Scene--A spacious drawing-room, with music-room adjoining.

Katharine. What are the words ?

Eliza. Ask our friend, the Improvisatore ; here he comes. Kate has a favour
to ask of you, Sir ; it is that you will repeat the ballad [Believe me if
all those endearing young charms.--EHC's ? note] that Mr. ____ sang so

Friend. It is in Moore's Irish Melodies ; but I do not recollect the
words distinctly. The moral of them, however, I take to be this :--

Love would remain the same if true,
When we were neither young nor new ;
Yea, and in all within the will that came,
By the same proofs would show itself the same.

Eliza. What are the lines you repeated from Beaumont and Fletcher, which my
mother admired so much ? It begins with something about two vines so close
that their tendrils intermingle.

Friend. You mean Charles' speech to Angelina, in The Elder Brother.

We'll live together, like two neighbour vines,
Circling our souls and loves in one another !
We'll spring together, and we'll bear one fruit ;
One joy shall make us smile, and one grief mourn ;
One age go with us, and one hour of death
Shall close our eyes, and one grave make us happy.

Katharine. A precious boon, that would go far to reconcile one to old
age--this love--if true ! But is there any such true love ?

Friend. I hope so.

Katharine. But do you believe it ?

Eliza (eagerly). I am sure he does.

Friend. From a man turned of fifty, Katharine, I imagine, expects a
less confident answer.

Katharine. A more sincere one, perhaps.

Friend. Even though he should have obtained the nick-name of
Improvisatore, by perpetrating charades and extempore verses at
Christmas times ?

Eliza. Nay, but be serious.

Friend. Serious ! Doubtless. A grave personage of my years giving a
Love-lecture to two young ladies, cannot well be otherwise. The
difficulty, I suspect, would be for them to remain so. It will be
asked whether I am not the `elderly gentleman' who sate `despairing
beside a clear stream', with a willow for his wig-block.

Eliza. Say another word, and we will call it downright affectation.

Katharine. No ! we will be affronted, drop a courtesy, and ask pardon for
our presumption in expecting that Mr. ___ would waste his sense on two
insignificant girls.

Friend. Well, well, I will be serious. Hem ! Now then commences the
discourse ; Mr. Moore's song being the text. Love, as distinguished
from Friendship, on the one hand, and from the passion that too often
usurps its name, on the other--

Lucius (Eliza's brother, who had just joined the trio, in a whisper to the
Friend). But is not Love the union of both ?

Friend (aside to Lucius). He never loved who thinks so.

Eliza. Brother, we don't want you. There ! Mrs. H. cannot arrange the
flower vase without you. Thank you, Mrs. Hartman.

Lucius. I'll have my revenge ! I know what I will say !

Eliza. Off ! Off ! Now, dear Sir,--Love, you were saying--

Friend. Hush ! Preaching, you mean, Eliza.

Eliza (impatiently). Pshaw !

Friend. Well then, I was saying that Love, truly such, is itself not
the most common thing in the world : and that mutual love still less
so. But that enduring personal attachment, so beautifully delineated
by Erin's sweet melodist, and still more touchingly, perhaps, in the
well-known ballad, `John Anderson, my Jo, John,' in addition to a
depth and constancy of character of no every-day occurrence, supposes
a peculiar sensibility and tenderness of nature ; a constitutional
communicativeness and utterancy of heart and soul ; a delight in the
detail of sympathy, in the outward and visible signs of the sacrament
within--to count, as it were, the pulses of the life of love. But
above all, it supposes a soul which, even in the pride and summer-tide
of life--even in the lustihood of health and strength, had felt
oftenest and prized highest that which age cannot take away and which,
in all our lovings, is the Love ;----

Eliza. There is something here (pointing to her heart) that seems to
understand you, but wants the word that would make it understand itself.

Katharine. I, too, seem to feel what you mean. Interpret the feeling for

Friend. ---- I mean that willing sense of the insufficingness of the
self for itself, which predisposes a generous nature to see, in the
total being of another, the supplement and completion of its own
;--that quiet perpetual seeking which the presence of the beloved
object modulates, not suspends, where the heart momently finds, and,
finding, again seeks on ;--lastly, when `life's changeful orb has
pass'd the full', a confirmed faith in the nobleness of humanity, thus
brought home and pressed, as it were, to the very bosom of hourly
experience ; it supposes, I say, a heartfelt reverence for worth, not
the less deep because divested of its solemnity by habit, by
familiarity, by mutual infirmities, and even by a feeling of modesty
which will arise in delicate minds, when they are conscious of
possessing the same or the correspondent excellence in their own
characters. In short, there must be a mind, which, while it feels the
beautiful and the excellent in the beloved as its own, and by right of
love appropriates it, can call Goodness its Playfellow ; and dares
make sport of time and infirmity, while, in the person of a
thousand-foldly endeared partner, we feel for aged Virtue the
caressing fondness that belongs to the Innocence of childhood, and
repeat the same attentions and tender courtesies which had been
dictated by the same affection to the same object when attired in
feminine loveliness or in manly beauty.

Eliza. What a soothing--what an elevating idea !

Katharine. If it be not only an idea.

Friend. At all events, these qualities which I have enumerated, are
rarely found united in a single individual. How much more rare must it
be, that two such individuals should meet together in this wide world
under circumstances that admit of their union as Husband and Wife. A
person may be highly estimable on the whole, nay, amiable as a
neighbour, friend, housemate--in short, in all the concentric circles
of attachment save only the last and inmost ; and yet from how many
causes be estranged from the highest perfection in this ! Pride,
coldness, or fastidiousness of nature, worldly cares, an anxious or
ambitious disposition, a passion for display, a sullen temper,--one or
the other--too often proves `the dead fly in the compost of spices',
and any one is enough to unfit it for the precious balm of unction.
For some mighty good sort of people, too, there is not seldom a sort
of solemn saturnine, or, if you will, ursine vanity, that keeps itself
alive by sucking the paws of its own self-importance. And as this high
sense, or rather sensation of their own value is, for the most part,
grounded on negative qualities, so they have no better means of
preserving the same but by negatives--that is, but not doing or saying
any thing, that might be put down for fond, silly, or nonsensical
;--or, (to use their own phrase) by never forgetting themselves, which
some of their acquaintance are uncharitable enough to think the most
worthless object they could be employed in remembering.

Eliza (in answer to a whisper from Katharine). To a hair ! He must have
sate for it himself. Save me from such folks ! But they are out of the

Friend. True ! but the same effect is produced in thousands by the too
general insensibility to a very important truth ; this, namely, that
the MISERY of human life is made up of la