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as asking a blessing upon what she did ; and this. Perhaps you have been brought to it then she reproaches herself, and says she de- by an easier way. I have no right to ask served this, and more; not in the way of questions of you, but there is something in complaining, you would never hear her do your face which tells me that all is not that; and if she does but hint at her hus- sweetness of which you have to drink. band's fault, she takes care to tell of his Whatever your trials may be, I think they kindness too, and says that, though his sins cannot well be greater than my poor daughlook more than her own, they are not half so ter's. Remember, when you go home, that great, or so many. And though he grows there is consolation even for these; and, so worse and worse, and what with wanting mo- saying, she bid me good day, for I had alney, and drowning his right senses, his tem- ready risen to depart. per is not what it used to be, still she never On returning home after this scene,
I tires of trying to please him, but keeps the much struck by a sense of my own deficiency house neat, and makes every meal ready as in all that I had found here exemplified ; in if he were here, even while she believes in patient submission, in watchfulness, and conher heart he will not come; yet she says, he fiding trust, in short, in the three Christian shall not find any difference if he does. graces, faith, hope and charity. And yet I And now she'll come, and get out the tea had dared to think my portion hard. And and please herself with thinking how com- so unquestionably it was to me; but I had fortable everything is for him, and she'll chosen my own lot ; I had taken up my own wait, and wait, and scarcely eat a morsel burden, I had filled my own cup with bitterherself, and look so sick and faint, that my ness; and since to my natural feelings that heart aches to see her.
lot was most wretched, that burden most Oh! if we had no consolation beyond our grevious to be borne, and that cup most unselves, I think we should both die before the palatable; there was urgent need for me to end of another day! But we are not, I hope look beyond my present blighted and gloomy we are not, without some hold of better prospects, to that region of blessedness, where things. We pray diligently, and sometimes there is neither blight nor gloom. our prayers are blest to us, and we rise up, “But what,” exclaimed I, giving way to if not in the expectation that they will be my cheerless meditations, “what is there answered in the way we wish, yet in perfect in this wide world for me! This poor wotrust that we shall be wisely and mercifully man doats upon her husband with all the endealt with, and that the very burden of which thusiasm of youth, and the very love which we are complaining, is exactly the trial we tortures her heart, at the same time keeps it are most in need of. Sometimes we feel from the stagnation of despair.” this in such a lively manner, that it almost In the midst of my gloomy reflections I grows into gladness; and we look on beyond was startied by the sound of carriage wheels this little spot of earth, this little speck of at the door, and looking out, I saw my hustime, and are satisfied that we know not band, extremely pale, dressed in a loose gown what is best for us, and then we speak to and supported, or rather carried into the each other words of cheering, and read our house by a medical gentleman who lived Bible, and see how the Lord led his people near us. through the wilderness.
He had gone out that day with the intenOh! my dear lady, miserable as we may tion of compelling a young horse to take a appear to you, we would not exchange these desperate leap, and the consequences were seasons of blessed confidence for all that a such as might have been anticipated. The wealthier or seemingly happier station could beast was obstinate, the man furious; at last aflord.
after a dreadful conflict, both horse and rider Perhaps you have never been brought to had rolled together down a steep bank, and,
had not a poor man been passing at the time, was compelled to return to the cottage of in all probability my husband would have the poor woman, to take a fresh lesson for been unable to extricate himself. He had my own private walk, to gather fresh paid dearly for his exploit by many severe strength for the performance of my own contusions, but he had a good-natured way duties. of making the best of that which was un- It was with deep and heartfelt regret I deniably bad, and he now looked cheerful, observed in my repeated visits, that disease and affected to be much less hurt than he was making rapid progress in the once really was.
healthy frame of the young woman. The There is nothing wins upon our kindness kind of melancholy which I endured, and more than suffering patiently endured; and which I fancied so intolerable, made no inwhen my husband saw my real concern, and roads upon my constitution ; but hers was a my willingness to serve and assist him, his torture of the heart, a strise between love joy and gratitude were beyond bounds. and sorrow, which no human constitution
“ Be always thus," said he, and you may can long sustain. make of me what you please.”
Often, as I had entered the cottage, I had “Be always ill," thought I, "and it will never yet found the wandering husband at be no effort to me to do my duty.”
home; until one evening, when nature was
; It is peculiar to weak and flippant charac- again assuming the freshness of spring, I ters to imagine that every new impression was surprised to see the figure of a man they receive will be deep, and lasting, and seated beside the poor invalid. At first I hesiinfluential upon their future conduct. The tated, but Jenny's voice called me in with surface of their animal existence is so often such a gladsome tone, that I could not turn and so easily stirred, that they have no time away without once witnessing her joy. to ascertain what lies beneath, and thus are “ He is here !” she whispered to me as I incapable of reasoning from analogy, of stood beside her. “He is here!" she rejudging rationally of their own feelings or peated, with a look of happiness that I never motives, and of drawing conclusions from can forget. the force of established habit, the power of Ronald was indeed a fine looking man. association, and the impossibility of acting whose strongly marked countenance indirighty merely from occasional efforts of the cated a strong character. At first I thought natural will.
him handsome ; but when he spoke there Any one who had but slightly studied hu- was a thirsty kind of irregularity about his man nature, would have thought my hus- leatures, which had no doubt been brought band, during his confinement to a quiet on by his dreadfully debasing habits. Jenny, chamber, in a state of mind which promised however, seemed to be unconscious that he great amendment of life. Even I was fain exhibited any other aspect than that of perto build upon the earnestness of his pro- fect beauty; for she leaned with her thin mises, made in the warmth of awakened | white hand upon his arm, and looked up feeling ; and thus the moments we spent to into his face, as if she read there all that gether while he was ill and helpless, were was written in her book of life. amongst the happiest of my life; for I had This little act of kindness on his part (his then an object in view, towards the attain- merely staying with her one evening when ment of which I seemed to be making some her mother was absent,) was worth, in her progress. Nor was it an unpleasing task, to estimation, all that the world could offer of reason with one who now was glad to listen; riches, rank, or splendour; and her gentle to plead with one who heard me in a sub- eyes were lighted up with something of dued and gentle spirit. But my hour of the brilliancy they had worn in former days, trial was not yet come, and often after this II and her hollow cheek was tinged with a fe
verish hue of crimson beauty. Oh! how and though I could not say (for I did not different from the rich glow that had once believe) that even his altered life would now distinguished her as the pride of village save her, yet I urged upon him many times maidens !
before we separated, the satisfaction he It was with difficulty I persuaded Ronald would afterwards feel in having cheered her
I to keep his place at the fire, when I sat | last moments, and watched her gentle spirit down beside them. He would gladly have depart in peace. gone away, like one who feels that much It was wonderful to me, that after the excharity is needed to tolerate his presence; ertions I had been able to make with those but Jenny and I both did our best to detaiu whose feelings and habits were comparatively him, and when she asked me to read to them strange to me, I should find any difficulty in a chapter in the Bible, saying she was sure performing the same duties at home: but 60 that Ronald would like to hear me read, it was. Ronald was a man of strong and he felt compelled in common civility to re- deep character, with whom the words that main.
fell unanswered upon his ear were often Half afraid of venturing too far in the graven on his heart; nor was it from carepresence of one with whose character I was lessness about the ruin which his habits in a great measure unacquainted, I chose brought upon his family, that he had so long the parable of the Prodigal Son, and my persisted in the evil of his ways. So far heart melted as I went through those touch- from this, the very anguish of his self uping passages which describe the return of braidings sometimes drove him away from the penitent.
home, and in this manner his desperation On looking up I saw that Jenny had cov- served to increase its own violence. ered her face with her handkerchief, while The case with my husband was essentially with the other hand trembling like an aspen different. His was a mere animal propensileaf, she still grasped the arm of her hus-ty-over which a variable and volatile spirit band, who bent down his head over a rosy had little power. It was not to drown the child, seated on his knee, and stroked its anguish of a tortured mind that he swallowed glossy ringlets, tied and untied the strings of the fatal draught, but solely for the sake of its frock, and pressed its cheek to his breast, the excitement and the love of what he called as if glad to do any thing that might relieve "good company.” In his often-repeated fits him from the misery of sitting quietly be- of penitence there was no want of sincerity neath the scrutiny of searching eyes.
for the time; but nothing could give con" Is there any thing,” thought I, “ that a stancy and firmness to his resolutions. Thus, stranger's voice may say to add weight to on recovering from the long confinement to that of conscience ?" and I offered up an which his accident had subjected him, he inward prayer that my humble endeavours rushed again into the world with fresh intemight not be made in vain. I know not how rest, and sat down to the jovial board, deterit was, but I found strength and power on mined to drink but little ! that occasion to utter words that sounded Still there was a radical change in my daring to a strong man, and a stranger; feelings towards him, and the views which I but he bore them well : and when I took entertained of his character no longer plung. my leave, even offered to attend me home, ed me into moodiness and despair. During as darkness was fast coming on. I accepted his illness I had reaped the blessed fruits of his offer, and we talked by the way of the continued exertion for another's gool; and hope there was in store for the penitent; of though I could not be said to love him bethe efficacy of prayer ; and of the mercy yond the common kindness we feel for those that fails not even in the latest hour. And who share our lot in life, I had learned 10 then, last of all, we talked about poor Jenny; I look charitably even upon him. When I
endeavoured calmly to weigh and estimate so that it spare my summer bower! And I, his character, thousands of instances occur- who know the strength of these feelings, not red to my recollection in which I might have from their anguish, but their blessedness, acted a more Christian part towards him, preach to you, it may seem, in mockery of and with these considerations came fresh that which I have never experienced, but pity and forgiveness for his faults.
still with a heart that bleeds for your calam“But what ?" said I, one day, to Mr. Or- ity; and still with boldness; for I know that morand, when we had been speaking with the events of this transitory life are not as kindness and commiseration of the absent, they appear to our contracted vision; that “ What can I do to save him ?"
there is the working of a mighty and myste“My dear friend,” replied Mr. Ormorand, rious Power around and above us, striking you must do your best: I never heard that out waters from the barren rock; upon
were commanded to save each other. which we have lain prostrate in our desHappy is it for us that the salvation of our pair, bringing forth flowers and fruits in own souls is all that is strictly required of us. the wilderness, where we have stretched But remember that, in order to make sure our wearied limbs to die; and raising up joy of this great object, it is necessary thal we and beauty from the ashes of our ruined watch over each other for good; that we do hopes ! not 'darken counsel by calculating too much “Let us look, my friend, away from this upon the end, but persevere faithfully and one point of misery, and number the blessdiligently in rendering our appointed service. ings that are beyond. Have you not the Your endeavours to save your husband from means of assist and cherishing the poor? disgrace and ruin may not be attended with Employ yourself diligently in the service of the reward you desire; but are there not others, and your home-at least your heartother rewards in the hand of Omnipotence, will no longer be desolate. Not administerfar, far beyond what your most earnest en ing outward comforts merely, but conveying deavours can deserve ? Is there not that instruction to the ignorant; and thus, while peace of mind which passeth all understand bearing a blessing to the needy, you will ing' never denied to the humble and perse- often be blessed yourself. vering suppliant
Are there not the pro- “ I recommend these pursuits especially to mises of the gospel to support the pilgrim on you, because I believe them to be amongst his way? Is there not the unbounded ocean the means afforded by Divine Providence for of everlasting mercy, into which the tears of beguiling the mind from melancholy and our weak nature may flow? Oh! do not fruitless brooding over its own secret and despair, even though the desire of your eyes selfish sorrows. Beyond these are those should be denied! You know that in this spiritual helps, which I need not point out to world is not our rest, and that none can you, but which I pray fervently may prove drink of the cup of life without tasting its un- the unfailing support of your soul.” palatable dregs.
be all centred It was not long after this conversation took in one drop of inexpressible bitterness! But place that I was summoned to attend the last is not the rest more sweet than falls to the moments of poor Jenny; and here, if I had lot of many ? I know what you will answer doubted the efficacy of that faith, which my me: you will say, 'let the axe fall anywhere worthy friend had so earnestly recommended but here. Let my outward portion be one to me, I should have seen a lively and strikof poverty and suffering, but leave me a ing instance of its power to support the feehome where my spirit may dwell in peace. ble spirit. Let the blight come in the tempest, so that The exhausted sufferer was still able to my fireside comforts remain unscathed. Let speak; and, as if aware that time with her the lightning strike my
bark upon the ocean, was short, she laid her hand upon my arm,
as I stood beside her, and looking implor- worth all to gain the prize!" and, so saying, ingly in my face, entreated me, in the simple her gentle soul departed. language of her heart, to put my trust solely From this time Ronald was an altered and entirely in Him, who knows what is best man; not but that he had sometimes hard for his frail creatures; “ for,” continued she, conflicts before he could compel himself pain a cheerful and animated tone, “it is this tiently to endure the gnawing worm of selfthat has supported me; it is this that will reproach; but what with the vigilant care support you."
of a Christian mother, and the winning helpThe aged mother sat by the bed, with lessness of his poor children, and, above all, more of peace in her countenance than I had with that mercy, whose unfailing fountains seen there before; and Ronald, poor Ronald, refresh the soul of the penitent, he was enanow smitten to his inmost soul, covered his bled to keep on a steady course, without any face with both his hands, and sobbed aloud, after breach of regularity of life or conduct. in the bitterness of unspeakable anguish; Not so, my poor husband. I have now sometimes, as he was able to raise up his watched over him for years. I have seen head, catching Jenny's eye turned towards him dismissed from his high station, and rehim with such looks of tenderness and love, turned thanks that he was no longer perthat the fountains of his tears burst forth mitted to disgrace the ministry of the church. again, and he wept like a child, without con- I have descended with him into the most pricealment or shame.
vate and secluded walk of life; and though “Oh! may those tears be blessed !” said I have found in that walk much to reconcile the dying woman. “Think not of me, Ro- its roughness, and smooth down its thorns, I nald, when I am gone. I was but like a still lift up my voice from a weary and flower in your path, love, that withered at wounded spirit, (and oh! that I could speak noon-day. But think of the flowers of para- more powerfully) to warn the trifling, the dise, and the burden that must be borne, and thoughtless, and the rash, from that most the battle that must be fought, before we can lamentable of all calamities-most irreparaenter where they bloom for ever. Keep on, ble of all misfortunes—"an ill-assorted markeep on, the strise will soon be over; it is riage.”