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Aikin, who afterwards married the younger sister, Susan. The journey is pleasantly described, and will exhibit the training through which the mind of the young sufferer had already passed. It is called the "poor man's journey.'
"It was a lovely morning in June when Uncle Phil set forth for New York with his invalid daughter. Ineffable happiness shone through his honest face, and there was a slight flush of hope and expectation on Charlotte's usually pale and tranquil countenance as she half rebuked Susan's last sanguine expression.
"You will come home as well as I am, I know you will, Lottie!' "Not well-oh, no, Susy, but better, I expect-I mean, I hope.' 1 "Better, then, if you are, that is to say, a great deal better-I shall be satisfied, sha'n't you, Harry?'
"I shall be satisfied that it was best for her to go, if she is any better.'
"I trust we shall all be satisfied with God's will, whatever it may be,' said Charlotte, turning her eye full of gratitude upon Harry. Harry arranged her cushions as nobody else could to support her weak back: Susan disposed her cloak so that Charlotte could draw it around her if the air proved too fresh; and then, taking her willow basket in her hand, the last words were spoken, and they set forth. Uncle Phil was in the happiest of his happy humours. He commended the wagon-it was just like sitting at home in a rocking chair-it is kind o' lucky that you are lame, Lottie, or may be Mrs. Sibley would not have offered to loan us her wagon. I was dreadful 'fraid we should have to go down the North river. I tell you, Lottie, when I crossed over it once, I was a'most scared to death-the water went swash, swash-there was nothing but a plank between me and etarnity; and I thought in my heart I should have gone down, and nobody would ever have heard of me again. I wonder folks can be so foolish as to go on water when they can travel on solid land-but I suppose some do!'
"It is pleasanter,' said Charlotte, 'to travel at this season where you can see the beautiful fruits of the earth, as we do now, on all sides of us.' Uncle Phil replied, and talked on without disturbing his daughter's quiet and meditation. They travelled slowly, but he was never impatient, and she never wearied, for she was an observer and lover of nature. The earth was clothed with its richest green-was all green, but of infinitely varied tints. The young corn was shooting forth-the winter wheat already waved over many a fertile hill-side-the gardens were newly made, and clean, and full of promise-flowers, in this month of their abundance, perfumed the woods, and decked the gardens and court-yards, and where nothing else grew, there were lilacs and pionies in plenty. The young lambs were frolicking in the fields-the chickens peeping about the barn-yards; and birds, thousands of them, singing at their work.
"Our travellers were descending a mountain where their view extended over an immense tract of country, for the most part richly cultivated.
"I declare,' exclaimed Uncle Phil, 'how much land there is in the world, and I don't own a foot on't, only our little half-acre lot-it don't seem hardly right.' Uncle Phil was no agrarian, and he immediately added, 'But, after all, I guess I am better off without it-it would be a dreadful care.'
"Contentment with godliness is great gain,' said Charlotte.
""You've hit the nail on the head, Lottie; I don't know who should
be contented if I ain't-I always have enough, and every body is friendly to me and you and Susan are worth a mint of money to me. For all what I said about the land, I really think I have got my full share.
"We can all have our share in the beauties of God's earth without owning, as you say, a foot of it,' rejoined Charlotte. We must feel it is our Father's. I am sure the richest man in the world cannot take more pleasure in looking at a beautiful prospect than I do-or in breathing this sweet, sweet air. It seems to me, father, as if every thing I look upon was ready to burst forth in a hymn of praise-and there is enough in my heart to make verses of if I only knew how.'
That's the mystery, Lottie, how they do it-I can make one line, but I can never get a fellow to it.'
"Well, father, as Susy would say, it's a comfort to have the feeling, though you can't express it.'
"Charlotte was right. It is a great comfort and happiness to have the feeling, and happy would it be if those who live in the country were more sensible to the beauties of nature; if they could see something in the glorious forest besides 'good wood and timber lots'-something in the green valley besides a 'warm soil'-something in a water-fall besides a 'mill-privilege.' There is a susceptibility in every human heart to the ever-present and abounding beauties of nature; and whose fault is it that this taste is not awakened and directed? If the poet and the painter cannot bring down their arts to the level of the poor, are there none to be God's interpreters to them-to teach them to read the great book of nature ?
"The labouring classes ought not to lose the pleasures that, in the country, are before them from dawn to twilight-pleasures that might counterbalance, and often do, the profits of the merchant, pent in his city counting-house, and all the honours the lawyer earns between the court-rooms and his office. We only wish that more was made of the privilege of country life; that the farmer's wife would steal some moments from her cares to point out to her children the beauties of nature, whether amid the hills and valleys of our inland country, or on the sublime shores of the ocean. Over the city, too, hangs the vault of heaven-thick inlaid' with the witnesses of God's power and goodness -his altars are every where.
"The rich man who 'lives at home at ease,' and goes irritated and fretting through the country because he misses at the taverns the luxuries of his own house-who finds the tea bad and coffee worse-the food ill cooked and table ill served-no mattresses, no silver forks-who is obliged to endure the vulgarity of a common parlour-and, in spite of the inward chafing, give a civil answer to whatever questions may be put to him, cannot conceive of the luxuries our travellers enjoyed at the simplest inn.
"Uncle Phil found out the little histories of all the wayfarers he met, and frankly told his own. Charlotte's pale sweet face attracted general sympathy. Country people have time for little by-the-way kindnesses; and the landlady, and her daughters, and her domestics, enquired into Charlotte's malady, suggested remedies, and described similar cases.
"The open-hearted communicativeness of our people is often laughed at; but is it not a sign of a blameless life and social spirit ?" pp. 33-37.
Her interviews with the physician are beautifully narrated, and we have little fear of asserting that no one can rise from the perusal of that portion of this simple story without feeling his heart softened, and inclined to become better. The doctor
is represented as not only a skilful practitioner, but also a man of genuine piety and worth; and the sentiments which the author puts into the mouth of both physician and patient present a striking example of the opportunities for the display and cultivation of religious sentiments, which are afforded in the course of a physician's practice. We are persuaded that the sketch presented by Miss Sedgwick is not mere fancy, either as respects the one party or the other.
We have not given the above extracts for the purpose of presenting any analysis of the story-it is brief and inartificial, and intended merely as the vehicle to bear along the good advice and reflections with which it abounds. Each chapter presents an incident, or description, in contrast with another either preceding or following it-intended to exemplify the worthlessness or value of money according to the use or abuse made of it, and the blessings which even poverty may confer when found among such persons as the inmates of Aikin's house. We shall content ourselves with a single additional extract, in which the mere rich man's charities are exemplified. It follows a statement of the active charity bestowed by Aikin, his wife, and her sister, upon the same unfortunate individual who had more claims upon the generosity of the rich man, Morris Finley, than upon them.
"It was near ten o'clock when Henry Aikin, in pursuance of his benevolent designs for Paulina, rang at Morris Finley's door, and told the servant, in reply to his saying Mr. Finley was dressing for a party, that he had pressing business, and must speak with him. The servant left Aikin in the entry, and, entering the drawing-room, pushed the door to after him, but not so close as to prevent Aikin hearing the following dialogue
"There's somebody, ma'am, in the entry, wants to speak with Mr. Finley.'
'Why did not you tell him he was not at home?'
"Because he is, ma'am.'
'Pshaw, Tom, you know he is going out immediately, and it's all the same thing. Do you know who it is?'
"Is it a gentleman ?'
"He speaks like one, ma'am.'
"You certainly know, Tom-is he a gentleman, or only a man?' "He is dressed like a man, ma'am.'
"Tom, you must get over tormenting me this way; I've told you a hundred times the distinction.' Tom smiled: he evidently had in his mind something like the old distinction of the poet, though he could not, or dared not, express it
'Worth makes the man-the want of it, the fellow.'
"Well, well,' added Mrs. Finley, 'show him in, and tell Mr. Finley.' "Aikin entered with that air of blended modesty and independence VOL. XXI.-No. 41. 4
that characterized him-certainly with no look of inferiority, for he felt none; and, as Mrs. Finley's eye fell on his fine countenance, hers relaxed, and she was in the dilemma, for a moment, of not knowing whether to class him with the somebodys or nobodys; but her glance descended to the plain and coarse garments of our friend, in time to change a half-made courtesy to a salutation befitting an inferior. 'Sit down,' she said, waving her hand to the nearest chair.
"Aikin took the offered seat, and awaited, with what patience he could, the forthcoming of the master of the splendid mansion-observing what was before him with a feeling, not of envy or covetousness, but with deep joy and thankfulness for the virtue and true happiness of his humble home. Miss Sabina Jane Finley, now a young lady of twelve years, after surveying Aikin from top to toe, said to her mother, in a suppressed but audible voice, 'Gentleman!'
"Mrs. Finley seemed to have what she, no doubt, thought a truly genteel unconsciousness of the man's' presence. She was very richly dressed for a ball; but, as is a common case with poor human nature, she was transferring the fault of her faded and time-stricken face to her milliner. 'I declare, Sabina Jane,' she said, surveying herself in the mirror, 'I never will get another cap of Thompson-these flowers are blue as the heavens.'
"You selected them yourself, mamma.'
"To be sure I did; but how could I tell how they would look in the evening?"
"Why don't you wear your new French cap, mamma?'
"Don't be a fool, child-have not I worn that twice already? Pull down that blonde over my shoulder-how it whoops! This is the second time Smetz has served me this way. This gown sets like fury. I never go out but I have some trial that spoils all my pleasure. Don't let me see you prink so, miss,' turning to her daughter, and pulling from her head a dress-cap that she was trying on and arranging with all the airs and graces of a fine lady; 'I have told you a thousand times, Sabina Jane,' she continued, not to be fond of dress!-Well, Tom, what is wanted now?'
"That French gentleman, ma'am, what teached Miss Sabina Jane, is to call early for his money; and if you'd please to give it to me tonight'
"I can't attend to it to-night-tell him to call again.'
'He has called again and again, ma'am; and he says his wife is sick-and he looks so distressed like."
"I have not the money by me to-night, Tom.'
"Shall I ask Mr. Finley for it, ma'am?"
"The image of the unhappy foreigner haunted Tom's imagination; and, after lingering for a moment with the door in his hand, he said'Maybe, ma'am don't remember Mr. Finley gave out the money for Mr. Felix.'
"Mrs. Finley did remember well that she had received the money, and had spent it that very afternoon for a most tempting piece of French embroidery a love of a pocket handkerchief,' that cost only thirty dollars!-the price of poor Monsieur Felix's labour for two quarters, with an indolent and neglected child. Shut the door, Tom,' she said, ‘I can't be bothered about this money now; tell Mr. Felix to call after breakfast.' Tom despaired, and withdrew. How impertinent Tom is getting,' added Mrs. Finley; 'but this is the way of all the servants in this country.""
"Finley came in, dressed and perfumed for the party. 'Ah, Harry Aikin,' he said, after a momentary surprise, 'is it you-how are you?' "Well, thank you, Morris.'
"What impudence,' thought Miss Sabina Jane, 'for that man to call my papa Morris !'
"I have some private business with you,' added Aikin, glancing at the young lady.
"Sabina Jane,' said Finley, 'tell your mamma the carriage is waiting-these fellows charge so abominably for waiting.' This last remark was evidently a hint to Aikin to be brief.
"But Aikin wanted no such spur. He communicated concisely Paulina's condition and wants; and, knowing that Finley's conscience was of the sluggish order, he tried to rouse it by recalling vividly to his remembrance the past-the days of Paulina's innocence and beauty, and Finley's devotion to her. But Finley slurred it over like a long-forgotten dream, that would not afford the slightest basis for a claim upon his charity.
"She is in a shocking condition, to be sure, Aikin,' he said; but, then, I make it an invariable rule never to give but to those that I know to be worthy.'
"There is much to be done for our fellow-creatures, Finley, besides giving gifts to the worthy.'
"Oh, I know that; and I subscribe liberally to several of our institutions.'
"But will you do nothing towards encouraging this poor, homeless, friendless creature to repentance and reformation?"
"Pshaw! Aikin, they never reform.'
"If that is true, a part of the sin must lie at our doors, who afford them no helps. But there is no time to discuss this: Paulina, I fear, will not be able to prove her sincerity. She has, it seems to me, but little while to live; if I can save her from the police, I shall try hard to keep her where she is, that her little remnant of life may be spent with her old friends, who will care for her body and soul.'
"Oh, well, if you really think she is going to make a die of it, I am willing to give you something for her.'
"Finley took out his pocket-book, and after, as Aikin could not but sus. pect, looking for a smaller sum, he gave him a five-dollar note, with the air of one who is conferring an astounding obligation. Aikin expressed neither surprise nor gratitude; but, quietly putting up the note, he said, 'You know, Finley, money is not the most important thing I had to ask. I want you to go to the police-office with me. You are a great merchant, and your name is well known in the city; I am nobody, and it may be necessary for me to get my statement endorsed. Come, it is not five minutes' walk for you.'
"Why, bless you, man, don't you see I'm going out-there's my wife coming down stairs now.'
"Let her go in the carriage-you can follow her.'
"Oh! that's impossible; she would not go alone into a party for the world.'
"Can she not wait till your return?'
"No-it is not reasonable to ask it; it 's late now-and-and-' "Good night-I have wasted my time here,' said Aikin, cutting short Finley's excuses, and leaving him trying to silence his conscience by dwelling on the five dollars he had given-by fretting at the deused folly of going out when people were tired and wanted to go to bed-and by joining in his wife's vituperation against Nancy and all her tribe."