Some weeks passed, and Emmeline’s health was rapidly returning; her spirits were more like those of her girlhood, subdued indeed by past suffering, but only so far subdued as to render her, if possible, still dearer to all those who loved her; and she, too, beheld with delight the colour returning to her Arthur’s cheek, his step regaining its elasticity; and there was a manly dignity about him now which, when she first loved, she had not seen, but which she felt rendered him still dearer, for she could look up to him for support, she could feel dependence on his stronger and more decisive character.
Each week confirmed Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton in the wisdom of their decision, by revealing more clearly Myrvin’s character. He was more devoted to the duties of his clerical profession; pride, haughtiness, that dislike to mingle with his parishioners, had all departed, and as they observed how warmly and delightedly their Emmeline entered into his many plans for doing good, for increasing the happiness of the villagers under his spiritual charge, they felt that her domestic virtues, her gentle disposition, were far more suited to the wife of a clergyman, than to that life of bustling gaiety which might perhaps, under other circumstances, have been her portion.
“Are there not responsibilities attached to a clergyman’s wife?” she once asked her mother. “I feel as if so much depended upon me to render him respected and beloved, that I sometimes fear I may fail in my duty, and, through ignorance, not intentional, perhaps bring discredit on his name. Dearest mother, how can I prevent this?”
“These fears are natural to one of your character, my Emmeline, but they will quickly pass away. You would be more likely to fail in the duties of fashionable life, than in those which you will soon have to fulfil. Occupation which, had you been more fashionably educated, must have been irksome, will to you remain the pleasures they have ever been, heightened and encouraged by the sympathy of your husband. A wife to be truly happy and virtuous, must entirely forget self; a truth which the partner of a country clergyman should ever remember, as his family is larger, more constant in their calls upon her attention and sympathy, and sometimes her exertions are less productive of satisfaction and pleasure, than those of many other stations in life. Her own demeanour should be alike gentle, unassuming, persuasive, yet dignified, so that her actions may assist and uphold her husband’s doctrines more than her language. You have but to follow the principles of Christianity and the dictates of your own heart, my Emmeline, and your duty will be done, almost unconsciously to yourself.”