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alive. There is no certainty of her death: it has been probable only at present.
O Sir, cried he, very much affected, it is but too certain.
And so, said I, Jacob thought concerning his beloved Joseph. The probability too in his case was greater than in yours. His son's coat was brought to him torn and bloody, and without its owner: whereas, in your case, it is only related that a vessel was wrecked, that a woman who was in it was drowned, and that a bundle belonging to your daughter was saved. But can it be certainly known that one woman only was in the ship, and that she was your daughter? Or because her clothes were lost, that there. fore she perished ? Had I reasoned thus, I should not have visited all the towns upon the English and French coasts. It is true I did not find her : yet I do not despair of seeing her again.
Pray, Sir, exclaimed he, will you answer me one ques. tion? Do you know where she is? Have you not heard something about her?
Indeed, Sir, replied I, I do not know where she is ; but I do not despair of her being alive. The letter which came when we were at tea, informs me that the woman who was drowned was not your daughter.
O my dear Sir, cried he, laying hold of one of my hands with both bis, I beseech you to put me out of this cruel suspense Tell me what it is you have learned.
The good man trembled from head to foot. I was there. fore afraid to proceed, and yet had gone too far to retreat, It is very little, Sir, said I, rbat I know; and even that little I was afraid to inform you of. You must wait with pa. tience. A few posts, I hope, will bring us further intelligence.
I am able, said he, to bear any thing you have to tell me, Say therefore whether she is alive.
I believe she is, answered I, but cannot certainly tell. It is not yet known what country she is in ; but this I know, that she was not drowned.
O my child, my child, exclaimed he; I thank my good and gracious God; I shall see my child again before I die.
He desired me to show him the letter I had received. I told him I would gladly do it when we were in the house. In the meantime I desired him to compose himself.
What a happy day, cried he, is this wedding day of my son! Two children are added to my family in one day.
My dear Sir, said I, if God in great mercy restore her · to you, and if I should have the happiness of possessing an interest in her affection, I hope I shall meet with no impediment..
You are worthy of her, interrupted he; I should prefer you to the greatest prince in Europe.
This afforded me great pleasure. I returned Mr. Neville the most sincere thanks, and told him truly, that I should prefer a union with his daughter to the possession of an empire.
By this time we had reached the liouse. Being seated, I
gave him his daughter's letter. And written, cried he, in a transport of joy, with her own hand. Having read it, he put it into his bosom. O Mr. Clifford, cried he, I have been a cruel parent. I do not deserve such a child. But my heavenly Father has in every period of my life dealt with me, not according to my sins, but according to his abundànt mercy in Christ Jesus.
All the company in the wilderness, as soon as they heard the joyful tidings, came, and congratulated Mr. Neville and each other on this unexpected resurrection as it were from the dead.
News in a country village flies with great rapidity. It was not half an hour before the inhabitants gave a proof of their good will to Mr. Neville's family, by ringing the bells. On the green the boys having collected some faggots, made a bonfire; and in the evening every house in the village was illuminated ; even the smallest cottage was decorated with three or four candles set in pieces of clay. I confess that in my eye, these humble attempts of the poor to show their good will to a family which has always been attentive to their interest, appeared more magnificent than the splendid illuminations I have seen in London..
The latter proceeded from abundance: the former were a sacrifice to gratitude offered by penury.
It being evident that our friend was neither in England nor in France, many conjectures were formed where she could be. Dr. Mildmay thought she was in the Austrian Netherlands, that country being so near to St. Omer's. It was my opinion that she was gone to Switzerland. Signior Albino thought it more probable that she was in Italy. Mr. Barnwell thought she was gone to Ireland. He said that she would be coolly looked upon in a foreign country without clothes or money; but that if she were in Ireland, where she might assist in a boarding school, or be employed as a governess, it was like being in England. However, we all agreed that it was impossible to know which conjecture was right, or whether any, till another letter should arrive.
I did not sleep a minute all night. My mind followed her to every country in Europe, and even to America and she West-Indies: but such thoughts are vain and unprofitable.
Ought I to confess to you, Madam, that I am much more uneasy than I was when I thought she was dead? The joy I first experienced was suddenly damped by the consideration, that she will inevitably have given her hand le some happy lover before I shall again see her, or at least that she will be so far engaged, as not to be able to recede with honour. At all events she is lost to me for ever, or at least till our kindred spirits shall meet where they neither marry nor are given in marriage. These are the thoughts which disquiet me. On the other hand I console myself by reflecting, that whatever shall be the event, it was first planned, and is now executing by infinite wisdom, and that on the whole it will be for my good. These thoughts calm my mind. I consider that every Christian has a cross to bear after his Lord, and a fiery trial to be tried with ; and that if it be the divine will that this should be my trial, I ought to submit.
In a strange country--discarded by her parent-without
wesources--without a protector_if honourable proposals should be made to her (and what man is there who ruld not be proud to call her bis ?) marriage is what she cannot avoid. I must therefore endeavour to forget her, since it is certain I shall never see her but to increase my grief.
I thank you, Madam, for your remarks on the truth of divine revelation. I hope they will be blessed to my confirmation in the faith. About a week past my father and I drank tea at Mr Neville's. That good man took great pains to convince him of the truth of the Mosaic history, and I hope with some good effect. I have had a great deal of conversation with him on the subject, I have also shown him your letter, and lent him your correspondence with my dear Eusebia and Mrs. Neville. He is now exceed. ingly thoughtful, is much in his closet, and does not as formerly make a jest of religion. Like myself, he has had but little pleasure in his infidelity. It is a desperate game, at which every thing may be lost, but nothing gained.
“The moment you receive any further intelligence, you will be so obliging as to favour me with a line.
I am, dear Madam, your much obliged,
And most obedient servant,
From Mrs. Worthington to Mr. Neville,
DEAR SIR, I
CONGRATULATE you and all my dear friends at Thornton Abbey respecting your dear child. I hope soon to have the pleasure of knowing where she is, and of informing her of the great and happy change that has taken place in your family, which tidings will be as joyful to her as the news of her being alive can be to us.
We rejoice that slie is in the land of the living. It is
right to do so; for life is undoubtedly a great blessing. WEought not, however, to mourn immoderately for our friends who die in the Lord; for though life is a blessing, yet to depart, and to be with Christ, is far better.
The union between your worthy son and my dear niece gives me great pleasure. I hope and believe she will be a wife proper for him. She is frugal and industrious, and dislikes ostentatious pomp and expensive pleasures. She is not fond of company, yet will I doubt not endeavour to render every one happy whom Mr. Neville shall honour with his friendship, or invite to his table.
It depends not a little upon a wise, whether the fear and worship of God shall be kept up in a family. If through different cares the time for family worship should be ex. ceeded, it is her duty kindly to call off her husband from the affairs of the world to the worship of God.
Flavia is an industrious woman, and would be thought religious. But when her husband reminds her that it is time for the family to be called together, it is generally too soon, or too late, or she is engaged, so that though she does not expressly refuse, yet she submits with so ill a grace, that it is well if the duty be not at length totally neglected.
The case of Dr. Mildmay proves, that no consideration should induce a Christian to marry ani unbeliever. Wit, beauty, riches, or all of them united, are but a poor compensation for the want of divine wisdom. Mrs. Mildmay was rich, young, gay, and sensible. These qualifications were too highly prized. Dr. Mildmay should have sought for a woman who was meek and frugal; who loved God; and who loved him for the sake of the truth which he preached. These would have been endowments of substantial value. Concerts, dancing, cards, ungodly associates, unprofitable entertainments, and vain discourse, are poor accompaniments to preaching the gospel. The love of these things, and a life of faith on the Son of God, are seldom found under the same roof, and never in the same person.