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learning. In the course of the conversation | fully concealed both from him and the world. she expressed her sympathy for the misfor- She possessed extraordinary self-command, tunes of the poet, and the delicate manner in and would have died rather than betray the which she uttered her compassion added to its secret of her heart. • To her natural timidity value.
were added all sorts of religious scruples on On his next visit to Lady Ley, the kind account of her attachment to a married man, hearted lady bantered him for the attention for such she considered Milton so long as he he had devoted to Anna on the previous even was not divorced from his first wife. The ining.
cessant struggle with herself threatened to “If you were divorced,” she said, “Anna kill her; she became even paler than before, would be an excellent wife for you. I believe and her father, a skilful and sagacious physhe is quite fond of you. She is a dear friend sician, feared lest she should fall a victim to of mine, and will surely render happy the man consumption, of which Anna's mother had upon whom she bestows her hand. Her ac died. complishments and the excellent education Although Milton's wife lived apart from which her father gave her qualify her espe- him at the house of her parents, her love for cially to become the wife of a learned man like bim was not yet entirely extinct. She never
lost sight of him, and frequently inquired of Milton made no reply; he was absorbed in her London acquaintances concerning his life deep thought. The lady, however, with femi- and all that happened at his house. Thus she nine persistency, would not so easily drop the was also informed of the frequent visits which plan which she had suggested. She praised he paid to Anna. This news filled her with Anna's virtues and accomplishments until she profound grief. Fear and repentance seized had excited in him the liveliest desire to become her soul, and what neither Milton's remonmore intimately acquainted with the excellent strances nor her own reason had been able to girl. It was not difficult for Milton to gain accomplish was brought about by jealousy, access to Dr. Davies's house. Here Anna and by the thought that another woman made an even more favorable impression upon might obtain her place. Hitherto Mary had him than in the brilliant circle where he had allowed her parents, and particularly her met her hitherto. The deep but not chilling mother, to guide her in her conduct toward gravity with which she always received him, her husband; now she suddenly recovered her and her dignified but cordial kindness, attached independence, and instead of her usual weakhim to her, and gradually there arose between ness, she displayed now an almost unfilial them an affectionate friendship, which, how harshness. Mrs. Powell was not a little surever, never threatened to overstep its bounds prised at this change, and still more at the reand pass into a more tender feeling. Milton proaches with which her daughter overwhelmwas not yet divorced from his wife, and hence ed her. They had exchanged parts: the weak he could not enter into a new union; and Anna daughter showed an unusual vehemence, and was too conscientious and sensible to encroach the imperious mother the most extraordinary upon the rights of another woman, however forbearance, as she feared lest a harsher much she had deserved her fate. With seeming course on her part should drive Mary to extranquillity she saw the poet come and go; tremities. For days the latter locked herself but in the innermost recesses of her heart she in her room, bathed her face with scalding bore a more tender affection, which she care tears, and refused to take food. She was near
cursing her mother, as the latter had threat “You commit a grièvous sin if you yield to ened to do in regard to her if she returned to such gloomy feelings, I myself was formerly her husband. As usual, she had not been a prey to these sombre spirits of melancholy; able to appreciate what she possessed until they are in our blood, and in the air, but we she had lost it. Possession does not make us must keep them down. . Life is so beautiful if half as happy as the loss of the thing possessed we only know how to take it; and even our renders us unhappy.
sufferings are only the passing shadows accomIt was not until a rival threatened to rob panying and enhancing the light.” her of Milton's love that she felt the full ex “ You are right, and I will enjoy yet the tent of her guilt, and the whole worth of the brief span vouchsafed to me." man ,whom she had mortified so grievously A mournful smile played round her pale only a short time since. Swayed by her pas- lips, and she endeavored at least to seem sesions, and not by reason, and going from one Nevertheless, their conversation reextreme to another, she gave way to un mained grave, owing in part to their peculiar bounded despair. As formerly her sojourn in surroundings. They were seated in the small London, so now her abode under the parental garden, which bore already an autumnal asroof, had become an intolerable burden to ber. pect. The breeze stirred the foliage, and sear The ground, as it were, was burning under her yellow leaves flitted softly at their feet. The feet, and she was desirous only of returning as whole scene breathed gentle melancholy; it soon as possible to her husband.
was as though it were preparing for its deparMeanwhile Milton was a daily visitor at the ture. Anna .gazed thoughtfully on the with doctor's house. He had likewise perceived ered foliage, and felt as if she herself were Anna's pallor and feebleness.
about to bid farewell to earth. Contrary to “You seem to be unwell,” he said compas- her habit, she gave way to her emotion, and sionately, taking her band.
tears trembled in her eyes. A slight shudder ran through her frame, and “ Winter is close at band," she said, after a he felt the tremor of her hands.
pause, in a tremulous voice, in order to break “What ails you, dear Anna ?” he asked, the dangerous, oppressive silence. still retaining her hand. “If you grieve, com “ And spring will succeed to winter,” replied municate your sorrow to me, for assuredly you Milton, with an encouraging smile. have no better friend in this world than me.” “Death and resurrection !” murmured An
“It is only a slight indisposition,” she re- na, in a low voice. plied, evasively.
“ Nature confirms thus the faith which “Your father is quite anxious and afraid keeps up our hope. Every tree, every flower lest
you should be taken sick. Pray take preaches in autumn that immortality which good care of yourself for bis and my sake.” only fools can question. We shall meet again
“Why should I ?" she replied, with a sus one day.” picious cough.
“ The world will not lose Certainly, we shall meet again," repeated much by the death of a poor girl like me. Anna, her face transfigured with heavenly joy. Since I saw my mother die, I am no longer
" And what we have lost we shall recover afraid of death. She fell asleep so gently and purified and ennobled,” added Milton. blissfully, with a sweet smile on her pale lips, “I wish you would recover as soon that I almost envied her fate. Blessed are possible what you have lost. You have a
the dead !”
On hearing Mary alluded to, the poet gave as slumber in every female beart, and such as a start, and looked at Anna beseechingly. true men and artists are almost always able to
“No, no,” she said; "you shall and must elicit from it." listen to me. I have hitherto avoided allud “My wife is not a euphonic instrument. ing to an affair which cannot but stir sorrow Education and habit have spoiled her better ful recollections in your bosom ; but the time nature." has come when I must speak to you frankly, “In accusing her, you excuse her. What and as your true friend. I bave attentively her parental education spoiled should be re read your essay on divorce, and, despite my paired by her matrimonial education. For religious scruples, I must admit that you are matrimony is a continuous mutual school, in right on the whole. You have convinced my which husband and wife are both pupils and mind, but not my heart; and you are aware teachers. The sternness of the husband is to that women reason with the heart rather than be lessened and ennobled by the mildness of the head. I am sure your wife is far more to the wife; the weakness of the wife by the blame than you, but are you entirely free from strength of the husband. And as some claim guilt ? Should you not accuse yourself also, to have noticed that married persons, after a instead of blaming only your weak wife ?” long wedded life, begin to bear a strong phys“No man is devoid of faults."
ical resemblance to each other, so by and by “ Therefore, judge not that ye be not that intellectual and moral sympathy, which judged."
your essay on divorce declares the essential “ Another motive guided me. The longer I condition of matrimonial happiness, will not lived with my wife, the more I was impressed be wanting to them. Therefore, do not turn a with the fact that the sympathy necessary for deaf ear to my request, but reconcile yourself wedlock was wanting to us, and that our char- with your wife. I can neither conceive nor acters were incompatible.”
approve the idea of your being divorced from “It was because you neglected to devote her.” the necessary time and attention to bringing “ What! You ask me to take her back?" about this harmony. We women resemble said Milton, mournfully. delicately-stringed instruments which must be “I earnestly call upon you to take this played by artistic hands to utter their true step,” replied Anna, with dignified resignasound. A breath of air, to say nothing of a tion. “I demand it as a proof of your friendrude contact, untunes us at once. We must ship and esteem.” be treated tenderly and affectionately. If you He was about to make a reply, but Anna, fail to do so at the outset, there remains a dis- who was afraid lest he should make a desonance, which it is difficult afterward to re claration of love to her, interrupted bim
I am afraid this happened in your quickly. wedded life. You did not know how to play “Pledge me your word that you will reconthe instrument intrusted to you, and as it did cile yourself with your wife as soon as she not at once emit sweet sounds, you cast it dis- feels repentance and returns to you." dainfully aside. Give it another trial, take it Milton hesitated, but he was unable longer up again tenderly, familiarize yourself with its to withstand her pressing entreaties. Finally, innermost nature, devote yourself fondly to to indicate his consent, he held out to her his studying its peculiarities, and you will discover hand, which she grasped in thoughtful melan. every day new and beautiful harmonies, such | choly. She then averted her face, and signed
to him to leave her. No sooner had he done “ Have you heard any thing of Mary?” she so, than she pressed her white bandkerchief | inquired. to her feverish lips: when she removed it, “For months past I have not had any the fine cambric was reddened with the blood news whatever from Forest Hill," he replied, flowing from her lungs. She leaned her head evidently unwilling to speak of this subject. in utter exhaustion on her arm.
“You do not know, then, that she has left “It will soon be over,” she murmured, in a her parents secretly ?” low voice.
“I do not. What may have induced her to Her father came into the garden. She per- take such a step, and whither has she gone ? ceived him, and hastened to conceal the traces “I believe she acknowledges the fault of her heart-struggle and her disease from his which she committed, and that it was repentsearching eyes.
ance that drove her from the house of her “How are you?'” he as
usly. parents. The poor oman is at a loss whither “I am better, much better,” she replied, al- to turn, and is now wandering about among though her pale cheeks refuted her cheerful strangers—without parents, without her huswords.
band.” Milton was unable to banish Anna's image “If she really were repentant, she would not from his heart; he was thinking all day long hesitate to approach him.” of the excellent girl with whom he had be At these words, the door leading to the adcome acquainted too late. He was vividly joining room opened suddenly. A sobbing impressed with the sentiment which he ex woman approached Milton and threw herself pressed afterward in the following lines of his at his feet. “Paradise Lost:"
'Mary!” exclaimed her husband, in surThis mischief had not then befallen,
prise. And more that shall befall; innumerable
“Yes, it is I,” she sighed ; “it is your guilDisturbances on earth through female snares, And strait conjunction with this sex: for either
ty wife, who implores your forgiveness on her He never shall find out fit mate, but such
knees. Oh, have mercy on me!” As some misfortune brings him, or mistake; Or whom he wishes most, shall seldom gain,
He averted his head irresolutely. Pride and Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained
just sensibility struggled in his heart with his By a far worse; or, if she love, withheld By parents; or his happiest choice too late
innate kindness and the pity with which her Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound
humble condition filled him. She had clasped To a fell adversary, his hate or shame: Which infinite calamity shall causo
his knees and moistened his hands with her To human life, and household peace confound.” scalding tears. Her dishevelled hair fell upon
A few weeks afterward, Milton paid a visit her heaving bosom, and her rosy face betrayed to a near relative in St. Martin's Lane. He the most profound grief of which she was cawas, as he had always been, received by the pable. family with great kindness, but not without a “Do not disown me!” she wailed, with upcertain embarrassment. While he was en- lifted hands. “I willingly admit that I alone gaged with the husband in an animated con am to blame for every thing, but I can no versation on various topics, the wife was walk- longer live without you. I left the house of ing up and down in great uneasiness. From my parents secretly to return to you. time to time she added a remark to the con- do not take me back, I do not know where versation, which she took pains to turn toward to go; nothing remains for me then but to Milton's wife.
His relatives added their prayers to Mary's throughout the country. Every town supplications. His anger began to give way, transformed into a camp, every castle into a and he cast a milder glance upon his guilty fortress. The citizen relinquished his trade, the wife. His eyes beamed with forgiveness, and, peasant laid down the plough, and both took deeply moved, he ent over the penitent wo the sword. The whole nation was in a state man, and raised her up. She encircled him of intense excitement, and the parties were with her soft arms, and folded him to her more at variance than ever before; on one heart,
side, the king with his cavaliers; on the other, “Oh, you are so good, much better than the Parliament with its adherents. It is true, I!” she exclaimed, smiling amid her tears. many eminent men raised their voices in favor “Henceforth I will obey you, and comply of peace, but their appeals were not heeded with your wishes as though I were your ser-by either party. Charles had transferred his vant."
headquarters to Oxford in the course of the “You shall not be my servant, you shall be
The fortune of war had favored my wife,” he said, soothing her violent agita- him hitherto, and Parliament deemed it prution. “I am not blameless either."
dent to enter into negotiations. However, “No, no," she cried, vehemently. “You they failed, owing both to the obstinacy of the displayed more forbearance than I deserved. king, which increased with every victory, and to Oh, repeat to me that I may stay with you, and the distrust and the unabated demands of Parneed not leave you again.”
liament. After various fruitless attempts, the “You shall stay with me forever,” he re decision was left again to the sword and the plied, imprinting a kiss on her crimson lips. fortune of war.
Perfectly reconciled, Milton and his wife But, the more furious the struggle grew, the left the house of their relatives. A few months higher the tide of revolution rose, the more afterward, Anna Davies was buried; her father marked became the dissensions which had said she had died of hereditary consumption. hitherto slumbered in the bosom of the ParliaShe herself knew and concealed the cause of ment. Presbyterians and Independents, or her sufferings. A short time previous to her Brownists, who, up to this time bad been death, Milton received from her a letter, the striving harmoniously to attain the same ends, characters of which indicated extreme debil- namely, to overthrow the absolutism of the ity. The last words were: “Be happy, and government and the tyranny of the Episcopal forget your unfortunate friend.”
Church, separated from and made war upon A withered linden-leaf was enclosed in the each other. The Presbyterians had accomletter. Milton moistened both with his tears. plished their purpose, and were ready to make Never in his whole life did he forget the vir- peace with the king. They had striven for tuous and lovely Anna.
the correction of abuses and the introduction of reforms, but not for the overthrow of all existing institutions. But the zealous Inde
pendents, with whom the republicans united, CHAPTER XVIII.
did not content themselves with this. They were intent on bringing about, if possible, the
downfall of royalty and of all church instituPEACE had been restored to the poet's house, tions. What they lacked in numerical strength but civil war was raging with terrific violence and influence they made up by their courage,
CIVIL WAR-FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.