Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Rill to its apparent source at Craddock Court, nearly a hundred years ago.

The adventures of Damien Vere, on the continent, would be long to tell, or how he made his escape to England, arriving at Beefield, as the rector said, in a state of the utmost penury of worldly things, but endowed with that best of all riches, the gift of a renewed heart, as has been already more than hinted at. As the rector added, he came and humbled himself before his father, an austere old man ; and being forgiven, set himself right earnestly to help him in his school, for the old man had become very infirm. Soon after this he was blessed in finding a helpmate for himself, and one approved by his heavenly Father, who became, as already stated, the parent of many children.

“ But see," continued the rector, "see those smiling, sparkling young women below, and hear how they sing for very gladness. And well they may, for treading in their father's steps, there is reason to believe that they are the children of God by faith in Christ; and his love shed abroad in their hearts pours itself forth again in every conceivable and possible act of kindness to their fellow creatures; and their brothers are equally blessed.”

"And you all seem to be blessed-you seem to be a most happy people here in this little Eden ?" remarked the ladies.

There are no Edens on earth, dear friends," replied the rector ; “where man is, in the flesh, there can be no paradises now. Nevertheless, I am assured that the pure stream of life which Aows from the fountain of divine and infinite love, which has been opened here, passing to us, along the course of years, through many earthen vessels, will continne to multiply itself in many channels, carrying fertility from age to age, till time shall be no more, to countless tracts hitherto barren and unprofitable.

“ Long ago, very, very long," continued the venerable clergyman, “ did I, myself, with old William Vere, contend and wrestle with human depravity, with every force of jewish law and threatenings which we could bring against it, I, in my place and he in his; nor am I aware, to speak as men speak, that we won one soul, whilst we terrified many, and drove many from us."

But after a while came the younger Damien Vere, led, as we believe, into all truth, through the immediate ministry of that young lady after whom he named his eldest daughter, and so manifesting in his conduct the beauty of holiness, aš to assimilat: to the image of his Great Example all with whom he came into contact. Thus redeeming love, as manifested through scripture, in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, were, and are, the perpetual theme of his discourses, and every action of his life appears to be under the control of this sense of infinite and omnipotent love.

“ But, ladies, you shall see him ; we will visit him in his schoolroom-when he calls his little people together to partake of the sirloin and pies which are prepared for them - you shall hear him tell them wherefore this day- the second of August - is always kept by him and them, as being the first day he entered into the service of Miss Loveday; and you shall hear him speak of the shipwreck, and of the confidence inspired by her Redeemer in the breast of the doomed daughter, and you shall hear the whole assembly sing the beautiful hymn of which she had been heard to utter the first line a minute only before her human voice was silenced for ever :

“ Jesus, Saviour of my soul,

Let me to thy bosom fly,
While life's raging billows roll,

While the tempest still is high.
“Hide me, O my Saviour, hide !

Till the storm of life is past,
Safe into the haven guide me,

O receive my soul at last!
“ Other refuge have I none,

Hangs my helpless soul on Thee,
Leave, oh leave me not alone,

Still support and strengthen me !
“Thou of love the fountain art,

Freely let me taste of Thee,
Spring thou up within my heart,

Rise to all eternity.” The narrator stops not here because the subject is exhaustedfor who can exhaust a Living Rill — but independently of other circumstances, because the especial little stream in question-so long confined within narrow limits—has broken bounds, and is fast passing beyond the utmost reach of human supervision.

M. M.S.

THE THREE WORDS.

Several months had rolled by, a severe winter had been passed through, and Spring was again spreading her smiles around us, when I received a letter from Mr. Singleton, which not a little surprised and delighted us. The purport of it was to request that I would visit him in the coming June on business of great urgency-so urgent indeed, that he said he had given me more than a month's notice, in order to obviate the possibility of a disappointment. To give in brief the substance of his communication, his niece was to be married; and as he was anxious to do all honor to the occasion, I was to be present at her special request.

“ There then!” said my wife, without giving me time to conclude the reading of her letter—" there, then, Charles, your fine gentlemanly young friend, is at last disposed of—the happy man is the stranger you met with at Springclose. I knew it would be so. I said it would-I was quite positive from the first."

“Well, well, my dear," I answered quietly, “I don't doubt that you were-ladies always are—but unfortunately for your theory, the bridegroom's name is Marsham. Let me read what Mr. Singleton says of him. 'Emma's choice has fallen on a Mr. Marsham, an early friend of her's, a gentleman of very large property, and possessing what is still better, a sound head and heart. I believe him to be a sincere and thorough christian; and I think I shall be able to satisfy you when we meet that he is not at all likely to become a disciple of your neighbour at Springclose. There, Charlotte, what do you say to that ?".

“Say to it! Why I say nothing ; except that it does not alter my opinion.”

There is something so far-seeing in the mental constitution of the gentler sex, and they are so often right when probabilities are against them, that I had scarcely any inclination to enter into controversy on the subject. I had often endeavored, without success, to solve some perplexing problem by dint of induction and argument, which merely by a shrewd guess-a kind of happy intuition, had been cleared up on the part of my wife, that I declined to urge farther the point at issue.

“Oh! said I,” laughing, “it does'nt alter your opinion ? Well, we shall see when the time comes.” But I forgot that there were few things more annoying to those who are quite positive, than to wait till this time really does come. - “ As to that, Charles, I see no need of waiting," said my wife, “ but go on and let me know all about this Mr. Marsham. What is he-doctor-lawyer-parson-or what? I hope he is no soldier -no 'gallant colonel' whose only gallantry consists in leading off at balls : no 'great captain,' whose only great 'ess lies in his connections and in his purse, by means of which he has obtained promotion ?"

“ If I dared be as positive as yourself, Charlott", I should be quite certain upon the point. He is neither 'captain, nor colonel, nor knight of arms.' But having only the authority of Mr. Singleton, I must speak cautiously."

“ Come, none of your insinuations. And pray what makes his authority so much better than mine? I tell you, Charles-I am quite sure of it—that Emma is to be married to Mr. Somerland. But go on with your letter."

“Our young friend," I continued, reading as requested, “ was, until recently, a merchant of good standing in the Mediterranean trade, a partner in the old and well known firm of Seaborne and Co., but has now retired with a splendid fortune, recently augmented by the death of a very wealthy relative in the West of England.”

“ So far," said my wife, “things look favorably; and I am sure we are both agreed in wishing every thing for Emma, that even her ardent imagination can wish for herself. But I am 80 disappointed that his name's not Somerland.”

The letter having been discussed seriatim, with many comments and conjectures, was presently laid aside, and a full month allowed to go by before it was again referred to. At the close of that period it was consulted, with reference to the arrangements necessary for my journey, and on a bright, balmy, morning in the leafy month of June, I set off on my pleasurable visit. There were already three out of the four inside places filled, and I made up the complement. Every one knows what a day in June is, if the weather be but seasonable; but every one does not know in these days of railway travelling what it is

to be packed inside a full stage on a cross country road with windows closed, knees invidiously grinding those of our opposite neighbour, and legs and feet benumbed by the high pressure of stowing them away where no room is provided for them. In old-fashioned luxuries of this description I had little sympathy; for, unlike many of our modern grumblers, I did not consider railway trains and penny postage, amongst the crying sins of our age and country. My anticipations were however so bright, that on this occasion I thought nothing of a slight temporary inconvenience, and rolled on towards my destination in good spirits, which were not a little heightened by observing the eccentricities of my travelling companions. I sat opposite to a comely good-humoured dame, who, with her daughter, a young lady of about eighteen, filled that side of the coach, as our doctors say, “to repletion.” Not that the daughter was of more than ordinary size, but she was so bewrapped and wadded, that she looked more like an animated pillow than a human being. She was withal a good looking fresh-colored girl, the very last that I should have thought to need such unusual care. Yet scarcely a minute passed without some precautionary hints from her mother as to the necessity of avoiding the draught from the window, or keeping her throat well covered up. For herself she was occupied in caulking the closed pane with her cambric handkerchief, apparently indifferent to the sufferings of another gentleman and myself, who would have given any thing to have breathed the fresh air of heaven, instead of being boxed up in a moving cell of six-feet square, on a bright morning in the early summer.

My daughter is so delicate,” said the lady, apparently conjecturing that we were entitled to know why the windows were kept close—“our medical man says that she must have warmth, and keep clear of draughts.”

I knew that medical men were inexorable, and did not therefore venture an opinion, but contented myself with my own thoughts. There is at all events this satisfaction in communing with oneself-our verdict is always unanimous, if it be not decisive ; and I felt quite satisfied that in this case the doctor had found it far easier, and more profitable to himself, to minister to the indolence and self-indulgence of his patient, than to

« AnteriorContinuar »