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Tell me!' said Louise, anxiously.
The first is this: demand of your bridegroom, as soon as the marriage ceremony is over, a solemn vow, and promise also yourself, never, even in jest, to dispute, or express any disagreement; I tell you, NEVER!—for what begins in mere bantering, will lead to serious earnest. Avoid expressing any irritation at one another's words. Mutual forbearance is one great secret of domestic happiness. If you have erred, confess it freely, even if confession cost you some tears. Farther, promise faithfully and solemnly, never, upon any pretext or excuse, to have any secrets or concealments from each other; but to keep your private affairs from father, mother, brother, sister, relations, and the world. Let them be known only to each other, and to your God. Remember that any third person admitted into your confidence, becomes a party to stand between you. They will naturally side with one or the other. Promise to avoid this, and renew the vow upon every temptation. It will preserve that perfect confidence, that union, which shall indeed make you as one. Oh, if the newly married would but practice this simple duty, this secret spring of connubial peace, how many unions would be happy, that are now miserable!''
Louise kissed, fervently, the hand of her aunt, and said: 'I see it all. Where there is not this implicit confidence, the pair remain, even after their marriage, as strangers. They cannot understand each other; and without mutual confidence, there can be no real happiness. And now, dear aunt, what is the best means of preserving female beauty?'
Her aunt smilingly answered: 'We cannot conceal from ourselves that we love and admire what is beautiful, more than what is not; but what peculiarly pleases, what we really call beautiful, is not hair or complexion, form or color. These may please in a picture or a statue; but in life, it is the mind, the soul, which displays itself in every look and word, and charms alike in joy or sorrow. This, too, is expected from, and alone renders worthy of love, a beautiful exterior. We find a vicious man hateful and disgusting, even if polished and elegant in manners and appearance. A young female, who would retain the love and admiration of her husband, after the charms of person which had attracted him have vanished, must keep bright, and in constant play, the graces of the mind, the virtues of the soul. Wisdom and prudence do not always increase with years, while faults and passions generally do. Virtue, however, cannot change. It is the same throughout eternity; unalterable, like its divine author. If, therefore, you would preserve your union inviolate and happy, upon earth, and be reunited to the beloved one in heaven, 'keep your heart with all diligence;' so shall you retain that spiritual beauty, that more perfect loveliness, which your husband will love and admire, long after the cheek has faded, and the form lost its symmetry. I am not a hypocritical devôtee, nor an old woman, dead to all the pleasures and enjoyments of life. I am but seven-and-twenty. I enter with avidity into the pleasures and feelings of the world; but I say to you, there is no other security for enduring happiness.'
Louise threw her arms round the neck of her aunt, and kissed her tenderly.
M. L. P.
EY REV. WALTER COLTON, UNITED STATES' NAVY, AUTHOR OF SHIP AND SHORE, ETC.
A SIGNAL from the flag-ship to get under way, had been cheerfully and promptly obeyed; and we were now holding our course, as well as ships can without wind, from Toulon for Genoa. Yet, strange as it may seem, our ship, that never won a laurel in a breeze, would now, in a dead calm, log several knots in each watch. This apparently causeless advance was an inexplicable mystery then, and is so still. Some indeed ascribed it to an imperceptible current; but in that case, lying passive on her element, she would make no progress through the water, although she might change her relation to the coast. Some, who perhaps were more imaginative than philosophical, attributed our progress to an aerial vein, too weak to produce any visible effect on the sails, yet of sufficient strength to move the ship. The simple tar, who never puzzles himself with the intricate relations of cause and effect, declared that the ship went ahead because it was in her so to do; and in truth I was myself very much of his opinion. A ship is not like a man, who gives a reason for his deportment; she appears to be actuated by some irresponsible whim; some self-consulting, independent caprice, that disregards the force of her outward condition. She will frequently, under the urgency of a quick breeze, be almost motionless; and then again, in a condition less favorable, as if moved by some impulse from within,
'Walk the waters like a thing of life.'
I have ever believed our ship to be under some mysterious charm, since I saw her, without a breath of wind, move up the centre of the Tagus, while two smaller vessels, nearer each shore, were moving down at the same time; and I was quite confirmed in the opinion, when I saw her, in the utter silence and dim solemnity of a midnight watch, the ocean lying still as the slumber of the grave, move three times around in the same fearful circle, leaving the gaping track of her keel as entire and unclosed as if the waters had lost their returning power, or had been converted, by the dark magic of her drifting shadow, into substance. Those may smile who will, at this belief in
a ship's subtle, innate source of motion, but I can assure them it is not more absurd and irrational, than the forms of belief on which one half of mankind rest their hopes of heaven. I would much sooner believe a ship may be moved by some inherent, intangible impulse, than that a man, who has been acting the devil to the verge of human life, can then, as if by the force of an upward glance, be transformed into an angel. You may as well believe that a stream can move on half way to the ocean, a current of putrid blackness, and then flow the rest in liquid transparency, as to suppose that the current of our moral being, which has flowed darkly and corruptedly to the cloud of the grave, can then move on in purity and brightness. As it rolled upon earth, we must expect it to roll through eternity!
I little thought my wizard theme would lead me into a topic of such real moment. But let those who may justly question its relevancy, ponder the truth it contains. It is never too soon to forsake an error; it may be too late to retrieve it. The wisest man is he, who leaves in his conduct through life the least room for subsequent regret and sorrow. I do not most unfeignedly crave the forgiving indulgence of the reader for the out-of-place manner in which these thoughts force themselves to sight. I am as sensible as he can be of their irrelevancy, and I would blot them out, did they not spring from the deepest fount of my convictions. But I know they involve truths that will affect us both, when the fleeting interests of this life appear only as the phantoms of a troubled dream, and when many of the objects that may have most enchanted us here, have only that remembrance which must be bathed in our tears. We are born under a cloud, but the light that melts through it, is sufficient to guide our hesitating steps.
We were now, reader, within a few leagues of Genoa, as appeared from our dead reckoning, which was kept as accurately as any such precarious calculations could be, amid conflicting currents and calms; for we had no meridian sun, to designate our position, or prominent cliff, to inform us of our bearings and distances; these had been lost us in the opaqueness of a thick, stagnant atmosphere. We were of course rather sad at the thought of approaching the City of Palaces,' and from the sea, too, under circumstances so extremely unfavorable. But, to our most pleasurable surprise, toward evening, a strong wind, rushing from the icy regions of the Alps, rolled one bank of clouds against another, till the whole departed, leaving Genoa without an obscuring veil upon its beauty and grandeur. It stood there, proudly ascending a circling acclivity of the Appenines; the setting sun shedding upon it the effiulgence of its liberated beams; the greeting birds breaking into sudden song; and the green trees waving their fresh leaves over tower, terrace, and gayer balcony.
I thought, when sailing up the bay of Naples, it would be impossible for any other city or shore to make my heart beat so quickly; but here I found emotions within me, though less deep and dilated, yet equally replete with delight. There was indeed no burning mount, with its cataract of fire, to create awe; no disinhumed remains of perished greatness, to awaken a bewildering reverence; but there were castled steeps, frowning as of old, to impress respect; long ranges of marble palaces, whose builders were in the grave, to excite
admiring wonder; and a lofty back-ground, sprinkled with villas, to inspire a sentiment of security and quietude; and which seemed as a shield cast over the architectural magnificence of the spot. Such appeared Genoa, as we first saw it from the sea; a nearer view may perhaps sober the tone of enthusiastic admiration which its first impressions awakened. The most enchanting beauty can rarely stand the test of the thoroughly-informed eye; and I have never met with a city without a deformity in some of its features.
Our anchor had scarcely been let-go, when an old man and his daughter came along-side, and solicited permission to come on board, which was cheerfully granted. The father was blind, and had found a partial refuge from his affliction in the music of his violin. The daughter was young, of a child-like bearing, and accompanied the touching strains of the parent with a voice of expressive sweetness :
'And she began a long low island song,
The crew gathered around, in close, wordless audience, as if she had been some sweet seraph, delegated, for some inspiring purpose, to breathe here, for a short time, the melodies of a happier sphere. But as she was not an angel, and of course not exempt from the wants which betide humanity, our crew began to cast about how they might best relieve the bereavements of her condition. They pronounced it an impropriety, bordering on shame, that one so young, so beautiful, and who could sing so sweetly, should be left to want any of the good things of this life; and immediately raised a subscription, sufficient to afford an ample competency for many months to come, to her and her blind father. There is no being in the world so easily moved to acts of charity, as a sailor: He will share his last penny, not only with a needy ship-mate, but with a stranger; with a person he never met before, and never expects to meet again. Almost any amount of money, exceeding perhaps that due the individual members of the crew, might be raised on board one of our ships, in behalf of a plain, simple object of charity. It is necessary, on such occasions, to limit them to a certain sum, otherwise, but few would return home with a shilling in their pockets. Though in truth this would but little affect their pecuniary condition, three weeks after having reached the shore; as this is usually a longer time than is necessary for the sailor to rid himself of all his wages, for three years of hardship and peril.
Those of us who fancied in ourselves a passion for music of a higher pretension than flowed from the lips of the_little_girl, went on shore to the Carlo Felici, where we heard Madame Unguer in 'Anna Boleyna ;' an opera in which she displays the full force of her astonishing powers. Her genius is adapted to the wild, turbulent, and tragical incidents of life; she expressed the love, indignation, despair, and conscious innocence of Henry's wife, with a power and pathos, that reached every heart. Every motion, look, and tone, betrayed the grief, anger, and forgiveness, of the royal victim. Not the sight of the execrable axe, in the tower of London, with which she was beheaded, affected me half so deeply. The one produced a dark revulsion of feeling, the other filled me with a living sympathy; the one disposed me to execration, the other to tears. No man, it appears