Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The Abbey Farm—the place of my mother's birth—is close to the grave yard. It is a stone building, three stories high, with a sort of battlement around the top, and ten windows and a door-way in front. At the eastern end an addition has been made of two apartments, one above the other, in the same style, but only reaching half the height of the main building. The flower-garden in front is enclosed by a stone wall and wicket gate. A great part of the building is covered by a fine old pear tree, and a fig tree, bearing fruit, was spreading its healthy green leaves in one of the corners of the garden. The building itself is supposed to have formed the entrance to the abbey, which is reported to have been extensive, and one of the earliest erected in England.

Here, more than ninety years ago, our mother was born. We took a rough sketch of the building as we stood in the grave yard, and then ventured to ask for admittance. Our errand was a singular one. We were entire strangers, and had no means of introduction. No wonder then that, when we knocked at the door and told our errand, we were regarded with a little coolness by one of the sons of the present occupier, who continued to hold the door in his hand until we had told our tale. At length, as we thought rather reluctantly, he told us we might come in. And in we gladly went, though not a little discomposed by the apparently cold reception we had met with at a place where once we should have been welcomed gladly.

We found, on obtaining admission, that the Abbey Farm was now occupied by an elderly person and his wife, younger than himself. There were also two sons, and two females,

ance.

perhaps their wives, and some small children, and a servant girl or two. We repeated to the elderly female'the object of our visit. She was a person of good address, and of more refined manners than the rest. She told us that her husband, the old gentleman, was ill in bed, but that we were welcome to look over the buildings and various apartments.

The parlour, in which we now were, with its white board floor, and wainscoted walls, I recollected, though indistinctly. But the house-place and back kitchen I did not. Indeed I think time and want of due repair had altered their appear

But the old flooring of both remained. And here, thought I, almost one hundred years ago, my own mother's tiny feet first essayed to walk; here she spluttered her first scarcely understandable words; and here, by this fireside, she sat and rested after playing on the green or in that grave yard. And then I thought of my own childhood, in a place far off from this, and of her tender, watchful care over me in the days of my infancy. And now I am a grandfather, and therefore must soon make way for my children's children; and so, as from the beginning, one generation cometh and another goeth.

The younger son, not he who met us at the door, then conducted us round the back of the buildings, of which we also took a sketch; he pointed out to us a pump in the next field, as far as to which the ancient abbey once extended, that spot being supposed to be the site of its cooking establishment. He then invited us to follow him up the old stairs of à turret at the north-east of the building, from which we emerged by a ladder on a leaden roof surrounded by the stone battlements. Here were the full names of some of our family, and the initials of others, cut deep in the yielding but enduring metal. Looking around we had a splendid view. It was a fine day, and the prospect was quite exhilarating. There was the Medway, running up to Chatham, with numerous old hulks at anchor, dotting its smooth surface here and there with their bulky forms; and here was that wide estuary of the Thames and Medway called the Nore, stretching out eastward to the German Sea, with steamers from Ramsgate, Margate, and the Continent, Newcastle collier ships, and merchantmen of all nations, coming from and going to the greatest city upon earth.

It was a glorious sight.

When we descended, the wife of the old gentleman informed us that her husband would be glad to see us; so we followed her to a sleeping apartment at the further end of the building, where we found him in bed in a neatly-furnished room, the best in that respect we had yet seen, with two pleasant windows commanding views of the scenes we have described. He was an elderly man of nearly seventy, apparently, and had been, when younger, stout and good-looking. He seemed to suffer much from the pain of his affliction; but he talked to us cheerfully, telling us many tales of our uncle, with whom, he told us, he once lived as a servant boy. My brother made a few remarks of a religious character, which drew out a cheerful response from the sufferer, who freely told us that he had lived, like many others, the greater part of his life indulging worldly desires and pursuits, but now he saw their vanity and his own folly, and that he had been

taught to seek for forgiveness and salvation in Christ, and in him alone. We rejoiced to hear this. We had met with an unexpected pleasure ; and after reading to him the 14th chapter of John's Gospel we all joined in prayer, and, exhorting him to look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus unto eternal life, we bade him farewell.

Before parting with his wife we ascertained that she herself was a pious person ;. and that to her anxious solicitude for his eternal interests might be traced, under the Divine blessing, the change which he had happily experienced. They attended, she said, when able, the public worship conducted by the people called in these parts, “Bryanites,"-a kind of Primitive Methodists, whose preachers often visited and talked and prayed with them. We could not but feel thankful that such humble and useful men were at work in every part of our land, carrying with them the vital power of the religion of Jesus, especially into places where there is nothing else in the shape of religion, but cold and cheerless formalities which profit nothing.

Gratified that we had met with such a pleasing incident at the termination of our visit, we gathered a few flowers from the garden to show to our children at home; and taking another view, we expect the last, of the old time-worn building, we departed, and arrived safely in London the same evening.

And now, my young reader, I have only one word to add -“ Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."

[graphic]

A SCENE FROM "UNCLE TOM." THERE are very few boys and girls in England, of ten or twelve years

who have not read that wonderful book called “Uncle Tom's Cabin," which was written by a lady

of age,

« AnteriorContinuar »