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The boy's lip fell; but, by a strong effort of the will, he restrained the tears, and suffered her to touch his cheek. He still restrained them, though with more difficulty, when his father embraced him; and Mr. Barham, turning to the nurse, exclaimed, almost sharply, "Warren, what is the matter with the boy?—I insist upon knowing."
Warren sighed, and looked down, and very leisurely snuffed the candle,from which Mrs. Barham had just lighted another, and had hastened on to little Ellen's chamber. The step-mother trod softly, shaded the candle with her hand, and would not, even by a touch, awaken the slumberer, who lay, her doll clasped tightly in her arms, in one of those untaught attitudes of childhood which are always graceful. As motionless as the sleeping child did Mrs. Barham remain for many minutes; and who can tell the thoughts that passed rapidly through her mind? Perhaps she wondered if the mother had been as beautiful as the daughter, and had she been less, or as well, or better loved than herself? Or did she seek to pierce anxiously or hopefully the future? Or was she content to dwell upon the present! Whatever her thoughts were, they could not be evil. Oh! no; for the truthful glance and affectionate gesture with which she beckoned her husband to approach softly, were never dictated by a selfish or unkind thought. He, however, was ruffled, for he had insisted on an answer from the nurse, who, to the question of what ailed the child, had replied, with some reluctance, that Miss Pearson, their aunt, had been there that day, and "had talked to Master Charley about his own mamma."
The sorrows of children, however, are seldom very long-lived, and Master Charley came down to breakfast the next morninc without any traces of the last night's tears. Yet it might have been observed that he very studiously avoided addressing Mrs. Barham by the endearing name which her husband always used when speaking of her to his children. As for little Ellen, she looked timidly up in her face, and not till quite the middle of the day did she gain courage to utter more than monosyllables in the presence of the step-mother, although Mrs. Birham strove, by a thousand gentle stratagems, to gain the confidence of the children. It was very evident that Master Charley's heart was steeled against her; and if, by kindness and indulgence, he seemed for a few hours a little subdued, the mildest remonstrance (and remonstrances were very often necessary, for he was a spoiled and self-willed boy) brought the flush to his cheek, and the black drop to his heart again. The little girl was far more impressible, and in a very few days the de
gree of awe, which she seemed at first to feel, wore off, and she came for the proffered kiss a dozen limes a-day, and prattled away to her heart's content. One day, she was sitting on a stool at Mrs. Bar ham's feet, dressing her doll, and receiving some suggestions as to the improvement of its costume with vast delight, when the lady asked, gently, a question which had long hovered on her lips—" Why, Ellen, do you always call me ma'am V The child colored to her temples, shaded as they were by her soft curling hair, but did not answer.
"Why do you not call me mamma?" continued Mrs. Barham, pressing the little hand that rested upon her knee.
The child turned her head away as she murmured—" Because Charley told me not to, and said he would not love me, and aunt would not love me either, if I did."
The heart of the step-mother was too full to answer; her husband found her in tears; and, it was impossible positively to refuse his young wife so simple a request, and he did promise that the children should be allowed to address her only by the term their own feelings should dictate. Little Ellen soon began to call her "mamma," and called her so fur years; Master Charley did the same at intervals, when more than usually goodtempered, or just alter some indulgence she had been the means of procuring for him.
One other scene of this period, and we will pass on for years. Miss Pearson and other relatives had been introduced to Mrs. Barham, and had paid the formal wedding visit. At their first meeting, the merits of the bride were of course discussed.
"The idea of calling her pretty!" said one.
"To pretend she is only six-and-twenty!" exclaimed another; "she'll never see thirty again."
"No money, 1 believe ?" asserted the first, in the form of an interrogation.
"Only about twelve hundred pounds," replied somebody very well informed on the subject; "but Charles has made it up five thousand, and settled the whole upon her," continued the lady, in a crescendo tone of voice.
"More than ever he did for my poor sister," observed Miss Pearson, with a sigh; "though she had money." (Most true, Miss Pearson; but Charles Barham, twelve years ago, did not possess five thousand pounds in the world.)
"The poor children!"
"Frightened to death of her!"
"I could not have believed he would have married again;" chimed in Miss Pearson, in a tone of just indignation at the iniquity of mankind.
"Charley's a fine boy; he can recollect his mother, and has a spirit of his own?" continued the asserter of interrogatives.
"Yes, but they talk of sending him to school;" said the "well-informed" lady.
"I told you so!" exclaimed the aunt, proud of her wonderful gift of prophecy.
"Her doing, of course."
And they all sighed, and shook their heads, and joined in a sort of chorus, to the effect that second marriages were "dreadful."
Alas, for the poor step-mother! Can there be any question that her office was a most thankless one ?—without the authority of a mother, yet with all a mother's responsibility—»not with her husband alone to please, but a whole family to conciliate, and that family predisposed to condemn all her actions. But as the dropping of water will wear away a stone, so Mrs. Barham's correct judgment, and invariable sweetness of disposition, did a little smooth down the asperities with which she had been met; when, at the end of two years, the prospect of herself becoming a mother was looked upon as a new and most aggravated offence. Her infant died; and, instead of sympathy or compassion for the mother's anguish, at the loss of her first-born, there were women who looked—almost acknowledged—their rejoicings. Yes, women, who called themselves feminine and tenderhearted, and would have turned away, probably, rather than have seen an insect crushed!
Another year sped on; and again Mrs. Barham was a mother; but this time she was more blessed—her infant lived. It proved, however, a delicate boy; and the additional care and tenderness which this circumstance naturally drew forth from its parents, were looked on almost as injurious to the elder and healthier children. It seemed even conjectured that poor Mrs. Barham must have used some undue influence over her husband— some sort of domestic witchcraft, to make him so strangely anxious about the well-being of a sickly troublesome infant. Meanwhile, Charley and Ellen were growing up —the former a shrewd,.clever boy, the latter a very beautiful girl. By the time, however, that Charley was about seventeen, Mr. Barham, whose connections were with the mercantile world, had met with several severe losses, and, without his finances being reduced to such a state that it was absolutely necessary for him to curtail his expenses and general mode of living, it would assuredly have been prudent for him to have done so. On the other hand, he had his temptations. His beloved children were just entering life, and he appreciated, perhaps too highly, the advantages of a certain station and worldly
appearances to them. He consulted his wifp, from whom he had no secrets; and though her own feelings leaned towards the safer policy of retrenchment, a certain delicacy of mind made her very tenacious of throwing any weight into the scale which should be balanced against the interests of the elder children. Almost against her better judgment, she y ielded, therefore, to her husband's plans, and seconded him in them by many an act of self-denial, of which " the world" little dreamed. No other human being had an idea of the real state of the case; consequently, dear friends and relatives found a great deal to censure in some instances of economy, which their prying curiosity discovered. It was all " wretched meanness— hoarding for the sake of herself and her miserable little puny brat. Why, indeed, was not Charley to have his own horse, as he had been promised years ago! And so well as Ellen played, it was shameful they did not give her a new Broadwood, instead of the old thing she had had these seven years'." But, with all their commiseration for the poor illused children—whom they contrived, both by open remarks and more dangerous insinuations, to make thoroughly discontented—neither grandmother, aunt, nor cousins, ever thought of making these costly presents themselves.
Of course, the subtle poison worked, and most of all upon the peace of mind and health of the step-mother. She had sufficient cause for real anxiety in the state of her husband's pecuniary affairs, and the delicate constitution of her child; but the outbreaks of temper, and petty annoyances—annoyances verging closely on insults, though scarcely palpable enough to be represented as such—rendered her life a very unenviable one. From Mr. Barham she usually concealed these annoyances as much as possible; for sad experience had proved to her, that his interference, though always exerted in her behalf, made matters in a long run rather worse than better. Still, as she had completely deserved, so had she always retained, his entire confidence and affection; and this consciousness did at times give a light to her eye, and a smile to her face, which else she must long since have ceased to wear. But alas! these occasional gleams of happiness were noticed and remembered, to be brought forward afterwards as proofs of her unfeeling disposition.
Charley was being educated for the bar, to which profession his talents seemed especially to lead. He was a handsome young man, clever and agreeable in society, generally liked and courted, and just the sort of person of whom most parents would be very proud; and the step-mother would scarcely have
been human, if she had not looked on hirn with something like envy, while contrasting his position and probable fortunes with those of her own poor weakly child. And it chanced that circumstances should place their interests in opposition to one another.
The little boy, instead of gaining strength, had grown yet weaker, and at six years old[ consumption was apprehended. Determined to have their minds relieved of the worst known, the anxious parents consulted separately three physicians. Two were of opinion, that, with care and watching, the danger might be avoided; but the third, who was indeed less eminent, but had some years hefore attenJed several members of Mrs. Barham's family, declared stoutly, that, as far as his knowledge and experience, or human foresight, could divine, the child's life could only be spared by removal for the next year or two, to Madeira, or the south of Europe. For some hours Mr. and Mrs. Barhani remained with minds undecided which plan to adopt—one moment leaning, with sanguine hope, to the brighter side of the case, the next, proposing, at any sacrifice, to remove their darling child to a warmer climate.
After a while, Mrs. Barham felt that the casting vote remained with herself; but. though her heart yearned for the wished-for decision, the very consciousness that it was in her own power made her hesitate. At most, the hesitation would have been but that of a few hours, yet, during even so short an interval, Mr. Barham received a letter which, at such a moment, was of vital importance, from his elder son. Charley was at that time diligently engaged at Oxford; and he wrote to his father, with all the earnestness of sincerity, beseeching his permission to commence a course of studies, and keep certain terms, which, though not absolutely necessary hefore he could be called to the bar, would be, he felt assured, an inestimable advantage to him. The poor step-mother watched her husband's countenance; she saw the inward struggle; she knew how fondly he clung to the hope of his first-born's advancement; she understood that one project or the other must be abandoned; and she felt that in the scale, which before had been so evenly poised, a heavy weight was thrown. Certainly it was with a trembling hand and anxious countenance, that Mr. Barham gave her the letter; . but he dwelt very strongly on the higher authority of the physicians who dreaded the least, though he left the final decision to herself. Alas! to appeal to the generosity of the generous is the surest way to vanquish them.
After many bitter tears, and a few hours of self-communing, the step-mother made one e sacrifice—the greatest she felt it to be
that fate had yet demanded. She reasoned for once as it is hard for the warm-hearted to do, by putting feeling out of the question; and since she decided at last from principle, she might grieve, but she did not repent. The delicate child was nursed carefully and anxiously for the succeeding months in London, and young Barham remained at Oxford, his ardent wishes gratified.
But death, that does indeed come like "a thief in -the night," was near, and the fond father was not permitted to realize the daydream he had indulged in his son's success. Mr. Barham died suddenly, leaving his widow in some measure provided for, by her marriage settlement; but on the winding-up of his affairs, it was discovered that only a mere pittance remained for the elder children— not more than a few hundred pounds each. Mrs. Barbara's settlement was secured after her on any children she might,leave; for, being a very rich man when he had married a second time, Mr. Barham felt that it was in his power to equalize by will his children's fortunes. His reverses had changed the state of the case; but still he acted as justly as it was in his power to do, by bequeathing the little he did possess to his elder children. The relatives, however, could see no justice in the affair; and one of them being executor, and judging the poor step-mother's disposition by their own ill feelings to herself, he removed Ellen Barham from her care and took the management of the young people, as well as of the property, upon himself.
Meanwhile, the younger son, the poor sick child, had grown worse and worse, and the bereaved and afflicted widow was in the very depths of misery and desolation. He was, indeed, beyond the reach of human aid; and five months after her husband's death, the widow's cup of anguish overflowed; and a small grey coffin was placed in the silent vault upon that of Mr. Barham. Not till the first stunning blow was over—not till she had time to feel her desolation, and reflect, did the deserted step-mother know that her own days were numbered. The insidious disease which had slumbered in her blood through the bright seasons of youth and early womanhood, had destroyed her child, and strengthened in herself, most probably by affliction, had begun its sure ravages. She believed her own case to be hopeless, and felt, indeed, that death could scarcely claim one who would meet him with less reluctance. She had little inclination or spirit to join again her own relations, from whom years and distance had in a great measure estranged her, and she determined to remain in Loudon, among a few tried friends she had made there. Her husband's children
resided at some distance from the quiet dwelling Mrs. Barharn had chosen, but they certainly visited her frequently. Naturally, Ellen was oftenesl her guest, and instead 01 relaxing in her attentions, they gradually increased, till, at the time of the poor child's death, she was seldom a day absent. It was a few weeks after this event, that Mrs. Barham first observed a marked change in Ellen's manner, to her a most blissful one—a tenderness and affection she had never experienced before. Must the truth be owned l Yes, for it was owned at last to her they had so much wronged; their altered circumstances and new home had taught the step-children to appreciate the kindness, indulgence and protection they had so little valued. They had discovered that relations, who, as guests of their father, or hosts at home, had only caressed and petted them, could be, when "dressed in a little brief authority," exacting, tyrannical, or capricious.
The young have almost always kindly feelings and impulses, unless these goodly seeds are choked by evil culture; and it was at a moment when the heart ruled, that Ellen Barharn, with streaming eyes, threw herself upon the step-mother's neck, and implored permission to remain with her, to be her nurse—her companion. She addressed her by the endearing name she had used in childhood, and called to mind those tedious illnesses, through which she had been so tenderly watched. It was a trying scene, and, yet the widow felt it as a bright gleam of happiness, the more welcome that it had been unexpected. Ellen's petition was granted, for her own relations had become too indifferent to oppose what was evidently her own wish. In the affectionate confidence which henceforth subsisted between them, Ellen often spoke of her brother, his trials and disappointments; wanting yet a year of his majority, he could not touch a farthing of the little property he would inherit; and his guardian, differing from him in his views, refused to advance the money he required to complete that course of study for which already one sacrifice had been made.
It was after a conversation of this kind, that Mrs. Bat ham—who was now by illness confined to the sofa, and so weak that to raise herself was almost an exertion—wrote, though with much emotion and fatigue, a long letter to Charles Barharn, the contents of which the reader may as well know at once. It settled a point about which "the relations" had been rather undecided, namely—that Mrs. Barharn had the power of willing away her five thousand pounds. She told her step-son, that she had bequeathed it between himself and sister; and that, for his own sake, as well as from its having been
the ardent wish of his father, she was most anxious that he should complete his legal studies. She regretted that the settlement disabled her from touching the principal, but she told him what she knew, that she should not live many months; and she offered, if even this delay would be injurious, to enter I into any legal arrangement he could devise, by which the money could be raised on this expectation.
We will do Charles Barharn justice; his jheait had smote him before the arrival of such a letter, but it kindled at once all the better feelings of his nature. Never did he think more lightly of the legacy he had looked on as doubtful, than now that he had learnt it would be his; but he could not rest till he had sought forgiveness of the past from her whom his heart told him to be all goodness and affection. Only three hours after the letter had been despatched, he entered, unannounced, the little drawing-room, where, stretched upon a couch, and worn by suffering and illness to a mere shadow, lay Mrs. Barharn. Ellen was near her, reading in a low voice from the sacred volume. The ardent, high-spirited, self-willed man was subdued, and bursting into tears, he clasped the emaciated hand, which was extended to him, sank upon his knees beside the couch, and almost burying his head in the thick shawl which covered her, exclaimed, " Mother, forgive me!" There was a long and tremulous embrace, and the step-mother broke the silence by murmuring, "I am not childless now."
Charles Barharn took no thought of raising money on his " expectations," but persisted in sharing his sister's anxious watch, first by the couch, and then by the peaceful death-bed, of the long' neglected Step-MoTher.
Written for the Ladies' Garland.
A HOME IN HEAVEN.
I'd fly away to rest;
And be forever blest.
Where many sorrows come,
But wing my flight for home.
A home I'd seek where virtue reigns;
Where grief ne'er finds a place,— Where end all fears and toils and pains
In love and joy and peace. That happy home is far away;
"Where friends, and foes forgiven," Will meet and dwell in endless day—
That home—that home is Heaven. Rockdalt, July 17,1843. L. K.
Alexandria, a famous city of Egypt, and long the grand seat of commerce and ofj wealth, it was founded or enlarged, about three hundred and thirty-three years before Christ, and is now the only remaining monument of the widely extended conquests of that great and renowned warrior, Alexander, after whom it was named.
Alexander himself drew the plan of the new city; and as there were no instruments at hand proper for the purpose, he traced out the course of the walls, by scattering meal along the ground; a circumstance which his soothsayer interpreted as a presage of future abundance. The execution of the plan was intrusted to Denocrates, the celebrated architect, who rebuilt the temple ofj Diana at Bphesus, whilst Alexander advanced to survey the wonders of Upper Egypt. Upon his return, about a year afterwards, the city was nearly finished; and having peopled it with inhabitants from the neighboring towns, he pursued the course of his conquests.
Ancient Alexandria stood about twelve miles from the Canopic branch of the Nile, with which it was united by a canal. The lake Mareotis bathed its walls on the south, and the Mediterranean on the north. Jt was divided into straight parallel streets, cutting
No. 3.—Vol. 6.
one another at right angles. One great street, two thousand feet wide, ran through the whole length of the city, beginning at the gate of the sea, and terminating at the gate of Canopus. It was intersected by another of the same breadth, which formed a square at their junction half a league in circumference. From the centre of this great place, the two gates were to be seen atonce, and vessels arriving under full sail from both the north and south. In these two principal streets,—the noblest in the universe,—stood their most magnificent palaces, temples, and public buildings, in which the eye was never tired with admiring the marble, the porphyry, and the obelisks, which were destined at some future day to embellish the metropolis of the world. The chief glory of Alexandria was its harbor. It was a deep and secure bay in the Mediterranean, formed by the shore on the one side, and the island of Pharos on the other, and where numerous fleets might lie in complete safety. Without the walls, and stretching along the shores of the Mediterranean, near to the promontory of Lectreos, was situated the palace and gardens of the Ptolemies. They contained within their inclosure the museum, an asylum for learned men, groves and buildings