« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
phrase, to the dead. Reuben advanced to the bedside quite unceremoniously, and seemed to survey the dead and the living with as much indifference as if he did not belong to their species. No one spoke to him, nor did he speak, till his attention was arrested by poor Anne, who had shrunk away from the side of the bed, and sat on a low chair at its foot, enveloped in her shawl, and sobbing aloud apparently unconscious that any one saw or heard her. “Who is that young woman,” inquired Harrington of Debby,“that is making such an unseemly ado, is she of kin to the youth "
666 No !" uttered in her harshest voice, was all the reply Debby vouchsafed.
66 Some tie of a carnal nature, ha ?” pursued Harrington. “ No such thing,” said Debby, “ Eddy was her sweetheart.”
66 Yea, yea, that is just what I meant, woman.” continued he, with a long drawn guttural groan," the children of this world must bake as they have brewed, they are in the transgression, and they must drink the bitter draught their own folly has mixed." After this consolatory harangue, he turned from the bedside, and began, not humming but shouting with the utmost power of his voice, a Shaker tune, at all times sufficiently dissonant, and that now, in this apartment of death and sorrow, sounded like the howl of an infernal; to this music he shuffled and whirled in the maoner, which his sect call dancing and labor worship.
«« Stop your dumb pow-wow !" cried Debby, seizing him by the arm, with a force that might have made a stouter heart than Reuben's rejoice in the protection of the convenient principle of nonresistance.
66 Nay, ye world's woman, let me alone,” said he, extricating himself from her grasp, and composing his neckcloth, which Deborah’s rough handling had somewhat ruffled; “know me for a peaceable man, that wars not with earthly powers."
666 True,” replied Debby, “ your war is with heavenly powers; but while the Lord is pleased to spare the strength of my right arm, I 'll keep you peaceable, Peaceable, indeed! one would have thought all Bedlam had been let loose upon us—peaceable ! your yells almost scared the old lady's soul out of her body."
Poor Mrs. Allen, to whom Reuben's singing had sounded like a shout of victory from the infernal host, now really seemed in danger of such a catastrophe. She could scarcely raise her heavy eyelids, and the low moaning sounds that escaped her, betrayed the infirmity of age, and the grief that words cannot express. Ellen renewed her entreaties that she would retire to her own room. No longer capable of resistance, she silently acquiesced, and Ellen conducted her to her bed, and watched over her, till she perceived that her wearied nature had sunk to repose.' vol. i. pp. 94-97.
The funeral of Edward Allen, which immediately follows, is a copy from the life, given with a graphic fidelity. We have, however, no room for it, nor for any extracts from the retrospect, which is taken of the early history of Ellen Bruce. She had resided, it seems, from a very
alternately in the families of an episcopal tory, and of a calvinistic republican, both of whom had taken a strong affection to this interesting orphan. The lady of the former, a highly educated female, undertook the cultivation of her mind, and the polish of her manners; while the wife of the latter, a plain, sensible, benevolent woman, initiated her into household arts and domestic duties, and under their mutual and well bestowed instructions she had grown up, accomplished, refined, single hearted, affectionate, beneficent, and religious, in the true spirit of our religion, without bigotry. All this is very well imagined and delightfully told. We must also pass over an excellent colloquy between Mrs Lenox and Ellen, in which the former, with all her sagacity, is unable to comprehend why Ellen should be unwilling to encourage the addresses of her son, George Lenox, a pious minister, a man of education and talents, a good son, and who was certain to make a good husband.
By and by comes Charles Westall from Virginia, the son of an old friend of Mrs Redwood, a very good, genteel, well educated young man, with nothing peculiar about him, except that he has just completed his professional education, and is ready for a wife. He was accompanied by Mrs Westall, his mother, a polite and affable lady, with a strong spice of worldliness in her composition, and willing to manœuvre a little for the sake of seeing her son well settled in life. Westall is struck with the resplendent beauty of Caroline, and she in her turn is delighted and flattered by his admiration.
She soon, however, begins to observe that Westall bas eyes for other qualities besides beauty and wealth, and has become somewhat interested by the unpretending goodness and worth of Ellen. The attempts of Caroline to make Westall regard her supposed rival in an unfavorable light, the malignant misinterpretations put by her upon Ellen's conduct, and the beautiful and well contrived incidents by which these attempts are rendered unavailing, and these misinterpretations exposed, and the prepossessions of Westall, wrought up into a passionate attachment for Ellen, furnish many interesting and some highly pathetic scenes. Indeed, nothing can be better thao the whole management of the story, during the stay of the Redwoods at the house of Mrs Lenox.
The scene now shifts to Lebanon Springs and their neighborhood. The episode of Emily, and her adventures among the Shakers, forms a very interesting part of the book. There is great power shown in the chapter, where Susan, the elder sister,' in order to fix the wavering faith of her young disciple, Emily, and reclaim a heart that was relapsing to the world, gives an account of her own conversation, and of the long, and fierce, and exhausting conflict, which her enthusiasm maintained against her affections, till, at length, the strong ties which bound her to the world were broken forever. We can give only the conclusion of her narrative. She is speaking of William Harwood, ' a pleasant lad, of whom she tells Emily we have been mates from our infancy, and had loved one another loving no one else) with that faith, which is the boast of the world's people.'
““ He fell into a weakly way, and then he took to ruinous habits. His poor old parents died, I fear, of a wounded spirit; for they laid his misfortune sadly to heart. After their death, his worldly affairs went fast to destruction, and he became a miserable vagrant. He would come here and sit for hours on the door step; at these times I kept to my room, for I could do nothing for him ; and if he chanced to see me in his fits of intoxication, he would either upbraid me bitterly, or cry like a child, and both were trying to
66 It is ten years ago the tenth day of last January—it had stormed for three days, and the roads were blocked with the drifted snows -and it had been a cruel cold night-and in the morning, a sabbath morning too, when we had risen and kindled a fire, one of the brethren opened the outer door, and there was lying a poor wretch across the door stone-frozen to death-we all gathered round him--and oh Emily, child, it was
666 William ?"
666 Oh misery, misery !” exclaimed Emily with a burst of sympathy, which she could not repress.
6 Yea, it was misery. I forgot myself-forgot all that stood about me.
I saw not his tattered dirty garments, nor his bloated face, but I saw him as in days of our youth and our love, and I fell on his neck and wept--I could not help it—but thanks be rendered," she added, raising her eyes," it was the last struggle of nature—and it has been forgiven.”
66 And have you suffered thus ?” asked Emily, after a moment's pause.
«« Do not so speak, child,” replied Susan,“ rather be grateful that I have been accounted worthy thus to suffer ?”) vol. ii. pp. 33, 34.
We are not, however, so well satisfied with the circumstances of Emily's escape from the thraldom in which she is held among this strange community. The adventures connected with the Indian and his cabin are too extraordinary and romantic, to harmonise well with the general strain of the narrative.
The least interesting part of the book is that, where we are introduced to the Armstead party, whom Debby and Ellen fall in with on their way to the Shaker village. There is a great deal of conversation here, that does not help forward the progress of the story, and of consequence the interest suffers. There is something, also, not altogether prepossessing in the first appearance of Grace Campbell, with whose character the author has evidently taken great pains. Something like pertness and flippancy, not to say rudeness. is detected in her sallies and repartees in the scene, where we are first made acquainted with her; but all this is more than compensated for, by her spirit, frankness, and warmth of heart, as they are brought out in the further progress of the narrative. Miss Deborah Lenox, however, acquits herself on this, as on all other occasions, to our entire satisfaction.
At last the principal personages in the story are brought together at Lebanon Springs. Here the plot thickens and draws to a conclusion, and the narrative acquires a more fervid interest. Our friend Debby figures here also, to the no small amusement of the good company assembled at the place, as well as of ourselves. Her mixture of intelligence and simplicity, of good nature and decision, of masculine habits with those of įher sex, of strong feelings and attachments, with a strong understanding, and great warmth of imagination, at times highly poetical, but never leading her astray, and only throwing a stronger light on the object her unfailing good sense points out, altogether form a striking and novel combination. She has much to do in the course of the plot, and we are always glad to observe her agency. If any should be found who are of opinion, that she sometimes talks a little too long, none, we imagine, will think that she talks too often. On an arrangement made by Ellen, to proceed in the carriage of Mrs Armstead to Mrs Harrison's in Massachusetts, Debby is consulted, and acquiesces.
6« Not but what I am loth to part with you, Ellen,” she said," for the Lord knows,” and she brushed a tear from the corner of her eye, nobody ever wanted to leave you yet; but then there is reason in all things; you have taken a long journey, all for those that 's neither kith nor kin to you, and now that you are happy among your mates, it is but fair you should have a play spell; besides, it would be rather tough for our poor old horse to draw us all over the hills, and he should be considered too; to be sure, I calculated to walk up the hill, but then I have come to that time of life when I had rather ride than walk; so all is for the best." ; vol. ii. pp. 175, 176.
At parting she draws Ellen aside.
6 Look here," she said, undrawing a bag, and discovering one corner of a pacquet, “here is the identical money you refused to receive from Mr Redwood; he sent it to me last night for a marriage portion for Emily ; it is true, child—God bless him-it is true-he has given it, and I have taken it with a thankful heart and a prayer, (as in duty bound,) that the Lord would return it to him a hundred fold, in something better than silver and gold. I shall keep the present a secret till Emily's wedding day, which I'm sure is not far off, and, Ellen,” she added after a moment's pause, “ I'm thinking that another wedding day is coming among our friends. Now what do you look down for ? If there's any body in the land might hold
their heads with a good grace it's you; for to my notion there is not a nobler man in the 'varsal world, view him in what light you will, than this same Charles Westall."
«« Deborah," interrupted Ellen, “I am not”-
«« Coming in a minute. I know how it stands, Ellen, pretty nearly; for last night, when I got this pacquet from Mr Redwood, my heart was so full, I thought I could not sleep till I had told you. I looked in your room-you was not there; I came on to the piazza-you and Mr Charles Westall were standing by the door yonder; while I was hesitating whether to go back without interrupting you, I heard a few words, just enough to give me a little insight into the business. I thought it fair to tell you; and besides, I wanted to charge you not to be notional ; for a girl of your sense, Ellen, you are apt to be a little notional, which is not your fault,