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her, upon the dangers which would beset her path, upon the snares which would meet her at every turn these two, so different in every thing save that which is common to humanity, the viewless influence of love had drawn together in an almost indissoluble union--a uniop of sympathy and affection. But why looks Lillian so earnestly in.. the old man's face? What request is she urging with the innocfen: warmth and pertinacity of childhood ? She asks the fulfillment of a promise long since made and often repeated ; a promise which she has remembered well, and upon which she has based many a vision of future pleasure. Her grandfather had promised her a present, and, for a whole week, the child had been expecting its appearance, and tor. menting him with earnest and varying inquiries. He looked into her earnest eyes with a mischievous glance as she pressed her petition, and, reaching forth his hand to the bell cord, summoned a servant, and ordered him to bring Lillian's present The little creature's eyes fairly danced with joy, and she almost smothered her benefactor with thanks and caresses. A moment after, the door swung open, and in bounded a beautiful Newfoundland dog-capering clumsily around the room in the enjoyment of newly acquired freedom, and pushing his head into his mistress' face as if they were the best of friends.
The child, with the natural timidity of her age, at first drew back affrighted, and clung to her grandfather for protection, but, gaining courage as she saw the folly of her fears, she ventured to place her little hand upon the animal's head, and to call him by his name. Carlo was evidently pleased with this mark of attention, and showed his satisfaction in a thousand ways. He was a beautiful animal-symmetrically built-with long black hair, and a sagacious look in which one could almost observe evidences of mind. Henceforth he was the" little Lillian's" constant companion, gamboling by her side as she strolled through the garden, coiling himself at her feet when she sat down within doors--her chosen favorite--her incorruptible guardian. Indeed, his fondness for the child almost savored of human love, so watchful seemed he for his mistress' welfare, so pleased when she praised him, and patted his rough cheek. At night, he would even coil himself up in front of her chamber door, and remain a watchful sentinel during the hours of darkness, but when the morning sun was up, and Lillian came forth from slumber, her frame refreshed and elastic, the dog first greeted her upon the threshold with many a low bark and sportive bound, and would remain by her side during the whole day. Ah! they were spoiled creatures--Lillian and her dog--and many were the broken flowers, and torn shrubs, and trampled plants for whose destruction they were called to answer.
Time rolled on. The summer months flew by, and took with them the gala dresses of the garden flowers. The leaves began to fall, and Autumn with her treasures of fruit and grain, her cool winds and clouded skies, took possession of her throne. All nature seemed tending to a momentary death, and Lillian was doomed to vanish with the flowers.
One sunny afternoon the little maiden sat in the porch before the door, watching the passers-by, while the dog played among the leafless
fubs, whose foliage had fled at the approach of the coming winter. ore was something singular in the animal's conduct. Usually so
, his bright haired mistress, he now seemed to avoid her notice, eer-ą called him he appeared sullen and irritable. His eyes, gen.
ing a mild and kind expression, had now become red, and sp a wild, unnatural light. He seemed to have lost all con
tra' e muscles of the throat and jaw, for the latter hung loosely downs, or was closed suddenly with a convulsive movement. Lillian observed that something strange and extraordinary had happened to her favorite, and her sympathy was instantly excited. She called the ani. mal to her side, and he crouched at her feet, looking up into her face with a mingled glance of madness, fear, and love. She put her hands upon his head, and spoke to him with her usual gentleness and fond. ness, but the dog, instead of exhibiting emotions of pleasure, suddenly bounded to his feet, with an eye rolling in its orbit like a ball of fire. An instant--and his teeth had pierced her arm! She ran hurriedly to her mother--the tears rolling down her cheeks-weeping, not so inuch at the pain resulting from the wound, as at the ingratitude of her favore ite. The injury to her arm was not serious, and but little blood followed the infliction of the wound. A few hours passed by, and the circumstance was forgotten. That night the dog was not seen. The next morning came, but Carlo was not to be found. He did not appear to welcome his mistress as on other days, and Lillian's little heart was grieved. The day went by, but still the truant did not return, but, late in the evening, a man called at the residence of Lillian's father, announcing that the animal had been shot while raving in the paroxysms of Hydrophobia! Who can imagine the horror that darted through that little household, like a flash of electric light, at this terrible announcement! How describe the agony, the torture that racked every heart --an anguish to which “ gashes were relief !” Consternation and terror paled the father's face, and the big drops of cold and clammy moisture stood like crystal beads upon his forehead. The mother swooned. For a long time she reclined upon a sofa--motionless and almost lifeless-freed from insupportable misery only by unconsciousness. The aged grandsire wept--wept like a child, as his thoughts dwelt upon the future. He had stood before a criminal whose days on earth were numbered, and pronounced the sentence of the law without a tear, but now, 10 see his little grandchild doomed to an early death, whose torlures, and agony, and delirium no human power could avert, was too much--too much, and the old man wept. In the midst of this scene of unutterable sorrow, its unconscious cause suddenly appeared. The child looked with wonder and surprise upon the unaccustomed sight. She flew to her mother's side, and clasped her hands about her neck, and mingled her bright tresses with her parent's braided locks, and, in the plaintive tones of sorrowful childhood, begged for a kiss, a smile, a kind word, but all in vain. Her mother heard her not. She turned her eyes, brimming with tears, to her father, and wondered why he looked so mournfully upon her. Her grandsire too, who had ever greeted her with a gay laugh or a cheerful remark, now gazed upon
e all for
her with suffused eye and moistened cheek, and Lillian feeling, i stinctively, that some sad event had occurred, hid her face in mother's breast, and wept as if her heart would break. She diku s know that those tears, that anguish, that apparent death, wer amb her. She did not feel that a deadly poison was coursing nestlyMno veins--that an element was mingled in her blood, disor the innocen's nature-slowly undermining the foundations of existencayment obig down the delicately woven barricades of life, and corrupting the purple fountain, whose purifying influence alone sustains the frail tenement of the soul. 0! God, how mysterious are thy ways—how far removed from the scrutiny of mortal vision-how terrible--how sublime! The flower blooms, but blooms to die--the snowflake falls, then melts away--the Aurora props the Northern sky with blazing columns, then fades into utter darkness. On every thing of earth is written the eternal mandate of Jehovah, “thou shalt surely die.” · Two months had passed rapidly away and Lillian was reclining upon the bed from which she was doomed never to rise again. The once rosy-cheeked and bright-eyed child had changed into the pale and helpless invalid, around whose couch friends nightly prayed, and parents wept. Poison was doing its merciless work--disease and Death were contending for their prey. The wound inflicted upon her arm weeks before, had long since healed, leaving however an unsightly scar. A slight pain in that scar, accompanied by a sudden chill, first announced the approach of Hydrophobia. Preparations of opium, purgatives of various kinds, and every resource of medicine were applied, but failed to obstruct the progress of the disease. The pain in the little sufferer's arm extended upward to the base of the throat; she became silent and fearful ; her sleep was disturbed by the most strange and terrible dreams, and her eyes became unnaturally brilliant, shining with a wild, fitful glare that was painful to observe. The presence of water, or anything with a smooth surface, threw her into convulsive fits, during the existence of which the strength of a sull-grown man seemed concentrated in her slender form. The paroxysms increased in number and intensity with frightful rapidity, until, at the close of the second day after the appearance of the first symptoms, the little patient seemed at the very gates of death. Her father and mother hung almost distracted around her bed, looking into the Physician's face with the most intense anxiety, and striving to detect in his sorrowful and despairing glances one ray of hope and comfort. Her grandsire too was there—the scalding tears rolling down his furrowed cheek as he beheld the dying child struggling with her terrible destiny.
The sun went down that night, veiling his waning radiance with a dark drapery of clouds, and the moon arose, calm and placid as one of Heaven's angels. A little child, that night, went down into the dark valley of Death, and a soul arose, soaring alost to Paradise.
Reader, there is a solemn lesson interwoven with the thread of this little narrative. It warns us not to board up our affections for the ephemeral things of earth-not to stake our all upon a chance-which is inevitably against us not to place a creature of inortal mould between
ourselves and Heaven. Life is a fearful game, and wo to him who
plays it rashly, and loses. Let us all remember that we are ever upon ne borders of eternity, that an hour--a moment-may close our brief morireer-that “in the midst of Life we are in Death."
It is not so much our intention, in the present paper, to enter into an elaborate criticism of the style and opinions of Mrs. Child, as to give simple utterance to a few thoughts upon the character and influence of her writings. Among all her productions, her " Letters from New York" seem to mirror most faithfully the true spirit and tendency of her thought. It is in these Letters that she seems to have made a record of her every-day existence; a history of her intellectual life, of her impulses, emotions, and conclusions, as connected with passing events. And it is upon these writings, chiefly, that our observations will be based.
Amid all the melancholy and sombre coloring of life, it is truly refreshing to meet with so hopeful and genial a character as that of Mrs. Child. Refreshing is it to turn aside from the burning, dusty highway, and at the foot of the old festooned rock quaff the crystal water, right from the pebbly fountain. There is the cheerfulness, freshness, and elasticity of youth in all she writes, that is contagious, and makes you ever read with a smile on your countenance. Her own soul is tuned to the gushing melody of happiness, and thus she fills the hearts of her readers with the most pleasing and vivid emotions, This blithesome, contented temper pervades all her productions. She teaches you to turn the eye away from the dark and sombre, and rivet it upon the bright and enchanting hues of life; to forget the gloomy wail of the birds of night, and listen only to the song of the gembreasted lark. We would not be understood as intimating that our authoress would have you be unmindful of the sorrow and misery that must meet you at almost every step, for upon no other theme has she discoursed more truthfully or eloquently. But she would have you remember, that life is not sorrow and misery. She would have you meet that grief and distress with spiritual as well as physical comfort, with the best gifts of hope and cheerfulness.
We are not so much fascinated by any brilliancy or splendor in the writings of Mrs. Child, as won by the loveliness of their spirit. Nor do we think they will ever cause her to be so much the subject of eulogy, as of the silent blessing of the sad. She is far from being one of those fierce and lonely spirits, whose agency it seems to be to purify the atmosphere of society, with the fearful energy of the storm and the lightning. But we must rank Mrs. Child among another class, who, noiseless and unobtrusive, distill the influence of noble thoughts and generous deeds; and as the dew is only perceived by
the renewed fragrance of the rose and by the gem that sparkles on its every leaf, thus their presence is only known by the happiness that springs up in the bosom of misery, by the joy that beams upon the brow of despondency ; a class whose beautiful mission is to regene. rate mankind by the winning voice of love and sympathy, and to beckon him onward with the thrilling tones of courage and anticipation.
There is no characteristic of Mrs. Child's productions so conspicuous as her enthusiastic love of nature. We are not conversant with her as a poetess, or rather we do not know that she has written suffi. ciently in numbers to merit this title ; but poetess she undoubtedly is, in inspiration of thought, in feeling and imagination. To call our authoress merely a lover of nature, may seem like descending to cant; for of what authoress can it not be said that they at least feel quite friendly towards nature. But with Mrs. Child it seems to be something more than mere love. It is an intimacy, an absorption, a devotion, a principle of being. All the forms of nature, like living, speaking embodiments, touch the harpstring of sympathy in her soul. They are no less suggestive of the loftiest thought, than of the purest, holiest feeling. She makes companions of the very flowers, spiritualizing them. She converses with the opening rose-buds, which are cherished by her care, as though they were sentient and responsive in emotions of gratitude ; and finding the first fair flower of spring, coming forth hesitatingly, on the warm hill side, she seems really to sympathize with its tenderness, and desire to shield it from the frosts that may soon make it their victim.
We cannot more clearly express the ecstacy that seems to thrill her sensitive being when alone with nature, than to say that she hears as it were a music, borne onward from shrub and rock and dale and forest, which, all unheard by other ears, sweeps through her soul in the wildest as well as the softest tones. It is not difficult for any one to love nature, when they can wander away and find her in her galadress, amid the pomp of her mountains and woods, her rivulets and enchanting shades. But Mrs. Child could look from her window on the most cheerless day, and find something to admire. And while once passing down Broadway, in New York, with a thousand human forms on every side, she seems to have had no companions but a flock of doves, that were continually sporting in airy circles around her; and the emotions caused by the circumstance, afford a most beautiful passage in one of her letters.
There is a peculiar liveliness of thought displayed by our authoress, that often becomes even playfulness, enabling her to throw out images and illustrations, so animated, so startling, as to make you almost greet them with an exclamation. There now recurs to us a single passage, in which she exhibits not only the poetry of her thought, but especially this vivacity of which we have been speaking. The full moon is shining down upon a lake, which is gently agitated by the breeze. She speaks of the moon as having in its reflection broken to pieces there upon the surface, and that every little wavelet is scam