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I Will!
by [?]

“YOU look sober, Laura. What has thrown a veil over your happy face?” said Mrs. Cleaveland to her niece, one morning, on finding her alone and with a very thoughtful countenance.

“Do I really look sober?” and Laura smiled as she spoke.

“You did just now. But the sunshine has already dispelled the transient cloud. I am glad that a storm was not portended.”

“I felt sober, aunt,” Laura said, after a few moments–her face again becoming serious.

“So I supposed, from your looks.”

“And I feel sober still.”


“I am really discouraged, aunt.”

“About what?”

The maiden’s cheek deepened its hue, but she did not reply.

“You and Harry have not fallen out, like a pair of foolish lovers, I hope.”

“Oh, no!” was the quick and emphatic answer.

“Then what has troubled the quiet waters of your spirit? About what are you discouraged?”

“I will tell you,” the maiden replied. “It was only about a week after my engagement with Harry that I called upon Alice Stacy, and found her quite unhappy. She had not been married over a few months. I asked what troubled her, and she said, ‘I feel as miserable as I can be.’ ‘But what makes you miserable, Alice?’ I inquired. ‘Because William and I have quarrelled–that’s the reason,’ she said, with some levity, tossing her head and compressing her lips, with a kind of defiance. I was shocked–so much so, that I could not speak. ‘The fact is,’ she resumed, before I could reply, ‘all men are arbitrary and unreasonable. They think women inferior to them, and their wives as a higher order of slaves. But I am not one to be put under any man’s feet. William has tried that trick with me, and failed. Of course, to be foiled by a woman is no very pleasant thing for one of your lords of creation. A tempest in a teapot was the consequence. But I did not yield the point in dispute; and, what is more, have no idea of doing so. He will have to find out, sooner or later, that I am his equal in every way; and the quicker he can be made conscious of this, the better for us both. Don’t you think so?’ I made no answer. I was too much surprised and shocked. ‘All men,’ she continued, ‘have to be taught this. There never was a husband who did not, at first, attempt to lord it over his wife. And there never was a woman, whose condition as a wife was at all above that of a passive slave, who did not find it necessary to oppose herself at first, with unflinching perseverance.’

“To all this, and a great deal more, I could say nothing. It choked me up. Since then, I have met her frequently, at home and elsewhere, but she has never looked happy. Several times she has said to me, in company, when I have taken a seat beside her, and remarked that she seemed dull, ‘Yes, I am dull; but Mr. Stacy, there, you see, enjoys himself. Men always enjoy themselves in company–apart from their wives, of course.’ I would sometimes oppose to this a sentiment palliative of her husband; as, that, in company, a man very naturally wished to add his mite to the general joyousness, or something of a like nature. But it only excited her, and drew forth remarks that shocked my feelings. Up to this day, they do not appear to be on any better terms. Then, there is Frances Glenn–married only three months, and as fond of carping at her husband for his arbitrary, domineering spirit, as is Mrs. Stacy. I could name two or three others, who have been married, some a shorter and some a longer period, that do not seem to be united by any closer bonds.

“It is the condition of these young friends, aunt, that causes me to feel serious. I am to be married in a few weeks. Can it be possible that my union with Henry Armour will be no happier, no more perfect than theirs? This I cannot believe. And yet, the relation that Alice and Frances hold to their husbands, troubles me whenever I think of it. Henry, as far as I have been able to understand him, has strong points in his character. From a right course of action,–or, from a course of action that he thinks right,–no consideration, I am sure, would turn him. I, too, have mental characteristics somewhat similar. There is, likewise, about me, a leaven of stubbornness. I tremble when the thought of opposition between us, upon any subject, crosses my mind. I would rather die–so I feel about it–than ever have a misunderstanding with my husband.”