Page images


on thy languishing, dying child. Embrace me in not look at the things which are seen and temporal, thy everlasting arins. Put strength and confidence but at the things which are unseen and eternal. in my departing spirit; and receive it to the abode She had entered on the race; the unwithering lauof them who sleep in Jesus, to partake in all the rels were before her. The elearness with which blessings of thy covenant, through Him who is the she saw the prize, and the frailties which shook her great Mediator of it. To whom, with thee, O Fa- frame, made her judge herself to be near the goal; ther, and thy Holy Spirit, be ascribed everlasting and she did not allow herself to be retarded by praises.

MARTHA, the thorns of needless controversy, or diverted by December 24th, 1809.".

the impertinences of an indolent curiosity. Her eye " Dec. 28.- Last night I read the chapter on self- was single, and her whole body was full of light. dedication again, and with feelings which I cannot Hers was not merely the simplicity of nature and describe. I was tempted to think I was not sincere of youth, which is charming; it was “the simpliin wishing thus solemnly to give myself to the Lord; city of Christ,” which is divine. but with overflowing gratitude I may tell you, that Religion also had shed over her mind its own sethese conflicts were overruled to make me more riousness. Her disposition had never been frivothan ever willing to be entirely the Lord's.” lous; now it was not gloomy; but it was truly seri

" Dec. 29.- I tremble and rejoice! I have this ous—a temper of mind which is the invariable night set my hand, that, from this time, I will be companion of wisdom, and the germ of all moral the Lord's. I know I need not say, pray for me; excellence. So soon as the mind is engaged by any but let me beg you to pray, more earnestly than great and interesting objects, it necessarily becomes ever, that I may not openly and wilfully break my serious. Martha's thoughts had dwelt intently op engagements! My mind, upon the whole, is calm." | the value of the soul, the solemnities of eternity, the

grandeur of Deity, and the magnitude of the Sa

viour's redemption, and they diffused something of CHAPTER V.

their own greatness and solemnity on her character. 1810.

Every thing in this life was allied to immortality ;

nothing therefore was trivial. She had a race to MARTHA, with every appearance of health, re- run and a conflict to sustain, whose consequences mained unwell through the early part of this year; would reach to eternity-she would win or lose for and the mere continuance of unpleasant symptoms ever-she could not be otherwise than serious. She · gave her friends the more alarm. As, in the sum- had stood in the light of divine truth, and had commer, ministerial engagements called me to B- muned with all that is great and glorious in the inI resolved to take her to the Hot Wells, hoping that visible world, and she could no more trifle than the change of air, and the use of the waters might could Moses on descending from the mount of Diafford her permanent relief. In this expectation vine habitation. This seriousness of mind rested we left our home in a chaise, and became for some on her whole deportment, rather than showed itself weeks each other's sole or principal companion. in particular instances; yet her correspondence with

In such circumstances there is something favor- her friend, which I have already noticed, supplies able to the formation of friendship and the promo- one ill: tration worthy of remark. All her letters, tion of intimacy. The absence of all other familiar at this time, commence with such mottoes as the countenances; the opportunity of uninterrupted following—" Eternity !" " Think of Eternity!" "Act communion; the invigorating power of the living for Eternity !" "Prepare for Eternity !" "Prepare air; the novelties of changing scenery; and the to meet your God !"-a circumstance sufficient of sense of fellowship in all that cheers and gratifies; itself to show how vivid were her conceptions, how have an imperceptible influence in opening the deep her impressions of objects, above all others heart. Our hearts had never been closed to each calculated to exalt and solemnize the thoughts. other; but the channels of sympathy had been ob- Equally conspicuous was her strict conscientiousstructed by separation; and they now sought to ness. She had early been affected by the ideas of recompense themselves by the most free and unre- the Divine omnipresence. These were become served intercourse. I still have distinctly the im- clearer and stronger; and were coupled with cor pression made by my sister's character, at this time, rect perceptions of the Divine authority. She now on my mind; and as it is consistent with my pur- saw ihat the reason for every thing was to be found pose, I shall endeavor to copy it into this narrative. only in the will of God; and that this will was

Nothing, at this period, was so immediately ap- revealed exclusively in the Holy Scriptures. Her parent as the lovely simplicity of her mind. "This own partialities and desires, the opinions and exexcellence had been always hers. With less sensi- amples of others, were not to regulate her. The bility, or a false education, it might have been al- word of God was to be her standard. She therefore loyed by the debasing power of vanity. As it was, sought to submit herself implicitly to it; desirous she had been rescued from this bindweed of the of believing all it revealed, of doing all it comheart; and she was now presented, once for all, in manded, and of avoiding all it proscribed. the mirror of divine truth, with such a view of An authority thus recognized gave importance to her character as furnished an effectual antidote to every thing on which it rested. Nothing, however its influence. In her were no conceits so common trifling in itself, could be insignificant which was to youthful inexperience; no affectation of qualities accompanied by the command or prohibition of she did not possess; no confessions in which the God. The Scriptures therefore were her habitual heart did not sympathize; no hesitation of opinion counsellor. They were not only the title to her inand choice which perplexed and varied her steps. heritance, but the map which delineated her daily

Religion had placed one object, and one only, be- course. She tried by them, not merely her hopes fore her, as the one thing needful. Other things and principles, but her thoughts and temper. Yea, might be desirable; this alone was indispensable. in the allotment of her time, the use of her money, She allowed nothing to stand in comparison with it; the mode of her dress, the nature of her recreations, but pressed towards it with an undivided heart. and the selection of her friendships, their voice was Life was no longer in danger of being preyed upon earnestly solicited and obeyed. Frequently at this by vacant listlessness, or frittered away by contrary period, when discussing opinions or practices of and trivial claims. She had one single aim, one the professing world, she would observe, with a congreat pursuit before her, and it gave simplicity to scientiousness softened by humility-"This is very her views, and steadiness to her course. "She did strange!-How can they reconcile ii ?-It seems di

rectly opposite to Scripture-They should surely presented us with a garden, containing a splendid either reject the word of God or act upon it." monument, in which it was supposed a murdered

Benevolence, which was so early indicated in my lover was enclosed; which lover, however, was sister, may be supposed to take a prominent place concealed behind the monument, to discover' him. in her present character. In her childhood, what self in due time. The lady entered with her tears had the appearance of benevolence, was very much and lamentations; and, as if the painted marble the overflow of natural and instinctive feelings; had been moved by her noisy sorrows, it trembled but now these were moulded into an abiding and and fell. A man was revealed crouching beside it, energetic principle. She had been taught to enter and looking incomparably silly, and the woman tain the most lowly ideas of herself, which is an in- ceased her wailings, and reflected his confusion. dispensable preparative to thinking kindly of others. The spectators were mostly, like ourselves, childShe had sat at the feet of Him who is essential love, ren; and we burst into a hearty fit of laughter. and His love constrained her to imitate his excel- The performers made their retreat by dropping the lence. She had drunk into the spirit of that reli- curtain. Martha never lost the impression made gion which breathes good-will to men, and peace by this mummery. A playhouse to her was always over the face of the whole earth; and acting on a a puppet-show, only varied by the expense of its heart full of tender emotions, it produced the most ornaments and the skill of its imitations. As she humble devotedness to her Saviour, and enlightened became aware of the moral character of our theanxiety for the welfare of all mankind.

atres, and of most who attend them, her indifferThe sincerity and strength of our benevolence ence deepened into aversion. She thought that are discovered, not by desiring great occasions for those who could be made better by the theatre it: exercise, but by diligently embracing those that must be something less, and that those who could offer. Martha had but small opportunities of doing not be injured must be something m than hugood at present, but these she thankfully improved. man. She evinced a peculiar concern for the spiritual in- While I knew that Martha's uniform simplicity terests of her younger brother; she conversed freely and present seriousness, saved her from the pursuit with children and persons younger than herself, of those factitious and turbulent pleasures which on the subject now nearest her thoughts; and she are so fascinating to youth, I was not prepared 10 expended all her pocket-money in purposes of be- find a relish created for those gratifications, which nevolence, principally in the purchase of religious are as pure and exalted as they are beneficial. I tracts for distribution among the poor.

knew that she had a feeling heart, and that her Those who are seeking occasions of usefulness mind had been raised and enlarged by religion; shall not fail to find them. It happened, that soon but I was not expecting that a ready religion should after our arrival at the Wells, a lady with her extend its influence to objects beyond itself. Relidaughter engaged apartments in the same house. gion, however, is closely allied to all things good, We soon learned the mother's tale of wo. She had beautiful, and noble; and in the heart she inhabiis come hither as to a forlorn hope, with her beloved, her she wakens sympathies towards them more effectonly daughter, who had the most fatal symptoms of ually, than can be done by any modes of moral or decline upon her, and she herself was a widow. mental refinement, independent of her assistance. Martha was deeply interested in the state of the Martha, though her attention had been confined sufferer; and by making herself of some use to chiefly to one object, though she had read but few the strangers, quickly opened a channel of inter- books, and those mostly of one class, now discover

ed an attachment for whatever adorns the mind, or She found the daughter to be about twenty years enlarges the capacities for real happiness. She had of age, of very amiable mind and manners. She a taste, not indeed at present a cultivated one, for had but recently known her danger, and she was music, for painting, and for poetry, but especially for literally confounded at the idea of dying, while she nature; whence, as from an inexhaustible treasury, thought herself in the very midst of life. Presum- we borrow, poorly borrow, all that is harmonious in ing on this life, she had not thought of that which sound, all that is lovely in picture, and all that is elois to come; and the very sense of neglect made it quent in poesy. Every thing in nature suited the simdouba, unwelcome. Martha, bowever, by her kind- plicity of her mind and the piety of her thoughts. ness, made her way to her heart, and soon after- | There she met with God; and all was interesting ward won her attention to the things which belong. to her which was the work of his hand. She aded to her peace. She died; but not, I trust, until mired the lily and the rose, since His hand adorned she had drunk of those medicated waters which them; she sympathized with the sparrow and the bring, life and healing to the wounded spirit.- robin, since His hand protected them, as she had Martha's name was among the last words that never done before; and her ravished eye dwelt on quivered on her lips; and it was one of those events all things beautiful on earth, or bright in heaven, to which my sister was accustomed to recur with as formed by her Saviour's power, embellished by eminent gratitude.

her Saviour's excellence, and continuing for her Nor must I omit to observe, thàt religion had Saviour's glory. awakened tastes, and opened sources of enjoyment, Tastes thus quickly formed by religion and the to which she had hitherto been nearly, if not en- Scriptures, I was anxious to exercise and strengthen; tirely, insensible. She had never any relish for and our daily walks and rides in the charming vithe common pleasures of the world. The glitter cinity of C - and B- afforded the most of the ball-room, the excitement of the card-table, excellent opportunities. Martha had not been the mimicry of the theatre, formed no temptation twenty miles from the metropolis before; and, what to her; her mind was above them. The theatre, with the novelty of the scenes, the still-abiding especially she was led to despise by a trivial and freshness of religious enjoyment, and her first beludicrous occurrence.

coming fully conscious of extended capacities for When we were children at Mitcham, we stole happiness, her cup of joy was often full even 10 out into the fair which is held at that place; and I, overflowing: I necessarily connect the finest points as the best expression of my love, resolved to treat of scenery in that neighborhood with the thought my sister to the most respectable of all the exhibi- of her, and the expressions of her countenance, tions. We entered. I know not the subject of the varied' as they were by wonder and delight; bui play; but of course it was about love. A scene there is one evening's walk stands out among the opened towards the middle of the acting, which I pictures of my imagination, as superior to the rext


in the interest it excited, and, I trust, in the good press my fears; but I did not catch her attention, which it bestowed.

and was unwilling to disturb it. She never appearAfter taking a quiet tea, and reading a portion ed so interesting to me! The gentlest lights of the of some favorite volume, we went abroad to par- dying day dwelt on her countenance. That countake the coolness of the coming evening. I was tenance, originally so full of vivacity, had been secretly feeding on the pleasure of surprising Mar- subdued by pain, and raised by piety; and it now tha with the scenery on the banks of the A- was expressive of elevated intelligence and penTo accomplish this, I led her down by the zigzag sive delight, beyond, any thing I had observed. path at the back of the pump-room, that the view Her glistening eye, directed to heaven, told me might break upon her at once. I had chosen the that her spirit had ascended by things visible hour and the evening with a reference to the gene- to those which are invisible; and her speaking ral good effect of the whole; and when we reached lips seemed to say that her conversation was in the point of observation, I was not a little gratified other worlds. Her eye fell on mine. "Brother!" to find every thing around and above us looking as she exclaimed, with a sweet and blushing face, well as I could desire.

while the tear of joy and affection started and fell. The river, which flows in the lap of hills that I embraced her, and rejoiced in her, not merely as seem to have been separated by some great convul- a sister, but as a saint. We had always found hapsion in nature, was rising with a strong and rapid piness in each other, yet never such happiness as tide, and bearing on its bosom, in the distance, some now. In childhood, our joys, though complete in vessels, which, with their sails dancing in the wind, their kind, were animal and sensitive; now, I trust, were hastening to their port. The rock-work on one they could claim kindred, however humbly, with hand sprang so directly and abruptly from the path those which are not only intellectual but spiritual. as to have an elevation to the eye, which the lofty We bent our steps towards home reluctantly, mountain sometimes fails to possess. On the op- sometimes listening to the solemn stillness, and posing side, with considerable boldness of contour, sometimes giving utterance to the prevalent emothere were more sloping and undulating lines, so tion. I quoted part of Cowper's beautiful hymn that the rifted surface was plentifully decorated on retirement, and Martha repeated some of the with the beauties of vegetation; and where the pastoral psalms of David. Before we quitted the rock itself appeared, it was enriched by those living spot, the young moon had risen, like a crescent, hues which the touch of time can alone impart. On over the bold forehead of rock-work, illuminating either hand, the rocks, with all their irregularities, in- our path, printing its own bright image on the sleep clined towards each other in beautiful perspective, ing waters, and casting its light on the opposite and at length appeared to unite, enclosing the hills, so as to make them appear through the mist, waters and vessels in their arms, and giving a which hung over them like a gauzy transparent compression and a consequent magnitude to the veil

. That was a blessed evening! And it was entire scene. The sun had once inore travelled to the more so, because we felt it derived all its blesthe west; and his rays shot across this picture so sedness from Him who is a well-spring of living as to give his brilliancy to one-half of it, while the joy to those who fear his name! remainder was clothed in shadows of a thousand Digressive as some parts of this chapter may apshades. Above us was a fine blue sky, rendered pear, I cannot leave this sketch of my sister's chafiner by the dark lines of rock-work which con- racter without observing that religion, which had ducted the eye to it; and in the far-ground, the done so much for her, did not fail to create earnest clouds were resting on the hills, some shining in desires for mental and religious improvement. It crimson glory, and some soft and gray, like aerial was not merely gratification she sought, it was admountains.

vancement. She found herself to be a child in Not only the scene itself, but the class of scenery, knowledge, and was not willing to remain so. She was altogether new to Martha; and it inspired her had drunk of the waters of life, and she longed to with greater admiration than'any thing she had drink again. New worlds, the rational, the moral, already seen. When her eye had dwelt on the the eternal, were open before her, and she was whole in silent pleasure, we walked gently forward, eager to explore them. The serious views she had remarking the characteristic beauty of the several taken of human life, made it a duty to seek thimparts, till, in the review, they composed an entirely provement of every talent she possessed; and the different picture. The hills which were now around taste she had had of better things than worldly wisus went off in softer and radiated lines, so as to dom regards, made it her settled desire and parform a natural amphitheatre. The underwood shot pose. up in these rising and expanding galleries with I had formerly endeavored to engage her in some greater luxuriance, and was finely relieved by the studies which I considered would be of permanent aspiring heads of the oak and the elm; while the advantage to her; but she commenced them rather bolder rocks we had left, with their feet in the river, from affection to me, than from any sense of their and their heads apparently in the clouds which real value. The inward native relish was want. hung over the distant horizon, constituted a noble ing; and her resolution failed to overcome the difback ground. Twilight had crept over the scene, ficulties which clog the entrance to every new and and had shed its repose over every thing. All hu- serious pursuit. Now, I found her with an inqui. man objects had disappeared. The breeze had sitive mind, and keen appetite for the bread of ceased to murmur, and the waters to ripple. No- knowledge.' She was most desirous of becoming thing was heard: nothing was in motion, except the acquainted with whatever in science might render river, which was still flowing, but flowing in si- her useful to others; whatever in literature might lence. Our steps and conversation alone seemed to correct and purify her taste; and whatever in relidisturb the tranquillity. We sat down beneath gion might assist her in rightly conceiving of hersome hazel branches, which sprang from the fis- self, of God, and of immortality. With such dissures of the rock; sank into meditation; and all positions the work of instruction was easy and deall was profoundly still.

lightful. We had many desultory conversations In such a place, on such an evening, and at such on mental improvement, while together; and I ena period of life, we might have thought down gaged on our re-union in London, to become, as hours to moments;" but I was fearful my sister our mutual opportunities should allow, her teacher; would hazard too much in a lengthened continu- thus adding one more tie to the many which bound ance. I lurned my eye upon her, designing to ex- us together.

On the whole, I think the intercourse of this pe- , extracted and put into her possession. In a word, riod was as profitable as it was pleasing. It was he showed her most marked and particular atienbeneficial to me to witness on another the holy and lions. exalting power of religion; and I was unspeakably Martha was still in her seventeenth year. Her gratified to find that a beloved sister, was advancing thoughts had been as little directed to matrimony, with her growth in every thing lovely and excel- or the preliminary steps to it, as those of any, the lent. My pleasure, too, was without a check, as I most pure of her sex. On this subject, she had all daily saw her health improving; and that it might the innocency of the dove, but without the sagacity be as fully confirmed as possible, it was determined of the serpent; she knew little of human character that her stay should be prolonged beyond the ori- beyond what she read in her own heart. Her moginal time, indefinitely. After introducing her, desty had always restrained her young friends from therefore, to a few kind friends, I left her, and re- making it the matter of conversation or merriturned to the metropolis.

ment; and her imagination had not been inflamed,

her mind perverted, by the perusal of extravagani CHAPTER VI.

and ill-principled fictions.

These attentions, therefore, while they were such EMBARRASSMENT. 1810

as might be offered indiscriminately to any young UNQUESTIONABLY the most sacred duty of the bio- person, were received with simplicity and gratigrapher is to staie the truth. I do not understand, tude, as a proof of respect for her beloved relative; however, that in the most conscientious discharge and when ihey became an unequivocal expression of this duty, it is necessary to state all that is true. of something more, she was anxious and disconMuch that is trivial and detached may be suppress- certed. She was most desirous of shunning them ed, not only without injury, but with advantage; altogether; but the difficulties of her situation the character of the individual, in its formation seemed to make it impossible. and progress, may be the more completely exhibit- It happened that a matronly person, who had reed, as the artist gives a more striking likeness by commended herself to Martha by her kindness and getting rid of useless habiliments. irary, every thing may be told, and told with the hints she had dropped, Martha was aware of this,

, By utmost particularity, while the versimilitude of the and she thought the best use to be made of it was person is lost, and the general impression arising to confess the sense of impropriety which possessed from the narrative is substantially false. The lead- her, and to crave the advice of one who had been ing concern, therefore, of the biographer, will be a mother and a wife, on the best means of meeting to give that place and that weight, to every event the ditficulty. connected with the subject of his memoir, which But this good lady, with very slender capacity to shall leave on the mind the truest impression of give advice on such delicate subjects, was one of the living character. Good taste will prevent him those persons who have an arowed pleasure in accumulating minutiæ, which, if they do not reveal, bringing young people together. She was not, therewill encumber his portrait; and integrity will for- fore, in the least inclined to confine her counsel bid him concealing any occurrences, how delicate within the limits which Martha bad prescribed to soever in themselves, which are indispensable to it. She assumed at once that Martha's uineasiness its truth.

was quite unnecessary; and then descanted freely In this record of my sister I am certainly desirous on the folly of discouraging an individual fo whom, of being, not her eulogisı, but her biographer. And and to whose connections, she could allege no obif the previous remarks are somewhat apologetical, jections. Martha waived all remark in her reply it is because in attempting to support that appella- on the person himself, and contented herself wiih tion, I find it necessary to enter on difficult ground. objecting on account of her youth, but "it was a Were it a mere question of feeling, I might possi- good thing for young people to be early attached;" bly avoid it altogether ; but as it forms an impor- her healih, but" she was getting well every day;" tant passage in her life, and contributes largely to her separation from her parents, " her parents cer. the progress of her mind, I have no option. While, tainly ought to know, but there was time enough however, I notice occurrences which are acknow for that." ledged to be delicate, I hope they will be treated de- From the spirit of this advice Martha's heart inlicately; and then I am convinced, in discharging voluntarily shrunk; but it left her more irresolute the duties of the historian, I shall not violate those what to do, and not less uneasy at remaining as she of the brother.

She pondered anxiously her situation; and When I left Martha, at a distance from home, it the more it was the subject of relection, the more was with every sentiment of satisfaction. Her she felt that the notice iaken of her was such as, health was advancing, her spirit was happy, and in her present circumstances, she ought not to sancshe was beneath the protection of Christian friend- tion; while it was of such a character as to make ship. But, alas! where in this world shall we find it difficult to decline, without an assumption which perfect safety ? Trial and snares cross the most modesty forbade her to make. She did not blame secure and retired path, like the gossamer web in the cause of her secret perplexities; but she beautumn, as quickly and as imperceptibly!

came increasingly embarrassed and unhappy. Among the persons to whom I had introduced No alternative seemed left to her except hastening Martha during my stay, was a young man, an ac- her return to London. She therefore wrote to her quaintance of mine. He had seen her twice or parents, enlarging on the improved state of her thrice in my presence, and I nad no idea of his health, 'and begging that, as ihe end of her visit seeking her society on my departure. He did, was so well accomplished, she might be restored to however, call upon her; in the first instance, per- the bosom of her family. The required permission haps, from regard to me, but afterward for his own was granted ; and Martha, with a glad heart, fed gratification. He introduced her to his family, and like ihe wandering nestling, from a sense of exsought opportunities of meeting her elsewhere. posure and solitariness, to the warm embraces of He was of an open temper, and ardent passions. her family He had been lately interested in religious objects, Martha had reached her home, but failed to find and he talked of them with liberty and feeling all that quiet happiness which will now was identiHe was a professed admirer of the poets ; some of fied with the place. Her distress while at Chis favorite passages he read to her, and others he and her eagerness to return to her friends, had con


vinced her that her mind was perfectly free; alas! be ascribed to an adequate cause. She said every she was not prepared to see that this very eager-thing she knew, and imagined more, as likely to ness gave alarming testimony to the contrary. She produce a delay. And she uniformly communiwas therefore surprised and concerned to find, when cated whatever she could that was calculated to she had realized ihe separation which was at once impress the mind favorably of the party and his to deliver her from thought and feeling, till thought connections. and feeling should be proper, her mind involun- This was sincerely and kindly done, but not tarily reverted to the scenes she had quilted; and wisely. It was giving stimulants where sedatives that occasionally the recollections it presented would are required. It was keeping the attention awake raise a sigh or a tear, which she strove to repress to a subject on which it should have been induced and could not.

to sleep. In this medium, too, she could dwell on In her prospective return, too, it had been her it with more of self-deception—it was her friend's spontaneous purpose to confer fully with her pa- letters for which she was looking. And these letrents; but now she possessed the opportunity of ters occurring at short intervals, not only kept her doing so, she had no wish to employ it. Habit and thoughts alive, but imparted to them, from time to conscience often urged her to it; yet when about to time, most dangerous nourishment. make the attempt, her tongue was locked, her lips Our passions, those enemies to our peace, assail were sealed; and she met their unwelcome plead- us, like the Roman gladiator, with a sword in one ings with the best excuses the case could supply. hand and a snare in the other; and the sword is She would urge upon herself that she had really often brandished only to allure the attention from nothing to say-that nothing might ever come of the snare which is to overthrow us. Martha might it--that if any thing should, it would necessarily have been prepared, by her simplicity and delicacy, first reach her father--and then would be the time to resist any open attack; but her inexperience and to explain—and till then she would resolve not to susceptibility blinded her to the wiles of her foe. think of it-and the only sure way to avoid think- Her feet therefore had been from the first impering was to avoid speaking. Thus she sought to ceptibly entangled; and what from uneasiness, susdelay what it was so difficult to do. It was 100 late pense, disappointment, and the injudicious counsels for her to see that her excuses were vain ; that it of friendship, the nets were only gathered more inwould have been easy to confer with her friends extricably about her. had her thoughts been wholly uninterested; or that As month after month rolled over her, Martha the very difficulty in now doing so was a powerful had power more clearly to watch the workings of argument against further delay. Alas for us! how her troubled bosom. Reflection was forced upon few are the precious moments of reason! They her; and as she reflected, she was carried unconare only those in which passion is dormant; when sciously to the conclusion that she had been disthis sorceress is awakened, she casts her illusive posed to give a preference to one who was unlights on all things—she blinds the sight of the worthy of it. Had this conclusion, heart-sickening weak, and discolors that of the strongest.

as it was, been admitted, it might have roused The act of separation, which is commonly such every thing feminine in her character to a victoa touchstone of friendship, was operating very dif- rious struggle; but it was resisted and put down. ferently on another party. Mariha had declined It was too foreign to her heart readily to admit a entering on any correspondence without the appro- suspicion of a character which had won her esteem bation of her parents; and of course it was the bu- by its show of piety, generosity, and feeling. siness of the person seeking such intercourse to Yet, while she refused to recognise this conclumake the application. She had abundant reason to sion, her conduct began to be regulated by its influthink the event of such an application would ence. The thought of her heart not only shrunk quickly be tried; but, from whatever cause, weeks more decidedly from every other eye, but shunned passed away, and nothing transpired.

instinctively her own observation. Ii breathed no The worst effect of this omission on Martha was, sigh, shed no tear, preferred no complaint, uttered that it supplied her with an excuse for allowing her po reproach; but it preyed silently, constantly, upon mind to return to the subject. She persuaded her- her inmost spirit. self that she was indifferent what reply might be Martha strove, powerfully strove, to be to her given to the question by her friends, if it were only friends what she had uniformly been; but her fairly proposed. But while it was not put, and choice was to conceal herself from all mankind. while she could not entertain a doubt of the honor Her solitude, however, was without restraints, and of the person who was bound to put it, she thought she could no longer fill it with useful pursuits. She herself at liberty to recur to the state of suspense ; would sit, with an introverted eve, from hour to she did not ask herself whether she could distin- hour, poring on the conflict of her feelings, till she guish between the state of suspense and the subject sunk into revery and abstraction. Her bright of it.

morning of joy had been suddenly overcast; and Martha had promised a correspondence with the all the gilded prospects which opened to the eye of lady to whom a reference has already been made ; youth in endless perspective, were enveloped in a and she now looked to it as the likely means of deihick gloom, that she ihought would never more be livering her from suspense, On her part, there dispersed ! was a careful avoidance of the subject; but on the Martha uttered no reproaches ; nor is her broside of her friend, this was not expected, nor, to ther disposed to employ the language of reproach; say the truth, desired. Her letters were now re- the subject is too sacred. But a principal end of inceived with an eagerness for which Martha was troducing this chapter would be lost, if it were not not anxious to account; and, if they did not con- rendered cautionary and instructive. Those, I trust, tain some allusions to a nameless party, she was of Martha's sex and age, would be especially open more disappointed than she was willing io admit. to receive benefit from this portion of her history.

This unacknowledged expectation, however, had Let them accept all common attentions with that not to suffer much of disappointment. Her friend unconstrained kindness which is their proper realways met the subject as a favorite one. She was ward; but the moment these attentions would asthe more earnest in it because Martha had, once sume another character, let them pause and decide for all, dismissed it, and begged that it might be for- on the state of their mind. If the mind is averse golien. She contended, that if the step which it to them, let them be steadily discouraged till they was honorable to take had not been taken, it must cease; and if there is no objection arising to thein,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »