Zanoni eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 579 pages of information about Zanoni.
propriety herself.  She held in abhorrence all levity, all flirtation, all coquetry,—­small vices which often ruin domestic happiness, but which a giddy nature incurs without consideration.  But she did not think it right to love a husband over much.  She left a surplus of affection, for all her relations, all her friends, some of her acquaintances, and the possibility of a second marriage, should any accident happen to Mr. M. She kept a good table, for it suited their station; and her temper was considered even, though firm; but she could say a sharp thing or two, if Mr. Mervale was not punctual to a moment.  She was very particular that he should change his shoes on coming home,—­the carpets were new and expensive.  She was not sulky, nor passionate,—­Heaven bless her for that!—­but when displeased she showed it, administered a dignified rebuke, alluded to her own virtues, to her uncle who was an admiral, and to the thirty thousand pounds which she had brought to the object of her choice.  But as Mr. Mervale was a good-humoured man, owned his faults, and subscribed to her excellence, the displeasure was soon over.

Every household has its little disagreements, none fewer than that of Mr. and Mrs. Mervale.  Mrs. Mervale, without being improperly fond of dress, paid due attention to it.  She was never seen out of her chamber with papers in her hair, nor in that worst of dis-illusions,—­a morning wrapper.  At half-past eight every morning Mrs. Mervale was dressed for the day,—­that is, till she re-dressed for dinner,—­her stays well laced, her cap prim, her gowns, winter and summer, of a thick, handsome silk.  Ladies at that time wore very short waists; so did Mrs. Mervale.  Her morning ornaments were a thick, gold chain, to which was suspended a gold watch,—­none of those fragile dwarfs of mechanism that look so pretty and go so ill, but a handsome repeater which chronicled Father Time to a moment; also a mosaic brooch; also a miniature of her uncle, the admiral, set in a bracelet.  For the evening she had two handsome sets,—­necklace, earrings, and bracelets complete,—­one of amethysts, the other topazes.  With these, her costume for the most part was a gold-coloured satin and a turban, in which last her picture had been taken.  Mrs. Mervale had an aquiline nose, good teeth, fair hair, and light eyelashes, rather a high complexion, what is generally called a fine bust; full cheeks; large useful feet made for walking; large, white hands with filbert nails, on which not a speck of dust had, even in childhood, ever been known to a light.  She looked a little older than she really was; but that might arise from a certain air of dignity and the aforesaid aquiline nose.  She generally wore short mittens.  She never read any poetry but Goldsmith’s and Cowper’s.  She was not amused by novels, though she had no prejudice against them.  She liked a play and a pantomime, with a slight supper afterwards.  She did not like concerts nor operas.  At the beginning of the winter she selected some book to read, and some piece of work to commence.  The two lasted her till the spring, when, though she continued to work, she left off reading.  Her favourite study was history, which she read through the medium of Dr. Goldsmith.  Her favourite author in the belles lettres was, of course, Dr. Johnson.  A worthier woman, or one more respected, was not to be found, except in an epitaph!

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Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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