He knows that she will expect to see him smoke or wear some of these delectable articles, and he knows, too, what a penance that will prove to himself. No; present giving must be followed in prudent ways. But few men can be trusted to buy a hat for their wife, and it is much safer never to try to do so, though the bravest man I know paid seven guineas for one in Vienna, and brought it home to his wife in London. It would be wiser to hand the money for the purchase to the pleased recipient, or at least to purchase presents at a shop in an accessible position, and to make the condition that they may be exchanged if not approved.
Few things are more favourable to the prosperity of affection than that thoughtful watchfulness over our comfort and convenience which is testified by gifts, however small, that tend to save us trouble, time, and mental worry. To show our love in these ways is better and more eloquent than the most fervid [rhapsodies. The outlay may be but a few pence, but the influence may be incalculable. The days of our life are brightened by these tokens of loving care; and, after all, what is there in all this world, with its boundless riches and its innumerable joys, that can outweigh the affection we are fortunate enough to inspire ?
The home atmosphere is agreeably influenced by small attentions. There are days, as Longfellow said in "Hyperion," when the "fire will not burn on our hearths." And in every temperament, even the sunniest, there are moods of greyness, when cheerfulness is overcast. There are cloudy days in almost every week, and it is worth some trouble to change the dull fire into a cheering blaze, the cloudy aspect into one of sunny brightness. And it is very rarely impossible, or even difficult, to work these changes in the moral atmosphere of the home.
The husband who thinks for his wife, and the wife who devotes her best attention to the welfare of her husband, and shows it in even the smallest of ways, are building up a fabric of peace and joy and affection which forms quite the highest ideal of married happiness.
By " Madge " (Mrs. Humphry)
One of the most interesting Royal weddings in Spain was that of Princess Ena of Battenberg, granddaughter of the late Queen Victoria, with King Alfonso XIII.
The sun shone warmly down on the streets of Madrid. King Alfonso motored to El Pardo, where the bride was staying, and at a very early hour they attended Mass together.
After breakfasting together with the bride's mother, Princess Henry of Batten-berg, Princess Ena, clothed in white, but with a blue feather in her hat, entered an electric brougham with King Alfonso, who was in admiral's uniform.
On arrival at the Ministry of Marine, shortly after eight o'clock, the bride went to dress, Queen Maria Christina arranging the bridal veil. Our handsome English Princess, tall, fair, and graceful, looked superb in her wonderful silver embroideries and draperies of priceless lace. A tiara of diamonds and pearls overtopped the wreath of orange-blossom in her abundant hair, and a priceless pearl necklace adorned her beautiful neck.
The stately procession which preceded the
King's carriage passed through streets crowded with excited people. Red and yellow - the Spanish colours - were everywhere, on the Venetian masts, in the flags, and amongst the floral decorations. Every house had its draped balcony, either with tapestries, or red and yellow cloth.
The King, looking extremely happy, and boyishly excited, acknowledged the greetings of the populace in his usual genial way. Half an hour later the procession of the bride, somewhat smaller than that of the King, passed along the same streets, likewise preceded and followed by cavalry. The church of San Jeronimo was the scene of the ceremony. It is small and dark, but for this occasion was lighted with electric lamps, of which there were many thousands. The aisle and chancel were covered with fine carpets, and the entire church was decorated with flowers.
Gathered closely together, space being somewhat limited, there was a picturesque assembly, including practically every uniform of Europe, diplomatic and military. The canopy under which both bride and bridegroom walk in Spanish marriages is white and gold. Under it walked King Alfonso, four of the greatest nobles in the land bearing the canopy. Then followed a wait of half an hour, the king looking rather thoughtful, and a trifle impatient, sitting erect in his throne chair. At last came the notes of "God Save the King," and Princess Ena entered. She passed up the aisle beneath the canopy, closely holding the hand of Queen Maria Christina, her mother following half a pace behind on her left.
The King and Queen of Spain, in the gorgeous state coach drawn by eight cream-coloured horses, returning to the Royal Palace,
Madrid, after their marriage ceremony
A Touching Episode
King Alfonso and his bride knelt before the altar, which had previously been converted into a bank of flowers, and from which rose the Crucifix. After the lapse of a moment or two, while engaged in prayer, King Alfonso rose to his feet with that impulsive movement to which we have all become accustomed in this youthful monarch, and, passing behind his bride, went to his mother, stooped over her, and kissed her hand. Princess Ena, seeing this, followed his example, left her place, and kissed Princess Henry, her mother, who shed tears. This little episode was, in fact, extremely touching.
The Royal pair having again resumed their places, the short, impressive ceremony began. It was followed by the nuptial Mass, conducted by the Archbishop of Toledo and the Bishop of Nottingham, who, on the previous evening, had received the bride's confession. It will doubtless be remembered that Princess Ena had changed her faith in view of her approaching marriage.
The Royal couple now left the altar, and proceeded hand in hand to the dais, where they remained seated, a focus for all eyes, while the choral portions of the service were rendered magnificently by the choir. It was a wonderful sight. A little below them stood the Queen-mother, next to her chair of state, clad in her beautiful majestic dress and jewels, and on either side knelt the heralds, in their gorgeous uniforms.
The music finished, the newly-married pair walked arm-in-arm to a place close by, where a beautiful old monastery had once stood, a ruined cloister being almost the only remaining vestige of it. Here the marriage register was signed, the King having chosen this spot a few days before the wedding. On a table, covered with crimson cloth, stood the necessary implements. The corner of the cloisters had been screened off with fine tapestries of world-wide renown, on which were depicted scenes from Don Quixote.
The bridal procession was then formed to return to the church, the Prince of Wales (afterwards King George) closely following the bride and bridegroom and the Queen-mother. Then came the Princess of Wales (Queen Mary), and the Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria. When the church was reached, the guests dispersed according to strictest rules of Spanish etiquette and precedence, the latter being reversed in this instance. Those of lowest rank passed first in couples before the dais, bowing low and curtseying to the bride and bridegroom, now seated in their chairs of state. Each couple passed directly out of the church after having made their reverence. The Prince and Princess of Wales were the last to leave, with the exception of the Queen-mother; and, when she had made her deep curtsey to her son and his bride, the two latter walked down the church under the canopy, and drove off to the Palace in a coach drawn by eight cream-coloured horses, with nodding white plumes. The crowd cheered incessantly, the joy-bells rang, cannons boomed, flags waved, and the red and yellow flowers and streamers made a wonderful spectacle in the sunshine.
Then, two or three minutes later, as will be recollected, a dastardly outrage was attempted upon this happy and smiling couple, whose bravery and self-possession, with their sudden change from joy and brightness to a scene of suffering and cruelty, was remarkable. An equerry almost dragged the Royal couple from their carriage, and hurried them into another coach. It was a miraculous escape, and the eventful day will for ever be marred to the King and Queen of Spain by the memory of the innocent victims killed or sadly injured by the bomb that was intended for them.
Notwithstanding this outrage, the brave young couple showed themselves to the people on arrival at the Palace, when they were greeted with a storm of cheers. On the following day they drove through the streets of Madrid without escort, trusting only to the chivalry of their people. Nor was this trust misplaced, for the populace formed a guard of honour and prevented any harm coming to their King and his young Queen.