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tical S—, in whose favour we had suspected him of the contumacy. Asseverations were needless, where the frank manner of them both was convictive of the injurious nature of the suspicion. We fancied that they perceived our embarrassment; but were too proud, or something else, to confess to the secret of it. We had been but too lately in the condition of the noble patient in Argos :
“ Qui se credebat miros audire tragedos,
In vacuo lælus sessor plausorque theatro”— and could have exclaimed with equal reason against the friendly hands that cured us
“ Pol me occidistis, amici,
It was noontide. The sun was very hot. An old gentle. woman sat spinning in a little arbour at the door of her cottage. She was blind; and her grand-daughter was reading the Bible to her. The old lady had just left her work, to attend to the story of Ruth.
“Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her.” It was a passage she could not let pass without a comment. The moral she drew from it was not very new, to be sure.
The girl had heard it a hundred times before-and a hundred times more she could have heard it, without suspecting it to be tedious. Rosamund loved her grandmother.
The old lady loved Rosamund 100; and she had reason for so doing. Rosamund was to her at once a child and a servant. She had only her left in the world. They too lived together.
They had once known better days. The story of Rosa mund's parents, their failure, their folly, and distresses, may be told another time. Our tale hath grief enough in it.
It was now about a year and a half since old Margaret Gray had sold off all her effects, to pay the debts of Rosamund's father-just after the mother had died of a broken heart; for her hushand had fled his country to hide his shaine in a for
At that period the old lady retired to a small cottage, in the village of Widford in Hertfordshire.
Rosamund, in her thirteenth year, was lest destitute, without fortune or friends : she went with her grandmother. In all this time she had served her faithfully and lovingly.
Old Margaret Gray, when she first came into these parts, had eyes, and could see. The neighbours said, they had been dimmed by weeping: be that as it may, she was latterly grown quite blind.
“God is very good to us, child; I can feel you yet.” This she would sometimes say; and we need not wonder to hear that Rosamund clave unto her grand mother.
Margaret retained a spirit unbroken by calamity. There was a principle within, which it seemed as if no outward circumstances could reach. It was a religious principle, and she had taught it to Rosamund; for the girl had mostly re sided with her grandmother from her earliest years. Indeed, she had taught her all that she knew herself; and the old lady's knowledge did not extend a vast way:
Margaret had drawn her maxims from observation; and a pretty long experience in life had contributed to make her, at times, a little positive : but Rosamund never argued with her grandınother.
Their library consisted chiefly in a large family Bible, with notes and expositions by various learned expositors from Bishop Jewell downward.
This might never be suffered to lie about like other books - but was kept constantly wrapped up in a handsome case of green velvet, with gold tassels-the only relic of departed grandeur they had brought with them to the cottage-everything else of value had been sold off for the purpose above mentioned.
This Bible Rosamund, when a child, had never dared to open without permission; and even yet, from habit, continued the custom. Margaret had parted with none of her authority; indeed, it was never exerted with much harshness; and happy was Rosamund, though a girl grown, when she could obtain leave to read her Bible. It was a treasure too valuable for an indiscriminate use; and Margaret still pointed out to her grand-daughter where to read.
Besides this, they had the “ Complete Angler, or Contemplative Man's Recreation," with cuts—“ Pilgrim's Progress," the first part—a cookery book, with a few dry sprigs of rosemary and lavender stuck here and there between the leaves, (I suppose, to point to some of the old lady's most favourite receipts,) and there was “Wither's Emblems,” an old book, and quaint. The oldfashioned pictures in this last book were among the first exciters of the infant Rosamund's curiosity. Her contemplation had fed upon them in rather older years.
Rosamund had not read many books besides these ; or, if any, they had been only occasional companions : these were to Rosamund as old friends, that she had long known. I know not whether the peculiar cast of her mind might not be traced, in part, to a tincture she had received, early in life, from Walton and Wither, from John Bunyan, and her Bible.
Rosamund's mind was pensive and reflective, rather than what passes usually for clever or acute. From a child she was remarkably shy and thoughtful—this was taken for stu•
pidity and want of feeling; and the child had been sometimes whipped for being a stubborn thing, when her little heart was almost bursting with affection.
Even now her grandmother would often reprove her, when she found her too grave or melancholy; give her sprightly lectures about good-humour and rational mirth ; and not unfrequently fall a crying herself, to the great discredit of her lecture. Those tears endeared her the more to Rosamund.
Margaret would say, “ Child, I love you to cry, when I think you are only remembering your poor dear father and mother -I would have you think about them sometimes, it would be strange if you did not—but I fear, Rosamund, I fear, girl, you sometimes think too deeply about your own situation and poor prospects in life. When you do so, you
wrong member the naughty rich man in the parable. He never had any good thoughts about God, and his religion : and that might have been your case.”
Rosamund, at these times, could not reply to her; she was not in the habit of arguing with her grandmother; so she was quite silent on these occasions—or else the girl knew well enough herself, that she had only been sad to think of the desolate condition of her best friend, to see her, in old age, so infirm and blind. But she had never been used to make excuses when the old lady said she was doing wrong.
The neighbours were all very kind to them. The veriest rustics never passed them without a bow, or a pulling off of the hat—some show of courtesy, awkward indeed, but affeclionate—with a "good-morrow, madam," or "young madam," as it might happen.
Rude and savage natures, who seem born with a propensity to express contempt for anything that looks like prosperity, yet felt respect for its declining lustre.
The farmers and better sort of people (as they are called) all promised to provide for Rosamund when her grandmother should die. Margaret trusted in God, and believed them.
She used to say, “I have lived many years in the world, and have never known people, good people, to be left without some friend; a relation, a benefactor, a something. knows our wants—that it is not good for man or woman to be alone ; and he always sends us a helpmate, a leaning-place, a somewhat.” Upon this sure ground of experience did Margaret build her trust in Providence.
Rosamund had just ma le an end of her story, (as I was about to relate,) and was listening to the application of the moral, (which said application she was old enough to have made herself, but her grandmother still continued to treat her in many respects as a child, and Rosamund was in no haste to lay claim to the title of womanhood,) when a young gentleman made his appearance, and interrupted them.
It was young Allan Clare, who had brought a present of peaches and some roses for Rosamund.
He laid, his little basket down on a seat of the arbour; and in a respectful tone of voice, as though he were addressing a parent, inquired of Margaret “how she did.”
The old lady seemed pleased with his attentions—answered his inquiries by saying, that “her cough was less troublesome a-nights, but she had not yet got rid of it, and probably she never might ; but she did not like to tease young people with an account of her infirmities."
A few kind words passed on either side, when young Clare, glancing a tender look at the girl, who had all this time been silent, took leave of them with saying, “ I shall bring Elinor to see you in the evening.”
When he was gone, the old lady began to prattle.
“ That is a sweet-dispositioned vouth, and I do love him dearly, I must say it—there is such a modesty in all he says or does—he should not come here so often, to be sure, but I don't know how to help it; there is so much goodness in him, I can't find in my heart to forbid him. But, Rosamund, girl, I must tell you beforehand; when you grow older, Mr. Clare must be no companion for you—while you were both so young, it was all very well-but the time is coming, when folks will think harm of it, if a rich young gentleman, like Mr. Clare, comes so often to our poor cottage. Dost hear, girl ? Why don't you answer? Come, I did not mean to say any. thing to hurt you- speak to me, Rosamund—nay, I must not have you be sullen- I don't love people that are sullen."
And in this manner was this poor soul running on, unheard and unheeded, when it occurred to her, that possibly the girl might not be within hearing.
And true it was, that Rosamund had slunk away at the first mention of Mr. Clare's good qualities : and when she returned,