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Fisherman's Luck Henry van Dyke

Lovers and Landscape

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DECIDUOUS, indeed? Cold, unpleasant, botanical word! Rather would I prognosticate for the lovers something perennial,

"A sober certainty of waking bliss, common about it. It was his habit to succeed, and all the rest of us were hardened to it.

When he married Cornelia Cochrane, we were consoled for our partial loss by the apparent fitness and brilliancy of the match. If Beekman was a masterful man, Cornelia was certainly what you might call a mistressful woman. She had been the head of her house since she was eighteen years old. She carried her good looks like the family plate; and when she came into the breakfast-room and said good-morning, it was with an air as if she presented every one with a check for a thousand dollars. Her tastes were accepted as judgments, and her preferences had the force of laws. Wherever she wanted to go in the summer-time, there the finger of household destiny pointed. At Newport, at Bar Harbour, at Lenox, at Southampton, she made a record. When she was joined in holy wedlock to Beekman De Peyster, her father and mother heaved a sigh of satisfaction, and settled down for a quiet vacation in Cherry Valley.

It was in the second summer after the wedding that Beekman admitted to a few of his ancient Petrine cronies, in moments of confidence (unjustifiable, but natural), that his wife had one fault.

"It is not exactly a fault," he said, "not a positive fault, you know. It is just a kind of a defect, due to her education, of course. In everything else she's magnificent. But she does n't care for fishing. "

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to survive the evanescence of love's young dream. Ellinor should turn out to be a woman like the Lady Elizabeth Hastings, of whom Richard Steele wrote that "to love her was a liberal education." Tom should prove that he had in him the lasting stuff of a true man and a hero. Then it would make little difference whether their conjunction had been eternally prescribed in the book of fate or not. It would be evidently a fit match, made on earth and illustrative of heaven.

But even in the making of such a match as this, the various stages of attraction, infatuation, and appropriation should not be displayed too prominently before the world, nor treated as events of overwhelming importance and enduring moment. I would not counsel Tom and Ellinor, in the midsummer of their engagement, to have their photographs taken together in affectionate attitudes.

The pictures of an imaginary kind which deal with the subject of romantic love are, almost without exception, fatuous and futile. The inanely amatory, with their languishing eyes, weary us. The endlessly osculatory, with their protracted salutations, are sickening. Even when an air of sentimental propriety is thrown about them by some such title as "Wedded" or "The Honeymoon," they fatigue us. For the most part, they remind me of the remark which the Commodore made upon a certain painting of Jupiter and lo which hangs in the writing-room of the Contrary Club.

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Fisherman's Luck
Henry van Dyke

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