Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

when she became of age, might have sufLUCY AND HER LOVERS.

ficed to bring her up in the station to “WHAT is the matter, Lucy ?”. which she belonged. But for a few years

Nothing, dear aunt,” replied L'cy Mrs. Lawson had exceeded these limits Freeling, who from long habit thus ad. for the purpose of giving her increased dressed Mrs. Lawson, although they were advantages for education; and when she but distantly related. Why do you arrived at the age of seventeen had paid ask ?”

a sum of money to place her for two “I thought you had been crying,” re- years with a milliner and dressmaker. turned the other ; your eyes look very Although she was not old enough to make red."

a legal contract, it was perfectly under. “My eyes ache rather, as they often stood and relied on that this advance, so do DOW ;

that is why I have put away my judiciously made, would be refunded when work so early."

Lucy attained her majority. Alas! be. The scene I would paint was a neatly-fore that time arrived, the trustee in furnished comfortable-looking room, in whose hands her little fortune was placed one of those thousand streets of London, became a bankrupt; and that from such which, without having any pretensions to unexpected causes, that the circumstance consequence or consideration, are neverthe. of Lucy's money being engulphed in the less thought very eligible by a large class general ruin arose less from fraud than of people, either for some individual or from imprudence. But the eighty pounds general advantages. In one corner, as if debt which had been incurred was now a to be out of the way of the other occu- dreadful burden to those who had such pants of the room, sat a young man of slender means of repaying it. Nevertheabout four and twenty, working diligently less, the right-minded girl set bravely to at his ordinary employment, that of a work, determining, by the exercise of an watchmaker. Various implements and art in which she had so prudently been particles of minute mechanism, whose instructed, to make up the sum by small uses are incomprehensible to the ignorant, degrees. The widow had also put by from were before him, and the strong light of her little income, and Jasper had worked a partially-shaded lamp fell precisely on hard to help out the repayment; and his work. Jasper Lawson was not a now the struggle was nearly over, a few common character, and perhaps his em- more pounds were all they required. ployment, which, while it required pa. Lucy not unfrequently worked at home, tience and a certain degree of attention, instead of at the large establishment like women's needlework, afforded much where she was employed; for her home, opportunity for the self-instruction of as we have before hinted, was centrically thought and reflection, might have had situated, and she lost very little time in something to do in moalding his dispo: going backwards and forwards ; this had sition. He was “the only son of a widow," she done on the evening on which we to whose comfort, even in the matter-of. have introduced her. But there was fact respect of pounds, shillings, and another person in that neat and compence, he largely contributed ; his mother fortable parlour, and one who was now a having no other dependence except a frequent guest. Ralph Ashton was a small annuity, secured to her from some lawyer's clerk, and on the strength of a benefit society to which her husband had situation which he considered rather above belonged.

that of a journeyman watchmaker, he Lucy Freeling was the daughter of a thought in his own heart that he somedistant relation, and had been left an what condescended in joining their tea orphan in early childhood; but the widow and supper table three or four nights a had so tenderly fulfilled the offices of a week. Not that such a feeling was by parent that Lucy had scarcely known her any means evident from his manner; on loss. The interest of a few hundred the contrary, the most casual observer pounds, which should have been her's might have felt pretty sure that Ralph Ashton was doing his utmost to make Poor girl, she must suspect that the himself agreeable to Lucy Freeling, and choice she has made is the overthrow of to have betrayed his own self conceit, or all my hopes for my old age.” certain other attributes of his nature, “Don't blame her, mother; perhaps would have been a mistake unworthy of she does not know all this. Long ago I his cunning. He was good-looking, so should have given myself a fair chance, far as a

coarse kind of regularity of and told her that I loved her better than features, and a bright dark eye, might with a brother's love, instead of weighconstitute good looks; and he had as mat- ing words and looks, and smothering tering of superficial knowledge, and a every expression of my feelings, from the certain speciousness of manner, which were romantic notion that I would not ask her likely enough to deceive a simple-minded to love me until I was in business for inexperienced girl like Lucy. Even Jasper. myself, and could place her in the posihis superior in every way, but diffident of tion of a prosperous tradesman's wife. himself, and endowed by nature with an Idiot that I was, not to be sure that I almost womanly delicacy of sentiment should be forestalled.” and tenderness of feeling, had been caught “And now that you are so near the by the outward seeming; and, though the summit of your wishes !” apostrophised knowledge racked him to the heart's core, his mother. did not wonder that Lucy regarded him “ To my astonishment! The offer of with interest

Mondson to take me into partnership is Not so the widow. From the first a most extraordinary piece of good formoment of Ashton's acquaintance with tune." her son, he had been disliked by her ; “ He knows there are not half a dozen although when pressed hard for a reason such workmen in London, and that a for. for her antipathy, she could seldom find tune is to be made by the improvements any but the most trivial ones.

you have suggested,” replied Mrs. Law. There had been a whispered conference son with pride. between those who were all but acknow- “Well,” sighed Jasper," from whatever ledged lovers, accompanied by downcast cause it is, it comes like a mockery now. looks and a Aushed cheek on the part of I doubt if there will be any more imLacy; but Ralph Ashton had left some provements of mine. I have little heart what earlier than usual, having several for anything." letters to write for his employer before I can hardly forgive her for this, morning, and Lucy, pleading more than Jasper and so much as I have always ordinary fatigue, retired to rest, leaving said against him_» Jasper and his mother alone. He had ex- “There it is, mother," interrupted the tinguished the lamp by which he worked, young man, almost fiercely; "if she love and only the light of a single candle re- him in the manner that I love her, the mained besides that of the sinking fire, more he is blamed the more will she cling which it was too late to replenish. He to him. Why, I feel if she were plunged was leaning upon the mantel-piece, look into want and misery-her beauty gone, ing down, and apparently watching the or with evil tongues like barpies darting flickering embers ; but the expression at her, such an hour of woe would be the of his countenance was sad almost to one in which I would show my adoration solemnity.

most passionately-most madly, if you “Mother," he exclaimed, after a pause, like to call it so; she would still be her. and in a voice that trembled perceptibly, self, and it is herself that I love." “I suppose it is all settled ? The attempt Poor Mrs. Lawson was awed and pained is vain," he added, “I cannot hide my by her son's enthusiasm. Ieelings from you."

other excellent-hearted and shrewd per“I am afraid it is," replied the widow sons, she was quite incapable of following Horrowfully; "though Lucy has made no those subtle emotions, which are the most Acknowledgment to me of her affection. 'real in the world, and more than any

Like many

[ocr errors]

others influence human destinies, and yet she said, and she could but regard him as are scoffed at by a large number of a dear brother. persons as mere imagination," "ro- They were engaged, and all seemed fair mance,” “nonsense," and a long list of before them; and Ralplı even ventured etceteras !

to hint one day, from intelligence which We must take the reader a little be- he declared he had received but a few hind the curtain. Ralph Ashton was hours before, that perhaps after all Lucy quite as much in love with Lucy Freeling would have her money. He did this ad. as his nature permitted him to be ; but visedly, for he knew it was very likely his was that common passion, a purely that the news would reach her in a day selfish one.

He admired her beauty, and or two from another quarter. Sorrow would be proud of a wife thus endowed, was coming however, as it generally does, and with mental acquirements something from an unexpected source. The “aching" beyond those common to her station. But of her eyes, of which Lucy had com. his cunning brain worked upon two ulte- plained as the result of excessive applicarior objects which had nothing to do with tion to her needle, became mere distressing, these personal qualities. It so happened and on medical advice being obtained, the that a great deal of business connected mort alarming symptoms were discovered. with the affairs of the bankrupt trustee With all the horrors of threatened blindhad passed through the office in which ness before her, Lucy was confined for Ashton was employed, and he knew several weeks to a darkened room; and enough of it to form an almost positive months must elapse before there was any opinion that Lucy would ultimately re- hope that under the most favourable cir, cover her little fortune. However, he cumstances she could apply herself to her took care to keep this knowledge to him- ordinary occupation. During this time self, and wooed her apparently with the Jasper became a junior partner in the most disinterested affection, not even at establishment to which he had belonged, present hinting of the plan which in his and through his mother, his increased inown mind was well-nigh matured, that of come contributed to the comforts and establishing his wife at the west-end of medical attendance of the poor sufferer. the town as a fashionable milliner, well How could the poor destitute orphan reknowing that her taste, and skill, and tuse help from him who only asked to be superior manners would be sure to raise called “her brother po She did not reher to an eminence that must contribute fuse it, nay, she felt that she would rather greatly to his ease and comfort. In short be assisted by him than by her betrothed. he planned to himself becoming some- How strange are the intricacies of human thing like that very contemptible creature, feeling! of deathless memory, the renowned Man- During these months of suffering, the talini.

affairs of the bankrupt trustee had been A few weeks passed over, and Ralph thrown into Chancery, and there was Ashton and Lucy Freeling were engaged little hope now of a settlement of them to be married. In justice to the latter, for years. Poor Lucy! little could she have we must say that she had only very lately thought that the day would come, and suspected the deep feelings which her that soon, in which the loss of her money, life-long companion, Jasper Lawson, en months of suffering, partial blindness, and tertained for her, and the discovery made personal disfigurement, would appear to to her by his vexed and disappointed her like so many blessings in disguise” mother pained her deeply. It is true that had combined to save her from a Mrs. Lawson had sometimes binted at her gulf of misery and ruin, hopes for the future in phrases sufficiently When the cure, so far as it could be intelligible to Lucy ; but, alas! Jasper effected was complete, a white film still had concealed his affection but too well. remained to mar the beauty and obscure The time had been, she knew, that he the vision of one of those deep blue eyes, might have won her, but it was gone by, I which had seemed like the stars of light

and love to poor. Jasper Lawson. More Mother, mother, did I not tell you this over the oculists declared that the pre. when hope was dead within me?" servation of the other eye depended on Is there much wonder that Lacy's the most careful abstaining from any heart, released from the sway of a phanthing like straining the visual organs. tom love, clung now and for ever to the

Only a few days had elapsed since this Tried and the True ? fiat went forth, and but once had Ralph Ashton seen Lucy since the bandages were removed, when she received a letter THE LOVE OF NATURE. from him, dictated by that one virtue which those who possess no other are ever reality. He who labours for his daily

LIFE to a working man is a stern ready to put prominently forward-Pru. dence. It pointed out some facts which time to throw away in idle fancies. He

bread, or his weekly wages, has little she really must have known before, and among them the great change in their can. neither afford to indulge his imagifuture prospects her affliction had made. nation with the poet, nor to sigh over Hinted very intelligibly at the wisdom of purling streams and faded flowers with

the sentimentalist. He has duties that a separation, and concluded by mention. he must perform, and objects which he ing that unless she desired to see him he

must attain. should refrain from calling again, and signing himself “ever her sincere friend." recommend a working-man to foster a

But though I thus speak, yet would I Lucy Freeling was for a while stunned love of nature in his heart. As he can. by the blow; but though her young and not enjoy the full feast of rural life, let susceptible heart had been caught and led astray, it was of a nature too fine to be him improve such fragments as fall to

his share. Let him value his little garbroken by a mockery—a falsehood. “ Do not tell me not to weep,” she ex

den, his trec pots, or his tufts of house. claimed a few days afterwards as she sat green, as the case may be, turning them between Mrs. Lawson and her son, with to account, and making the most of his

botanic treasures. a hand in one of each; “I know you

Reader, with excited emotionswould comfort me as dearest mother and brother might. But do not tell me not

“ Have you not seen the clouds of morn,

On purple pinions lightly borne, to weep. It cannot be that man whom I

Uprear the canopy of day, loved ; and with these foolish tears there And o'er his chariot fluat away?" seems to pass away some dream, some

If you have not, take the first oppor. folly-better this better this—a thou- tunity of seeing the sun rise in the sand times than to have been his wife. I country, that you may bless God for your feel it so. Believe it. I do indeed.”

eyesight, and magnify his holy name. A sharp irrepressible cry escaped Jasper

" Have you not marked the evening shade Lawson, and both his mother and Lucy In all her changeful colours fade; turned towards him. One look was ex- The golden glow, the sapphire hue, changed, and throwing himself pas

The rosy red, the melting blue?" sionately beside her, he twined his arm Then try your best to get a glance at round her waist, and pressed her to his the setting sun in the country, when gaheart with an impulse that would not be thering around him his robes of purple stayed.

and gold, as a retiring monarch he with. Lucy,” he exclaimed, "there is one draws himself from the world. The sight whose heart has been filled with thoughts will be health to your affections and of you for years; to whom you are the strength to your piety. You will love same in sickness and in health; rich, or your neighbour none the worse, and your in poverty; with beauty perfect, or with Bible all the better. beauty blemished; his heart does not feel This is a much more practical subject the difference-it is yourself he loves, no than it appears to be. It is much more conjured image of a youthful fancy. I connected with a working-man's happi. ness, and the comfort and peace of those | source of blameless pleasure; but if ever around him, than he may suppose. The you should know what it is to bear the love of nature not only elevates the reproach of others, or of your own heart, intellect, but expands and purifies the the running brook, the waving tree, the affections. He whose heart responds to sigbing breeze, and the gliding clouds of the beauties of creation, as a general heaven will be more pleasant to you, than rule, is a kinder man, both at home and the dwelling-places of mankind. Your abroad, than he who has no love for sorrow will be soothed; the peaceful them.

scenery around will not wound you with The love of nature induces quiet and reproaches, but rather have a tendency to happy thoughts, which may be enjoyed tranquillize, if not to humble your heart, even in hours of labour. it is a great and to point your thoughts to Him who tranquillizer of the ruffled mind, and a

sees every tear of contrition fall; who sweet soother of an angry heart. If hears every sigh that proceeds from a you have it not, try hard to get it. sorrowful breast, and who has promised If you have it rank it among your that “a broken and a contritu heart he treasures.

will not despise.” If, reader, you are a workman, and If you have a garden dig in it; if a have a sovereign, and will lay it down on tree water it; if only a tuft of housethe table before you in a season of leisure green regard it with pleasure, forgetting to reflect upon it, you will, perhaps, find not Him who formed every tree of the that the thoughts called up in your mind, field and every herb that grows,

“ from are those of eating and drinking, of the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon, even revelry and mirth. The head of the unto the hyssop that springeth out of the queen on the one side, and the crown, wall.” Again I say to the working.man, the harp, the lions, and the laurel on the toster the love of nature in your heart, other, however well executed they may for you will and it to be an imparter of be, will hardly, unless you are a die- cheerfulness, a giver of pleasure, a prosinker, secure your attention. The sel- moter of peace, and a helper of piety. fish thought of what you shall do with the sovereign, or what you can get for it, or how you shall hoard it up, will be

REASONING POWERS IN ANIMALS.uppermost in your mind. But if, in a reflective moment, you recounts the following anecdote :—"One of

M. BAILLY, in his Lettre sur les Animaux, a green leaf, or a blooming flower, you will most likely be struck my friends, a man of great talent and vera

city, related to me the following facts, with its beauty. It will unlock in your which he himself witnessed. He had a heart some pent-up love of country very intelligent monkey, with which he

You will see, as it were, the often amused himself by giving it nuts, of green fields, and blue skies, and feel the which the animal was particularly fond; fresh breezes blowing around you. Your and once especially, when he had placed emotions will be anything but selfish. some beyond the limits of its chain, so that You will be softened, and have more love and was watching its efforts and ma

the animal could not possibly reach them, for the world, and for those dear to you, neuvres to get at them, a servant passed and you will feel more disposed to ponder by with a napkin under his arm, which the on His goodness who has studded the monkey immediately seized and employed heavens with stars, and strewn the earth to drag the nuts within his reach. His with flowers.

mode of breaking them was an additional I would neither foolishly nor fancifully proof of şagacity; for laying them on the push my remarks beyond discretion, yet ground, he split them by striking them am I truly in earnest in wishing you to the ground was wet from rain, and the

with a stone; but on one occasion, when be a lover of nature.

blows only drove the nut into a hole, it As I have elsewhere said, "a taste for took a piece of wood, on which it laid the the beauties of creation is, at all times, a nut, and then broke it.”

look on

scenes.

« AnteriorContinuar »