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
I can to amuse him, but it is
impossible to get him to feel
interested in 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, he 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 no 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
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?'
'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
'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.
'Helen,' said he, more gravely,
'do you know that if I believed
you now I should be very angry?
but thank heaven I don't. Though
you stand there with your white
face and flashing eyes, looking
at me like a very tigress, I
know the heart within you perhaps
a trifle better than you know
Without another word I left
the room and locked myself up
in my own chamber. In about half
an hour he came to the door,
and first he tried the handle,
then he knocked.
'Won't you let me in, Helen?'
'No; you have displeased me,'
I replied, 'and I don't want
to see your face or hear your
voice again till the morning.'
He paused a moment as if dumfounded
or uncertain how to answer such
a speech, and then turned and
walked away. This was only an
hour after dinner: I knew he
would find it very dull to sit
alone all the evening; and this
considerably softened my resentment,
though it did not make me relent.
I was determined to show him
that my heart was not his slave,
and I could live without him
if I chose; and I sat down and
wrote a long letter to my aunt,
of course telling her nothing
of all this. Soon after ten o'clock
I heard him come up again, but
he passed my door and went straight
to his own dressing-room, where
he shut himself in for the night.
I was rather anxious to see
how he would meet me in the morning,
and not a little disappointed
to behold him enter the breakfast-
room with a careless smile.
'Are you cross still, Helen?'
said he, approaching as if to
salute me. I coldly turned to
the table, and began to pour
out the coffee, observing that
he was rather late.
He uttered a low whistle and
sauntered away to the window,
where he stood for some minutes
looking out upon the pleasing
prospect of sullen grey clouds,
streaming rain, soaking lawn,
and dripping leafless trees,
and muttering execrations on
the weather, and then sat down
to breakfast. While taking his
coffee he muttered it was 'd-d
'You should not have left it
so long,' said I.
He made no answer, and the
meal was concluded in silence.
It was a relief to both when
the letter-bag was brought in.
It contained upon examination
a newspaper and one or two letters
for him, and a couple of letters
for me, which he tossed across
the table without a remark. One
was from my brother, the other
from Milicent Hargrave, who is
now in London with her mother.
His, I think, were business letters,
and apparently not much to his
mind, for he crushed them into
his pocket with some muttered
expletives that I should have
reproved him for at any other
time. The paper he set before
him, and pretended to be deeply
absorbed in its contents during
the remainder of breakfast, and
a considerable time after.
The reading and answering of
my letters, and the direction
of household concerns, afforded
me ample employment for the morning:
after lunch I got my drawing,
and from dinner till bed-time
I read. Meanwhile, poor Arthur
was sadly at a loss for something
to amuse him or to occupy his
time. He wanted to appear as
busy and as unconcerned as I
did. Had the weather at all permitted,
he would doubtless have ordered
his horse and set off to some
distant region, no matter where,
immediately after breakfast,
and not returned till night:
had there been a lady anywhere
within reach, of any age between
fifteen and forty-five, he would
have sought revenge and found
employment in getting up, or
trying to get up, a desperate
flirtation with her; but being,
to my private satisfaction, entirely
cut off from both these sources
of diversion, his sufferings
were truly deplorable. When he
had done yawning over his paper
and scribbling short answers
to his shorter letters, he spent
the remainder of the morning
and the whole of the afternoon
in fidgeting about from room
to room, watching the clouds,
cursing the rain, alternately
petting and teasing and abusing
his dogs, sometimes lounging
on the sofa with a book that
he could not force himself to
read, and very often fixedly
gazing at me when he thought
I did not perceive it, with the
vain hope of detecting some traces
of tears, or some tokens of remorseful
anguish in my face. But I managed
to preserve an undisturbed though
grave serenity throughout the
day. I was not really angry:
I felt for him all the time,
and longed to be reconciled;
but I determined he should make
the first advances, or at least
show some signs of an humble
and contrite spirit first; for,
if I began, it would only minister
to his self-conceit, increase
his arrogance, and quite destroy
the lesson I wanted to give him.
He made a long stay in the
dining-room after dinner, and,
I fear, took an unusual quantity
of wine, but not enough to loosen
his tongue: for when he came
in and found me quietly occupied
with my book, too busy to lift
my head on his entrance, he merely
murmured an expression of suppressed
disapprobation, and, shutting
the door with a bang, went and
stretched himself at full length
on the sofa, and composed himself
to sleep. But his favourite cocker,
Dash, that had been lying at
my feet, took the liberty of
jumping upon him and beginning
to lick his face. He struck it
off with a smart blow, and the
poor dog squeaked and ran cowering
back to me. When he woke up,
about half an hour after, he
called it to him again, but Dash
only looked sheepish and wagged
the tip of his tail. He called
again more sharply, but Dash
only clung the closer to me,
and licked my hand, as if imploring
protection. Enraged at this,
his master snatched up a heavy
book and hurled it at his head.
The poor dog set up a piteous
outcry, and ran to the door.
I let him out, and then quietly
took up the book.
'Give that book to me,' said
Arthur, in no very courteous
tone. I gave it to him.
'Why did you let the dog out?'
he asked; 'you knew I wanted
'By what token?' I replied;
'by your throwing the book at
him? but perhaps it was intended
'No; but I see you've got a
taste of it,' said he, looking
at my hand, that had also been
struck, and was rather severely
I returned to my reading, and
he endeavoured to occupy himself
in the same manner; but in a
little while, after several portentous
yawns, he pronounced his book
to be 'cursed trash,' and threw
it on the table. Then followed
eight or ten minutes of silence,
during the greater part of which,
I believe, he was staring at
me. At last his patience was
'What is that book, Helen?'
I told him.
'Is it interesting?'
I went on reading, or pretending
to read, at least - I cannot
say there was much communication
between my eyes and my brain;
for, while the former ran over
the pages, the latter was earnestly
wondering when Arthur would speak
next, and what he would say,
and what I should answer. But
he did not speak again till I
rose to make the tea, and then
it was only to say he should
not take any. He continued lounging
on the sofa, and alternately
closing his eyes and looking
at his watch and at me, till
bed-time, when I rose, and took
my candle and retired.
'Helen!' cried he, the moment
I had left the room. I turned
back, and stood awaiting his
'What do you want, Arthur?'
I said at length.
'Nothing,' replied he. 'Go!'
I went, but hearing him mutter
something as I was closing the
door, I turned again. It sounded
very like 'confounded slut,'
but I was quite willing it should
be something else.
'Were you speaking, Arthur?'
'No,' was the answer, and I
shut the door and departed. I
saw nothing more of him till
the following morning at breakfast,
when he came down a full hour
after the usual time.
'You're very late,' was my
'You needn't have waited for
me,' was his; and he walked up
to the window again. It was just
such weather as yesterday.
'Oh, this confounded rain!'
he muttered. But, after studiously
regarding it for a minute or
two, a bright idea, seemed to
strike him, for he suddenly exclaimed,
'But I know what I'll do!' and
then returned and took his seat
at the table. The letter-bag
was already there, waiting to
be opened. He unlocked it and
examined the contents, but said
nothing about them.
'Is there anything for me?'
He opened the newspaper and
began to read.
'You'd better take your coffee,'
suggested I; 'it will be cold
'You may go,' said he, 'if
you've done; I don't want you.'
I rose and withdrew to the
next room, wondering if we were
to have another such miserable
day as yesterday, and wishing
intensely for an end of these
mutually inflicted torments.
Shortly after I heard him ring
the bell and give some orders
about his wardrobe that sounded
as if he meditated a long journey.
He then sent for the coachman,
and I heard something about the
carriage and the horses, and
London, and seven o'clock to-morrow
morning, that startled and disturbed
me not a little.
'I must not let him go to London,
whatever comes of it,' said I
to myself; 'he will run into
all kinds of mischief, and I
shall be the cause of it. But
the question is, How am I to
alter his purpose? Well, I will
wait awhile, and see if he mentions
I waited most anxiously, from
hour to hour; but not a word
was spoken, on that or any other
subject, to me. He whistled and
talked to his dogs, and wandered
from room to room, much the same
as on the previous day. At last
I began to think I must introduce
the subject myself, and was pondering
how to bring it about, when John
unwittingly came to my relief
with the following message from
'Please, sir, Richard says
one of the horses has got a very
bad cold, and he thinks, sir,
if you could make it convenient
to go the day after to-morrow,
instead of to-morrow, he could
physic it to- day, so as - '
'Confound his impudence!' interjected
'Please, sir, he says it would
be a deal better if you could,'
persisted John, 'for he hopes
there'll be a change in the weather
shortly, and he says it's not
likely, when a horse is so bad
with a cold, and physicked and
all - '
'Devil take the horse!' cried
the gentleman. 'Well, tell him
I'll think about it,' he added,
after a moment's reflection.
He cast a searching glance at
me, as the servant withdrew,
expecting to see some token of
deep astonishment and alarm;
but, being previously prepared,
I preserved an aspect of stoical
indifference. His countenance
fell as he met my steady gaze,
and he turned away in very obvious
disappointment, and walked up
to the fire-place, where he stood
in an attitude of undisguised
dejection, leaning against the
chimney-piece with his forehead
sunk upon his arm.
'Where do you want to go, Arthur?'
'To London,' replied he, gravely.
'What for?' I asked.
'Because I cannot be happy
'Because my wife doesn't love
'She would love you with all
her heart, if you deserved it.'
'What must I do to deserve
This seemed humble and earnest
enough; and I was so much affected,
between sorrow and joy, that
I was obliged to pause a few
seconds before I could steady
my voice to reply.
'If she gives you her heart,'
said I, 'you must take it, thankfully,
and use it well, and not pull
it in pieces, and laugh in her
face, because she cannot snatch
He now turned round, and stood
facing me, with his back to the
fire. 'Come, then, Helen, are
you going to be a good girl?'
This sounded rather too arrogant,
and the smile that accompanied
it did not please me. I therefore
hesitated to reply. Perhaps my
former answer had implied too
much: he had heard my voice falter,
and might have seen me brush
away a tear.
'Are you going to forgive me,
Helen?' he resumed, more humbly.
'Are you penitent?' I replied,
stepping up to him and smiling
in his face.
'Heart-broken!' he answered,
with a rueful countenance, yet
with a merry smile just lurking
within his eyes and about the
corners of his mouth; but this
could not repulse me, and I flew
into his arms. He fervently embraced
me, and though I shed a torrent
of tears, I think I never was
happier in my life than at that
'Then you won't go to London,
Arthur?' I said, when the first
transport of tears and kisses
'No, love, - unless you will
go with me.'
'I will, gladly,' I answered,
'if you think the change will
amuse you, and if you will put
off the journey till next week.'
He readily consented, but said
there was no need of much preparation,
as he should not be for staying
long, for he did not wish me
to be Londonized, and to lose
my country freshness and originality
by too much intercourse with
the ladies of the world. I thought
this folly; but I did not wish
to contradict him now: I merely
said that I was of very domestic
habits, as he well knew, and
had no particular wish to mingle
with the world.
So we are to go to London on
Monday, the day after to-morrow.
It is now four days since the
termination of our quarrel, and
I am sure it has done us both
good: it has made me like Arthur
a great deal better, and made
him behave a great deal better
to me. He has never once attempted
to annoy me since, by the most
distant allusion to Lady F-,
or any of those disagreeable
reminiscences of his former life.
I wish I could blot them from
my memory, or else get him to
regard such matters in the same
light as I do. Well! it is something,
however, to have made him see
that they are not fit subjects
for a conjugal jest. He may see
further some time. I will put
no limits to my hopes; and, in
spite of my aunt's forebodings
and my own unspoken fears, I
trust we shall be happy yet.