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At any rate, he had a cousin, whose name was Sophia Smithers, and who was very pretty, very intelligent, and very amiable and kind-hearted. I dare say he occasionally made hei a social call, to which his wife solemnly and seriously objected, for the reason that Sophia was pretty, intelligent, amiable, and kind-hearted. These were the sum total of her sins.
Centre and his wife boarded at a private establishment at the South end of Boitou. At the same house also board' ed Centre's particular, intimate, and confidential friend Wallis, with his wife. Their rooms might almost be said to be common ground, for the two men and the two women were constantly together.
Wallis could not help observing that Mrs. Centre watched her husband very closely, and Centre at last confessed that there had been some difficulty. So they talked the matter over together, and came to the conclusion that it was very stupid for any one to be jealous, most of all for Mrs. Centre to be jealous. What they did, I don't know, but one evening, Centre entered the room and found Mrs. Wallis there.
"My dear, I am obliged to go out a few moments to call upon a friend," said Centre.
"To call upon a friend!" sneered Mrs. Centre.
"Yes, my dear, I shall be back presently;" and Mr. Centre left the room.
"The old story," said she, when he had gone.
"If it was my husband I would follow him," said Mrs. Wallis.
"I will!" and she immediately put on her bonnet and shawl. "Sophia Smithers lives very near, and I am sure he is going there."
Centre had gone up stairs to put on his hat and overcoat, and in a moment she saw him on the stairs. She could nol mistake him, for there was no other gentleman in the house who wore such a peculiarly shaped Kossuth as he wore.
He passed out, and Mrs. Centre paased out after him. She followed the queer shape! Kossuth of her husband, and it
led her to C Street, where she had suspected it would
lead her. And further, it led her to the house of Smithers, the father of Sophia, where she suspected also it would lead her.
Mrs. Centre was very unhappy. Her husband had ceased to love her; he ioved another; he loved Sophia Smithers. She could have torn the pretty, intelligent, amiable, and kindhearted cousin of her husband in pieces at that moment; but she had the fortitude to curb her belligerent tendencies, and ring the doorbell.
She was shown into the sitting-room where tha beautiful girl of many virtues was engaged in sewing.
"Is my husband here?" she demanded.
"Mr. Centre? Bless you, no! He hasn't been here for a month."
Gracious! What a whopper! Was it true that she whose multitudinous qualities had been so often rehearsed to her could tell a lie? Hadn't she seen the peculiar Kossuth ol her husband enter that door? Hadn't she followed that unmistakable hat to the house?
She was amazed at the coolness of her husband's fair cousin. Before, she had believed it was only a flirtation. Now, she was sure it was something infinitely worse, and she thought about a divorce, or at least a separation.
She was astounded and asked no more questions. Did the guilty pair hope to deceive her—her, the argus-eyed wife? She had some shrewdness, and she had the cunning to conceal her purpose by refraining from any appearance of distrust. After a few words upon commonplace topics, she took her leave.
When she reached the sidewalk, there she planted herself, determined to wait till Centre came out. For more than an hour she stood there, nursing the yellow demon of jealousy. He came not. While she, the true, faithful and legal wife of Centre, was waiting on the cold pavement, shivering in the cold blast of autumn, he was folded in the arms of the black-hearted Sophia, before a comfortable coal fire.
She was catching her death a-cold. What did he care— the brute! He was bestowing his affections upon her who had no legal right to them.
The wind blew, and it began to rain. She could stand it no longer. She should die before she got the divorce, and that was just what the inhuman Centre would wish her to do. She must preserve her precious life for the present, and she reluctantly concluded to go home. Centre had not come out, and it required a struggle for her to forego the exposure of the nefarious scheme.
She rushed into the house,—into her room. Mrs. Wallis was there still. Throwing herself upon the sofa, she wept like a great baby. Her friend tried to comfort her, but she was firmly resolved not to be comforted. In vain Mrs. Wallis tried to assure her of the fidelity of her husband. She would not listen to the words. But while she was thus weeping, Mr. Centre entered the room, looking just as though nothing had happened.
"You wretch!" sobbed the lady.
"What is the matter, my dear?" coolly inquired the gentleman, for he had not passed through the battle and storm of matrimonial warfare without being able to "stand fire."
"You wretch !" repeated the lady, with compound unction.
"What has happened?"
"You insult me, abuse me, and then ask me what the matter is!" cried the lady. "Haven't I been waiting in
C Street for two hours, for you to come out of Smith
"I have, you wretch I"
"And I did not come out?"
"No! You know you didn't!"
"There was an excellent reason for that, my dear. I wasn't there," said Centre, calmly.
"You wasn't there, you wretch! How dare you tell me such an abominable lie! But I have found you out. You go there every day, yes, twice, three times a day! I know your amiable cousin, now! She can lie as well as you."
"Sophia tell a lie! Oh no, my dear!"
"But she did. She said you were not there."
"That was very true; I was not."
"How dare you tell me such a lie! You have been with Sophia all the evening. She is a nasty baggage!"
"Nay, Mrs. Centre, you are mistaken," interposed Mrs. Wallis. "Mr. Centre has been with me in this room ali the evening."
"What I Didn't I see him go out and follow him to C——' Street?"
"No, my dear, I haven't been out this evening. I changed my mind."
Just then, Wallis entered the room with that peculiar Kossuth on his head, and the mystery was explained. Mrs. Centre was not a little confused, and very much ashamed of herself.
Wallis had been in Smithers' library smoking a cigar, and had not seen Sophia. Her statement that she had not seen Centre for a month was strictly true, and Mrs. Centre was obliged to acknowledge that she had been jealous without a cause, though she was not "let into" the plot of Wallis.
But Centre should have known better than to tell hia wife what a pretty, intelligent, amiable, and kind-hearted girl Sophia was. No husband should speak well of any lady but his wife.
AUNT TABITHA—O. W. Holmes.
Whatever I do and whatever I say,
Dear aunt! If I only would take her advice—
If a youth passes by, it may happen, no doubt,
A walk in the moonlight has pleasure, I own,
How wicked we are, and how good they were then!
If the men were so wicked,— I'll ask my papa
I am thinking if aunt knew so little of sin,
A martyr will save us, and nothing else can;
THE DESERTED MILL— Trans, from A. Scbjhwtx*.
It stands in the lonely Winterthal,
At the base of Ilsberg hill;
The dark deserted mill.
Bide silent all the day;
Are crumbling into decay.
So through the daylight's lingering hours,
It mourns in weary rest;
Begin to fade in the west,
And open its creaking doors,
And over its dusty floors.
And the miller's men, they too awake,
And the night's weird work begins;
The flour falls into the binns.
And the cry is " Grist here, ho!"
Move busily to and fro.
And ever as night wears more and more
And the clangor, deafening enough before,