“That brings me to think,” said Clemence, “of the flirtations between married couples, that we see going on continually around us. I always had an idea that I should not enjoy quite such a risky love affair as they promise. Not but that, like every one else, I suppose, I think it’s very agreeable to be admired; but then it’s not tranquilizing to the nerves to remember that a jealous wife may be cultivating her finger nails with a view to exercising them upon one’s countenance. I prefer the ‘human face divine’ in its natural state, being of the opinion with another that ‘beauty unadorned is adorned most.’ Do you know, Ulrica, that I lost my taste for guitar music listening to a little pink-cheeked, simpering married woman, eternally strumming to a Benedict of her acquaintance, in lovelorn tones—’I’ll be true to thee,’—accompanied by the most languishing glances? I was the more disgusted, too, when I recollected that this woman was the lady Superintendent of an up-town Sabbath School, and considered a pattern by every one. Besides, she called herself a Christian, and a tender, loving mother, while she absolutely stinted her children’s food, in the absence of her husband, who toiled early and late in the counting-room, to buy finery to air before her married beau, and make the jealous, passionate wife whom he left waiting at home (and whom, she knew, hated her as only a wronged woman can hate,) still more miserable.
“Oh,” she added, shuddering at the contemplation of this grievous sin, from which her pure soul recoiled, “the Father knew the weakness of our common nature when He taught us the daily prayer to avert temptation.”
“I declare!” said Mrs. Wynn, looking up from the gilt frames in Mrs. Swan’s parlor, “the changes that have been going on in Waveland do beat everything. Only think of it! Why, the town hasn’t been so lively for years before. There used to be only an occasional wedding or christening, or funeral; and now, strange faces that no one knows anything about, meet you at every turn.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that!” said Mrs. Swan. “There has only been one or two arrivals here; that new family who brought out the Burtons, and the new minister and his wife. By-the-bye, they say he married her just before he came here, and that she was a widow.”