Accordingly the period of spinsterhood is an important one for consideration. It is a question of individual mental attitude whether the period be viewed by the single woman as a preparation for possible marriage, or as the determining of a permanent condition of life. In either case the problem before her is to choose, like Mr. Hathaway's heroine, "the better part."
But they were especially incited by envoys from Egesta, who had come to Athens and invoked their aid more urgently than ever. The Egestaeans had gone to war with their neighbours the Selinuntines upon questions of marriage and disputed territory, and the Selinuntines had procured the alliance of the Syracusans, and pressed Egesta hard by land and sea.
If she really love Guy, then my present attentions can only be a source of unhappiness to her; if she do not, is there any prospect that from the bare fact of my attachment, so proud a family as the Callonbys will suffer their daughter to make a mere "marriage d'inclination?"
Stella went over that queer debate a good many times in the ten days that followed. It revealed Jack Fyfe to her in a new, inexplicable light, at odd variance with her former conception of the man. She could not have visualized him standing with one foot on the stove front speaking calmly of love and marriage if she had not seen him with her own eyes, heard him with somewhat incredulous ears.
Says she: "Didn't you hear what the whole world has heard, that the King of Ireland has a daughter who hasn't laughed for seven years, and he has promised to give her in marriage, and to give the kingdom along with her to any man who will take three laughs out of her." "If that is so," says Jack, says he, "it is not here I should be."
If she had reasoned about it, considering how brief life is, and how small can be any single contribution to a better social condition, she might have felt more strongly the struggle against nature, and the false position involved in the new idea that marriage is only a kind of occupation, instead of an ordinance decreed in the very constitution of the human race.
They were not necessary, for the Fräulein knew her ladyship's intentions with regard to her elder granddaughter, knew them, at least, so far as that Lesbia was intended to make a brilliant marriage; and she knew, therefore, that the presence of this handsome and altogether attractive young man was to the last degree obnoxious to the dowager.
He placed her by his side at table, and her modest bearing and courtesy pleased him so much that he said, "She is the one whom I wish to marry, and no other woman in the world." And after some days he united himself to her. The King, however, had a wicked mother who was dissatisfied with this marriage and spoke ill of the young Queen.
"The other witness, the lady friend, where is she?" "She can be found; but her action is not to be depended upon." "Has the gentleman himself no proofs of this marriage?" Mr. Clavering shook his head. "He cannot even prove he was in the town where it took place on that particular day." "The marriage certificate was, however, filed with the clerk of the town?" said I. "It was not, sir."
It points out the condition of society in this respect as accurately as a thermometer shows the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere. I might even go farther, and say, that in proportion as the original and real ends of marriage are answered, do the interests of religion also rise or sink.