First Weeks of Matrimony

Feb. 18th, 1822. Early this morning, Arthur mounted his hunter and set off in high glee to meet the--- hounds. He will be away all day; and so I will amuse myself with my neglected diary--if I can give that name to such an irregular composition. It is exactly four months since I opened it last.

I am married now, and settled down as Mrs Huntingdon of Grass-dale Manor. I have had eight weeks experience of matrimony. And do I regret the step I have taken?--No--though I must confess, in my secret heart, that Arthur is not what I thought him at first, and if I had known him in the beginning as thoroughly as I do now, I probably never should have loved him, and if I had loved him first, and then made the discovery, I fear I should have thought it my duty not to have married him. To be sure, I might have known him, for everyone was willing enough to tell me about him, and he himself was do accomplished hypocrite, but I was wilfully blind, and now, instead of regretting that I did not discern his full character before I was indissolubly bound to him, I am glad; for it has saved me a great deal of battling with my conscience, and a great deal of consequent trouble and pain; and, whatever I ought to have done, my duty, now, is plainly to love him and to cleave to him; and this just tallies with my inclination.

He is very fond of me--almost too fond. I could do with less caressing and more rationality: I should like to be less of a pet and more of a friend, if I might choose--but I won't complain of that: I am only afraid his affection loses in depth where it gains in ardour I sometimes liken it to a fire of dry twigs and branches compared with one of solid coal,--very bright and hot, but if it should burn itself out and leave nothing but ashes behind, what shall I do? But it won't--it shan't, I am determined--and surely I have power to keep it alive. So let me dismiss that thought at once. But Arthur is selfish--I am constrained to acknowledge that; and, indeed, the admission gives me less pain than might be expected; for, since I love him so much, I can easily forgive him for loving himself: he likes to be pleased, and it is my delight to please him,--and when I regret this tendency of his, it is for his own sake, not for mine,

The first instance he gave was on the occasion of our bridal tour. He wanted to hurry it over, for all the continental scenes were already familiar to him: many had lost their interest in his eyes, and others had never had anything to lose, The consequence was, that, after a flying transit through part of France and part of Italy, I came back nearly as ignorant as I went, having made no acquaintance with persons and manners, and very little with things,--my head swarming with a motley confusion of objects and scenes-- some, it is true, leaving a deeper and more pleasing impression than others, but these embittered by the recollection that my emotions had not been shared by my companion, but that, on the contrary, when I had expressed a particular interest in anything that I saw or desired to see, it had been displeasing to him in as much as it proved that I could take delight in anything disconnected with himself.

As for Paris, we only just touched at that, and he would not give me time to see one tenth of the beauties and interesting objects of Rome. He wanted to get me home, he said, to have me all to himself, and to see me safely installed as the mistress of Grass-dale Manor, just as single-minded, as naive, and piquante as I was; and, as if I had been some frail butterfly, he expressed himself fearful of rubbing the silver off my wings by bringing me into contact with society, especially that of Paris and Rome; and, moreover, he did not scruple to tell me that there were ladies in both places that would tear his eyes out if they happened to meet him with me.

Of course I was vexed at all this; but still, it was less the disappointment to myself that annoyed me, than the disappointment in him, and the trouble I was at to frame excuses to my friends for having seen and observed so little, without imputing one particle of blame to my companion. But when we got home-- to my new, delightful home--I was so happy and he was so kind that I freely forgave him all;--and I was beginning to think my lot too happy, and my husband actually too good for me, if not too good for this world, when, on the second Sunday after our arrival, be shocked and horrified me by another instance of his unreasonable exaction. We were walking home from the morning service--for it was a fine frosty day, and, as we are so near the church, I bad requested the carriage should not be used:--

`Helen,' said be, with unusual gravity, `I am not quite satisfied with you.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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