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er's hands warmly, as if to congratulate them- | an acoustic instrument, enabled Beethoven to selves on a community of happiness, and the hear a few words of his compassion and regret. young girl threw herself weeping into her moth- Beethoven seemed reanimated, his eyes shone, er's arms. Then they appeared to consult to- he struggled for utterance, and gasped, “Is it gether; they resumed their instruments; they not true, Hummel, that I have some talent after commenced again. This time their enthusiasm all ?” reached its height; their eyes were filled with These were his last words. His eyes grew tears, and the color mounted to their cheeks. fixed; his mouth fell open, and his spirit passed
“My friends,” said Beethoven, “ I am very un-away. happy that I can take no part in the delight which They buried him in the little cemetery of Dobyou experience, for I also love music; but, as you | ling. see, I am so deaf that I can not hear any sound. Let me read this music which produces in you WOMAN'S WRONGS—A LEAF FROM such sweet and lively emotions."
ENGLISH LAW. He took the paper in his hand, his eyes grew THE prayers were made, the benediction given, dim, his breath came short and fast; then he I the bells rang out their lusty epithalamium, dropped the music, and burst into tears. | and by the law of the Church and law of the
These peasants had been playing the allegretto land, Charlotte and Robert Desborough were of Beethoven's symphony in A.
henceforth one-one in interests, one in life. No The whole family surrounded him, with signs chill rights or selfish individuality to sow disof curiosity and surprise.
union between them; no unnatural laws to weakFor some moments his convulsive sobs impeded en her devotion by offering a traitorous asylum his utterance; then he raised his head, and said, against him ; but, united by bonds none could “I am Beethoven."
break—their two lives welded together, one and And they uncovered their heads, and bent be indivisible forever-they set their names to that fore him in respectful silence. Beethoven ex- form of marriage, which so many have signed in tended his hands to them, and they pressed them, hope, to read over for a long lifetime of bitterness kissed, wept over them ; for they knew that they and despair. Yet what can be more beautiful had among them a man who was greater than a than the ideal of an English marriage! This king.
| strict union of interests although it does mean Beethoven held out his arms and embraced the absorption of the woman's whole life in them all—the father, the mother, the young girl, that of the man'smalthough it does mean the and her three brothers.
entire annihilation of all her rights, individuality, All at once he rose up, and sitting down to the legal existence, and his sole recognition by the clavecin, signed to the young men to take up law-yet how beautiful it is in the ideal! She, their violins, and himself performed the piano as the weaker, lying safe in the shadow of his part of this chef-d'oeuvre. The performers were strength, upheld by his hand, cherished by his alike inspired; never was music more divine or love, losing herself in the larger being of her better executed. Half the night passed away husband; while he, in the vanguard of life, prothus, and the peasants listened. Those were the tects her from all evil, and shields her against last accents of the swan.
danger, and takes on himself alone the strife and The father compelled him to accept his own the weary toil, the danger, and the struggle. bed; but during the night Beethoven was restless What a delightful picture of unselfishness and and fevered. He rose; he needed air; he went chivalry, of devotedness and manly protection ; forth with naked feet into the country. All na- and what sacrilege to erase so much poetry from ture was exhaling a majestic harmony: the winds the dry code of our laws! sighed through the branches of the trees, and Like all newly-married women, this woman moaned along the avenues and glades of the would have looked with horror on any proposition wood. He remained some hours wandering thus for the revision of the legal poem. Liberty amidst the cool dews of the early morning; but would have been desolation to her, and the prowhen he returned to the house, he was seized tection of the laws she would have repudiated as with an icy chill. They sent to Vienna for a implying a doubt of her husband's faith. She physician ; dropsy on the chest was found to had been taught to believe in men, and to honor have declared itself, and in two days, despite them; and she did not wish to unlearn her lesson. every care and skill, the doctor said that Beethoven The profound conviction of their superiority must die.
formed one of the cardinal points of her social And, in truth, life was every instant ebbing creed ; and young hearts are not eager to escape fast from him.
from their anchorage of trust. She was a willAs he lay upon his bed, pale and suffering, a ing slave because she was a faithful worshiper; man entered. It was Hummel-Hummel, his and it seemed to her but fit, and right, and natuold and only friend. He had heard of the illness ral, that the lower should be subservient to the of Beethoven, and he came to him with succor will of the higher. For the first few weeks all and money. But it was too late : Beethoven was went according to the brightness of her belief. speechless; and a grateful smile was all that he The newly bound epic was written in letters of had to bestow upon his friend.
gold, and blazoned in the brightest colors of Hummel bent toward him, and, by the aid of youth, and hope, and love ; and she believed that the unread leaves would continue the story of real wish to amend. Once she left the house, those already turned over, and that the glories after a long and angry scene, during which he of the future would be like to the glories of the struck her, and that with no gentle hand either ; past. She believed as others, ardent and love and she would not return until heart-broken ing, have believed; and she awoke, like them, petitions and solemn engagements touched her when the bitter fruit of knowledge was between woman's pity, and changed her anger into sorrow. her lips, and the dead leaves of her young hopes She thought, too, of her own misdeeds; magnistrewed the ground at her feet.
fied the petty tempers and girlish impertinences The gold of the blazoned book was soon tar- which had been punished so severely; took hernished. Its turned leaves told of love certainly ; self to task, while the tears streamed from her but of a love whose passion, when it was burnt dark eyes and steeped the black hair hanging on out, left no friendship nor mental sympathy to her neck, until at last imagination and repentance keep alive the pale ashes. On the contrary, weighed down the balance of evil on her own quarrels soon took the place of fading caresses, side. And then he was her husband !—the and bitter words echoed the lost sounds of fond father of her children, and once her lover so bephrases; no real heart-union wove fresh ties in loved! We all have faults, and we all need parplace of the fragile bands which burnt like flax don, she thought; and so she forgave him, as in their own fire ; but with the honeymoon died she had done before, and returned submissively out the affection which ought to have lived to his house. This was what the Ecclesiastical through the hard probation of time, and suffer-law calls condonation. And by this act of love ing, and distress. It had been a love-match, but and mercy she deprived herself of even the small it was an ill-assorted match as well; and want amount of protection afforded by the law to Enof sympathy soon deepened into bitterness, and glish wives of the nineteenth century. thence fell backward into hatred and disgust. They had now three children, who made up the The husband was a man of violent temper, and sole summer time of her heart. Only those who held supreme views on marital privileges. His know what sunshine the love of young and innowife, young, impassioned, beautiful, and clever, cent children creates in the misty darkness of an was none the less his chattel ; and he treated unhappy life, can appreciate her love for hersher as such. By bitter personal experience, he three bright, noble boys. How she loved them! taught her that the law which gave him all but How passionately and how tenderly! Their uncontrolled power over her as his property, was lisping voices charmed away her griefs, and their not always the duty of the strong to protect the young bright eyes and eager love made her forweak, but might sometimes—even in the hands get that she had ever cause for regret or fear. of English gentlemen-be translated into the For their sakes she endeavored to be patient. right of the tyrant to oppress the helpless. From Her love for them was too strong to be sacrificed high words the transition to rough deeds was even to her outraged womanhood; and that she easy and natural. Matters grew gradually worse; might remain near them, and caress them, and quarrels became more bitter and more frequent, educate them, she bore her trials, now coming and personal violences increased. More than fast and thick upon her, with forbearance, if not once she was in mortal fear, with marks of fin- / with silence. gers on her throat, and cuts and bruises on her. But matters came at last to a climax, though head ; more than once relations interposed to sooner and on different grounds than might have save her from further violence. In these quarrels been expected. She and her husband parted on perhaps she was not wholly blameless. The a trivial question of itself, but with grave rerash passion of a high-spirited girl was not the sults : a mere dispute as to whether the children temper best suited to such a husband's wife. should accompany their mother on a visit to one Less imaginative and less feeling, she might have of her brothers, who was avowedly (very extrabetter borne the peculiar mode of showing dis- ordinary that he should be so, after the married pleasure to which he resorted ; and had she been life she had led !) unfriendly to her husband. It of a lower organization, she might have gained was at last decided that they should not go, and more power over a man who did not appreciate after a bitter struggle. Far more was involved her intellect, or the beauty of her rich nature. in this question than appears on the surface; As it was-he, too violent to control his temper her right to the management of her sons, even on the one side: she, too rash and eager to con- | in the most trifling matters, was the real point ceal her pain and disgust on the other—their of contention; the mother was obliged to yield, unhappiness became public, and by its very pub- and she went alone ; the children remaining at licity seemed to gain in strength. Friends inter- home with the father. The day after she left, fered, many thronging about her; some, to ad- she received a message from one of the servants vise patience; some resolution; some, to appeal to tell her that something was wrong at home ; to her wifely love, and others to her woman's for the children had been taken away, with all dignity; and she, halting between the two, now their clothes and toys, no one knew where. In consented to endure, and now resolved to resist. a storm of terror and agony she gave herself up So things went on in a sad unhinged manner; to the trace, and at last found out their hidingoutbreaks continually occurring, followed by place ; but without any good result. The wopromises of reformation and renewed acts of for- man who had received them, under the sanction giveness; but no solid peace established, and no of the father, refused to deliver them up to her, and met her prayers and remonstrances with in-hours, and in the coldest manner. It was bor sults and sarcasms. She was obliged to return, husband's privilege to deny her all maternal inwidowed and childless, to her sister's home in tercourse with her sons, and he stretched his the country ; like a wounded panther tearing at privilege to the utmost. No touch of pity disthe lance in his side, a fearful mixture of love solved the iron bars of the law, and no breath of and beauty, and rage and despair. It was well mercy warmed the breast of the husband and that she did return to her sister's house instead | master. Against the decree of the law, what of her own home, for her husband, enraged at was the protesting cry of nature ? A hollow her persistence in visiting her brother against whistling among the reeds of a sandy waste, his consent, had ordered the servants to refuse which no man heeded -- which no voice anher admittance should she present herself, and swered. " to open the house door only with the chain Years trailed wearily on. Long years of across.”
taming down her proud heart, laden almost beAfter balancing between reconciliation and yond its strength ; long years of battle with the prosecution, a divorce suit was decided on by her wild sorrow of her childless life; long years, husband; expressly undertaken “because his when the mother's soul stood in the dark valley wife would not return to him." By this suit, he of death, where no light and no hope were. But attempted to prove that an old friend and patron, the criminal law swept on the beaten track, and to whom he owed his present position and his no one stopped to ask over whose heart this great former fortune, was the seducer of his wife. But car of our Juggernaut passed. The mother-she the case broke down; and the jury, without to whom God has delegated the care of her leaving their box, gave a verdict in favor of the young--she on whom lie shame and dishonor if defendant—a gentleman of known honor and she neglect this duty for any self-advantage whatestablished reputation. The crowded court rang soever ; she-a man's wife, and a man's lawful with cheers, such as it had rarely echoed to be- chattel—had no right to those who had lain before, as the verdict was pronounced ; friends in neath her heart, and drunk of her life. The law every degree of life, old friends and friends in this respect is now changed; mainly, because hitherto strangers, supported her with their this sufferer labored hard to show its cruelty. warmest sympathy; and if the readiness of the The misery inflicted upon her maternal love will world in general to be kindly honest, and to set be endured by no other English mother. right a proved wrong, could have acted directly Pecuniary matters came in next, as further upon the law, or could have essentially served entanglement of this miserable web. By the her without its aid, she would have had ample marriage settlements a certain sum of money had redress. But it is the peculiar hardship of such been secured to the children; the principal of a case that no aid but the aid of the law itself, which, neither the husband nor his creditors remote and aloof, can give redress. The feelings could touch. It belonged to the children and may be soothed, but the wrongs remain. the mother, emphatically and exclusively. After
And now began the most painful part of the many years of separation, the husband applied to sad epic, whose initiatory hymns had glided into his wife for her consent to his raising a loan on a dirge: a dirge for ruined hopes and wasted this trust-fund for the improvement of his estate. youth, for a heart made desolate, and a home She promised that consent, if he, on his part, destroyed ; a dirge for the shattered household would execute a deed of separation, and make gods and the fleetings of the fond visions of her her a certain allowance for life. Hitherto she heart.
had mainly supported herself by authorship. The suit was ended, and the law had pro- After the demur of reducing the allowance she nounced the accused wife innocent. But the law proposed, the agreement was entered into ; and also pronounced the innocent mother without a she then gave her consent that a loan should be claim to her own children. They were the raised on the trust-fund for her husband's sole father's property ; absolutely and entirely. He advantage. She received in exchange a deed placed them with his sister, a lady who shared drawn up and signed by a lawyer and her hushis propensity for corporeal punishment; and band, securing her the stipulated five hundred who flogged the eldest child, a sensitive and pounds a year for life. Three years after, her delicate boy of six years old, for receiving and mother died, and the husband inherited the lifereading a letter from his mother. “To impress interest of his wife's portion from the father. At on his memory,” she said, “ that he was not to the same time a legacy of almost five hundred a receive letters from her!” The yet younger was year, carefully secured from her husband by stripped naked and chastised with a riding-whip. every legal hindrance possible, fell to her also Yet the law held back these children from their from her mother. When her husband knew of mother's love, and gave them to the charge of this legacy, he wrote to her, telling her that he those who thought their education fitly carried would not now continue his former allowance, on by such means. Time passed, and still the which had been secured, as she believed, by soquarrel and the separation continued. By a lemn legal agreement. She objected to this small alteration in this same law of ours—this novel manner of benefiting by a legacy; and idol made by our hands, then deified and wor- refused to entertain the proposition of a reduction. shiped she was at length permitted to see her | Her husband quietly told her that she must either boys. But only at stated times, and at certain consent to his terms, or receive nothing ; when
she urged the agreement, he answered her with
STORM AND REST. the legal poetic fiction that, by law, man and A LEADEN cloud hung like a heavy canopy wife were one, and therefore could not contract H over the broad sky—so heavy and so dense, with each other." The deed for which she had that even the great wind which was bowing the exchanged her power over the trust-fund was a strongest trecs, and lashing the sea into boiling mere worthless piece of paper.
hills of foam, could not stir it; but still threatenThis shameful breach of contract was followed ing, scowling, of this same unchangeable leaden by another law-suit, where judgment was given hue, it spread immovable, as far as the eye could in open court, to the effect not only that the reach. It was an October day, bleak and chill, agreement in her behalf, signed by her husband with not even the last saddest lingerings of sumand a legal witness, was valueless according to mer—the fallen yellow leaves—remaining; for the that stanza of the marriage idyl which proclaims wild wind seemed to have swept them up in its that man and wife are one—not only that she arms, leaving the bare country even unnaturally had no claim on the allowance of five hundred a bare, and desolate, and cold. year; but that her husband could also seize Through the narrow streets of a seaport town, every fasthing of her earnings, and demand as on the east coast, round sharp corners, and in at his own the copyrights of her works and the opened doors, the wind was sweeping, driving in sums paid for them. No deed of separation had its headlong course all things before it, dashing been executed between them, and no divorce away the heavy rain which poured in dull torrents could be sued for by her ; for she had once from those dark clouds, or catching it upward for condoned or pardoned her husband, and had an instant only to fling it back again with greater 30 shut herself out from the protection of the force upon the swimming pavements. Even in laws.
the town, on such a day, few would venture out: And all this is in the laws; the laws which in the country round it would seem almost like throw a woman helplessly on the mercy of her madness to attempt it, for wind and rain were husband, make no ways of escape and build no plowing the earth together, and over the whole cities of refuge for her, and deliberately justify | extent of cultivated hill ground, spreading for her being cheated and entrapped. All these are miles along the coast, the mad hurricane was doings protected and allowed by our laws and raging. men stand by and say, “ It is useless to com- Yet there was one, and she but a young girl, plain. The laws must be obeyed. It is danger-who, defying rain and storm, heedless of the wild ous to meddle with the laws !"
blast, insensible to the bitter cold, had set out This is a true story ; those who run may read alone upon this dreary morning from her cottage it-have read it more than once, perhaps, before on the hill. And what is it that takes Annie Mornow. As an exemplification of some of the ton out on such a day as this? What is it that gravest wrongs of women, and as a proof how has thus blanched Annie Morton's cheek, and much they sometimes need protection even dulled her light, elastic step, and stolen the lustre against those whose sworn office it is to cherish of her bright blue eye, changing its merry laughand support them, it is very noteworthy, indeed, ter into this wild look of fear? in this country of Great Britain. Surely there “Mother, the thought haunts me like a dream! is work waiting to be done in the marital code Oh, mother, let me go down to the harbor, for of England! Surely there are wrongs to be re- I can't rest for thinking of him!” and half an dressed and reforms to be made that have gone hour ago, poor Annie had started suddenly up too long unmade! Surely we have here a right- from her seat in the cottage window, and half eous quarrel with the laws--more righteous than sobbing out these words, had flung herself upon many that have excited louder cries.
her bed-rid mother's neck, and burst into hysterie Justice to women. No fanciful rights, no un- tears. real advantages, no preposterous escape from “You foolish child, you've been sitting looking womanly duty, for the restless, loud, and vain ; out at that window till all sorts of fancies have no mingling of women with the broils of political come into your head,” Mrs. Morton answered her, life, nor opening to them of careers which Nature stroking the girl's brown curls softly, and speakherself has pronounced them incapable of following in the half-caressing, half-soothing tone one ing; no high-flown assertion of equality in kind; uses to a child. “Hush, dear, hush! Why, but simple justice. The recognition of their in- Annie, Harry will never come to-day." dividuality as wives, the recognition of their “He will, mother! He said he'd come-he natural rights as mothers, the permission to them said the Valentine would be sure to sail last to live by their own honorable industry, untaxed night. Oh, mother, I must go! If he should by the legal Right and moral Wrong of any come, and any thing happen to him, with me not man to claim as his own that for which he has there " not wrought-reaping where he has not sown, “Annie, Annie, you're a foolish woman! and gathering where he has not strewed. Justice You're a greater coward than I ever was. Why, to women. This is what the phrase means ; this what kind of a sailor's wife do you think you'll is where the thing is truly wanted; here is an make if you go on this way before you're ever example of the great Injustice done to them, and married at all? I'd be ashamed that Harry should of their maltrealment under the eyes of a whole see your pale, frightened face now!” she said, nation, by the Law.
I laughing to cover her own anxiety..
A faint wintery smile passed across Annie's lips, the voice rose even above the raging of the sea, too, but it vanished in a moment.
and there was no help there. They stood and “Oh, mother, isn't it natural to be frighten- gazed upon him till he sank, like people frozen ed ?" she said, “when we haven't met these two with horror. months and more; and to think of him coming A convulsive grasp was laid upon an officer's home in such a storm as this? I don't know arm who stood among the crowd, looking anxwhat's the matter with me,” she exclaimed hur- iously through his glass out to sea, and a stifled riedly; “I feel so strange, as if something-Oh, voice asked, mother, hark !-there's nine o'clock striking- “Was that the Valentine ?" I must go. It'll be an hour till I get to the The tone was so full of agony that, attracted by tower, and surely there'll be some news of the it, he turned round, and looking in the speaker's boat before then. Mother, dear,” and she bent face answered kindly, . down over the sick woman again. “Mother, “The Valentine ! No, my girl ; there are no dear, you won't cross me?"
tidings of the Valentine yet.” "I won't, dear; take your own way—though Her hand still held his arm: he felt the thrill it's a wild day for man or woman to be out—but that ran through her whole frame as he spoke. we're all willful enough when we're in love, Annie. “ Not the Valentine ?- not come yet! -Oh, So God bless you, dear, and send you back with my God!" she cried.' good news, and a lightened heart.”
| Her voice rang through the air, sounding so “Please God," poor Annie murmured; then strangely in its hysterical joy, amidst the bitter kissing the pale face tenderly, she went. cries of sorrow that were rising all around, that
It was a wild day, indeed, for a woman to be even the mourners turned, with half-reproachful out, but Annie never paused or hesitated. Wrap looks, to gaze on her. ped closely in her woolen cloak, with its hood “My poor girl, you had better go and take drawn round her face, she left the cottage on the shelter somewhere," the same officer said again, hill-side, and set boldly to breast the stormy wind, good-naturedly. “The Valentine mayn't be in which, beating in her face, disputed with her every for hours yet-not until the storm's over, perstep she took. On she went, scarcely feeling the haps ?" dashing rain around her, heeding so little on her “But she is due, Sir ?" Annie exclaimed. own account the fury of the storm. On she went, “Due?—why, yes--but in weather such as straining her eyes in vain to catch the outline of this we can't expect a vessel to be in at her ordia sail upon the great, wide, misty, foaming sea nary time. Come, come, my girl, don't be putting beneath her. So long each minute appeared-s0 a sad face upon it again ; go away home, and slow the progress that she made : each step that keep up a good heart," and he turned from her, she advanced her heart seemed to beat higher and readjusted his glass. to grow more sick beneath its fear and hope. With her head bowed down upon her bosom,
But at length a sobbing cry of agony burst Annie turned too, and deaf to the voices of disfrom her; for suddenly, breaking from the mist, tress around her, like one walking in a dream, she saw a vessel making for the pier-making for she threaded her way through the anxious crowd. it with terrible difficulty, for each wave on whose No one noticed her, no one spoke to her; all crest it rose, instead of bearing it forward, seem-eyes were stretched across the sea, all hearts ed only to crush it further back : yet still it bore were full, watching for those who might never on, hidden one moment, but rising again and come to them again. And still, wilder and wilder, again, still fighting desperately, unflinchingly, for the storm raged, higher and higher the frantic sea the battle was for life or death.
foamed up; still heavier and darker hung the Breathless, Annie rushed along the slippery, leaden clouds ; still thicker grew the misty vail streaming roads—her cloak no longer wrapped that lay upon the water. around her, but flying open to the wind; her Where no human voices reached her, away hands convulsively stretched out; her cheek as from the harbor, on the bleak cold shore, Annie pale as death; her tearless eyes fixed where she sat down to wait. The wind blew roughly over knew, though now as she came nearer to the her, the heavy rain beat on her face, but she town she could no longer see it, that the sea lay; wrapped her cloak around her, and did not heed for a passionate fear that she could not conquer them; she heeded nothing but the boiling waves had taken hold upon her-a sudden spasm of that were dashing at her feet, their spray someterror—a wild, fearful conviction that the vessel times leaping over her: covering her face then, struggling to gain the port was her lover's ship. as their thunder burst upon her, she would break
Wild as her figure was when she rushed upon into bitter sobs, wringing her hands, and calling the quay, no one heeded her, for there were figures out aloud in her distress. But no voice came to as wild, and hearts as despairing gathered there answer her, save the relentless, cruel, tempestbefore her; and even the cry which burst from her voice, which shrieked wilder and still wilder as she sprang into the crowd, scarcely caused an round her as the weary minutes passed. eye to turn upon her, for the air around was being Hour after hour, and no single speck on the rent with women's cries. The vessel had gained misty ocean any where to tell her that there still the pier, and had struck upon it, and gone down was hope ; no sign of sail or ship as far as the with her crew. One man was struggling in the eye could see. Her heart was sick within her; water still-struggling and crying out for help; her strength was failing, her faith was gone :