“O married love! each heart shall own;
Where two congenial souls unite,
Thy golden chains inlaid with down,
Thy lamp with heaven’s own splendor bright.”
“There, there, little woman! light of my eyes, and core of my heart! if you don’t stop this pretty soon, I very much fear I shall be compelled to join you,” Edward Travilla said, between a laugh and a sigh, drawing Zoe closer to him, laying her head against his breast, and kissing her tenderly on lip and cheek and brow. “I shall begin to think you already regret having staid behind with me.”
“No, no, no!” she cried, dashing away her tears, then putting her arms about his neck, and returning his caresses with ardor of affection. “Dear Ned, you know you’re more than all the rest of the world to your silly little wife. But it seems lonely just at first, to have them all gone at once, especially mamma; and to think we’ll not see her again for months! I do believe you’d cry yourself, if you were a girl.”
“Altogether likely,” he said, laughing, and giving her another hug; “but, being a man, it wouldn’t do at all to allow my feelings to overcome me in that manner. Besides, with my darling little wife still left me, I’d be an ungrateful wretch to repine at the absence of other dear ones.”
“What a neat little speech, Ned!” she exclaimed, lifting her head to look up into his face, and laughing through her tears—for her eyes had filled again. “Well, you know I can’t help feeling a little lonely and sad just at first; but, for all that, I wouldn’t for the world be anywhere else than here in your arms:” and with a sigh of content and thankfulness, she let her pretty head drop upon his breast again.
“My darling! may it ever be to you the happiest place on earth! God helping me, I shall always try to make it so,” he said, with a sudden change to gravity, and in low, moved tones.
“My dear, dear husband!” she murmured, clinging closer to him.
Then, wiping her eyes, “I sha’n’t cry any more; for, if I’m not the happiest woman in the world, I ought to be. And what a nice time we shall have together, dear Ned! each wholly devoted to the other all winter long. I have it all planned out: while you are out about the plantation in the mornings, I’ll attend to my housekeeping and my studies; and in the afternoons and evenings,—after I’ve recited,—we can write our letters, or entertain ourselves and each other with music or books; you can read to me while I work, you know.”
“Yes: a book is twice as enjoyable read in that way—sharing the pleasure with you,” he said, softly stroking her hair, and smiling down into her eyes.
“Especially if it is a good story, or a bit of lovely poetry,” she added.
“Yes,” he said: “we’ll have both those in turn, and some solid reading besides.”