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the features of their country. They evinced the infirmities and dispositions of other nations; and this appeared to be the chief attaint, that sullied the lustre of their state, and marred their happiness. Yet even this was not without a palliative and a corrective remedy: the laws were so good, and the administration of them so good, the punishment ensued so quickly on the misconduct, and the pardon so quickly on the effectual repression of the wrong, that order and peace were the general characters of the kingdom, notwithstanding the peccability of its subjects, and the frequent interruptions of their enjoyment by the obtrusion of their faults. I became after a time very anxious to know who these people were, and how they came to be in possession of so beautiful a territory, while all around it and about it, I have told, remained so bleak, so bare.

“ Tell me,” I said to one I thought could inform me, “ from what great line of ancestry these people are descended : the children, doubtless, of some pristine hero, who conquered for them this so pleasant land—or perhaps the generation of its first possessors, who, when the inhabitants of earth were few, found it and took possession, and by their industry and wisdom made it what it is, and bequeathed it with all its blessings to their posterity."

“This land,” he answered, “was not originally theirs who hold it now—their fathers did not conquer it, their progenitors did not possess it. They dwelt yonder in the lands you passed through.'

“Indeed,” I said, “most happy are they then in the exchange. But by what rich purchase is it theirs ?”

He answered, “It came not into their hands by purchase, but was the gift of our Sovereign Lord the King, who gave it to them, and their heirs for ever."

« In reward for some service to the crown?I asked.

“ None that I ever heard of,” he replied ; “it was confiscated property, and he gave it where he pleased.”

But who then, and where, are the original possessors


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of these lands? Do they who planted yonder vines not gather of their fruits ?”

“No,” he rejoined to me, “nor they who built those palaces may dwell in them-nor they who raised those altars may longer worship there. They were faithless, ungrateful traitors; they broke their pledged allegiance to the king, their persons were outlawed and attainted, their estates forfeited to the crown-and what the fathers made themselves, the children have continued."

“ What were the fathers before this happened?"

“The favourites of their prince—the best and bestbeloved of all his realm. The highest in dignity, and the most happy in estate, they came, every one of them, of royal blood, and could trace their ancestors by name to a period when ours were unheard of. Here, amid the blessings surrounding us, they lived secure, no man disputing their possession; for they indeed had been its first possessors, the sole inheritors from remotest ages.”

“ And what are the children now?

“Did you not see them,” he replied,” loitering in helpless indigence on the confines of our territory? Come and I will show you them.”

“We walked towards the way opposite to that by which I had entered ; and I observed, amid surrounding dreariness, a few miserable hovels, the abodes of the wretched, as their appearance told-humanity was pleased to see they were not more." " Are these all that remain ?" I said.

No," answered my companion, “but they are all that reside in this part of the kingdom, wandering round the dwellings that were once their own, but where now they enter not.”

I looked upon those miserable ruins of departed greatness, and saw, or fancied I saw, some traces of nobility in their features-but it was so mixed with an expression of sordid wretchedness, and abject acquiescence in disgrace, I could liken it only to the fallen

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statue, which the elements have discoloured, and the rank herbage overgrown, till we know not if we really perceive, or do but persuade ourselves of its former beauty. Misery, guilt, and deep-written melancholy there certainly were upon their sallow brows—in some, I could have believed it the melancholy of penitence and shame.

The children of royalty," I uttered as I looked at them, “ the certain claimants of that remote ancestry of which we are all so proud! And do they want for any thing?

It is likely they want for every thing," my guide replied, “ for they have no possessions here or any where; they dwell upon the waste; they have no country and no friends, and scarce a home-none but those miserable huts.”

I entered one of them. An aged man was sitting, older, I judged, in misery than in years—and yet his head was grey, as sorrow's often is before its time. The scanty hair upon his half-bared head was strikingly contrasted with the abundant fulness of the beard. His features were harsh; there was vice in them, and there was misery_but it was vice and misery that had done its work and gathered its reward, and purposed no more, and feared no more of either ; poverty, abandonment, and despair, were the predominant characters of every thing in him and about him; excepting that there lay about his feet a group of children, whose sunny foreheads and deep hazel eyes glowed with the vigour of fresh existence, as yet unquestioning of weal or woe. And even to these, the long, falling line of the nose and forehead, and the shadowing eyelid that half veiled the oblong eye, gave such an expression of pensive melancholy, one might have fancied they borrowed their features from their fate.

I spoke to the old man softly, and said his store ap peared a spare one; and something I said about the comdition of his house, and the contrast with their former

greatness, when in possession of the adjoining lands, which, as I was told, had been his fathers'.

• They tell me so,” he said, “but they were never mine; and I do not want them--for I am going to my fathers, from whom the rapacity of those strangers stole them." “ But I have heard that

you forfeited them by rebellion and were lawfully ejected.”

“ It may be so—but I know nothing about it. Whatever happened, happened before I was born. Compelled to toil my life through for my bread, sometimes to beg it, aye, and sometimes to steal it or forego it, I have had no time to inquire, and no one has cared to tell me."

" You do not seem so much concerned as I expected. Would you not like to enter again upon that pleasant land, and look at the dwelling of your fathers.”

No one has invited me. Concerned! Is the loathed spider, think you, concerned when you wipe it from your gilded cornices, and cast it out as a pollution? Is the hated reptile concerned when you put your foot upon it, as too vile to be sheltered even in your dust? What matters our concern?”

“ But your children-perhaps the time may come do

The old man raised himself from his seat, placed his back against the humid wall, his clenched hands resting upon the staff before him.

My children!” he interrupted me—“I have said I did not know-you say I do

I not care—but this I knowI love my children, miserable villain as I may be, and they are suffering, outcast, and despised. The land they dwell upon produces nothingthe returning seasons bear them nothing-look at them, unwashed, upshod, and starving. Perhaps if they knew what they are and what they might have been, they would try some means to be reconciled to their kingbut who is to instruct them?' Where are they to find him? They are born to misery, and they will die in ignorance, the innocent victims of their father's deeds,

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and no man comes to help them.” He paused a moment —then with increasing mournfulness resumed—" The boastful inhabitants of yonder place talk much of their abundance. Proudly exulting in their unbought possessions, they cast our forlorn condition in our teeth, and weighing our wretchedness against their bliss, bid us behold in it the issue of our fathers' crimes. I have said I do not know if it be true. I do not know if their land be as abundant as they say. How should I-they have never imparted to me of its fruits? I do not know if they are really the happy creatures they profess to be. How should I? They have never bidden me to their hearths. But if it be that their halls are so wide, and their harvests so rich, and their government so beneficent as they say-ah! surely there should be room enough for these few, poor children! But none will fetch them in." The father's voice grew hoarse with deepened emotion--the dark eyes of the children moistened with a tear; they knew not why, but that their father wept.

I could have wept too-but I replied, “ Perhaps the prince your fathers so much offended, forbad your reentrance on those lands—perhaps its new incumbents hold it on condition never to admit you-or surely they had not so long left you here unfriended.”

“ It may be so," the old man answered, fixing a look of lorn despair upon his children-paused a momentthen, as if a hopeful doubt had broken in upon his sadness, added, “I never heard it. I have heard he loved our fathers—they who love the fathers are not used to ' hate the children. It may be so—but when you go back

— again to yonder halls, if you see that there is any thing to spare--if there be room enough in their chambers and food enough on their boards, ask if they are forbidden to take in my few poor children." Readers, I have fulfilled my commission. If you were

, the possessors of some rich tenement, given by the sovereign, as in former times it often has been in our country, the forfeited property of his traitor subjects, to those

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