Page:The Romance of Isabel, Lady Burton.djvu/94
The Romance of Isabel Lady Burton
"A sailor leaves his wife for years, and is supposed to be unfaithful to her by necessity. The typical sportsman breakfasts and goes out, comes home to dinner, falls asleep over his port, tumbles into bed, and snores till morning. An idle and independent man who lives in society is often a roué, a gambler, or drunkard, whose wife is deserted for a danseuse.
"One always pictures the 'proper man' to be a rich, fat, mild lordling, living on his estate, whence, as his lady, one might rise to be a leader of Almack's. But I am much mistaken if I do not deserve a better fate. I could not live like a vegetable in the country. I cannot picture myself in a white apron, with a bunch of keys, scolding my maids, counting eggs and butter, with a good and portly husband (I detest fat men!) with a broad-brimmed hat and a large stomach. And I should not like to marry a country squire, nor a doctor, nor a lawyer (I hear the parchments crackle now), nor a parson, nor a clerk in a London office. God help me! A dry crust, privations, pain, danger for him I love would be better. Let me go with the husband of my choice to battle, nurse him in his tent, follow him under the fire of ten thousand muskets. I would be his companion through hardship and trouble, nurse him if wounded, work for him in his tent, prepare his meals when faint, his bed when weary, and be his guardian angel of comfort—a felicity too exquisite for words! There is something in some women that seems born for the knapsack. How many great thoughts are buried under ordinary circumstances, and splendid positions exist that are barren of them —