صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

ruined man—the struggle between a proud mind and an empty purse—the keeping up a hollow show that must soon come to an end. Have the courage to appear poor, and you disarm poverty of its sharpest sting.” On this point I found Leslie perfectly prepared. He had no false pride himself, and as to his wife, she was only anxious to conform to their altered fortunes. Some days afterwards, he called upon me in the evening. He had disposed of his dwelling-house, and taken a small cottage in the country, a few miles from town. He had been busied all day in sending out furniture. The new establishment required few articles, and those of the simplest kind. All the splendid furniture of his late residence had been sold, excepting his wife's harp. That, he said was too closely associated with the idea of herself; it belonged to the little story of their loves; for some of the sweetest moments of their courtship were those when he had leaned over that instrument, and listened to the melting tones of her voice. I could not but smile at this instance of romantic gallantry in a doting husband. He was now going out to the cottage, where his wife had been all day, superintending its arrangement. My feelings had become strongly interested in the progress of this family story, and as it was a fine evening, I offered to accompany him. He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and as we walked out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing. “Poor Mary!” at length broke, with a heavy sigh, from his lips.

“And what of her,” asked I, “has anything happened to her?" “What,” said he, darting an impatient glance, “is it nothing to be reduced to this paltry situation —to be caged in a miserable cottage—to be obliged to toil almost in the menial concerns of her wretched habitation?” “Has she then repined at the change?” “Repined! she has been nothing but sweetness and good humor. Indeed, she seems in better spirits than I have ever known her; she has been to me all love and tenderness and comfort!” “Admirable girl!” exclaimed I. “You call yourself poor, my friend; you never were so rich—you never knew the boundless treasures of excellence you possessed in that woman.” “Oh! but, my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage were over, I think I could then be comfortable. But this is her first day of real experience: she has been introduced into an humble dwelling— she has been employed all day in arranging its mis erable equipments—she has for the first time known the fatigues of domestic employment—she has for the first time looked around her on a home destitute of everything elegant—almost of everything convenient; and may now be sitting down, exhausted and spiritless, brooding over a prospect of future poverty.” There was a degree of probability in this picture that I could not gainsay, so we walked on in silence. After turning from the main road, up a narrow lane, so thickly shaded by forest trees as to give it a complete air of seclusion, we came in sight of the cottage It was humble enough in its appearance for the most pastoral poet; and yet it had a pleasing rural look. A wild vine had overrun one end with a profusion of foliage; a few trees threw their branch. es gracefully over it; and I observed several pots of flowers tastefully disposed about the door, and on the grass-plot in front. A small wicket-gate opened upon a footpath that wound through some shubbery to the door. Just as we approached we heard the sound of music—Leslie grasped my arm; we paused and listened. It was Mary's voice singing, in a style of the most touching simplicity, a little air of which her husband was peculiarly fond. I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stepped forward to hear more distinctly. His step made a noise on the gravel walk. A bright beautiful face glanced out at the window and vanished—a light footstep was heard—and Mary came tripping forth to meet us. She was in a pretty rural dress of white; a few wild flowers were twisted in her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek; her whole countenance beamed with Smiles—I had never seen her look so lovely. “My dear George,” cried she, “I am so glad you are come; I have been watching and watching for you; and running down the lane and looking out for you. I've set out a table under a beautiful tree behind the cottage; and I’ve been gathering some of the most delicious strawberries, for I know you are fond of them—and we have such excellent cream— and everything is so sweet and still here.—Oh !” said she, putting her arm within his, and looking up brightly in his face, “oh, we shall be so happy!”

Poor Leslie was overcome. He caught her to his bosom—he folded his arms round her—he kissed her again and again—he could not speak, but the tears gushed into his eyes; and he has often assured me that though the world has since gone prosperously with him, and his life has indeed been a happy one, yet never has he experienced a moment of more exquisite felicity.

[graphic][graphic]

THE BROKEN HEART,

I never heard
Of any true affection, but 'twas nipped
With care, that, like the caterpillar, eats
The leaves of the spring's sweetest book, the rose.
MIDDLETON.

IT is a common practice with those who have outlived the susceptibility of early feeling, or have been brought up in the gay heartlessness of dissipated life, to laugh at all love stories, and to treat the tales of romantic passion as mere fictions of novelists and poets. My observations on human nature have induced me to think otherwise. They have convinced me that, however the surface of the character may be chilled and frozen by the cares of the world, or cultivated into mere smiles by the arts of society, still there are dormant fires lurking in the depths of the coldest bosom, which, when once enkindled, become impetuous, and are sometimes desolating in their effects. Indeed, I am a true believer in the blind deity, and go to the full extent of his doctrines. Shall I confess it?—I believe in broken hearts, and the possibility of dying of disappointed love! I do not, however, consider it a malady often fatal to my own sex; but I firmly believe that it withers down many a lovely woman into an early grave.

Man is the creature of interest and ambition. His nature leads him forth into the struggle and bustle of the world. Love is but the embellishment of his

« السابقةمتابعة »