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ABSENT FRIENDS.

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-, that I proposed any; though I know not what I might have done, had I not been already blessed.) Books, music, gardens, fountains, flowers, rich landscapes, fortune, health, confidence, sisters' love, which cannot be selfish, a house in town, and friends everywhere! How few on earth have all this!

We all gathered around the hospitable board, and passed away the evening in conversation about France, and Spain, and Italy, where they had tray. elled ; our own land of the Pilgrims; of friends, some of whom were in distant countries, some on the wide sea, and some in Heaven—who cannot tell of loved ones who are dead-who are in a brighter world than ours; and who does not love to speak of them? “Oh! the grave! the grave! It buries every error, covers every defect, extinguishes every resentment! From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections." Who knows how to speak to the heart better than Irving?

One of the ladies put these lines into my hand in manuscript:

ABSENT FRIENDS.

Oh! when the heart is lonely,

Musing on joys gone by-
When memory's mournful tribute

Is the whisper of a sigh
Still, still, all is not sorrow;

With sadness pleasure blends,
As from the past we borrow

The smiles of absent friends,

How oft, when gently stealing

Alone 'neath twilight ray, When every harsher feeling

Is chasten'd by its sway, Will memory softly ponder,

As o'er the past she bends, And erring fancy wander

To greet our absent friends.

When joy and pleasure lighten

The bosom by their power;
When peace and comfort brighten

The social evening hour;
The heart, still true to friendship,

Its kindly wishes sends
To those by distance parted,
Our much-loved absent friends.

We think on those who've left us ;

We see their vacant seat; We feel, had they been with us,

Our bliss had been complete. To hours by sorrow shrouded

Their presence joy could lend; We would that skies unclouded

Still brought each absent friend.

But oh! the sweet emotion

This thought will ost excite, That in the heart's devotion

With us they may unite; That the same arm which guards us,

O'er them in love extends, That the same eye beholds us

And cherish'd absent friends.

A DREAM OF HOME.

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And when stern death hath summond

Some loved one from our sight;
When joy is changed to sorrow,

And morning into night,
That arm can still sustain us,

Can kind assistance lend,
Can teach us that hereafter

We may rejoin our friend.
Then, oh! thou gracious Saviour,

When earthly comforts flee,
May our souls find an anchor,

A resting-place in thee :
Be Thou our hope, Redeemer,

Our guide unto the end,
Our solace and protector,

Our ever-present Friend.

Who does not feel happy after a gorgeous dream? Who does not love to have the mind break away from the base thraldom of matter, and assert her empire in the spiritual world ? I read the lines I have copied for you, and retired to my chamber. I had a delightful dream of home and kindred. Around our old ancestral hearth, on which burned a bright wood fire, I saw gathered every friend, living and departed, we ever truly loved : such a group as cannot now be assembled, but in defiance of matter, on earth or in heaven. Those same kind voices, which have long been hushed in death's sleep, I heard again. I felt once more the warm pressure of hands that have mouldered away. The old wainscoted halls echoed the music of gay voices which once

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rung there, now heard no more on earth; and the same generous hearts that had so often on Christmas and Thanksgiving-day evenings clustered around that old altar of home, were now beating by that happy fireside as in other days. I did not think, as I saw them all gathered there, how they had been scattered like chaff upon the summer threshing-floor. No, they were all there then, as we shall yet see them in some bright circle in Heaven. Oh! I would as soon surrender all belief in a future state, as I would that it will be a world where ties which death has severed shall again be united; where the associations of friendship shall again be renewed, and those long separated shall meet to part no more.

The next morning I took a walk before sunrise, and heard, for the first time since I have been in England, the notes of the lark. I found some old ruins on a hill-top, near the bank of a stream; an old graveyard, the inscriptions all faded : old Mortality himself could not restore them. The horn of the London coach came winding up the valley; and the sun spread its rich beams on the hill-tops, while the meadows through which the stream wandered were covered with a deep mist that concealed half their beauty, only to make them the more lovely.

One must have breathed the close and murky air of London many days; mingled in its restless crowds;

DOMESTIC LIFE IN ENGLAND.

231

will say,

been wearied with its everlasting din, to prize such a morning walk in the country, with its pure air and green

fields. When I returned breakfast was ready. An English breakfast is one of the best things in the world-coffee and toast. This, you

is nothing very extraordinary: true; but this is not the breakfast. The London papers left on your table by the news-boy, fresh from the cylinder: with the voice of the universal world they come to your dwelling; and then something better still—conversation : these make up the breakfast.

I have formed a great liking for some of the domestic usages of England. I think there can be no question that the English surpass us in the true economy of life. By the English I mean just what every one does : not the mass of human beings; of X hearts, nerves, and sympathies; but that portion of . society' in prosperous circumstances, constituting, perhaps, about one twentieth part of the population. This class have reduced the economy of living to a perfect system. They know how to enjoy life better; and they live longer. They cluster more comforts and attractions around their homes; -and devote more time to intellectual and social improvement. There is an air of comfort and enjoyment in their houses you seldom find in America. They love their homes better; they seek their happiness there. Their children are more neatly dressed; they have more finished educations; exercise more in the

open air ; their morals are better guarded; their manners more agreeable; they have better taste.

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