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whose death is yet unaccounted for; it was said of him, that he could command the wind and tides. Certain it was, that space and distance, formed no obstacles to bis journey. Was he not in Duxborough at eight o'clock, and was he not seen in Plymouth, at nine, the same evening ? and surely, merely mortal power does not perform that task. And I, myself, have thought that I possessed some unusual influence, for I have seen the children, of late, suspend their amusements as I approached them, and gaze upon me, as if they did not know my person, or were jealous, or fearful of my power.” His mother groaned audibly, and the school-master shed tears over the misery of the unhappy youth.
The deacon, however, believed it proper to continue the advantage which he supposed he had gained by exciting the fears of Weston.
“ Young man,” said he," the enemy of souls is wary in his bargains, and the privileges, which he grants, are in proportion to the resistance made to his influence; and remember, Weston, that the league once made, the compact once formed, tears, and prayers, and repentance will avail you nothing. Even the blood that was shed for the remission of sins, will not absolve that contract." Weston groaned aloud, and the deacon, auguring favourably, from the excitement of his feelings, pursued his lacerating harangue.
“No being, who has formed the soul-condemning contract, can hope for relief. The miserable advantage, which his superior powers imparts, is lost in the horrid remembrance of its immense price ; and in no instance, has the deluded wretch dared to exercise. the extent of his dreadful abilities; and, disgusted with a life in which he appeared to stand alone, every unhappy victim of Satan's league, has been known to finish, with his own hands, an existence, the imaginary advantages of which, he had purchased, at the expense of eternal salvation."
" At least,” groaned Weston, “ I will not commit mur.
The deacon shrunk from him, at this unexpected ap; plication of the character to himself; and the horrid conviction for the first time, flashed upon the agonized
mother, that her darling, her only son, had sold himself for nought.
" Let us pray,” said the school-master. The auditors stood erect, while the good man invoked upon the house of affliction, the comforter's return.“ May the decaying cruise of the widow," said he,“ be renewed, and may the oil of comfort abound; and though lover and friends be put far from her, and her acquaintance into darkness, may she carry her confidence to the Rock of ages, and lean on Him, who is mighty to save.” However delicate may have been his feelings for Weston, he could not dissemble in the immediate presence of Omnipotence; he therefore prayed that he might not be of the number of those, of whom the Saviour had said, “ I pray not for them.” The elders departed with a blessing, and the family retired to rest.
The next morning, Weston was missing; the family gave the alarm to the neighbours, who immediately went in search of him. He was found perched upon the summit of a rock, that projected over the bay ; and when first discovered, it was thought that he was in company with some other person; but as none was found with him, and as none could escape unobserved, it was supposed by some that it was only a wreath of fog, which the rising sun was dispelling. There were, however, some who had never seen the fog assume so palpable a form, and who did not fail to remark, at the same time, that the rock on which he was found, had been the favourite resort of one Standish, who had been more than suspected of intercourse with the evil one, and who had ultimately precipitated himself from the summit, and been dashed to pieces upon the half sunken rocks below.
Weston returned to the house with his companions, but he returned not as at other times. The gloom of melancholy, which had marked bis features, was exchanged for the vividness of despair ; the eye, which had been bent in sorrow, in doubt, and huinility, now flashed with the intenseness of intellectual certainty; but a certainty of pain, and anguish, and remorse. His feelings, affections, and habits, seemed abstracted from the usual objects, and he no longer appeared to notice the awe, which his presence inspired among the younger part of the community; he conversed with no person, though he was frequently heard in loud and urgent conversation with himself, in which it appeared as if he replied to certain arguments of his own suggestion. There are those who could name a companion for these solitary hours, who even delight at this day, in describing certain wonderful movements of the smitten subject of my tale ; they believed to see, in his abstracted manner, a distaste for the lower acquirements, and trifling amusements and vocations of those around him, who possessed merely earthly knowledge and earthly feelings. But none, not one, even while they believed that he could control the elements, while they felt that space and time yielded to his wish—not one of them could envy him his power. The sunken eye, the sallow cheek, and the blanched locks of his once woven hair, told too plainly of the source and result of his fatal acquirement.
The rock, which I before mentioned, was his favourite retreat. Indeed, it was a place calculated to awaken feelings and desires more pure and holy, than he was supposed to possess. The capacious bay lay before him, of which the smooth expanse was as tranquil as the clear sky above, whose etherial blue was reflected from its peaceful bosom. Far to the right, were the highlands of the pine-covered “ monument-hills." Nearer, in the same direction, Plymouth beach presented its front as a defence for the landing-place of the pilgrims. At the left, but nearly in front, rose the noted height of Duxborough, whose pointed summit, was ornamented with the telegraph of Mr. Grout, the gaze and admira. tion of the surrounding inhabitants, which, perhaps, like its inventor, conveyed its information from such a distance, and in such a questionable form, that it was left to thankless and unmerited neglect.
This scene, however soothing to the mind of another, appeared to have left no effect on that of Weston, and it was supposed that he sought the spot only for solitude-or, for one other, an almost unspeakable purpose ; the curling mists of morning, as they reflected back the
rays of the rising sun, had other, and strange offices in the minds of the fearful and superstitious ; and the sounds, which were occasionally wafted from the top of this imagined sanctuary of unballowed and uncarthly revels, were thought too mingled and various for a single voice.
Weston's form gradually wasted, and he appeared daily to participate less in the feeling and sympathy of
he followed his heart-broken mother to the grave, without a single tear or groan; it was said, however, by some, that grief had long since dried up the fountain of his eyes, and that groans and sighs, were too feeble for one, who lived a life of pain, and deprivation
And, indeed, scathed as he had been by the sweeping tempest of an undefined passion, it may be supposed, that the source of all tears was as dry, as the desert when the blasting simoon has passed over it, prostrating all of animal or vegetable life, which it might contain, leaving all a scorching waste, where no herbage can obtain a root, nor a flower lift its head to bless the surrounding desolation.
After one or two days, which it was thought Weston had spent upon the rock, it was proposed by some of the sympathizing inhabitants of the place, to ascend this fearful retreat; they waited until noon for the mists to dissipate, and made the dreaded ascent; but the object of their solicitude was not there; they dragged the channel in vain for his body. A handkerchief, known to have been bis, was sometime afterwards found upon the shore, and this was the only memorial of the unfortunate Weston.
There is another who was connected with the subject of this story; the female, whom Weston was to have married, whose patient suffering asks the sympathy of every feeling heart. Let her grief, as she yet lives, be as sacred as it is unobtrusive. The comforts of religion have supported this constant mourner, in a life of celibacy, dedicated to God by the exercise of every religious duty ; though her broken spirit and bended form, show that she yet suffers from
“ One fatal remembrance, one sorrow that throws,
VII. THE AGED AFRICAN.
[Courier. Charleston.] It was in the early part of the inclement autumn of 1817, when this city was visited by a pestilence that was devastating its population, and cutting down its victims on the right and left, that an aged African was seen walking the streets barefooted. I had before observed him, in one of the temples of the Most High, and admired his becoming demeanour. His head appeared to have been bleached by at least fourscore winters, for it was ornamented with many grey hairs, that rose conspicuous above those of a darker hue, resembling the hoar frost on our moss covered trees. The wrinkles of age had furrowed his face, but its placid serenity evidenced the peace within ; and, as the reverend man of God spoke of righteousness, mercy, and judgment to come, anticipating the joys of the other world, the half closed devotional eyes of the attentive African would expand and brighten into a flame, emanating from that pure fountain of light which illumined his tranquil breast. He seemed to be a stranger and pilgrim on earth, and to be progressing towards the place of eterpal rest.
His whole appearance in the sanctuary, had prejudiced one in his favour, who determined to relieve his apparent want of shoes. What was his astonishment, when he understood he had shoes, which he did not wish to injure by wearing, but wanted to sell them for as much as would purchase a Bible! Believing that his pilgrimage would soon be over, and that he could descend to the tomb barefooted, while many of his countrymen were perishing for lack of knowledge, he was anxious to put the bible into the hands of some of them, declaring at the same time, if it should be the means of reclaiming one soul from darkness to light, it would afford him more substantial happiness than any thing this world could bestow.