Florence Barlowe, with malice toward all and charity to none, devoted her outward self to good works of the conventional kind. She had several offers, but she never married, and she never forgave George Addison for his failure to speak for that which he might have had for the asking. Pride, not love, was the ruler of her heart—if she had one.
To those who have this Christmas tide the heart-ache, and the heart-break of love gone another way, let them try this new cure, and remember the happy, successful life, and the ripe old age, full of years and honor, of dear old George Addison, who wrote “The Poets and Poetry of the South” and “Perfected Letter Writer.”
TO LADY CHARLOTTE
THE LITTLE BLIND MAID
Overlooking a big smoky city which lies below, and a wide and winding river which runs beyond, there is a large building on the top of a hill which is dedicated to education. But it was built for the comfort and the pleasure of a certain rich man and his family.
Shortly after its occupation the owner died, leaving a large fortune, a young widow and three daughters.
During the long period of mourning, which was strictly observed but only partially felt by the widow, there came to live in the big house an attractive man of about five and thirty, who had been both friend and partner of the merchant prince. He had been given entire charge of the large estate, and he gave to it and the family most of his time. His habits were excellent, but his tastes were convivial, and his little bachelor dinners the desire of his acquaintances and the delight of his friends. His apartments were entirely separate from the family, but he spent most of his unengaged evenings in their quiet little circle. The children called him uncle, the mother called him Basil, and the people who knew them looked upon him as one related, and spoke no gossip concerning them.
But one fine day that little fellow—always young—who is said to have wings and a quiver full of arrows, came into the house. He kissed the mother, a woman of forty and with attractions more than passing pleasant; he touched the heart of the eldest daughter, Rose, eighteen years of age, and he took the bandage off of his own eyes and put it over the head of Basil, who straightway thought he loved the daughter, who was a woman of no beauty, little intelligence and less amiability. Being blind with the bandage of the boy Love, he could not see that the mother had centered her full blown affections upon him. Therefore it came to pass that the mother and daughter were rivals. He, being a man, did not understand; they, being women, did. When he asked for the hand of her daughter he could not comprehend not only why she should make denial, but why she stormed, wept bitter tears, filled his startled ears with unreasonable reproaches, and upbraided him as an ingrate and a man without feeling.