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CHAPTER III.

Loss of Property Anna Abroad Unhappy Union - Removal.

WHEN the time arrived that the members of this afflicted family were left with only their own number seated around the table, and the seat vacant which had been occupied by the beloved friend who had been so unexpectedly snatched from them, they felt more acutely than ever their sore bereavement.

Anna, who had received the kindest and most indulgent treatment from her father, now mourned in view of the want of sympathy she experienced from her mother. She felt that her best friend was indeed torn from her that he who would ever carefully hide her faults, and sympathize in all her youthful trials, was forever hid from her too fond gaze. O,' said she, one day, to a friend, could you but know with what strong affection I have regarded my dear, dear father, you could better understand my feelings since his death : I loved him but too well.'

Anna realized that she had been guilty of idolizing her departed parent, and her heart was ready to adopt the repining sentiment expressed by the poet, who says,

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I never loved a tree or flower
But 't was the first to fade away.'

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This severe affliction affected the health of this hitherto delicate girl, and she really needed the tenderest care and sympathy of her mother ; yet strange as it may appear, that mother understood not the disposition of her daughter; she imputed most of her dejection of mind to oddity and ill-humor.

As Mrs. Weldron made no exertion to gain the confidence of Anna, it is not a matter of surprise that she did not possess it ; neither is it strange that her young heart longed to confide its sorrows to some friend who could understand her disposition and character. Such a friend she found in her maternal grandmother, for Mrs. Hamlin saw with pain the indifference with which her daughter regarded the early sorrows of Anna, and was led by feelings of justice and pity to endeavor to be a mother to her grand-daughter.

Unexpected and bitter trials still awaited this family ; trials, too, of which they never before had dreamed. We have said that Mr. Weldron possessed an abundance of wealth ; such was the fact at the time of his death. He had, however, been in the habit, as most merchants are, of endorsing notes to oblige those who wished to obtain credit, and often to enable such to procure large sums of money, as his signature was ever considered a sufficient guaranty for safety.

A short time before he died, he laid himself liable, in this manner, for about seventy thousand dollars. In performing these friendly acts, it never occurred to this noblespirited man that he might be doing wrong to his own dear family ; for he felt perfect confidence in the integrity of those he was willing to assist. Yet in doing so he was

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most unfortunate, and through the mismanagement of those for whom he became responsible, his family was reduced from wealth to moderate circumstances. Of this fact Mrs. Weldron became aware, in a few weeks after the removal of her husband.

When she was first apprised of the state of her affairs, she was overwhelmed with sorrow; for she had valued herself, as too many do, according to the riches she possessed ; and when she found that these had taken wings and flown away, all fortitude forsook her, and she could no longer bear up under her accumulated sorrows.

Her struggles with pride were severe. It is true she was not reduced to poverty ; but she must retrench her expenditures, dismiss some of her servants, and take the care of her children upon herself, a task from which she had been hitherto exempt.

From such a change in her circumstances she recoiled with a feeling of the strongest aversion ; and but for the fact that she had been taught the first principles of the gospel in early life, and the remembrance of her duty as an accountable being came before her mind, she would willfully have preferred death to life, and gone unbidden into the presence of her Creator.

After some months had gone by, and Mrs. Weldron found that she must rise superior to these selfish feelings, or distress her children in many ways, she endeavored to assume a cheerful appearance in performing the dutyto her a tedious one of caring for her household. In losing her wealth, of which she had often boasted, she felt that much of her importance was lost in the estimation of her acquaintance; and the idea to her was almost insupportable.

At this juncture, a sister of Mrs. Weldron's mother requested permission for Anna to spend some time with her at her residence, about two miles from the place where the now disheartened girl had thus far lived. Mrs. Weldron readily consented to part with her, and accordingly Anna left the parental roof to reside in the family of her aunt, who had but one daughter of her own.

Mrs. Hamlin, the grandmother of Anna, dwelt with her sister, and the poor girl soon began to realize the effect of the kindness of this lovely woman upon her depressed spirits. They were a mutual comfort to each other, for Anna read aloud to her grandmother very often, and paid her many of the little nameless attentions so grateful to those in declining years.

Anna loved this aged relative most tenderly; and while she lived, derived her greatest happiness from her society. She seldom saw her mother, and when she did it did not seem to her that this, her only parent, felt much if any interest in her welfare ; and after having spent a few days at her maternal home, she would return to the home of her aunt with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

We have told our readers that the natural disposition of Anna was proud and independent; they are also ac. quainted with the parental influence which was exerted over her mind in childhood and early youth, and this has probably led many to suppose that the effect produced upon the mind of the unfortunate girl was most unhappy, Such was lamentably true, as she was led to regard with a feeling of distrust those who, but for her unjust suspicions of their motives, would have proved themselves valuable friends to the fatherless, and, in one sense, orphan

girl.

When Anna was about seventeen years of age, her mother formed a marriage connection with a gentleman, whom, of all others, this unfortunate girl dreaded to have allied to the family. She loved her younger sisters and brothers with peculiar fondness. It was a bitter trial to her feelings to think they must be, in any degree, controlled by one for whom she felt the most decided aversion, as was the case with Mr. Kingman, for so he was called.

Her mother was aware of the state of Anna's feelings with respect to the change which she had made in her situation. Her better judgment, too, convinced her that she had done an injury to her fatherless children, by being governed by sinister considerations, in allowing her destiny to become connected with that of a person for whose character none of them felt respect.

Anna was the only one who presumed to express disapprobation to her mother in words; but the silent yet eloquent tears which flowed in profusion down the cheeks of each of her children, on the evening upon which this marriage took place, showed plainly that all felt unhappy.

Mr. Kingman, as may be presumed, reciprocated the feelings manifested towards him ; consequently a mutual dislike was cherished between himself and the children of his ambitious wife.

The best friends of this lady regretted, exceedingly, that she had pursued such a course, and her mother and sisters expressed their decided disapprobation. At this,

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