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The Wife [from ‘The Wedding Guest’]
by [?]

ROSA LEE was dressed in her bridal garments, and as she knelt in all the bloom of her maidenly beauty, angels must have rejoiced over her; for the spirit of the maiden was in a heaven of love, and she knelt in the fulness of her joy, to pour out her gratitude to the Heavenly Father, that “seeth in secret.” Yes, alone in her chamber, the young girl bowed herself for the last time, and as the thought flashed over her mind, that when next she should kneel in that consecrated place, it would not be alone, but that manly arms would bear up her drooping form, and two voices would mingle as one in the holy prayer, a gushing tenderness flooded the heart of the beautiful bride, and light as from Heaven pervaded her whole being, and she could only murmur, “Oh, how beautiful it is to love!”

But bustling steps and voices approach; and Rosa hears one step that sends at thrill to her heart. In the next moment, the maiden, with the rosy glow of love upon her cheek, and the heaven-light yet beaming in her eyes, stood face to face with her lover. Her eyes met his, in that calm, confiding look of an unbounded affection, and, as her hand rested on his arm, strength seemed to flow into her from him, and she looked serene and placid as pure water, that reflects the moonbeams of heaven; and yet, her smiles came and went like these same waters when the ripples sparkle in the glad sunshine.

The bridal party moved forward to the festive hall, where sympathizing friends were gathered to greet them, as a married pair, and the heart of Rosa opened to the holy marriage ceremony with a sense of heavenly rapture.

To her it was as a new and beautiful revelation, when she heard the oft-repeated words, “In the beginning created He them male and female.” Ah, yes. It was beautiful to realize that she was created for her beloved Paul, and that in all the vast peopled universe of God, there was not another being so adapted to him as she was.

Ah, this was the beautiful marriage joy, that earth so seldom witnesses. These were of “those whom God hath joined together.” And Paul Cleves felt it in his inmost soul, as he turned towards his congratulating friends with his delicate and beautiful bride leaning upon his arm.

Ah, how he watched every vibration of her feelings! suddenly she had become the pulse of his own soul. As a maiden, he had loved her with a wondrous tenderness and devotion. But now, as a wife! There was at once a new and quite different relation established between them.

Paul was so filled with this new perception of blessedness, that he would fain have left the gay company, that he might pour out the beautiful thought that possessed him, to gladden the heart of Rosa; and when he looked his wish to her, she smiled, and whispered to him, “Eternity is ours, and we are not to live for ourselves alone.” And here was a new mystery to him. She was revealed to him as another self, with power to read his every thought. And yet it was it better self, for she prompted him to disinterested acts; and away went the glad Paul to shower his attentions upon all those to whom life came not so joyously. And an aged grandmother, and a palsied aunt, almost feared that the handsome bridegroom had forgotten his fair bride, in his warm and kindly interest for them.

Happy Paul! he had found an angel clothed in flesh and blood, who was for ever to stand between him and his old hard, selfish nature. Something of this thought passed through his mind, as his eye glanced over the crowd in search of his beloved and beautiful one. But she, on the other side, was quite near. He felt her soft presence, and as he turned he caught the light of her loving smile.