Heartsease or Brother's Wife HTML version

Chapter II.18
Oh! woman is a tender tree,
The hand must gentle be that rears,
Through storm and sunshine, patiently,
That plant of grace, of smiles and tears.
The height of the season was over, and London was beginning to thin. Lady
Elizabeth Brandon had accepted invitations for a round of visits to her friends and
relations, and Violet thought with regret how little she had seen of her and
In fact, that unfortunate party at Mrs. Bryanstone's had been a sacrifice of the
high esteem in which she had once been held. Emma, with the harshness of
youthful judgments, could not overlook the folly that had hazarded so much for
the sake of gaiety; and was the more pained because of the enthusiasm she had
once felt for her, when she had believed her superior to all the world. She
recollected her love-at-first-sight for the pretty bride, and well-nigh regarded the
friendship as a romance of her girlhood. She did not blame poor Violet, for no
more could have been expected than that so simple a girl would be spoiled by
admiration, and by such a husband. She should always be interested in her, but
there could be no sympathy for deeper visions and higher subjects in one
devoted to the ordinary frivolities of life. Violet owned she could not understand
her; what could be more true?
So Emma betook herself more and more to her other friend, lamented over
present evils, made visionary amendments and erected dreamy worlds of
perfection, till she condemned and scorned all that did not accord with them.
Lady Elizabeth would rather have seen her daughter intimate with Violet.
Mistaken though that party was, it was hard measure, she thought, utterly to
condemn a girl hardly eighteen. She could understand Violet--she could not
understand Miss Marstone; and the ruling domineering nature that laid down the
law frightened her. She found herself set aside for old-fashioned notions
whenever she hinted at any want of judgment or of charity in the views of the
friends; she could no longer feel the perfect consciousness of oneness of mind
and sufficiency for each other's comfort that had been such happiness between
her and her daughter; and yet everything in Theresa Marstone was so excellent,
her labours among the poor so devoted, and her religion so evidently heartfelt,
that it was impossible to consider the friendship as otherwise than an honour to
Lady Elizabeth could only feel that she should be more at ease when she was
not always in dread of interrupting a tete-a-tete, and when there was no longer
any need to force Emma into society, and see her put on that resigned
countenance which expressed that it was all filial duty to a mother who knew no
better. Moreover, Lady Elizabeth hoped for a cessation of the schemes for the
Priory, which were so extravagant as to make her dread Emma's five-and-
twentieth year.