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"We sow the glebe, we reap the corn,
We build the house where we may rest;
We look up to the great wide sky,
“MR. LYNDSAY," began his wife,“ do put down that paper for a moment and listen to
One month from to-day is Julia's birthday, and I have promised her a fancy dress ball.” He may as well know all at once, she added, mentally; one shock is more easily borne than half a dozen.
Mr. Lyndsay laid down his paper to attempt a remonstrance.
“But, my dear, will not the ball do without the fancy dresses ? It will be too conspicuous; people will talk so much about it.”
“ That is just what I want,” said she, boldly. “Julia is to come out, and I wish everything to be as brilliant as possible. It is always an advantage to a girl to make her débút in style. Julia's Greek dress is exceedingly becoming."
“Even the dresses made,” he muttered; - what use is it for me to say anything ?" but raising his voice, he added, “what advantage, Matilda, can there be to a young girl, in having her name on every one's lip; her appearance criticised as if she were an opera dancer? I think the less a young lady is talked about, the better."
“How those old time notions cling to one !" exclaimed his wife, impatiently ; “don't you see girls marry well, and obtain excellent settlements, just because they have the name of being fashionable, or stylish, or dashing, when
others, far more beautiful, and even wealthy, remain single, or marry some steadygoing nobody, because they have not been heard of properly ?"
“No doubt these last marriages you speak of are the happiest. Those young men about town, sons of rich families, have generally few qualifications for domestic life. Look at
Well, well,” interrupted Mrs. Lyndsay, hastily, “ we are leaving the subject. Julia is not going to be married yet, nor Matilda, either; but I must be ready for this ball. The whole house will be opened, so I must refurnish the parlors and the morning-room.”
“I cannot afford it this year," said Mr. Lyndsay.
“Oh, yes, you can. I do not want anything extravagant. Mrs. Selden has given one thousand dollars a window for her new curtains, and I am sure I can get as showy ones for five hundred dollars. We can save in other ways; but my house must look as well as those I visit at."
“Money is getting scarce, and I do not like to mortgage." “That is always the way.
financial men are to be believed, there is a crisis at least once a month; but I cannot help it. Give me two thousand dollars in ready money, and you can give notes for the rest. All this helps your credit, too,” she added, insinuatingly; "we must keep up a certain style and appearance, or people will say we are going down.”
"Perhaps we are," was Mr. Lyndsay's inward comment; but he said no more, for he well knew that his wife's determinations were like “ the laws of the Medes and Persians," as far as he was concerned. His hints of prudence were called croaking; his anxiety to lessen the expenditure for mere show, was stigmatized as meanness and want of spirit. And he was finally silenced by being told that gentlemen never knew anything about household matters ; that his wife did not expend nearly as much as Mrs. A, B. or C.; and that she would not have her children excluded from
society, and from all chance of a good settlement, by any ill-judged parsimony.
“Mamma, mamma,” called a voice from the head of the stairs, “cousin Oscar has come, and we are ready for your list.”
Mrs. Lyndsay was not sorry for the interruption; she thought she had said enough for the present. She could not hope to make her husband agree with her; she was satisfied if he did not thwart her: and when she left him he sat for long hours in bitter reverie.
Of those who reach middle life how few there are whose retrospective glance falls not first on the grave of some buried hope. Mr. Lyndsay's hope had pointed to a happy home -such a home as he could remember in his childhood—the abode of trustful love, where happy faces gathered round the bright hearth, where the heart might find an ark, closed in securely, from the wild waves of worldly strife.
He remembered the sudden alteration of manner, the courteous invitations, the graceful deference to his opinions, the smiles and glances