A full-grown, strong woman, had Jessie become suddenly. The gentle, tenderly-loving, earnest, simple-hearted girl, could never have sustained the part it was hers to play. Unless a new and more vigorous life had been born in her, she must have fallen. But now she stood erect, shading her heart from her own eyes, and gathering from principle strength for duty. Very pure—very true she was. Yet, in her new relation, purity and truth were shrined in a cold exterior. It were not possible to be otherwise. She did not love her husband in any thing like the degree she was capable of loving. It was not in him to find the deep places of her heart. But true to him she could be, and true to him it was her purpose to remain.
Taking all the antecedents of this case, we will not wonder, when told that quite from the beginning of so inharmonious a union, Dexter found himself disappointed in his bride. He was naturally ardent and demonstrative; while, of necessity, she was calm, cold, dignified—or simply passive. She was never unamiable or capricious; and rarely opposed him in anything reasonable or unreasonable. But she was reserved almost to constraint at times—a vestal at the altar, rather than a loving wife. He was very proud of her, as well he might be; for she grew peerless in beauty. But her beauty was from the development of taste, thought, and intellect. It was not born of the affections. Yes, Leon Dexter was sadly disappointed. He wanted something more than all this.
Lifted from an almost obscure position, as the dependent niece of Mrs. Loring, the young wife of Mr. Dexter found herself in a larger circle, and in the society of men and women of more generally cultivated tastes. She soon became a centre of attraction; for taste attracts taste, mind seeks mind. And where beauty is added, the possessor has invincible charms. It did not escape the eyes of Dexter that, in the society of other men, his young wife was gayer and more vivacious (sic) that when with him. This annoyed him so much, that he began to act capriciously, as it seemed to Jessie. Sometimes he would require her to leave a pleasant company long before the usual hour, and sometimes he would refuse to go with her to parties or places of amusement, yet give no reasons that were satisfactory. On these occasions, a moody spirit would come over him. If she questioned, he answered with evasion, or covert ill-nature.
The closer union of an external marriage did not invest the husband with any new attractions for his wife. The more intimately she knew him, the deeper became her repugnance. He had no interior qualities in harmony with her own. An intensely selfish man, it was impossible for him to inspire a feeling of love in a mind so pure in its impulses, and so acute in its perceptions. If Mrs. Dexter had been a worldly-minded woman—a lover of—or one moved by the small ambitions of fashionable life—her husband would have been all well enough. She