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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 130.djvu/170

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CARITA.

where it has been preserved, but it is incapable of being transplanted to a foreign soil. Even those who maintain that the ultimate solution of those agrarian difficulties which we may ere long have to face is to be found in the principle of agricultural co-operative association, must admit that the mir is a rude, primitive instrument for the exercise of co-operative effort. In this, as in all other social questions, each nation must work out for itself a solution in accordance with its social organization and with the traditions, the habits, and the spirit of the people. Russia has, however, in preserving her communal institutions, perhaps stolen a march on western Europe, for with the commune as a basis, voluntary agricultural or industrial associations may easily be created.




From The Cornhill Magazine.

CARITA.

BY MRS. OLIPHANT.

CHAPTER III.

HONEYMOONING.

The real honeymoon is not always a delightful moment. This, which sounds like heresy to the romantic, and blasphemy to the young, is a fact which a great many people acknowledge readily enough when they have gone beyond the stage at which it sounds like an offence to the wife or to the husband who is supposed to have made that period rapturous. The new pair have not the easy acquaintance with each other which makes the happiness of close companionship; perhaps they have not that sympathy with each other's tastes which is almost a better practical tie than simple love. They are half afraid of each other, they are making discoveries every day of new points in each other's characters, delightful or undelightful as may be, which bewilder their first confidence of union; and the more mind and feeling there is between them, the more likely is this to be the case. The shallow and superficial "get on" better than those who have a great deal of excellence or tender depth of sentiment to be found out. But after the pair have come to full acquaintance; after they have learned each other from A B C up to the most difficult chapter; after the intercourse of ordinary life has borne its fruit; there is nothing in the world so delightful as the honeymooning which has passed by years the legitimate period of the honeymoon. Sometimes one sees respectable fathers and mothers enjoying it, who have sent off their children to the orthodox honeymoon, and only then feel with a surprised pleasure how sweet it is to have their own solitude à deux, to be left to themselves for a serene and happy moment; to feel themselves dearer and nearer than they ever were before. There is something infinitely touching and tender in this honeymooning of the old. James Beresford and his wife, however, were not of these. They were still young, and of all the pleasures they had there was none equal to this close and unbroken companionship. They knew each other so well, and all their mutual tastes, that they scarcely required to put their intercourse into words; and yet how they would talk! about every thing, about nothing, as if they had just met after a long absence, and had thoughts to exchange on every subject. This is a paradox, but we are not bound to explain paradoxes which are of the very essence of life, and the most attractive things in it. It had been the habit of these two to go everywhere together. Mrs. Beresford had not the prejudices of an English female Philistine. She went where her husband wanted to go, fearing nothing, and trotted about with him high and low, through picture-galleries and old churches, to studios, even behind the scenes of the operas, and through the smoke-clouds of big ateliers. Nothing came amiss to her with him by her side. It is almost the only way in which a woman can enjoy the freedom of movement, the easy locomotion of a man. Mrs. Beresford went away quite cheerfully, as we have said. She forgot or put away her mysterious terrors. She addressed herself to all the ordinary enjoyments which she knew so well. "We shall never be so free again," she said, half laughing, half with a remote, infinitesimal pang. "We shall have to go to the correct places and do the right things when Cara is with us." "We must give up bric-a-brac," she said afterwards. "Cara must not grow up acquainted with all those dusty back premises; her pretty frocks would be spoiled, and her infantine sincerity. If she had heard you bargaining, James, for that Buen Retiro cup! Saying, 'It is naught, it is naught,' and then bragging of the treasure you had found as soon as it was out of the dealer's hands."

"Well," he said, with a shrug of his shoulders. "I only do as other people