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Marriage eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 472 pages of information about Marriage.
in a string of Bond Street equipages than traversing “the lonely heath, with the stream murmuring hoarsely, the old trees groaning in the wind, the troubled lake,” and the still more troubled sisters.  As may be supposed, she very soon grew weary of the walk.  The bleak wind pierced her to the soul; her silk slippers and lace flounces became undistinguishable masses of mud; her dogs chased the sheep, and were, in their turn, pursued by the “nowts,” as the ladies termed the steers.  One sister expatiated on the great blessing of having a peat moss at their door; another was at pains to point out the purposed site of a set of new offices; and the third lamented that her Ladyship had not on thicker shoes, that she might have gone and seen the garden.  More than ever disgusted and wretched, the hapless Lady Juliana returned to the house to fret away the time till her husband’s return.

CHAPTER VIII.

    “On se rend insupportable dans la societe par des
     defauts legers, mais qui se font sentir a tout
     moment.”—­VOLTAIRE.

THE family of Glenfern have already said so much for themselves that it seems as if little remained to be told by their biographer.  Mrs. Douglas was the only member of the community who was at all conscious of the unfortunate association of characters and habits that had just taken place.  She was a stranger to Lady Juliana; but she was interested by her youth, beauty, and elegance, and felt for the sacrifice she had made—­a sacrifice so much greater than it was possible she ever could have conceived or anticipated.  She could in some degree enter into the nature of her feelings towards the old ladies; for she too had felt how disagreeable people might contrive to render themselves without being guilty of any particular fault, and how much more difficult it is to bear with the weaknesses than the vices of our neighbours.  Had these ladies’ failings been greater in a moral point of view, it might not have been so arduous a task to put up with them.  But to love such a set of little, trifling, tormenting foibles, all dignified with the name of virtues, required, from her elegant mind, an exertion of its highest principles—­a continual remembrance of that difficult Christian precept, “to bear with one another.”  A person of less sense than Mrs. Douglas would have endeavoured to open the eyes of their understandings on what appeared to be the folly and narrow mindedness of their ways; but she refrained from the attempt, not from want of benevolent exertion, but from an innate conviction that their foibles all originated in what was now incurable, viz. the natural weakness of their minds, together with their ignorance of the world and the illiberality and prejudices of a vulgar education.  “These poor women,” reasoned the charitable Mrs. Douglas, “are perhaps, after all, better characters in the sight of God than I am.  He who has endowed us all as His wisdom has seen fit, and has placed me amongst them, oh, may He teach me to remember that we are all His children, and enable me to bear with their faults, while I study to correct my own.”

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