Heartsease or Brother's Wife
Who is the bride? A simple village maid,
Beauty and truth, a violet in the shade.
She takes their forced welcome and their wiles
For her own truth, and lifts her head and smiles.
They shall not change that truth by any art,
Oh! may her love change them before they part.
She turns away, her eyes are dim with tears,
Her mother's blessing lingers in her ears,
'Bless thee, my child,' the music is unheard,
Her heart grows strong on that remembered word.
'Here we are!' said Arthur Martindale. 'Here's the lodge.' Then looking in his wife's
face, 'Why! you are as white as a sheet. Come! don't be a silly child. They won't
'I am glad I have seen Mr. John Martindale,' sighed she.
'Don't call him so here. Ah! I meant to tell you you must not "Mr. Martindale" me
here. John is Mr. Martindale.'
'And what am I to call you?'
'By my name, of course.'
'Arthur! Oh! I don't know how.'
'You will soon. And if you can help shrinking when my aunt kisses you, it will be
better for us. Ha! there is Theodora.'
'Gone! Fled in by the lower door. I wish I could have caught her.'
Violet held her breath. The grand parterre, laid out in regularly- shaped borders,
each containing a mass of one kind of flower, flaming elscholchias, dazzling
verbenas, azure nemophilas, or sober heliotrope, the broad walks, the great pile
of building, the innumerable windows, the long ascent of stone steps, their
balustrade guarded by sculptured sphinxes, the lofty entrance, and the tall
powdered footmen, gave her the sense of entering a palace. She trembled, and
clung to Arthur's arm as they came into a great hall, where a vista of marble
pillars, orange trees, and statues, opened before her; but comfort came in the
cordial brotherly greeting with which John here met them.
'She is frightened out of her senses,' said Arthur.
John's reply was an encouraging squeeze of the hand, which he retained,
leading her, still leaning on her husband's arm, into a room, where an elderly
gentleman was advancing; both her hands were placed within his by her
supporters on either side, and he kissed her, gravely saying, 'Welcome, my dear.'
He then presented her to a formal embrace from a tall lady; and Arthur saying,
'Well, Theodora! here, Violet,' again took her hand, and put it into another, whose
soft clasp was not ready, nor was the kiss hearty.
Presently Violet, a little reassured by Lord Martindale's gentle tones, ventured on
a survey. She was on the same sofa with Lady Martindale; but infinitely remote