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A RETURN HOME.
PEACE had been proclaimed, the tocsin of war had ceased to sound over affrighted Europe, and he who had been the world's wonder and the nations' dread, was left to vent the impetuous breathings of his ambitious soul, a lonely exile on St. Helena's barren 'rock; -armies were disbanding, exiles seeking their country, soldiers their homes : and I too, after leaving many a brave comradeaye, and many a tender friend to sleep their their long, long sleep in a foreign land, returned from the scenes of contest, where lay the scarce green graves of those who had been my companions in many a hard campaign and many a well-fought field, and sought once more the quiet secluded spot that had been my home.
What happiness is it, in this world of turmoil, of coldness, selfishness, misery - to have some one spot of earth to which the heart can turn, when rejected, sickened, wounded, it longs for sympathy, tenderness, affection, and thinks of home and the love of relatives, when the mind is satiated with false enjoyments, wearied with cares, clouded with griefs ; how dear, to turn to the scenes of youthful days, of pure delights, of home-bred happiness! Yes, the ambitious youth, panting after delusive honours or fancied happiness, may long to exchange the dull routine of domestic life for more animated, and stirring scenes; but, let bis lot be high or low, be his most sanguine day-dreams verified, and he placed on a higher pinnacle of fame, than ever in fancy his youthful ambition dared to climb; or let him still toil aster the phantoms of his pursuit, that like the illusive mirage, provoke still higher the thirst they will not satisfy - still though he may eem to have lest far behind him the thoughts of such tame pleasures, such boyish times, his heart will sometimes turn back in secret, to drain from memory one drop of their sweetness; it may be, he could not now endure the things that seem so listless, so uninteresting, and he sighs not that they are passed away, but that he is changed.
Such thoughts occupied my mind, as I slowly rode along a very lonely road leading to my father's house. What a change had a little space of time produced; but lately I had been in the hurry and din of war, in a foreign land, or among subdued enemies; now in my own native country, in the full feeling of peace and security I rode on among familiar scenes; all that hurry, excitement, and continual expectation of change in which a soldier lives, when in the seat of war, had died away, and in their room had come the calm, the softening, but not uninteresting feelings that usually fill and subdue the mind of one, who, after years of absence, years spent in varied and agitating scenes, turns away from the turbulence, the confusion of the wide unsocial world to seek for the spot memory presents as the retreat of peace, of happiness and lore, the abode of all that is pure, and calın, and good, because it was the abode of his childhood and youth, before he had wandered out on this great Babel, where the ambition of one, works the wo of millions, where men strive and labour and weary themselves for very vanity ;' and then vent in the secret breathings of hearts that knɔw their own bitterness, the despondings that must be kept concealed from their fellow beings. All is vanity and vexation of spirit.'
Many thoughts, and many tender and subduing recollections, filled my mind as I approached the old glebe-house, where I had once formed one of a large and happy family:
I had left it years ago, when my cheek was unsunned, and my brow unbent; the tall, fair stripling was now become a strong-built man, the unthinking youth - but it matters not what I had been, or what I was; I was changed, and the changes I had felt in myself, I anticipated in the scenes I was revisiting. Many a change had, I knew, taken place among
those who once inhabited them, and the recollection brought with it a feeling of sadness; but impatient to meet all I could now meet at home, I spurred on my horse, that had been left to choose his own pace, and rode hastily forward, without once turning my head to right or to left as I passed, until I stopped at the well-remembered door, and springing from my saddle, flung the reins on his neck, entered the hall, and opened the parlour door — there I stopped — there was no bounding of sisters with their looks of joy to meet my embraces; no outstretched hands, and cordial greetings of affectionate brothers
at opposite sides of the fire-place, sat a little old man, with a black velvet cap covering the t'p of his head, his arms resting on the elbows of the easy chair in which he lay reclined, and his eyes fixed on the fire; and a neat looking elderly lady, in a dark grey gown, a close cap, and a pair of spectacles. I stood and looked at them till she turned round and raised her spectacles, and he rose from his seat and opened his large but much