telligible) and tell him our difficulty, and throw ourselves upon his generosity, not to talk much to us, nor heed our blunders."

"Shame, sister! Would you be thus unmaidenly bold! Would you plot thus to deceive our father? Would you in truth willingly bear part in such duplicity. Better, far better, frankly to confide the whole to him. A young lady should never place herself under obligations to a stranger! I attribute this wild idea to your youth, aud thoughtlessness, not to your heart."

Caroline looked mortified, and was silent, but soon was restored to cheerfulness by the kindness of Ann's voice and manner. It was, at length, nobly decided, that when their lather came home to dinner, that he should be made the confidant of their difficulty.

But, as if anticipating their intention, and wishing, for certain reasons of his own, to defeat it, he brought, in company with him, young Monsieur Laveatix to dinner; so that they were in his presence before they could either see their father in private, or escape the interview.

"There are my daughters, sir," he said to him, in English, "who will be happy to converse with you in your own language."

The young Frenchman bowed with grace, and in voluble French, expressed himself happy to have the honor of knowing them. Ann replied prettily, in the same language, with a great effort and much hesitation, and was then silent.

Caroline, who had previously composed and framed with great labour, a good French speech for the occasion, now gave utterance to it, which was that they had studied French and read and wrote it, but did not speak it fluently or at all; and that he would be doing them a kindness, by relieving them from the embarrassment of attempting a language which they were not familiar with, and would converse with them in English, which she was pleased to see he spoke so well.

M. Laveaux bowed very civilly, and replied in his best English,

"Yees, mees, I am ver' moshe plasir. You sail spoke me—I sail spoke you l'Anglais, si rous will pleez, meez."

With such English as M. Laveaux honored the king with speaking, it may be supposed the dinner hour was got through with as lamely as amusingly. Both Ann and Caroline resolutely resolved not to speak another word of French; which they were conscious they knew about as much of as their guest of English; and seeing how ridiculous one, even a sensible man, may make himself by attempting a language he is unacquainted with, they shrunk, even at the expense of mortifying and displeasing their father, from making a similar exhibition of themselves.

j Italian they once tried at his command, but speedily broke down upon it.

Mr. Marshall's object, however, had herein been sufficiently accomplished; and pained by the issue, which he had anticipated, but which (tor reasons hereafter to be explained) he wished them to experience. He was not jsorry when the time came for his daughters ito retire, who did so with great relief, but iexceedingly mortified. Ann threw herself lupon her sister's neck, as soon as they gained their room, and both wept with mingled pride and mortification. Mrs. Marshall herself was chagrined, and perhaps felt more deeply than themselves, the result upon which she had placed so much triumphant anticipation; and in her heart she approved and comtnend!ed her husband's course of trial. I Mr. Marshall and M. Laveaux at length made their appearance in the drawing-room, where the ladies and tea were waiting their presence. Seeing some Italian music on the piano, he asked of Miss Caroline,

"Meesh, play de moosic you V

"Yes, sir."

"I loike moshe you ploy."

Caroline seated herself at the piano, and he took up and laid before her an Italian bravura.

"I don't sing Italian."

"No," said Mr. Marshall. "You have certainly been taking lessons in Italian music three years."

Caroline hung her head, because she had no confidence in her pronunciation. And want of confidence is equivalent to want of knowledge. She made the effort and sang it through at her father's wish. M. Laveaux appeared delighted, and complimented her in choice Italian, upon her pronunciation. She was, however, aware she did not deserve it, for though her pronunciation might hsve been good, she did not know the translation of five out of ten words in the feong. She merely sang as she had been taught, mechanically.

The evening passed off dull and painfully to all except M. Laveaux, who, rejoicing in his choice English, felt perfectly happy himself, and by narrating (and such narration !) many amusing stories of travel, did his best to make those happy around him.

At length Monsieur Laveaux made his adieus, and never were poor girls more delighted than when they heard the street door close upon him. They now cast half-deprecating glances at their father, who sat a long time looking very gravely into the fire. When the silence became awkward and unpleasant, they rose, and requested leave to retire.

"In one moment, dears," he said kindly. "How did you like M. Laveaux?"

"He appears very gentlemanly, sir," said Ann, with slight embarrassment. | "He is a gentleman bred and born. It is a pity he does not speak English, so that you could see him to better advantage; for he is a young man of fine abilities, and possesses much taste and genius; and a more thorough merchant, for his age, I never knew. But to speak a foreign language awkwardly, makes even the best bred and most intelligent man seem silly. You, at least, girls, did not mean to expose yourselves. How is it you do not speak French. I have been paying bills for your acquisition of the language for six years

past. Madame in her note to me, says

ou are proficient in it. And your Italian too, discover, is very badly pronounced, notwithstanding M. Laveaux's civil compliments. And from the way you sang that song 1 question, Caro, if you know the meaning of the words."

"In truth, sir, I did not, 1 am ashamed to

confess. Madame said if I could only

pronounce, it was no use learning to translate, as no body ever asked for translation of Italian songs."

"Madame is an impostor," said Mr.

Marshall, with indignation. "This is her imposition, to extort money from parents. And your French—how is that learned?"

"By committing set phrases to memory, and repeating them to one another in our rooms.

"Did she not converse with you?" •' No, sir."

"1 thought you were not allowed to speak to her except in that language."

"We were not, sir. But a very few phrases learned by heart, comprised all we ever had occasion to ask her, and beyond these, we never knew, or were taught any thing."

Mr. Marshall looked markedly at his wife, who sighed and turned away her head. "You draw and paint, for landscapes of great merit adorn your rooms. Are they really from your pencils?"

"No, sir," answered Ann, ingenuously. "The outlines were drawn by art, and the rough colors only laid on by ourselves. The master blended and gave the finish to the pictures. 1 really know very little of painting, and have never drawn or painted an entire piece by myself."

"Is this the case with you, also, Carol" he asked with ffrief.

"Yes, sir. We painted only for exhibition, and to please you; and as our masters made the best pictures, they used to paint them for this purpose. I am sure I never felt then as I do now, that I was party to a deception practiced on you. I thought merely a fash

ionable education— that is the credit of it— was all that was necessary for a lady."

"I hope, at least, you have knowledge of music. You both play. Have you mastered the science of music? Are you familiar with its principles?"

"I can play only by the eye, and only pieces which my teacher has taught me," answered Caroline. "Ann can take a new piece, and learn it, and play it off, but I cannot."

"Can you instruct your sister to play in the same way, Ann?"

"No, sir, for I am ignorant of the principles, by which I myself execute the pieces," was Ann's humiliating reply.

Mr. Marshall remained for some time silent with mingled grief and anger. His conscience smote him, that he had not earlier examined into his children's education. He was indignant at the deception practised on him, and pained and mortified to find that the flower of their years had been lost in acquiring little or nothing but lessons of duplicity. It is trua, the world regarded them as fashionably educated girls; and, thought he, they were fashionably educated. But in his eyes they were, indeed, sadly ignorant. Mrs. Marshall had not a word to offer in their defence. He at length spoke, gravely.

"My children, I am deeply mortified at this issue of a trial I had purposely put you to, to-day, half-fearing this result. I have lately felt deeply solicitous for your happiness after you have become members of society, and my influence over you is withdrawn. I therefore resolved to ascertain if your education, which you have just finished, had prepared you in case of any reverse in life, for self-maintenance and independence. The result of the trial is before you. If your father, or your husbands should become unfortunate, you have proven to yourselves, as well as to me, that neither by instructing in French, Italian, music, nor painting, can you provide a maintenance- for yourselves. You are sufficiently humbled without my censures —for the fault is more your instructresses' —nay, perhaps my own—than yours'. I hope you will be ready to comply with a suggestion I have to make to-morrow, in which your happiness is intimately interested. !" We shall be ready, dear father, to do any thing that will raise us in your estimation, and our own," was the reply of both.

"To-morrow, then, at ten, meet me in my library, and I will lay it before you. Now, good night. We will try, yet, if you act like sensible girls, to repair the error of your fashionable education!"

What this proposition was, which Mr. Marshall had to make known to them on the

[ocr errors]

morrow, will be un'blded in a subsequent Tale, to be called the "Two Apprentices, or, The Education Finished," which will be found in the ensuing number of the Ladies' Garland, to which we refer the readers of the two preceding stories of "The Sisters."

Written for the Lartiefl' Garland.



If distance e'er should us divide.
And we no more each other see,

If friends more dear with you abide,
I pray thee still " Remember me."

Should e'er thy future hours of joy
By sorrow's storms o'erclouded be;

If blighted hope thy peace destroy,
1 pray thee then " Remember me."

The world may promise bliss secure,
But trust it not—'twill soon decay;

Then seek fof pleasures which endure,
And never, never, fade away.

Harmony, JV. J., June, 1842. J. R. L.



"A child is lost!" was the fearful and pulse-stilling rumor that coursed like wildfire throughout one of those small settlements which occasionally skirt the entrance to our American forests. A cry like this waS"enough to thrust the warm blood back to the heart with a chill of horror; to arrest the throb of joy, even in its gayest humors; and to send the busy imagination forth with the^little wanderer in the deep solitude of the forest; whom it pictured seeking in vain to discover some opening, while he wiped away the tears that weTe flowing over his young face like rain; holding himself in an attitude to listen, till his startled fancy brought back the growl of some hideous inhabitant of those dark places; then, running onward, would either fall a prey to the very fate he was endeavoring to flee from; or, after threading the same little circle, till fatigue overpowered his feeble limbs, lay himself down, despairingly, to die. Such tragedies had been acted, and the sons of the forest well knew that it is easier to pursue their course through the trackless ocean without a compass, than to ascertain their pathway in those deep wilds, where the light of the sun is almost excluded, and no footprint guides to human habitations.

In the present instance, men crowded together, scarcely daring to whisper to their own souls that the sweet child of Agnes Wade was lost. "He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow!" Can there be a more pathetic appeal to the sensibilities of human nature 1 Cnn there be a picture of more utter desolation, than the heart of the bereaved one under such circumstances? Agnes Wade was the idol of the settlement. She had been in it but a few fleeting months; yet there had been time pnough for her memory and her interests to find a resting-place in every bosom. She had come there to reside, with the parents of her lost husband. They were in humble life, but it needed-only to look at Agnes, to know that she had been educated in refinement, if not in elegance. And she had borne the change of circumstances with Bo much sweet and pious resignation; she was so gentle, so condescending, so benevolent, that it was impossible to be with her and not to love her. She always had a word of encouragement for the timid; she always whispered consolation to the sorrowful; that consolation which cometh only from above. With irresistible persuasion she endeavored to reclaim the vicious, and lead the contrite spirit to "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world."

Agnes Wade was young. She had married the husband of her affections; one to whom her fond vows of constancy had been yielded almost in childhood. His parents had labored hard to give him an education; and it was during his college years that he saw and loved the delicate and attractive Afjnes. Their hearts, as it were, melted into one. The opinions and feelings of William Wade were reflected in the mind and soul of his sweet betrothed one; and when they wedded, it was only to make the blending of interests and emotions more closely intimate. But happiness so perfect cannot abide long in a world which has been blasted by the frown of its Creator. Dreams that are so delightful, must have a sudden, if not a fearful, waking. Two years had passed since Agnes had felt all the desolation, and all the misery, which is comprised in that one word—widow. She had known sorrow before in the loss of her youngest born; but it was as the few drops which precede the torrent. She committed its body to the dust in the sure hope that its spirit was even at that moment mingling in kindred holiness and happiness with the blessed in Heaven; that .it was a bright angel around the throne ofsGpd.; and it was a thought full of beauty, and full of consolation, that she had been the honored instrument of adding one to those pure spirits, who dwell in the blissful pre

[ocr errors]

sence of their Redeemer. But, when the grave closed over Him, who had been her guardian, her counsellor, ber support; who had shared her joys, and soothed her sorrows; who had been her companion in health, and pillowed her head in sickness; she felt as ifj shut out from the loveliness of life, forever: and she would willingly have laid her throbbing temples and despairing heart on the cold earth beside him, never more to rise.

Agnes was left without fortune, but she contrived, by economy and industry, to keep herself from absolute dependance, and was always able to bestow the widow's mite in charity. She treated her son as a companion —he was associated in her visits of benevolence—he shared in her labors with all the strength and ingenuity his young days could furnish.

It was this darling son—this fair pledge ofj her young affections—that was now nowhere to be found. It was a bright day in spring, and Agnes had risen with the sun, and gone several miles to visit a dying friend. On this occasion she left her dear little Will behind, contenting herself with imprinting a mother's kiss upon his glowing cheek, as he lay wrapped in slumber. "Is he not the sweetest of all sweet children T" thought she, as she turned to look once more upon his sleeping loveliness. "Oh, if I were bereft of him, too, I should have nothing left to live for!"

The hours and the moments sped away until the time arrived when Agnes was expected. Ah! who shall be the first to tell her of these heavy tidings? All shrunk from the task. She came—yes, they could not help her coming!—and there they sat, crowded together in a little circle, as children press together, when they are listening to something frightful—all eyes turned upon her with sad and fearful meaning; but not a word was uttered.

"What is the matter V she quickly asked. —" Where is my child !—Something dreadful has occurred !—Oh, tell me! where is my child ?—Father!—Mother!—Will you: not speak to me? Then he is dead !—The judgment is at last administered—the righteous judgment, which I have been so long anticipating!" She continued in a low, plaintive moan, as if communing with her own spirit: "Oh! I have loved him too fondly—better than I have loved my God !— I tried hard not to do it. But, oh! he was so sweet—so engaging—so affectionate! He! was my last, too—the last being left on earth that I could call my own !—the last! do you hear that, Agnes!—the last!—and that isj taken! Yes! I am left alone—alone, and

solitary in all this world—it ha8 nothing now for me to love—and I too may die!"

Exhausted by the strength of her emotions, she sunk into the arms of the sympathising females who had clustered round her, penetrated to the soul by this, to them, novel exhibition of maternal grief. There were no tears, no ringing of the hands, no frantic exclamations; but the low breathings of utter desolation—the solitary joy cut off, in a heart long familiarized to sorrow—the one overflowing drop added to a cup already full of bitterness. Every tongue was silent, as if spell-bound. Either they dared not awaken the least glimmering of hope, lest it should be again extinguished in deeper darkness; or they were afraid the suspense excited by their intelligence might be worse for her than the most painful certainty. Agnes was conveyed to bee, and the good women left her to consult together what it was best to do. It was determined that one of them should return to her, and tell the whole truth.

She found her giving vent to her heart in the most pathetic exclamations. "My sweet, sweet Will! I had hoped that we should enter Heaven together? that together we should join the dear ones who have gone before us! But now, there is no more hope for me on earth! Oh! what do I say l Father! save me from sin! save me from murmuring at thy righteous chastenings!— Teach me to trust in thee, although thou slay me!"

"Yes; that is right, child! put your trust in Heaven! the Lord is good, and He is kind, and He will comfort you: so don't take on so," said the warm-hearted old lady, addressing Agnes>.

The voice of affection brought tears to the dry eyes of Agnes. But they were not the refreshing tears that moisten and cooi the withering spirit; they came not gently, and sweetly, like the dews of heaven. The short, !convulsive heavings of an almost bursting heart, were mingled with violent and painful weeping. This soon spent itself, and was succeeded by suffocating sobs; like the swelling of the ocean when the storm is gone. The affectionate woman leaned over her persuasively,—

"Nay! now, dearie, you do wrong to srrieve so; you must submit to the will of God!"

"Oh!" interrupted Agnes, "I would that I could resign myself entirely to his justice! but my soul is full of darkness! I can only remember that my child is Dead." This one thought had occupied her mind: but now, as if a new light had broken in upon her, she suddenly raised herself from the pillow— "Dead? who says that he is dead? Where, how, when, did he die 1"

"He is not dead! dearie, not dead!"

"Not dead?" cried Agnes, starting up, "for the love of Heaven, tell me what you mean! oh, speak! where is he?"

Both hands were upon her bosom, as if to hold in her throbbing heart; and the wildness of her looks made the old woman trembl e.

"Be quiet, my child! only be quiet, and I will toll you all about it! The dear little boy was playing at the door, and picking daisies to stick in your hair. He was so much diverted by it, that his grandmother let him play on, only telling him not to go away from the door. She was busied about the dairy, and when she come to look after him he was gone. She gave the alarm right away, and all the men in the settlement turned out to hunt him up. But you know the woods is a bad place to find a body !"—

Agnes stopped not to hear the conclusion of the sentence. She was at the door in an instant.

The old woman pulled her forcibly back —"Are you crazy?" said she: "Do you want to get lost too? If man can find him, he will be brought in before sundown!"

While she was yet speaking, several men who had been out in quest of the little wanderer, returned, despairing of success.

"Let none but Mothers search!" cried Agnes, and darted from the house. They called to her in vain. One of the party, who had just arrived, followed; hallooing, as he went, to his comrades, to light a fire for a beacon, if they returned not before night.

Agnes fled on with incredible rapidity.— Affection lent her wings, and strength, and courage; or rather, she was supported by Him, who, with such sweet and powerful emphasis, declares himself "the God of the widow, and the Father of the fatherless." With the lightness and speed of the antelope, she passed over the brush and underwood that sometimes lay scattered in her pathway. Difficulties seemed to vanish as she approached them; and she explored every little hiding-place that might conceal her darling, with an ingenuity and industry, resulting from the mighty workings of a mother's love, that amounted almost to intuition. Her companion looked on with wonder, at her performances; to see a creature so delicate, do that which appeared to require the strength and judgment of a man. He pretended not to cope with her in the search she was accomplishing. He seemed but the passive instrument of her pleasure;—tut the humble satellite, attendant upon the evolutions of its mighty planet.

"I must find my boy !" she exclaimed, "or the forest will receive us both into the same grave! But I shall find him! He who has

ever been my guide in difficulties, my defence in temptation, my strength in weakness, and my consolation in sorrow, will give him back to me! My trust is in the Lord!"

Agnes went on and on. She knew not how far she had traversed the forest, for there are no way-marks to ascertain the distance or direction; and one may wander on for hours and days, and terminate their journey near the very place where they commenced it. She soon came to a spot more open than she had hitherto passed; where the wild flower and the winter-green grew in such abundance as almost to cover the earth with a rich carpet of scarlet, and green, and purple. Agnes' heart beat quicker as she thought —" Ah! this is a place which would attract my darling!" She almost expected to see him sleeping on the bed of flowers before her. She cast a rapid-glance around—

« William!"

She paused, expecting a reply—
« My darling Will!"

There was a slight rustling in the bushes near her. She flew with outstretched arms to clasp her son—but it was only the young fawn who had been startled from his slumbers. Agnes' heart died within her. She felt the sickness of " hope deferred." The transition from expectation—from almost certainty, to disappointment, had been so abrupt and so decisive, that she seated herself on the cold grass and wept in uncontrolled emotion.

"Cheer up, lady!" said her companion; "don't be down-hearted! The boy will yet be found, if human nature can accomplish it, for I never saw any body so 'cute in the woods as you be. And besides all that, you trust in the Ix>rd, and the good book says, that 'He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.'"

"It is true!" replied Agnes, "and it is thankless ingratitude in me to be so unmindful of His precious promises, and so distrustful of His goodness; but my heart hovers over my remaining treasure, as the bird flutters around the only nursling that is left in her rifled nest. Come, let us on! the sun will soon be setting, and alas! for my little one, if he should have to spend the night in the lone desert!"

They pursued their search—but Agnes with less buoyant hopes than before. As her's faded, the faint expectations of her companion vanished utterly; and he gently hinted that she had better consult her own safety, and return.

"I will Die here," she replied, "rather than desert my precious boy! Do you go home, and leave me! the God of the widow j will be my safeguard!"

"No, no, lady! no, no! I did'nt speak on

« ElőzőTovább »