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THE CREATION OF WOMAN.
BY NICHOLAS MICHELL.
Man walked in Eden; gorgeous, fair, and gay,
Earth like a mighty smile around him spread. Crime had not marred one hue, or dimmed one ray,
And fresh the bloom young Life on all things shed; The flowers ne'er died, the dews they bore were pearls,
Each streamlet seemed a harp; and high o’erhead The clouds, gold-tinged, hung rich as angels' curls ;
On nectar-plants the dainty breezes fed : Glory and light, and loveliness and grace, Beamed in glad Nature's new-created face !
Man stood within this wilderness of sweets,
A loveless, sad, and solitary thing;
The Cherub sitting by the silver spring,
Asked other friend to which the heart might cling, Returning love for love, and sigh for sigh,
Without whom no delight long day could bring : Tuneless went up sweet Nature's evening hymn, And Night's sky-gemming stars were cold and dim!
A flood of golden beams o'er Eden's bowers, ·
As if a new-formed sun that moment rose; A burst of incense from ten thousand flowers,
As all their souls had started from repose; A peal of music melting down the air,
As though Heaven's crystal portals did unclose, And seraph-lutes were softly ringing there
Strains that might soothe th’ unblest amid their woes : And Woman, perfecting Creation's plan, Woke into life, the radiant mate of man !
Wondering he gazed, and saw, as in a glass,
All beauties in that face reflected clear ; The bosom’s alabaster, hair's black mass,
Touching her heel, the dark eye's speechless tear, Attracted—won him ; but the soul and heart,
Gentle, and pure, and true, did more endear, And so he clasped her, never more to part —
The sharer of his joys and sorrows here, Lightener of toil, the soother of his sigh, The angel-partner of eternity!
FALSE LOVE AND TRUE LOVE.
BY MISS POWER.
It is ten years to-day since my first husband died ; pauvre cher homme ! Unwilling as I was to consent to the marriage, I can honestly say that the four years I was his wife were the first really happy ones I ever knew; the day he died, one of the bitterest sorrow.
Certainly our union did not, as I thought, promise much felicity. I was seventeen, the marquis sixty-eight. I, brought up in a convent, knowing nothing of the world, but, as is usual in such cases, imagining it a paradise of delights, where one met every day with the most enchanting and romantic adventures; he, old, gouty, and infirm, every way apparently as anti-romantic as it was possible to be. But my parents had willed it so, and in France the will of parents, in such cases, is absolute; they, though noble, were reduced by various circumstances to but slender means : what little they had to leave, they wished to bestow, as far as they could, on my brother, and I, when old enough, was to take the veil in the convent where I was educated.
As it was some distance from my home, I only returned to the paternal roof on stated, and not very frequent, occasions. I may have been wrong-I hope I was — but I could never divest myself of the idea that I was not cordially and really welcome there. My father and mother doted on my brother, and seemed, I fancied, to look upon me as somewhat de trop, as a sort of supernumerary, come to take away a portion of the already narrow income they deemed wholly insufficient to meet the wants and wishes of their darling, and support, with proper éclat, the dignity of their ancient name; not that they were unkind to me, but they greeted my arrival with little real warmth, treated me with a sort of easy indifference, always made me yield to Gaston in our childish plays and squabbles, and saw me depart, generally for an absence of some months, without more emotion than they had displayed at my coming.
I remember one fête de Pâques, which arrived just before my seventeenth birthday. I was sent for to come and spend it at home. This summons a good deal surprised me, as having passed Christmas and the jour de l'an at Armanteuil, our family residence, where, owing to their reduced fortunes, my parents spent all the year, instead of going, as in their wealthier days, to Paris for the winter, I did not expect to go there before the fête Dieu at the very earliest. However, at my age, anything like a change and a holiday was welcome, and hastily packing up what was necessary, I departed with the old servant, who had been sent to escort me, and in due time arrived at Armanteuil. My father met me at the door of the château, a very unusual attention on his part, and, kissing me on both cheeks, led me into the salon, where sat my mother with an old gentleman, who rose on my entrance, and was presented to me as the Marquis de Montaland, an old friend of the family, who had lately returned to France, after an absence of many years, and was now staying at Armanteuil on a visit.
Next day, when the marquis and my father were gone out, my mother sent for me to her room, and, dismissing her attendant, bid me take a place by her side on her chaise longue, as she wished to speak to me. Surprised and somewhat alarmed, I obeyed, when, taking my hand, she said, “My dear child, as you are aware, your father and I intended you for a conventual life; but circumstances have changed our plans on that subject, and we have considered it desirable that, a most excellent and unobjectionable occasion offering, you should instead, accept it, and marry."
“Marry !” I exclaimed, interrupting her; “Marry whom ? I know no one. 1- "
“ It is not at all necessary you should,” replied my mother, dryly ; "every well-brought up young lady knows, as you ought to do, that her parents alone are the proper persons to find out a parti convenable for her, and that she has nothing to do but to accept it with gratitude when found : the one in question is everything that we could desire; the gentleman's lineage is as good even as our own; his fortune large; his liberality such that he refuses to hear of a dot; his character unimpeachable, his manners and address distingués in the highest degree; but of that you, young as you are, can form an estimate already, for the Marquis de Montaland is the gentleman, who having received our assent claims your hand.”
“The Marquis de Montaland !” I cried. “Why, he is much older than papa! Oh, maman, chère maman ! indeed I could not marry him!”
“Hortense !” exclaimed my mother, drawing up, “ you surprise me. M. de Montaland is not young, it is true, but what has that to do with the question? You will have everything that a young person well brought up can require to make her happy; you will have a noble name, a salon frequented by the most distinguished personages of the day, des beaux équipages, des bijoux, des cachemires : what more can any femme comme il faut possibly desire? Let me hear no more childish nonsense, c'est une affaire faite; the marquis is satisfied with your appearance and manners, which was the only thing wanting to render the arrangements complete, and in three weeks the marriage is to take place.”