When Emily married, and for a few months previous, it was of course to be presumed that she had found something better than the world whereon to fix the affection of her warm young heart. At all events, she had found a somebody to love her, and one who was worthy to be loved in return. Indeed, a better fellow than our friend F–does not live; but though fairly good-looking, and the perfect gentleman, he was not perhaps exactly the description of gentleman to excite any rapid growth of romantic attachment in the bosom of an admired girl of nineteen.

Why did she marry him? Simply because amongst her admirers she liked nobody better, and because her aunt, who was anxious to be relieved of her charge, liked nobody so well;–not because he had much to offer, but because it was little he required.

Soon after their marriage the happy pair set out for Paris. F–though his means were slender and tastes retired, made every, effort (as far as bridegroom could so feel it) to gratify his lively young wife by a stay at the capital of pleasure. After subsequent excursion, they returned within a year to England, and settled at a pretty cottage in Berkshire, to which we speedily received a cordial invitation. It was no less readily accepted; for we were anxious to behold the “rural felicity,” of which we little doubted our friends were in full possession.

The result, however, of a week’s sojourn at their quiet abode, was the reluctant opinion that, somehow or another, the marriage garments of the young couple did not sit quite easy; though to point out the defect in their make, or to discover where they girted, were matters on which it required more time to form a decided judgment. One thing, however, was pretty obvious. With her matronly title, Emily had not assumed an atom of that seriousness–not sad, but sober–which became her new estate; nor did she, as we shrewdly suspected, pay quite as much attention to the cares of her little ménage as was rendered incumbent by the limited amount of her husband’s income. She seemed, in short, the same thoughtless pleasure-loving, pleasure-seeking girl as ever; now that she was captured, the same volatile butterfly as when surrounded and chased by butterflies like herself. But her captor? asks some modern Petruchio–had he not, or could he not contrive to clip her pinions?

Poor F–! not he! he would have feared to “brush the dust” from off them; and, from something of this over-tenderness, had been feeding, with the honeyed pleasures of the French capital, those tastes which (without them) might have been reconciled already to the more spare and simple sociabilities of a retired English neighbourhood. He was only now trying the experiment which should have been made a year ago, and that with a reluctant and undecided hand.