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THE BACHELOR RECLAIMED;
A SKETCH FROM REAL LIFE.
66 So, you are determined not to marry ?"
- In the first place, I never expect to be able to support a wife according to my ideas of comfort. In the second place, I have no hope of meeting a woman who will sym. pathise sufficiently with my feelings and views, to be a congenial companion. Thirdly, I cannot bear the idea of adopting as constant associates the relations of her I may love, and fourthly, I consider housekeeping and all the details of domestic arrangements, the greatest bore in existence.”
This colloquy took place between two young men, in the garden of one of the fashionable hotels at Saratoga. It was a sultry afternoon, and they had retired under the shade of an apple-tree, to digest their dinner, which pro. cess they were facilitating by occasionally puffing some very mild, light-brown Havana segars.
The last re
marks were uttered in a very calm and positive tone, by McNiel, a philosophical and quiet gentleman, who had a most sensible theory for everything in life. Among other things, he took great pleasure in the conviction that he thoroughly understood himself. The first time his interest was truly excited by a member of the gentler sex, he had acted in the most extravagant manner, and barely escaped with honor from forming a most injudi. cious connection. To guard against similar mishaps, he had adopted a very ingenious plan. Being uncommonly susceptible to female attractions, he made it a rule when charmed by a sweet face, or thrilled by a winning voice, to seek for some personal defect or weakness of character, in the fair creature, and obstinately dwell upon these imperfections, until they cast a shade over the redeeming traits, and dissolved the spell he feared. When this course failed, he had but one resource. With Falstaff, he thought discretion the better part of valor, and deliberately fled from the allurements that threatened his peace. Thus he managed not to allow love to take permanent possession, and, after various false alarms and exciting vigils, came to the conclusion that no long siege or sudden attack would ever subdue the citadel of his affections,
But McNiel had so braced himself in a spirit of resistance, that he had made no provision against the un. conscious lures of beauty. He could chat, for hours, with a celebrated belle, and leave her without a sigh; he could smile at the captivating manners which overcame his fellows. Regarding society as a battle-field, he went thither armed at all points, resolved to maintain his self-possession, and be on the watch against the wiles of woman. He had seen lovely girls in the draw. ing-room, followed their graceful movements in the dance, heard them breathe songs of sentiment at the piano, and walked beside them on the promenade. On these occasions, he coolly formed an estimate of their several graces, perfeetly appreciated every finely-chiselled nose and tempting lip, noted with care the hue and expression of the eye, but walked proudly away at parting, murmuring to himself, “ all this I see, yet am not in love."
But who can anticipate the weapon that shall lay him low, or make adequate provision against the inexhaustible resources of love?
McNiel had sat for a week at table, opposite an invalid widow and her daughter. He had passed them potatoes not less than a dozen times, and helped the young lady twice to cherry-pie. The only impression he had derived from their demeanor and appearance, was, that they were very genteel and quiet. On the morning after his conversation in the garden, he awoke just before sunrise, and found himself lying with his face to the wall, in one of the diminutive chambers in which visitors to the Springs are so unceremoniously packed. His eyes opened within six inches of the plaster; and he amused himself for some minutes, in conjuring the cracks and veins it displayed, into imaginary forms of warriors and animals. At length his mind reverted to himself, and his present quarters. “Well, I've been here just a fortnight,” thus he mused, " and a pretty dull time I've had of it.
Day after day, the same stupid routine. In the morning I swallow six glasses of Congress water at the spring, with the hollow eyes of that sick minister from Connecticut glaring on me like a serpent, and the die-away tones of that nervous lady from Philadelphia, sounding like a knell in my ears. I cannot drink in peace for those everlasting Misses Hill, who all three chatter at once, and expect me to be entertaining and talkative so early in the morning, with my stomach full of cold liquid, and a long dull day in perspective! Then comes break. fast. The clatter of plates, the murmur of voices, the rushing of the black waiters, and the variety of steams, make me glad to retreat. I find a still corner of the piazza, and begin to read; but the flies, a draught of air, or the intrusive gabble of my acquaintances, utterly prevent me from becoming absorbed in a book. It has now grown too warm to walk, and I look in vain for Dr. Clayton, who is the only man here whose conversa. tion interests me. I avoid the billiard-room because I know who I shall meet there. The swing is occupied. The thrumming on the piano of that old maid from Providence, makes the saloon uninhabitable. They are talking politics in the bar-room. The very sight of the newspapers gives me a qualm. I involuntarily begin to doze, when that infernal gong sounds the hour to dress. No matter ; any thing for a relief. Dinner is insuffera. ble; more show and noise, than relish and comfort. How gladly I escape to the garden and smoke ! That reminds we of what I told Jones, yesterday, about mat.