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shadow of a thought, dear Mary!—it just floated transiently through my mind, and left no mark behind:—just as we see a bluck cloud sometimes flit through a bright blue sky, without leaving scarcely a resemblance that it had existed. But my fair neighbor called again, and all her talk was still of your virtues. She did not remain as long as she had before, and when I pressed her to stay, she reminded me that the world was censorious, and told me, that a proper regard for her character would not allow her to repeat her visit. She was sorry: but having discharged her duty to the memory of her friend, by attending to my wants, and trying to soothe my grief, she must now be content to sympathize with me in silence, and apart. But before we parted for the last time on this side of the grave, fur she did not suppose that we should ever meet again, she begged that I would give her one little lock of your hair. How could I refuse this gentle request 1 I could not. Indeed, it was grateful to my feelings to grant it; but as I wore your lock of hair next my heart, I could not grant it then, so I promised to bring the ringlet to her. Believe me, dear Mary! it was for your sake! It was because I could never tire of hearing her speak in your praise; and I knew she would never tire of hearing me speak of you. For what other reason could I have been induced to see her? It was so gratifying to my feelings to hear her speak of yon, that at last I became uneasy and dejected, unless I was in her presence.
At first 1 gave her the lock of hair which I had worn next to my heart; then I gave her your miniature, the same that you gave to me; next the little trinkets that you used to wear, some of which were presents from me before our marriage; and at last I gave her my hand, just one month after I had seen your still beauteous form shut up in the tomb; but in so doing I thought I was paying a tribute to your worth.
Dear Mary! will you believe if? Since that time your name has been a forbidden word! I only whisper it when I am alone. The trinkets that you used to wear, and which I prized so dearly, have been exchanged for others; your miniature and the lock of hair have both strangely disappeared, and whenever I ask for them, I am answered with a flood of tears. I have even been reproached with loving you too well; and once she insinuated that you never did deserve my esteem; and more cruel than all, that your beauty never had an existence except in my imagination. Once I asked her to walk with me to the place of your burial. A faintingfit was the consequence. I have been careful not to make the request a second time.
These fainting-fits are shocking affairs. But they cannot be altogether avoided ; for whenever I am detained from business, sheascuses me of " walking among the tombs," a subject that is sure to bring them on. Dear Mary! I strive all I can to make no allusion to you in her hearing; but little words will sometimes escape from my month that recall you to her mind; and then, for some unexplained reason, her fainting fits begin. She wanted me to promise her, that I would not marry again, if she should die, and I took a solemn oath that I would not. And this oath, dear Mary! I know I shall never break. One promise, at least, I will keep.
You remember your Uncle Ned, who used always to be singing "what isa woman like?" He would sometimes answer his chant in a low mellow voice: "A woman is a riddle." I have often thought of Uncle Ned, during the past year.
Dear Mary! I have been the father of a little angel, who lived just long enough to bless rne with a find look from her soft blue eyes, and then she died. I have bent over her little form, and have wept as I wept for you. I would have called her Mary, but I dared not. I know she will go where you have gone, for all pure and gentle beings must live together; and you will know that she is mine, and she will nestle in your bosom, and you will love her for my sake. The last kiss upon her cheek was mine.
I have penned this letter in a fond dream. I will cheat my senses. The harsh realities of the things around me shall not break my gentle delusion. I rave, but am quiet. I will fold this letter, and put it in her little I hands, crossed as though in sleep, upon her breast. You will not get it, I know, but I will think you do. Dear Mary! farewell!
This world's not " all a fleeting show,
For man's illusion given;" He that hath sooth'd a widow's wo, Or wiped an orphan's tear, doth know
There's something here of Heaven.
And he that walks life's thorny way
With feelings calm and even, Whose path is lit, from day to day, By virtue's bright and steady ray, Hath something felt of Heaven.
He that the christian's course hath run,
And all his foes forgiven,
On earth hath tasted heaven.
From the Christian Family Magazine.
THE LAST LAMENT.
It was midsummer—and all nature was clad in unusual loveliness and beauty—while the variegated garniture of the landscape, of field and forest, the sweet carol of birds, and a thousand scenes once so inviting, had forever lost their power to inspirit the soul of my youthful friend, brought by disease and with a rapid decline, to the borders of the grave. His kind and sympathising friends, at his request, bore him in his chair of sickness to the window, that he might take a last look—a farewell of nature's charms, which he had once so greatly admired.
The scene to him was overpowering; the thought, that like a torrent rushed on his mind—the remembrance of by-gone deys, of earthly joys, no more to be repeated, was too much for his fragile frame, and he was again removed to his couch.
"He is gone—he is gone," cried his sister Julia, as he sunk back on his pillow, " I see on his countenance the marks of death, and the hectic flush departing from his cheek." His friends being hastily summoned, hurried to his bedside, to witness the spectacle of youthful loveliness and beauty in the embraces of death. Silence reigned through the little group of weeping kindred, interrupted only by the affectionate sobs of his widowed mother, who had doated on her son as the future staff of her age, in the decline of life. But the last work of the awful messenger was not yet done. After a while he moved his lips, and gave signs of returning life. He threw a wild look around on his assembled friends, and seemed as if in doubt wherefore they were gathered in his dying chamber. But the recollection of the late scene at his window—his last gaze on the face of nature —the last indeed he was ever to enjoy— broke upon his mind, and recalled his thoughts to their wonted clearness. Having in some measure recovered his strength, he burst forth in the most melting words of sorrow; it was the sinner's departing hope. "Farewell," said he, "ye verdant walks and vernal fields—and birds—and flowers. Alas! the scene of my brief career is closing, and I am now on the verge of eternity." Again he paused, and cast a wild look over the group of his friends and companions present, until his eye rested on the countenance of a longloved associate, with whom he had often drank the cup of pleasure to the dregs, and had dreamed that this season of pastime would always continue. At the sight of this youth he was greatly moved—"George! oh, George!" he cried, "I am fast going; I am almost gone." George approached the bedside, and in deep distress embraced his des
pairing friend. "You are," said he, " feeble, and greatly wasted, Charles, but I hope you do not suffer much pain, do you V With a kind look of affection, after a short pause, Charles replied, " No, the pain of disease on my wasted frame is but small, the thought of being torn away in the vigor of my youth by the relentless hand of death, from dear friends and companions, has indeed, often flitted across my mind; but now I have no t me, as you see, to dwell on the pain of my body, or the sundering of kindred ties. Oh George! I am not prepared to die, and to appear in the presence of God, my Maker. This, my friend, this it is, that causes roe pain and terror.
"Go, George, and tell my companions; tell them from me, from one who must soon be hurried to the untried scenes of the eternal world—oh, tell them that I now place a very different value, from what I have done, on a day of grace and the opportunities of salvation. Every hour is a treasure too rich for kingdoms to purchase. Ah, yes, could I but be spared to the close of the year—for this I would readily part with worlds if I had them.
"Do not think me frantic, George; I am now in the full possession of my reason, my judgment asserts its supremacy, yet it is the most serious conviction of my soul that I have utterly thrown away my life; my best hours have been misspent, the amusements and pleasures in which I have been engaged— they have but served to kill time and squander away my golden day of probation. Without such a preparation for death as the Gospel enjoins, all the honors and glories of the world will at last appear infinitely vain and worthless."
This affecting language from one a few months before so gay and mirthful, and now so near the grave, had a powerful effect on the minds of George and his companions present, who strove to suppress their suffocating emotion. Charles, with his sunken eye fixed on his young associates, said, "It is now too late for me to pray, ' Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.' 1 distrust not the goodness of God or his power to save even the chief of sinners, but most deeply am I impressed with the conviction that we must live the life of the righteous, if we would die their death." "Why should you despair," said George, "the thief on the cross was saved at the last hour." "Ah," replied Charles, "in that narrative of Sacred History, I see something most alarming. This record was made that none might despair, and but one such is found in the Bible, that none may dare presume. The husbandman in autumn and winter, will in vain implore the Almighty to grant him a crop, after he has foolishly squandered and slept away his seedtime and summer, and planted and cultivated not his grounds. This is not a day of miracles, but of means—these trampled under foot, and set at naught, all is lost, and lost forever."
After this burst of emotion, which wrung tears from the stoutest heart, his tongue faltered, and he sunk back upon his pillow, quite exhausted, and the curtains were hastily drawn around his bed, by his physician. In a little time he fell into a deep slumber, from which, alter an hour, he again awoke. As he opened his eyes, he beheld the last departing beams of the evening sun. The clock struck seven, and seemed to send a thrill, like a peal of thunder, upon his soul. He burst into tears, and exclaimed—"That is the knell of my departing hopes,"—and pointing to the retiring rays of the sun. "You see," said he, " my last sun is just setting, and my soul will soon be fixed in the dread realities of a future state."
His friends interposed, and attempted to sooth his mind, and calm his perturbation, urging on him that his life had been one of morality, and of great respectability. "This," said he, "will avail me nothing; morality may indeed conduct us to the verge of heaven, and with it in full view, we must sink, to rise no more. Oh! how my heart aches, when I call to mind the councils, and prayers, and benedictions of my mother; the able and faithful instructions of ministers of the Gospel; and the urgent, and repeated admonitions of God's providences;—all these 1 have abused. Alas! I have set a false estimate on learning and talents, on wealth and honours, on my prospects of worldly emolument. The rich and varied blessings I have enjoyed, have not been improved, and I know they must rise in judgment against me."
A clergyman being present, fervent prayer was offered up for the dying youth, but all seemed in vain; he was pointed to the sinner's only Refuge and Friend in the hour of death. Charles strove to lift his soul to the Saviour of sinners. But to him there seemed to be a canopy of brass, which obstructed his prayers, and the impression grew stronger and stronger that "the harvest was past, the summer ended, and he was not saved"—that in the midst of all that heart could wish, and earth could give, he had gone beyond the golden boundary of mercy. In this forlorn state of mind, all effort to soothe and compose his spirit, so far from having the effect of oil cast upon the troubled deep,—were like oil thrown into the angry flames. With his feeble strength, and almost to his latest breath, he besought his companions to beware of the rock upon which he had made shipwreck
of his hopes of Heaven—and the lamp of life went out.
Reader—youthful reader—you may trifle with the pestilence—you may play on the hole of the asp, or sport with the thunderbolt, perchance with impunity—but dare not for the trappings of honor, or the riches of a kingdom, to squander the fleeting moments of your day of grace; give the dew of your youth to the service of God—then you may welcome disease, and your last sickness—
"For death can bring to you no sting,
The grave no desolation—
The Rock of our salvation."
Written for the Ladies' Garland.
BY JAMES LUMBARD.
What though no real voice be found
Where all is melody!
"Unwritten" though it be!
All nature is but one vast quoir,
The stars, that " teach as well as shine,"
Together sweetly sang, When at creation's joyous time,
The world to being sprang.
And now when marshalled on the. plain
That shining band appears,
Of those celestial spheres!
The flowers, upspringing everywhere,
In every wild retreat, Pour melody upon the air,
Low, delicate and sweet.
Yes—flowers that grow in forest dells,
And by the water brooks,
And in their gentle looks!
There is a music of the heart—
A harmony within— Where ne'er hath been the poison-dart,
The blight and curse of sin!
Oh, sweetest strains of music float
Throughout a sinless breast, And not one wild discordant note
Disturbs its quiet rest! Utica, JV. Y. 1842.
Written for the Ladies' Garland.
THE TWO FRIENDS;
OR, THE HAPPV CHOICE.
BY JOSEPH I. MATTHIAS.
"It were all one
The majestic king of light had descended from his meridian throne, and was just going down behind a tissue gathering of fairy tinted clouds that lay in golden clusters upon the western horizon, while^is last faint, but still brilliant rays, flashed upon the glittering waters of the Schuylkill.
Tracing the margin of a thick-set forest, were two fair young girls, each wiih an arm clasping her companion's elender waist, and each bearing a basket filled with beautiful and fragrant flowers. The gentle breeze played sportively with their silken ringlets that flowed in graceful disorder from beneath small, neat "gipsies," and their laughing eyes sparkled with innate delight. To have gazed . upon those bright faces, one would have readily imagined that their's was a life over which no cloud had passed to dim the bright hallucinations of their fleeting hours. No care was there, no doubt or misgiving, but all was fair and calm as the polished surface of the silvery waters that glided on before them. After wandermg over the green lawn until they were nigh exhausted through their unusual exertion, they suddenly paused beneath the branches of a cluster of beautiful trees, whose leafy boughs appeared like pyramids of light, as they caught and reflected back the rays of the setting sun.
"Is it not beautiful, Emma?" exclaimed one of the girls, with enthusiasm, as her sparkling eye met the glittering landscape.
"A resplendent view indeed, Ellen!" replied Emma, laying her basket upon the green turf, and seating herself beside it.
"Do you know, Emma, that such beautiful scenes always give me what you are pleased to denominate the 'romantics' Now, methinks, I could dwell forever in that little, neat, white cottage you see yonder on that cliff—there—just where old Sol is about to cast his last lingering rays, ere he sinks into a temporary oblivion beneath that gaudy envelope."
"Delightful," said Emma.
"Enchanting!" cried the romantic Ellen, while her countenance glowed with all the ardor inspired by so glorious a scene.
"Indeed, Ellen, you are two enthusiastic. The view, I grant, is charming. But how
i much more so would it be were there the jthe frowning turrets of some ancient castle, or the glittering spires, domes and palaces of a Venice to add to the picture—"
"Really! pray who is the enthusiast now, Miss Emma?" said the laughing Ellen. "But, seriously, to my fancy there is more beauty, grandeur and magnificence in that sweet cottage, tressel led with the creeping vine and honeysuckle, than in all the palaces that ever graced your famous city."
"Mr. Stanley's opinion, I suppose," replied Emma, ironically; "it is well enough for him who never deems to rise above the common grade of a mechanic, to instil such ideas into a too susceptible mind."
"Emma!" replied Ellen, the indignant blood suffusing her flushed features, "Edmund Stanley is an honest man, and as such should be entitled at least to the respect of Emma Barton!"
"Nay, Ellen, I thought not to offend yon— or to speak disrespectful of Mr. Stanley—" j "Why, then, that scornful expression? Edmund is not, I grant, one of those flippant, jfawning, insignificant coxcombs, whose silly protestations are no more to be valued than the passing gale—but he is a candid, sincere, and sensible man, whose occupation, instead of lessening, should elevate him in the opinion of all, even including your own fair self."
"Well, well, Emma, I wish you all the success imaginable. And may you long continue to be thus ready to espouse young Stanley's cause."
"It matters not, Emma—I will no more be trifled with, nor—"
"Come, come, Ellen, cast aside that unbecoming frown. If what I have uttered has !displeased you, I am sorry for it," and she gently put back the glossy ringlets of her companion, and affectionately kissed her snowy brow.
"It is all forgiven," replied Ellen, as she returned the fond caress, "but you cannot blame me, Emma, that I am thus sensitive. You are aware that to Edmund Stanley my vows were long since plighted, and, if Providence permits, next Christmas we will be united. Edmund's circumstances are now in a flourishing condition, and by that time will warrant the step we have decided upon."
"Well, Ellen, I was too hasty—rash, it may be—and, for the future, will avoid a repetition of the offence. But look—the sun has entirely sank, and the shades of night are gathering around us. Let us return."
"Willingly," answered Ellen, and they took up their baskets, adjusted their " gipsies," and were soon wending their way through the busy thoroughfares of the city toward their respective residences.
Ellen Harvey and Emma Barton were the only daughters of gentlemen in moderate circumstnnces, or familes who made a " genteel appearance." Almost from infancy had they been associates—indeed, so inseparable did they appear, that they were generally recognized under the appellation of "the sisters." Their friendship was of too ardent a character to admit of any secondary influence, and their entire confidence was mutual.
Notwithstanding their terms of intimacy, the several dispositions of these happy beings were entirely opposite. Emma Barton was excessively fond of making a d'splay, and affecting a show of wealth, which was entirely inconsistent with her father's pecuniary affairs ; and nothing gratified her vanity more than to be made an object of attention for some score of those would-be fashionable exquisites, who generally make it a point to force their invidious presence into the social circles of society. However fallacious, this propensity appeared in Emma almost inherent. On the contrary, Ellen Harvey was a modest, unassuming creature, who made no effort to court the society of any save those for whom her feelings dictated a stronger regard than those actuated by the mere formalities which outward forms and ceremonies purport . Even in days of childhood, she had bestowed her young affections on the companion of her school days, Edmund Stanley— and while Ellen was ever happy in the undivided attention of Edmund, Emma was never satisfied unless she could deem herself the possessor of half the hearts in the schoolroom. In fact, even in those days, she was decidedly a young coquette, the torment of the boys, and the envy of her own sex, save and except her sincere friend Ellen Harvey. Thus passed their early years—on Emma's part, in one continual and varied round of flirtation—on that of Ellen's, constancy and devotion. It is almost needless to add that this " early love" suffered no diminution as she advanced farther into the vale of years, but what was then deemed but merely a preference of juvenile prejudice, was now the undoubted and unconcealed love of " sixteen."
Edmund Stanley was the only son of a poor, yet very respectable and much esteemed old gentleman, who had once occupied a high station in the mercantile world, but owing to unfortunate speculations, and other imprudent investments of his effects, he had become utterly impoverished. After Edmund had left school, his father placed him in charge of a valued friend, a printer, with whom he made rapid advancement in that difficult and justly honored art. At the period of our stnry, Edmund had been out of his apprenticeship about three years, and during that time, by means of industry, perseverance and fru
ffality, had managed to save sufficient to start him in a "business for himself." He had determined, with the acquiescence of Ellen, that it would add greatly to his interest if he were a married man, besides, as he often jocosely remarked, he thought that "two heads were better than one,"and accordingly the 25th of December was decided upon as their wedding day. How far correct our young friends were in this very sage conclusion, we leave to the decision of our fair readers. * * * *
In a neat, retired street, in one of the most beautiful districts of Philadelphia, stood two splendid three-story brick edifices, and thither, as the^reat State Hjpe bell tolled the hour of eight, came Ellen and Emma, returning from their delightful afternoon stroll. With an affectionate embrace, and mutual assurance of meeting on the morrow, they parted.
"Until our hearts have twin'd, Roots, fibres, leaves, and all." ****** . "We met and parted."
It was the birth-night of Emma Barton. Her parental domain was brilliantly illuminated, sweet strains of music swept by upon the wind, mingled with sounds of joyous revelry. It was Emma's last party in Philadelphia. Her father had engaged in a lucrative business in one of the most thriving villages in the northern part of Pennsylvania, and the succeeding day the Barton family were to take leave of the city for their new home.
That night, while all other hearts were filled with mirth in the enjoyment of the festive scene, Ellen Harvey sat silent and abstracted, while even the presence of Edmund Stanley could not banish the sad and melancholy reflections that held possession of her ingenuous mind. Her friend, the companion of her youthful hours of pleasure, the sympathetic soother of her infantile sorrows, was about to bid her a long, perhaps a last farewell. She rose from her seat, and pnssed to an open window that she might imbibe the cool air, as she felt an almost suffocating sensation. The genial breeze, redolent with the perfumes of sweet flowers from the garden, gradually allayed the feverish pulsation that oppressed her, when she was aroused from her listless attitude by the anxious voice of Emma.
"Are you unwell?" she inquired, in a tremulous tone.
"No! that is—I am better," replied Ellen, as she looked up into the face of her friend. Emma understood her feelings, and the big tear trembled in her eye.