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Dawn   By: (-1885)

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Edited by Charles Aldarondo (






They sat together in the twilight conversing. Three years, with their alternations of joy and grief had swept over their married life, bringing their hearts into closer alliance, as each new emotion thrilled and upheaved the buried life within.

That night their souls seemed attuned to a richer melody than ever before; and as the twilight deepened, and one by one the stars appeared, the blessed baptism of a heavenly calm descended and rested upon their spirits.

"Then you think there are but very few harmonious marriages, Hugh?"

"My deep experience with human nature, and close observations of life, have led me to that conclusion. Our own, and a few happy exceptions beside, are but feeble offsets to the countless cases of unhappy unions."

"Unhappy; why?" he continued, talking more to himself than to the fair woman at his side; "people are only married fractionally, as a great thinker has written; and knowing so little of themselves, how can they know each other? The greatest strangers to each other whom I have ever met, have been parties bound together by the marriage laws!"

"But you would not sunder so holy a bond as that of marriage, Hugh?"

"I could not, and would not if I could. Whatever assimilates, whether of mind or matter, can not be sundered. I would only destroy false conditions, and build up in their places those of peace and harmony. While I fully appreciate the marriage covenant, I sorrow over the imperfect manhood which desecrates it. I question again and again, why persons so dissimilar in tastes and habits, are brought together; and then the question is partly, if not fully answered, by the great truth of God's economy, which brings the lesser unto the greater to receive, darkness unto light, that all may grow together. I almost know by seeing one party, what the other is. Thus are the weak and strong not strength and might coupled. Marriage should be a help, and not a hindrance. In the present state of society, we are too restricted to know what marriage is. Either one, or both of those united, are selfish and narrow, allowing no conditions in which each may grow."

"Do I limit you, Hugh?"

"No, dearest, no; I never meant it should be so, either. When I gave you my love, I did not surrender my individual life and right of action. All of my being which you can appropriate to yourself is yours; you can take no more. What I take from you, is your love and sympathy. I cannot exhaust or receive you wholly."

"But I give you all of myself."

"Yet I can only take what I can absorb or receive into my being. The qualities of a human soul are too mighty to be absorbed by any one."

"What matters it if I am content in your love that I wish for none other?"

"I have often feared, dear Alice, that your individual life was lost in your love for me."

"What matters it, if you give me yourself in return?"

"It matters much. If we are not strong for ourselves, we are not strength to each other. If we have no reserve force, we shall in time consume each other's life. We can never be wholly another's."

"Am I not wholly yours, dear Hugh?" she said, raising her eyes tenderly to his, in that summer twilight.

"Not all mine, but all that I can receive."

"It may be true, but it seems cold to me," she replied, a little sadly.

"Too much philosophy and not enough love for your tender woman nature, is it not, darling?"

"I think you have explained it. I feel as though you were drifting away from me, Hugh, when you talk as you do to night. Although I dearly love progress and enlarged views of life, I do not like many of the questions that are being agitated in reference to marriage."

"Because you do not take comprehensive views of the matter. I can, I think, set you clear on the whole subject, and divorce from your mind the thought that liberty is license... Continue reading book >>

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