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their eyes and invited their hopes to heaven, only added strength to that promise which had bound their lives in one. And now, when a pledge lay before him, more tangible than emotions which only dwelt within, that there was a heart indissolubly linked to his when,
Glancing his love upon the love that gave
he beheld his Margaret, her for whom he had suffered so much, hanging with all a mother's tenderness over the babe, that owned him as its sire; say you, who have felt the amptitude of paternal bliss,
“ Was he not happy? Say, was he unblest?"
But time passed and Gertrude grew. No rose-bud of the mountains was fresher, no lily of the vallies fairer than she: clear as the heavens above her, when not a cloud wandered over the azure expanse, was Gertrude's brow; beaming meanwhile with all that thoughtless gaiety-we would call it innocence, were innocence, alas! longer applicable to any of a fallen race which so wins upon the heart, that while it scans the dark vicissitudes of life, contemplates with pleasure-pleasure of a mournful but of a sacred kind-the joys that rise and fade in such light and rapid succession, in the bosom of infancy and childhood. They are unconscious that storms are gathering in their horizon, for man is born to sorrow, and sorrow assuredly will be the portion of his cup below, but for a little they are hid from his view. Though the cloud is deepening, which is destined to involve in obscurity the sun that now sheds on them his' genial and reviving beams for a transient interval, meanwhile the ray is warm, and falls on them with an exhilarating influence.
Such were the sensations with which her parents often gazed on Gertrude. They had known, by sad experience, the vanity of all earthly expectations. Their own hearts had once beat buoyantly, and they did not forget the period—and how changefully had “ time and chance since happened to them !" when the world was deemed a paradise, and its gloomy theatre one wide arena of happiness. Their own hearts had once beat buoyantly, and they wondered not that Gertrude's should do so too. Nor did they frown apon the smile that brightened her cheek. Too well had they learnt that lesson, which told them it would yet be changed into a tear;, but they waited with resigned supplication the arrival of the moment fraught with the mournful mandate—they would not anticipate its flight. Often, thus, would they mingle theirs with her mirthful glee; with her becoming, as the poet has sweetly fabled of our elder sire, “ again a child in heart.” To them belonged to-day, and “unto it sufficient was the evil thereof." Their hopes and wishes were, indeed, far—far beyond all that life could furnish, or time provide, yet were there flowers, fresh and fragrant, growing along their way, and they did not disdain to pluck them as they passed.
Calmly now did many a moment glide onward while the fond and tender parents endeavoured to guide the feet of their infant into the .paths of peace. They had at length found them, but not exclusively for themselves. In the days of trial and difficulty in other years, they had been unacquainted with one spot where hope might repose. Tossed as they were with the billows of affliction, they had felt the proud waters, as it were go over their soul, and yet knew not whither to flee for refuge. Of that “rock which was higher than they," and whose shadow is so refreshing in a land of drought and barrenness, they had perhaps heard, but never had they been led to its shelter-never had they rested beneath its covert. But there was a season when they were to be brought home to that fold from which they had wandered. Over it watched One, who had not spared himself for its safety. By him they had been found, and they could not but recognize, in his marred and blood-stained aspect, the good shepherd, who had given his life for the sheep.
“ In his side he bore,
Gladly then they followed him, for he had taught them to know his voice. He had led them beside still waters, and made them to lie down in green pastures. He did not promise them, indeed, that trials should not be theirs, but he had assured them that they should not sink under the pressure, for he would bear with them their weight. To him, thereafter, were their eyes ever directed; and, though he had called them to be his servants, his yoke was easy to them, and his burthen light. Thus, time, with all its troubles, was mollified, as it were, with the balm of hope; and in journeying through a wilderness, which the word of unerring truth has declared “waste and howling,' they had yet consolations more than sufficient to counterbalance all their ills.
But their dearest and sweetest employment of an earthly kind, was the nurture of Gertrude.
Young she was, and fair, like some exotic from another world. The rain, and the dews, soft as ever fell from heaven, seem to have watered her spring of life ; and she grew a beauteous and a goodly plant. The sun, too, you would have supposed, had shed on her their gentlest influence; nor had the moon waned on her with a blighting power. A cloud occasionally might have crossed her path, but it was such only as would mitigate the fever of infancy, and tend, under a higher direction, to make its little delirium subside, in due season, into the quietude of everlasting beatitude and peace. Yet, while fondest expectation hovered over her, they could not but think of evils still, it might be, in the womb of futurity, and hereafter to be developed amidst the wildest hurricanes of a wintry time. Their joy, indeed, was yet unsullied; and in anticipation, meanwhile, all
wore an aspect serene as the calmness of a summer eve, when Nature wins you, by her loveliness, to silent meditation on the deep sweetness of all around. In the distant perspective no leaf is moving : beside you not a breath is heard. But-storm and tempest may be working behind the fairest mantle of a morning sky.
They felt it might be so; and some secret misgiving would at intervals darken that prospect which else had spread before them, inviting as parental affection could figure it, and soothing as Hope herself could allure you to survey.
“Seek he, who will, in grandeur to be blest,
Place in proud halls, and splendid courts his joy ;
For pleasure or for gold his arts employ,
A riv'let in soft murmurs gliding by,
A bird whose love-sick note salutes the sky,
And caves obscure, and nature's free-born train,
Each in my mind some gentle thought instills :
But, though of a lineage ennobled, although now her blood was attainted by a cruel and unjust decree, and though expectations, bright as ever opened on the eye of a youthful imagination, should have met her view even in the cradle. Gertrude had to discharge functions, once indeed, how degraded soever they may now be, deemed not dishonourable amidst the simplicity of elder times. There were of the best and wisest of mankind, who followed the employment of a shepherd's life.—The scenes of Arcadia, it was true, had long since been swept away, Sweet they were still to this shepherdess of the mountains, for Gertrude had a mind that could taste those milder embellishments that gild the dark realities of ex
istence, while they should not withdraw us from the more trying and more deeply touching occurences, ever presented on the tragic theatre of the world. On her, her mother's image seemed to be reflected. The heart of Margaret, educated as she had been amidst all the blandishments that life could offer, had not been untrained to the gentler emotions that follow fiction in her aerial walks. Attuned, indeed that heart had been to more substantial enjoyments ; for nothing can solace-O that the ends of the earth could hear me and believe !--nothing can solace with an efficacy so powerful, with an influence so reviving, as that tranquility, which flows from the consolations of a pure religion. From religion she derived her dearest delights, and sought in her ways of pleasantness, and in her paths of peace, that solidity of bliss, that only solidity, which life can impart:—a bliss, sought for in the gaudy temple of pleasure, and on the gilded altars of gaiety, but found only at the modest and unobtrusive shrine of truth.
It is not, in the busy and tumultuous scene, that happiness is met with ; nor yet in the cloister or the convent. Alas! what wretchedness attends the votary of the one, what weariness of spirit pursues the deluded disciple of the other. I have myself—and will my reader pardon me for introducing myself for a moment to his notice ? I have myself known something of what the round of gaiety and pleasure can offer ;-and I have witnessed, too, something of the melancholy joys-joys shall I call them? No, rather, the gloom, the anguish, the dejection, the despair, which follow the step that goes to be emmured in the dungeons of unnatural seclusion.
A friend, now as distant as the waters of the Atlantic can make him, a friend to whom I was first introduced amidst the ruins of once imperial Rome, in an interesting little volume which he has subsequently published, has the following remarks. He with myself had opportunity of examining into details, which met not every eye, and he speaks from personal observation : and hard were the hearts, me thinks, that would shut itself to the voice of his mild persuasion. “There may be employments, to this purpose” he observes, “which require that charity should be administered by the hand of pity; and, in such institutions, there may be every thing which can be considered as leading thereto. Still, it is questionable, whether their general tendency is not of a contrary nature. I allude to the nunneries in which so many a lovely female has been incarcerated. The French Revolution,” he continues, “ has produced for the benefit of humanity, a lasting memento, I trust, in the abolution of the monastic orders throughout various parts of Europe. It has prevented the immolation of some of heaven's fairest gifts, by opening a new existence as it were, unto the veiled victim, endowed with mental charms, capable of gladdening this chequered life." He concludes his observations with those elegant and tender lines of Mrs Rogers :
The beauteous maid that bids the world adieu,
: Andere,, with iron tongue, the vespers-vell
But to return from this long disgression. Though from religion as we have said, Margaret derived her dearest delights, pursuing in tranquility those ways which only are pleasantness—those paths which alone are peace, she yet averted not altogether her eyes from those other attractions, which throw a veil too often indeed, of enchantment over the realities of time; nor did she exclude her daughter entirely from their allusions, if such we must call them, or prevent her from visiting occasionally the regions where fancy dwells. She was not unaware, it is true, that there were dangers and temptations ever ready to assail the youthful and unexperienced heart amidst her wild and visionary flights : but, while she did not wish utterly to forbid its observations, it was her aim to hold the reins of her buoyant imagination with a tight, though with a gentle hand.
The flocks of Arnold, few in number, were fed upon no thousand bills. Alas! the day was, when distant as his view could reach from the highest turret, that rose over the abode of the generations of his fathers, all he saw he had expected to possess.
* It happened, on one occasion, that the writer of this narrative was thrown into the society of a young creature destined for the dreaded dungeons of a convent. She was at that time between fourteen and fifteen years af age-a period, in the life of a female, when many a light web of future happiness is woven, and many a fond idea awakened of gaiety and pleasure, delight unsullied, love requited, and unending uninterrupted felicity, whether from the crowd of anticipated admirers, or from the calm seclusion of domestic and wedded retirement. Eugenia had a description naturally volatile. When first I became acquainted with her, she seemed enamoured of the freshness of being. All around her, you would have thought was enchantment. She laughed, responsive to the buoyancy-not of hope alas! but of sorrow hid from view:-She sang, it was a carrol of the scenes of her nativity, wild and plaintive, more than enough to move every chord within the breast :-She talked, as if she would never have been fatigued by the sound of her voice, which to me was sweet and pathetic :- In a word, had you believed appearances, you would have imagined that for Eugenia was prepared enjoyment, such as never yet was apportioned to a child of Adam. Meanwhile, I was unacquainted with her mournful destination, and could almost have believed her happy. But this gaiety alas ! was only assumed it was the veil of a breaking heart: and I lived to see her sorrowful, and dejected, and heaving many a deep, unavailing, and hopeless sigh. Poor thing! my soul really bled for her. In person she was interesting, rather comely, perhaps than hand
Her stature had not yet attained middle size, nor can I say that her motions would have been considered graceful in one of more matured years: but what could be expected from a girl of her age, unattended to by her cruel relatives, her talents un-, cultivated, for the expence of education and this I was told from her own lips—would have been regarded as thrown away upon one who was to be imprisoned for life and hid from the view of all who might have beheld and loved her-her mind and body alike left to the unpruning hand of nature. Her cheek was flushed with the freshnes of youth, and her spirits, unless when checked by gloomy anticipation, sparkled with gladness in her bright blue eye. She
fell a victim to the pride and selfishness of her father— I conceal the monster's name. Her fortune, as I was informed, was to increase the portions of her sisters—and thus was this young creature, whose heart seemed so much alive to the prospects that life presented, and susceptible, if I was not mistaken in my opinion, of every gentler and endeared emotion, to be sacrificed to the advancement of those, who should have aided her progress, and cherished the opening blossom of her years. Poor Eugenia! my soul has bled for thee more than once. Hard was thy fate indeed!