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Let Every Man Mind His Own Business
by [?]

Augusta Elmore was conspicuous in all that lies within the sphere of feminine attainment. She was an orphan, and accustomed from a very early age to the free enjoyment and control of an independent property. This circumstance, doubtless, added to the magic of her personal graces in procuring for her that flattering deference which beauty and wealth secure.

Her mental powers were naturally superior, although, from want of motive, they had received no development, except such as would secure success in society. Native good sense, with great strength of feeling and independence of mind, had saved her from becoming heartless and frivolous. She was better fitted to lead and to influence than to be influenced or led. And hence, though not swayed by any habitual sense of moral responsibility, the tone of her character seemed altogether more elevated than the average of fashionable society.

General expectation had united the destiny of two persons who seemed every way fitted for each other, and for once general expectation did not err. A few months after the interview mentioned were witnessed the festivities and congratulations of their brilliant and happy marriage.

Never did two young persons commence life under happier auspices. “What an exact match!” “What a beautiful couple!” said all the gossips. “They seem made for each other,” said every one; and so thought the happy lovers themselves.

Love, which with persons of strong character is always an earnest and sobering principle, had made them thoughtful and considerate; and as they looked forward to future life, and talked of the days before them, their plans and ideas were as rational as any plans can be, when formed entirely with reference to this life, without any regard to another.

For a while their absorbing attachment to each other tended to withdraw them from the temptations and allurements of company; and many a long winter evening passed delightfully in the elegant quietude of home, as they read, and sang, and talked of the past, and dreamed of the future in each other’s society. But, contradictory as it may appear to the theory of the sentimentalist, it is nevertheless a fact, that two persons cannot always find sufficient excitement in talking to each other merely; and this is especially true of those to whom high excitement has been a necessary of life. After a while, the young couple, though loving each other none the less, began to respond to the many calls which invited them again into society, and the pride they felt in each other added zest to the pleasures of their return.

As the gaze of admiration followed the graceful motions of the beautiful wife, and the whispered tribute went round the circle whenever she entered, Edward felt a pride beyond all that flattery, addressed to himself, had ever excited; and Augusta, when told of the convivial talents and powers of entertainment which distinguished her husband, could not resist the temptation of urging him into society even oftener than his own wishes would have led him.

Alas! neither of them knew the perils of constant excitement, nor supposed that, in thus alienating themselves from the pure and simple pleasures of home, they were risking their whole capital of happiness. It is in indulging the first desire for extra stimulus that the first and deepest danger to domestic peace lies. Let that stimulus be either bodily or mental, its effects are alike to be dreaded.

The man or the woman to whom habitual excitement of any kind has become essential has taken the first step towards ruin. In the case of a woman, it leads to discontent, fretfulness, and dissatisfaction with the quiet duties of domestic life; in the case of a man, it leads almost invariably to animal stimulus, ruinous alike to the powers of body and mind.

Augusta, fondly trusting to the virtue of her husband, saw no danger in the constant round of engagements which were gradually drawing his attention from the graver cares of business, from the pursuit of self-improvement, and from the love of herself. Already there was in her horizon the cloud “as big as a man’s hand”–the precursor of future darkness and tempest; but, too confident and buoyant, she saw it not.