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CHAPTER VII.

Divorcement and Marriage - Benjamin

Affliction.

Lucy Mr. Otis

BENJAMIN, the second son of Mrs. Johnson, was a youth of peculiar promise, the very reverse of his brother in disposition ; for he was mild and amiable, and, instead of being desirous of distinguishing himself by warlike deeds, like Loraine, he choose the retirement of home, as it afforded him opportunities of cultivating his intellect, which was the object of his highest ambition.

His mother doted upon him, and fondly expected to be blest with the society of this dear son, often expressing the satisfaction afforded her by the reflection that his taste was of that kind which would cause him to be contented in the pursuit of such avocations as would enable him to remain near home. In this, however, she was painfully disappointed ; and her heart pierced even more deeply by the neglect of this favorite child, than it had been by the perverseness of Loraine.

Mrs. Johnson, we have told our readers, was not a Christian. She waited not on a covenant-keeping God, by prayer, and the faithful study of His word, to learn what her duty was, ere she ventured to act; but was governed almost entirely by the impulse of inclination. The influ

ence she exerted over her children was calculated to lead them to pursue a similar course. She had always had her wishes gratified, as far as possible, even at the sacrifice of others' comfort, and found it impossible to subdue the will of her children, while they were constantly surrounded by such adverse influences.

After Mr. Johnson had been absent from his family long enough to enable his wife to avail herself of his absence in procuring a bill of divorce, she determined to do so, at all hazards. Her friends expostulated with her upon the rashness of such a step, although it was evident to all that she had little if any regard for him.

A lady with whom she was very intimate, and towards whom she had never felt any reserve, ventured, on this occasion, to paint, in glowing colors, the misery she might cause her husband, in separating her destiny from his. Being somewhat acquainted with the disposition of the individual, she felt encouraged to hope that gentleness and forbearance, on the part of Mrs. Johnson, would result in his reformation. She kindly told Mrs. Johnson so ; and implored her, by all the motives that might be expected to influence a wife and mother, to reflect long upon this subject, ere she should perform an act which might be the ruin of another.

Mrs. Johnson replied to her friend's counsel, by saying, ' I have thought long upon the subject, and it does no good to reflect continually that the person I was once united to in marriage is a drunkard ; I always did abominate such a character, and it is of no avail to try to reform such an one.'

• But my dear Mrs. Johnson,' continued her friend,

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Mr. J— is not a confirmed inebriate, you know, and there is no reason to despair of his forsaking this course of folly. He only resorts to the exhilarating draught when his spirits are depressed. He has little fortitude to enable him to endure the various perplexities which attend us in our pathway through life, and needs cheering and encouraging. O! I cannot give him up yet, I must intercede for him not only with you, who have it in your power, I think, to reclaim the wanderer, but also with that God who has all hearts in His hand, and is able to accomplish all things.

Mrs. Johnson was unmoved by all that her friend could say in regard to freeing herself from her companion. She had decided, and remained firm to her purpose of procuring a divorce. This was easily accomplished, and Mrs. Johnson rejoiced in the idea that now if he ever came near her, she could tell him he was no longer allied to her.

Soon after this transpired, this unfortunate lady was introduced to a gentleman of highly respectable character, and accomplished exterior. He was considered very handsome and genteel, and his presence was always welcome in the circle of the polite and fashionable.

He was very much pleased with Mrs. J-, and very soon after their first introduction, requested permission to visit her. This was readily granted by the lady, and in a short time he became a frequent visiter at her house. No one, however, ever dreamed that he had an idea of marrying Mrs. Johnson, until it was announced that they intended marriage.

The children of Mrs. Johnson felt mortified at the step

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which their mother had taken. Loraine was absent, and did not know of it until some time after they were united ; for married they would be, in spite of all remonstrances on the part of friends interested for both parties. It was justly feared that the most unpleasant consequences might follow a union of two persons where existed so great a disparity in years, as there was between Mr. Nelson and Mrs. Johnson.

Benjamin declared that he could never brook the contemptuous inuendoes of those whose ill-breeding led them to sneer at the subject of his mother's unwise marriage, in his presence, as he was often forced to, and therefore he intended leaving the place, and seeking some spot where he should never again be annoyed by the unwelcome subject.

Mrs. Nelson, as we must hereafter call this lady, entreated her son to remain near her. She mourned at the thought of a separation from him whom she had ever trusted, confidently, would have remained near to solace her by assisting in taking care of her children, and by superintending their education. But all she could say to Benjamin was in vain. He told her he regretted having been banished as it were from his home ; but he never could nor would be obliged to come in contact with a person for whom he entertained so little respect as he did for Mr. Nelson. He was aware that no sin had been committed, he said, yet felt that his mother had acted foolishly, and brought reproach upon her family, in the minds of the most of her acquaintance; and added, “I am resolved to leave the scene of mortification as soon as possible.' He did so; and his mother could not but regret that in this instance she had not listened to the advice of those who were qualified to counsel her.

She became dejected, and as year after year passed, and Benjamin expressed no intention of returning, she could not forgive herself for the evil she had done. She did not sink, however, under the weight of self-reproach she endured, but was supported by the counsels of Christian friends, who felt that although she had erred, she was still entitled to the sympathy of such as could lead her thoughts above this fascinating and sinful world.

One such friend Mrs. Nelson possessed, in a lady who had been early left a widow, and could in many respects sympathise with her. This lady had a daughter named Lucy, who was a companion of Salina, the daughter of Mrs. Nelson, and they had often conversed together concerning the similarity in the dispositions of her and Benjamin.

No event could have been so productive of happiness to Benjamin's mother as the union of her son with a young lady possessing a character like Lucy's. And as we think it would be refreshing to the mind of the reader to dwell upon what is lovely in the moral world, for a short time at least, we shall give the history of Lucy, as she was closely connected with the Weldron family. What we relate respecting her was told us by an aged relative of the young lady.

Said this friend, I love in fancy to revisit those scenes with which a recollection of this amiable lady is associated.

From her earliest infancy she was lovely, a child of the fairest promise. Well do I remember the thrilling

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