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had been exhaled to heaven; and have repeatedly fancied, that I could trace their deaths through the various declensions of consumption, cold, debility, languor, melancholy, until I reached the first symptom of disappointed love. But an instance of the kind was lately told to me; the circumstances are well known in the country where they happened, and I shall but give them in the manner in which they were related.
Every one must recollect the tragical story of young Emmet, the Irish patriot; it was too touching to be soon forgotten. During the troubles in Ireland, he was tried, condemned, and executed, on a charge of treason. His fate made a deep impression on public sympathy. He was so young-so intelligent—so generous-so brave
-so everything that we are apt to like in a young man. His conduct under trial, too, was so lofty and intrepid. The noble indignation with which he repelled the charge of treason against his country—the eloquent vindication of his name—and his pathetic appeal to posterity in the hopeless hour of condemnation—all these entered deeply into every generous bosom, and even his enemies lamented the stern policy that dictated his execution.
But there was one heart, whose anguish it would be impossible to describe. In happier days and fairer fortunes, he had won the affections of a beautiful and interesting girl, the daughter of the late celebrated Irish barrister, John Philpot Curran. She loved him with the disinterested fervor of a woman's first and early love. When every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him ; when blasted in fortune, and disgrace and danger darkened around his name, she loved him the more ardently for his very sufferings. If, then, his fate could awaken the sympathy even of his foes, what must have been the agony of her whose whole soul was occupied by his image! Let those tell who have had the portals of the tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they most loved on earth — who have sat at his threshold, as one shut out in a cold and lonely world, from whence all that was most lovely and loving had departed,
But then the horrors of such a grave ! so frightful, so dishonored ! There was nothing for memory to dwell on, that could soothe the pang of separation-none of those tender, though melancholy
circumstances, that endear the parting scene—nothing to melt sorrow into those blessed tears, sent, like the dews of Heaven, to revive the heart in the parching hour of anguish.
To render her widowed situation more desolate, she had incurred her father's displeasure by her unfortunate attachmeut, and was an exile from the paternal roof. But could the sympathy and kind offices of friends have reached a spirit so shocked and driven in by horror, she would have experienced no want of consolation, for the Irish are a people of quick and generous sensibilities. The most delicate and cherishing attentions were paid her by families of wealth and distinction. She was led into society, and they tried, by all kinds of occupation and amusement, to dissipate her grief, and wean her from the tragical story of her lover. But it was all in vain. There are some strokes of calamity that scathe and scorch the soul - that penetrate to the vital seat of happiness — and blast it, never again to put forth bud or blossom. She never objected to frequent the haunts of pleasure, but she was as much alone there as in the depths of solitude. She walked about in a sad reverie, apparently unconscious of the world around her. She carried with her an inward woe, that mocked at all the blandishments of friendship, and “heeded not the song of the charmer, charm he ever so wisely”.
The person who told me her story, had seen her at a masquerade. There can be no exhibition of far-gone wretchedness more striking and painful than to meet it in such a scene. To find it wandering like a spectre, lonely and joyless, where all around is gay—to see it dressed out in the trappings of mirth, and looking so wan and woebegone, as if it had tried in vain to cheat the poor heart into a momentary forgetfulness of sorrow. After strolling through the splendid rooms and giddy crowd with an air of utter abstraction, she sat herself down on the steps of an orchestra, and looking about for some time with a vacant air, that showed her insensibility to the garish scene, she began, with the capriciousness of a sickly heart, to warble a little plaintive air. She had an exquisite voice; but on this occasion it was so simple, so touching, it breathed forth such a soul of wretchedness, that she drew a crowd mute and silent around her, and melted every one into tears.
The story of one so true and tender, could not but excite great interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm. It completely won the heart of a brave officer, who paid his addresses to her, and thought that one so true to the dead, could not but prove affectionate to the living. She declined his attentions, for her thoughts were irrevocably engrossed by the memory of her former lover. He, however, persisted in his suit. He solicited not her tenderness, but her esteem. He was assisted by her conviction of his worth, and her sense of her own destitute and dependent situation; for she was existing on the kindness of friends. In a word, he at length succeeded in gaining her hand, though with the solemn assurance that her heart was unalterably another's.
He took her with him to Sicily, hoping that a change of scene might wear out the remembrance of early woes. She was an amiable and exemplary wife, and made an effort to be a happy one ; but nothing could cure the silent and devouring melancholy that had entered into her very soul. She wasted away in a slow but hopeless decline, and at length sunk into the grave, the victim of a broken heart.
A POOR widow, in a small town in the north of England, kept a booth, or stall, of apples and sweetmeats. She had an idiot child, so utterly helpless and dependent, that he did not appear to be ever alive to anger or self-defence. He sat all day at her feet, and seemed to be possessed of no other sentiment of the human kind, than confidence in his mother's love, and a dread of the schoolboys, by whom he was often annoyed. His whole occupation, as he sat on the ground, was in swinging backwards and forwards, singing “pal lal” in a low pathetic voice, only interrupted at intervals on the appearance of any of his tormentors, when he clung to his mother in alarm. From morning till evening he sung his plaintive
and aimless ditty; at night, when his poor mother gathered up her little wares to return home, so deplorable did his defects appear, that, while she carried her table on her head, her stock of little merchandise in her lap, and her stool in one hand, she was obliged to lead him by the other. Ever and anon, as any of the schoolboys appeared in view, the harmless thing clung close to her, and hid his face in her bosom for protection. A human creature so far below the standard of humanity, was nowhere ever seen: he had not even the shallow cunning which is often found among these unfinished beings; and his simplicity could not even be measured by the standard we would apply to the capacity of a lamb. Yet it had a feeling rarely manifested even in the affectionate dog, and a knowledge never shown by any mere animal. He was sensible of his mother's kindness, and how much he owed to her care. At night, when she spread his humble pallet, though he knew not prayer, nor could comprehend the solemnities of worship, he prostrated himself at her feet; and, as he kissed them, mumbled a kind of mental orison, as if in fond and holy devotion. In the morning, before she went abroad to resume her station in the market-place, he peeped anxiously out to reconnoitre the street; and as often as he saw any of the schoolboys in the way, he held her firmly back, and sung his sorrowful “pal lal”.
One day the poor woman and her idiot boy were missed from the market place, and the charity of some of the neighbors induced them to visit her hovel. They found her dead on her sorry couch, and the boy sitting beside her, holding her hand, swinging and singing his pitiful lay more sorrowfully than he had ever done before. He could not speak, but only utter a brutish gabble; sometimes, however, he looked as if he comprehended something of what was said. On this occasion, when the neighbors spoke to him, he looked up with a tear in his eye; and, clasping the cold hand more tenderly, sunk the strain of his mournful “pal lal” into a softer and sadder key. The spectators, deeply affected, raised him from the body; and he surrendered his hold of the earthly hand without resistance, retiring in silence to an obscure corner of the room. One of them, looking towards the others, said to them, “Poor wretch! what shall we do with him?” At that moment, he resumed his chant; and, lifting two handfuls of dust from the floor, sprinkled it on his head, and sung, with a wild and clear heart piercing pathos, “Pal lal, pal lal.”
ENGLAND AND AMERICA.
To what are we to attribute the fact, that the social progress of the Americans so far outstrips any ratio of improvement which the world has yet seen? Are we bound to consider them- as they vainly style themselves — “The most extraordinary people of all time”! I answer, frankly and decidedly, no. Great, I admit them to be ; but the least extraordinary people of any that I know. My reasons are these :--the present condition of the United States is the solution of a problem—the measure of the capacities of the age placed in circumstances the most highly favorable to their development. Never were men called upon to work out greater consequences than the Americans, and never were men less authors of the causes and principles from which, or the means by which, they were to be educed. In other countries, the actual condition of society is the hard earned booty which the intelligence of its past and present members has carried off from time—the prize of a long wrestle with ages of barbarism, ages of oppression, ages of fanaticism, ages of blood- the amount of health which difficult precautions and tedious cares have rescued from old and still unsubdued disease. Look at England — from her heptarchy to her conquest — from that to the revolution — from the revolution to the present time. Mark her long and weary efforts to pile up her freedom : how often was it the toil of Sisyphus ? Consider the stubborn and guarded quarries from which she was forced to hew out her greatness ; trace the course of her social improvements — at first like a little silver stream in a rocky wilderness: then widening and deepening-always flowing and fretting onward, but not always seen ; now diverted from its