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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 472 pages of information about Marriage.
and dejection which sank to deepest sadness when his eye rested for a moment on his once darling grandson, the child of so much pride and promise, now, alas! how changed.  It was most touching to look upon one whose morning of life had been so bright and beautiful and, still in the sunny days of childhood, transformed into an image of decrepitude and decay.  The fair blooming cheek and finely chiselled features were now shrunk and stiffened into the wan and rigid inflexibility of old age; while the black bandages which swathed the little pale sad countenance, gave additional gloom and harshness to the profound melancholy which clouded its most intellectual expression.  Disease and death were stamped upon the grandsire and the boy as they sat side by side with averted eyes, each as if in the bitterness of his own heart refusing to comfort or be comforted.  The two who had been wont to regard each other so fondly and so proudly, now seemed averse to hold communion together, while their appearance and style of dress, the black cap of the one and the black bandages of the other, denoted a sympathy in suffering if in nothing else.  The picture would have been a most affecting and impressive one viewed under any circumstances, but was rendered doubly so by the contrast which everywhere presented itself.

The month was May, but the weather had all the warmth of summer with the freshness and sweetness of spring.  The windows of the dining-room were open to admit the soft balmy air which “came and went like the warbling of music,” but whose reviving influence seemed unfelt by the sufferers.  The trees, and shrubs, and flowers were putting forth their tender leaves and fragrant blossoms as if to charm his senses who used to watch their progress with almost paternal interest, and the little birds were singing in sweet chorus as if to cheer him who was wont to listen to their evening song with such placid delight.  All around were the dear familiar objects which had hitherto ministered to his enjoyment, but now, alas! miserable comforters were they all!  It was impossible to look upon such a picture without beholding in it the realisation of those solemn and affecting passages of Holy Writ which speak to us of the ephemeral nature of all earthly pleasures and of the mournful insignificance of human life, even in its most palmy state, when its views and actions, its hopes and desires, are confined to this sublunary sphere:  “Whence then cometh any wisdom, and where is the place of understanding?” “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches:  but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord.”

MARRIAGE.

CHAPTER I.

“Love!—­A word by superstition thought a God; by use turned to an
humour; by self-will made a flattering madness.”

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