Sidor som bilder

nerable president has shewn us, that by exhibiting our various experiences, we may strengthen those amongst us, who are still doubting; and still more strongly enforce this truth on those who are no longer permitted to doubt; that he who goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Shall I then conclude my history, or shall I permit another of our party to speak ?”

We all, with one accord, entreated him to proceed; to which he immediately consented. “I called on Louisa Patrick,” he continued, “several times whilst the remains of her aunt lay in the house; and found her much depressed on all these occasions. It was necessary to look at the will before the obsequies, as it was known that it contained various directions respecting the funeral arrangements; and it was then found that the old lady had prepared for her death in the same sad spirit in which she had lived: for in this, her last testament, she had given the strictest orders that Giles Patrick should not be invited to attend her remains to the grave. When this was told to Louisa, as the old nurse informed me, she wept most bitterly, and said: 'it would not have been so, I know it would not have been so, had my poor aunt dictated her will a day or two only before her death.'

“The poor young girl had not opened her heart much to me during my previous visits; and I had not entered at all into private affairs, but had seized on these occasions to state those high and general truths of christianity in which all mankind are interested, in the plainest and most forcible language which it pleased the Divine Spirit to enable me to use. But the day before the funeral, she referred at once to her own very difficult and peculiar situation, as it regarded the conditions annexed by her late aunt to her acceptance of the property; and without giving me any hint of her own thoughts on the subject, she begged me to advise her how to act.

".In what respect?' I asked.

"Ought I,' she asked, 'to receive possessions which I can retain only by refusing to see my father, or hold any intercourse with him ?'

“She did not weep when she proposed this question, but the color rose in her face : betraying such a conflict of emotions, that I would rather have seen her shed tears.

“No enlightened child of God, I thought, could have two opinions on this point, unless there were circumstances in the affair which I did not comprehend; but I was unwilling to give my ideas on the subject, lest they should unduly influence poor Louisa. I was anxious that she should seek direction from on high, being fully aware, that in cases in which any great temporal sacrifice has been made to duty, after-regrets will arise ; and that in these seasons, no reflections are strong enough to sustain the fainting spirit; but the conviction that it was made, not by the persuasion of man, nor by any suggestion of human feelings, but under the most direct influence from on High. There are times indeed, when the doubting mind requires to be strengthened by a pious friend; but I still chose to do this with Louisa, in a way applicable to mortal and redeemed creatures in general, and not to herself in particular. I asked her what were her own convictions on the subject in question; and in her answer, she exhibited a state of mind in the most distressing perplexity. It was evident that she had no sweet memories of paternal tenderness in infancy and childhood to bias her natural feelings; she did not even know her father by sight, for, when he had given her up to her aunt, he had seemed to cease to care for her.

She had loved her mother, and still honored her memory; but from what she said of her only sister, it seemed that she did not place the smallest confidence in her liberality, as she had always envied her—the natural result of their respective situations.

««• If,' she said, 'I give up the inheritance, I give it up beyond recovery, even of a part. From riches, from luxury, I am at once reduced to destitution. If the inheritance went from me to my father, Sir,' she added, the difficulty would be removed; but, as you may have heard, so long as I keep it, I am not suffered to assist him, and even if I endeavor to do this indirectly, I may be troubled ; supposing I could make up my mind to act deceitfully.' 'I often discussed this affair with my poor aunt during her last illness,' she continued, “and was firm in refusing to give up my father, often thereby incurring her displeasure; but on the morning before her death, her heart was softened, and she told me that I was right, and owned that she had carried her resentment too far, and that she was resolved to make a change in this respect in her will, when she was better able to exert herself; adding, in her own peculiar way, 'it is time now that hy-gones should be by-gones;' and she was easier for a few hours after this, than I had often seen her. But this is a lesson to me, Sir, not to put off that which we once see right to be done.'

“And this, I thought, is the very young person upon whom, when I first spoke seriously to her, I thought I was throwing away my admonitions !

“The funeral took place the next day; and on the following morning, I received a note from Louisa, saying that she had been brought to a resolution : 'I could not rest,' she said, “until it pleased God to give me strength to do what from the first I knew to be right; but I dare not delay doing that which must be done. Till it is done, I shall have no rest ; I dare not trust myself; I am resolved to go immediately to my father's cottage; I entreat you, dear Sir, to go with me, and to permit your daughter also to accompany us. I will call in an hour in the carriage which is now mine, but which will be forfeited before I return. Pray for me, that I may be enabled to choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.'

“This is beautiful! here is the finger of God!" I said, as I directed my daughter to prepare for the little excursion; and when I explained to her what Louisa was about to do : she was perfectly astonished, and said that she could imagine how a daughter might fancy she could do this for a parent who had always loved her ; but for one who had never been kind—'Oh, papa !' she exclaimed, 'this is above nature!' When she got into the carriage with Louisa, she could not even speak for weeping.

“The dwelling of Giles Patrick was at least fifteen miles from our homes, and so out of the way, that we were obliged to leave the carriage in a lane about a quarter of a mile distant; and go up a narrow woody glen which wheel had never pressed. Louisa went weeping all the way. The sight of objects, not seen since she had been taken from her mother at a very tender age, seemed to have caused these tears to flow; for since her afflictions, she had seldom wept freely. We none of us spoke ; but I saw that once or twice she joined and clasped her hands as if in prayer, and was glad of my daughter's arm to steady her steps.

“The cottage was beautifully situated on a bank at the bottom of the glen, but it had all the indications about it of coarse country habits. The upper half of the door was open; and as we climbed up the bank, we saw an old man seated in the chimney corner, and a young woman with some pretensions to ordinary and slovenly finery, engaged in some department of her usual domestic drudgery.

“When Louisa saw these persons, she called out faintly, 'My father! and Esther!' saying to my daughter, ‘Go in first, oh! go in and tell them who we are.' We did so; I went in with my daughter, and wishing the old man good day, said we were come from

“The old man looked shrewdly at us, and anticipating our meaning, said, “You brings us news of my darter, I suppose; well, how does she take it? She is to have it all, we hears, and neer so much as a fi' pun' note for me or mine, I reckon? Well, so it always has been, since she made that grand marriage!'

“I told him that his daughter was outside, directing the sister to go to her, and bring her in. I did not see the meeting of the daughters, but I heard the dry rude greeting of the father. Well,' he said, 'so you be come, Miss, I never thought as you would have darkened my doors again, but you are welcome any

how. Come, give your old father a kiss; you ban't too proud, be ye?'

“Louisa had been for years at the best school our town affords, and though her aunt had preserved her original roughness of manner to the last, the poor girl had acquired sufficient refinement, to render the excessive rusticity of her father not a little painful. She did not, however, for one moment hesitate, but sprang forward to receive his salutation ; after which, she suddenly dropped upon her knees, saying, 'Bless me, my father, bless your child !'

“The feelings of an uneducated Englishman often lie so deeply buried under a rude exterior, that we sometimes attribute to him a total want of heart. I had already condemned Giles as a man without feeling, but much was I mistaken; for the manner in which he spoke out when thus called upon, made the tears gush from my eyes.

“• Bless thee, my girl ?' he said, 'I do bless thee with heart and soul; may ye live long to enjoy your riches; and may

the favor of the Lord be with ye all your days !'

“My attention was here suddenly drawn to the younger daughter, first by a sudden start which she made, and next by some words which she muttered; and turning to look at her, I saw an expression on her countenance which I feared to read. When Louisa arose from her knees, she drew towards my daughter; and faintly asking me to open her situation to her father and sister, walked into the air with Mary, leaving me in the cottage with her relations.

“It was not very easy to make the old man comprehend the state of the case ; but Esther seemed fully prepared to understand it, and very ready to step into her sister's place. I was pleased, however, with Giles : when he had made himself fully acquainted with the matter, and found that his elder daughter had already forfeited her rights, he not only blessed her with tears, but told the younger, that the very least she could do, would be to share and share alike with her sister, and bind it all down safe and strict.

I most warmly supported this proposal ; but Esther answered tartly, saying, “Well, father, don't be in such a fuss o. a hurry,' these were her exact words, ‘sure there is time enough to think what is to be done : Louisa must remain in the house, and keep the things together, till the lawyers tell us how it is to be. It may not be just as the gentleman tells us after all; we had best bide as we is, till we hears more.'

You are a cold, heartless, selfish, girl, I thought, though I uttered not the bitter words; and having no more to say, I sought Louisa and my daughter, and we returned to the carriage. Bearing in my mind what Esther had said—that Louisa was to go home and keep things together, we had a silent and sorrowful drive back to the town ; and the only comfort I could give the now really destitute Louisa, was to propose that Mary should stay with her a few days. She received the proposition with tears of gratitude; and Mary being equally pleased, I left them in the full assurance, that the sorrow of poor Louisa would, in God's good time, be turned to joy.

“Another week had not passed before Louisa was duly and legally admonished, that by her disobedience to the terms of the will, she had forfeited all right to be benefited by it. My daughter told me that she received this formal intimation without a word or complaint, though the old nurse heard it with violent indignation.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »