First Quarrel

March 25th.--Arthur is getting tired--not of me, I trust, but of the idle, quiet life he leads--and no wonder, for he has so few sources of amusement; he never reads anything but newspapers and sporting magazines; and when he sees me occupied with a book, he won't let me rest till I close it. In fine weather he generally manages to get through the time pretty well; but on rainy days, of which we have had a good many of late, it is quite painful to witness his ennui. I do all can to amuse him, but it is impossible to get him to feel interested what I most like to talk about; while, on the other hand, he likes to talk about things that cannot interest me--or even that annoy me--and these please him the most of all; for his favourite amusement is to sit or loll beside me on the sofa and tell me stories of his former amours, always turning upon the ruin of some confiding girl or the cozening of some unsuspecting husband; and when I express my horror and indignation, he lays it all to the charge of jealousy, and laughs till the tears run down his cheeks. I used to fly into passions or melt into tears at first, but seeing that his delight increased in proportion to my anger and agitation, I have since endeavoured to suppress my feelings and receive his revelations in the silence of calm contempt; but still, he reads the inward struggle in my face, and misconstrues my bitterness of soul for his unworthiness into the pangs of wounded jealousy; and when he has sufficiently diverted himself with that, or fears my displeasure will become too serious for his comfort, be tries to kiss and soothe me into smiles again--never were his caresses so little welcome as then! This is double selfishness, displayed to me and to the victims of his former love. There are times when, with a momentary pang--a flash of wild dismay, I ask myself, `Helen, what have you done?' But I rebuke the inward questioner, and repel the obtrusive thoughts that crowd upon me; for, were he ten times as sensual and impenetrable to good and lofty thoughts, I well know I have Do right to complain. And I don't and won't complain. I do and will love him still; and I do not and will not regret that I have linked my fate with his.

April 4th.--We have had a downright quarrel. `The particulars are as follows:--Arthur had told me, at different intervals, the whole story of his intrigue with Lady F--, which I would not believe before. It was some consolation, however, to find that, in this instance, the lady had been more to blame than he; for he was very young at the time, and she had decidedly made the first advances, if what he said was true. I hated her for it, for it seemed as if she had chiefly contributed to his corruption, and when he was beginning to talk about her the other day, I begged he would not mention her, for I detested the very sound of her name,--

`Not because you loved her, Arthur, mind, but because she injured you, and deceived her husband, and was altogether a very abominable woman, whom you ought to be ashamed to mention.'

But he defended her by saying that she had a doting old husband, whom it was impossible to love.

`Then why did she marry him?' said I.

`For his money,' was the reply.

`Then that was another crime, and her solemn promise to love and honour him was another, that only increased the enormity of the last.'

`You are too severe upon the poor lady,' laughed he. `But never mind, Helen, I don't care for her now; and I never loved any of them half as much as I do you; so you needn't fear to be forsaken like them.'

`If you had told me these things before, Arthur, I never should have given you the chance.'

`Wouldn't you, my darling!'

`Most certainly not!'

He laughed incredulously.

`I wish I could convince you of it now!' cried I, starting up from beside him; and for the first time in my life, and I hope the last, I wished I had not married him.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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