Timothy Shay Arthur, 1852
"I know a young lady who will suit you exactly."
"It's a fact. She is just the thing."
"Is she rich?"
"Worth a fortune — some fifty thousand dollars."
"Are you sure?"
"Certainly. Her father died about a year ago, and she was his only child. Her mother has been dead many years. The old man was well off, and his daughter received all of his property, and, as she is of age, she has it all under her own control."
"Is she pretty?"
"Just so-so. But that don't matter a great deal. Gold is beautiful."
"Exactly. And intelligent?"
"I've seen smarter girls. But that's all the better, you know."
"Yes. Well now, who is she? That's the next question."
"Her name is Margaretta Riston, and she is now living with an old aunt in Sycamore street."
"Are you acquainted?"
"Then be kind enough to introduce me forthwith. I must make a conquest of some rich heiress soon, or I shall have to run away, or petition for the benefits of the Insolvent Law."
"Tonight, if you choose."
"Very well — let it be tonight. There is no time to be lost."
"Suppose she won't accept you?"
"She must. I'm as good-looking a fellow as you'll find in a dozen; and I flatter myself that I have a smooth tongue in my head."
"Well, success to you, I say! But look here, Smith — if you succeed, I shall expect a premium."
"There'll be no difficulty about that, Perkins. But let me secure the prize first; and then say how much you'll want. You'll not find me the man to forget a friend."
"I'm sure of that," responded the other, laughing.
And then the friends shook each other's hands heartily, promising, as they parted, to meet early in the evening, preparatory to visiting the heiress.
"You would not have me suspicious of every young man who visits me!" said Margaretta Riston, in reply to a remark made by her aunt, on the same evening that the two young men had proposed calling on her.
"I would rather have you suspicious, or, rather, exceedingly watchful, than to be altogether off of your guard. Many dangers beset the path of a rich young girl like you. There are, and I am sorry to say it, too many young men in society, who are mere money-hunters — young men who would marry an heiress during the first hour of their acquaintance, and marry her, of course, only for her money."
"I can hardly believe that, aunt. And I am sure that no young men of my acquaintance are so selfish and mercenary!"
"In that assumption, lies a fatal error, believe me, my dear niece! Too many, alas! too many young girls have vainly imagined, as you do now, that, though there might be men of base characters in society, none such were of their acquaintances. These have awakened from their fatal error with the sad consciousness that they had become victims to their avarice. Rather suspect all until you have convincing evidence to the contrary, than remain unguarded until it is too late."
"But don't you see, aunt, how in this case I would do wrong to sincere and honest minds? And I cannot bear the thought of doing wrong to anyone."
"You do no wrong to anyone, my niece, in withholding full confidence until there is evidence that full confidence may be safely bestowed. In the present evil state of the world, involving, as it does, so much of false appearance, hypocrisy, and selfish motive — it is absolutely necessary, especially with one in your situation, to withhold all confidence, until there is unquestionable proof of virtuous principle."
"There is at least one young man, who visits here, that I think is above such mean suspicions," Margaretta said.
"So I think," the aunt replied.
"Whom do you mean, aunt?"
"I mean Thomas Fielding."
"Thomas Fielding! Well, he may be; but . . . "
"But what, Margaretta?"
"Oh, nothing, aunt. But I do not like Mr. Fielding so very much."
"Why not, child?"
"I can hardly tell. But there is no character about him."
"No character! Really, Margaretta, you surprise me. There is more character and principle about him, than about any young man who comes to this house."
"I cannot think so, aunt. He is too tame, dreary, and old-fashioned for me."
"Whom then did you mean?" the aunt asked, with an expression of concern in her tones.
"Why, Mr. Perkins, to be sure."
The aunt shook her head.
"I am afraid, Margaretta, that Mr. Perkins is a man of few good principles, but thoroughly selfish ones."
"How strangely you talk, aunt! Why, he is anything but a selfish man. I am sure he is the most gentlemanly, thoughtful, and polite man that visits here. He is much more attentive to others, in company, than Mr. Fielding; and that, I am sure, indicates a kinder regard for others."
"Not always, Margaretta. It may sometimes indicate a cold-hearted, calm assurance, assumed for selfish ends; while its opposite may be from a natural reserve or timidity of character."
"But you don't mean to say, surely, that Mr. Perkins is such a one as you intimate?"
"If I am correct in my observation, he is all that I have insinuated. In a word, he is, in my opinion, a mere money-hunter."
"I am sure, aunt, he is not so constant in his attentions as he was some time, ago; and, if he were merely a money-hunter, he would not, of course, abate those attentions."
"No — not unless he had discovered a richer prize."
"Indeed, aunt, you wrong him."
"I would be sorry to do so, Margaretta. But I do not form my opinions hastily. I try to look close before I come to conclusions. But I have stronger testimony than my own observations."
"What is that?"
"Why, I heard this morning that he is to be married in a few weeks to Harriet Pomeroy."
"Indeed, you must be mistaken, aunt," said Margaretta, suddenly rising to her feet.
"I presume not," was the quiet reply. "My information came almost direct."
The entrance of visitors now interrupted the conversation.
"Permit me to introduce my very particular friend, Mr. Smith," said the individual about whom the aunt and her niece were conversing, as he entered the handsome parlor of Mrs. Riston.
Mr. Smith and Mr. Perkins were, of course, received with great affability by Margaretta, who concealed the impression made upon her mind by the piece of information just conveyed by her aunt.
As for Mrs. Riston, she was studiedly polite, but gave the young men no very apparent encouragement. An hour soon passed away, and then the visitors retired.
"Well, Smith, what do you think of her?" asked Perkins, as the two gained the street.
"You're sure she's worth fifty thousand dollars?"
"Oh, yes. There's no mistake about that."
"But how do you know? This is a matter about which there should be no mistake."
"I got a friend to examine the transfer books of the bank where the stock is. Will that satisfy you?"
"You did? And pray why did you do that?"
"A strange question! but I'll tell you, as you seem dull. I had a notion of her myself."
"And why did you get out of the notion?"
"Because I saw another whom I liked better."
"She was richer, I suppose."
"How can you insinuate such a thing?" And Perkins laughed in a low, meaning chuckle.
"Ah, I perceive. Well, how much is she worth?"
"About a hundred thousand."
"Are you sure of her?"
"Certainly! The thing's all settled."
"You're a lucky dog, Perkins! But see here, what did you mean by the premium you talked of for bringing about a match between me and Miss Riston?"
"Oh, as to that, I was only jesting. But you haven't told me how you like the young lady yet."
"Oh, she'll do, I reckon," said Smith, tossing his head half contemptuously.
"Do you think you can secure her?"
"Easily enough. But then I must get her away as often as possible from that old churlish aunt. I didn't like her looks at all."
"That's clear. Well, she must be wide awake if I commence playing against her in real earnest. I can win any girl's affections that I choose."
"You have a pretty fair conceit of yourself, I see."
"I wouldn't give a cent for a man that hadn't. The fact is, Perkins, these girls have but one end in view, and that is to get married. They know that they have to wait to be asked, and, trembling in fear lest they shall not get another offer, they are always ready to jump eagerly at the first."
"Pretty true, I believe. But, Smith, don't you think Margaretta quite a fair specimen of a girl?"
"Oh, yes. And I have no doubt that I shall love her well enough, if she don't attempt to put on airs, and throw up to me that she was rich, and I poor. I'll never stand that."
"She'll not be so foolish, I presume."
"She'd better not, I can tell her, if she doesn't wish to get into hot water." And the young man laughed at his own half-in-earnest jesting.
"He's a very agreeable young man, isn't he, aunt?" said Margaretta, after the two young men had gone away.
"Who? Mr. Smith, as Mr. Perkins called him?"
"He has a smooth enough tongue, if that is any recommendation; but I do not like him. Indeed, he is far more disagreeable to me than his very particular friend, Mr. Perkins."
"Oh, aunt, how can you talk so! I'm sure he was very agreeable. At least, I thought so."
"That was because he flattered you so cleverly."
"How can you insinuate such a thing, aunt? Surely I am not so weak and vain, as to be imposed upon and beguiled by a flatterer!"
"Some men understand how to flatter very ingeniously; and, to me, Mr. Smith seemed peculiarly adept in the art. He managed it so adroitly as to give it all the effect — without its being apparent to the subject of his experiments."
"Indeed, aunt, you are mistaken. I despise a flatterer as much as you do. But I am sure that I saw nothing like flattery about Mr. Smith."
"I am sorry that you did not, Margaretta. But take my advice, and be on your guard. That man's motives in coming to see you, believe me, are not the purest in the world."
"You are far too suspicious, aunt; I am sure you are."
"Perhaps I have had cause. At any rate, Margaretta, I have lived longer in, and seen much more of the world than you have, and I ought to have a clearer perception of character. For your own sake, then, try and confide in my judgment."
"I ought to confide in your judgment, aunt, I know; but I cannot see as you do in this particular instance."
"Then you ought rather to suspect the correctness of your own observation, when it leads to conclusions so utterly opposed to mine."
To this Margaretta did not reply. It seemed too much like giving up her own rationality to assent to it, and she did not wish to pain her aunt by objections.
On the next evening, a quiet, intelligent, and modest-looking young man called in, and spent an hour or two with Margaretta and her aunt. He did not present so imposing and showy an exterior as did Mr. Smith, but his conversation had in it far more substance and real common sense. After he had retired, Margaretta said —
"Well, it is no use; I cannot take any pleasure in the society of Thomas Fielding."
"Why not, my dear?" asked the aunt.
"Oh, I don't know; but he is so dull and wearisome."
"I am sure he doesn't seem dull to me, Margaretta. He doesn't talk a great deal, it is true; but, then, what he does say is characterized by good sense, and evinces a discriminating mind."
"But don't you think, aunt, that my money has some influence in bringing him here?" And Margaretta looked up archly into her aunt's face.
"It may have, for anything I can tell. We cannot see the motives of anyone. But I would be inclined to think that money would have little influence with Thomas Fielding, were not everything else in agreement. He is, I think, a man of fixed and genuine principles."
"No doubt, aunt. But, still, I can't relish his society. And if I can't, I can't."
"Very true. If you can't enjoy his company — then you can't. But it cannot be, certainly, from any lack, on his part, of gentlemanly manners, or kind attentions to you."
"No; but, then, he is so dull. I would die if I had no other company."
"Indeed, my child," Aunt Riston said, in a serious tone, "you ought to make the effort to esteem and relish the society of those who have evidently some stability of character, and whose conversation has in it the evidence of mature observation, combined with sound and virtuous principles, more than you do the flippant nonsense of mere ladies' men, or selfish, unprincipled fortune-hunters."
"Indeed, aunt, you are too severe on my favorites!" And Margaretta laughed gaily.
But to her aunt there was something sad in the sound of that laugh. It seemed like the knell of long and fondly cherished hopes.
"What do you think of Margaretta Riston, Mary?" asked Thomas Fielding of his sister, on the next evening after the visit just mentioned.
"Why do you ask so seriously, brother?" the sister said, looking into his face, with a smile playing about her lips.
"For a serious reason, sister. Can you guess what it is?"
"Perhaps so, and therefore I will not tax your modesty so far as to make you confess it."
"Very well, Mary. And now answer my question. What do you think of Margaretta?"
"I know nothing against her, brother."
"Nothing against her! Don't you know anything in her favor?"
"Well, perhaps I do. She is said to be worth some fifty thousand dollars."
"Nonsense, Mary! What do I care about her fifty thousand dollars? Don't you know anything else in her favor?"
"Why, yes, brother. As long as you seem so serious about the matter, I think Margaretta a fine girl. She is amiable in disposition — is well educated — tolerably good-looking, and, I think, ordinarily intelligent."
"Yes. Certainly there is nothing extraordinary about her."
"No, of course not."
"Well, brother, what next?"
"Why, simply, Mary, I like Margaretta very much. The oftener I see her, the more am I drawn towards her. To tell the plain, homely truth, I love her."
"And don't care anything about her fifty thousand dollars?"
"No Mary, I don't think I do. Indeed, if I know my own feelings, I would rather she were not worth a dollar."
"And why so, Thomas?"
"Because, I fear the perverting influence of wealth on her mind. I am afraid her position will give her false views of life. I wish to marry for a wife — not for money. I can make money myself."
"Still, Thomas, Margaretta is, I think, an innocent-minded, good girl. I do not see that she has been much warped by her position."
"So she seems to me, and I am glad that my sister's observation corroborates my own. And now, Mary, do you think I have anything to hope?"
"Certainly, I do."
"But why do you think so?"
"Because Margaretta must have good sense enough to see that you are a man of correct principles, and an affectionate disposition."
"Still, she may not see in me that which interests her sufficiently to induce her to marry me."
"That is true. But I don't believe you have anything to fear."
"I cannot help fearing, Mary, for the simple reason, that I find my affections so much interested. A disappointment would be attended with extreme pain."
"Then I would end suspense at once."
"I will. Tomorrow evening I will declare my feelings."
It was about nine o'clock on the next evening, while Mary Fielding sat reading by the center-table, that her brother entered hastily, and threw himself upon the sofa, a deep sigh escaping him as he did so.
"What ails you, Thomas?" inquired his sister, rising and approaching him.
But he made no reply.
"Tell me, what ails you, Thomas?" Mary urged, taking his hand affectionately.
"I have been to see Margaretta," the brother at length replied, in as calm a voice as he could assume.
"And she has not, surely, declined your offer?"
"She has, and with what appeared to me an intimation that I loved her money, perhaps, better than herself."
"Surely not, brother!"
"To me it seemed so. Certainly she treated lightly my declaration, and almost jested with me."
The sister stood silent for some moments, and then said —
"The woman who could thus jest with you, Thomas, is unworthy of you."
"So I am trying to convince myself. But the trial is a deeply painful one."
And painful it proved for many weeks afterwards. But, finally, he was enabled to rise above his feelings.
In the mean time, Mr. Smith had wooed the heiress successfully, and, in doing so, his own heart had become interested, or, at least, he deceived himself into the belief that such was the case. He no longer jested, as he had done at first, about her money, nor declared, even to his friend Perkins, how strong an influence it had upon his affections. More serious thoughts of marriage had caused these selfish motives to retire out of sight and acknowledgment; but still they existed and still ruled his actions.
The aunt, when Margaretta made known to her that the young man had offered himself, was pained beyond measure, particularly as it was evident that her niece favored the suitor.
"Indeed, Margaretta," said she, earnestly, "he is not worthy of you!"
"You judge him harshly, aunt," the niece replied. "I know him to be all that either of us could wish for."
"But how do you know, Margaretta?"
"I have observed him closely, and am sure that I cannot be deceived in him."
"Alas! my child, if you know nothing beyond your own observation, you are far more ignorant than you suppose. Be guided, then, by me — trust more to my observation than your own. He is not the man to make you happy! Let me urge you, then, to keep him at a distance."
"I would do injustice to my own feelings, aunt, and to my own sense of right, were I to do so. In a word, and to speak out plainly, he offered himself last evening, and I accepted him!"
"Rash girl!" exclaimed Mrs. Riston, lifting her hands in astonishment and pain, "how could you thus deceive your best friend? How so sadly deceive yourself?"
"Do not distress yourself so, aunt. You have mistaken the character of Mr. Smith. He is, in every way, a different man from what you think him. He is altogether worthy of my regard and your confidence. I do not wish to deceive you, aunt; but you set yourself so resolutely against Mr. Smith from the first that I could not make up my mind to brave your opposition to a step which I was fully convinced it was right for me to take."
"Ah, Margaretta! You know not what you are doing. Marriage is a far more serious matter than you seem to think it. Look around among your young acquaintances, and see how many have wedded unhappily. And why? Because marriages were rushed into from a fond impulse — vainly imagined to be true affection. But no true affection can exist where there is not a mutual knowledge of character and qualities of mind. Now what do you know, really, about Mr. Smith? What does he know about you? Why, nothing! I need no stronger evidence of his unworthy motives, than the fact of his having offered himself after a three weeks' acquaintance. What could he know of you in that time? Surely not enough to be able to determine whether you would make him a suitable wife or not — enough, perhaps, to be satisfied of the amount of your wealth."
"You are unjust towards Mr. Smith," said Margaretta, half indignantly.
"Not half so unjust as he is towards you. But surely, my niece, you will reconsider this whole matter, and take full time to reflect."
"I cannot reconsider, aunt. My word is passed, and I would suffer anything rather than break my word."
"You will suffer your heart to be broken, if you do not."
"Time will prove that!" and Margaretta tossed her head with a kind of mock defiance.
"Have you fixed your wedding day?" the aunt asked after a few moments' silence.
"Not yet. But Mr. Smith wants to be married in three weeks."
"In three weeks!"
"Yes; but I told him that I could not get ready within a month."
"A month! Surely you are not going to act so foolishly?"
"I cannot see the use of waiting, aunt, when we are engaged and all ready. And I can easily get ready in a month."
To this the aunt did not reply. She felt that it would be useless.
After this, Mr. Smith was a regular daily and evening visitor. He perceived, of course, the unfavorable light in which the aunt viewed him, and in consequence set himself to work to break down her prejudices. He was kind and attentive to her on all occasions, and studied her peculiar views and feelings, so as to adapt himself to her. But the old lady had seen too much of the world, and was too close an observer to be deceived.
At the end of the month from the day of their engagement, Margaretta Riston was a happy young bride.
One week after their marriage, Mr. Smith entered the room of his friend Mr. Perkins, with a pale, agitated countenance.
"What in the world has happened, Smith?" the friend asked, in alarm.
"Haven't you heard the news?"
"No. What news?"
"The United States Bank has failed!"
"It is true. And every dollar of Margaretta's money is locked up there!"
"Really that is dreadful! I would sell the stock immediately for what it will bring, if I were you."
"So I wish to. But neither my wife nor her aunt are willing. And so soon after our marriage I do not like to use positive measures."
"But the case is urgent. Delay may sweep from you every dollar."
"So I fear. What shall I do then? To have the prize in hand, and find it thus suddenly escaping, is enough to drive me mad!"
"Sell in spite of them. That's my advice."
And the half crazy young fortune-hunter hurried away. In a few minutes after, he entered the room where sat his wife and her aunt in gloomy and oppressed silence.
"The best thing we can do, Margaretta, I am satisfied, is to sell," he said, taking a chair beside his wife. "The stock is falling every hour, and it is the opinion of competent judges that it will not be worth five dollars in a week."
"And other competent judges are of a very different opinion," replied the aunt. "Mr. Day, who was Margaretta's guardian, has just been here, and says that we must not sell by any means; that after the panic is over, the stock will go up again. The bank, he assures us, is fully able to meet every dollar, and still have a large surplus. It would be folly then to sell, especially when there is no urgent demand for the money."
"There is more urgent demand than you know of," Mr. Smith said to himself with bitter emphasis. He added aloud —
"Mr. Day may know something about the matter; but I am sure he is mistaken in the calculation he makes. It is said this morning, by those who know, that the assets of the bank are principally in worthless stocks, and that the shareholders will never get a cent. My advice, then, is to sell immediately; a bird in the hand, is worth two in the bush."
But both the wife and aunt objected; and so soon after marriage he felt that positive opposition.
Steadily day after day, the stock went down, down, down — and day after day Mr. Smith persisted in having it sold. The fact was, debts now met him at every turn, and it was with the utmost difficulty that he could prevent his wife and her aunt from guessing at the nature of the many calls of his "particular friends." Money he must have, or he could not keep out of prison long, and the only chance for his obtaining money was in the sale of his wife's stock. But at the rates for which it was now selling, the whole proceeds would not cover the claims against him. At last, when the stock had fallen to twenty dollars, Mrs. Smith yielded to her husband's earnest persuasions, and handed him over the certificates of her stock, that he might dispose of them to the best possible advantage.
"Mr. Smith is late in coming home to his dinner," the aunt said, looking at the timepiece.
The young wife lifted her head from her hand, with a sigh, and merely responded,
"Yes, he is rather late."
"I wonder what keeps him so!" the old lady remarked, about five minutes after breaking the oppressive silence.
"I'm sure I cannot tell. I gave him my certificates of stock to sell this morning."
"You did? I am afraid that was wrong, Margaretta."
"I'm sure I cannot tell whether it is or not, aunt. But I've had no peace about them, night nor day, since the bank failed."
There was bitterness in the tone of Margaretta's voice, that touched the feelings of her aunt, and tended to confirm her worst fears. But she could not, now, speak out plainly, as she had felt constrained to do before marriage, and therefore did not reply.
For more than an hour did the two women wait for the return of Mr. Smith, and then they went through the form of sitting down to the dinner-table. But few mouthfuls of food passed the lips of either of them.
Hour after hour moved slowly by, but still the husband of Margaretta appeared not; and when the twilight fell, it came with a strange uncertain fear to the heart of the young wife.
"What can keep him so late, aunt?" she said, anxiously, as the lights were brought in.
"Indeed, my child, I cannot tell. I hope that nothing is wrong."
"Wrong, aunt? What can be wrong?" and Margaretta looked her aunt eagerly and inquiringly in the face.
"I am sure, my child, I do not know. Something unusual must detain him, and I only hope that nothing may be bad, either to him or yourself."
Again there was a deep and painful silence — painful at least to one heart, trembling with an undefinable sensation of fear.
"There he is!" ejaculated Margaretta springing to her feet, as the bell rang, and hurrying to the door before the servant had time to open it.
"Here is a letter for Mrs. Smith," said a stranger, handing her a sealed note, and then withdrawing quickly.
It was with difficulty that the young wife could totter back to the parlor, where she seated herself by the table, and with trembling hands broke the seal of the letter that had been given her. Her eyes soon took in the brief words it contained. They were as follow:
"Farewell, Margaretta! We shall, perhaps, never meet again! Think of me as one altogether unworthy of you. I have wronged you — sadly wronged you, I know — but I have been driven on by a kind of evil necessity to do what I have done. Forget me! Farewell!"
This note bore neither date nor signature, but the characters in which it was written were too well known to be mistaken.
Mrs. Riston saw the fearful change that passed over the face of her niece as she read the note, and went quickly up to her. She was in time to save her from falling to the floor. All through the night she lay in a state of insensibility, and it was weeks before she seemed to take even the slightest interest in anything that was going on around her.
It was about three o'clock of the day that Mr. Smith got possession of the certificates of deposit, that he entered the room of his friend, Perkins. He looked agitated and irresolute.
"Well, Smith, how are you?" his friend said. "Have you sold that stock yet?"
"Indeed! So you have triumphed over your wife's scruples. Well — what did you get for it?"
"Only eight thousand dollars."
"That was a shameful sacrifice!"
"Indeed it was. And it puts me into a terrible difficulty."
"What is that?"
"Why, I owe at least that sum; and I cannot stay here unless it is paid."
"That is bad."
"Out of the fifty thousand I could have gotten — it would not have been felt. But I cannot use the whole eight thousand, and look Margaretta and her aunt in the face again. And if I don't pay my debts, you see, to prison I must go!"
"You are in a narrow place, truly. Well, what are you going to do?"
"A question more easily asked, than answered. Among my debts are about four thousand dollars that must be paid whether or not."
"They are debts of honor!"
"Ah, indeed! that is bad. You will have to settle them."
"Of course!" Then, in a loud and emphatic whisper, he said —
"And I have settled them!"
"Indeed! Well, what next? How will you account to your wife for the deficiency?"
"Account to my wife!" and as he said this, he ground his teeth together, while his lip curled. "Don't talk to me in that way, Perkins, and cause me to hate the woman I have deceived and injured!"
"But what are you going to do, Smith?"
"I am going to leave with the balance of the money in my pocket. I can't stay here, that's settled; and I'm not going away penniless, that's certain. Margaretta's old aunt has money enough, and can take care of her — so she's provided for. And I've no doubt but that she'll be happier without me than with me."
"Where are you going?"
"Somewhere down South."
"At four o'clock this afternoon."
"Well, success to you. There are some rich widows in the Southern country, you know."
"I understand; but I'm rather sick of these operations. They are a little uncertain. But good-bye, and may you have better luck than your friend Smith."
"Good-bye." And the two young men shook hands cordially and parted.
At four o'clock Mr. Smith left for Baltimore — not the happiest man in the cars by a great deal.
Since that day, the confiding young creature who had thrown all into the scale for him — has neither seen him nor heard from him. To her the light of life seems fled forever. Her face is very pale, and wears an expression of heart-touching misery. She is rarely seen abroad. Poor creature! In her one sad error — what a lifetime of sorrow has been involved!
Of all conditions in life, that of the young heiress, with her money in her own possession, is peculiarly dangerous. The truly worthy shrink often from an offer of their affection, for fear their motives may be thought self-interested; while the mercenary push forward, and by well-directed flattery, which does not seem like flattery, win the prize they cannot appreciate.
There are such base wretches in society. Let those who most need to fear them, be on their guard.
It is now but a few weeks since Thomas Fielding, who was despised and rejected by Margaretta — married a sweet girl in every way worthy of him. She is not rich in worldly goods, but she is rich in virtuous principles. Thomas lacks nothing — and he can cherish his wife "as a holy prize."