Page images
PDF
EPUB

in the distribution of worldly applause : little did I heed their admonitory embassy. But the servants of God always fulfil their appointment: mercy is not to be frustrated by the blindness of ignorance, and when my averted attention refused to be attracted by the beckoning wand pointing my footsteps to a 'straight and narrow path,' the heavenly guardian caught my hand in zealous love of his commission, and withdrew me from pursuits at variance with peace in their progress, and at variance with God in their attainment.

As our vehicle ascended the highest hill between our last stage, and my destined abode; I could not help adapting its eminence to the position of my own existence. I was standing on the ascent of twenty-eight years, from whence I looked down on the road of youth, to survey its variety of objects before they were lost in the haze of distance. There were catching lights which gave animation to trivial beauties, and intervening shadows which left large masses in obscurity. Such had been the aspect of my past life: and when I looked into the valley we were about to descend, I beheld a different character of landscape. No accident of tint gave striking contrast to its sober declivity, but it wound in quiet succession of rural images, until the eye lost their identity in distance; while the horizon cast a retiring veil of grey colouring over every hedge-row, and every field. Thus, methought, shall I be conducted within some settled low content, where I may recall the visionary hopes which beamed on the morning of my journey, and prefer the sober repose which gives comfort to its close.

I had completed my sketch of such a seclusion, and peopled it with a few claimants on my heart's affections, and busied the scene with domestic industry, when the magic glass of fancy was displaced from my hand by the reality of its pencilled images : -The horses were suddenly drawn up the steps promptly let down—and I found myself ardently greeted by a dear brother; surrounded at once by all the civil bustle of hostlers, and guard; the coachman's impatience to be dismissed, the claims of my travelling associates to a polite acknowledgment, and the difficulty of being in hurry enough to disentangle my luggage from the budget of the coach. Having adjusted such contrariety of duties, the fatigues

of a long journey seemed to be discarded in the crash of the receding wheels, and I followed my brother with freshened spirits up a shady lane, at the head of which the green gate of his cottage was held open to receive us ; enclosed by the bowery shrubs of a pretty garden, and assembled on a flowery grass plot, the happy welcome was renewed, and extended to all. A brother I had but transiently seen for years, introduced me anew to his excellent Elizabeth, whom I had scarcely met in so endeared a character, and she identified me as the long talked of, long wished for aunt, to a silent observing urchin, whose likeness to

Robin Goodfellow' might gain him admittance by any of the tokens of Shakespeare to the frolic court of King Oberon.

Celerity of action is sure to accompany a pleasurable state of the spirits, and in a succession of happy hurry, I soon explored the dimensions of the house. It had little claim to the title of cottage, except that it had none to that of mansion, and in this perplexity of designation, we availed ourselves of a white rose bush, sheltering the window in unison with a flourishing myrtle, and declared that few little piles of brick and mortar had better title to a fashionable and picturesque station among its neighbour buildings.

Stepping immediately from a square entrance, I saw two opposite parlours, not very tractable in their proportions, or tasteful in their decorations; but snug and clean, no indulgence of elegance in the disposition of a few useful articles, and a shelf of books selected for the use of the understanding in priority to the imagination. The whole wore an air of plain economy, which bespoke utility and content. A confined staircase introduced me to four small bed rooms, which in spite of white-washed walls and mouse-trap dimensions, invited repose from a combination of quiet with neatness; and, on going to the window, my eye was quite satisfied with a landscape of wooded meadows and gentle slopes, which touched the circle of the horizon

Having explored our residence, and admired my own apartment, shaded without by the feathery branches of a laburnum, and within by snowy dimity drapery, we returned to the cheerful blaze of a fire, lighted to usher in the pleasures of a steaming teakettle. It was a

fine evening of later autumn, and having had the partial shining of a benign sun all day, his last tints smiled upon us like a glowing adieu : not painful, because it promised to return. The fogs of twilight creeping over the heights, we deserted the western prospect to welcome the warmth and gaiety of a social flame. These circumstances seemed met together to raise the spirit of communication, and by the time we had poured out successive libations of tea, we found that chat-inspiring beverage had aided the narration of every former meeting, while it prolonged the intimate intercourse of the present.

How complete must be the perversion of pure taşte, before we become languid to the enjoyment of hours thus separated from the annoyance of publicity! The charm of home lurks chiefly in that diffusion of the feelings which impregnates every trifling occupation and flavours every thought, whether grave or gay, with the liberty of privacy. The mind gets invigorated by such a fresh atmosphere, whereas in visits to and from the world, there is always a motive for our association which actuates the conduct, although it must be restrained from influencing the language. The

« PreviousContinue »