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"How did you happen to be here just in time," I interrupted; "I thought you were miles away?"
"So I was, but I heard something which brought me down here to-day. I am staying with Harvey, and was on my way with him from the station-and-and we came round this way; it was not the shortest-but-but I am glad we came."
"And you heard her screams?" I said shivering, and covering my face with my hands.
"Yes;" he returned, gently. "Poor girl! the hall-door was open -some one had just arrived. We rushed in to see her thrown on the ground by a dozen hands, and enveloped in rugs and wraps; but I thought I heard your voice, Marian, calling for help; and I rushed upstairs to find you, and I was not too soon," he added, with a faint smile, and the poor bandaged hand was laid fondly on my shoulder, and rested there.
I lifted my eyes to his grave face for one moment, and met such a tender, fond look there that my heart throbbed with joy in spite of its little pain. "My love," he said, kissing me impulsively, "I never thought you cared for me; I fancied till yesterday you were going to marry Warburton; and I thought Harvey was breaking his heart about you, poor fellow!"
"You ought not to have kept away," I said, reproachfully. "I have suffered so much, thinking, believing I was nothing to you." Then a great wave of happiness swept over my soul, as I realised that from henceforth the love of this good man was all my own, and that my craving for his love and sympathy, would be fully satisfied. Few could ever know the loneliness of heart that I had known since May had learnt to do without my affection. I rested my aching head against his arm, and cried quietly and silently, partly for sorrow for what had befallen my poor May. Then Uncle James came in, leaning on a stick, looking both subdued and sad. He evinced no surprise at seeing us thus together, but beckoned us to follow him. We crossed the hall, and as I softly turned the handle of the library-door, my quick ears caught his low, whispered words to Major Gunthorpe, which were evidently not intended for me.
"The shock to her nervous system has been too great: Dr. Jones has very little hope of her."
Of the hours that followed the hearing of those words, I cannot even now bear to speak, the blow was as crushing as it was unexpected. A terrible frost sat in that April night, the like of which had not been known for years, blighting all the fair blossoms in both orchard and flower-garden, the whole country side. And yet another fair blossom died that bitter night-the fairest of them all, my May; she never recovered her consciousness, but passed from us without a word-without a sign of recognition. What was to have
been her bridal morning dawned bright and cloudless. shone as radiantly on her pale, still face, as it would have shone on her had she been a happy bride; all was the same in heaven and earth, saving that she was not. Instead of the bridal peal that was to have rung out on this her bridal day, the death-bell now tolled at intervals, booming heavily in the keen cold air, and was the greeting the bridegroom received when, in obedience to the summons sent him the previous evening, he drew up at the halldoor. Once again he appeared at Stanton Hall on the day of May's funeral; but he wrapped himself in a cold reserve, saying little to any one returning to town immediately after the sad ceremony.
I am Major Gunthorpe's wife now. It is twelve months since the terrible calamity overtook our May. Our wedding_was of the quietest; we were married at Florence, whither Uncle James and I had gone for change of scene, followed by Major Gunthorpe.
Poor May's fortune had come to me-it had been so willed by her father, that in the event of her dying unmarried I was to inherit it. This was a contingency I neither knew of nor contemplated.
Uncle James, who had conceived a strong liking for my husband, persuaded us both to make one home with him at Stanton Hall, where we had now once more returned, he having sold out of the regiment immediately after our marriage.
SOME THOUGHTS ON
THE EDUCATION OF WOMEN
AS AFFECTING THEIR CHARACTER AND SOCIAL POSITION.
WHEN we speak of an educated person, we mean one who is generally enlightened and well-informed; if a woman, she should not only possess a smattering of science, but must be a linguist, so far as a superficial knowledge of two or three modern languages, and no acquaintance with their literature, gives her a claim to that title; and she certainly is expected to be able to sing and play the piano, and not to be ignorant of art in general. And it is for the acquirement of these things that girls, from their seventh to their seventeenth year, are kept in the schoolroom, and worked like so many machines, in a sort of groove, without any regard to difference of temperament or diversity of gifts. Solid instruction-such as arithmetic, writing, history, geography, and English composition— should, of course, be bestowed on all alike, but in mere accomplishments why should not the bias of a girl's mind be noted, and the things she is observed to have most talent for assiduously cultivated, so that there may at least be a hope of her excelling in one point? What can be more misjudged, for instance, than for one who has no music in her nature to be kept strum-strumming for an hour or two a day, ruining a piano? wasting time, trying her own temper, and torturing all who listen? She may by constant drudgery attain a certain amount of mechanical skill, but if the soul for music be wanting, can never hope to play so as to give pleasure either to herself or others. Another may be an enthusiastic musician, but she is not suffered to spend more than one hour in the twenty-four upon it, for fear of neglecting her dancing, her drawing, or fancywork, her French, Italian, or German; and for solid instruction, it is very little of that she can gain in the time that is usually bestowed upon it. She may, as Moth puts it," attend a feast of history or languages," but only for the sake of bringing away the scraps; for will not a smattering of everything be of most use to her in society? and what that infallible law-giver, Mrs. Grundy, approves of must of necessity be right.
Again, the training of the mind to habits of thought, the use of its reasoning powers, and the development of individuality, are
things not dreamt of by most mistresses; they forget that the very meaning of the word educare is not to impart, to cram, or even to polish, but to lead or bring out; and so the tender plants are forced and tied tightly down to conventionalism till their roots are weakened and there is very little natural growth left in them. Originality is a thing to be dreaded; and the whole object of the system is to make girls as conventional, and as much like the rest of the world, as possible. What wonder, when this had been going on for generations, that Pope should exclaim, "Most women have no characters at all." The truth is, the greater part of their time is spent in the acquirement of showy accomplishments; and what they do learn of solid subjects is just got by rote, like so many parrots; the understanding is not exercised, nor are the reasoning powers drawn out-and this is just what women require most; of wit they generally have plenty, but it is not often accompanied by sound judgment, for, as Locke says, "Wit consists of an assemblage of ideas, and the putting them together with quickness and variety; judgment, on the contrary, lies in separating carefully one from another ideas wherein can be found the least difference, thereby to avoid being misled, by similitude and affinity, to take one thing for another." For want of being taught to think coherently, and reason justly, women, if they have any brains in the world, grow up one-sided and prejudiced, with their heads full of a confused mass of inconsistent ideas; if they reason at all, it is by a process of unfair induction, like Voltaire's famous traveller, who, happening to have a drunken landlord, and a red-haired landlady, at the first inn at which he stopped in Alsace, wrote down in his note-book, "All the men of Alsace, drunkards; all the women, red-haired." Now, why is this? It is no answer to say that women are not naturally logical, as if the habit of grasping the general features, as well as details of a subject, as if reasoningpower, and familiarity with the evidences of perception, were things which come by instinct. Genius, I allow, is given only to a few, but a habit of reflecting and reasoning well and justly is to be attained by all who are not utterly imbecile. I would have logic made quite as much a necessary part of a girl's education as it is of every boy's; there is no fear, that in thus training them to be reasonable creatures, you would at the same time render them opinionated, argumentative, or disputatious; for while a little learning makes people like to talk, a greater amount of understanding induces rather silence and thought. Addison says, “The tongue is like a race-horse, which goes the faster the less weight it bears," and there is much truth in the comparision. Knowledge (meaning by this the mere acquirement of facts) is of itself not much good, unless the mind be trained to the forming of clear and
distinct ideas upon every subject presented to it; unless the habit
In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
Men and women too, in going through life, need the one as much as the other; and it is just this want of mental culture, which leads to true wisdom, that is so seldom thought of in the programme of most girls' education. I would not, for a moment, have it supposed that I advocate a neglect of the cultivation of external graces, -certainly not; I only urge that these should not be the first thing thought of; that they should not be simply a veneering, but have a solid and firm basis to rest on, so that women may cease to be the mere dolls, the characterless, insipid nonentities nine out of every ten are; that they may no longer act on caprice, rather than principle, and be so utterly weak and prejudiced, and taken up with trivialities, their thoughts moving, as Holmes says, in "such a small circle, that five minutes' conversation gives you an arc long enough to determine their whole curve."
Thank Heaven, there are women who use the faculties God has given them, who read and reflect wisely and well, and whose actions are governed by judgment and common sense; but is not this rather in spite of than owing to their education? Because they refused to believe that when they left the school-room it was simply to "enjoy life; that is to say, to go to as many balls and parties as came within their reach, to dress, dance, flirt, and make themselves as attractive as possible, and, finally, to marry well." There is the mischief of it! What can be worse for girls than the way in which they are brought up to look upon marriage as an end and object in life, rendering them, by their consequent love of dress, of society, and the cultivation of superficial attractions, still more unfit to be the companions of sensible men. Boys are never led for a moment to think that the principal aim of their education is to render them attractive to the opposite sex; and yet, in reality, marriage should be as important to the one as to the other. Now to what is this to be traced, but to the helplessness and dependance in which girls are brought up?
According to the last census there are in this country, nearly