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CHAPTER XV.

Mrs. Nelson

Simon and Benjamin Death of Mrs. Nelson -
Mr. Dalby - Unfortunate Abby.

It will be recollected by the reader, that when Mrs. Nelson was last mentioned, she was enjoying the society of a friend who ardently desired to have the noble faculties of her unfortunate sister employed in the pursuit of better objects than they had been hitherto.

Mrs. Nelson, she was aware, had been chastened, and doubtless the design of her trials had been her improvement; still, as she had ever perverted the end for which they were designed, Mrs. Coleman wished to make her feel that she was under obligations to do all in her power to make some little amends for her past neglect of duty.

This excellent lady was continually urging Mrs. Nelson to erect a higher standard of duty, and to aim constantly to reach it. • Do not,' she would often say to her sister,

consume so much time in musing upon the past. Wherein you have failed in respect to duty, resolve in future to do differently; you cannot alter what has taken place, and it only aggravates trouble to dwell upon it needlessly.' '

About this time the only remaining son of Mrs. Nelson who went abroad upon business, was one day accosted by a stranger, while passing through the street of a distant

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city, who familiarly called him by name. gentleman, surprised at the salutation, said to the person who addressed him, “ You have the advantage of me, sir, for I do not recollect ever having seen you.'

• Is not your name Simon Savage ?' inquired the stranger.

• Not Simon, though you have judged rightly in regard to my other name ; but where,' asked the young man, anxiously, did you ever meet with Simon Savage ?'

"I knew him,' replied the gentleman, in this city, some years ago. He sailed out of this port in a ship bound to the Pacific ocean ; but as neither the vessel, nor any one on board of her has ever been heard from, it has long been supposed that she must have sunk at sea, and her crew all have found a grave in the ocean. think I was not a little surprised,' continued he, ‘at meeting you here. Was Simon Savage your brother ? you certainly bear a very strong resemblance to that young gentleman ?'

“I had a brother of that name,' answered the young Mr. Savage, and from the circumstances under which he left home, I am led to suppose it was he with whom you were acquainted. My brother has been absent many years, and his friends have not been able to learn anything respecting his probable fate ; but from what

you have just related, I presume it may safely be infered that he long since found a watery grave.'

The gentleman with whom he was conversing, having a feeling heart, seemed to regret that he had unconsciously been the means of giving a fellow-being pain, and expressed this feeling to the young man.

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Mr. Savage thanked him for the communication he had made, as it would, he said, in a great measure, relieve that distressing feeling of suspense which his friends had so long endured on account of this absent one.

As soon as an opportunity presented, the young man wrote to his mother, and acquainted her with what he had 80 providentially heard, respecting Simon. This lady grieved at the intelligence he communicated; yet, as she affirmed with feeling, it was less distressing to know, or to have reason to believe that her son was dead, than to be tortured with suspense in regard to his condition.

Ever after receiving the letter containing this account, she regarded Simon as buried forever from her sight, and felt free from any apprehension on account of his suffering in some far-off region from his friends.

Not long after these occurrences, the son of Mrs. Nelson returned to the home of his mother. He related an incident that occurred while he was absent, which led both himself and mother to suspect that Benjamin was living, in the southern part of this country.

A gentleman had lately removed from an unknown region to a situation near the eastern margin of the Mississippi. No one was acquainted with him, or could conjecture where he had formerly belonged.

As young Mr. Savage was one day near the place of the stranger's residence, this gentleman was pointed out to him, when in a moment he was sure he recognized the well-remembered features of his brother Benjamin. He did not mention this truth to any one, but secretly resolved to call upon him, privately, as he lived in retirement, and learn his name.

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The next day he executed this resolve, and obtained the desired interview. It was, however, unsatisfactory to Mr. Savage, for the stranger called himself by a name unknown to the family of Mrs. Nelson ; besides, he was unwilling to communicate the name of any of his friends; but it was evident to the young man, that whoever this individual might be, he had assumed a false name.

Every question Mr. Savage ventured to ask, concerning his family, was answered evasively; and he avoided looking the young man full in the face. Mr. Savage attentively regarded the expression of the countenance of the strange gentleman, and saw it was painful. After sitting long enough to feel convinced that he should gain no more by remaining longer, he rose to depart.

As he was leaving the house, he said to the gentleman, • When I saw you yesterday, I thought you must be my brother, you resemble him so strongly ; but you say your name is not Benjamin - By this time they had reached the door and opened it, when, without giving his visitor an opportunity to finish the sentence he had begun to utter, with manifest emotion he bade him adieu, and turned from him.

Mr. Savage did not relate this circumstance to any one except his own family ; but they conjectured that Benjamin must have been driven, by something of an unpleasant nature, to resort to this mysterious manner of living, and gladly would have forgotten this painful occurrence, could they have done so.

Mrs. Nelson grieved for her absent Benjamin, during the remainder of her life ; but no other tidings concerning him ever reached his friends. It was always believed by the family, that the strange gentleman at the South was their relative, and they took a lively interest in his welfare ; but he never would have any communication with any one connected with the family, after the occurrence of the interview we have mentioned.

Mrs. Nelson lived some years after this, and it was emphatically true of her, that her last days were her best days ; for she was permitted to enjoy that peace which alone flows from a confident trust in our Heavenly Father. She thanked him for all the trials she had endured, as she approached the close of her earthly pilgrimage, often remarking, with a feeling of gratitude, “I could never have been prepared for heaven without affliction : God knew what was best for me.' She closed her eyes forever upon sublunary objects, with a bright hope of future blessedness beyond the grave.

Mrs. Coleman survived her sister a few years, and to the end of life continued to be a means of good to all who came within the sphere of her influence.

Little, worthy of particular notice, occurred in the history of her children, their lives being spent usefully and tranquilly. Like the family of Mrs. Howe, they did much for the good of their fellow-beings, and left a good name behind them, which, as the wise man has said, “is better than precious ointment.'

The reader will now take leave of these members of the family, in which many traits of character have already beon delineated, and become acquainted with some circumstances immediately connected with the history of others belonging to the same family. One of the parties was a sister of the persons to whom we have just bid adieu.

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