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[583] for, with a brief interval, all through life he was master of his own time, and of his own mind.

However much we may praise marriage,—however sacred it may be as a divine institution,—however beautiful the fruits which so often grow in the garden of wedded love,—however indispensable the institution of family to the fair superstructure of civilization, and however great the blessings that flow from married life,—yet it is not so unmixed a blessing necessarily, as not to preclude in some instances, the acquisition of higher possessions than ordinarily consist with the married state.

This is especially so, in those cases where an early disappointment, for a long time, if not forever afterwards, diverts the mind from social pleasure to the cultivation of such pursuits as find their best realization only where they engross all the powers of the being. It is not only possible, but we constantly witness instances, where the highest powers for achievement in learning, in exploration, and discovery—and in many other fields of unselfish effort,—are brought into play for the good of mankind, that we never should have heard of, if such capacities and endowments had been engrossed in the endearments of love, and the sweet charities of home. It is altogether out of the question for any man to do full justice to the absorbing cares of married life,—filling all its duties completely, and generously,—to find time for doing his best through a lifetime at anything else. Love is exacting; and the instances are very rare in which women have been willing to waive devotion to themselves, that their husbands might accomplish some great purpose.

And therefore the mystery all vanishes, which has been supposed to hang over the infelicities of married life, among men of genius. It ought to be a matter of

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