THE WEDDING GUEST
THE WEDDING GUEST
THERE is no relation in life so important--none involving so much of
happiness or misery as that of husband and wife. Yet how rarely is
it that the parties when contracting this relation have large
experience clear insight into character or truly know themselves!
In each other they may have the tenderest confidence and for each
other the warmest love; but only a brief time can pass ere they
will discover that the harmonious progression of two minds each of
which has gained an individual and independent movement is not
always a thing of easy attainment. Too soon alas! is felt a jar of
discord--too soon self-will claims an individual freedom of action
that is not fully accorded; and unless there is wisdom and
forbearance temporary or permanent unhappiness is sure to follow.
Much has been written on the true relation of married partners and
we cannot do a better service to the bride and bridegroom than by
gathering words of wisdom on this subject from all sources within
our reach and presenting them in as attractive a form as possible.
And this we have done in the present volume to which as the
title-page indicates we bear only the relation of editor. In it
will be found pictures of life serious counsel earnest admonition
and hints and suggestions which if wisely followed will keep the
sky bright with sunshine or scatter the gathering clouds ere they
break in angry storms. May this "WEDDING GUEST" receive as warm a
welcome as we desire.
THE EVENING BEFORE MARRIAGE 7
THE WIFE 14
THE BRIDE'S SISTER 34
LOVE vs. HEALTH 35
THE YOUNG HOUSEKEEPER 45
TO AN ABSENT WIFE 57
THE WORD OF PRAISE 58
LETTERS TO A YOUNG WIFE FROM A MARRIED LADY 71
THE WIFE 82
BE GENTLE WITH THY WIFE 83
A TRUE TALE OF LIFE 84
MAN AND WOMAN 102
THE FAIRY WIFE--AN APOLOGUE 106
A BRIEF HISTORY IN THREE PARTS WITH A SEQUEL 109
ELMA'S MISSION 111
LIVING LIKE A LADY 128
LADY LUCY'S SECRET 133
A WORD FOR WIVES 144
NO JEWELLED BEAUTY 147
THE FIRST MARRIAGE IN THE FAMILY 148
ONLY A FEW WORDS 156
THE TWO HOMES 163
LOVE'S FAIRY RING 170
FANNIE'S BRIDAL 172
THE LOVER AND THE HUSBAND 182
A HOME IN THE HEART 192
A LEAF FROM A FAMILY JOURNAL 193
DOMESTIC HAPPINESS 224
A SYLVAN MORALITY; OR A WORD TO WIVES 282
PASSAGES FROM A YOUNG WIFE'S DIARY 245
HINTS AND HELPS FOR MARRIED PARTNERS 254
THREE WAYS OF MANAGING A WIFE 285
THE WEDDING GUEST.
THE EVENING BEFORE MARRIAGE.
"WE shall certainly be very happy together!" said Louise to her aunt
on the evening before her marriage and her cheeks glowed with a
deeper red and her eyes shone with delight. When a bride says _we_
it may easily be guessed whom of all persons in the world she means
"I do not doubt it dear Louise" replied her aunt. "See only that
you _continue_ happy together."
"Oh who can doubt that we shall continue so! I know myself. I have
faults indeed but my love for him will correct them. And so long
as we love each other we cannot be unhappy. Our love will never
"Alas!" sighed her aunt "thou dost speak like a maiden of nineteen
on the day before her marriage in the intoxication of wishes
fulfilled of fair hopes and happy omens. Dear child remember
this--_even the heart in time grows cold._ Days will come when the
magic of the senses shall fade. And when this enchantment has fled
then it first becomes evident whether we are truly worthy of love.
When custom has made familiar the charms that are most attractive
when youthful freshness has died away and with the brightness of
domestic life more and more shadows have mingled then Louise and
not till then can the wife say of the husband 'He is worthy of
love;' then first the husband say of the wife 'She blooms in
imperishable beauty.' But truly on the day before marriage such
assertions sound laughable to me."
"I understand you dear aunt. You would say that our mutual virtues
alone can in later years give us worth for each other. But is not he
to whom I am to belong--for of myself I can boast nothing but the
best intentions--is he not the worthiest noblest of all the young
men of the city? Blooms not in his soul every virtue that tends to
make life happy?"
"My child" replied her aunt "I grant it. Virtues bloom in thee as
well as in him; I can say this to thee without flattery. But dear
heart they bloom only and are not yet ripened beneath the sun's
heat and the shower. No blossoms deceive the expectations more than
these. We can never tell in what soil they have taken root. Who
knows the concealed depths of the heart?"
"Ah dear aunt you really frighten me."
"So much the better Louise. Such fear is right; such fear is as it
should be on the evening before marriage. I love thee tenderly and
will therefore declare all my thoughts on this subject without
disguise. I am not as yet an old aunt. At seven-and-twenty years
one still looks forward into life with pleasure the world still
presents a bright side to us. I have an excellent husband. I am
happy. Therefore I have the right to speak thus to thee and to
call thy attention to a secret which perhaps thou dost not yet know
one which is not often spoken of to a young and pretty maiden one
indeed which does not greatly occupy the thoughts of a young man
and still is of the utmost importance in every household: a secret
from which alone spring lasting love and unalterable happiness."
Louise seized the hand of her aunt in both of hers. "Dear aunt! you
know I believe you in everything. You mean that enduring happiness
and lasting love are not insured to us by accidental qualities by
fleeting charms but only by those virtues of the mind which bring
to each other. These are the best dowry which we can possess; these
never become old."
"As it happens Louise. The virtues also like the beauties of the
body can grow old and become repulsive and hateful with age."
"How dearest aunt! what is it you say? Name me a virtue which can
become hateful with years."
"When they have become so we no longer call them virtues as a
beautiful maiden can no longer be called beautiful when time has
changed her to an old and wrinkled woman."
"But aunt the virtues are nothing earthly."
"How can gentleness and mildness ever become hateful?"
"So soon as they degenerate into insipid indolence and
"And manly courage?"
"Becomes imperious rudeness."
"And modest diffidence?"
"Turns to fawning humility."
"And noble pride?"
"To vulgar haughtiness."
"And readiness to oblige?"
"Becomes a habit of too ready friendship and servility."
"Dear aunt you make me almost angry. My future husband can never
degenerate thus. He has one virtue which will preserve him as he is
for ever. A deep sense an indestructible feeling for everything
that is great and good and noble dwells in his bosom. And this
delicate susceptibility to all that is noble dwells in me also I
hope as well as in him. This is the innate pledge and security for
"But if it should grow old with you; if it should change to hateful
excitability; and excitability is the worst enemy of matrimony. You
both possess sensibility. That I do not deny; but beware lest this
grace should degenerate into an irritable and quarrelsome mortal."
"Ah Dearest aunt if I might never become old! I could then be sure
that my husband would never cease to love me."
"Thou art greatly in error dear child! Wert thou always as fresh
and beautiful as to-day still thy husband's eye would by custom of
years become indifferent to these advantages. Custom is the greatest
enchantress in the world and in the house one of the most
benevolent of fairies. She render's that which is the most
beautiful as well as the ugliest familiar. A wife is young and
becomes old; it is custom which hinders the husband from perceiving
the change. On the contrary did she remain young while he became
old it might bring consequences and render the man in years
jealous. It is better as kind Providence has ordered it. Imagine
that thou hadst grown to be an old woman and thy husband were a
blooming youth; how wouldst thou then feel?"
Louise rubbed her chin and said "I cannot tell."
Her aunt continued: "But I will call thy attention to at secret
"That is it" interrupted Louise hastily "that is it which I long
so much to hear."
Her aunt said: "Listen to me attentively. What I now tell thee I
have proved. It consists of _two parts_. The _first part_ of the
means to render a marriage happy of itself prevents every
possibility of dissension; and would even at last make the spider
and the fly the best of friends with each other. The _second part_
is the best and surest method of preserving feminine attractions."
"Ah!" exclaimed Louise.
"The former half of the means then: In the first solitary hour
after the ceremony take thy bridegroom and demand a solemn vow of
him and give him a solemn vow in return. Promise one another
sacredly _never not even in mere jest to wrangle with each
other_; never to bandy words or indulge in the least ill-humour.
_Never!_ I say; never. Wrangling even in jest and putting on an
air of ill-humour merely to tease becomes earnest by practice. Mark
that! Next promise each other sincerely and solemnly _never to
have a secret from each other_ under whatever pretext with whatever
excuse it may be. You must continually and every moment see
clearly into each other's bosom. Even when one of you has committed
a fault wait not an instant but confess it freely--let it cost
tears but confess it. And as you keep _nothing secret from each
other_ so on the contrary preserve the privacies of your house
marriage state and heart from _father mother sister brother
aunt and all the world._ You two with God's help build your own
quiet world. Every third or fourth one whom you draw into it with
you will form a party and stand between you two! That should never
be. Promise this to each other. Renew the vow at each temptation.
You will find your account in it. Your souls will grow as it were
together and at last will become as one. Ah if many a young pair
had on their wedding day known this simple secret and straightway
practised it how many marriages were happier than alas they are!"
Louise kissed her aunt's hand with ardour. "I feel that it must be
so. Where this confidence is absent the married even after
wedlock are two strangers who do not know each other. It should be
so; without this there can be no happiness. And now aunt the best
preservative of female beauty?"
Her aunt smiled and said: "We may not conceal from ourselves that a
handsome man pleases us a hundred times more than an ill-looking
one and the men are pleased with us when we are pretty. But what we
call beautiful what in the men pleases us and in us pleases the
men is not skin and hair and shape and colour as in a picture or a
statue; but it is the character it is the soul that is within
these which enchants us by looks and words earnestness and joy
and sorrow. The men admire us the more they suppose those virtues of
the mind to exist in us which the outside promises; and we think a
malicious man disagreeable however graceful and handsome he may be.
Let a young maiden then who would preserve her beauty preserve
but that purity of soul those sweet qualities of the mind those
virtues in short by which she first drew her lover to her feet.
And the best preservative of virtue to render it unchanging and
keep it ever young is _religion_ that inward union with the Deity
and eternity and faith--is piety that walking with God so pure so
peaceful so beneficent to mortals.
"See dear heart" continued the aunt "there are virtues which
arise out of mere experience. These grow old with time and alter
because by change of circumstances and inclination prudence alters
her means of action and became her growth does not always keep pace
with that of our years and passions. But religious virtues can never
change; these remain eternally the same because our good is always
the same and that eternity the same which we and those who love us
are hastening to enter. Preserve then a mind innocent and pure
looking for everything from God; thus will that beauty of soul
remain for which thy bridegroom to-day adores thee. I am no bigot
no fanatic; I am thy aunt of seven-and-twenty. I love all in
innocent and rational amusements. But for this very reason I say to
thee--be a dear good Christian and thou wilt as a mother yes as
a grandmother be still beautiful."
Louise threw her arms about her neck and wept in silence and
whispered "I thank thee angel!"
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.
Yes she appreciated his self-sacrifice and as he gazed upon her
his delighted mind and satisfied heart felt a delicious sense of the
coming joy of the eternal future.
And the gay bridal passed away but its light and its joy seemed to
overflow all the coming days. And Paul Cleves at length found
himself in that reality of which he had so often dreamed and for
which he had so passionately yearned. Yes he was in his own quiet
home with Rosa by his side.
Months had passed; he had settled into the routine of his business
and she in that of her domestic life; and now it was evening. Paul
had come to his home from the labours of the day with a beautiful
hope in his heart; for to him his _home_ was the open door of
Heaven. He carried into it no hard selfish thought but entered it
with the certainty of blessedness and peace and love.
Rosa's heart was in her eyes when it was time for Paul to come. How
carefully she foresaw his every want! And when she had prepared
everything that her active love could suggest to promote his
pleasure and comfort then she took her place at the window to watch
for his coming. This evening watch was a beautiful time to the young
wife for she said "Now will I think of God who made for me a
being to love." And at this time it was always as if the great sun
of Heaven shone upon her.
And now Paul passes the bridge to which Rosa's eye can but just
reach. And--is it not wonderful?--Paul's figure is distinguished
even if there be many others in the dim twilight crossing that
bridge. Ah! how well she knows his figure; to her it is the very
form of her love. She sees her whole thoughts and desires embodied
in him. And now he passes the corner of a projecting building
which for a time partially conceals him from her sight.
And how her delight increases as he approaches; the nearer he comes