Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

of home. It is there her duties are to be learned—her influence to be felt—and her virtues to be rewarded. The curious world have nothing to do with her; and she cannot be sorced into its service, or exposed to its gaze without that feeling of desecration with which we should witness the sacred ornaments of religion plucked from the altar. Home must lose its sacred charms—the mother must cease to be what God has made her—the child be deserted by the fair angels who invest her with purity and loveliness, ere it will be necessary for a human artificer, to place her unskillful hand on creations which need not the aid of art. The lady who has so kindly volunteered to be the guide of our fair countrywomen, may, for aught we know, be endowed with every accomplishment that belongs to her sex. She may make artificial roses with every splendor of coloring, but the grace—the delicacy—the sweetness, are not within her reach. We do live in a brazen age—an age which is daily withering every romantic vision, and every chivalrous feeling that has escaped from the more ideal world of our ancestors. We have seen the most beautiful landscapes defaced by the sordid spirit of gain— we have seen a factory on the brink of Niagara—we see man, the image of his Maker, daily becoming more madly selfish—more meanly greedy. We did hope that all the utilitarianism which steam could invent or execute, was exhausted on the physical world, or that at most the rougher sex was alone exposed to its action. We were not prepared to behold the last refuge of sentiment—the fondest dream of imagination—the delicate incarnation of spirit, rudely assaulted by its unhallowed approach.

A FRAGMENT.

We stood upon the mount, the stars were out,
Their heaven-lit fires were beaming bright: the moon,
In silent loveliness, 'mid floating clouds
So light they seemed the home of spirits blest,
Was gliding on. Beneath us raged the storm;
Far, far below, as from the cliff we gazed,
A dense cloud lay. Over the earth it spread
A sable pall, which in the moon's pale rays

*- Showed fearfully:—unbroken save by gleams
Of vivid lightning, when its fiery wing
Traversed the darkness: then the thunder's voice
Pealed forth its echoing roar. It was a scene
Fearful, yet beautiful—that evening storm.

Yale College, April 8, 1837.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

MARY LATIMER! reader, I have a story to tell you about her, that will make your heart ache before I get through with it—a strange story, a bright and black one at the same time—a dark unfathomable providence, which for some purpose or other gives to life a bright spot a moment, only to make blackness blacker by contrast—gives to the heart a thrill and pulse of happiness, and then sends something to roll and riot in it like a blast from the pit of darkness—nurses the flowers and blossoms of a bright hope there, and when we look to them and inhale their sweetness, we find out we have inhaled poison:—But, to the story. Worn down and rendered haggard by study and sickness, brought into one of those miserable states of mind when one feels like an insernal, hating every body, even my own soul, my study door opened, and my father entered the apartment. * Good morning to you, Henry, I am glad’— I had turned from him, and, covering my face with my hands, laid it down on the table, where the tears ran streaming through my fingers. *xplicable boy'—He sat down by me, he was always tender as a mother; he took me, large as I was, in his arms, and folded me into his heart, saying softly and kindly, “my unhappy child.’ “O father, speak to me not—speak not, I beg of you. You would say pause—give up this deadly work—throw id: my book —mix with the world—be cheerful. No, I cannot, I cannot— speak not of it. It has become my life, soul, all—I cannot. A respite were only giving me to thought, and that were only substituting one passion for another. It will kill me—I expect it—but what matters it that I have my way! Do not speak of it.’ I buried my face in his bosom, and wept worse than before. “Henry, Henry, my boy, my dear boy! you mistake’—my father was kind here, his voice soft. He did not frown—he did not ridicule—he knew better—he knew how to deal with the ‘mind diseased.’ Scolding, or ridicule, had made me desperate—he knew it. “Henry, my boy, look on me’—I raised my head. He held a letter in his hand, a letter from my uncle in Jamaica. It seemed he knew my affliction, and pitied it—he had therefore written, and in the most urgent terms, to send me to him—promised me every thing I wanted—with a beautiful description of his plantations, his groves, grounds, parterres, colonades, &c. &c.—concluding the whole with that privileged phrase of all rich uncles—‘he shall come.” I read it. “And you will go, my boy f' ‘No, father, no. Why should I go to him # 1 would die here— here in my home—here in your arms—here with cousin Mary. No, father, no. I’ll not curse him with a maniac-spare me.” “But Mary shall go with you.’ I shook my head mournfully. Mary herself at that moment entered, and stood gazing at me. Reader, if you have ever seen an angel just dropped down from heaven, to charm earth with visions of superhuman beatitude, then you can paint her. If you have ever seen a face, in which all the affections, sympathies, feelings, passions, that go to make up the best part of humanity, are depicted and blended together, and that face lit up with mind, and always accustomed to greet you with a smile, and always speaking for you, staying with you, loving you, looking with favor on your errors, smoothing over your faults, bearing with your humors, regretting and pardoning your peevishness, and doing this time and time again, and then doing it all as if she wearied not, but rejoiced to suffer for you, and would suffer more if you wished her to, and even seemed to invite it—if you have ever seen such a face, and in it such an expression, you may then know my feelings, as I raised my face, pallid thin and tearful, expressive of my agony, and met her's of love, weeping also, and bending over me. Mary and me were betrothed long before, and I have nothing sentimental to say about it—indeed, if the reader would read nothing else, he had better stop at once. I have to tell him of something else—of-but let him read on, if he wishes it. ‘Mary, Maryl have you, too, come to torment me, you so kind, ou I love so, you I live for, pray for what have I done to merit it?’ My father had left the study. I sat there, my head on my hand, and that rested on the table. Mary leant over my shoulder, listed my head from its recumbent position, kissed my hot forehead—one of her tears rolled down on my cheek as she did so. I looked up. I never saw so much affliction on one face before— it seemed the misery of an age was crowded into a moment, and all of it settled there to blast it. ‘Mary, what would you?” said I mournfully. ‘Your happiness, Henry.”

* And will it come back o’ ‘Whither has it gone? where are our bright days? your life, smiles, joy Alas, Henry, you are wasting, murdering yoursels— you have strung your mind up to an unnatural pitch—the last oil you are burning of an almost expiring lamp—and those loving you, caring for you, depending on you—they, Henry, are drooping too. Will you murder me !” I started— You, Mary, murder you !” I looked hard at her— surely, I had been blind. Where was the red lip, the bright eye, the sweet smile, the calm and expansive forehead of Mary Latimer? sure, that was not it, this was not her, thus thin, worn, wasted ‘You, Mary—murder you ! I have been dreaming. I am a fiend, a villain, a devil. I have forgotten, been selfish, thought none ever felt but me, none were wretched but me, none were ever cursed with such a weight on their hearts but me. What, when, where, how shall I remedy it?’ This was what she wanted. I was a lamb now, and led as she wished. ‘Accept your uncle's proposals, throw away these deadly volumes, come out from these shadows, and be yourself again. Look out on life, look out as you ought, and drink in the bright and beautiful around you. Talk, laugh, be gay—look not upon things with this jaundiced vision of yours, but think of the better purposes of behmg, and be happy again. The vessel waits for us—I go with you—and once out on the blue waters—once out of this wretched gloom and misery here, and we may yet hope for restored health, and that time will bring round better days and all will be well again. And the sea O, the sea, Henry, the bright and beautiful sea, with its life and glory and action, with its storms and winds and sweeping waves, with its hues by day and fiery magnificence by night ! And then all the stories of it—of its sparry realms and green grottoes, with its groves of coral and cavernous crystal, its beds of hyacinth and emerald and diamond, and—ah ! there, I see you laugh again, and that’s what I want, and you will go, Henry, you will go?' Thus did this sweet girl, this angel, when her own heart was almost broken, put on the hollow mockery of gayety; and by talking, and rambling, and picturing up these little nothings, bring back something like harmony into my heart, and set it beating again with something of its accustomed music. I need not say she prevailed, and that we were soon prepared for our journey. The reader may therefore, if he chooses, suppose us on the ocean.

WOL. II. 28

Cli Apter hi.
‘O'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea.”
Byron.
‘A motley assemblage, gentlemen.”
Farquhar.

The reader has doubtless guessed before this, the cause of the strange conduct recorded in the last chapter. The scholar, the sedentary man, need not be told of that morbidness, that blackness, that living murder, that protracted death, that hell on earth that’s gendered by study and long confinement; that state of mind when day becomes night, light darkness; when Paradise were a desert, and the bright span of heaven,

Fretted with gold and curious workmanship,

were little else than a dungeon's dome bending down its rocky arms, to clasp one in its almost tangible horror; of those moments, when that leaden something lies on the heart like a mountain, crushing it and turning to gall its sweet sounts of happiness, and we walk our rooms with streaming eyes, quivering lips, and the imaginations of fiends. He knows it all. Let him add to this already insupportable wretchedness, a deadly perseverance, a merciless disregard of nature's wants, as she keeps crying out in the pallid lip, the trembling hand, the unsteady pulse, the hot brow and ringing brain; let him add a perseverance, until actual disease sets in, and the black spectre of incipient Insanity begins to brood over and get the mastery of the intellect, and he will then have no difficulties in understanding me, nor will the picture seem overdrawn. We dropped down the channel with a light wind, in one of the most beautiful barques of the service, and passing between the green shores of Staten and Governor's Island, glided out on the expanse of heaving waters. The morning was one of brilliancy, the sky had scarcely a speck in it, save the low banks of white clouds that lay along the horizon, the waves swung to and fro with an easy motion, the sea gulls skimmed about us, and the gently indented ridges of the Jersey shore sunk in the distance, and were scarcely distinguished from the low line of the ocean. The sea now began to look bluer, as is always the case as we leave shore, the breeze freshened, the sails filled, the larboard fore and ast main stays wore taughter and taughter, and while the waves grew rougher and angrier, and began to heave and hurry and splash about the bows, the gallant vessel bowed to her duty, and sprang through the element like a sea-bird just loosed from prison, and shaking its white pinions to the rush of the wind. The breeze continued, the bald tops of Neversink lost their outline, and by the middle of the morning's watch, the last of the land had vanished, and we felt ourselves alone upon the ocean.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »