and disinterested. As they wished still to reside in the house of their birth, and which was endeared to them by a thousand sacred recollections of scenes of happiness and of sorrow, he did not object; and though he very prudently watched over their expenditure, and attended to those domestic arrangements which their youth and inexperience rendered them unable to regulate, yet he supplied Miss Hutchinson with an ample allowance of money to meet the current expenses of the family. His interference, though minute, was not felt to be unpleasant, as he paid deference to her opinion, and on all occasions respected and consulted the delicacy of her feelings.

Little Henry, who had received the rudiments of a classical education under the instruction of the amiable curate of the parish, was still suffered to remain under his instruction,-going and returning with the regularity of former times, while, during the intervals of scholastic hours, he enjoyed the society of his sister at home. Thus two years of their life passed by, without any changes; the deep impressions produced on their minds by the awful visitations of death, had become fainter; and they began to indulge the hope, that they might enjoy some portion of happiness, even though both father and mother had forsaken them. At the expiration of this period, the uncle proposed sending Henry to a distant boarding-school, which for some time Miss Hutchinson resisted; but, judging from the arguments which were advanced in recommendation of the measure, that it might be advantageous to her brother, she reluctantly consented. She was now left alone; and she felt the solitude of her condition. When Henry was with her, she had a companion in her evening walks, or when remain

ing at home; and as he was an intelligent and affectionate boy, he contributed, by his inquisitive and facetious disposition, to keep up the vivacity of her spirit, and prevent her from dwelling on the sad and painful events of her history. But when he left her, she sunk into a state of deep mental depression, retired from

"The world shut out,"

as one who, having lost the object of her supreme regard, disdains to notice inferior beauties. The uncle perceiving this, advised her to break up her establishment, and come and reside with him; which, after long hesitation, she did. Having no suspicion of his honour, and feeling herself estranged from all the gay scenes and gay pursuits of life, she submitted herself almost entirely to his control; and at first thought she felt more happy under his roof, than when she had to superintend the affairs of her own household; but she soon began to repent of the steps she had taken, and would have returned to the habitation of her father's house, but her wily uncle had effectually prevented this by letting it to a gentleman for a term of years. She occupied her own separate apartments, and was attended by her faithful servant, who had nursed her in the days of her infancy, and was supplied with as much money as she required; but she was now obliged to ask, sometimes more than once, before she could obtain it, and often had the mortification to hear from her aunt some allusion, and references to the extravagant habits, in which young persons, now-a-days, indulge themselves.

The first vacation her brother Henry was allowed to spend with her; but when the second came, the danger and inconvenience of travelling in the

winter sesaon, which her uncle assigned why he should spend it at school. She ventured to remonstrate, which offended him; and a breach having now been made between them, her situation became more and more uncomfortable. Possessing an energy of spirit, which when once avowed, rose to the level of her difficulties, she resolved that he should not spend the vacation alone; and ordering a chaise she drove off to see him, leaving her servant to occupy her apartments during her absence. This instance of heroic decision, which awakened her passions and feelings, and made her feel greater than herself, alarmed her uncle, and induced him, on her return, to apologize, and express his regret that he had been the innocent occasion of wounding her. He now became very obsequious, and endeavoured, by multiplying his attentions to allay that suspicion which he was conscious he had excited in her breast; but she felt too indignant to accept them, with her usual urbanity of manners, and though she did not tell him that she doubted his honour and integrity, she made him think that she did.

At length, seeing more freehold property advertised for sale, which her father had purchased some years before his death, she demanded an explanation of the reason, and was informed, that as every thing was to be disposed of to make provision for an equitable division of the property between her and her brother, he judged it expedient to avail himself of the present opportunity to sell it, as land fetched such a good price. This reason would have satisfied her at a former period, but it did not satisfy her now, and therefore being apprehensive that her uncle was acting an unjust part, she went and consulted an attorney who made the will, and

who was an old friend of her father's. A scene of iniquity now opened upon her, which if she had not been previously roused, might have proved fatal. Her uncle had sold out all the funded property, and called in several large mortgages with which he decamped to America-the land of freedom, and the resort of crime-leaving only the wreck of a large fortune for the unprotected orphans, who if it had not been for this timely interference would have been left pennyless,-dependant on the charity of others, or the resources of their own industry.


"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."-John xiv. 2.

[ocr errors]

Ir was upon a beautiful evening in June, that three friends, whom I shall now only distinguish by the initials A. B. and C. met in the garden of C. for an hour of friendship. From the arbour where they sat there was a lovely home-view, beautifully deversified by wood and meadow and water; the golden buttercup thickly studded the pasture-the cattle were lying down in the long shadows the mellow blackbird sung at intervals -the woods showed alternately deep shade and lights highly relieved-and the river meandered in tranquillity and transparency. Such a scene, at such a season, is the very personification of poetry, and C. happened to quote these lines by Bowdler, upon the death of his sister:


"And often at the close of even,
I can breathe a silent prayer,

And lift my streaming eyes to heaven,
And see her spirit there."

"That," said A. "is doubtless beautiful poetry, but poetry loses for me all its power when it is not combined with truth. The heaven of the Hebrews was beautiful, and that of the Greeks still more so; but science has chased those imaginations from sober minds, and they ought not now to have a place in poetry."

"I must regret," replied B. "that you, my friend, continue to reject that hope, which is not only exhilirating but true; that mind must be dark where heaven is not; and I would have you to possess the peace which that hope inspires, and which gives to enjoyment an increased brilliance drawn from permanence; the hope of immortality is beyond all price! I must also regret, that by speaking of heaven as a place, theologians have given too much cause for philosophers to object; but the best divines describe heaven as a state, and not as a place,-place has to do with matter, but pure spirit in a state without form or space."

During this conversation, C., who had regarded his infidel friend with a look of pity and sorrow, and felt but little satisfied with the reply offered, then addressed them both:

"With you, my friend, who unhappily are not satisfied upon those points from which I draw my greatest consolation, I hope much of what I am about to say will have weight; but with you, who look as well as myself for another and a brighter country, all I am about to say may not be thought unworthy of consideration.

"For heaven, indeed, I hope; and that too in its usually accepted sense of an abode of glorified spirits and glorified bodies,-not the refinement of a state only, which I cannot comprehend, but actually a place: there, wherever it may be, are the

« VorigeDoorgaan »