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Title: Personal Recollections
 - Abridged, Chiefly in Parts Pertaining to Political and Other Controversies Prevalent at the Time in Great Britain
Author: Charlotte Elizabeth
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Personal Recollections
 - Abridged, Chiefly in Parts Pertaining to Political and Other Controversies Prevalent at the Time in Great Britain" ***

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PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS

BY CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH.

ABRIDGED, CHIEFLY IN PARTS PERTAINING TO POLITICAL AND OTHER
CONTROVERSIES PREVALENT AT THE TIME IN GREAT BRITAIN.



CONTENTS.


LETTER I.

CHILDHOOD.--Reasons--Design--Martyrs' prison--Palace garden--Scenery--
Music--Study--Politics--A brother--Protestantism--The Bible--Judicious
plan

LETTER II.

YOUTH.--Private journals--Romance--The drama--Poetical taste--Loss of
hearing--Books--A change--Rural life--Stays--Tight-lacing--Ruinous
custom--The country

LETTER III.

EARLY DAYS.--Idling--Convictions--Anticipating evil--Mischievous errors
--Unreal estimates--Fake views--A parting--Fraternal love

LETTER IV.

YOUTH.--A grandmother--Unfashionable taste--A bereavement--Changes--
Travels--Punctuality--Ocean scenery--False confidence--A storm--Wonders
of the deep--Recklessness--An Arab steed--A fragment--Escapes--
Housewifery--Nova Scotia--Indians--Cosmopolitanism--Home

LETTER V.

IRELAND.--Oxford--Irishmen--The journey--The arrival--An escape--Dublin
--St. John's eve--The dance--Paganism--Trials--Levying distress--
Convictions--Terrors--Awakened conscience--God's teaching--Joy and peace

LETTER VI.

RELIGIOUS PROGRESS.--The church--Socinianism--Temptation--Metaphysics--
Athanasian creed--An epoch--My first tract--A new friend--"Hail Mary"--
Christian communion

LETTER VII.

KILKENNY.--A new residence--Another snare--Compromise--An apostate--"End
of controversy"--The snare broken--Another attack--An argument--
Discussion--The result

LETTER VIII.

The dumb boy.--A pupil--Jack's commencement--Inquiry--A dilemma--Dawning
light--Seasonings--A sunbeam--A soul born--A protester--Idolatry--
Faithfulness--Summons--Superstition--National character--Confession--
Infernal machinery

LETTER IX.

England.--The dumb boy--Jack's adventure--Departure from Ireland--Hannah
More--A carnal politician--Treachery--Afflictions--Jack's progress--
Prayer--Mercies--A soldier--A home--False judgment--Tranquillity

LETTER X.

Sandhurst.--A proposal--A snare--An incident--Papal fulmination--Jack's
petition--Happy caution--Perseverance--Zeal--Testimonies--A contrast

LETTER XI.

Separation.--Prejudices--Home--Forebodings--Danger--Trying scenes--
Queries--Awful contrast--Cadets--Retrospections--A visitation--Sympathy
--True feeling

LETTER XII.

Employment.--Sabbath meetings--Boys--An event--Forgiveness--Prejudices--
The Irish language--St. Giles's--A project--The Irish church

LETTER XIII.

A sunset.--A termination--A sunset--Resignation--The red hand--Joy and
peace--True wisdom--Sympathy--Earnestness--A dying protest--Sleeping in
Jesus

LETTER XIV.

A removal.--An appeal--Irish schools--Literary labors--Antinomianism--
Conclusion

SUBSEQUENT LIFE AND DEATH OF THE AUTHOR



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS



LETTER I.

CHILDHOOD.


I have given my best consideration to the arguments by which you support
the demand for a few notices of events connected with my personal
recollections of the past. That which has chiefly influenced me is the
consideration, urged on what I know to be just and reasonable grounds,
that when it has pleased God to bring any one before the public in the
capacity of an author, that person becomes in some sense public
property; having abandoned the privacy from which no one ought to be
forced, but which any body may relinquish; and courted the observation
of the world at large. Such individuals are talked of during life, and
after death become the subject, I may say the prey, of that spirit which
reigned in Athens of old, and from which no child of Adam is wholly
free--the desire to hear and to tell some new thing. No sooner has the
person withdrawn from this mortal stage, than the pen of biography is
prepared to record, and a host of curious expectants are marshalled to
receive, some fragments at least of private history. I wish I could
dissent from your remark, that even godliness itself is too often sought
to be made a gain of in such cases. Writers who are themselves wholly
unenlightened by spiritual knowledge, and uninfluenced by spiritual
feeling, will take up as a good speculation what must to them be a
mystery, and wrong the subject of their memorial while they injure the
cause in which he labored. Even among those of better understanding in
the ways of truth, we do not often meet sound judgment, calm discretion,
and refined delicacy, combined with affection for the departed and zeal
for the gospel. Private journals are sought out, confidential letters
raked together, and a most unseemly exposure made alike of the dead and
the living.

This I have always seen and lamented; and being aware that my turn would
probably come to be thus exhibited, I have abstained from preserving
even the slightest memoranda of events, thoughts, or feelings, that
could be laid hold on as a private journal: and I have most distinctly
intimated to all those friends who possess any letters of mine, that I
shall regard it as a gross breach of confidence, a dishonorable, base,
and mercenary proceeding on their part, if ever they permit a sentence
addressed by me to them to pass into other hands. Indeed, to such an
extent have I felt this, that for many years past I have kept some
friends under a solemn pledge, that immediately after my death, they
will proclaim my having so guarded my correspondence, in order, if
possible, to shame the individuals from a course with regard to me which
I have never been inveigled into with regard to others. Looking on
epistolary communications as a trust not to be betrayed, I have
invariably refused to deliver to the biographers of my departed friends
any letters of theirs that I might possess: the first application for
them has always been the signal for committing the whole budget to the
flames.

This you know; and you say that the very precautions I have used will
leave my memory more completely at the mercy of ill-judging or ill-
informed survivors, who, in the absence of more authentic information,
may draw on their own invention, and do me injustice. This is the plea
that has prevailed with me now: the uncertainty of mortal life, with the
apprehension that if suddenly removed I shall become the heroine of some
strange romance, founded probably on the facts of a life by no means
deficient in remarkable incidents, but mixed up with a great deal of
fiction; and the consciousness that others may be thereby wounded, whom
I would not wish to wound--have decided me to act upon your suggestion,
and to draw out a little sketch of such matters as can alone concern the
public in any way. Into private domestic History no person possessed of
a particle of delicacy can wish to intrude. It is melancholy to witness
the prying spirit that some are but too ready to cater to, for filthy
lucre's sake: and grievous to reflect that the boasted immunity which
makes the cottage of the English peasant, no less than the palace of the
English noble, a castle--which so fences his domestic hearth that no man
may set foot within his door without his consent, or proclaim an untruth
concerning him without being legally compelled to render compensation,
should be withdrawn from his grave. I cannot tell you how I have blushed
for the living, and kindled with resentment on behalf of the dead, when
contemplating the merciless desecration of what may truly be called the
sacredness of home, in some biographical notices.

You may therefore expect to find in these sheets a record of that mental
and spiritual discipline by which it has pleased the Lord to prepare me
for the very humble, yet not very narrow, sphere of literary usefulness
in which it was his good purpose to bid me move; with whatever of
outward things, passing events, and individual personal adventure, as it
is called, may be needful to illustrate the progress. Of living
contemporaries I shall of course not speak: of the dead no further than
as I would myself be spoken of by them, had I gone first. Public events
I shall freely discuss, and hold back nothing that bears on spiritual
subjects. Nobody shall ever need to be at the trouble of posthumously
searching out and proclaiming my opinions on any topic whatever, apart
from personalities. I will not withhold, nor disguise, nor soften them
down; and if the charge of egotism be brought, let the accusers lay
their hands upon their hearts, and declare that they would not have
sanctioned another in performing for me, as a defunct writer, the office
which nobody can fulfil half so well, because nobody can do it half so
correctly, as myself.

To commence the task, in which I earnestly implore the Father of all
mercies and Teacher of all truth to guide me, to guard me from
misstatement, to preserve me from self-seeking, and to overrule it to
the glory of his great name, I must remind you that my birthplace was
Norwich; a fine old town, distinguished for its many antiquities, the
beauty of its situation on a rising ground, interspersed with a
profusion of rich gardens, and studded with churches to the number of
thirty-five, including a majestic cathedral. Many years have elapsed
since I last beheld it, and perhaps the march of modern improvement has
so changed its features, that were I now to dwell upon my recollections
of that cherished home, they would not be recognized. But I cannot
forget the early impressions produced on my mind by the peculiarities of
the place; nor must they be omitted here. The sphere in which it is my
dearest privilege to labor, is the cause of Protestantism; and sometimes
when God has blessed my poor efforts to the deliverance of some captive
out of the chains of Popish delusion, I have recalled the fact of being
born just opposite the dark old gateway of that strong building where
the noble martyrs of Mary's day were imprisoned. I have recollected that
the house wherein I drew my first breath was visible through the grated
window of their prison, and a conspicuous object when its gates unfolded
to deliver them to unjust judgment and a cruel death. Are any of the
prayers of those glorified saints fulfilled in the poor child who was
brought into the world on that particular spot, though at the distance
of some ages? The query could not be answered, but the thought has
frequently cheered me on. The stern-looking gateway opening on St.
Martin's plain, was probably one of the very first objects traced on the
retina of my infant eye, when it ranged beyond the inner walls of the
nursery; and often, with tottering step, I passed beneath that arch into
the splendid garden of our noble episcopal palace; and certainly, if my
Protestantism may not be traced to that locality, my taste may; for from
all the elaborate display of modern architecture, all the profuse
luxuriance and endless variety of modern horticulture, I now turn away,
to feast in thought on the recollection of that venerable scene. The
palace itself is a fine specimen of the chaste old English style; but
the most conspicuous, the most unfading feature, was the cathedral
itself, which formed the boundary of one-half of the garden; a mass of
sober magnificence, rising in calm repose against the sky, which, to my
awe-struck gaze and childish imagination, seemed to rest upon its
exquisitely formed spire. Seated on the grass, busying my fingers with
the daisies that were permitted to spring around, I have been lost in
such imaginings as I suppose not many little children indulge in, while
permitting my eyes to rove over the seemingly interminable mass of old
grey stone, and then to fall upon the pleasant flowers around me. I
loved silence, for nothing that fell on the ear seemed in accordance
with what so charmed the eye; and thus a positive evil found entrance in
the midst of much enjoyment. I acquired that habit of dreamy
excursiveness into imaginary scenes, and among unreal personages, which
is alike inimical to rational pursuits and opposed to spiritual-
mindedness. To a period so early as the middle of my fourth year I can
revert with the most perfect, most vivid recollection of my habitual
thoughts and feelings; and at that age, I can unhesitatingly declare, my
mind was deeply tinctured with a romance not derived from books, nor
from conversation, but arising, as I verily believe, out of the singular
adaptation to each other of my natural taste and the scenery amidst
which it began to develop itself. Our abode was changed to another part
of the city before this period arrived; but the bishop's garden was
still our haunt, and my supreme delight.

An immense orchard, shrubbery, and flower-garden were attached to my
father's new residence, to which he had removed on account of its
proximity to the church of which he was rector. This, too, was an old-
fashioned house, mantled with a vine, and straggling out, in irregular
buildings, along the slope of the garden. The centre of an immense
grass-plot, studded with apple, pear, and plum trees, was occupied by
the most gigantic mulberry I ever beheld, the thick trunk of which
resembled that of a knotted oak, while in its forest of dark branches
nestled a number of owls and hats. Oh, how I loved to lurk beneath its
shadow on a summer evening, and await the twilight gloom, that the large
owl might come forth and wheel around the tree, and call out his
companions with a melancholy hoot; while the smaller bat, dipping lower
in his flight, brushed by me, accustomed to my presence. I had entered
betimes upon the pernicious study of nursery tales, as they then were,
and without having the smallest actual belief in the existence of
fairies, goblins, or any such things, I took unutterable delight in
surrounding myself with hosts of them, decked out in colors of my own
supplying, gorgeous or terrible beyond the conception of my classic
authorities. The faculty of realizing whatever I pictured to myself was
astonishingly great; and you must admit that the localities in which I
was placed were but too favorable to the formation of a character which
I have no doubt the enemy was secretly constructing within me, to
mislead, by wild, unholy fiction, such as should come within the range
of its, influence. To God be all the glory that I am not now pandering
with this pen to the most grovelling or the most impious of man's
perverted feelings.

But above all other tastes, all other cravings, one passion reigned
supreme, and that acme of enjoyment to me was music. This also was met
by indulgence as unlimited as its cravings; for not only did my father
possess one of the finest voices in the world, and the very highest
degree of scientific knowledge, taste, and skill in the management of
it, but our house was seldom without an inmate in the person of his most
intimate friend and brother clergyman, a son of the celebrated composer
Mr. Linley, who was as highly gifted in instrumental as my father was in
vocal music. The rich tones of his old harpsichord seem at this moment
to fill my ear and swell my heart; while my father's deep, clear, mellow
voice breaks in, with some noble recitative or elaborate air of Handel,
Haydn, and the rest of a school that may be superseded, but never, never
can be equalled by modern composers. Or the harpsichord was
relinquished to another hand, and the breath of our friend came forth
through the reed of his hautboy in strains of such overpowering melody,
that I have hid my face on my mother's lap to weep the feelings that
absolutely wrung my little heart with excess of enjoyment. This was not
a snare; or, if it might have been made one, the Lord broke it in time,
by taking away my hearing. I would not that it had been otherwise, for
while a vain imagination was fostered by the habit I have before
adverted to, this taste for music and its high gratification most
certainly elevated the mind. I do firmly believe that it is a gift from
God to man, to be prized, cherished, cultivated. I believe that the man
whose bosom yields no response to the concord of sweet sounds, falls
short of the standard to which man should aspire as an intellectual
being; and though Satan does fearfully pervert this solace of the mind
to most vile purposes, still I heartily agree with Martin Luther, that,
in the abstract, "the devil hates music."

Before I had completed my sixth year, I came under the rod of discipline
which was to fall so long and so perseveringly upon me ere I should
"hear the rod and who had appointed it." Enthusiastic in every thing,
and already passionately fond of reading, I had eagerly accepted the
offer of a dear uncle, a young physician, to teach me French. I loved
him, for he was gentle and kind, and very fond of me; and it was a great
happiness to trip through the long winding street that separated us, to
turn down by the old Bridewell, so celebrated as an architectural
curiosity, being built of dark flint stones, exquisitely chiselled into
the form of bricks, and which even then I could greatly admire, and to
take my seat on my young uncle's knee, in the large hall of his house,
where stood a very large and deep-toned organ, some sublime strain from
which was to reward my diligence, if I repeated accurately the lesson he
had appointed. Thus between love for my uncle, delight in his organ, and
a natural inclination to acquire learning, I was stimulated to
extraordinary efforts, and met the demand on my energies in a very
unsafe way. I placed my French book under my pillow every night, and
starting from repose at the earliest break of dawn, strained my sleepy
eyes over the page, until, very suddenly, I became totally blind.

This was a grievous blow to my tender parents: the eclipse was so
complete that I could not tell whether it was midnight or midnoon, so
far as perception of light was concerned, and the case seemed hopeless.
It was, however, among the "all things" that God causes to work together
for good, while Satan eagerly seeks to use them for evil. It checked my
inordinate desire for mere acquirements, which I believe to be a bad
tendency, particularly in a female, while it threw me more upon my own
resources, such as they were, and gave me a keen relish for the highly
intellectual conversation that always prevailed in our home. My father
delighted in the society of literary men; and he was himself of a turn
so argumentative, so overflowing with rich conversation, so decided in
his political views, so alive to passing events, so devotedly and so
proudly the Englishman, that with such associates as he gathered about
him at his own fireside, I don't see how the little blind girl, whose
face was ever turned up towards the unseen speaker, and whose mind
opened to every passing remark, could avoid becoming a thinker, a
reasoner, a tory, and a patriot. Sometimes a tough disputant crossed our
threshold; one of these was Dr. Parr, and brilliant were the flashes
resulting from such occasional collision with antagonists of that
calibre. I am often charged with the offence of being too political in
my writings: the fact is, I write as I think and feel; and what else can
you expect from a child reared in such a nursery?

But another consequence of this temporary visitation was an increased
passion for music. The severe remedies used for my blindness frequently
laid me on the sofa for days together, and then my fond father would
bring home with him, after the afternoon service of the cathedral, of
which he was also a canon, a party of the young choristers. My godfather
would seat himself at the harpsichord; the boys, led by my father,
performed the vocal parts; and such feasts of sacred music were served
up to me, that I have breathed to my brother in an ecstatic whisper the
confession, "I don't want to see; I like music better than seeing."

That brother I have not before named; but that only brother was a second
self. Not that he resembled me in any respect, for he was beautiful to a
prodigy, and I an ordinary child; he was wholly free from any
predilection for learning, being mirthful and volatile in the highest
degree; and though he listened when I read to him the mysterious marvels
of my favorite nursery books, I doubt whether he ever bestowed an after-
thought on any thing therein contained. The brightest, the sweetest, the
most sparkling creature that ever lived, he was all joy, all love. I do
not remember to have seen him for one moment out of temper or out of
spirits for the first sixteen years of his life; and he was to me what
the natural sun is to the system. We were never separated; our studies,
our plays, our walks, our plans, our hearts were always one. That holy
band which the Lord has woven, that inestimable blessing of fraternal
love and confidence, was never broken, never loosened between us, from
the cradle to his grave; and God forbid that I should say or think that
the grave has broken it. If I have not from the outset included that
precious brother in my sketch, it was because I should almost as soon
have deemed it necessary to include by name my own head or my own heart.
He too was musical, and sang sweetly, and I cannot look back on my
childhood without confessing that its cup ran over with the profusion of
delights that my God poured into it.

About this time, when my sight, after a few months' privation, was fully
restored, I first imbibed the strength of Protestantism as deeply as it
can be imbibed apart from spiritual understanding, Norwich was
infamously conspicuous in persecuting unto death the saints of the Most
High, under the sanguinary despotism of popish Mary; and the spot where
they suffered, called the Lollard's pit, lies just outside the town,
over Bishop's bridge, having a circular excavation against the side of
Moushold-hill. This, at least to within a year or two ago, was kept
distinct, an opening by the road-side. My father often took us to walk
in that direction, and pointed out the pit, and told us that there Mary
burnt good people alive for refusing to worship wooden images. I was
horror-stricken, and asked many questions, to which he did not always
reply so fully as I wished; and one day, having to go out while I was
inquiring, he said, "I don't think you can read a word of this book, but
you may look at the pictures: it is all about the martyrs." So saying,
he placed on a chair the old folio of Foxe's Acts and Monuments, in
venerable black-letter, and left me to examine it.

Hours passed and still found me bending over, or rather leaning against
that magic book. I could not, it is true, decipher the black-letter, but
I found some explanations in Roman type, and devoured them; while every
wood-cut was examined with aching eyes and a palpitating heart.
Assuredly I took in more of the spirit of John Foxe, even by that
imperfect mode of acquaintance, than many do by reading his book
through; and when my father next found me at what became my darling
study, I looked up at him with burning cheeks and asked, "Papa, may I be
a martyr?"

"What do you mean, child?"

"I mean, papa, may I be burned to death for my religion, as these were?
I want to be a martyr."

He smiled, and made me this answer, which I have never forgotten: "Why,
Charlotte, if the government ever gives power to the Papists again, as
they talk of doing, you may probably live to be a martyr."

I remember the stern pleasure that this reply afforded me; of spiritual
knowledge not the least glimmer had ever reached me in any form, yet I
knew the Bible most intimately, and loved it with all my heart as the
most sacred, the most beautiful of earthly things. Already had its
sublimity caught my adoration; and when listening to the lofty language
of Isaiah, as read from his stall in the cathedral by my father in
Advent, and the early Sundays of the year, while his magnificent voice
sent the prophetic denunciations pealing through those vaulted aisles, I
had received into my mind, and I think into my heart, that scorn of
idolatry which breathes so thrillingly in his inspired page. This I
know, that at six years old the foundation of a truly scriptural protest
was laid in my character; and to this hour it is my prayer that whenever
the Lord calls me hence, he may find his servant not only watching but
working against the diabolical iniquity that filled the Lollard's pit
with the ashes of his saints.

And now upon that all-important topic the Bible I would remark, that
among the most invaluable blessings of my life I remember the judicious
conduct of my parents in regard to it. We generally find that precious
volume made a book of tasks; sometimes even a book of penalties: the
consequence of so doing cannot but be evil. With us it was emphatically
a reward book. That identical book is now before me, in its rich red
cover, elegantly emblazoned with the royal arms; for it is the very
Bible that was placed before queen Charlotte at her coronation in 1761;
and which, becoming the perquisite of a prebendary of Westminster, was
by his wife presented to my mother, to whom she stood sponser. This
royal Bible was highly prized; and it was with special favor that it was
opened for us when we had been good, and were deemed worthy of some mark
of approval. My father, then, whose voice made music of every thing,
would read to us the history of Abel, of Noah, of Moses, of Gideon, or
some other of the exquisite narratives of the Old Testament. I do not
say that they were made the medium of conveying spiritual instruction;
they were unaccompanied by note or comment, written or oral, and merely
read as histories, the fact being carefully impressed on our minds that
God was the author, and that it would be highly criminal to doubt the
truth of any word in that book. * * * The consequences of this early
instruction, imparted as an indulgence, I have reason daily to rejoice
in: it led me to search for myself the inspired pages; it taught me to
expect beauties, and excellences, and high intellectual gratification
where God has indeed caused them to abound. As in the natural world we
find the nutritious fruit not lying like pebbles on the ground, but hung
on graceful trees and shrubs, heralded by fair and fragrant blossoms,
embowered in verdant foliage, and itself beautifully shaped and tinted;
so has the Lord arranged that the garden where grows the fruit of the
tree of life, should abound in all that is most lovely to man's natural
perception; and do we not slight this bounteous care for our mind's
enjoyment while he makes provision for our soul's sustenance, when we
neglect to point these things out to the notice of our children? The
word was my delight many a year before it became my counsellor; and when
at last the veil was withdrawn from my heart, and Jesus stood revealed
as the Alpha and Omega of that blessed book, it was not like gradually
furnishing a vacant place with valuable goods, but like letting a flood
of day into one already most-richly stored with all that was precious;
though, for lack of light whereby to discern their real nature, the gems
had been regarded but as common things. My memory was plentifully stored
with what it had been, my free choice to study; and when in the progress
of this little narrative you learn how mercifully I have been preserved
from doctrinal error in its various forms, through that full
acquaintance with God's word, you will trace his marvellous workings in
thus furnishing my mind, as it were, with an armory of ready weapons,
and will be ready to echo with increased earnestness that emphatic
declaration, "The Bible, the Bible alone, is the religion of
Protestants;" and not only to echo, but also to act upon it.

Religion, however, did at this early period of my life become a very
important concern in my eyes; our mother had taken infinite pains to
assure us of one great truth--the omniscience of an omnipresent God--and
this I never could for a moment shake off. It influenced us both in a
powerful manner, so that if either committed a fault, we never rested
until, through mutual exhortation on the ground that God certainly knew
it, and would be angry if we added deceit to another error, we had
encouraged each other to confession. We then went, hand in hand, to our
mother, and the one who stood clear of the offence acknowledged it in
the name of the transgressor, while both asked pardon. Never did
children more abhor a lie: we spurned its meanness, while trembling at
its guilt; and nothing bound us more closely and exclusively together
than, the discoveries we were always making of a laxity among other
children in this respect. On such occasions we would shrink into a
corner by ourselves and whisper, "Do they think God does not hear that?"
Self-righteousness, no doubt, existed in a high degree; we were baby
Pharisees, rejoicing in the external cleanliness of cup and platter; but
I look back with great thankfulness on the mercy that so far restrained
us: an habitual regard to truth has carried me safely through many a
trial, and, as a means, guarded me from many a snare. It cannot be too
early or too strongly inculcated; nor should any effort be considered
too great, any difficulty too discouraging, any reprobation too strong,
or, I will add, any punishment too severe, when the object in view is to
overcome this infamous vice in a child. Once I remember having been led
into a lie at the instigation, and through the contrivance of a servant-
girl, for whose benefit it was told. Suspicion instantly arose, from my
dreadful embarrassment of manner; a strict investigation commenced; the
girl told me to face it out, for that nobody else knew of it, and she
would not flinch. But my terrors of conscience were insupportable; I
could ill bear my father's steady eye fixed on mine, still less the
anxious, wondering, incredulous expression of my brother's innocent
face, who could not for a moment fancy me guilty. I confessed at once;
and with a heavy sigh my father sent to borrow from a neighbor an
instrument of chastisement never before needed in his own house. He took
me to another room, and said, "Child, it will pain me more to punish you
thus, than any blows I can inflict will pain you; but I must do it; you
have told a lie--a dreadful sin, and a base, mean, cowardly action. If I
let you grow up a liar, you will reproach me for it one day; if I now
spared the rod, I should hate the child." I took the punishment in a
most extraordinary spirit: I wished every stroke had been a stab; I wept
because the pain was not great enough; and I loved my father at that
moment better than even I, who almost idolized him, had ever loved him
before. I thanked him, and I thank him still; for I never transgressed
in that way again. The servant was called, received her wages and a most
awful lecture, and was discharged the same hour. Yet, of all these
things what sunk deepest into my very soul were the sobs and cries of my
fond little brother, and the lamentable tones of his soft voice,
pleading through the closed door, "O, papa, don't whip Charlotte. O
forgive poor Charlotte."

It is sweet to know we have a Brother indeed who always pleads, and
never pleads in vain for the offending child; a Father whose
chastisements are not withheld, but administered in tender love;
judgment being his strange work, and mercy that wherein he delights, and
the peaceable fruits of righteousness the end of his corrections. The
event to which I have referred may appear too trivial a thing to record;
but it is by neglecting trivial things that we ruin ourselves and our
children. The usual mode of training these immortal beings, the plan of
leaving them to servants and to themselves, the blind indulgence that
passes by, with a slight reprimand only, a wilful offence, and the
mischievous misapplication of doctrine that induces some to let nature
do her worst, because nothing but grace can effectually suppress her
evil workings; all these are faulty in the extreme, and no less
presumptuous than foolish: this has produced that "spirit of the age"
which, operating in a "pressure from without," is daily forcing us
further from the good old paths in which we ought to walk, and in which
our forefathers did walk, when they gave better heed than we do to the
inspired word, which tells us, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of
a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."

Affectionately yours,

C. E.



LETTER II.

YOUTH.


I have long been persuaded that there is no such thing as an honest
private journal, even where the entries are punctually made under
present impressions. There is so much of positive, active evil always at
work in the mind, that to give a fair transcript of idle unprofitable
thoughts and corrupt imaginings, is out of the question: evil is dealt
with in generals, good in particulars, and the balance cannot be fairly
struck. Those confessions of indwelling sin that remorse will wring from
us, and which perhaps are penned at the moment in perfect sincerity,
being unaccompanied with, the specifications that would invest them in
their naturally hideous colors, beneath the searching light of God's
holy and spiritual law, wear the lovely garb of unfeigned humility. The
reader, coming to such self-condemnatory clauses, is struck with
admiration at the saintly writer's marvellous self-abasement, only
lamenting that he should, in the excess of his lowly-mindedness, have
written such, bitter things against himself, at a time when he was
grieving, resisting, almost quenching the Holy Spirit within by
obstinate transgression.

And if the present, how much more is the past liable to be glossed over?
To be faithful here is next to impossible, for Satan helps us to deceive
ourselves and instructs us to carry out the deception to others. This
consideration might well cause the pen of autobiography to drop from a
Christian's hand, did not an earnest desire to glorify God in his
merciful dealings, together with the consciousness that to no other
could the task he safely delegated, act as a counterpoise to the
discouragement. I do desire to magnify the exceeding riches of God's
grace to me, if I may do so without increasing the charge of arrogant
assumption. I know that among the diversity of gifts which he bestows on
his creatures, he granted me a portion of mental energy, a quickness of
perception, a liveliness of imagination, an aptitude for expressing the
thoughts that were perpetually revolving in my mind, such as to fit me
for literary occupation. I know that Satan, to whom such instruments are
exceedingly valuable, marked me as one who would, if properly trained to
it, do his work effectually within his own sphere; and I am not more
sure of my present existence than I am of the fact that he strove to
secure me for that purpose, from the first expanding of those faculties
which evidently lie exposed to his observation and open to his attacks,
as far as God permits him to work. Can I feel all this, and not bless
the Lord, who so far baffled these designs, and deigned to appoint my
field of labor within the sacred confines of his own vineyard?

The visitation of which I have spoken had a powerful influence on my
after-life; it rendered the preservation of my newly-restored sight an
object of paramount importance, to which the regular routine of
education must needs be sacrificed. A boarding-school had never been
thought of for me. My parents loved their children too well to meditate
their expulsion from the paternal roof; and the children so well loved
their parents and each other that such a separation would have been
insupportable to them. Masters we had in the necessary branches of
education, and we studied together so far as I was permitted to study;
but before it was deemed safe to exercise my eyes with writing
apparatus, I had stealthily possessed myself of a patent copy-book, by
means of which, tracing the characters as they shone through the paper,
I was able to write with tolerable freedom before any one knew that I
could join two letters; and I well remember my father's surprise, not
unmixed with annoyance, when he accidentally took up a letter which I
had been writing to a distant relation, giving a circumstantial account
of some domestic calamity which had no existence but in my brain;
related with so much pathos too, that my tears had fallen over the slate
whereon this my first literary attempt was very neatly traced. He could
not forbear laughing; but ended with a grave shake of the head, and a
remark to the effect that I was making more haste than good speed.

At this time, seven years of age, I became entangled in a net of
dangerous fascination. One evening my brother was taken to the theatre,
while I, on account of a cold, had to stay at home. To compensate for
this, I was permitted to read the play to him; and that play was, "The
Merchant of Venice." I will not dwell upon the effect. I had already
become fond of such theatrical spectacles as were considered suitable
for children--pantomime and broad farce--and like a child I gazed upon the
glitter, and enjoyed the bustle; but now, seated in a corner, all quiet
about me, and nothing to interfere with the mental world, I drank a cup
of intoxication under which my brain reeled for many a year. The
character of Shylock burst upon me, even as Shakspeare had conceived it.
I revelled in the terrible excitement that it gave rise to; page after
page was stereotyped upon a most retentive memory without an effort, and
during a sleepless night I feasted on the pernicious sweets thus hoarded
in my brain.

Pernicious indeed they were; for from that hour my diligence in study,
my docility of conduct, every thing that is usually regarded as
praiseworthy in a child, sprung from a new motive. I wanted to earn a
reward, and that was no longer a sweet story from the Bible, but
permission to carry into my retreat a volume of Shakspeare. A taste so
unusual at my age was hailed with applause; visitors questioned me on
the different plays, to ascertain my intimate acquaintance with the
characters; but no one, not even my father, could persuade me to recite
a line, or to listen when another attempted it, or to witness the
representation of any play of Shakspeare. This I mention to prove what a
powerful hold the enemy of all godliness must have expected to take on a
spirit so attuned to romance. Reality became insipid, almost hateful to
me; conversation, except that of the literary men to whom I have
alluded, a burden. I imbibed a thorough contempt for women, children,
and household affairs, intrenching myself behind invisible barriers that
few, very few, could pass. Oh how many wasted hours, how much of
unprofitable labor, what wrong to my fellow-creatures, what robbery of
God, must I refer to this ensnaring book. My mind became unnerved, my
judgment perverted, my estimate of people and things wholly falsified,
and my soul wrapped in the vain solace of unsubstantial enjoyments
during years of after sorrow, when but for this I might have early
sought the consolations of the gospel. Parents know not what they do,
when from vanity, thoughtlessness, or overindulgence, they foster in a
young girl what is called a poetical taste. Those things highly esteemed
among men are held in abomination with God; they thrust him from his
creatures' thoughts, and enshrine a host of polluting idols in his
place.

My father, I am sure, wished to check the evil which, as a sensible man,
he could not but foresee; my state of health, however, won a larger
portion of indulgence than was good for me. The doctors into whose hands
I had fallen, were of the school now happily very much exploded: they
had one panacea for almost every ill, and that was the perilous drug
mercury. With it, they rather fed than physicked me; and its deleterious
effects on the nervous system were doubly injurious to me, as increasing
tenfold the excitability that required every curb. Among all the marvels
of my life, the greatest is that of my having grown up to be one of the
healthiest of human beings, and with an inexhaustible flow of even
mirthful spirits; for certainly I was long kept hovering on the verge of
the grave by the barbarous excess to which medical experiments were
carried; and I never entertained a doubt that the total loss of my
hearing before I was ten years old, was owing to a paralysis induced by
such severe treatment. God, however, had his own purposes to work out,
which neither Satan nor man could hinder. He overruled all for the
furtherance of his own gracious designs.

Shut out by this last dispensation from my two delightful resources,
music and conversation, I took refuge in books with tenfold avidity. By
this time I had added the British poets generally to my original stock,
together with such reading as is usually prescribed for young ladies;
and I underwent the infliction of reading aloud to my mother the seven
mortal volumes of Sir Charles Grandison. It was in the fulfilment of
this awful task that I acquired a habit particularly mischievous and
ensnaring--that of reading mechanically, with a total abstraction of
mind from what I was about. This became the easier to me from the
absence of all external sound; and its consequences are exceedingly
distressing to this day, as experienced in a long-indulged, and
afterwards most bitterly lamented wandering of the mind in prayer and in
reading the Scriptures. In fact, through the prevalence of this habit,
my devotions, always very punctually performed, became such an utter
lip-service, as frequently to startle and terrify my conscience, when I
found myself saying prayers and thinking idle songs or scraps of plays;
but I regarded such transient pangs of remorse as a satisfaction for the
sin, and never dreamed of resisting the general habit.

Thus far I had led a town life, residing in the heart of a populous
city, enjoying indeed that noble garden, but daily more and more
absorbed in books of fancy. Happily, my health became so affected that a
removal into the country was judged necessary, and I forgave the doctors
all their past persecution of me, in consideration of their parting
injunctions, which were, that I was to have unbounded liberty; to live
entirely in the open air, save when the weather forbade; to be amused
with all rural occupations; and especially to frequent farm-yards, for
the purpose of inhaling the breath of cows. My father exchanged
parochial duty with a friend, taking his village congregation, and
engaging a house very near the church.

That tall white house, what a place it holds in my fond recollection. It
was perfectly an old parsonage, and behind it lay a garden larger than
our city orchard, sloping gently down, with a profusion of fruit and
flowers, bounded by high walls, and the central walk terminating in a
door, beyond which lay the scene of our greatest enjoyment. A narrow
slip of grass, fringed with osiers and alders and willows, alone
separated the wall from a very clear, lovely stream, which winding half
round an extensive common, turned a mill. This small river abounded with
fish, and we soon became expert anglers; besides which, on creeping to
some distance by a path of our own discovery, we could cross the stream
on a movable plank, and take a wide range through, the country. This
removal was a double resource: it invigorated my bodily frame, until I
outgrew and out-bloomed every girl of my age in the neighborhood, while
really laying a foundation for many years of uninterrupted health, and a
constitution to defy the change of climate for which I was destined;
while it won me from the sickening, enervating habit of sedentary
enjoyment over the pages of a book, which, added to the necessary
studies and occupations, was relaxing alike the tone of the bodily and
mental frame. From the polluted works of man, I was drawn to the
glorious works of God; and never did bird of the air or beast of the
field more luxuriate in the pure bright elements of nature than I did.
All the poetical visions of liberty that had floated in my brain seemed
now realized; all pastoral descriptions faded before the actual
enjoyment of rural life. Sometimes wreathing garlands of, wild flowers,
reclined on a sunny bank, while a flock of sheep strolled around, and
the bold little lambs came to peep in our faces, and then gallop away in
pretended alarm; sometimes tearing our clothes to tatters in an ardent
hunt for the sweet filberts that hung high above our heads, on trees
well fortified behind breastworks of bramble and thorn; sometimes
cultivating the friendship while we quaffed the milk of the good-natured
cows under the dairymaid's operation: all was freedom, mirth, and peace.
Often would my father take his noble pointers preparatory to the
shooting season, at once to try their powers and to ascertain what
promise of future sport the fields presented. These were destructive
expeditions in one sense. I remember the following dialogue, repeated to
me by my brother, when we made our appearance at home after a day's
demolition of wearing apparel.

"Mr. B. this will never do; that girl cannot wear a frock twice without
soiling it; nor keep it whole for a week: the expense will ruin us."

"Well, my dear, if I am to be ruined by expense, let it come in the
shape of the washerwoman's and linen-draper's bills, not in those of the
apothecary and undertaker."

My dear father was right; and it would be a happy thing for girls in
general, if somewhat of appearance, and of acquirement too, was
sacrificed to what God has so liberally provided, and to the enjoyment
of which a blessing is undoubtedly annexed. Where, among females, do we
find the stamina of constitution and the elasticity of spirit which
exist in those of our rural population who follow outdoor employment? It
positively pains me to see a party of girls, a bonneted and tippeted
double-file of humanity,

    "That like a wounded snake drags its slow length along,"

under the keen surveillance of a governess, whose nerves would never be
able to endure the shock of seeing them bound over a stream and scramble
through a fence, or even toss their heads and throw out their limbs as
all young animals, except that oppressed class called young ladies, are
privileged to do. Having ventured, in a fit of my country daring, to
break the ice of this very rigid and frigid subject, I will recount
another instance of the paternal good sense to which I owe, under God,
the physical powers without which my little talent might have been laid
by in a napkin all my days.

One morning, when his daughter was about eight years old, my father came
in, and found sundry preparations going on, the chief materials for
which were buckram, whalebone, and other stiff articles, while the young
lady was under measurement by the hands of a female friend.

"Pray, what are you going to do to the child?"

"Going to fit her with a pair of stays."

"For what purpose?"

"To improve her figure; no young lady can grow up properly without
them."

"I beg your pardon; young gentlemen grow up very well without them, and
so may young ladies."

"O, you are mistaken. See what a stoop she has already; depend on it
this girl will be both a dwarf and a cripple if we don't put her into
stays."

"My child may be a cripple, ma'am, if such is God's will; but she shall
be one of his making, not ours."

All remonstrance was vain; stays and every species of tight dress were
strictly prohibited by the authority of one whose will was, as every
man's ought to be, absolute in his own household. He also carefully
watched against any evasion of the rule: a ribbon drawn tightly round my
waist would have been cut without hesitation by his determined hand;
while the little girl of the anxious friend whose operations he had
interrupted, enjoyed all the advantages of that system from which I was
preserved. She grew up a wandlike figure, graceful and interesting, and
died of decline at nineteen; while I, though not able to compare shapes
with a wasp or an hour-glass, yet passed muster very fairly among mere
human forms of God's moulding; and I have enjoyed to this hour a rare
exemption from headaches, and other ladylike maladies, that appear the
almost exclusive privilege of women in the higher classes.

This is no trivial matter, believe me; it has frequently been the
subject of conversation with professional men of high attainment, and I
never met with one among them who did not, on hearing that I never but
once, and then only for a few hours, submitted to the restraint of these
unnatural machines, refer to that exemption, as a means, the free
respiration, circulation, and powers both of exertion and endurance with
which the Lord has most mercifully gifted me. There can be no doubt that
the hand which first encloses the waist of a girl in these cruel
contrivances, supplying her with a fictitious support, where the hand of
God has placed bones and muscles that ought to be brought into vigorous
action, that hand lays the foundation of bitter sufferings; at the price
of which, and probably of a premature death, the advantage must be
purchased of rendering her figure as unlike as possible to all the
models of female beauty, universally admitted to be such, because they
are chiselled after nature itself. I have seen pictures, and I have read
harrowing descriptions, of the murderous consequences of thus flying in
the face of the Creator's skill, and presuming to mend, to improve, his
perfect work; but my own experience is worth a thousand treatises and
ten thousand illustrations, in bringing conviction to my mind. Once,
when introduced, as it is called, to the public, through the medium of a
ballroom, I did join in persuading my father to allow of a fashionable
lacing-up, though by no means a tight one. I felt much as, I suppose, a
frolicksome young colt feels when first subjected to the goading
apparatus that fetters his wild freedom. I danced, but it was with a
heavy heart and laboring breath; I talked, under the influence of a
stupefying headache, and on my return home flew to my apartment and cut
the goodly fabric in pieces; nor was I ever afterwards tempted so to
tempt my all-wise Maker by saying to the frame that he had fashioned and
supplied with means of healthful growth, "Hitherto shalt thou go and no
further."

Compressure of the feet was with equal strictness forbidden by my
judicious father. This vain custom is perhaps not so fatal as the other,
but it produces many evils. Coldness of the extremities may certainly
exist where nothing of the kind has been practised; but while rejoicing
that I, experimentally, know nothing of it, I cannot help recollecting
that the bounding pulse which plays so joyously through my veins was
never impeded in any part; and feeling this, I would no more expose a
girl to one infliction than I would to the other. Do Christian mothers
take a sufficiently serious and prayerful view of this subject, as
regards their children? Do they weigh, in a balance of God's providing,
this necessary provision of clothing, to separate not only what is
unseemly for the woman professing godly simplicity, but what is
enervating to those physical powers which she is bound to devote to the
Lord, and the weakening of which is actual robbery of him? I fear we
females are more ready to ask counsel one of another in this matter than
of the Lord; or even of our husbands, who, in nine cases out of ten, no
doubt would decide against the foolish and pernicious custom. At least,
in all my arguments with my own sex, I have found the men invariably
siding with me upon this topic.

You will be tired of these digressions, my dear friend, but I set out by
forewarning you that my opinions would be freely stated; and while
touching on a period of mortal life, where the body no less than the
mind usually takes its direction for the rest of our pilgrimage, I
cannot pass by any thing that appears to me of real importance to
either. We will now return to what poets have sung and citizens sighed
for, time out of mind--the delights of rural life.

All cramping is decidedly bad: wholesome restraints there are, which
parents are bound to lay upon their children, and the latter to submit
to; and among other things, I am sure a defined method and regular
habits in education, work, and play, together, with a most strict
attention to scrupulous punctuality, are not only valuable but
indispensable to a right government of the mind and conduct in after-
life. I have daily cause to lament the unavoidable neglect of such a
system in my own case, during three important years; but unavoidable it
was, unless my life had been sacrificed to the maintenance of such
order. Accordingly, mine was the life of a butterfly; and whatever of
the busy bee has since appeared in my proceedings must be ascribed to
divine grace alone. I often recall those days of summer sunshine to
which I have alluded; and the scarcely less joyous winter season, when,
ploughing the light snow, we raced with our inseparable companion, the
favorite pointer, or built up a brittle giant for the glory of
demolishing him with balls of his own substance, or directed the soft
missiles against each other. Accompanied by our father, but never alone,
we made excursions upon our frozen stream; and very sweet it was to the
fond hearts of my tender parents to watch the mantling glow of health,
the elastic vigor of increasing stature, and the unbounded play of most
exuberant spirits, in the poor child whom they had expected to enclose
in an early grave. How often, seated on the low wide brick-work corner
of the immense fireplace in a neighboring farm-house, have I been smoked
among hams and tongues, while watching the progress of baking a homely
cake upon those glowing wood-embers, or keeping guard over a treasury of
apples, nuts, and elderberry wine, all streaming together in the
lusciousness of a promised feast? Patriotism is with me no inert
principle; it verily lives and acts and pervades my whole spirit; and I
believe its energetic character, except as God deigns to work by his
especial influence, is traceable to that early acquaintance with what is
most purely English among us--the homes and the habits of our own bold
yeomanry.

Cities may resemble one another, and the aping propensities of their
inhabitants produce among them a rapid approximation of appearance and
manners; but where shall we look for the counterpart of a rural English
HOME? The thing is as untransferable as the word is untranslatable. The
antique village church, with its broad square tower or low spire, its
stone porch and oak seats, its narrow casements and the many vestiges of
those abominations which the besom of the blessed Reformation swept from
our services, though it could not, without demolishing the building,
efface their relics from its walls; the churchyard surrounding its base,
with undulating hillocks of mortality clad in long, rich grass, where
lie, half hidden, the old grey monumental stones that can no longer tell
the tale of bygone generations; the more modern sculpture, and the
homely grave-rail standing sentry over the last resting-place of the
poor, while some venerable tree overshadows the ground, where it has
probably stood since the first stone of that modest temple was laid by
our forefathers--all these are so endearingly English. The broad, rich
fields, the hedgerow boundaries and stately lines of vigorous trees
guarding their native soil; and above all, the manly bearing of a bold,
an independent, and a peaceful peasantry, the humblest of whom knows
that his cottage is a chartered sanctuary, protected alike from the
aggressions of civil and of ecclesiastical tyranny--these, too, are
English, sacredly English; and they leave upon the heart that has once
expanded among them, an impress never to be effaced. Among national
reformers, what a noble position would he occupy who should prevail upon
our monied countrymen to exchange their habits of periodical vagrancy
into popish lands, for a sojourn in the moral districts of their own
Protestant England, in the confidence that the climate which agreed with
their fathers from generation to generation--as the dates and ages
decipherable on our monuments will testify--would not annihilate them;
and that the sphere in which God had seen good to place them was that
wherein he purposed them to move, to exert their influence, and to
occupy for his glory, with the talents committed to their charge.

I have told you how books of imagination had supplanted the Bible in my
esteem; those books now, in a measure, yielded to the irresistible
attraction of outdoor amusement; but my mind was so abundantly stored
with the glittering tinsel of unsanctified genius, as it shone forth in
the pages of my beloved poets, that no room was left for a craving after
better studies. Yet the turn of my mind was devotional in the extreme;
so much so, that had the Lord permitted me at that time to come in
contact with the wily fascinations of popery, I am sure I should have
fallen, for a season at least, into the snare. God was really in all my
thoughts; not as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ--not as a
being of purer eyes than to behold iniquity--not as He whom I was
required to glorify in my body and in my spirit, being bought with a
price, to be no longer my own but his; no, my religion was a very
attractive sort of Deism, which recognized the Creator of all those
things wherein I delighted, and thought to render him great honor by
such recognition. Thomson's "Hymn on the Seasons" was my body of
divinity; and Pope's atrocious "Universal Prayer" would have become my
manual of devotion, had not my father denounced it as a most blasphemous
outrage upon revelation, and charged me never to repeat what he deeply
regretted that I had committed to memory. I hated profanity, and would
not have omitted the private repetition of a form of prayer, morning or
evening, on any account, nor absented myself from public worship. A
slighting expression applied to the Bible would kindle me into glowing
resentment, expressed with no less sincerity than earnestness, and as a
matter of duty I devoted some time every Sabbath-day to the perusal of
God's word, with which I had become more extensively acquainted by
reading it during sermon-time at church. I well know that even then, and
at a much earlier period too, conviction of my own sinfulness was
working very deeply, though not permanently, in my mind: it was not an
abiding impression, but a thing of fits and starts, overwhelming me
while it lasted, but soon shaken off by diverting my thoughts to
something else. These convictions were unquestionably the result of my
occasional readings in God's book: they always occurred during or
immediately after such perusal, or when some passage was suddenly
brought to my recollection.



LETTER III.

EARLY DAYS.


I grew up a healthy, active, light-hearted girl, wholly devoted to
reading and to rural occupations. The latter, particularly gardening,
served as a counterpoise to the sedentary temptation that would have
proved physically injurious; but laying in, as I daily did, a plentiful
store of romantic adventure or fascinating poetry for rumination when
abroad, my mind was unprofitably occupied at all times, to the exclusion
of better things. On Sundays, indeed, I made it a point of conscience to
abstain from light reading; and, as far as I could, to banish from my
thoughts the week's acquisition of folly. I went to church, and read the
Bible at home with a sermon of Blair's, or some similar writer wholly
destitute of gospel light; and I generally had a short fit of
compunction, on that day, for having been so wholly absorbed in worldly
things during the preceding six; for even then God was striving with me
to bring me unto himself, and many a strong conviction did I forcibly
stifle. The warmth of my natural feelings, the ardor with which I
entered into every thing that interested them, and a sort of energy that
always longed to be doing where any cause that I considered good was to
be promoted--all these would have rendered me a working character, had I
obeyed the gracious call to go into the Lord's vineyard. I say a call,
because though as yet I know nothing whatever of the gospel, I could not
overlook or misunderstand the reiterated injunctions of Scripture to
seek spiritual wisdom, to ask for guidance, and to occupy with the
talent committed to my charge. I knew the promise, "They that seek me
early shall find me," and more than once I trembled under such
scriptures as the latter part of Proverbs 1; but my Sunday resolutions
vanished before the Monday's dawning light, and I rushed again with a
redoubled zest into the seductive regions of my imaginary world. Oh, how
greatly do they err who think that such studies may be safely engaged in
by the young and excitable mind. Some indeed there are so phlegmatic as
to be proof against all the charms of poesy, insensible to the highest
illusions of romance; but their number is small, and the individuals
hard to identify, because a very cold exterior is often like the snow-
capped heights of Etna, overspreading a hoard of volcanic elements of
which the burst and blaze will some day be terrific. Such seem imbued
with the spirit of indifference, because they are abstracted and silent
when the laugh and merry jest go round among their companions; whereas
this abstraction, from outward things results not from deadness of
feeling, but from the intensity with which the mind is brooding over
some phantom known only to itself. Nor do this class of dreamers always
appear devoted to Books: a little reading goes far with them; and the
quality rather than the quantity of their selections is to be looked to.

I have known many parents and teachers argue that it is better to bring
the young acquainted with our standard poets and prose authors of a
worldly cast, while they are yet under careful superintendence, so as to
neutralize what may be unprofitable by judicious remark, and to avert
the dangers attendant on such fascinating introductions at a riper age,
when the restraints of authority are removed. Against this, two reasons
have prevailed with me to exclude from my book-shelves all the furniture
of a worldly library, and to watch against its introduction from other
quarters. One is; the consideration that we are not authorized to
calculate on the continuance of any creature's mortal existence; nor can
we ever know that the being whom we are training for eternity will not
be called into it before such period of life as is here anticipated. In
such a case, how sad to feel that we have needlessly forestalled an evil
day, and even momentarily diverted the young spirit from a sacred path.
The other consideration is this: that as the flesh and the devil will
assuredly do their parts without help from me, and the children of this
world, who are wiser in their generation than the children of light,
will certainly do the same; I may take a lesson of policy from them,
using my best endeavors to preoccupy the field with what is decidedly
good, and humbly hoping that the seed so sown may, through the operation
of the Holy Spirit, take root before the tares are introduced, leaving
little room for them to grow.

Of all the errors into which the world has fallen, none is more fatally
mischievous than the habit of overlooking the personality, the energy,
the power, the watchfulness, the deep cunning of the devil. By a
conventional system, no doubt of his own suggesting, he is never to be
named but in the act of worshipping God, or that of spiritual
instruction. Any other robber and murderer, who was known to be on the
watch to attack our houses, would be the subject of free discourse: his
habits, his haunts, his usual plans, his successful and his baffled
assaults in former cases, would be talked over, and thus a salutary fear
would be kept alive, influencing us to bolt and bar, and watch and ward
with unfailing vigilance, to avert a surprise. But Satan seems to be a
privileged person: we learn, in the nursery, to fancy him a hideous
caricature of human nature, with horns, hoof, and a tail, inspiring
disgust, and a childish fear that wears off as we advance into youth,
leaving an impression rather ludicrous than alarming of the ugly phantom
that, nevertheless, continues identified with him of whom we read in the
Bible. We then perhaps take up Milton, engrafting his poetical
conception upon the original nursery stock, and make a devil half
monster, half archangel, invested with the ugliness of the first and the
sublimity of the second, but still far removed from the scripture
character of that roaring lion who "goeth about seeking whom he may
devour." We do not realize his existence, his presence, his devices;
and so we often do his work from sheer ignorance or inexcusable
thoughtlessness about it.

With me, as I have told you, the Bible did its work and conscience did
hers; but a passion for the unreal proved too strong for both.
Undoubtedly God could have wrought, as afterwards he did, to the casting
down of imaginations and every thing that exalteth itself against
Christ. But how many years of sorrow might have been averted, or how
greatly at least might those sorrows have been mitigated, had not the
inveteracy of a long-cherished disease required such sharp discipline to
bring it under. Pride was the master-sin of my corrupt nature, a pride
that every child of Adam inherits, but which peculiarly beset me. It was
not what usually goes by that name: no one ever accused me of an
approach to haughtiness, neither was I boastful or forward, as far as I
know; but I delighted to model my own character according to the
standard set forth in my foolish books, and by the contemplation of them
I hoped to succeed. I loved to mark in others a mean, ungenerous,
selfish, or malicious trait, and to contrast with it my own high-flown
notions of the opposite qualities. My memory was well stored with fine
sentiments concerning human dignity, honor, virtue, and so forth; and
while secretly applying them--for I was not inclined to make ill-natured
remarks--in contrast to the failings of those around me, I naturally
learned to identify myself with the aforesaid sentiments, and to take it
for granted it was I who shone so brightly at other people's expense.
This is the inevitable consequence of measuring ourselves by ourselves,
as all will do who are not led betimes to the standard appointed of God.

And now, the chambers of imagery being well furnished, I became in
thought the heroine of all the foolish, improbable adventures I met
with. Shakspeare and others having furnished me with dresses and
decorations, every day of my life had its drama. Adventures the most
improbable, situations the most trying, and conversation the most
nonsensical among a visionary acquaintance of my own creating, became
the constant amusement of my mind; or if I took a fancy to any new
companion, that individual was metamorphosed into something equally
unreal, and was soon looked upon in the light, not of sober reality, but
of fanciful extravagance. Of course my estimate alike of persons and of
things was egregiously false; and with a fair portion of common-sense
naturally belonging to me, I became most emphatically a fool. Even when
employed at the pencil, which I dearly loved, I could not trace a figure
on the paper or a landscape on the canvas, that did not presently become
the subject of a separate romance; and it never occurred to me that
there was danger, much less sin, in this. I loved dancing to excess, and
took much delight in all that was brilliant and beautiful; but upon the
whole I preferred the uninterrupted course of my own vain thoughts, and
then admired myself for being of a less dissipated turn than my young
friends. Of course, I am now speaking of the time when, according to the
world's usage, and rather earlier than usual, that is to say, at
sixteen, I was introduced into society, by making my appearance at a
grand election ball; and moreover, publicly receiving the compliments of
the most polished and distinguished of our successful candidates, for
sundry political squibs, said to be full of drollery and point, which
had been traced home to me. Alas for the girl who makes such a debut! We
were now again resident in the town, or rather within the precincts, as
they are called, surrounding that venerable cathedral which had been the
object of my babyish contemplations, and which is endeared to me beyond
any other spot in my native place.

My beloved companion, my brother, had always manifested the most decided
predilection for a military life. Often had he, in earliest childhood,
toddled away from the gate after the fife and drum of a recruiting
party; and often did he march and countermarch me, till I could not
stand for fatigue, with a grenadier's cap, alias a muff, on my head, and
my father's large cane shouldered by way of a firelock. The menaced
invasion had added fuel to his martial fire, and when any other line of
life was pointed out to him, his high spirits would droop, and the
desire of his heart show itself with increasing decision. Our parents
were very anxious to settle him at home for my sake, who seemed unable
to live without him; and I am sure that my influence would have
prevailed even over his long-cherished inclination, so dearly did he
love me, but here the effect of that pernicious reading showed itself
and forged the first link in a long chain of sorrows. I viewed the
matter through the lying medium of romance: glory, fame, a conqueror's
wreath or a hero's grave, with all the vain merit of such a sacrifice as
I must myself make in sending him to the field--these wrought on me to
stifle in my aching bosom the cry of natural affection, and I encouraged
the boy in his choice, and helped him to urge on our parents this
offering up of their only son, the darling of all our hearts, to the
Moloch of war.

Finding that he could not be dissuaded, my father gave a reluctant
consent; and let me here record an instance of generous kindness on the
part of the bishop. He went to London, and by dint of personal,
persevering importunity, obtained in a few days a commission in the
army, at a time when seven hundred applicants, many of them backed by
strong interest, were waiting for the same boon. The suddenness of the
thing was quite stunning; we calculated on a delay of this sore trial;
but it was done, and he was ordered to repair immediately, not to the
dépôt, but to his regiment, then hotly engaged in the Peninsula. The
bishop's kindness did not end here; he carried his generosity further in
other ways, and likewise gave him introductions of great value. I love
to record it of one whose public conduct as a Protestant prelate I am
compelled to lament, but whose private character was most lovely.

Upheld by the intoxicating power of senseless romance, not by confidence
in God, nor even by the reality of the patriotism that I persuaded
myself was at the root of it all, I bore to see that beloved companion
of my life depart for the scene of most bloody conflict. He was not
nearly full grown; a blooming beautiful boy, reared, and up to that time
tenderly guarded under the parental roof, in almost exclusive
companionship with me. There was indeed but one heart between us, and
neither could fancy what it would be to rejoice or to suffer alone. Of
this I had given a proof in the preceding year. He took the measles and
was exceedingly ill, and great precautions were used to preserve me from
the infection; but, unable to brook a separation from him, I baffled
their vigilance, burst into his apartment, and laying my cheek to his,
resisted for a while all efforts to remove me. To my infinite delight I
sickened immediately, and considered it an ample compensation for all
attendant suffering, that I was allowed to sit constantly in the same
room with him.

How strong, how sweet, how sacred is the tie that binds an only sister
to an only brother, when they have been permitted to grow up together
untrammelled by the heartless forms of fashion; unrivalled by alien
claimants in their confiding affection; undivided in study, in sport,
and in interest. Some object, that such union renders the boy too
effeminate and the girl too masculine. In our case it did neither. He
was the manliest, the hardiest, most decided, most intrepid character
imaginable; but in manners sweet, gentle, and courteous, as they will be
who are accustomed to look with protecting tenderness on an associate
weaker than themselves. And as for me, though I must plead guilty to the
charge of being more healthy, more active, and perhaps more energetic,
than young ladies are usually expected to be, still I never was
considered unfeminine; and the only peculiarity resulting from this
constant companionship with one of the superior sex, was to give me a
high sense of that superiority, with a habit of deference to man's
judgment and submission to man's authority, which I am quite sure God
intended the woman to yield. Every way has this fraternal tie been a
rich blessing to me. The love that grew with us from our cradles never
knew diminution from time or distance. Other ties were formed, but they
did not supersede or weaken this. Death tore away all that was mortal
and perishable, but this tie he could not sunder. As I loved him while
he was on earth, so do I love him now that he is in heaven; and while I
cherish in his sons the living likeness of what he was, my heart
evermore yearns towards him where he is.

Parents are wrong to check as they do the outgoings of fraternal
affection, by separating those whom God has especially joined as the
offspring of one father and one mother. God has beautifully mingled
them, by sending now a babe of one sex, now of the other, and suiting,
as any careful observer may discern, their various characters to form a
domestic whole. The parents interpose, packing off the boys to some
school where no softer influence exists to round off, as it were, the
rugged points of the masculine disposition, and where they soon lose all
the delicacy of feeling peculiar to a brother's regard, and learn to
look on the female character in a light wholly subversive of the
frankness, the purity, the generous care for which earth can yield no
substitute, and the loss of which only transforms him who ought to be
the tender preserver of woman into her heartless destroyer. The girls
are either grouped at home, with the blessed privilege of a father's eye
still upon them, or sent away in a different direction from their
brothers, exposed through unnatural and unpalatable restraints, to evils
not perhaps so great, but every whit as wantonly incurred as the others.
The shyness, miscalled retiring modesty, with which one young lady
shrinks from the notice of a gentleman as though there were danger in
his approach, and the conscious coquettish air, miscalled ease, with
which another invites his notice, are alike removed from the reality of
either modesty or ease. Both result from a fictitious mode of education
--both are the consequences of nipping in the bud those sisterly feelings
that lay a fair foundation for the right use of those privileges to
which she looks forward as a member of society; and if the subject be
viewed through the clear medium of Christian principle, its lights will
become more brilliant, its shadows more dark, the longer and the closer
we contemplate it.



LETTER IV.

YOUTH.


Hitherto you have not heard of any spiritually minded person connected
with my early life; yet there was one, I feel sure, though my
recollections are confused and imperfect on that point; and one to whose
prayers, if not to her teaching, I surely owe something.

My father's mother was a fine, sprightly, robust old lady, rather small
in stature, and already bending a little under the burden of years at
the time when I first recollect her as mingling in the visions of my
childhood, though I know that even from infancy I was the delight of her
warm honest heart. She was simplicity itself in manners, her blunt
speeches sometimes clashing a little with her son's notions of polish
and refinement, as also did her inveterate antipathy to the reigning
fashion, whatever that might be. I remember her reading me a lecture
upon something novel in the cut of a sleeve, ending by this remark: "I
never wore a gown but of one shape; and because I don't follow the
fashion, the fashion is forced to come to me sometimes by way of a
change. I can't help that, you know, my dear; but I never was
fashionable on purpose." She added some pious remarks on vanity and
folly, which I soon forgot; but the other dwelt on my mind because it
chimed in with my own love of independence--a prominent characteristic
with me; too often carried to the excess of self-willed obstinacy.
However, I dearly loved and exceedingly respected my grand mother, and
used in my heart to glory in her smooth clean locks, half brown, half
grey, combed down from under a snowy cap of homely make, when she had
successfully resisted alike the entreaties and examples of contemporary
dames, who submitted their heads to the curling-irons and powder-puff of
a _frizeur_, preparatory to an evening party. I used to stand
proudly at her knee, admiring the high color of her cheek, and uncommon
brilliancy of her fine dark hazle eye, while her voice, remarkably rich
and clear, involuntarily swelled the chorus parts of our magnificent
music.

She was a Percy, not by name, for that had been lost in the female line
some generations before, but the pedigree in my possession shows how
just was her vaunt in that respect. For vaunt it she did, to us at
least, often bringing it forward to check any tendency to behavior
unbefitting those who claimed descent from

    "The stout earl of Northumberland,"

with whom I ought to be well acquainted, for the singing of Chevy Chace
in proper time and tune with her, was the only secular accomplishment in
which my dear grandmother personally labored to perfect me, except
knitting and curious old-fashioned needlework. The pride of ancestry
took strong hold of my mind, and such an ancestry accorded but too well
with my romance, innate and acquired. It stood me, many a time, in the
stead of better things, when nerving myself to endure affliction and
wrong; and therefore I notice it, to warn you against exposing your own
children to the same snare.

Next to the fashion, if not in an equal or superior degree, I think my
grandmother most abhorred the French. Indeed her strongest denunciations
against the reigning modes were usually clinched with the triumphant
assertion that they were "French fashions." No marvel if her spirit was
stirred within her by the horrors of revolutionary France, and her
Protestantism strengthened by the butcheries of "Ninety-eight." I knew
that she was a protester and a tory of no common stamp; and I knew that
she brought her Bible forward in support of every opinion that she
uttered. Rarely did I visit her without finding her buried in the study
of that blessed book; and I know that she strove to teach me much of its
meaning; but our change of residence proved a great bar to personal
intercourse, and she never wrote letters. I sometimes trace impressions
on my mind, made in early life, which I am sure must have been through
her means, and though the good seed died on the ground, while the weeds
took root and flourished, still, here and there a grain might sink below
the surface, to spring up after many days.

And now I must record my first sorrow, although I cannot dwell upon it
as on some other things. My brother had been nearly two years absent, on
service in the Peninsula, when an apoplectic attack arrested my lather
in the midst of life and health and vigor, and every promise of
lengthened years. The premonitory visitations of repeated strokes were
disregarded, for we could not, would not, realize the approach of such
an event, and persisted in believing them nervous; but just when all
cause for alarm seemed at an end, and I was rejoicing in the assurance
of its being so, I was called from my pillow at midnight to see that
tender and beloved parent die. The bereavement was terrible to me: I had
always been his principal companion, because no one else in the family
had a taste for those things in which he delighted--literature and
politics especially--and since my brother's departure, instead of
seeking to replace him by friends of my own age, I had turned wholly to
my father, never desiring to pass an hour out of his society, and
striving to be to him both daughter and son. My mother was a perfect
devotee to household affairs, every thought occupied in seeking to
promote the domestic comforts of her family; while I, indulging a
natural antipathy to all that did not engage the intellectual powers,
gave her no help there, I was truly cumbering the ground, seeking only
my own gratification, and dignifying my selfishness with many fine
names, only because it was best indulged in my own dear home. From the
period of my loss of hearing, music had been wholly banished; my father
seemed to lose all relish for what could no longer minister enjoyment to
me, and deeply I felt the force of that affection which could so
instantly and wholly overcome the ruling passion of his mind,
accompanied as it was with such exquisite skill in that delightful
science as rendered him the admiration of all who came within its
influence. It redoubled my devotion to him, and most bitter was the
anguish of my heart when I beheld him taken away at a stroke.

Was this affliction sanctified to me? Not in the least. I found a luxury
in grieving alone, brooding on the past, and painting the probable
future in any colors but those of reality. My father had enjoyed two
livings with a minor canonry in the cathedral, but the emolument was
very small, and his income had not allowed him, as yet, to make any
provision for us. A small annuity was all that my mother could depend
on, and I resolved to become a novel-writer, for which I was just
qualified, both by nature and habits of thinking, and in which I should
probably have succeeded very well, but it pleased God to save me from
this snare. My brother's unexpected return on leave, with our subsequent
changes of abode, paying visits among friends, and keeping my thoughts
constantly unsettled, hindered the execution of the project; and when my
brother returned to Portugal, we repaired to London, to make a long stay
with some near relations. It was there that I met with the gentleman, an
officer on leave of absence, whose wife, at the end of six months, I
became.

I am longing to arrive at that period when the light of the glorious
gospel of Christ first shone upon me through the darkness of many trying
dispensations; therefore I pass by much that intervened, including my
dear brother's marriage, who returned again to London with his bride and
his mother, to resume his staff situation there; and shall only take you
with me across the Atlantic, for a few Nova Scotian reminiscences,
before proceeding to the scene of my most precious recollections, dear
Ireland. My husband had joined his regiment in Halifax, and sent me a
summons to follow him out without delay; in order to which I was obliged
to embark in a large vessel taken up partially by government for the
conveyance of troops, but in which there was a select party, occupying
the state cabin, and making their own terms with the captain for the
best possible accommodation and provision on the passage. Of this number
was I; and certainly a more select, polished and agreeable party of
highly bred gentlemen could not have been found. I went under the kind
care of one of these, with his wife, who had invited me to travel with
them.

Have you ever been at sea? It is a question the answer to which will
throw very little light on the matter, unless you also state how it
agreed with you: no two races on the earth can be more distinct than
those two are upon the water--the people who are sea-sick and the people
who are not. It was my happy privilege to belong to the latter class; I
never for a moment experienced even an unpleasant sensation from any
marine cause, but on the contrary enjoyed exemption from all physical
annoyances during a five weeks' voyage, excepting that of hunger. An
abundant supply of every thing that was nourishing, in the most
palatable form, left no excuse for remaining hungry; nevertheless the
demand was incessantly kept up; and I appeal to all who have been
similarly affected, whether the munching of hard sea-bread from morning
to night under the pressure of a real sea appetite, is not a greater
luxury than the choicest viands on shore. To me it certainly was; and
surely I had reason to be deeply thankful to the Lord, who, by means of
that delicious voyage, and its bracing exhilarating effects, prepared me
for a trying winter in the singular climate for which I was bound.

Every day, and all day long, be the weather what it might, I was
stationed on deck, generally seated on the highest point of the ship's
stern, directly over the rudder, to enjoy a full view of that most
graceful and exquisite spectacle, a large vessel's course through the
mighty deep. Ours was a splendid one, a West Indiaman, almost rivalling
the sea-palaces of the East India Company, and manned in the first
style. The troops on board, under the command of a field officer,
greatly added to the effect and comfort of the thing, for nothing is so
conducive to the latter as military discipline, well and mildly
maintained. Although our party was perfectly distinct from those who
went out entirely at the charge of government, consisting of several
officers and their wives, yet we too were nearly all military, including
the commandant, and were strictly amenable to martial law. Of course
that soul of domestic and social comfort, punctuality, reigned
paramount; every meal was regulated by beat of drum, subordination
carefully preserved, and decorum, to the most minute particular,
insisted on. No dishabille could appear, in the cabin or on deck; no
litter, not an article of luggage visible. All the sick people, all the
cross people, and all the whimsical people were stowed away in their
respective berths, and such drawing-room elegance, combined with the
utmost freedom of good-humor and the unrestrained frankness that results
from a consciousness of proper restraint, pervaded our little select
coterie, amounting to seventeen gentlemen and two ladies, that it did
not need the miserable contrast which I afterwards experienced on the
homeward passage, to assure me we were among the most favored of ocean
travellers.

How very much do they err who consider the absence of order and method
as supplying greater liberty or removing a sense of restraint. Such
freedom is galling to me; and in my eyes, the want of punctuality is a
want of honest principle; for however people may think themselves
authorized to rob God and themselves of their own time, they can plead
no right to lay a violent hand on the time and duties of their neighbor.
I say it deliberately, that I have been defrauded of hundreds of pounds,
and cruelly deprived of my necessary refreshment in exercise, in sleep,
and even in seasonable food, through this disgraceful want of
punctuality in others, more than through any cause whatsoever besides.
It is also very irritating; for a person who would cheerfully bestow a
piece of gold, does not like to be swindled out of a piece of copper;
and of many an hour have I been ungenerously wronged, to the excitement
of feelings in themselves far from right, when I would gladly have so
arranged my work as to bestow upon the robbers thrice the time they made
me wantonly sacrifice. To say, "I will come to you on such a day,"
leaving the person to expect you early, and then, after wasting her day
in that uncomfortable, unsettled state of looking out for a guest, which
precludes all application to present duties, to come late in the
evening--or to accept an invitation to dinner, and either break the
engagement or throw the household into confusion by making it wait--to
appoint a meeting, and fail of keeping your time--all these, and many
other effects of this vile habit are exceedingly disgraceful, and wholly
opposed to the scriptural rules laid down for the governance of our
conduct one to another. I say nothing of the insult put upon the Most
High, the daring presumption of breaking in upon the devotions of his
worshippers, and involving them in the sin of abstractedness from the
solemn work before them, by entering late into the house of prayer. Such
persons may one day find they have a more serious account to render on
the score of their contempt of punctuality, than they seem willing to
believe.

But I have run away from my ship--yet not so; for as every thing shines
out most by contrast, it was natural to think on the ugly reverse when
recalling the beautiful harmony and order of our regulations on board.
We were favored with most delightful weather, fresh and dry and warm;
with only one day's hard rain, during which the sea "ran mountains," as
the sailors said. I was conducted on deck, "just for one minute, that
you may be able to say you have seen such a sea," remarked the gentleman
who put a military cloak over me, and led me up the stairs. But who
could be satisfied with a momentary sight of any thing so stupendously
grand? I resisted all efforts to persuade me into retreating again, and
it ended in my being lashed to the mizenmast by my friendly conductor,
who declared that his head, the best landsman's head on board, would not
stand the giddy scene; in short, that he should be obliged to report
himself sick, and exchange our agreeable society below for the solitude
of his berth. Of course I dismissed him, and was left among the
mountains, alone, save when a sailor passed me on his duties among the
rigging, and gave me a smile of approval, while the man at the wheel
seemed to regard me as being under his especial patronage. The tars love
one who does not flinch from their own element.

Truly, I saw that day the works of the Lord and his wonders in the great
deep. Imagine yourself in a ship, large among vessels, but a mere cork
upon the waters of that mighty main. On every side, turn where you
would, a huge mountain of irregular form was rising-dark, smooth, of
unbroken surface, but seeming about to burst from over-extension. How
did you come into that strange valley? how should you get out of it? how
avoid the rush of that giant billow that even now overhangs your bark?
These questions would inevitably rush through the mind; but in a second
of time the huge body beside you sunk, you were on its summit, and
another came rolling on. Meanwhile the ship would reel, with a slow
slanting movement that gradually lowered the tall masts till the yards
almost dipped in the brine, and you were either laid back on the frame-
work behind you, or well-nigh suspended, looking down upon the water
over the ship's bulwarks. I soon discovered why my companion had so
carefully buckled the leather strap that held me to the mast; certainly
I cannot recall the scene with such steadiness of nerve as I beheld it
with. Every now and then a small billow would burst upon the vessel's
side, sending its liquid treasure across the deck, and more than one
ablution of the kind was added to the fresh-water drenching bestowed by
the clouds. Can you fancy the discomfort of such a situation? Then you
were never at sea, or at least you left your imagination ashore; for I
defy any person not well inured to it, to look on such a scene with so
negative a feeling as discomfort; it will excite either terror or
delight sufficient to engross the whole mind.

I well remember that, when deeply affected by the grandeur of this and
other aspects assumed by the majestic main, I found the highest flights
of man's sublimity too low. They would not express, would not chime in
with my conceptions; and I was driven to the inspired pages for a
commentary on the glorious scene. It was then that the language of Job,
of Isaiah, of Habakkuk, supplied me with a strain suited to the sublime
accompaniment of God's magnificent work. Sunrise I could not witness,
because at that hour no lady might appear on deck, and my cabin had not
a side-window; but sunset, moonlight, starlight, with the various
phenomena of ocean's ever-varying appearance, these furnished an endless
contemplation with which nothing could accord but the language of Holy
writ. I did not bring forth my Bible, well knowing the bantering remarks
to which it would have exposed me on the score of affectation, but my
memory served me equally well in that as in profane poetry; and many a
precious word of warning, exhortation, and promise did I recite,
enchanted by the sublimity of what, as to its spiritual meaning, was
still an unknown tongue to me. Among these, the thirty-second of
Deuteronomy, the fortieth of Isaiah, and other passages full of the
gospel, were repeatedly called to mind; and above all, in blowing
weather, the forty-sixth Psalm delighted me.

You may suppose that I could not wholly forget the fact of being where,
in the strictest sense, there was but a step between me and death. The
first day of our voyage some one had quoted the expression, "There is
but a plank between us and eternity," not with any serious application,
but as a fine thought. I do not think that I was ever for a moment
unmindful of this; the presence of actual danger was always felt by me:
but concerning eternity I had no fears whatever. A general reliance on
the boundless mercy of God, a recognition of Christ as having suffered
for our sins, and a degree of self-righteousness that easily threw my
sins into the shade, while magnifying my supposed merits, these formed
the staff whereon I leaned; and when the most imminent and appalling
peril overhung us, so that we expected to be ingulfed in the waves
without hope of succor, I looked it boldly in the face, confident in my
false hope. Although just then revelling in enjoyments best suited to my
natural taste, life had in reality no charms for me. From all that had
gilded the sonny hours of youth I was completely severed, and the world
on which I had launched was a wilderness indeed in comparison with the
Eden I had left. I would not have made the slightest effort to escape
from death in any form; and though I was not senseless enough to prefer
an eternity of untried wretchedness to the fleeting sorrows of mortal
life, yet as my conscience was lulled to rest by the self-delusion that
I suffered more than I deserved, and had therefore a claim on divine
justice, and as I was willing to receive the supposed balance of such
debtor and creditor account in the world to come, I was perfectly
content to be summoned to my reward. Blessed be God that I was not taken
away in that hour of blind willingness.

The extreme peril to which I have alluded overtook us when within a
short distance of our destination; we were suddenly caught by a
tremendous wind from the south, which blew us right in the direction of
Cape Sable, one of the most fatal headlands in those seas. Night closed
upon us and the gale increased; sails were spread, in a desperate hope
of shifting the vessel's course, but were instantly torn into ribbons.
At one time, for a moment, the rudder broke loose, the tiller-rope
giving way under the violent strain upon it; and the next minute the
spanker-boom, an immense piece of timber, snapped like a reed. It was an
awful scene: on the leeside the ship lay so low in the water that every
thing was afloat in the sleeping cabins; and the poor ladies were
screaming over their terrified children, unheeded by the gentlemen,
every one of whom was on deck. The captain openly declared we were bound
for the bottom, if a very sudden and unlikely change of wind did not
take place. In the midst of all this, I was reported missing, and as I
had the privilege of being every body's care, because, for the time
being, I belonged to nobody, a search was commenced. A young officer
found me, at last, so singularly situated, that he went and reported me
to the captain. I had climbed three tiers of lockers in the state cabin,
opened one of the large stern windows, and was leaning out, as far as I
could reach, enraptured beyond expression with the terrific grandeur of
the scene. The sky above was black as midnight and the storm could make
it, overhanging us like a large pall, and rendered awfully visible by
the brilliancy of the waters beneath. I had heard of that phosphorescent
appearance in the sea, but never could have imagined its grandeur, nor
can I essay to describe it. Even in perfect stillness the illuminated
element would have looked magnificent; what, then must it have been in a
state of excessive, tumultuous agitation, the waves swelling up to a
fearful height and then bursting into sheets of foam; every drop
containing some luminous animalculæ sparkling with vivid, yet delicate
lustre? We were going with headlong speed before the wind, and I hung
right over the track of the rudder, a wild, mad eddy of silver foam,
intermingled with fire. There was something in the scene that far
overpassed all my extravagant imaginings of the terribly sublime. The
hurry, the fierceness, the riot of those unfettered waters, the wild
flash of their wondrous lights, the funereal blackness of the
overhanging clouds, and the deep, desperate plunge of our gallant ship,
as she seemed to rend her way through an opposing chaos--it was perfect
delirium; and no doubt I should have appeared in keeping with the rest
to any external observer, for I was stretching out at the window, the
combs had fallen from my hair, which streamed as wildly as the rent
sails; and I was frequently deluged by some bursting wave, as the dip of
the vessel brought me down almost to the surface. The peril of an open
window was startling to those on deck, and the captain, hearing that I
refused to relinquish my post, sent the mate to put up the dead-lights;
so I sat down on the floor, buried my face in my hands, and strove to
realize the magnificence thus rent from my sight.

Yes, God's works in the great deep are indeed wonders. Nothing landward
can possibly approach them: in the rudest tempest the ground remains
firm, and you feel that you are a spectator; but at sea you are a part
of the storm. The plank whereon you stand refuses to support you, ever
shifting its inclination; while the whole of your frail tenement is now
borne aloft, now dashed into the liquid furrow beneath, now struck back
by a head-sea with a shock that makes every timber quiver, now flung on
one side as if about to reverse itself in the bosom of the deep. No
doubt the sense of personal danger, the death-pang already anticipated,
the dark abyss that yawns before the sinner, and the heaven opening on a
believer's soul, must each and any of them deaden the sense to what I
have vainly sought to describe; and I suppose this accounts for the
astonishment expressed by the whole party at my singular conduct, when
the youth who was sent to warn me of the peril, described my half-angry,
half-reproachful pettishness at the interruption: "Can't you let me
enjoy it in peace, Mr. J----? Shall I ever see any thing like it again?
Do go away." "But the captain says the window _must_ be shut."
"Then take me on deck, and you may shut it." "That is utterly
impossible; no lady could stand for an instant on deck, your drapery
would bear you over the ship's side." "Then I wont shut the window: so
go and tell Captain L---- not to tease me with messages."

This was downright recklessness. I wonder when recalling it to mind, and
feel that I could not have thus sported with death after I acquired a
good and solid hope of everlasting life. The act of dying had always
great terrors for me, until, through adverse circumstances, I seemed to
have nothing worth living for, and then I could laugh at it in my own
heart. Strange to say, that fearfulness of the passage through the dark
valley returned with double force when I had realized a personal claim
to the guiding rod and the supporting staff, and the bright inheritance
beyond. But before this period of blessedness, of joy and peace in
believing arrived, I had to pass through many waters of affliction, and
to experience remarkable interpositions at His hand who was leading me
by a path which I knew not.

Two of them I will mention. While at Annapolis and at Windsor, I had a
horse provided for me of rare beauty and grace, but a perfect Bucephalus
in her way. This creature was not three years old, and, to all
appearance, unbroken. Her manners were those of a kid rather than of a
horse; she was of a lovely dappled grey, with mane and tail of silver,
the latter almost sweeping the ground; and in her frolicsome gambols she
turned it over her back like a Newfoundland dog. Her slow step was a
bound; her swift motion unlike that of any other animal I ever rode, so
fleet, so smooth, so unruffled--I know nothing to which I can compare
it. Well, I made this lovely creature so fond of me by constant petting,
to which I suppose her Arab character made her peculiarly sensitive,
that my voice had equal power over her as over my docile, faithful dog.
No other person could in the slightest degree control her. Our corps,
the seventh battalion of the sixtieth Rifles, was composed wholly of the
elite of Napoleon's soldiers, taken in the Peninsula, and preferring the
British service to a prison. They were principally conscripts, and many
were evidently of a higher class in society than is usually found in the
ranks. Among them were several Chasseurs and Polish Lancers, very fine
equestrians, and as my husband had a field officer's command--on
detachments--and allowances, our horses were well looked after. His
groom was a Chasseur, mine a Pole; but neither could ride Fairy, unless
she happened to be in a very gracious mood. Lord Dalhousie's English
coachman afterwards tried his hand at taming her, but all in vain. In an
easy quiet way, she either sent her rider over her head, or by a
laughable manoeuvre sitting down like a dog on her haunches, slipped him
off the other way. Her drollery made the poor men so fond of her that
she was rarely chastised; and such a wilful, intractable wild Arab it
would be hard to find. Upon her I was daily mounted; and surely the Lord
watched over me then indeed. Inexperienced in riding, untaught,
unassisted, and wholly unable to lay any check upon so powerful an
animal, with an awkward country saddle, which by some fatality was never
well fixed, bit and bridle to match, and the mare's natural fire
increased by high feed, behold me bound for the wildest paths in the
wildest regions of that wild country. But you must explore the roads
about Annapolis, and the romantic spot called "The General's Bridge," to
imagine either the enjoyment or the perils of that my happiest hour.
Reckless to the last degree of desperation, I threw myself entirely on.
the fond attachment of the noble creature; and when I saw her measuring
with her eye some rugged fence or wild chasm, such as it was her common
sport to leap over in her play, the soft word of remonstrance that
checked her was uttered more from regard to her safety than my own. The
least whisper, a pat on the neck, or a stroke down the beautiful face
that she used to throw up towards mine, would control her: and never for
a moment did she endanger me. This was little short of a daily miracle,
when we consider the nature of the country, her character, and my
unskilfulness. It can only be accounted for on the ground of that
wondrous power which having willed me to work for a time in the vineyard
of the Lord, rendered me immortal until the work should be done. Oh that
my soul, and all that is within me could sufficiently bless the Lord,
and remember all his benefits.

I was then unmindful of, and unthankful for his protection; I revelled
in the delights of a freedom that none could share but my dog, who never
left the side of his associate. Shall I give you a sketch of the group,
in some lines composed during one of those excursions? They may partly
describe it. I found, them among some old papers.

  "I know by the ardor thou canst not restrain,
  By the curve of thy neck and the toss of thy mane,
  By the foam of thy snorting which spangles my brow,
  The fire of the Arab is hot in thee now.
  'Twere harsh to control thee, my frolicsome steed;
  I give thee the rein--so away at thy speed;
  Thy rider will dare to be wilful as thee,
  Laugh the future to scorn, and partake in thy glee.
  Away to the mountain--what need we to fear?
  Pursuit cannot press on my Fairy's career;
  Full light were the heel and well-balanced the head
  That ventured to follow the track of thy tread,
  Where roars the loud torrent and starts the rude plank,
  And thunders the rook-severed mass down the bank,
  While mirrored in crystal the far-shooting glow,
  With dazzling effulgence is sparkling below.
  One start, and I die; yet in peace I recline,
  My bosom can rest on the fealty of thine:
  Thou lov'st me, my sweet one, and would'st not be free,
  From a yoke that has never borne rudely on thee.
  Ah, pleasant the empire of those to confess,
  Whose wrath is a whisper, their rule a caress.

  "Behold how thy playmate is stretching beside,
  As loath to be vanquished in love or in pride,
  While upward he glances his eyeball of jet,
  Half dreading thy fleetness may distance him yet.
  Ah, Marco, poor Marco--our pastime to-day
  Were reft of one pleasure if he were away.

  "How precious these moments: fair freedom expands
  Her pinions of light o'er the desolate lands;
  The waters are flashing as bright as thine eye,
  Unchained as thy motion the breezes sweep by,
  Delicious they come, o'er the flower-scented earth,
  Like whispers of love from the isle of my birth;
  While the white-bosomed Cistus her perfume exhales,
  And sighs out a spicy farewell to the gales.
  Unfeared and unfearing we'll traverse the wood,
  Where pours the rude torrent its turbulent flood:
  The forest's red children will smile as we scour
  By the log-fashioned hut and the pine-woven bower;
  Thy feathery footsteps scarce bending the grass,
  Or denting the dew-spangled moss where we pass

  "What startles thee? 'Twas but the sentinel gun
  Flashed a vesper salute to thy rival the sun;
  He has closed his swift progress before thee, and sweeps
  With fetlock of gold the last verge of the steeps.
  The fire-fly anon from his covert shall glide,
  And dark fall the shadows of eve on the tide.
  Tread softly--my spirit is joyous no more.
  A northern aurora, it shone and is o'er;
  The tears will fall fast as I gather the rein,
  And a long look reverts to yon shadowy plain."


      *       *       *       *       *

There is more of it, but nothing to the purpose of the present history.
It cost me something to transcribe this, so vividly is the past recalled
by it. Would to God I might more fully devote to his service every day
of the life so wonderfully preserved by him.

In addition to this continuous preservation on horseback, I experienced
the same interposing providence when violently upset in a gig. The road
where it occurred was strewn with broken rocks on either side, for
miles; and scarcely one clear spot appeared, save that on which I was
thrown, where a carpet of the softest grass overspread a perfect level
of about twelve feet in length, and nearly the same in width. Here I
fell, with no other injury than a contusion on the hip. The gig was
completely reversed, the horse dashed on till he ran one of the shafts
into a bank, and set himself fast.

My sojourn in this interesting country was of two years' duration,
marked with many mercies, among the greatest of which was the
uninterrupted enjoyment of perfect health, although my first winter
there was the most severe that had been known for thirty years, and the
following summer one of the most oppressively hot they had ever
experienced. The gradations of spring, autumn, and twilight, are there
scarcely known, and the sudden transition from summer to winter is as
trying to the health of an European as that from day to night is
uncongenial to the taste. Here, too, I repented at leisure, and amended
with no small difficulty and labor, my neglect of those accomplishments
to which my dear mother had so often vainly solicited my attention. The
pencil was profitless; I had long thrown it by: books were no longer an
adequate set-off against realities, even could I have conjured up a
library in the wilderness of Nova Scotia's inland settlement; but the
culinary and confectionary branches were there invaluable, and in them I
was wofully deficient. Had I not coaxed the old French soldier who
officiated as mess-cook to give me a few lessons, we must have lived on
raw meal and salt rations during weeks when the roads were completely
snowed up, and no provisions could he brought in. However, I proved an
apt scholar to poor Sebastian, and to the kind neighbors who initiated
me into the mysteries of preserves and pastry. Young ladies cannot tell
into what situations events may throw them; and I would strongly
recommend the revival of that obsolete study called good housewifery.
The woman who cannot dispense with female servants, must not travel. I
had none for six months, keen winter months, in Annapolis; the only
persons who could be found disengaged being of characters wholly
inadmissible. The straits to which I was put were any thing but
laughable at the time, though the recollection now often excites a
smile. Indeed no perfection in European housekeeping would avail to
guard against the devastations that a Nova Scotian frost will make, if
not met by tactics peculiar to that climate. How could I anticipate that
a fine piece of beef, fresh-killed, brought in at noon still warm, would
by two o'clock require smart blows with a hatchet to slice off a steak;
or that half-a-dozen plates, perfectly dry, placed at a moderate
distance from the fire preparatory to dinner, would presently separate
into half a hundred fragments, through the action of heat on their
frosted pores; or that milk drawn from a cow within sight of my
breakfast-table would be sheeted with ice on its passage thither; or
that a momentary pause, for the choice of a fitting phrase in writing a
letter, would load the nib of my pen with a black icicle? If I did not
cry over my numerous breakages and other disasters, it was under the
apprehension of tears freezing on my eyelids; and truly they might have
done so, for my fingers were once in that awful condition that must have
ended in mortification, but for the presence of mind of a poor soldier,
who, seeing me running to the fire in that state, drew his bayonet to
bar my approach, and wrapping a coarse cloth round my lifeless hands,
muff-fashion, compelled me to walk up and down the spacious hall until
the circulation returned, which it did with a sensation of agony that
well-nigh took away my senses. This was a most signal escape, for I was
wholly ignorant of my danger, and not a little perplexed and annoyed at
the insubordinate conduct of the veteran, who was a model of respectful
humility. Had he, poor fellow, known how busy those fingers would one
day be against his religion--for he was a French Romanist--he might have
been tempted to sheath his bayonet and give me free access to the
tempting fire, the immense faggots of which would have sufficed to roast
a heretic.

Nova Scotia is, I firmly believe, the most generally and devotedly loyal
of all our colonies: the attachment of its people to the mother-country
is beautiful, and their partisanship in all questions between us and the
States most zealous. The only fault I had to find with them was their
indifference towards the poor relics of the Indian race still dwelling
in the woods, who were to me objects of the liveliest interest even
before I had any feeling of Christian duty towards the heathen--or
towards such as those who are worse than heathen, being numbered among
the members of the Romish church, and utterly, wretchedly ignorant even
of such little truth as remains buried under the mass of antichristian
error, to make its darkness more visible. The Indians are wholly
despised; scarcely looked on as beings of the same race, by the
generality of the colonists. Where Christian principle prevails, they
become of course important in the highest degree; but I speak of what I
saw, when vital godliness was little known among them, and I can aver
that even Lord Dalhousie scarcely could succeed in stirring up a
momentary interest for the dispersed aborigines. That excellent nobleman
devoted himself very warmly to the work of attempting their
civilization; and told me that if a few would join him heartily and
zealously in the effort, he should succeed; but that, between,
lukewarmness on the one side and suspicion on the other, he found
himself completely baffled. It was not to be wondered at that the
Indians had a lurking dread of experiencing again the hardships, not to
say the treachery and cruelty, inflicted on their fathers. I enjoyed a
high place in the affection and confidence of those interesting people,
the origin of which may help to prove at how light an estimate the poor
creatures were generally rated by their white brethren. My claim on
their attachment consisted in nothing more than the performance of a
bounden duty in sheltering for a few weeks one of their number who had,
in a most unprovoked and cruel manner, been wounded by a party of our
soldiers and left to perish in the woods.

How beautiful do the white cliffs of Albion appear in the eyes of the
returning wanderer who has learned by a foreign sojourn to estimate the
comforts, the privileges, the blessings of this island home. No place
could be more thoroughly English in feeling, habits, and principles,
than Nova Scotia; but it was not England. The violent transition of
seasons, so different from the soft gradations by which, with us, winter
brightens into summer, and summer fades into winter, marked a contrast
far from pleasing; and the intensity of cold, the fierceness of heat,
alike unknown in our temperate climate, forced comparisons far from
agreeable. Thus, on the lowest ground of a wholly selfish feeling, the
approach to nay native shore could not be otherwise than delightful; but
viewed as the mother-land, as the great emporium of commerce, the chief
temple of liberty, the nurse of military prowess, the unconquered
champion of all that is nationally great throughout the world, the sight
of our free and happy isle is indeed an inspiring one to those who can
appreciate moral grandeur. How much more, in the eyes of the Christian,
is she to be esteemed as the glory of all lands, as possessing the true
knowledge of God, and laboring to spread that knowledge throughout the
world; the land of Protestantism, the land of the Bible.

I really cannot understand the meaning, nor fancy what may be the
feeling, of those who profess to have merged their patriotism in
something of universal good-will to the household of faith all over the
world. It seems to me every whit as unnatural as that the member of a
Christian family should forego all the sweets of conjugal, parental,
filial, fraternal love, in the determination to feel an equal regard for
his neighbor's wife, husband, etc., as for his own; and, moreover, to
take an equal concern in the affairs of his neighbor's kitchen as in his
own household matters. This sort of generalizing regard would throw our
respective establishments into singular confusion, and might betray
ourselves into sundry false positions, and very awkward predicaments.
However, the comparative extinction of natural affection would form the
most prominently reprehensible feature in the case; and I cannot but
think that the boasted cosmopolitanism of some good people would wear an
aspect not very dissimilar, if rightly and soberly viewed. Certainly I
could no more tear the love of country from my heart, than I could the
love of kindred; and when my step again pressed the English strand, it
was with a sensation almost resembling the fabled invigoration of the
Titans, who derived new life, new strength, new enterprise, from coming
in contact with their mother earth.

England, indeed, contained little that was personally endearing to me,
except my beloved surviving parent; but it was a joyous thing to embrace
her once more, after the deep roll of the ocean had separated us for
nearly three years; during a portion of which she had been learning to
prize her native land, in a disgusting region of all that is most
directly opposed to liberty, civil or religious--to honorable feeling,
just conduct, honest principle, or practical decency. In short, she had
been in Portugal.



LETTER V.

IRELAND.


I now arrive at an epoch from which I may date the commencement of all
that deserves to be called life, inasmuch as I had hitherto been living
without God in the world. My existence was a feverish dream of vain
pleasure first, and then of agitations and horrors. My mind was a chaos
of useless information, my character a mass of unapplied energies, my
heart a waste of unclaimed affections, and my hope an enigma of confused
speculations. I had plenty to do, yet felt that I was doing nothing; and
there was a growing want within my bosom, a craving after I know not
what--a restless, unsatisfied, unhappy feeling, that seemed in quest of
some unknown good. How this was awakened, I know not; it was
unaccompanied with any conviction of my own sinfulness, or any doubt of
my perfect safety as a child of God. I did not anticipate any
satisfaction from change of place; but readily prepared to obey a
summons from my husband to follow him to Ireland, whither he had gone to
engage in a law-suit. To be sure I hated Ireland most cordially; I had
never seen it, and as a matter of choice would have preferred New South
Wales, so completely was I influenced by the prevailing prejudice
against that land of barbarism. Many people despise Ireland, who, if you
demand a reason, will tell you it is a horrid place, and the people all
savages; but if you press for proofs and illustrations, furthermore such
deponents say not.

On a dull day in April I took my place, a solitary traveller, in the
Shrewsbury coach, quite ignorant as to the road I was to travel, and far
less at home than I should have been in the wildest part of North
America, or on the deck of a ship bound to circumnavigate the globe. We
rattled out of London, and the first thing that at all roused my
attention was a moonlight view of Oxford, where we stopped at midnight
to change horses. Those old grey towers, and mighty masses of ancient
building, on which the silvery ray fell with fine effect, awoke in my
bosom two melancholy trains of thought; one was the recollection of my
father, whose enthusiastic attachment to his own university had often
provoked warm discussion with the no less attached Cantabs of our old
social parties, and who often held out to me, as the greatest of earthly
gratifications, a visit with him to that seat of learning which he would
describe in glowing colors. But where was my father now? His poor girl,
the delight of his eyes and treasure of his heart, was in Oxford, with
none to guide, none to guard, none to speak a cheering word to her. I
shrunk back in the coach, and grieved over this till a sudden turning
once more threw before me the outline of some magnificent old fabric
bathed in moonlight, and that called up a fit of patriotism, calculated
to darken, yet more the prospect before me. This was England, my own
proud England; and these "the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous
palaces," that distinguished her seats of learning above all others, I
was bound for Ireland. What English young lady had ever studied the
history of that remote, half-civilized settlement, called Ireland? Not
I, certainly, nor any of my acquaintance; but I took it for granted that
Ireland had no antiquities, nothing to distinguish her from other
barbarous lands, except that her people ate potatoes, made blunders, and
went to mass. I felt it a sort of degradation to have an Irish name, and
to go there as a resident; but comforted myself by resolving never in
one particular to give in to any Irish mode of living, speaking, or
thinking, and to associate only with such as had been at least educated
in England.

The next day's rising sun shone upon Stratford-on-Avon; and here revived
in some degree my Shakspearian mania, to the still higher exaltation of
my English stilts, and the deeper debasement of all "rough Irish
kernes." At Shrewsbury we parted with a kind old lady, who had shown me
some good-natured attentions, and I was left with only an elderly
gentleman, bound also for Dublin, who told me we must start at three
o'clock the following morning for Holyhead. I was dreadfully dejected,
and told him I hoped he would not think the worse of me for being so
utterly alone, and that he would excuse my retiring to my own apartment
the instant we had dined. He took pencil and paper, and with a glow of
benevolent feeling expressed his anxious desire to take the same care of
me that he would of his own daughter, and to look on me as his especial
charge, until he should give me into the hands of my lawful protector. I
thanked him with true English reserve, and a coldness that seemed rather
to grate on his warm feelings; and having owned that his seeing my
Newfoundland dog well fed and lodged would be a great obligation, I
withdrew to fret alone over my exile to this foreign land. You may call
this an exaggeration, but it is no such thing. I delight in dwelling
upon my reluctant approach to the land that I was to love so fondly.

Next day my miseries were alleviated by the enchanting beauties of the
Welsh country through which we passed; and my regard for Mr. D----
greatly increased by the compassionate care he took of a poor sickly
woman and her ragged infant, whom he descried on the top of the coach,
and first threw his large cloak to them, then, with my cordial assent,
took them inside, and watched them most kindly until he fell asleep. I
peeped into his kind, benevolent face, and inwardly confessed there
might be some nice people in Ireland.

At the inn where we dined, I made another acquaintance. A younger, but
middle-aged man, whose vivacity, combined with Welch mutton and ale,
quite raised my spirits. Hearing from Mr. D---- with what enthusiasm I
had admired the scenery of Llangollen, he volunteered to hand me in at
the coach window, a note of every remarkable place we should approach
during the rest of the journey; adding, "I know the road pretty well,
having traversed it at least twice a year for sixteen years, passing to
and from my Irish home." He was a legal man, a finished gentleman, and
another sad drawback on my perverse prejudices. Mr. F---- proved an
excellent descriptive guide, punctually reaching to me from the roof of
the coach his little memoranda, in time for me to take a survey of the
object concerned; and also most assiduously aiding in the care of my
luggage and dog when we were all put into the ferry-boat.

There was then no bridge over the Menai, and I being in total ignorance
of the route was not a little dismayed at the embarkation, forgetting
that Holyhead was in Anglesea, and that Anglesea was an island. At
last, when the boat pushed off, the opposite shore being hidden under
the mist of deepening twilight, I addressed the ferryman in a tone of
remonstrance that infinitely diverted the whole party, "Surely you are
not going to take me over in this way to Ireland?"

"No, no," said Mr. F----, "you shall have a good night's rest, and a
better sea-boat, before we start for the dear green isle."

Steamers were not then upon the packet station, and the wind being
unfavorable, we had a passage of seventeen hours, not landing until two
in the morning of Easter Sunday. Nothing could exceed my discomfort, as
you may suppose, when I tell you that after paying my bill at Holyhead,
I, in a fit of abstraction, deposited it very safely in my purse, and in
its stead threw away my last bank-note. The mistake was not suspected
until in mid-voyage I examined the state of my finances, and found the
sum total to amount to one shilling. This was an awful discovery; my
passage was paid, but how to reach Dublin was a mystery, and such was
the untamed pride of my character that I would sooner have walked there
than confessed to the fact, which might have been doubted, and laid
myself under the obligation of a loan which I was sure of repaying in a
few hours, even to good old Mr. D----. When I stepped from the deck of
the packet upon the plank that rested against the pier of Howth I had
not one single halfpenny in my pocket, and I experienced, without the
slightest emotion, one of the most hairbreadth escapes of my life.

The water was very low; the plank of course sloped greatly, and as soon
as I set my foot on it began to slide down. In another second I should
have been plunged between the vessel's side and the stone pier, without
any human possibility of rescue; and already I had lost my balance, when
a sailor, springing on the bulwarks, caught me round the knees, and at
the same instant Mr. F----, throwing himself on the ground, seized and
steadied the plant, until I recovered my footing and ran up. I shudder
to recall the hardened indifference of my own spirit, while the kind,
warm-hearted Irishmen were agitated with strong emotion, and all around
me thanking God for my escape. Each of my friends thought I had landed
under the care of the other; while one had my dog and the other my
portmanteau. I received their fervent "cead-mille-failthe" with cold
politeness, and trod with feelings of disgust on the dear little green
shamrocks that I now prize so fondly.

We went to the hotel, and Mr. D---- proposed my retiring to a chamber
until the coach started; but my empty purse would not allow of that, so
I said I preferred sitting where I was. Refreshments were ordered; but
though in a state of ravenous hunger, I steadily refused to touch them,
for I would not have allowed another person to pay for me, and was
resolved to conceal my loss as long as I could. I was excused, on the
presumption of a qualmishness resulting from the tossing of the ship;
and most melancholy, most forlorn were the feelings with which I watched
through the large window the fading moonbeams and the dawning day. To my
unspeakable joy, the two gentlemen proposed taking a postchaise with me
to Dublin, the expense being no more and the comfort much greater than
going by coach; and having requested Mr. F---- to keep an exact account
of my share in the charges, I took my seat beside them with a far
lighter heart; my dog being on the footboard in front of the carriage.

Away we drove, our horses being young, fresh, and in high condition. It
was a glorious morning, and vainly did I strive not to admire the
scenery, as one after another of the beautiful villas that adorn the
Howth road gleamed out in the snowy whiteness that characterizes the
houses there, generally embosomed in trees and surrounded by gardens on
the rising grounds. We were descending the hilly road very rapidly, when
by some means the horses took fright, and broke into a full-gallop,
crossing and re-crossing the road in a fearful manner. The driver was
thrown on the footboard, poor Tajo hung by his chain against the horses'
legs, and our situation was most critical. I had suffered from one upset
in America, and resolved not to encounter another; so quietly gathering
my long riding-habit about me with one hand, and putting the other out
at the window, I opened the door, and with one active spring flung
myself out. You know the extreme peril, the almost certain destruction
of such a leap from a carriage at full speed; I did not, or certainly I
would not have taken it. However, at that very instant of time, the
horses made a dead stop, and the chaise remained stationary only a few
paces in advance of me.

Was not the hand of God here? Oh, surely it was, in the most marked and
wonderful manner. No cause could be assigned for the arrest of the
animals; the driver had lost the reins, and no one was near. I had
fallen flat on the road-side, just grazing my gloves with the gravel and
getting a good mouthful of the soil, with which my face was brought into
involuntary contact. In a moment I sprung to my feet, and blowing it
out, exclaimed with a laugh, "Oh well, I suppose I am to love this
country after all, for I have kissed it in spite of me." I then ran to
help my dog out of his disagreeable state of suspension, and returned to
my friends, who were frightened and angry too, and who refused to let me
into the chaise unless I positively promised not to jump out any more.
To shorten the tale, I reached the Hibernian hotel, where my husband
was, seized some money, and paid my expenses without any one having
discovered that I was a complete bankrupt up to that minute.

I have been very prolix here; for I cannot overlook a single incident
connected with this eventful journey. Never did any one less anticipate
a blessing or look for happiness than I in visiting Ireland. I cannot
enter into more particulars, because it would involve the names of
friends who might not wish to figure in print; but if these pages ever
meet the eyes of any who gave me the first day's welcome in Dublin, let
them be assured that the remembrance of their tender kindness, the
glowing warmth of their open hospitality, and their solicitude to make
the poor stranger happy among them, broke through the ice of a heart
that had frozen itself up in most unnatural reserve, and gave life to
the first pulse that played within it of the love that soon pervaded its
every vein--the love of dear, generous Ireland.

My first journey into the interior was to the King's county, where I
passed some weeks in a house most curiously situated, with an open
prospect of ten miles pure bog in front of it. Being newly built,
nothing had yet had time to grow; but its owner, one of the most
delightful old gentlemen I ever met with, had spared no cost to render
it commodious and handsome. He was a fine specimen of the hospitable
Irish gentleman, and took great pleasure in bringing me acquainted with
the customs of a people and the features of a place so new to me. Indeed
it was my first introduction to what was really Irish, for Dublin is too
much of a capital to afford many specimens of distinct nationality. On
that great festival of the peasantry, St. John's eve, Mr. C---- resolved
on giving his tenants and neighbors a treat that should also enlighten
me on one of their most singular relics of paganism. It is the custom at
sunset on that evening to kindle numerous immense fires throughout the
country, built like our bonfires to a great height, the pile being
composed of turf, bog-wood, and such other combustibles as they can
gather. The turf yields a steady, substantial body of fire, the bog-wood
a most brilliant flame; and the effect of these great beacons blazing on
every hill, sending up volumes of smoke from every point of the horizon,
is very remarkable. Ours was a magnificent one, being provided by the
landlord as a compliment to his people, and was built on the lawn, as
close beside the house as safety would admit. Early in the evening the
peasants began to assemble, all habited in their best array, glowing
with health, every countenance full of that sparkling animation and
excess of enjoyment that characterizes the enthusiastic people of the
land. I had never seen anything resembling it, and was exceedingly
delighted with their handsome, intelligent, merry faces; the bold
bearing of the men, and the playful but really modest deportment of the
maidens; the vivacity of the aged people, and the wild glee of the
children. The fire being kindled, a splendid blaze shot up, and for a
while they stood contemplating it, with faces strangely disfigured by
the peculiar light first emitted when bog-wood is thrown on; after a
short pause, the ground was cleared in front of an old blind piper, the
very beau ideal of energy, drollery, and shrewdness, who, seated on a
low chair, with a well-replenished jug within his reach, screwed his
pipes to the liveliest tunes, and the endless jig began.

An Irish jig is interminable, so long as the party holds together; for
when one of the dancers becomes fatigued, a fresh individual is ready to
step into the vacated place quick as thought, so that the other does not
pause, until in like manner obliged to give place to a successor. They
continue footing it, and setting to one another, occasionally moving in
a figure, and changing places with extraordinary rapidity, spirit, and
grace. Few indeed among even the very lowest of the most impoverished
class have grown into youth without obtaining some lessons in dancing
from the travelling dancing-masters of their district; and certainly, in
the way they use it, many would be disposed to grant a dispensation to
the young peasant, which they would withhold from the young peer. It is,
however, sadly abused among them, to Sabbath-breakings, revellings, and
the most immoral scenes, where they are congregated and kept together
under its influence; and the same scene enacted a year afterwards would
have awoke in my mind very different feelings from those with which I
regarded this first spectacle of Irish hilarity, when I could hardly be
restrained by the laughing remonstrances of "the quality" from throwing
myself into the midst of the joyous group and dancing with them.

But something was to follow that puzzled me not a little; when the fire
had burned for some hours and got low, an indispensable part of the
ceremony commenced. Every one present of the peasantry passed through
it, and several children were thrown across the sparkling embers; while
a wooden frame of some eight feet long, with a horse's head fixed to one
end and a large white sheet thrown over it, concealing the wood and the
man on whose head it was carried, made its appearance. This was greeted
with load shouts as the "white horse;" and having been safely carried by
the skill of its bearer several times through the fire with a bold leap,
it pursued the people, who ran screaming and laughing in every
direction. I asked what the horse was meant for, and was told it
represented all cattle. Here was the old pagan worship of Baal, if not
of Moloch too, carried on openly and universally in the heart of a
nominally Christian country, and by millions professing the Christian
name. I was confounded, for I did not then know that Popery is only a
crafty adaptation of pagan idolatries to its own scheme; and while I
looked upon the now wildly excited people with their children, and in a
figure all their cattle, passing again and again through the fire, I
almost questioned in my own mind the lawfulness of the spectacle,
considered in the light that the Bible must, even to the natural heart,
exhibit it in to those who confess the true God. There was no one to
whom I could breathe such thoughts, and they soon faded from my mind:
not so the impression made on it by this fair specimen of a population
whom I had long classed with the savage inhabitants of barbarous lands,
picturing them to myself as dark, ferocious, discontented, and
malignant. That such was the reverse of their natural character I now
began to feel convinced; and from that evening my heart gradually warmed
towards a race whom I found to be frank, warm, and affectionate, beyond
any I had ever met with.

My interest in them, however, was soon to be placed on another and a
firmer basis. I took up my permanent abode in a neighboring county; and
within six months after that celebration of St. John's eve, I
experienced the mighty power of God in a way truly marvellous. Great and
marvellous are _all_ his works, in creating, in sustaining, in
governing this world of wonderful creatures; but Oh, how surpassingly
marvellous and great in redeeming lost sinners, in taking away the heart
of stone and giving a heart of flesh, and making his people willing in
the day of his power! I have carefully abstained from any particulars
respecting myself that could either cast a reproach on the dead or give
pain to the living; I shall do so still, and merely remark, that as far
as this world was concerned, my lot had no happiness mingled in it, and
that my only solace under many grievous trials consisted in two things:
one was a careful concealment of whatever might subject my proud spirit
to the mortification of being pitied when I desired rather to be envied;
and the other a confident assurance, that in suffering afflictions
silently, unresistingly, and uncomplainingly, I was making God my debtor
to a large amount. What desperate wickedness of a deceived and deceitful
heart was this! The very thing in which I so arrogantly vaunted myself
before God was the direct result of personal pride, in itself a great
sin; and thus I truly gloried in my shame. I never looked beyond the rod
to Him who had appointed it; but satisfying myself that I had not
merited from man any severity, my demerits at the hand of the Most High
were wholly put out of the calculation. Thus, of course, every stroke
drove me further from the only Rock of refuge, and deeper into the
fastness of my own vain conceits. Added to this, I was wholly shut out
from all the ordinary means by which the Lord usually calls sinners to
himself. There was no gospel ministry then within my reach; nor could I,
if it were provided, have profited by it, owing to my infirmity,
(deafness.) Into Christian society I had never entered, nor had the
least glimmer of spiritual light shone into my mind. My religion was
that of the Pharisee, and my addresses to God included, like his, an
acknowledgment that it was by divine favor I was so much better than my
neighbors. Reality had so far chased away romance, that my old favorite
authors had little power to charm me; and the hollowness of my affected
gayety and ease made society a very sickening thing. * * *

At the time I am now to speak of, I was living in perfect seclusion, and
uninterrupted solitude. Captain ---- was always in Dublin, and my chief
occupation was in hunting out, and transcribing and arranging matter for
the professional gentlemen conducting the lawsuit, from a mass of
confused family papers and documents. Our property consisted of a large
number of poor cabins with their adjoining land, forming a complete
street on the outskirts of the town, which was greatly in arrear to the
head landlords, and a periodical "distress" took place. On these
occasions a keeper was set over the property, some legal papers were
served, and the household goods--consisting of iron kettles, wooden
stools, broken tables, a ragged blanket or two, and the little store of
potatoes, the sole support of the wretched inhabitants--were brought
out, piled in a long row down the street, and "canted," that is, put up
to sale, for the payment of perhaps one or two per cent. of the arrears.
This horrified me beyond measure: I was ashamed to be seen among the
people who were called our tenants, though this proceeding did not
emanate from their immediate landlord; and every thing combined to
render the seclusion of my own garden more congenial to me than any
wider range.

It was then that I came to the resolution of being a perfect devotee in
religion: I thought myself marvellously good; but something of monastic
mania seized me. I determined to emulate the recluses of whom I had
often read; to become a sort of Protestant nun; and to fancy my garden,
with its high stone-walls and little thicket of apple-trees, a convent
enclosure. I also settled it with myself to pray three or four times
every day, instead of twice; and with great alacrity entered upon this
new routine of devotion.

Here God met and arrested me. When I kneeled down to pray, the strangest
alarms took hold of my mind. He to whom I had been accustomed to prate
with flippant volubility in a set form of heartless words, seemed to my
startled mind so exceedingly terrible in unapproachable majesty, and so
very angry with me in particular, that I became paralyzed with fear. I
strove against this with characteristic pertinacity; I called to mind
all the commonplace assurances respecting the sufficiency of a good
intention, and magnified alike my doings and my sufferings. I persuaded
myself it was only a holy awe, the effect of distinguished piety and
rare humility, and that I was really an object of the divine complacency
in no ordinary degree. Again I essayed to pray, but in vain; I dared
not. Then I attributed it to a nervous state of feeling that would wear
away by a little abstraction from the subject; but this would not do. To
leave off praying was impossible, yet to pray seemed equally so. I well
remember that the character in which I chiefly viewed the Lord God was
that of an Avenger, going forth to smite the first-born of Egypt; and I
somehow identified myself with the condemned number. Often, after
kneeling a long time, I have laid my face upon my arms, and wept most
bitterly, because I could not, dared not pray.

It was not in my nature to be driven back easily from any path I had
entered on; and here the Lord wrought on me to persevere resolutely. I
began to examine myself, in order to discover _why_ I was afraid;
and taking as my rule the ten commandments, I found myself sadly
deficient on some points. The tenth affected me as it never had done
before. "I had not known lust," because I had not understood the law
when it said, "Thou shalt not covet." A casual glance at the declaration
of St. James, "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, yet offend in one
point, he is guilty of all," alarmed me exceedingly; and on a sudden it
occurred to me that not only the ten commandments, but all the precepts
of the New Testament, were binding on a Christian; and I trembled more
than ever.

What was to be done? To reform myself, certainly, and become obedient to
the whole law. Accordingly I went to work, transcribed all the commands
that I felt myself most in the habit of neglecting, and pinned up a
dozen or two texts around my room. It required no small effort to enter
this apartment and walk round it, reading my mementos. That active
schoolmaster, the law, had got me fairly under his rod, and dreadful
were the writhings of the convicted culprit, I soon, however, took down
my texts, fearing lest some one else might see them, and not knowing
they were for myself, be exasperated. I then made a little hook, wrote
down a list of offences, and commenced making a dot over against each,
whenever I detected myself in the commission of one. I had become very
watchful over my thoughts, and was honest in recording all evil; so my
book became a mass of black dots; and the reflection that occurred to me
of omissions being sins too, completed the panic of my mind. I flung
away my book into the fire, and myself into an abyss of gloomy despair.

How long this miserable state of mind lasted, I do not exactly remember;
I think about two weeks. I could not pray. I dared not read the Bible,
it bore so very hard upon me. Outwardly, I was calm and even cheerful,
but within reigned the very blackness of darkness. Death, with which I
had so often sported, appeared in my eyes so terrible, that the
slightest feeling of illness filled my soul with dismay. I saw no way of
escape: I had God's perfect law before my eyes, and a full conviction of
my own past sinfulness and present helplessness, leaving me wholly
without hope. Hitherto I had never known a day's illness for years; one
of God's rich mercies to me consisted in uninterrupted health, and a
wonderful freedom from all nervous affections. I knew almost as little
of the sensation of a headache as I did of that of tight-lacing; and now
a violent cold, with sore throat, aggravated into fever by the state of
my mind, completely prostrated me. I laid myself down on the sofa one
morning and waited to see how my earthly miseries would terminate; too
well knowing what must follow the close of a sinner's life.

I had not lain long, when a neighbor hearing I was ill, sent me some
books just received from Dublin, as a loan, hoping I might find some
amusement in them. Listlessly, wretchedly, mechanically, I opened one;
it was the memoir of a departed son, written by his father. I read a
page describing the approach of death, and was arrested by the youth's
expressions of self-condemnation, his humble acknowledgment of having
deserved at the Lord's hand nothing but eternal death. "Ah, poor
fellow," said I, "he was like me. How dreadful his end must have been; I
will see what he said at last, when on the very brink of the bottomless
pit." I resumed the book, and found him in continuation glorifying God
that though _he_ was so guilty and so vile, there was ONE able to
save to the uttermost, who had borne his sins, satisfied divine justice
for him, opened the gates of heaven, and now waited to receive his
ransomed soul.

The book dropped from my hands. "O, what is this? This is what I want:
this would save me. Who did this for him? Jesus Christ, certainly; and
it must be written in the New Testament." I tried to jump up and reach my
Bible, but was overpowered by the emotion of my mind. I clasped my hands
over my eyes, and then the blessed effects of having even a literal
knowledge of scripture were apparent. Memory brought before me, as the
Holy Spirit directed it, not here and there a detached text, but whole
chapters, as they had long been committed to its safe but hitherto
unprofitable keeping. The veil was removed from my heart, and Jesus
Christ, as the Alpha and Omega, the sum and substance of every thing,
shone out upon me just as he is set forth in the everlasting gospel. It
was the same as if I had been reading, because I knew it so well by
rote, only much more rapid, as thought always is. In this there was
nothing uncommon; but in the _opening of the understanding, that I
might_ UNDERSTAND _the scriptures_, was the mighty miracle of
grace and truth. There I lay, still as death, my hands still folded over
nay eyes, my very soul basking in the pure, calm, holy light, that
streamed into it through the appointed channel of God's word. Rapture
was not what I felt; excitement, enthusiasm, agitation, there was none.
I was like a person long enclosed in a dark dungeon, the walls of which
had now fallen down, and I looked round on a sunny landscape of calm and
glorious beauty. I well remember that the Lord Jesus, in the character
of a shepherd, of a star, and above all, as the pearl of great price,
seemed revealed to me most beautifully: that he could save every body I
at once saw; that he would save me, never even took the form of a
question. Those who have received the gospel by man's preaching may
doubt and cavil; I took it simply from the Bible, in the words that
God's wisdom teacheth, and thus I argued: "Jesus Christ came into the
world to save sinners: I am a sinner; I want to be saved: he will save
me." There is no presumption in taking God at his word: not to do so is
very impertinent: I did it, and I was happy.

After some time I rose from the sofa, and walked about. My feelings were
delicious. I had found HIM of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets
did write; I had found the very Paschal Lamb whose blood would be my
safeguard from the destroying angel. Oh, how delicious was that
particular thought to me. It was one of the first that occurred, and I
laughed with gladness. Indeed my feeling was very joyous, and I only
wanted somebody to tell it to. I had two servants, one a young woman,
the other a little girl, both papists, both loving me with Irish warmth.
They were delighted to see me so well and happy on a sudden; and in the
evening I bade them come to my room, for I was going to read a beautiful
book, and would read it aloud. I began the gospel of St. Matthew, and
read nine chapters to them, their wonder and delight increasing my joy.
Whenever I proposed leaving off, they begged for more; and only for my
poor throat, I think we should have gone on till day. I prayed with
them, and what a night's rest I had! Sleep so sweet, a waking so happy,
and a joy so unclouded through the day, what but the gospel could
bestow? Few, very few, have been so left alone as I was with the
infallible teaching of God the Holy Ghost by means of the written word,
for many weeks, and so to get a thorough knowledge of the great
doctrines of salvation, unclouded by man's vain wisdom. I knew not that
in the world there were any who had made the same discovery with myself.
Of all schemes of doctrine I was wholly ignorant, and the only system of
theology open to me was God's own. All the faculties of my mind were
roused and brightened for the work. I prayed, without ceasing, for
divine instruction; and took, without cavilling, what was vouchsafed. On
this subject I must enter more largely, for it is one of immense
importance.



LETTER VI.

RELIGIOUS PROGRESS.


I am standing before you now in the character of one who, having been
brought under conviction of sin into utter self-despair, had found in
Christ Jesus a refuge from the storm of God's anger. I felt myself safe
in him; but as the revelation which God had made to man was not confined
to the sole point of a _satisfaction_ for the sins of men, I felt
it my bounden duty to search for all that the Most High had seen good to
acquaint his people with. At the same time I found myself a member of a
church calling itself Christian; but I too had called myself a
Christian, while as yet wholly ignorant of Christ, therefore I could not
depend upon a name. I knew that there were other churches, each putting
in a claim to a higher and purer standard than its neighbors, and it
behooved me to know which of them all was in the right, I had no books
of a religious character--not one; no clergyman among my acquaintance,
no means of inquiry, save as regarded my own church, whose Liturgy and
Articles lay before me. I resolved to bring them first to the test of
scripture, and if they failed, to look out for a better.

How I commenced the work and pursued it, I need not state. I tried every
thing, as well as I could, by the Bible; and my satisfaction was great
to find the purest, clearest strain of evangelical truth breathing
through the book which I had used all my life long, as I did the Bible,
without entering into its real meaning. How I could possibly escape
seeing the doctrines of faith, regeneration, and the rest of God's
revelation in them both, was strange to me; but I understood that the
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, and mourned
over the darkness that I supposed universal.

I found it distinctly stated by our Lord, that "except a man be _born
again_, he cannot see the kingdom of God;" and this served as a key
to many passages in the epistles and other parts of scripture
illustrative of the same solemn truth. I had never understood, never
thought of this. Did my church hold it? Yes; it was not only laid down
as a fundamental doctrine in her Articles, but constantly put into the
mouths of her congregation, either expressed or clearly implied. Again,
I found that _not by works but by faith_ I was to be justified
before God; and this also ran through the prayer-book, with unvarying
distinctness; though with that book in my hand and its contents on my
lips I had been hitherto attempting to scale heaven by a ladder of my
own forming.


      *       *       *       *       *

The Athanasian creed brought to my recollection a circumstance that had
occurred a few years before, the importance of which had never been
known to me until I was brought acquainted with the saving truths of the
gospel. I now looked back upon it with trembling joy and gratitude to
him who had preserved me from a snare into which the pride of intellect,
joined to spiritual ignorance, would have been sure to lead me, but for
the watchful care of my heavenly Father, still working by means of my
blind but sincere reverence for his word. In my native town, Socinianism
flourished to a fearful extent; it has long been a very hotbed of that
fatal heresy, the holders of which are found among many leading
characters of wealth, influence, and high attainments. I knew no more of
it than that it was one of the many forms of dissent with which I had
nothing to do. I was acquainted with several of its disciples; but as
religion formed no part of our social intercourse, its peculiarities
were wholly unknown to me.

Not long before my trip to America I had been staying in Norwich, in the
same house with a most clever, intelligent, and amiable woman, of whom I
was very fond. I knew her to be a dissenter, and that was all. One
evening she drew me into a conversation, the commencement of which I
forget, but it soon arrived at a denial, on her part, of the Godhead of
Christ, which exceedingly astonished me, for I never supposed that could
be called in question. I ran for the Bible, saying, I would soon show
her it was not to be disputed; and she in return asserted that I could
not prove it out of the _inspired scriptures_. After pondering for
a while, I recollected the first chapter of Revelation, which, for its
sublimity, I ranked among the highest of my poetical gems, and that it
unequivocally proclaimed the divinity of our glorious Lord. I opened at
it, on which she burst into a laugh, saying, "You are not so weak as to
fancy that book of riddles any part of God's word!" "Why it is in the
Bible, you see," replied I, half indignantly. "And who put it there?
Come, you are a person of too much sense to believe that the binding up
of certain leaves between the two covers of the Bible makes them a part
of it. You must exercise the reason that God has given you, and in so
doing you will discover so many interpolations and deceptions in that
version of yours, that you will be glad to find a more accurate one."

She continued in the same strain for some time. I was greatly agitated;
I closed the great Bible, and leaning on it with folded arms, my heart
beating violently against the bright red cover, I gave heed to all she
said. My love of novelty, passion for investigation, and the
metaphysical turn that had sometimes made my father quite uneasy about
me, when he saw me at eight years old poring over abstruse reasonings
with the zest of an old philosopher, were all in her favor. I felt as if
the foundation of my faith was giving way, and I was being launched on a
sea of strange uncertainty. When she concluded, I laid my forehead on
the book in most deep and anxious thought. I did not pray: God was found
of one who sought him not, for surely he alone dictated my answer. I
started up, and with the greatest vivacity said, "Mrs. ----, if you can
persuade me that the book of Revelation is not inspired, another person
may do the same with regard to the book of Genesis, and so of all that
lie between them, till the whole Bible is taken away from me. That will
never do; I cannot part with my dear Bible. I believe it all, every word
of it, and I am sure I should be miserable if I did not." Then, kissing
the precious volume with the affection one feels for what is in danger
of being lost to us, I carried it back to its shelf, and declined any
further discussion on the subject. She told some one else she was sure
of having me yet; but the good providence of God interposed to remove me
from the scene of danger.

That metaphysical turn I omitted to mention among my early snares; my
father checked it, although it was a great hobby of his own. He had seen
its fearful abuse in the origin of the French revolution, and regarded
it as one of the evil spirits of the age. I recollect the mixture of
mirth and vexation depicted in his face one morning, when on his
remarking that I did not look well and inquiring if any thing ailed me,
I replied, "No, but I could not get any sleep."

"What prevented your sleeping?"

"I was thinking, papa, of '_Cogito, ergo sum_'--'I think,
therefore I exist'--and I lay awake, trying to find out all about it."

"'_Cogito, ergo sum!'_" repeated my father, laughing and frowning
at the same time; "what will you be at twenty, if you dabble in
metaphysics before you are ten? Come, I must set you to study Euclid;
that will sober your wild head a little." I took the book with great
glee, delighted to have a new field of inquiry, but soon threw it aside.
Mathematics and I could never agree. Speculative and imaginative in an
extraordinary degree, carrying much sail with scarcely any ballast, what
but the ever watchful care of Him who sitteth upon the circle of the
earth could have preserved from fatal wrecking a vessel so frail, while
yet without pilot, helm, or chart?

It was the recollection of my short encounter with the Socinian that
satisfied me respecting the Athanasian creed. I felt that had I taken up
its bold assertions and established every one of them, as now I did, by
scripture, no sophistry could have staggered my faith, though it had
been but a reasoning, not a saving faith, in that high doctrine of the
coexistent, coequal Trinity. I did not then know--for of all church
history I was ignorant--that its original object was not so much to
establish a truth, as to detect and defeat a falsehood. The damnatory
clauses, as they are called, did not startle me. I saw clearly the fact
that God had made a revelation of himself to man, which revelation man
was not at liberty to receive or to reject, and as without faith it is
impossible to please God, and that alone is faith which implicitly
believes the record that he hath given of his Son, the deductions in
question were perfectly fair and orthodox. I frequently wondered, when
subsequently brought into the arena of various controversies, at the
ease with which, aided by the Bible alone, I settled so many disputed
points; and as it really was by the Bible I settled them, man's teaching
has never yet on any subject altered my views. * * *

Whether it be regarded as presumptuous or not, I must thankfully avow
that during the weeks when I was left alone with my Bible, I obtained a
view of the whole scheme of redemption and God's dealings with man,
which to this hour I have never found reason to alter in any one
respect, save as greater light has continually broken in on each branch
of the subject, strengthening, not changing those views. You will see in
the progress of my sketch, how complete a bulwark against error in
numberless shapes I have found in this simple adherence to the plain
word of truth--this habit of bringing every proposition "to the law and
to the testimony;" fully persuaded that "if they speak not according to
this word, it is because there is no light in them."

I now proceed to an interesting epoch in my life: the commencement of my
literary labors in the Lord's cause. It marks very strongly the
overruling hand of Him who was working all things after the counsel of
his own will; and I will give it you without curtailment, together with
my introduction, through it to the Christian community of the land.

My life, as I told you, was solitary and retired; my time chiefly passed
in writing out documentary matters for the lawyers. The circumstance of
my using the pen so incessantly became known, and I was looked on as a
literary recluse. One day a lady personally unknown to me, but whose
indefatigable zeal was always seeking the good of others, sent me a
parcel of tracts. With equal wonder and delight I opened one of them, a
simple, spiritual little production; and the next that I took up was an
inducement to distribute tracts among the poor. From this I learned that
some excellent people were engaged in a work quite new to me; and, with
a sigh, I wished I had the means of contributing to their funds.
Presently the thought flashed upon me, "Since I cannot give them money,
may I not write something to be useful in the same way?" I had just then
no work before me, and a long winter evening at command. I ordered large
candles, told the servants not to interrupt me, and sat down to my novel
task. I began about seven o'clock, and wrote till three in the morning;
when I found I had produced a complete little story, in the progress of
which I had been enabled so to set forth the truth as it is in Jesus,
that on reading it over I was amazed at the statement I had made of
scriptural truth, and sunk on my knees in thankfulness to God. Next
morning I awoke full of joy, but much puzzled as to what I should do
with my tract. At length, in the simplicity of my heart, I resolved to
send it to the bishop of Norwich, and busied myself at the breakfast-
table in computing how many franks it would fill. While thus employed, a
note was put into my hands from Miss D----, apologizing for the liberty
taken, saying she had sent me, the day before, some tracts, and as she
heard I was much occupied with the pen, it had occurred to her that I
might be led to write something myself; in the possibility of which she
now enclosed the address of the secretary to the Dublin Tract Society,
to whom such aid would be most welcome.

I was absolutely awe-struck by this very striking incident. I saw in it
a gracious acceptance of my freewill offering at His hands to whom it
had been prayerfully dedicated; and in two hours the manuscript was on
its way to Dublin, with a very simple letter to the secretary. A cordial
answer, commendatory of my tract and earnestly entreating a continuance
of such aid, soon reached me, with some remarks and questions that
required a fuller communication of my circumstances and feelings. He had
recommended frequent intercourse with the peasantry, of whose habits and
modes of expression I was evidently ignorant, and I then mentioned my
loss of hearing as a bar to this branch of usefulness, His rejoinder was
the overflowing of a truly Christian heart, very much touched by an
artless account of the Lord's dealings with me; and greatly did my
spirit rejoice at having found a brother in the faith thus to cheer and
strengthen me.

But alas, a few days afterwards, Miss D----, whom I had still never
seen, wrote to apprize me that this excellent man had ruptured a blood-
vessel and was dying. Still he did not forget me, but after lingering
for some weeks, on his death-bed commended me to the friendship of his
brother, who from that period proved a true and valuable helper to me.

Meanwhile I was beginning to take a view of popery, under the light of
the gospel. As yet, I knew nothing of it spiritually; and my retired
life kept me from observing how it worked among the poor people around.
My attention was first directed to it by a conversation with the younger
of my two servants; she slept in my apartment, and I remarked that while
kneeling at her devotions she not only uttered them with amazing
rapidity, but carried on all the while the operation of undressing, with
perfect inattention to what she was saying. I asked her the purport of
her prayers; she told me she said the "Our Father," and then the "Hail
Mary:" at my request she repeated the latter, and I gave her a gentle
lecture on the irreverence of chattering to God so volubly, and of
employing herself about her clothes at the same time; adding that she
should be devout, deliberate, and quiet while speaking to God; but as
for the Virgin Mary it was no matter how she addressed her, if address
her she would, for being only a dead woman she could know nothing about
it. This, I am ashamed to say, was the extent of my actual protest at
that time. The girl took it all very readily, and ever after, during her
address to God, she knelt with her hands joined, repeating the words
slowly and seriously; but the moment she commenced the "Hail Mary," to
make up for lost time she prattled it so rapidly, and tore open the
fastenings of her dress with such bustling speed, that I could scarcely
refrain from laughing. A little reflection, however, convinced me it was
an act of idolatry, and no laughing matter; and from that time I
inquired as deeply as I could into their faith and practice; constantly
showing them from the scriptures how contrary their religion was to that
of the gospel. Still it was but a very partial and superficial view that
I could as yet obtain of the great mystery of iniquity through these
ignorant and thoughtless girls; and to this must be attributed my sad
failure in not warning them more distinctly to come out of Babylon. I
rather tried to patch up the old, decayed, tattered garment with the new
piece of the gospel, as many more have done; and so made the rent worse,
instead of replacing the vile article with one of God's providing.


      *       *       *       *       *

When that excellent man, Mr. D----, was committed to the grave, his
younger brother visited me on his way back to Dublin. That interview I
shall never forget; he talked to me out of the overflowings of a heart
devoted to Christ, and left me pining for more extended enjoyment of
Christian society. I was not long ungratified; within three days an
unexpected summons took me to Dublin, and on the very evening of my
arrival Mr. D---- introduced me to a party of about thirty pious
friends, assembled to meet a missionary just returned from Russia.
Remember these were the frank, unrestrained, warmhearted Irish, of all
people the most ready at expressing their zealous and generous feelings;
and imagine, if you can, my enjoyment, after such a long season of
comparative loneliness, when they came about me with the affectionate
welcome that none can utter and look so eloquently as they can. I
thought it a foretaste of heavenly blessedness; and yet I often longed
for those seasons when I had none but my God to commune with, and poured
out to him all that now I found it delightful to utter to my fellow-
creatures. Then, my tabernacle was indeed pitched in the wilderness, and
the candle of the Lord shone brightly upon it; now, the blending of many
inferior lights distracted my mind from its one object of contemplation,
and broke the harmony that was so sweet in its singleness.

A few months after this, the lawsuit being ended, my husband was ordered
abroad. I declined to cross the Atlantic a second time, and from this
period I became chiefly dependent on my own exertions. My mother had
joined me in Ireland, having been made a partaker in the like precious
faith and hope with myself. * * *



LETTER VII.

KILKENNY.


We took up our abode in the town of Kilkenny, so richly blessed with
gospel privileges, and so far removed from the annoyances to which I was
exposed while trying to fulfil the landlord's part over a property
inextricably involved, and now also placed in the hands of trustees. I
had sought the maintenance of that character for the sake of the poor
tenants, whose affection, for me was very great, and among whom I had of
late been frequently allowed to read the scriptures. The necessity,
however, of providing for myself, and the hopeless perplexities of my
nominal office, between head-landlords, under-tenants, trustees, a
receiver, and all the endless machinery of an embarrassed little Irish
estate, compelled me to seek a more quiet sphere; and in Kilkenny I
found all that could combine to encourage me in the pursuit of honest
independence in the way of usefulness. I finished "Osric," which formed
a good-sized volume, and commenced the pleasant task of writing penny
and twopenny books for the Dublin Tract Society, who paid me liberally,
and cheered me on my path with all the warmth of Christian affection. It
was indeed a delightful task, and God had raised up to me also a friend
to whose truly paternal kindness I owe more than ever can be told, Mr.
George Sandford, now Lord Mountsandford, who, from our first
acquaintance, entered with a father's interest into all that concerned
me. Thus encouraged, I held on my way, and tasted the sweets that I hope
to enjoy to the end of my days--those of the original curse brightened
by the irreversible blessing: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat
bread;" "Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the
Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor shall not be in vain in the
Lord."

I have already told you my escape from the snare of Socinianism; and now
I am to narrate a trial of faith and doctrine which by the mercy of God
produced effects just the reverse of what was intended. This was no less
than a vigorous attempt to convert me to Popery. I had not yet bestowed
any great attention on the details of that abominable device, but was
most fully persuaded of its being a system of idolatrous delusion, the
working of which was strikingly manifested in the wretchedness, the
immorality, the turbulence and degrading superstitions of the poor
creatures around me. It never had been my practice to tamper with or to
compromise what I knew to be wrong; therefore I had not suffered
curiosity to lead me within the walls of a mass-house, nor in any way to
put on the semblance of an agreement which cannot really exist between
the temple of God and idols. I believed Popery to be the Babylon of the
Apocalypse, and I longed for resolution to proclaim to the deluded
victims, "Come out of her, my people," This I had never done, but on the
contrary fell cheerfully in with the then cautious policy of my friends,
and so framed my little books and tracts as to leave it doubtful whether
they were written by a Protestant or not. Paul to the Jews became as a
Jew, that he might gain the Jews: I, by a false process of reason,
thought it allowable to become as an idolater to the idolaters, that I
might gain the idolaters. An awful, presumptuous sin! The Jew possesses
the fair blossom of gospel truth, which by kindly fostering is to be
expanded and ripened into the rich fruit: the Papist holds in his hand
an apple of Sodom, beneath the painted rind of which is a mass of ashes
and corruption. He must be induced to fling it away, and to pluck from
the tree of life a wholly different thing.

My Protestant principles, such as they were, withheld me from visiting
the convent which formed a principal attraction to the military and
other strangers in Kilkenny. Many sought to draw me thither, adducing
the examples of Christian ministers and other spiritual people, who did
not scruple to go; but in vain. At length a lady came to me with an
earnest request from "the most interesting nun in the establishment," to
give her some information on the best mode of conveying instruction to a
poor little girl in their school, deaf and dumb. Here was a call of
duty: I knew it could not be effectually done unless in person; and to
the surprise of my friend, I volunteered to accompany her to the
convent.

The nun was indeed a most engaging young lady; in personal appearance,
in manner, in feeling, realizing the visions of my girlish romance, when
reading idle stories in novels on such topics. She had, moreover, all
the animated warmth of a genuine Irishwoman, and her fine countenance
beaming with benevolent joy at our successful beginning, and with
affectionate gratitude for my services, quite won my heart. I promised
to repeat the visit shortly, and on doing so accompanied her to walk
round the garden, at the other extremity of which stood a building which
I took for their school, and unhesitatingly mounted the stairs with my
sweet conductor. Judge what was my dismay when, on passing the folding
doors, I found myself in a splendid Popish chapel, opposite the altar,
over which shone a richly gilt cross, while my poor nun was prostrated
in the lowliest adoration, touching the ground with her forehead before
the senseless idol. I was confounded, and unable to say any thing; but
after a hasty glance at the fine trappings, left the place secretly
praying for grace and strength to protest openly against the abomination
from which my soul revolted with unspeakable horror from the moment of
my witnessing the act of idolatrous homage rendered to a thing of wood
and stone. On leaving the convent, I met a person who informed me that
my poor nun was a Protestant lady of high respectability, sprung from
one of those iniquitous mixed marriages, her mother belonging to the
established church, her father a Romanist, who, however, honestly
adhered to the terms of the wicked covenant by which the sons were to be
educated in his, the daughters in her persuasion. A family of daughters
were born to them, who, with their mother, continued nominally
Protestant; but after his death, when the house was filled with Romish
priests, performing for a week together their mummeries over the corpse,
these poor females had become a prey to the subtle perversions of the
ecclesiastics, and had openly apostatized, all save my new friend, who
with a better informed mind and more scriptural knowledge withstood
their sophistries, until sundry mock miracles performed by means of
saintly relics and a well-contrived nocturnal visitation from the ghost
of her father whom she fondly loved, had so unnerved and frightened her
that she too fell a prey to the delusion. They ended by admitting her
into the sisterhood of this convent, excusing the payment of the large
sum usually demanded; and as her darkness was now great in proportion to
the measure of light against which she had sinned, they found her a
valuable decoy-bird to draw others into the snare. I did not learn all
these particulars at the time, nor until after her decease, when I met
with a near family connection of hers who told them to me. I simply
gleaned the fact of her apostasy, with that of her abounding zeal in the
antichristian cause.

With all my heart I loved the gentle, affectionate, elegant nun, and
earnestly did I pray for help in bringing her back, as I was resolved to
do, from the path of destruction; and while I deliberated on the best
means of commencing the work, the difficulty was removed by her openly
attempting to convert me. To this end she urged on me a strict inquiry
into the real doctrines and tenets of her church, for myself and by
myself, promising to lend me books of the most candid character, if I
would engage to read them. I agreed, stipulating that I was freely to
write out my remarks on them for her consideration; and with this mutual
understanding, I brought home from the convent as a loan Dr. Milner's
"End of Controversy," furnished for my especial benefit by a seminary of
Jesuit priests, located near the town: and thus was I become the object
of a combined attack from the forces of great Babylon.

True to what I considered a tacit engagement to study the matter alone,
I read the book. Never shall I forget the effect it produced on me. I
seemed to be holding communion with Satan himself, robed as an angel of
light, the transparent drapery revealing his hideous form but baffling
my endeavors to rend it away. Such sophistry, such impudence of
unsupported assertion, such distortion of truth and gilding of gross
falsehood, I never met with. I tried in vain to find an answer to things
that I saw and felt to be antiscriptural and destructive; but this "End"
was the beginning of my controversy, for I was wholly new to it, and
ignorant of the historical and other facts necessary to disprove the
reverend author's bold assumptions. At last I burst into tears, and
kneeling down, exclaimed, "O Lord, I cannot unravel this web of
iniquity: enable me to cut it in twain." I was answered; for after a
little more thought, a broad view of the whole scheme of man's salvation
as revealed in the holy Scriptures appeared to me the best antidote for
this insidious poison. I read through the New Testament with increased
enjoyment, and casting from me the wretched fabric of lies, with all its
flimsy pretences, I resolved, instead of attempting a reply to what I
saw to be falsehood, to set forth a plain statement of what I knew to be
truth. Indeed it is indescribable how disgusting the painted face, the
gaudy trappings, and the arrogant assumptions of the great harlot
appeared in my eyes, when thus contrasted with the sublime simplicity,
purity, and modesty of the chaste spouse of Christ.

I wrote; and in reply got another and a smaller book, containing the
pretended reasons of a Protestant for embracing Popery. They were of
course artfully put, and made a formidable exhibition of the peril of
heresy. I thought I could not do better in return, while writing my
dissent, than to enclose some small books of my own to the nun, inviting
her comments thereon. This brought a letter which was probably written
by stealth, though so cautiously worded as to be safe if intercepted.
She said she did not wish to leave me under a wrong impression, and
therefore told me that she was not permitted to read any of my letters,
or the little books I had sent, as those who watched over her spiritual
interests and whom she was bound to obey, thought it wrong to unsettle
her mind by reading any thing contrary to the true faith which she held.
Here was a pretty exposure of one-sided honesty. I thanked God for the
further insight given me into the mystery of iniquity, and from that day
devoted all my powers to the investigation of that against which I had
become a stanch protester.

In the midst of our proceedings, a nun had taken the veil at the
convent. Every body almost, to their shame be it spoken, was trying for
tickets to the unhallowed show. My poor friend sent us two, informed me
that two of the best front seats would be reserved for us, and
accompanied her kind note with a programme of the ceremony and a
translation or transcription of the service, all in her own handwriting.
I felt deeply the pain of hurting her, and perhaps for a moment the
workings of natural curiosity, but the hesitation was short. I sent back
both books and tickets, with a grateful but decided refusal to be
present. In all Kilkenny I did not find a person who could go along with
me in my objections; but it is a matter of great joy to me to this hour,
that I kept myself wholly unpolluted by any participation in these
idolatrous doings; and I do believe that a double blessing has attended
my efforts against Popery in consequence of it.

The affair of the little deaf mute at the convent led me to turn my
attention to some poor children similarly circumstanced in the streets
of Kilkenny; and while prosecuting that work the Lord brought to me that
dear dumb boy whom you well remember as the brightest, most lovely of
Christian characters. He was then very little, and had a brother of
sixteen, one of the most genuine paddies I ever beheld. This lad was
living very idly; a fine, sensible, shrewd fellow, who could read and
write, and very soon made great proficiency in the finger language by
helping me to instruct Jack. No one above Pat's own rank had ever taken
any interest in him; I did, a strong one, and as he was much with me,
and of a character most intensely Irish, he became attached to my with a
warmth of devotion rarely met with among any other people.

One day Pat made his appearance with an important look, his brogues
stamping the carpet with unwonted energy, his fine bare throat stiffened
into a sort of dignified hauteur, and his very keen hazel eyes sparkling
under the bushy luxuriance of chestnut curls that clustered about his
face and fell on his neck. The very beau ideal of a wild Irish youth was
my friend Pat. Seating himself as usual, he began--and here I must
observe that my chief knowledge of the phraseology and turn of thought
so peculiar to the Irish peasant was derived from this source. Whenever
Pat came "to discourse me," I got rich lessons in the very brogue
itself, from the fidelity with which his spelling followed the
pronunciation of his words--"I wouldn't like," said he, "that you would
go to hell."

"Nor I either, Pat."

"But you are out of the thrue church, and you wont be saved, and I must
convart ye."

"That is very kind of you, my good lad. If I am wrong, you cannot do
better than set me right."

"Sure and I will."

"But how?"

"With this," said he, pulling out a small pamphlet nothing the cleaner
for wear. "You must learn my catechism, and it's you that will be the
good Catholic."

Delighted with the boy's honest zeal, I asked him where I should begin;
and he no less pleased at my docility, desired me to read it all, and
then get it all by heart. I promised to do the first at any rate; and Oh
what a tissue of falsehood and blasphemy that "Butler's Catechism" was.
Next morning my teacher came early: "Well, Pat, I have found out what
makes you anxious about me: here it is said that none can be saved out
of the true church."

"That's it, sure enough."

"But I do belong to the true church, and I'll show you what it is;" so I
pointed out to him two passages, and added, "Now, I do love our Lord
Jesus Christ in sincerity, and therefore I am one of those to whom St.
Paul wishes grace and peace; and do you think an apostle would send his
blessing to any body who was not of the true church?"

Pat shook his head: "That's _your_ catechism, not mine."

"Very true. Dr. Butler wrote yours, and God wrote mine," holding up the
Bible; "which is best?"

"That is not the real Bible," persisted Pat; "my priest has the true
Bible."

"Then ask him to lend you his."

"I wouldn't get my ears pulled, would I?" said he, smiling: "but if he
lent me his Bible he must lend me a car to bring it home in, for it's as
big as this table. Yours is too little, and doesn't hold half the truth.
That is why you are so ignorant."

I soon proved, by showing him Matthew. Henry's Commentary, that the word
of God would lie in a very small compass, the great bulk of the book
being man's work. I also urged on him the absolute necessity of reading
what God had given for our learning, and the danger of resting on man's
assertion.

Pat stood his ground most manfully, astonishing me by the adroitness
with which he parried my attacks, while pursuing, as he hoped, the good
work of my conversion. For many a day was the controversy carried on,
Butler _versus_ the Bible, without any other effect than that of
bringing Pat to read the sacred book for himself; but it opened to me
the awful wiles of darkness by which the poor and ignorant are blinded,
while for the more educated class such polished sophistry as Milner's is
carefully prepared. I reaped the fruit, however, six years afterwards,
when, in a little English church, Pat kneeled beside me and his brother,
a thankful communicant, at the Lord's table.



LETTER VIII.

THE DUMB BOY.


I turned my attention to the deaf and dumb children, whose situation was
deplorable indeed: I took four out of the streets to instruct them, of
whom one proved irreclaimably wild and vicious; two were removed by a
priest's order, lest I should infect them with heresy: the fourth was to
me a crown of rejoicing, and will be so yet more at "that day." * * *

John, or Jack as we always called him, was a puny little fellow, of
heavy aspect, and wholly destitute of the life and animation that
generally characterize that class, who are obliged to use looks and
gestures as a substitute for words. He seemed for a long while unable to
comprehend my object in placing before him a dissected alphabet, and
forming the letters into words significant of dog, man, hat, and other
short monosyllables; and when I guided his little hard hand to trace
corresponding characters on the slate, it was indeed a work of time and
patience to make him draw a single stroke correctly. His unmeaning grin
of good-natured acquiescence in whatever I bade him do, was more
provoking than downright rebellion could have been; and I secretly
agreed with my friends that the attempt would prove a complete failure,
while impelled, I hardly could tell how, to persevere with redoubled
efforts. Jack's uncouth bristly hair fell in a straight mass over one of
the finest foreheads ever seen, and concealed it. I happened one day to
put aside this mass, for the benefit of his sight, and was so struck
with the nobly expansive brow, that I exclaimed to a friend then in the
act of dissuading me from the work, "No; with such a forehead as this, I
can never despair of success."


      *       *       *       *       *

It was by a sudden burst that the boy's mind broke its prison and looked
around on every object as though never before beheld. All seemed to
appear in so new a light to him; curiosity, in which he had been
strangely deficient, became an eagerly active principle, and nothing
that was portable did he fail to bring to me, with an inquiring shake of
the head, and the word "what?" spelled by the fingers. It was no easy
matter, before we had mastered a dozen common substantives and no other
parts of speech, to satisfy his inquisitiveness, which I always
endeavored to do, because it is wrong to repress that indication of
dawning reason in a child, and Jack at eleven years old was in the
predicament of a mere infant. More especially was I puzzled when his
"what?" was accompanied by a motion pointing first at the dog, then to
himself, to learn wherein consisted the difference between two
creatures, both of whom, as he intimated, could eat, drink, sleep, and
walk about, could be merry or angry, sick or well; neither of whom could
talk; and yet, that there was a very great difference, he felt. The
noble nature of man, was struggling to assert its preeminence over the
irrational brute, which he, nevertheless, loved and feared too; for
Barrow was a splendid dog, and used to assist me very cleverly in
keeping my little wild Irish crew in order. Oh what a magnificent wreck
is man! I do love to watch the rapid approach of that glorious time
when, the six thousand years of his degradation beneath the reign of
Satan being fulfilled, he shall rise above the usurper's power, and
resume his high station among the brightest works of God.

I do not remember exactly how long after his first coming to me it was
that Jack began to inquire so diligently about God. He seemed full of
grave but restless thought, and then approaching me, pointed towards the
sun, and by a movement of the hands as if kneading something, asked me
whether I made it. I shook my head. Did my mother? No. Did Mr. Roe, or
Mr. Shaw--two Protestant clergymen--or the priest? He had a sign to
express each of these. No. Then "What? what?" with a frown and a stamp
of fretful impatience. I pointed upwards, with a look of reverential
solemnity, and spelled the word "God." He seemed struck, and asked no
more at that time, but next day he overwhelmed me with "whats," and
seemed determined to know more about it. I told him as well as I could,
that He of whom I spoke was great, powerful, and kind; and that he was
always looking at us. He smiled, and informed me he did not know how the
sun was made, for he could not keep his eyes on it; but the moon he
thought was like a dumpling, and sent rolling over the tops of the
trees, as he sent a marble across the table. As for the stars, they were
cut out with a large pair of scissors, and stuck into the sky with the
end of the thumb. Having thus settled his system of astronomy, he looked
very happy, and patted his chest with evident self-applause.

I was amused, but of course not satisfied: my charge was necessarily an
Atheist, and what I had told him was a very bare sort of Deism indeed.
To communicate more, however, seemed utterly impossible, until we should
have accomplished considerable things in the way of education. We had
not above a dozen of the commonest words--all names of things--to which
he could attach a meaning; and our signs were all of his own contriving,
which I had to catch and follow as I might. So said reason, but reason
is a fool. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God." "For my ways are not your ways,
neither are your thoughts my thoughts, saith the Lord." It pleased him
to enlighten the mind of the boy; and instead of that work being
dependent on human wisdom, all that human wisdom could do was to creep
after it at a modest distance.

Next day, Jack came to me in great wrath, intimating that my tongue
ought to be pulled out. This was his usual mode of accusation where a
lie had been told. So I looked innocent and said, "What?" He reminded me
of yesterday's conversation, telling me he had looked everywhere for
God: he had been down the street, over the bridge, into the churchyard,
through the fields, had peeped into the grounds of the castle, walked
past the barrack-yard, and got up in the night to look out at the
window. All in vain; he could not find God. _He saw nobody big enough
to put up his hand and stick the stars into the sky_. I was "bad," my
tongue must be pulled out; for there was "God, NO." And he repeated
"God, no," so often that it went to my heart.

I considered, prayerfully. My view of the scriptures told me that
without divine help none could really seek after God: and also that when
he vouchsafed to give the desire, he would surely increase knowledge.
Here was a poor afflicted boy getting out of his bed to look by night
for one whom he had vainly sought all the day: here was Satan at work to
strengthen unbelief: I was commanded to resist the devil, and surely
there must be some way of resisting him. I sat silent on the opposite
side of the fire, and a plan having struck me, I looked at Jack,
shrugged my shoulders and seemed convicted of a deception. He shook his
head at me, frowned, and appeared very much offended at my delinquency.
Presently I seized a small pair of bellows, and after puffing at the
fire for a while, suddenly directed a rough blast at his little red
hand, which hung very near it. He snatched it back, scowled at me, and
when again I repeated the operation, expressed great displeasure,
shivering, and letting me know he did not like it.

I renewed the puff, saying, "What?" and looking most unconscious of
having done any thing; he blew hard, and repeated that it made his hands
cold; that I was very bad, and he was very angry. I puffed in all
directions, looked very eagerly at the pipe of the bellows, peering on
every side, and then, explaining that I could see nothing, imitated his
manner, saying, "Wind? no!" shaking my head at him, and telling him his
tongue must come out, mimicking his looks of rebuke and offended virtue.
He opened his eyes very wide, stared at me and panted; a deep crimson
suffused his whole face, and a soul, a real soul shone in his strangely
altered countenance, while he triumphantly repeated, "God like wind! God
like wind!" He had no word for "like;" it was signified by holding the
two forefingers out, side by side, as a symbol of perfect resemblance.

Here was a step, a glorious step, out of absolute atheism into a perfect
recognition of the invisible God. An idea, to call it nothing more, new,
grand, and absorbing, took possession of his mind. I numbered seven
years of incessant care over him from that day; and I will fearlessly
assert that in his head and in his heart God reigned unrivalled. Even
before he knew him as God in Christ, the Creator and Preserver were
enthroned in his bosom; and every event of the day, every object that
met his view, gave rise to some touchingly simple question or remark
concerning God. He made me observe that when trying to look at the sun
he was forced to shut his eyes, adding, "God like sun." An analogy not
very traceable, though strictly just; for the glory that dazzled his
mind was not visible. He was perpetually engaged in some process of
abstract reasoning on every subject, and amazed me by explaining its
results; but how he carried it on without the intervention of words, was
and is a puzzle to me.

Previously he had been rather teasing to the dog and other inferior
creatures, and had a great desire to fish; but now he became most
exquisitely tender towards every living thing, moving his hand over them
in a caressing way, and saying, "God made." At first he excepted the
worms from this privilege, remarking that they came up through holes
from beneath the earth, while God was above, over the sky; therefore
they were not made by him; but I set him right, and he agreed that they
might be rolled up in the world, like meat in a pudding, and bite their
way out. Thenceforth, woe to the angler whom Jack detected looking for
live bait!

When my first pupil from being irregular in his attendance fell off more
and more, until he wholly discontinued coming, and the others were
withdrawn for fear of heretical infection, I became more anxious lest
this dear boy might also leave me before he had received the knowledge
of Jesus Christ. I had, at his earnest entreaty, taken him into the
house altogether, his home being at some distance; but I knew not how
long he might be permitted to stay. The ravages of a dreadful fever
among the poor, increased my solicitude to see my devout little Deist a
Christian. I have, in a small memoir of this "Happy Mute," related the
manner of his receiving the gospel, but I must not pass it over here. To
the glory of God's rich grace it shall be recorded, as one of the most
signal mercies ever vouchsafed to me. As before, the boy was led to open
the way, and in the faith of the Lord's willingness to reveal himself to
an inquiring soul, I followed it up.

Jack had noticed the number of funerals passing; he had occasionally
seen dead bodies placed in their coffins, and one evening he alluded to
it, asking me by significant gestures if they would ever open their eyes
again. Considering that he had often been present at the interment of
the dead, and had also witnessed the decay of animals cast out to
perish, it struck me as a singular question, plainly indicating that the
consciousness of immortality is natural to man, and unbelief in a future
state foreign to his untaught feelings. On the present occasion, my
heart being then lifted up in prayer for divine assistance on this very
point, I caught at the encouragement, and instantly proceeded to improve
the opportunity, I sketched on paper a crowd of persons, old and young;
near them a pit with flames issuing from it, and told him all those
people, among whom were we, had been "bad" and God would throw us into
the fire. When his alarm was greatly excited, I introduced into the
picture another individual, who I told him was God's Son; that he came
out of heaven; that he had not been bad, and was not to go in the pit;
but that he allowed himself to be killed; and when he died, God shut up
the pit; so the people were spared. This seemed to myself too strange,
vague, meagre, to convey any definite idea to the boy's mind; but how
effectual does the Lord make our poorest efforts when HE wills to work!
After a few moments' deep thought, Jack astonished me by an objection
that proved he saw the grand doctrine of a substitute for sinners, which
I was so hopeless of bringing before him. He told me the rescued people
were many; he who died was one, and his earnest "What?" with the
eloquent look that now peculiarly belonged to his once stupid
countenance, showed his anxiety for a solution of this difficulty.

With unutterable joy in my heart, but great composure of manner, I rose,
and taking from a vase a bunch of dead flowers, inadvertently left
there, I cut them into small bits, laid them in a heap on the table, and
beside them my gold ring: then pointing to each, with the words "many-
one," I asked which he would rather have? He struck his hand suddenly to
his forehead, then clapped both hands, gave a jump as he sat, and with
the most rapturous expression of countenance intimated that the one
piece of gold was better than the room full of dead flowers With great
rapidity he applied the symbol, pointing to the picture, to the ring, to
himself, to me, and finally to heaven. In the last position he stood up
and paused for some time, and what a picture he would have made! A smile
perfectly angelic beaming on his face, his eyes sparkling and dancing
with delight, until, with a rush of tears that quite suffused them, he
gazed at me, then again raised them to the ceiling, his look softened
into an expression of deep awe and unbounded love, while he gently
spelled on his fingers, "Good ONE, good ONE!" and ended by asking me his
name.

"How sweet the name of Jesus sounds In a believer's ear!"

Jack was not to hear that name with his bodily ears until the voice of
the archangel and the trump of God should call him from sleeping in the
dust of the earth; but he received it into his mind, and the gospel, the
glorious, everlasting gospel, into his soul, and the Holy Spirit into
his heart, without the intervention of that sense. In that hour it was
given unto him to believe, and from that hour all things were his--the
world, life, death, and a bright immortality. Never but once before had
I laid my head on the pillow with such an overwhelming sense of perfect
happiness. The Lord had indeed shown me his glory, by causing his
goodness to pass before me.

Henceforth I had a Christian brother in my little dumb charge: his love
to Jesus Christ was fervent and full; his thoughts about him most
beautiful. By degrees, I gave him some knowledge of our Lord's mortal
birth, his infancy, work, death, resurrection, and ascension; together
with his coming to final judgment at the end of the world. * * *

Very great indeed was Jack's emotion when he discovered that the Saviour
in whom he was rejoicing was the object represented by the image he had
been taught to bow down before. He resented it deeply: I was quite
alarmed at the sudden and violent turn his feelings took against Popery.
* * * He spurned the whole system from him, as soon as the light of the
gospel fell upon its deformities.

Returning from the chapel one day, soon after this, he came up to me
under great excitement: he took up a clothes-brush, set it on one end,
and with a ludicrous grimace bowed down before it, joining his hands in
the attitude of prayer and chattering after his fashion; then asking the
brush if it could hear him, waiting in an attitude of attention for its
reply, and finally knocking it over and kicking it round the room,
saying, "Bad god, bad god!" I guessed pretty well what it was all about;
but as he concluded by snapping his fingers exultingly and seating
himself without further remark, I spoke on other subjects.

Next morning, Jack was very animated, and came to me with an evident
budget of new thoughts. He told me something very small came out of the
ground, pointing in opposite directions; it grew: and then two more
points appeared. I found he was describing the growth of a plant, and
expecting some question, was all attention; but Jack was come to teach,
not to learn. He soon showed that his tree had reached a great height
and size; then he made as if shouldering a hatchet, advanced to the tree
and cut it down. Next came a great deal of sawing, chopping, planing,
and shaping, until he made me understand he had cut out a crucifix,
which he laid by, and proceeded to make a stool, a box, and other small
articles; after which he gathered up the chips, flung them on the fire,
and seemed to be cheering himself in the blaze. I actually trembled at
the proceeding; for where had he, who could not form or understand half
a sentence, where had _he_ learned the Holy Spirit's testimony as
recorded by Isaiah?

The sequel was what I anticipated: he feigned to set up the imaginary
crucifix, and preparing to pray before it, checked himself, saying,
"No;" then with animated seriousness reverted to the springing up of the
little seedling, saying, "God made;" and as it grew, he described the
fashioning of the trunk and branches and leaves most gracefully, still
saying "God made;" he seemed to dip a pencil in color, to paint the
leaves, repeating, "God made beautiful!" Then, that God made his hands
too; and he came to the conclusion that the tree which God made, cut out
by his hands which God made, could not be God who made them. Then he got
very angry, and not satisfied with an unsubstantial object for his holy
indignation to vent itself upon, he ran for the clothes-brush, and gave
it a worse cuffing and kicking than before; ending with a solemn inquiry
whether I worshipped crosses, etc., when I went to church.

I trembled to give the encouragement I longed to bestow. However, I
distinctly intimated my detestation of idolatry, and confirmed his
strong repudiation of it. He told me he would not go any more to chapel,
but I told him, as well as I _could_, the almost certain
consequences, and he then remembered that other boys had told him those
who ate meat on Fridays would go to hell. He became greatly distressed
as the next Sabbath approached, but contrary to all my expectations
returned from mass in excellent spirits. Pat told me, laughing, that
Jack was become so musical he insisted on going to sit by the organ,
that he might feel the vibration; and when alone with me, Jack joyfully
told me that he had run up the stairs from the outer door to the organ-
loft, and so escaped even the necessity of bowing down to the cross.
This plan he persisted in from that day. Some years afterwards I asked
his brother if he had any suspicion at the time of the boy's object in
so doing: he answered, None at all; and that if he had, he would have
forced him into the body of the mass-house, and compelled him to
prostrate himself.


      *       *       *       *       *

Early in the summer of 1824, I received a summons to return to England.
It was most unwelcome, for my heart was knit to Ireland, and to share
the lot of her devoted people was its earnest desire. At home I had many
old friends; but what were they to the beloved brethren and sisters in
Christ, who had been my fellow-helpers for the last four years in the
work of the Lord? All ties were weak to that, save one, the tie that
bound me to my beloved brother. Him I had not seen for nine years: he
had continued on the staff of the Portuguese army until the
establishment of the Cortes, who dismissed all British officers; and
then he settled in the interior of that country, cultivating some of the
land which he had gallantly fought to rescue. It was a subject of
continual sorrow to me that he was residing in the heart of an
exclusively Popish country, far from every means of grace; not even a
place of worship within many leagues, and wholly shut out from Christian
intercourse. I knew that he had been equally dark with myself on the
subject of religion; and truly can I say, that from the very hour of my
being enabled to see the truth as it is in Jesus, my life had been a
constant prayer for him, that God would make him a partaker in the like
precious faith. There was now a prospect of his returning, and this
added to the summons I have mentioned, made my way plain. The state of
Jack's mind, too, on the subject of Popery, helped to reconcile me,
since I had made up my mind to take him with me if his parents would
agree to it. There was no difficulty in bringing them to do so; they
gave a willing, a grateful consent. His mother's words, while tears
rolled down her cheeks, were, "Take him; he is more your child than
ours." His father remarked, "Why shouldn't we let him go with you,
seeing he would grieve to death if you left him behind?" When I began to
state that I could not promise he would not openly embrace my religion,
they interrupted me, repeating that he was my child more than theirs,
and could never come to any harm under my care. Coward as I was, I did
not use the opportunity then given to set before them their own danger,
and commend the pure faith that I knew their child held. I had
occasionally talked in a general way, and once very strongly, when the
mother told me of the dreadful penances she had done, walking on her
bare knees over a road strewed with pebbles, glass, and quicklime, to
make her sufferings greater, in order to obtain from God and the saints
the restoration of the boy's hearing and speech. She was then pleading
the power and holiness of her clergy, and their superiority to all the
rest of the world. I looked from the window, and said, "See, there goes
your bishop; now do you think this bright sun warms him more than it
does any Protestant walking beside him?" "Troth, and I am sure it does,"
answered she. "What, do you think he has any particular advantage over
other men in things that are common to all?" "That he has, being a holy
bishop." "Well, now, if I call him up, and we all put our fingers
together between these bars, do you think the fire would burn him less
than us?" She hesitated; her husband burst into a laugh, and archly
said, "I'll engage his reverence wouldn't try that same."

I was now to bid adieu to my pleasant haunts, chief among which was the
lordly castle of Kilkenny, where I had passed so very many delightful
hours. Its noble owners were abroad, but by their favor I had a key to
the private door beside the river, and full access to every part of the
castle and its beautiful grounds. It was there I used to muse on days of
Ireland's bygone greatness, though not then well read in her peculiar
history, and gradually I had become as Irish as any of her own children.
How could it be otherwise? I was not naturally cold-hearted, though
circumstances had, indeed, greatly frozen the current of my warm
affections, and I had learned to look with comparative indifference on
whatever crossed my changeful path; but no one with a latent spark of
kindly feeling can long repress it among the Irish. There is an ardor of
character, an earnestness in their good will, a habit of assimilating
themselves to the tastes and habits of those whom they desire to please
--and that desire is very general--that wins on the affections of those
who possess any, a grateful regard, and leaving on the scenes that have
witnessed such intercourse, a sunshine peculiar to themselves. Reserve
of manner cannot long exist in Irish society. I have met with some among
the people of the land, who were cold and forbidding, insensible and
unkind, but these were exceptions, establishing the rule by the very
disagreeable contrast in which they stood out from all around them; and
I never found these persons in the humbler classes, where the unmixed
Irish prevails. Hospitality is indeed the polestar of Ireland; go where
you will, it is always visible; but it shines the brightest in the poor
man's cabin, because the potato that he so frankly, so heartily, so
gracefully presses upon your acceptance is selected from a scanty heap,
barely sufficient to allay the cravings of hunger in himself and his
half-clad little ones. In this, as in all other particulars, a change
for the worse has come over the people of late; priestly authority has
interposed to check the outgoings of kindness from a warm-hearted people
to those who are indeed their friends, and a painful, reluctant
restraint is laid upon them; but the evil had not become evident at the
time of my sojourn there, and I can only speak of them as the most
respectful, most courteous and hospitable peasantry in the world.

At the same time they were in many respects the most degraded. Nothing
could equal the depth of their abasement before an insolent priesthood,
except the unblushing effrontery with which the latter lorded it over
them. For any infraction of their arbitrary rules, the most cruel and
humiliating penances were imposed. I knew an instance of a young woman,
a Romanist, who engaged in the service of a Protestant family, and went
out with them to America. While there, she was led to join in family
worship, but without any intention of forsaking her own creed; neither
had they attempted to draw her out of the net. On her return to Kilkenny
she went to confession, and among other things divulged the fact of
having heard the Bible read, and prayed in company with heretics. This
was an enormity too great for the priest to deal with alone; so he
ordered the girl off, fasting, to her original confessor, who then
officiated in a chapel seven good Irish miles distant. On hearing the
case, he ordered her to go thrice round the chapel on her bare knees,
and then to set off, still fasting, and walk back to Kilkenny, there to
undergo such additional penance as his reverend brother should see good
to impose. The poor creature scarcely reached the town alive, through
fatigue, exhaustion, and terror; she was ill for some time, and on her
recovery subjected to further discipline. These particulars I had from
one of her own friends and a bigoted Papist to boot, who told it in
order to convince me that the girl had committed a very great sin.

I once asked a young man how he got on at confession--whether he told
all his sins. He replied, "Sometimes I disremember a few, and if the
priest, suspects it, he pulls my hair and boxes my ears, to help my
memory." "And how do you feel when you have got absolution?" "I feel all
right; and I go out and begin again." "And how do you know that God has
really pardoned you?" "He doesn't pardon me directly; only the priest
does. He, the priest, confesses my sins to the bishop, and the bishop
confesses them to the pope, and the pope sees the Virgin Mary every
Saturday night, and tells her to speak to God about it." "And you really
believe this monstrous story?" "Why shouldn't I? But it is no affair of
mine, for, once I have confessed, all my sins are laid on the priest,
and he must do the best he can to get rid of them. I am safe." Of such
materials is the net composed that holds these people in bondage; and
who can marvel that such prostration of mind before a fellow-mortal
should lead to an abject slavery of the whole man, body, conscience, and
understanding? We see the effects, and abhor them; but we do not go to
the root of the matter.

The priest himself is equally enslaved; his oath binds him to an
implicit blind reception of tenets which he is not permitted to
investigate, and which make him the pliant tool of a higher department
of this detestable machinery. He receives his cue from the bishops, and
they are wholly governed by the Propaganda at Rome, whither each of them
is bound periodically to appear for personal examination and fresh
instructions. The Propaganda is, of course, the _primum mobile_ of
the system, set agoing by Satan himself. Hence the mischief that is
perpetrated by the unhappy beings who form the operative section of this
cunning concern--the handicraft men of blood. It is an awful spectacle,
and one that we cannot long avert our eyes from contemplating with the
deep interest that personal peril excites. All is preparing for a burst
of persecution against the people of the Lord, and happy is he who shall
be found armed with watching.



LETTER IX.

ENGLAND.


We started for Dublin with sorrowing hearts, for it was likely to be a
long, if not a last farewell to friends who were endeared as well by a
participation in danger as in feeling. * * *

Jack had never before been beyond the environs of his native town, and I
expected to see him much astonished by the splendid buildings of Dublin.
He regarded them however with indifference, because, as he said, they
were not "God-mades;" while the scenery through which we had travelled,
particularly the noble oaks on Colonel Bruen's fine demesne, and the
groups of deer reclining beneath their broad shadow, roused him to
enthusiasm. It was wonderful to trace the exquisite perception of beauty
as developed in that boy, who had never even been in a furnished room
until he came to me. His taste was refined, and his mind delicate beyond
belief: I never saw such sensitive modesty as he manifested to the last
day of his life. Rudeness of any kind was hateful to him; he not only
yielded respect to all, but required it towards himself, and really
commanded it by his striking propriety of manner. He was, as a dear
friend once remarked, a "God-made" gentleman, untainted with the
slightest approach to any thing like affectation or coxcombry: indeed he
ridiculed the latter with much comic effect: and the words "Dandy Jack,"
would put him out of conceit with any article of apparel that drew forth
the remark. He would answer the taunt with a face of grave rebuke,
saying, "Bad Mam, bold Mam; Jack dandy? no; Jack poor boy." He had not,
indeed, arrived at so copious a vocabulary when we left his home; but he
was rapidly acquiring new words.

It was beautiful to see him at prayer. He had never kneeled down with us
at Kilkenny; for any Romanist who had detected him doing so must have
informed, and the priest would have commanded his removal. In Dublin he
volunteered to join us, and as he kneeled with clasped hands, looking up
towards heaven, the expression of his countenance was most lovely. A
smile of childlike confidence and reverential love played over his
features, now becoming most eloquent; his bristly hair had begun to
assume a silky appearance, and was combed aside from a magnificent brow,
while a fine color perpetually mantled his cheeks and changed with every
emotion; his dark hazel eyes, large, and very bright, always speaking
some thought that occupied his mind. He was rather more than twelve
years old. In profile, he much resembled Kirke White when older; but the
strongest likeness I ever saw of him is an original portrait of Edward
VI., by Holbein, in my possession.

It was taken after consumption had set its seal on the countenance of
that blessed young king, as it did on that of my dear dumb boy.

In Dublin, he had one adventure that afforded him much enjoyment. I went
into an extensive toy-shop to make some purchase, and Jack, enchanted
with the wonders around him, strolled to the further end, and into a
little adjoining recess, well filled with toys. A great uproar in that
direction made us all run to inquire the cause, and there was Jack,
mounted on a first-rate rocking-horse, tearing away full gallop, and
absolutely roaring out in the maddest paroxysm of delight, his hat
fallen off, his arm raised, his eyes and mouth wide open, and the
surrounding valuables in imminent peril of a general crash. The mistress
of the shop was so convulsed with laughter that she could render no
assistance, and it was with some difficulty I checked his triumphant
career, and dismounted him. He gave me afterwards a diverting account of
his cautious approach to the "good horse;" how he ascertained it was
"bite, no; kick, no:" and gradually got resolution to mount it. He
wanted to know how far he had rode, and also if he was a God-made? I
told him it was wood, but I doubt whether he believed me. Thenceforth
Dublin was associated in his mind with nothing else; even at nineteen
years of age he would say, if he met with the name, "Good Dublin, good
horse; small Jack love good Dublin horse." The shipping pleased him
greatly, and many of his beautiful drawings were representations of
sailing vessels.

I had now been in Ireland five years and three months; and with what
different feelings did I prepare to leave its green shores from those
with which I first pressed them. Unfounded prejudice was succeeded by an
attachment founded on close acquaintance with those among whom I had
dwelt, contempt by respect, and dislike by the warmest, most grateful
affection. I had scorned her poverty, and hated her turbulence. The
first I now knew to be no poverty of soil, of natural resources, of
mind, talent, or energy, but the effect of a blight, permitted to rest
alike on the land and people, through the selfishness of an unjust,
crooked policy, that made their welfare of no account in its
calculations, nor would stretch forth a hand to deliver them from the
dark dominion of Popery. Their turbulence was the natural fruit of such
poverty, and of their being wholly under the influence of a party
necessarily hostile to the interests of a Protestant state, and bent on
subverting its ascendency. What Ireland was, I too plainly saw: what she
might be, I clearly understood; and the guilt of my country's
responsibility lay heavy on my heart as I watched the outline of her
receding coast.

Bristol was our destination; and for the ensuing year, Clifton became
our abode. This period of my life was one of severe trial, which it is
not necessary to particularize. Incipient derangement, which afterwards
became developed, in a quarter where, if I did not find comfort and
protection, I might expect their opposites, occasioned me much alarm and
distress, while my brother's protracted absence increased the trial.
Much secluded, I pursued my literary avocations, and watched the
progress of Jack's growth in knowledge and in grace. * * *

My sojourn at Clifton brought me into personal acquaintance with that
venerable servant of God, Hannah More. We had for some time
corresponded, and she had afforded me great encouragement in my humble
labors, taking an especial interest in my attempts to instruct the deaf
and dumb children. I had now the pleasure of showing her the progress
made with Jack, who delighted her greatly, and who, to the last day of
his mortal existence, most fondly cherished the memory of that sweet old
lady. She was, indeed, one of the excellent of the earth, permitted long
to beautify the church which she had so mainly helped to strengthen and
advance, and to be an honor to the land where she had nobly stood forth
to repel the assaults of revolutionizing impiety. I often wonder that so
little stress is laid upon this branch of Mrs. More's extensive labors.
We hear much of her schools, her charities, her letters, her devotional
and educational publications, and all of these deserve the full
celebrity that they have attained. But England should especially bear in
mind her effective championship of the good cause, by means most
admirably adapted to its furtherance among the most dangerous, and
generally speaking the most unapproachable class--a class who
congregated in ale-houses to hear the inflammatory harangues of
seditious traitors, while as yet Bibles were scarce, religious tracts
not in existence, and district visiting unthought of. In a lady of
refined taste, and rare accomplishments in the higher style of writing,
to volunteer in a work so new, and to furnish the press with a series of
plain truths dressed in a most homely phrase, rendered attractive by
lively narrative and even drollery, and the whole brought down to the
level of coarse, uninformed minds, while circulated in a form to come
within the narrow means of the lowest mechanics--this was an enterprise
worthy especial note, even had not God openly blessed it to the turning
of that formidable tide. When I looked upon the placid but animated
countenance of the aged saint, as she sat in her bow-window looking out
upon the fair fields, the still inviolate shores of her beloved country,
I thought more of her "Cheap Repository Tracts" than of all her other
works combined. There lay the Bristol Channel, that noble inlet to our
isle, by which the commerce of the world was even then finding its
peaceful way to the great mart of Bristol; and there sat the aged lady,
so long the presiding spirit of the place, with one hand, as it were,
gathering the lambs of the flock into green pastures among the distant
hills, that formed a beautiful feature in the landscape; with the other
vigorously repulsing the wolf from the field. If I could have
discovered, which I could not, a single trait of consciousness that she
was a distinguished being, exalted into eminence by public acclaim, I
must have conceived her to be dwelling upon this branch of her many
privileges, that she had been a Deborah where many a Barak shrunk from
the post of honor and skulked behind a woman. She took that lively
interest in the public, secular affairs of her country that Jeremiah and
Ezekiel did of old; and on the same plain ground--that where the state
professes to be modelled and the executive to act on principles of God's
instilling, with a view that peace and happiness, truth and justice,
religion and piety, may be established among us, nothing done by the
state can be indifferent to the church, or unworthy the anxious watchful
regard of Christians. To be called a carnal politician by those whose
minds, at least on religious subjects, could contain, but one idea, was
certainly a light affliction to balance against the joyous consciousness
of having materially aided in preserving those cavillers' homes from the
hand of the spoiler, and their Bibles from that of the Atheist.

When I saw Hannah More, she was really at ease in her possessions; and
none who loved her less than the Lord himself did, would have laid a
sorrow upon her grey hairs. Man would have decreed that such a full-ripe
shock of corn should be brought into the garner without further ruffling
or shaking. She had suffered exceedingly from rheumatism and other
ailments, and yet more from the tongue of calumny and the hand of
ingratitude. She was an illustration of that striking couplet,

  "Envy will merit as its shade pursue,
  And, like the shadow, prove the substance true."

She had, however, triumphed over all by meekly committing her cause to
Him who judgeth righteously; and now she seemed to be placed beyond the
reach of further molestation, and about to end her useful life in peace.
But she had another lesson to give to the people of God, another fire in
which to glorify him: and not long after I saw her reclining in that
lovely retreat which had grown up about her, a perfect bower from slips
and seeds of her own planting, as she delighted to tell us, she was
actually driven out of her little paradise, compelled to leave the
shadow of her nursling trees, and to cast a tearful farewell look on the
smiling flowers, and to turn away from the bright sea and the waving
line of her Cheddar hills, to find a lodging in the neighboring town;
and all through treachery, domestic treachery against her whose whole
life had been a course of unsparing beneficence towards others. Hannah
More perhaps needed to be again reminded, that she must do all her works
"as to the Lord," looking to him alone for acceptance of them; or if she
needed it not, others did; and often since she entered into her
Saviour's presence, "to go no more out," has the scene of the last trial
to which her generous, confiding, affectionate spirit was subjected,
been blessed to the consolation of others. God's children find that it
is good for themselves that they should be afflicted; but they do not
always remember how good it is for the church, that they should be so.
They look within, and seeing so much there daily, "justly deserving
God's wrath and condemnation," they lie still in his hand, willing and
thankful to have the dross purged out, and the tin taken away. Their
fellows look on, and not seeing the desperate wickedness of their
hearts, but fondly believing them to be as near perfection as human
frailty will permit, they argue, "If such a saint as ---- be thus
chastened and corrected, what must a sinner like me expect?" So they
learn watchfulness and fear in the day of prosperity; and when adversity
comes, they are enabled more lovingly to kiss the rod. Oh, if we could
see but a little of the Lord's dealings, in all their bearings, how
should we praise him for his goodness and the wonders that he doeth unto
the children of men. What profit, what pleasure has he in afflicting us?
Surely it is, so to speak, more trouble to correct than to leave us
alone; and he would not twine the small cords into a scourge, unless to
cleanse and sanctify his temple.

I have said that my brother's return home was delayed. A hurt received
in shooting, with its consequences, detained him in Lisbon nearly a
year; but his family came over, and I had a new delicious employment, a
solace under many sorrows, an unfailing source of interest and delight,
in teaching his eldest surviving boy the accomplishments of walking and
talking. I almost expected Jack to be jealous of such a rival, but I
wronged him: nothing could exceed his fondness for "baby boy," or the
zeal of his Irish devotion to the little gentleman. Knowing that in the
event of my removal, Jack must earn his bread by some laborious or
servile occupation, I had kept him humble. He ate in the same room with
us, because I never suffered him to associate with servants; but at a
side-table; and he was expected to do every little household work that
befitted his age and strength. A kind shake of the hand, morning and
evening, was his peculiar privilege; and the omission a punishment too
severe to be inflicted, except on occasions of most flagrant
delinquency, such as rebelling against orders, or expressing any angry
emotion, to which he was constitutionally liable, by yells and howls
that almost frightened our hosts from their propriety. He had, of
course, no idea of the strength of his own lungs, nor of the effect
produced by giving them full play in a fit of passion; but the commotion
into which it threw the whole house seemed to flatter his vanity, and he
became a vocalist on very trifling occasions. This neither agreed with
our dear invalid landlady, nor was a fitting example for "baby boy," who
speedily tried his own little treble in admiring imitation of Jack's
deafening bass; and recourse was at last had to the aid of a young
friend, who bestowed a few gentle raps on his head with the bent end of
a hooked cane, and then locked him up in a dark kitchen for half an
hour, saying to me, rather regretfully, "I suppose my popularity is at
an end now. Poor fellow, I shall be sorry to lose his affection." But
this was so far from being the case, that to his closing scene Jack
retained a grateful remembrance of the proceeding. He used to say, "Good
Mr. W----; good little stick beat Jack's head; made bad Jack good. Jack
love good Mr. W----." At the very time, as soon as he saw his kind
corrector after the business, he very gracefully and cordially thanked
him, kissing his hand, with a bow, and saying, "Jack no more cry;" and
as he really was hardly touched, and full well knew we had not the heart
to be severe, it was a proof of that openness to rebuke which is a
lovely mark of true Christianity.

Montgomery beautifully says,

  "Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
  The Christian's native air."

And so it eminently was with the dumb boy. Under every form of condition
and circumstance, in health and sickness, in joy, in grief, in danger,
in perplexity--over his food, his studies, his work, his amusements, he
was ever turning a look of peculiar sweetness on me, with the two words,
"Jack pray." He always smiled when so engaged, and a look of
inexpressible eagerness, mingled with satisfaction and the triumph of
one who feels that he has taken a secure stand, told me when he was
praying, without any change of position, or looking up. There was always
a mixture of anxiety in his aspect when he tried to make himself
understood by his fellow-creatures; this gave place to something the
reverse of anxiety when he was "talking to God," as he sometimes
expressed it. He oftener looked down than up; and very often did I see
his eye fixed upon the "baby boy," when, as his looks bespoke, and as he
afterwards told me, he was "tell God" about him, and that he was too
little to know about Jesus Christ yet. Many a prayer of that grateful
dumb boy even now descends in blessings on the head of my brother's
"baby," and long may the hallowed stream continue to flow down, until
they rejoice together before the throne of the Lamb.

One of Jack's lovely thoughts was this: he told me that when little
children began to walk, Jesus Christ held them by the hand to teach
them; and that if they fell, he put his hand between their heads and the
ground to prevent their being hurt. Then, as if he saw this proceeding,
he would look up, and with the fondest expression say, "_Good_
Jesus Christ, Jack very much loves Jesus Christ." I hope you are not
tired of Jack; I have much to tell about him. God made me the humble
means of plucking this precious brand from the burning; and I owe it to
the Lord to show what a tenfold blessing I reaped in it. Jack was not
the only one of whom He has, in the dispensations of his providence,
said to me, "Nurse this child for me, and I will give thee thy wages." I
have found him a noble Paymaster.

And now I come to a period of my life that I have scarcely courage to go
over. Many and sharp and bitter were the trials left unrecorded here;
and shame be to the hand that shall ever DARE to lift the veil that
tender charity would cast over what was God's doing, let the instruments
be what and who they might. It is enough to say, that even now I know
there was not one superfluous stroke of the rod, nor one drop of bitter
that could have been spared from the wholesome cup. Besides, he dealt
most mercifully with me; those two rich blessings, health and
cheerfulness, were never withdrawn. I had not a day's illness through
years of tribulation; and though my spirits would now and then fail, it
was but a momentary depression; light and buoyant, they soon danced on
the crest of the wave that had for an instant ingulfed them.

It is of joy I have to tell: safety, peace, prosperity, under the
restored sunshine that had made my early career so bright. Never did a
sister more fondly love a brother; never was a brother more formed to be
the delight, the pride, the blessing of a sister. He was of most rare
beauty from the cradle, increasing in loveliness as he grew up, and
becoming the very model of a splendid man; very tall, large, commanding,
with a face of perfect beauty, glowing, animated, mirthful--a gait so
essentially military, that it was once remarked by an officer, "If B----
were disguised as a washerwoman, any soldier would give him the salute."
He had also served in the Peninsula with the highest possible credit,
regarded by those in command as one of the best officers in the service,
and most ardently loved by the men under him. Many a bloody battle-field
had he seen; but never did a wound reach him. On one occasion--at
Albuhera--his gallant regiment went into action 800 strong, and on the
following day only 96 men were able to draw rations. He became on the
field a lieutenant, from being the youngest ensign; and alike in all
circumstances he shone out as an honor to his profession. He had also
been an especial favorite with John VI. of Portugal, and the high polish
of a court was superadded to all the rest, without in the smallest
degree changing the exceedingly playful, unaffected joyousness of the
most sunshiny character I ever met with.

Ten years' absence had produced the effect on my sisterly love that
Burns describes:

  "Time but th' impression stronger makes,
  As streams their channels deeper wear."

I had also many personal reasons for looking forward to his return with
peculiar anxiety; and its uncertainty increased the feeling. I had been
spending the day with a sick friend, and ran home at night to the
lodging occupied by my mother and myself, and there I found my brother.
What a dream those ten years' trials appeared!

We remained but a short time in Clifton, and soon bent our way towards
the metropolis, where he expected, as is usual, to dance a long and
wearisome attendance on the Horse Guards, for a regimental appointment.
He had refused that of aid-de-camp to king John, with any military rank
and title that he might desire; preferring a half-pay unattached company
in the British, to any thing that a foreign service could offer; but he
was mistaken: his merits were well known to the Duke of York, and before
he could well state to Sir Herbert Taylor his wishes, that estimable man
told him he had only to select out of two or three regiments lately
returned from foreign service, and he would be gazetted on the following
Tuesday. He chose the 75th, and was immediately appointed to it, with
leave to study for two years in the senior department of the Military
college at Sandhurst, the better to qualify himself for a future staff
situation.

A sweet cottage, standing isolated on the verge of Bagshot-heath,
sheltered by tall trees and opening on a beautiful lawn, with a distant
but full view of the college, became our abode. A delightful room was
selected for me, with an injunction to sit down and make the most of my
time while he was in the halls of study, that I might be at leisure to
walk, to ride, to garden, to farm with him--my brother--my restored
brother, whose eye beamed protection, and whose smile diffused gladness,
and whose society was what in our happy childhood it had ever been, just
instead of all the world to me. If one thing was wanting, and wanting it
was, to knit us in a tie more enduring than any of this world's bonds
could possibly be, that very sense of want furnished a stimulus to more
importunate prayer on his behalf. Some of the good people who for lack
of a relay of ideas borrow one of their neighbors and ride it to death,
treated me to a leaf from the book of Job's comforters, when the
calamity fell on me of that precious brother's death, by telling me I
had made an idol of him. It was equally false and foolish. An idol is
something that either usurps God's place, or withdraws our thoughts and
devotions from him. The very reverse of this was my case. I had an
additional motive for continually seeking the Lord, not only in prayer
for the enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit on behalf of one so
dear, but also for grace to walk most circumspectly myself, lest I
should cast any stumbling-block in his way, or give him occasion to
suspect that my religious profession was a name, and not a reality. That
was surely a profitable idol which kept me always prayerful before God,
watchful over myself, diligent in the discharge of duties, and in
continual thanksgiving for the mercies I had received. Do I repent
loving my brother so well? I wish it had been possible to love him
better. These warm affections of the heart are among the sweetest relics
of a lost Eden, and I would sooner tear up the flowers that God has left
to smile in our daily path through a sin-blighted wilderness, far sooner
than I would cease to cherish, to foster, to delight in the brighter,
sweeter flowers of domestic love, carried to the full extent of all its
endearing capabilities.

The Lord knoweth our frame; he deals with us not according to what we
are not, but according to what we are. He sets before us various duties,
and to the end that we may the better fulfil them, he gives us aids not
contrary to, but accordant with our natural feelings. Men set up a
standard, often a just and scriptural one, to which they sorrowfully
confess that because of the weakness of their nature they cannot
themselves attain; but according to which they sternly judge their
neighbors. A person has a path assigned to him, a steep ascent strewed
with thorns and crowded with obstacles, before which he often pauses and
waxes faint. God gives him a companion for his way, even as he sent
forth the disciples two and two, and the pilgrim is cheered. He quickens
his pace; another besides himself will be benefited by his progress, and
if he fails, another will suffer in his loss. So he goes on thankful,
rejoicing, and endued with double energy for the toilsome achievement.
But he sees a neighbor to whom the Lord has also granted help through
human means, perhaps not exactly similar to that which he has received;
he sees his neighbor likewise openly rejoicing in the possession of such
a staff; and bringing him to the tests of that perfect law which
requires an entire devotedness to and dependence on the Lord, he raises
a cry of "mixed motives," "the arm of flesh," "idolatry," and so forth.
No doubt he is so far right, that perverse humanity will ever abuse
God's gifts, and often make them occasions of sin; but this outcry of
the beam against the mote, which is so grievously prevalent in the
religious world, is very unseemly. Oh, how infinitely more tender is the
Lord to us than we to one another.

Hitherto, many impediments had been thrown in the way of my literary
labors. Anxiety, apprehension, and the restlessness of feeling resulting
from a continual change of abode, had broken the train of thought, and
rendered my work very uncertain. Indeed, it would often have been wholly
inadequate to my support, but for the watchful kindness of friends whom
the Lord raised up to me, foremost among whom always stood the estimable
Mr. Sandford, who never ceased to regard me with paternal affection and
care. To he wholly independent was the first earthly wish of my heart;
and now a fair opportunity was given of testing my willingness to labor
diligently. The result was so far, satisfactory, that in the course of
the two years and two months of my residence under my brother's roof, I
wrote the Rockite, the System, Izram, Consistency, Perseverance, Allen
McLeod, Zadoc, and upwards of thirty little books and tracts, besides
contributions to various periodicals. I was going on most prosperously,
when an attempt was suddenly made from another quarter to establish a
claim to the profits of my pen. The demand was probably legal, according
to the strict letter of existing statutes, though circumstances would
have weighed strongly in my favor. But it greatly reduced the value of
my copyrights for the time being, and I found myself checked in my
career at a juncture when it was especially my desire to go on steadily.
This brought upon me two temptations, the force of which was greatly
increased by the circumstances under which they found me.



LETTER X.

SANDHURST.


When I first began to write, it was with a simple desire to instruct the
poor in the blessed truths of the gospel. My own situation soon rendered
it needful to turn the little talent I possessed to account. This I did,
still keeping in view the grand object of promoting God's glory; and my
attempts having been well received, I found a ready market for whatever
I wrote, so that the name was considered a sufficient guarantee for the
book. Now, I could no longer safely use that name, and anonymous writing
became the only feasible plan. A friend, who did not look upon the main
subject in the light that I did, made, through my brother, a proposal
that I should become a contributor to the most popular magazine of the
day, supplying tales, etc., the purport of which was to be as moral as I
pleased, but with no direct mention of religion. The terms offered were
very high: the strict _incognito_ to be preserved would secure me
from any charge of inconsistency, and coming as it did when my regular
source of income was suddenly closed, and when the idea of being
burdensome to my generous brother with his increasing family was hardly
supportable, it was thought I could not demur.

Nevertheless, I did; the Lord in his gracious providence had said to me,
"Go work to-day In my vineyard," and I had for upwards of four years
enjoyed that blessed privilege. It was now withdrawn, certainly not
without his permission; and how did I know that it was not to try my
faith? The idea of hiring myself out to another master--to engage in the
service of that world the friendship of which is enmity with God--to
cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before those whom by the pen
I addressed--to refrain from setting forth Jesus Christ and him
crucified to a perishing world, and give the reins to an imagination
ever prone to wander after folly and romance, but now subdued to a
better rule--all this was so contrary to my views of Christian
principle, that, after much earnest prayer to God, I decided rather to
work gratuitously in the good cause, trusting to Him who knew all my
necessity, than to entangle myself with things on which I could not ask
a blessing. The conflict was indeed severe; no one attempted to oppose
my resolve; but as yet no one could at all understand its real ground;
and it was a very trying position in which I stood, thus seemingly
spurning an honorable means of independence and leaving myself
destitute. But the trial was short: my first friends, the Christian
"Dublin Tract Society," exercising that faith which has distinguished
all their acts, determined to brave the consequences, and still publish
my little books. This, though, the profit was not then very good, I
hailed as a gracious intimation of the Lord's purpose still to continue
me in his service; and I was the more strengthened to meet the second
trial, which coming at a time when the sum proffered would he doubly
acceptable, and the refusal involving the loss of a very old and kind
friend, was rather a sharp one; more especially as the offence given
would and did alienate him from others who had no share in the
proceeding, and whose interests were far dearer to me than my own.

Many years before, that friend had published a novel: not a flimsy love-
story, but of a class above the common run. I had, as a girl, been very
fond of it, and often delighted the amiable author by expressing an
admiration that was not general; for the work had failed, and was
unsold. Now, finding I had been myself successful with the pen, and
full, even, in old age, of natural love for his literary offspring, he
had formed a plan, in which he never dreamed of encountering opposition.
He wished me to rewrite it, to cast the characters anew, enliven the
style, add variety to the incidents, and, in short, make a new work out
of his materials. Still it was to be a novel; and as it had been
originally published in his name, it was to be so now. My share in the
work would never be known; and as he was abundantly wealthy, and equally
generous, a _carte blanche_ as to terms was before me.

On the former occasion I had paused, and thought much: on this I did
not. The path was plain before me, but dreadfully painful to pursue. A
hundred pounds just then would have been more to me than a thousand at
another time; and private feeling was most distressingly involved, both
as regarded myself and others. It was in an agony of prayer, and after
many bitter tears, that I brought myself to do what, nevertheless, I had
not a wish to leave undone. I wrote a faithful letter to the friend in
question, most unequivocally stating the ground of my refusal--the
responsibility under which I conceived we all lay before God for the
application of talents committed by him; the evils of novel-reading;
and, as far as I could, I declared the whole gospel of Christ to one
whom I had no reason to consider as taking any thought whatever for his
soul. I heard no more from him to the day of his death, which took place
ten years after. I had reason to believe that his intentions towards me
were very liberal in the final distribution of his property; for he had
known and loved me from my cradle, and he had no family; but my
conscience bore a happy testimony in the matter; and I am fully
persuaded that the whole was a snare of Satan to betray me into an
acceptance of unhallowed gains, by catering to the worldly tastes of
those who forget God. No doubt, the business would have been a
profitable one, and the inducement to persevere made strong in
proportion as I sacrificed principle to lucre. "All these things will I
give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." I should neither do
justice to the Lord's rich goodness nor to the honored instrument of his
bounty if I omitted to add, that, shortly after, my munificent friend
Mr. Sandford sent me a gift that left me no loser by having done my
duty.

While on the subject of my books, I will record an incident that
occurred about the same time, and on which I always look with feelings
of indescribable delight. I did not know it until, some years
afterwards, the story was related to me by the principal actor in it--
the abetter of my heretical pravity. Little did I dream, when writing my
humble penny books, that they would be advanced to the high honor of a
place in the Papal Index Expurgatorius.

The lady in question took to the continent a sweet, only daughter: a
lovely little girl of ten years old, the joy of her widowed bosom, who
was fast sinking in decline. I was exceedingly fond of that child, who
returned my affection from the depths of an Irish heart; and who, out of
love for its author, selected one of my small penny books to translate
into Italian during her last stage of suffering. She did not live to
complete it; but with her dying breath requested her mother to do so, in
the earnest hope of its being made useful to the ignorant people around
them. Bessie was a lamb of the Lord's fold; and to lead other children
into the same blessed shelter was her heart's desire. As soon as the
bereaved mother could make any exertion, she betook herself to the task
assigned by her departed darling, and found such satisfaction in it that
she extended her labors, and translated several more. Being a lady of
rank and affluence, she was enabled to carry it on to publication, and
to insure the circulation of the little books among many. One of them,
"The Simple Flower," a sixpenny book, thus translated, fell into the
hands of an Italian physician, a man of highly cultivated mind;
nominally a Romanist; and like all thinking Romanists, in reality an
infidel. The book contains not a word on controversy; not an allusion to
Popery--it is plain gospel truth, conveyed in a very simple narrative.
God blessed it to this gentleman, and he became a Christian. The
circumstance excited much remark: curiosity led many to read that and
others of the series, and a great number were circulated in the
neighboring districts. This was actually within the papal states, under
the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Sienna, to whose knowledge came
the astounding fact that pennyworths of heresy were circulated within
the range of his pastoral charge: the matter was reported at head-
quarters, taken up with due seriousness, and a Sunday appointed, on
which, no doubt, I was quietly worshipping in the college chapel at
Sandhurst, wholly unconscious that my name was then being proclaimed at
a hundred Italian altars, with a denunciation against all who should
read, circulate, or possess any book, tract, or treatise penned by me.
One instance was particularized: a poor priest had himself given numbers
of these translations to his flock; and after mass, he stood before them
deeply moved, telling them he had a painful duty to perform. That he had
received from the highest authority a command to proclaim what he held
in his hand, and which he proceeded to read to them--a copy of the
fulmination above-mentioned. Having done so he folded the paper, and
resumed, saying he had given and recommended the little books to them,
because he had read them himself and found nothing but what was good in
them: however, the church, which they were all bound to obey, judged
otherwise; "and now." he added, "you must bring them back to me, or burn
them, or in some other way destroy them wholly: nevertheless, I declare
in the sight of God I found no evil in those dear little books, but the
contrary--they are full of good." He burst into tears, and many wept
with him; and not a few of the proscribed productions were wrapped up
and buried in the earth, or otherwise put away till the search should be
over. Who knows but that very priest was led to the Bible and to Christ
through such humble means? I would not exchange for the value of the ten
kingdoms ten times trebled, the joy that I feel in this high honor put
upon me--this rich blessing of being under the papal curse. * * *

With what fondness does memory linger over those delightful days of
sojourn under the sheltering roof of my brother, so soon, to be for ever
parted in this world. Another boy had been added to our happy little
circle, and Jack's warm heart seemed to receive an accession of love,
that he might have it to bestow on the "beautiful baby small," which
claimed so much of his thoughts and prayers. Indeed, his thoughts were
always prayers, for God was in all. He made but little progress in
language, having a great dislike to learning beyond what was needful for
communicating his thoughts to me, and as he was then obliged to be more
with servants than I liked, I was not anxious to extend his facilities
of communicating with them; nor did he at all desire their society. He
had a little room of his own, to his great delight, over the coach-
house; and when not employed in his work, or talking with me, he was
most happy with the pencil. He gave a strong and beautiful proof of the
dread with which God inspired him as to ensnaring company; and I cannot
pass it over.

My brother declared his intention of keeping a horse, and of course a
groom. Jack came to me with an earnest entreaty that he might be the
groom, saying he could do it so well. The reason he gave to me,
confidentially, was, that men were very wicked; that the man-servant
would often shake hands with the devil--his usual mode of expressing
wilful sin--and that if Jack shook hands with him, he would some day
draw his hand till he got it into the devil's; meaning, that an evil
companion would by degrees induce him to become evil too. He also said,
Captain B---- was very kind to Mam, and that a servant would cost him
money, and eat a great deal; but Jack would take no money, and only eat
"small potato, small meat," because he loved Captain B----. When I
communicated the request to my brother he laughed, saying such a boy
could never groom a horse; but Jack had been privately to a kind friend
of his, a retired non-commissioned officer of cavalry, who had the care
of some horses, and got him to give him instruction, succeeding so well
in his attempt that the serjeant told my brother he really thought him
competent to the office. He consented to try; and having purchased his
horse, tied him up at the stable-door for Jack to commence operations,
while we all assembled to see him. I was apprehensive of a total
failure, but he did it admirably, and my brother declared he only wanted
a few inches in height to be one of the best grooms in the kingdom.
Jack's exultation was very great. When we were alone, he went up to the
horse, kissed it, and after telling me how pleased he saw his master
look, he added, "No man; all one Jack. Devil cry--go, devil!" and
snapped his fingers at the invisible enemy.

His greatest security next to his love of God was his constant fear of
Satan. Yet it was rather a fear of himself, lest he should yield to his
temptations, for he was perfectly aware Satan would not force him to do
any thing. Hence his extreme caution as to what associates he had, and a
reserve with those whom he did not know to be Christians, which was
sometimes mistaken for pride. He invariably asked me, of every person
who came to the house, whether that person loved Jesus Christ; and if I
could not give a positive answer in the affirmative, he stood aloof,
always most courteous, but perfectly cold, and even dignified in
repelling any advance to sociability beyond common politeness. He did
not know the meaning of a single bad word, and God kept him so that the
wicked one touched him not. I used every means, of course, to this end.
I watched him most narrowly, and always interposed if he was required to
do any thing, or to go to any place, in which I apprehended danger. My
vigilance extorted smiles from those who considered it must all be in
vain when he grew a little older; but no obstacle was placed in my way;
and I bless God I never relaxed that care, nor did the boy ever depart
from his holy caution; and he died at the age of nineteen, a very tall
and fine-looking young man, with the mind of a little babe as regards
the evil that is in the world. Oh that parents knew the importance of
thus watching over their boys.

Soon after the first horse was established in his stall, my brother
purchased a second for my riding, saying he should now, of course, get
an assistant in the stable; but Jack burst into tears, and himself
pleaded with him for leave to do all. My brother greatly delighted in
his broken language, and caught exactly his phraseology, so that they
conversed together as well as with me; and he told me he could not stand
Jack's entreaties. "He is a fine little fellow," said he, "and if you
will watch and see that he is not overexerting himself, he may try for a
while: he will soon be tired." But far from it; Jack was proud of his
two horses; and none in the place were better kept. When a cow was
added, a young person came to milk her; but Jack was outrageous, talked
of his mother's "Kilkenny cows," and "cow's baby," and expressed such
sovereign contempt for the stranger's performance, and such downright
hostility against the intruder, that we had no peace till he got the cow
also under his especial care. Often afterwards did he talk of that time,
saying he was "well Jack," when he had two horses and a cow, and almost
crying over his loss. He grew rapidly, and the doctors told me that such
a life would have kept him strong to any age.

One day he came and asked me to let him have a large hoop, to make him
go faster on messages. I thought it childish, and did not regard it; so
he went to my brother with the same request, who inquired his reason.
Jack told him the stage-coaches that passed our gate went very fast,
because the four horses had four large hoops, meaning the wheels, and if
he had a large hoop he could go as fast as the horses. Diverted beyond
measure at such an original idea, my brother sent to Reading for the
largest and best hoop that could be got; and many a laugh we had at
seeing Jack racing beside the London coaches with his wheel, nodding
defiance at the horses, and shouting aloud with glee. He often went six
miles with his wheel, to bear messages and notes to our valued and much-
loved friend General Orde, whom he idolized almost, and who looked on
him as one of the most lovely instances of divine grace he had ever met
with. On the first formation of the British Reformation Society, General
Orde wrote to me, with a prospectus of the intended work. I told it to
Jack, who in rapturous delight gave me his whole worldly fortune of two
shillings, bidding me give it to put it in their pockets, and to bid
good General Orde tell gentlemen to send much Bibles to Kilkenny, that
his father and mother and all the poor people might learn to break the
crucifixes, and love Jesus Christ. I wrote this to the general, who sent
to me for the identical two shillings, which Mr. Noel produced on the
platform, with the dumb boy's message, and I believe it drew many a
piece of gold from the purses of those who saw the gift, which stands
enrolled the very first in the accounts of that noble society's
receipts. Jack often prayed for the Reformation Society, and I believe
his blessing helped them not a little; there was so much faith in all
that he did, such as God alone could give, and he never seemed to
entertain a doubt of obtaining what he asked. Many a sweet instance of
his childlike confidence in the Lord is engraven on my memory, at once
to stimulate and to shame me. His whole experience seemed to be an
illustration of the word of promise, "Ask, and ye shall receive."

One of the things that struck me as being referable to nothing but the
teaching of the Holy Spirit, was the interest manifested by this boy for
the Jews. His active Protestantism was easily accounted for; but to give
him an idea of Judaism would have been impossible. He could not read.
His knowledge of language did not go far enough to enable him to
understand the construction of a sentence; and though he spelled
correctly, and wrote readily whatever he wished to say, and his mode of
expression was generally quite intelligible to others, he did not
comprehend what was spoken or written in the ordinary way. Accustomed to
attach a distinct meaning to every word, and acquainted with very few
besides nouns and a few verbs, which he only used in the present tense,
independent of the pronouns, and without reference to number, he was
quite lost among the other parts of speech. For instance, if I had
wanted to say, "You must go to the village and buy me a small loaf of
bread," I should have expressed it thus: "Jack, go village, money, bread
small, one." Grammatically expressed, the order would have been
unintelligible to him: but few would have misunderstood it in the
uncouth phrase last instanced. He would have gone to the shop, and
writing down, "Bread small, one," would have held out the money, and
made a sign to express what size he wanted. It was this very fact of the
impossibility of conveying to his mind any clear notion of things
invisible and spiritual, that so gloriously manifested the power and
goodness of God in causing the light to shine into his heart. To a
reader who never witnessed the attempts of an intelligent, half-taught
deaf mute to express his meaning and to catch that of others, much of
what I state respecting Jack may and must appear, if not incredible, at
least unintelligible; yet none who ever saw and conversed with him would
fail to substantiate it, and they were very many. That zealous
missionary, Dr. Wolff, visited my brother's cottage when he and I were
both absent, and no one could assist Jack in conversing with him; yet so
great was his delight, that he wanted to take him to Palestine, to
instruct the deaf and dumb in the doctrine of Christ. The Rev. H. H.
Beamish is another who cannot, without emotion, recall his intercourse
with that dying Christian. General Orde, who saw him very frequently,
regarded him as a wonder of divine grace; and the Rev. W. Hancock, his
beloved pastor, who for four years observed him closely, often said he
derived greater encouragement from the experience and the prayers of
that poor boy, than from almost any other earthly source. Unbelievers
will doubt; but those who know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will
adore.

Still it will be evident that Jack could not read the Bible. He took
great delight in copying it out, dwelling on such words as he knew; but
I have seen him turn over two leaves and go on wholly unconscious, of
any mistake: and I have found among his papers whole pages, composed of
half sentences and single epithets from Scripture, put together in
unbroken paragraphs, without any meaning. With all this, he was ardently
attached to the Jewish cause, and always told me "Jesus Christ love poor
Jew; Jew soon love Jesus Christ." When speaking of them, he would look
very tender and sorrowful, moving his head slowly from side to side, and
his hand as if stroking some object in a caressing way. At such times it
was curious to mark the effect of naming a "priest Roman" to him. In a
moment his aspect changed to something ludicrously repulsive: he stuck
his hands in his sides, puffed out his cheeks to their full extent,
scowled till his brows overhung his eyelids, and generally finished by
appearing to seize a goblet and drain off the contents to the last drop,
inflating his body, stroking it, smacking his lips, and strutting about.
This he did, not as imputing drunkenness to the priesthood, but their
denying the cup to the laity, and swallowing the contents themselves.
Though his acting was laughably comic, his feeling was that of serious
and severe indignation; and he would reprove us for the laughter it was
utterly impossible to restrain, saying, with triumphant confidence, "God
see." * * *



LETTER XI.

SEPARATION.


The two shortest years of my life were now drawing to a close. My
brother had completed his studies, passed his examination, and was under
orders to join his regiment in Ireland. Oh how my heart rose in prayer,
that where I had found a spiritual blessing he also might receive it. I
could not understand the state of his mind on the most vital of all
points: he had imbibed a prejudice so strong against the class of people
called evangelical, that nothing but his generous affection for us would
have induced him to receive under his roof two of that proscribed body,
to say nothing of Jack. He confessed to me, laughing, not long after we
became his inmates, that he supposed we should be falling on our knees
half a dozen times a day, singing psalms all over the house, and setting
our faces against every thing merry or cheerful. He had never been
acquainted with any serious person before going to Portugal, nor during
his short leaves of absence at home: none of that class ever crossed his
path abroad, and he came home prepared to believe any thing that was
told him of the supposed fanatics, whom he understood to be a sort of
ranting dissenters. At Clifton, extremes then ran far; the gay people
most violently denouncing their sober neighbors, and making up all sorts
of scandal concerning them. Hannah More was pointed out as "queen of the
Methodists," and a most infamous lie, wholly destructive of her moral
character, circulated among a narrow but dissipated clique as a known
fact; while the small fry of fanatics were disposed of by dozens in a
similar way. The faithful clergyman, whose ministry we attended, was
absolutely persecuted; and his congregation could expect no better at
the same hands. I am very far from charging this upon the generality of
even worldly people there; but it did exist, visibly and sensibly; and
my dear brother evidently had fallen in with some of these wholesale
calumniators, before he could possibly judge for himself. A visit to
Barley Wood, and a very prolonged interview with the "queen," greatly
staggered his prejudices; he was perfectly charmed with her, and
remarked to me that if all her subjects were like her, they must be a
very agreeable set of people. Still he apprehended an outbreak of
extravagance when we should be fairly installed in his abode; and though
he soon became undeceived, and learned to take the greatest delight in
the society of General Orde, Mr. Sandford, and others equally decided;
though he punctually attended the faithful ministry of Mr. Hancock at
the college chapel, besides his regular appearance at the usual military
service, and would not allow one disparaging word to be uttered in his
presence of that zealous preacher or his deeply spiritual discourses;
though he chose from among his brother officers a bold, uncompromising
Christian as his most intimate associate, and gave many unconscious
indications that he had received the doctrine of man's total corruption,
and the nothingness of his best works; though he became the warm
advocate of a scriptural education for the youthful poor, whom he had
always before considered most safe and happy in total ignorance--still,
with all this, I could not see even in his beautiful devout bearing in
public worship where the reverse so sadly prevailed, and where every
thing approaching to seriousness became a matter of suspicion, that he
was really seeking God. In fact, I had been too much in the trammels of
a system which lays down arbitrary rules, and will not admit that God is
working unless his hand be immediately and openly apparent to all. I
would not believe that what looked green and beautiful was a blade of
corn, just because it had not yet grown to an ear: and I refrained from
speaking when perhaps speech on such subjects would have been more
welcome than he wished to acknowledge, lest the remarks that I longed to
utter might prove unpalatable, and produce the contrary effect to what I
desired. He was only going for a little while: an appointment on the
home-staff was promised, and then I was to live with him again, and I
would zealously pursue the work. Alas, what a rod was prepared for my
unbelief and presumption! The present was slighted, in the confident
expectation of a future that was never to arrive.

We were almost always together out of his college hours. My window
commanded a view of the distant building, and when I saw the preparatory
movement to breaking up, I rose from my desk, tied on my bonnet, and ran
off in sufficient time to meet him very near the college. Both let loose
from six hours' hard work, we were like children out of school, often
racing and laughing with all the buoyancy of our natural high spirits.
The garden, the poultry-yard, and all the little minutiae of our nice
farming establishment, fully occupied the afternoon, while the children
gambolled round, and Jack looked on with smiles, often telling me how
much he loved "beautiful Captain B----," as he constantly called him. At
ten o'clock we parted for the night, I to resume the pen till long after
midnight; he to rest, whence he always rose at four o'clock, devoting
four or five hours to study before we met in the morning. We visited
very little, domestic retirement being the free choice of every one of
us; and nothing could have induced my brother to banish his children
from the parlor or drawing-room. Few things excited his indignation more
than the nursery system: his little ones were the pride of his heart,
the delight of his eyes, the objects of his fondest care. He often said
he intended his boys to be gentlemen, and therefore would not allow them
to imbibe the tastes and habits of the kitchen. The consequence is that
his boys are gentlemen.

Thus dwelling in love, united in every plan and pursuit, our time fairly
divided between diligent work and healthful recreation amid the delights
of rural life, do you marvel that I call this period my two shortest
years? Had no previous circumstances given tenfold brilliancy to these
lights by casting a depth of black shadow behind them, or no menacing
future hung over the present enjoyment, still there was enough to make
it indeed an oasis; but it was more. I cannot doubt that the Lord
mercifully gave me a foreboding of what was to come, in the intolerable
anguish of what seemed to be but a very short parting, with a delightful
prospect of renewed domestic comfort just beyond. Yet so it was: I
almost died under the trial of that farewell; and for three weeks
before, and as long after, I never had a night's rest. Visions of terror
were constantly before me, among which a scene of drowning was so
perpetually recurring that I have often started from my bed under the
vivid impression. This was the more strange because we had always been
so fearlessly fond of the water: in our early days we had a little boat,
just big enough for him to row and me to steer, in which we used to take
excursions on the river Wensum, and never thought of danger. At
Sandhurst too we were frequently upon the lake, and had both become
familiarized with ocean, until of all perils those of the water were
least likely to daunt me, either for myself or him: yet in most imminent
peril we had once been placed; and at this time it would recur to my
memory with tormenting frequency.

I was about seven years old, and he though younger was much the larger
of the two, a stout hearty boy, and I a very frail delicate little
creature, thanks to the doctors and their pet drug. Our parents went out
for a day's excursion with a friend, and of course we accompanied them.
The place was one celebrated for good fishing, and the gentlemen having
enjoyed a long morning's sport, remained in the house with my mother,
sending us out to play. We had strict charge not to go too near the
water, nor on any account to get into a boat, of which there were
several on the river. We strolled about, and at last came to the brink
of this river, to admire a barge or wherry which lay close to the little
pier; for it was a public ferry, and the depth very great. A small boat
just by attracted my brother's attention, who wished to get into it,
until I reminded him of the prohibition, when he said, "I wont get into
it, Char., but I will sit down here and put my two feet in the little
boat." He did so: the boat moved, and in his alarm trying to rise, he
fell and disappeared.

I perfectly remember the scene; I have also heard it described many a
time by others, but I cannot understand how it was that I, stooping from
the shore, with nothing to hold on by way of support, seized the little
fellow by the collar as he rose, and firmly held him in my grasp. He did
not struggle, but looked up in my face, and I down in his, and as I felt
my puny strength rapidly failing, the resolution was firm on my mind to
be drawn in and perish with him. There was not a question about it; I
can recall the very thought, as though it was of yesterday, and I am
positively certain that I should have tightened my hold in proportion as
the case became more desperate. It pleased God that, just then, some men
returning from work descried the figure of a little child stooping in a
most dangerous position over the deep water: they ran up, and while one
held me the other rescued the boy. My grasp was not unloosed until they
had him safe on shore: he was then insensible, and I lost every
recollection until I found myself still in the arms of the man who had
carried me in, while my mother and the rest were stripping the rescued
boy and chafing his limbs before a fire. It was much talked of, and many
a caress I got for what they considered heroism beyond my years; but
what heroism is like love? "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can
the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house
for love, it would utterly be contemned."

When my brother departed for Ireland, we left that sweet cottage and
went to reside in the village, in one better suited to the size of our
diminished family party. I had several young friends among the cadets,
in whom I took a warm interest, and whose occasional visits I endeavored
to make as profitable to them as might be. It is a sad thing to see a
boy, perhaps most carefully brought up by tender, and even Christian
parents, watched and kept as far as possible from all evil
communication, then thrown at once into a large public institution, and
exposed to every danger that can assail the youthful mind. A little
insight into human nature must show any candid person the extent of
mischief to be expected. Rarely do we find a case of conversion, with
establishment in grace, very early in life; and where it exists as
remarkably as in Jack, we may learn from his excessive dread of exposure
to temptation how vigilantly the young plant should be guarded. Let us
just suppose, what is indeed no sketch of imagination, but a slight
sketch of acknowledged reality--let us suppose a boy at the age when
they are eligible for those places, acquainted with the truth,
accustomed to Christian instruction, taught to look into the word of God
for daily direction, and to seek in prayer the daily supply of needful
grace: consider him as having remained under the eye of Christian
parents, or a schoolmaster who regards those committed to his care as
immortal beings, for whose well-doing while under his charge he is
responsible to God, and who therefore counsels them well, and banishes
to the utmost of his power, vice and profaneness from among them;
affording them the usual domestic means of grace, and seeing that they
are not neglected:--thus prepared, the lad enters upon a new scene,
where he finds himself surrounded by a large number of youthful
companions, all busy in qualifying themselves for a future career, we
will say in the service of their country. The first thing done is to try
the mettle of the new comer by putting upon him some insult, which if he
resents and offers to fight his way, he may be looked on with some
respect; but if he appear timid, or reluctant to retaliate, he may be
assured of becoming the object of a most harassing persecution for the
amusement of the thoughtless and the gratification of the cruel. In
either case, he passes an ordeal of great severity, particularly during
the night, when nothing is deemed too rough or alarming for the poor
stranger to encounter. I appeal to those who have passed it, whether
this is not enough to turn the brain of a weak-minded youth, or to
injure severely the body of a delicate one: I have myself known an
instance, in a great public seminary, wherein derangement and death
followed.

Supposing this well got over, the lad then finds that if there be any
among his new comrades disposed to keep up the practice of reading the
Scriptures and praying, they must do it as secretly as they would commit
a murder, and find it more difficult to accomplish than any crime that
could be named. There always will be a large proportion of ruffianly
characters among many boys; some naturally so, others made so by
example. These have the ascendency of course, and they will use it to
check and to stifle whatever might shine in contrast to themselves;
while, what with those unstable characters who always row with the
stream, and prudent ones who will not provoke hostility, and timid ones
who dare not, they meet with little if any opposition, but rule the
whole mass for evil. The youth, we will believe, sincerely desires to
preserve his integrity; but what can he do? Man in his best estate is a
frail, inconsistent being, liable to be blown about by every breath of
temptation, even when unfettered, and in full possession of all gospel
privileges; and what are we to expect from a boy who has never yet been
left to himself, or deprived of countenance and support? He sees none
watching over him, he hears no kind admonitory voice inviting him to
seek the way of peace and purity. His nature is corrupt, his heart is
deceitful, his soul cleaves to the dust, and he finds that by following
the bent of this perverse nature, by gratifying its lowest propensities,
and revelling in unhallowed things, he shall best purchase the good-
fellowship of those who have it in their power to make his life
miserable if he thwarts their will. His conscience loudly protests, and
calls on him to pray; but if he would do so, where is he to retire for
that purpose? Alone he cannot be; he has no separate apartment, and let
those who have tried it say what would be the consequence of his
kneeling down publicly to worship God. He may do it silently and
undiscovered in his bed; yes, if he can lift up his heart, and realize
the presence of the God of heaven, while the language of hell resounds
on every side. Even so, he has an enemy within, striving against the
right principle, and responding to all that his better feeling
repudiates. Then, too, wherewithal shall the young man cleanse his way,
if not by ruling himself according to the word of God? And how is he to
study that word? Does the parent who puts a Bible in his boy's
portmanteau know that the most blasphemous tissue of ribaldry and all
abomination, would be a more suitable gift, if it is intended that he
should exhibit it? These are awful questions, to be well considered by
those who are wavering as to the destination of a youth; and they apply
very widely throughout the land.

We all know the case of him whose heart has been swept and garnished;
and how much the last state is worse than the first, when Satan reënters
with his seven new companions. The very checks of conscience render the
fretted mind more restive; and the longer restrained, the more headlong
is the wild gallop into which the chafed spirit at last breaks. He who
trembled at a profane word, becomes an accomplished swearer; he whose
modesty was most retiring is foremost to glory in early depravity; he
whose hand was ever ready to relieve the poor, while his heart
sympathized in their sorrows, becomes the wanton spoiler and marauder
for the sake of a bold vaunt; he who shrunk from the approach of
profligate misleaders, now volunteers to harden new comers in the ways
of sin. The youth who with noiseless step trod the courts of the Lord's
house, and bent with lowly reverence in prayer, and listened with fixed
attention to the teacher's voice, now delights in shaming others out of
the semblance of devotion, and feigns, if he does not fall into it, the
profound sleep of a wholly uninterested actor in the tedious show of
public worship. Perchance some friend whose proximity to the place
admits of it may stretch out a helping hand, or lift an admonitory
voice, or proffer a little encouragement to strengthen the things that
remain, and which are ready to die: if so, both the helper and the
helped will be marked out for ridicule and reviling, if for nothing
worse.

Honorable men, after this world's course, who are themselves wholly in
the dark, verily believing that religion would turn a youth's brain and
unfit him for the active business of life, will feel it a part of their
duty to oppose every possible obstacle to such attempts at reclaiming
the young wanderers under their charge. I knew, and knew right well, an
instance wherein a lady who strove to do good to the souls of some young
lads whose parents she knew to be praying people, had a sort of ban put
upon her, by the publication of an express order that they should not be
again permitted to visit her; and when a nobleman who well knew that she
had not done any thing to merit such public condemnation, asked the
principal of the institution the reason for so harsh a proceeding, he
received this answer: "My lord, I was sorry to do it; I felt it a
painful duty, but an imperative one. The fact is, she got hold of some
of the most promising lads under my care, and so infected them with her
own gloomy notions that, I give you my word, they were seen walking
alone, with Bibles in their hands." So much wiser are the children of
this world in guarding those committed to them from the entrance of
spiritual good, than are the children of light in protecting their
dearest treasures from the contamination of most deadly evil.

But to return to my cadets at Sandhurst. I had two young friends there,
both Irish, who were known to me from childhood; both greatly attached
to my brother; both loving me dearly; and many a happy hour we passed,
strolling over the wild heath, or enjoying the cheerfulness of my
cottage home. On those two, among many, I looked with especial
solicitude as to their future course; and I have had to rejoice, in
different ways, over them both. One was early taken to his rest; he died
in the faith, looking simply to the Lord Jesus, and finding perfect
peace in him. The other was long away on foreign service, and when next
I saw him it was as the deliverer, under God, of a whole town, and
probably through that of the whole kingdom, from a scene of
revolutionary carnage. He commanded the gallant little body of troops at
Newport who, on the 4th of November, 1839, quelled the Chartist
insurrection, and broke the formidable power that menaced a general
outbreak. I cannot pass over this event, it was so delightfully
gratifying to me.

A third of those in whom I took a lively interest was Alexander Count
Calharez, the eldest son of the Duc de Palmella. He was a most elegant
youth, of fine mind, delicate feelings, and the sweetest manners
possible. Devotedly attached to Romanism, he constantly attended mass at
the house of the old abbé, who added to his professorship in the Royal
Military College the duties of a Popish priest. It was a sore grief to
me to see Calharez pursuing his solitary way to that house, while we
took the road to the college chapel, and met him half-way. I longed to
enter a solemn protest against his delusion, but I never did it in
direct terms, though very often dwelling, in his presence, on the
peculiar truths of Christianity, opposed as they are to the lie in which
he trusted. I hoped to have enjoyed many future opportunities of
conversing with him, for he always sought our society in preference to
many things that appeared more attractive, and took a lively interest in
Jack. But the college did not suit his taste; he left it soon and
accompanied his father to Portugal. He died at the Azores; and I have
been told that his hope at the last was one which maketh not ashamed. He
was the subject of many prayers; the last day will tell whether they
were answered.

But I cannot hasten through the heaviest part of my task; it is the
rending open of a wound never to heal until the leaves of the tree of
life shall be laid upon it; and if by any means I do attain to that
resurrection from among the dead in which none but the Lord's children
shall partake, surely the dear object of all this sorrow will be there
beside me.

Six months had passed since my brother's departure to Ireland, and all
his letters were full of cheerfulness and pleasant anticipation. On the
subject where I most wished to know his feelings, he was silent; but a
passage in one of his letters struck me greatly. I had been suffering
from a slight local pain, which one of my medical friends erroneously
pronounced to be a disease of the heart; and in communicating this to
him I had noticed, that I must live in momentary expectation of sudden
death. His reply was very affectionate. He said it had given him a great
shock, but on a little reflection he was convinced of its being
altogether a nervous sensation; adding, "If not, why should you shrink
from sudden death? For my own part, I should desire it, as a short and
easy passage out of this life." A tremor came over me as I read these
words; but again I thought, "Surely there is something on his mind to
brighten that passage, or he would not so express himself;" and the
thought of many perils surrounding him quickened me to redoubled prayer
that God would set his feet upon the Rock of ages.

It was on a bright Sabbath morning at the end of June, that having
rather overslept myself, I found, on awaking, the letters brought by
early post lying on my pillow. I took one: it was the Horse Guards
envelope, in which his letters usually came; and in my eagerness to open
one from him, I did not even put up a prayer. Full of smiling
anticipation, I unfolded the enclosure, which was from a most dear and
valued friend at the Horse Guards; and after some tender preparation,
which the sudden reeling of my terrified brain prevented my
comprehending, came the paralyzing sequel: A letter had been received
from Mullingar--he was on the lake fishing--the boat overset. I could
not understand the meaning of the words; but I understood the thing
itself.

I sprung to my knees to cry for mercy on him--but Oh, that dreadful,
dreadful thought that pierced through my inmost soul--"He is beyond the
reach of prayer." I fell back as if really shot. But what avails it to
dwell on this? I bore it as God enabled me; I felt crushed, annihilated
as it were, under the fierce wrath of the Lord; for to aggravate the
blow, I had no power to believe or to hope. It was a light thing to have
lost him, my all in this cold, dreary world, who from early infancy had
been as the light to my eyes, and the life-blood to my heart--him who
had so very lately been restored, as if to show that while he remained
all I could desire of earthly happiness was within my reach--him who had
been to me instead of every other mortal blessing, and to whom I looked
for all that I dared hope of future comfort. It was a light thing to
have lost him, and to look upon the anguish of his widowed mother, to
whom he had ever been more of a ministering angel than a son, and upon
the tears of his little daughter, who had lost a father indeed. All this
was a small matter compared with the overwhelming horrors of that
fearful thought, that _he_ had lost his soul.

I had fallen much into the common, dangerous error of looking to my own
faith rather than to the object of it for salvation; and I did in my
heart, exceedingly glory in this supposed faith of mine. The dreadful
dispensation under which I was laid showed me at once, that of faith I
had not to the value of a grain of mustard-seed; and now I felt the
desolation of spirit which none can know who have not been so compelled
to make such a discovery. I did not rebel; I owned the justice of God:
nay, the very first words I could find breath to utter broke forth in
the confession, "Righteous art thou, O Lord; just and true are thy ways,
O King of saints!" But it was a fearful trembling beneath the hand that
had smote me; and as for being contented to have it so, I was not: I do
not wish that I had been contented to believe my brother was lost; I do
not understand that feeling, nor wish to understand it; for surely while
we remain in the flesh, we cannot divest ourselves of what God has
interwoven with our very nature, nor cease to feel for the spiritual,
the eternal interests of those most fondly endeared to us--a solicitude
as great, aye, much greater, than what we, in our unconverted state,
once knew in regard to their temporal concerns. I speak of those
instances where, after being ourselves brought to know the Lord, we have
labored and prayed perseveringly for others, and then have suddenly lost
them. I was not content to think that my prayers had been cast out: I
wanted some token that they had been answered. Blessed be the God of all
mercies, I was not disappointed. * * *

Meanwhile, what a tenfold recompense for all the care bestowed on him
did I reap in the beautiful sympathy of the dumb boy. When I came down
stairs that dreadful morning, he met me with a face of such wild dismay
as even then arrested my attention. He uttered an audible "Oh!" of most
touching tone, and thus expressed the impossibility he felt of realizing
the tidings: "Jack _what_? Jack asleep? Jack see, no--think, no.
Jack afraid, very. Beautiful Captain B---- gone?--dead? _What_?"
and he stamped with the impatience of that fearfully inquisitive
_what_. I answered, "Captain B---- gone; water kill--dead." Tears
stole down his loving face as he responded, "Poor mam! Mam one;" meaning
I was now alone in the world. "God see poor mam one; Jesus Christ love
poor mam one." With a feeling of bitter agony I asked him, "What? Jesus
Christ love Captain B----?" "Yes," he replied, after a moment's solemn
thought on the question, "Yes, Jack much pray; mam much pray; Jesus
Christ see much prays." This was true comfort; all the eloquence of all
the pulpits in England could not have gone to my heart like that
assurance, that Jesus Christ had _seen_ his many dumb prayers on
behalf of that lost--Oh, I could not, even in the depth of my
unbelieving heart, say, "lost one." I again asked the boy, "Jack
_much_ prays?" He answered with solemn fervency, "Very, very much
prays. Jack pray morning, pray night; Jack pray church, pray bed. Yes,
Jack many days, very, pray God make"--and he finished by signs, that
wings should be made to grow from my brother's shoulders, for him to fly
to heaven, adding, _Jesus Christ must make the wings;_ and then,
with a burst of delighted animation, he told me that he was a "very tall
angel, very beautiful."

I have repeated this conversation to show the broken language carried on
between us; and also how powerfully he expressed his thoughts. Soon
after, when I was nearly fainting, a glass of water was held to my lips.
I am ashamed to say, I dashed it down, exclaiming, "That murderer!" Jack
caught my eye, and echoing my feelings, said, in a bitter way, "Bad
water!" then with a look of exulting contempt at the remaining fluid, he
added, "Soul gone water? No!" This idea, that the soul was not drowned,
electrified me; so good is a word spoken in due season, however trite a
truism that word may be.

That night I pretended to go to bed, that others might do so too; and
then I left my room, went to my little study, which was hung round with
Jack's sweet drawings, and sat down, resting my elbows on the table, my
face on my hands, and so remained for a couple of hours. Day had
scarcely broken, brightly upon me, about two in the morning, when the
door opened softly, and Jack entered, only partially dressed, his face
deadly pale, and altogether looking most piteously wretched. He paused
at the door, saying, "Jack sleep, no; Jack sick, head bad--no more see
beautiful Captain B----." I could only shake my head, and soon buried my
face in my hands again. However, I still saw him through my fingers; and
after lifting up his clasped hands and eyes in prayer for me, he
proceeded to execute the purpose of his visit to that room. Softly,
stealthily, he went round, mounting a chair, and unpinned from the wall
every drawing that contained a ship, a boat, or water under any form of
representation. Still peeping at me, hoping he was not observed, he
completed this work, which nothing but a mind refined to the highest
degree of delicate tenderness could ever have prompted, and then
stopping at the door, cast over his shoulder such a look of desolate
sorrow at me, that its very wretchedness poured balm into my heart. Oh
what a heavenly lesson is that, "Weep with them that do weep," and how
we fly in its face when going to the mourner with our inhuman, cold-
blooded exhortations to leave off grieving. Even Job's tormenting
friends gave him seven days' true consolation while they sat silent on
the earth weeping with him.

But God put into the dumb boy's heart another mode of consolation, which
I must recount as a specimen of his exceedingly original and beautiful
train of thought. He used to tell his ideas to me as if they were things
that he had seen: and now he had a tale to relate, the day after this,
which riveted my attention. He told me my brother went on the lake in a
little boat, and while he was going along the devil got under it, seized
one side, pulled it over, and caught my brother, drawing him down to the
bottom, which, as he told me, was deep, deep, and flames under it. Then
Jesus Christ put his arm out of a cloud, reached into the water, took
the soul out of the body, and drew it into the sky. When the devil saw
the soul had escaped, he let the body go, and dived away, crying, Jack
said, with rage, while the men took it to land. The soul, he continued,
went up, up, up; it was bright, and brighter, "like sun--all light,
beautiful light." At last he saw a gate, and inside many angels looking
out at him; but two very small angels came running to meet the soul; and
when he saw them, he took them up into his arms, kissed them, and
carried them on towards the gate, still kissing and caressing them. I
was amazed and utterly at a loss, and said, "Two angels? What? Mam not
know; what?" He looked at me with a laugh of wonder; pointed to my head
and the wooden table, and replied--his usual way of calling me stupid--
"Doll mam! Two small boys, dead, Portugal." My brother had lost two
babes in Portugal; and thus exquisitely, thus in all the beauty of true
sublimity, had the untaught deaf and dumb boy pictured the welcome they
had given their father on approaching the gate of heaven.

A day or two after, some kind, sympathizing relations and friends being
assembled at the dinner-table, something cheerful was said, which
excited a general smile: Jack was in the act of handing a plate; he
looked round him with a face of stern indignation, set down the plate,
said, "Bad laughing!" and walked out of the room, stopping at the door
to add to me, "Mam, come: no laughing! Gone; dead." I had not smiled;
and this jealous tenaciousness of such a grief, on the part of an
exceedingly cheerful boy, was the means of soothing more than any other
means could have done it, the anguish of that wound which had pierced my
very heart's core. These were a small part of the munificent wages that
my Master gave me for nursing a child of his.

My first act had, of course, been to adopt my brother's son--the "baby
boy"--now five years old, who had been since he first showed his little
round face in England, my own peculiar treasure. I begged him as a
precious boon, and for his sake bore up against the storm of sorrow that
was rending me within. Jack fell into a decline, through the depression
of his spirits in seeing me suffer; for to conceal it from one who read
every turn of my countenance was impossible; and I should have been well
content to sink also, but for the powerful motive set before me. Under
God, who gave him to me, you may thank your young friend for what little
service I may have rendered in the cause you love, since 1828; for the
prospect which by the Lord's rich mercy is so far realized, of seeing
him grow up a useful, honorable member of society, with right
principles, grounded on a scriptural education, was what enabled me to
persevere against every difficulty and every discouragement that could
cross my path. I set up a joyful Ebenezer here; and I ask your prayers
that the blessing may be prolonged, increased, perfected, even to the
day when we shall all meet before the throne of God. * * *



LETTER XII.

EMPLOYMENT.


How is it that Christians so often complain they can find nothing to do
for their Master? To hear some of them bemoaning their unprofitableness,
we might conclude that the harvest indeed is small, and the laborers
many. So many servants out of employ is a bad sign; and to obviate the
difficulty complained of, I purpose showing you two or three ways in
which those who are so inclined may bestir themselves for the good of
others. What a blessing were a working church! and by a church I mean,
"the company of all faithful people," whosoever and wheresoever they be.

In the village where I lived, there was a very good national-school,
well attended; also a Sunday-school; and the poorer inhabitants
generally were of a respectable class, with many of a higher grade, such
as small tradesmen, and the families of those in subordinate offices
about the Military College. I always took a great interest in the young;
and as love usually produces love, there was no lack of affectionate
feeling on their part. It occurred to me, as the Sunday was much devoted
by most of them to idling about, that assembling such of them as wished
it at my cottage would afford an opportunity for scriptural instruction;
and without any thing resembling a school, or any regular proposal, I
found a little party of six or seven children assembled in the
afternoon, to hear a chapter read, answer a few questions upon it, and
join in a short prayer. Making it as cheerful and unrestrained as
possible, I found my little guests greatly pleased; and on the next
Sabbath my party was doubled, solely through the favorable report spread
by them. One had asked me, "Please, ma'am, may I bring my little
sister?" and on the reply being given, "You may bring any body and every
body you like," a general beating up for recruits followed. In three or
four weeks my assemblage amounted to sixty, only one half of whom could
be crowded into the parlor of my small cottage. What was to be done? The
work was rather arduous, but as I too had been complaining not long
before of having little to do for the Lord, except with the pen, I
resolved to brave a little extra labor. I desired the girls to come at
four, the boys at six, and allowing an interval of half an hour between,
we got through it very well. A long table was set across the room, from
corner to corner; round this they were seated, each with a Bible, I
being at the head of the table. I found this easy and sociable way of
proceeding highly gratified the children: they never called, never
thought it a school--they came bustling in with looks of great glee,
particularly the boys, and greeted me with the affectionate freedom of
young friends. A few words of introductory prayer were followed by the
reading of one or more chapters, so that each had a verse or two; and
then we talked over the portion of Scripture very closely, mutually
questioning each other. Many of the girls were as old as sixteen or
seventeen, beautiful creatures, and very well dressed: and what a
privilege it was so to gather and so to arm them in a place where, alas,
innumerable snares beset their path. We concluded with a hymn; and long
before the half-hour had expired that preceded the boys' entrance, they
were clustering like bees at the gate, impatient for the joyous rush;
and to seat themselves round their dear table, with all that free
confidence without which I never could succeed in really commanding the
attention of boys.

Our choice of chapters was peculiar. I found they wanted stirring
subjects, and I gave them Gideon, Samson, Jonathan, Nehemiah, Boaz,
Mordecai, Daniel, all the most manly characters of Old Testament
history, with the rich gospel that lies wrapped in every page of that
precious volume. Even in the New Testament I found that individualizing
as much as possible the speaker or the narrative produced, great
effects. Our blessed Lord himself, John the Baptist, Paul--all were
brought before them as vividly as possible; and I can assure those who
try to teach boys as they would teach girls, that they are pursuing a
wrong method. Mine have often coaxed an extra hour from me; and I never
once saw them willing to go, during the fifteen months of our happy
meetings. If the least symptom of unruliness appeared, I had only to
tell them they were my guests, and I appealed to their feelings of
manliness, whether a lady had not some claim to forbearance and respect.
Nothing rights a boy of ten or twelve years like putting him on his
manhood; and really my little lads became gentlemen in mind and manners,
while, blessed be God, not a few became, I trust, wise unto salvation.
Their greatest temptation to disorderly doings was in the laughable,
authoritative style of Jack's superintendence. He was now rapidly
fading, but in mind brighter than ever. Seated in a large chair, a
little to the rear of me, he kept strict watch over the party, and any
deviation from what he considered correct conduct was noticed with a
threat of punishment, conveyed by pinching his own ear, slapping his own
face, kicking out his foot, and similar indications of chastisement,
with a knowing nod at the offender. But if he saw an approach to levity
over the word of God, his manner wholly changed. Tears filled his eyes,
he looked all grief and entreaty, and the words, "God see," were
earnestly spelled on his uplifted hands. No one could stand the appeal;
and very rarely had he occasion to make it. I am sure his prayers helped
forward the work mightily. It was wonderful to see thirty-two robust,
boisterous fellows, from nine to seventeen years old, sitting in perfect
delight and perfect order, for two and even three hours, on a fine
Sunday evening, never looking dissatisfied till they were told to go.

I cannot help recording an event on which I look back with great
thankfulness, though it was a terrible trial to me at the time. Two of
my boys had a quarrel one week-day. One of them was very teasing, the
other very passionate. The latter ran to a butcher's window close by,
seized the large knife, and plunged it into the left side of his
companion. Most mercifully the wound was not dangerous: the keenness of
the knife was in his favor; it penetrated to within a short distance of
the heart, but separated no large vein, and within a few days the boy
was out again. The Sunday after it occurred my party were exceedingly
moved; they expressed great anger, and not a few threats were, uttered
against the culprit, whose parents had locked him up. On the following
Sabbath I resolved to make an effort to avert bad consequences, and also
to arrest the poor boy in his dangerous course. He had rather justified
himself than otherwise, and had shown a spirit sadly unsubdued, and
unthankful for his escape from a deadly crime and its awful
consequences. I sent word to him to come to my party: he replied he
would not. I repeated the summons, saying I should be exceedingly hurt
if he did not. No answer was returned. The place next but one to me
belonged to the wounded boy, that below it to his assailant; and the
former was present, pale, indeed, but well. I lost no time in announcing
to them that I expected P----, which occasioned a burst of indignation,
some saying they would not stay in the room with him, and the rest
seeming to assent. "Then," said I, "you must go, for he wants
instruction most: and the very feeling that makes you shrink from
associating with him proves that you are better taught. So if you will
leave me, do; I must admit him." Just then P---- was seen coming down
the little garden: he entered, his walk very erect, his eyes
unflinching, and his dark brows knitted. The looks of my young lads were
very eloquent; his bold bearing exasperated them much. My heart seemed
bursting its boundary with the violent palpitation of alarm, and other
emotions which I could scarcely suppress; but I motioned to P---- to
take his usual place, and instantly rising offered up the usual prayer,
with a petition for the spirit of mutual compassion, forgiveness, and
love. I ceased, all remained standing, and certainly it was a period of
most fearful interest. I looked imploringly at the wounded boy; he
hesitated a moment, then suddenly turned, and with an air of noble
frankness, held out his hand to P----, who took it directly. I then
offered him mine; he grasped it, and burst into tears. A delightful
scene followed, each pressing to seal his forgiveness in the same
manner, while Jack's countenance shone with almost heavenly beauty on a
spectacle so congenial to his loving heart. We had a most happy
evening, and I could not but tell my dear boys how much I rejoiced over
them. Whatever may have been the effect on the characters of those
concerned, I know not. I am persuaded the proceeding was a means of
averting much mischief. Boys are noble creatures when placed on their
right footing; but they are pugnacious animals and require prudent
management. News was brought me one evening, while they waited for
admission, that two of them had stripped off their jackets to fight, the
dispute being which loved their teacher most. "Exclude them both to-
night," said a friend, "and threaten to expel them." Instead of which, I
sent word that the one who first put on his jacket loved me most, and
that I was ready to begin. In they both came, smiling, and they got
their lecture in due time, when a passage in point came before us.

Now, who complains of non-employment while there are so many neglected
children, and so many who, in the dull routine of a school, get only a
mechanical knowledge of what would deeply interest them if brought
before them with the help of a little personal condescension and care?
It is a branch of Christian duty for which all are competent who know
the gospel; and two, three, or four young people invited to come in for
an hour or so at stated times, to sit down at a table and _talk_
over the passages of Scripture which may appear best calculated to
engage their pleased attention, may often prove the foundation for a
noble work. * * * Ladies do not like to instruct boys: they are very
wrong. Female influence is a powerful thing, and freely exerted for
evil--why not for good? We brought sin into the world, involving man in
the ruin he was not the first to seek; and it is the least we can do to
offer him a little good now. I never yet met with a boy--and thanks be
to God I have taught many--who would be rude to a female earnestly and
kindly seeking his welfare, without attempting to crush that
independence of spirit which is man's prerogative, and which no woman
has a right to crush.

I need not say that in the foregoing, and in all similar works where the
Lord permitted me to engage, I labored diligently to make my young
friends something more than nominal Protestants. To omit this, in giving
instruction, is the very madness of inconsistent folly and cruelty.

A few weeks after the commencement of my weekly assemblages, I was
called to the metropolis in search of medical aid for a dear little
child of my brother's. I found it, and all that Christian kindness could
add to render it doubly valuable, at the hands of an estimable
physician, near whom I resolved to stay for a few weeks; and while
secretly lamenting that here, at least, I should find nothing to do, an
answer was given to my unbelief that might well shame it. To the same
end I will record this also, the circumstances being already well known,
but not the delightful encouragements that are afforded when a project
is entered upon in single, simple reliance on the help of Him for whose
glory his people desire to work. Unbelief in his willingness--for we
dare not doubt his power to prosper our poor attempts--is the real bar
to our success. Such mistrust is infinitely dishonoring to him.

Six years had elapsed since I left Ireland, but my affection for the
country and people was unchanged, unchangeable. The very centre of the
isle had become the grave of my beloved brother, and this only added
tenfold to the touching interest excited by the very mention of that
land. Strange to say, I had never heard of the Irish Society, nor
considered of what vast importance it would be to make the language of
the natives a medium of conveying spiritual instruction to them. The
annual meeting was about to be held, and among the Irish clergymen
forming the deputation to London, was the Rev. Charles Seymour, the
venerable and every-way estimable pastor under whose ministry my brother
had been placed at Castlebar, and from whom I had received letters,
fully confirmatory of my sanguine hope that he had indeed and wholly
embraced the gospel of Christ. Longing to see Mr. Seymour, I went to him
on the morning of the meeting; and most sweet was the testimony he had
to give; most tender the sympathy he evinced in all my sorrow and all my
gladness. After a conversation that left me overflowing with gratitude
for the blessings vouchsafed to my precious brother, he asked me to
attend the meeting, and I went prepared to take a lively interest in
whatever might be said respecting Ireland. How great was my astonishment
when, for the first time, I heard the story of Bishop Bedell, of the
Irish Bible, and of the good work in rapid progress among the aborigines
of the land. The extent and inveteracy of the disease, I well knew; but
the suitability of the remedy had never been set before me. In fact, I
hardly knew that the Irish was a written language; and strange it
seemed, to have passed three years in a part of the country where it is
extensively spoken, and in the house of one who always conversed in that
tongue with the rustic frequenters of her shop, yet to be so grossly
ignorant of all relating to it. I resolved to become an active partisan
of the Irish Society in Ireland; but a different turn was soon given to
my sympathies. Mr. Seymour spoke after the others: he said much
calculated to prove the power of the language in preaching the gospel;
but suddenly reverting to the state of the many thousands of his poor
countrymen congregated in London, he drew a most affecting picture of
their destitute, degraded condition. He appealed to us as Christians;
and reminding us of our many privileges, bade us take care that the
souls of his poor countrymen did not rise up in judgment to condemn us
for allowing them to perish in the heart of our metropolis. "Open," he
said, "a bread-shop in St. Giles's; deal forth a little of the bread of
life to their starving souls. Ye English Christians, I appeal to you for
them: Oh, pity my poor lost countrymen, open but a bread-shop in St.
Giles's!" Tears ran down his venerable face, as he lifted his clasped
hands, and bent towards us. The effect of his words on me was electric:
I looked at him, and silently but fervently said, "So God help me as I
will open you a bread-shop in St. Giles's, if He does but permit!" Again
and again did I repeat the pledge; and when Lord Roden spoke--the first
time of my seeing that noble Irishman--and heartily seconded the appeal,
I renewed the secret promise, with such purpose of heart as rarely fails
to accomplish its object.

For some days I tried in vain to do any thing towards it; but on the
Sunday, passing from Great Russell-street to Long-acre, through the
worst part of St. Giles's, I saw the awful state of that district, and
declared to my companion, himself a devoted Irishman, my fixed resolve
to have a church there. He warmly encouraged it, extravagant as the idea
appeared; and I began to pray earnestly for direction from above. Two
nights after, a thought struck me; I wrote an appeal on behalf of the
miserable Irish Papists in that place, likening their case among us to
that of Lazarus lying at the rich man's gate, and imploring means to
give them the gospel in their own tongue. This I had printed, and sent
copies as I could to various friends. Some smiled at my enthusiasm;
others pointed out the work among distant heathen as far more important.
Many wished me success; a few rebuked me for desiring to proselytize the
members of another church; and still fewer gave me money. At the end of
a fortnight's hard begging, I had got just seven pounds towards building
a church! This was slow work. One day, dining at the table of my dear
friend Dr. P----, he heard many bantering me for being so sanguine, and
said, "You remind me of Columbus going to the cathedral of Seville to
ask a blessing on his romantic project of discovering a new world.
Everybody laughed at him. Nevertheless, Columbus succeeded, _and so
will you_." At that moment a gentleman sitting next me laid a
sovereign on my piece of bread; and the coincidence of the gold and the
"bread-shop," combined with the doctor's confident prediction, put new
life into me, and I boldly said, "I WILL succeed."

With the sum of seven pounds in hand, I wrote to the bishop of Lichfield
and Coventry, begging him to ask the bishop of London if he would
license my Irish church and an Irish clergyman, if I provided both. Lord
Mountsandford took this letter to him, and the next day he brought me
this rather startling message: "The bishop of London will license your
church: Lichfield sends his love to you, and desires you will summon the
gentlemen who are assisting you in this undertaking--half a dozen or so
--to meet him in Sackville-street on Saturday next, and be there
yourself. He will see what can be done to forward it." Half a dozen
gentlemen! where was I to find them? My only helpers were Mr. Maxwell,
Dr. Pidduck, and Lord Mountsandford himself. However, I went to work,
praying incessantly, and solacing myself with that beautiful text, "Go
up to the mountain, and bring wood and build the house; and I will take
pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord." I suppose I
repeated that verse a hundred times a day, in my solitude, attending the
sick child and writing letters till I nearly fell from my seat with
exhaustion.

Saturday arrived: I had no idea how far my applications might have
succeeded; but if I had as many gentlemen there as pounds in my
treasury, namely, seven, it would be sufficient. I went trembling with
hope and fear, accompanied by two warmhearted young Irish barristers
whom my good friend Mr. Maxwell had pressed into the service. Oh what
could I render unto the Lord for all his goodness to me, when I saw the
glorious spectacle presented to my view at the hour appointed! There sat
the good Bishop Ryder in the chair; beside him the bishop of Bath and
Wells; lords Lorton, Lifford, Bexley, Mountsandford, and Carberry; and
of other clergymen and gentlemen upwards of forty. "Let us ask a
blessing," said the bishop of Lichfield; and when, we all kneeled down
to commit unto the LORD a work so new, so strange, and to poor human
reason so hopelessly wild as this had appeared two days before, I
thought I might as well die then as not; I could never die happier.

All was zeal, love, unanimity; they placed it on a good basis, and my
seven pounds were multiplied by more than seven before we broke up. They
did not take the work out of my hands, but formed themselves into a body
for aiding in carrying it on: the rector of St. Giles's came forward
voluntarily to give his hearty consent, and ten pounds; and if there was
a pillow of roses in London that night, I surely slept on it. In six
weeks my memorable seven pounds swelled to thirteen hundred; a church
was bought, a pastor engaged; and a noble meeting held in Freemason's
Hall, to incorporate the new project with the Irish Society. I went back
to Sandhurst elated with joy, and lost no time in putting up, most
conspicuously written out on card, over my study fireplace, the lines
that I had so often repeated during the preceding two months:

  "Victorious Faith, the promise sees,
    And looks to God alone;
  Laughs at impossibilities,
    And says, 'IT SHALL BE DONE!"

In the following November the Irish Episcopal church in St. Giles's was
opened for divine service on Advent Sunday, the Rev. H.H. Beamish
officiating. A more eloquent and fluent preacher, a more gifted and
devoted man, the whole church of God could not have supplied. He
preached the whole gospel in Irish to the listening, wondering people,
who hung with delight upon accents so dear to them; and he attacked
their pestilent heresies with the bold faithfulness of one who meant
what he said, when vowing to drive away all erroneous and strange
doctrines from those under his charge. God blessed most richly his
ministry: many were awakened, several truly converted to Christ, and not
a small number fully convinced of the falsehood of their own
superstition, which they forsook. We had forty communicants from among
the most wretchedly ignorant and bigoted of the Irish Romanists, before
Mr. Beamish left his post; and one of them had even endured a cruel
martyrdom for the truth's sake. A bread-shop in deed it was: and the old
Christian, whose fervent appeal had given rise to its establishment,
himself preached there in Irish to a delighted congregation, before the
Lord took him to himself. * * *



LETTER XIII.

A SUNSET.


I come now to the period of my delivering up a sacred trust into the
hands of Him who committed it to me. Jack had lingered long, and sunk
very gradually; but now he faded apace. His eldest sister, a very
decided Romanist, came over for the purpose of seeing him, and to take
care that he had "the rites of the church." Had the abbé remained, it is
probable we should have soon found ourselves deep in controversy; for,
as priest, he never should have crossed my threshold, to bring upon my
house the curse attached to idolatrous worship: and there was happily no
other within reach. Jack requested me to promise him in his sister's
presence that no Romish priest should come near him: I willingly did so;
and moreover informed her that if she was herself dying and asked for
one, he would not be admitted under my roof. The abomination that maketh
desolate stands in many places where it ought not, but where I have
authority it never did, nor by God's grace ever shall. I have toleration
full and free for every form of Christianity, but none for antichrist,
come in what form he may.

It may be possible to describe a glorious summer sunset, with all the
softening splendor that it sheds around; but to describe the setting of
my dumb boy's sun of mortal life is impossible. He declined like the orb
of day, gently, silently, gradually, yet swiftly, and gathered new
beauties as he approached the horizon. His sufferings were great, but
far greater his patience; and nothing resembling a complaint ever
escaped him. When appearing in the morning, with pallid, exhausted
looks, if asked whether he had slept, he would reply, with a sweet
smile, "No, Jack no sleep; Jack think good Jesus Christ see poor Jack.
Night dark; heaven all light; soon see heaven. Cough much now, pain bad;
soon no cough, no pain." This was his usual way of admitting how much he
suffered, always placing in contrast the glory to be revealed in him,
and which, seemed already revealed to him. Knowing that his recovery was
impossible, I refrained, with his full concurrence, from having him
tormented with miscalled alleviations, such as opiates, bloodletting,
and so forth. All that kindness and skill could effect was gratuitously
done for him, and every thing freely supplied by our medical friends;
but they admitted that no permanent relief could be given, and I always
hold it cruel to imbitter the dying season with applications that in the
end increase the sufferings they temporarily subdue. This plan kept the
boy's mind clear and calm; the ever-present Saviour being to him instead
of all soothing drugs. Sometimes when greatly oppressed, he has had
leeches; and I remember once half a dozen were put on his side, at his
own request. The inflammation was very great; the torture dreadful as
they drew it to the surface; and I was called to him, as he sat grasping
the arm of a chair, and writhing convulsively. He said to me, "Very,
very pain; pain bad, soon kill;" and he seemed half wild with agony.
Looking up in my face, he saw me in tears; and instantly assumed his
sweetest expression of countenance, saying in a calm, leisurely way,
that his pain was much, but the pain the Lord suffered much more: his
was only in his side; the Lord suffered in his side, his hands, his
feet, and head. His pain would be over in half an hour, the Lord's
lasted many hours; he was "bad Jack," the Lord was "good Jesus Christ."
Then again he observed the leeches made very little holes in his skin,
and drew out a little blood; but the thorns, the nails, the spear, tore
the Lord's flesh, and all his blood gushed out--it was shed to save him;
and he raised his eyes, lifted his clasped hands, turned his whole face
up towards heaven, saying, "Jack loves, loves, very loves good Jesus
Christ!" When another violent pang made him start and writhe a little,
he recovered in a moment, nodded his head, and said, "Good pain, make
Jack soon go heaven."

His sublime idea of the "red hand" was ever present. He had told me some
years before, that when he had lain a good while in the grave, God would
call aloud, "Jack!" and he would start, and say, "Yes, me Jack." Then he
would rise, and see multitudes standing together, and God sitting on a
cloud with a very large book in his hand--he called it "Bible book"--and
would beckon him to stand before him while he opened the book, and
looked at the top of the pages, till he came to the name of John B----.
In that page he told me, God had written all his "bads," every sin he
had ever done: and the page was full. So God would look, and strive to
read it, and hold it to the sun for light, but it was all "no, no
nothing, none." I asked him in some alarm if he had done no bad. He said
yes, much bads; but when he first prayed to Jesus Christ _he_ had
taken the book out of God's hand, found that page, and pulling from his
palm something which he described as filling up the hole made by the
nail, had allowed the wound to bleed a little, passing his hand down the
page so that, as he beautifully said, God could see none of Jack's bads,
only Jesus Christ's blood. Nothing being thus found against him, God
would shut the book, and there he would remain standing before him, till
the Lord Jesus came, and saying to God, "My Jack," would put his arm
around him, draw him aside, and bid him stand with the angels till the
rest were judged.

All this he told me with the placid but animated look of one who is
relating a delightful fact: I stood amazed, for rarely had the plan of a
sinner's ransom, appropriation, and justification, been so perspicuously
set forth in a pulpit, as here it was by a poor deaf and dumb peasant
boy, whose broken language was eked out by signs. He often told it to
others, always making himself understood, and often have I seen the
tears starting from a rough man's eye as he followed the glowing
representation. Jack used to sit silent and thoughtful for a long time
together in his easy-chair, when too weak to move about, and then
catching my eye, to say with a look of infinite satisfaction, "Good red
hand." I am persuaded that it was his sole and solid support; he never
doubted, never feared, because his view of Christ's all-sufficiency was
so exceedingly clear and realizing. It certainly never entered his head
to question God's love to him. One night a servant went to his room,
long after he had gone to bed: he was on his knees at the window, his
hands and face held up towards a beautiful starlight sky. He did not
perceive the servant's entrance: and next morning when I asked him about
it, he told me that God was walking above, upon the stars; and that he
went to the window and held up his head that God might look down into it
and see how very much he loved Jesus Christ.

All his ideas were similar--all turned on the one theme so dear to him;
and their originality was inexhaustible. What could be finer than his
notion of the lightning, that it was produced by a sudden opening and
shutting of God's eye--or of the rainbow, that it was the reflection of
God's smile? What more graphic than his representation of Satan's malice
and impotence, when, one evening, holding his finger to a candle, he
snatched it back, as if burnt, pretending to be in great pain, and said,
"Devil like candle." Then with a sudden look of triumph he added, "God
like wind," and with a most vehement puff at once extinguished the
light. When it was rekindled he laughed and said, "God kill devil."

He told me that God was always sitting still with the great book in his
hand, and the Lord Jesus looking down for men, and crying to them,
"Come, man; come, pray." That the devil drew them back from listening,
and persuaded them to spit up towards him, which was his sign for
rebellion and contempt; but if at last a man snatched his hand from
Satan, and prayed to the Lord Jesus, he went directly, took the book,
found the name, and passed the "red hand" over the page; on seeing which
Satan would stamp and cry. He gave very grotesque descriptions of the
evil spirit's mortification, and always ended by bestowing on him a
hearty kick. From seeing the effect, in point of watchfulness, prayer,
and zeal, produced on this young Christian by such continual realization
of the presence of the great tempter, I have been led to question very
much the policy, not to say the lawfulness, of excluding that terrible
foe as we do from our general discourse. It seems to be regarded a
manifest impropriety to name him, except with the most studied
circumlocution, as though we were afraid of treating him irreverently;
and he who is seldom named will not often be thought of. Assuredly it is
a great help to him in his countless devices to be so kept out of sight.
We are prone to speak, to think, to act, as though we had only our own
evil natures to contend with, including perhaps a sort of general
admission that something is at work to aid the cause of rebellion; but
it was far otherwise with Jack. If only conscious of the inward rising
of a sullen or angry temper, he would immediately conclude that the
devil was trying to make him grieve the Lord; and he knelt down to pray
that God would drive him away. The sight of a drunken man affected him
deeply: he would remark that the devil had drawn that man to the ale-
house, put the cup into his hand with an assurance that God did not see,
or did not care; and was now pushing him about to show the angels he had
made that wretched being spit at the authority of the Lord. In like
manner with all other vices, and some seeming virtues. As an instance of
the latter, he knew a person who was very hostile to the gospel, and to
the best of his power hindered it, but who nevertheless paid the most
punctual regard to all the formalities of external public worship. He
almost frightened me by the picture he drew of that person's case,
saying the devil walked to church with him, led him into a pew, set a
hassock prominently forward for him to kneel on, put a handsome prayer-
book into his hand; and while he carefully followed all the service kept
clapping him on the shoulder, saying, "A very good pray." I told this to
a pious minister, who declared it was the most awfully just description
of self-deluding formality, helped on by Satan, that ever he heard of.
When partaking of the Lord's supper, Jack told me that his feeling was
"very, very love Jesus Christ; very, very, _very_ hate devil: go,
devil!" and with holy indignation he motioned, as it were, the enemy
from him. He felt that he had overcome the accuser by the blood of the
Lamb. Oh that we all may take a lesson of wisdom from this simple child
of God.

During the winter months he sunk daily: his greatest earthly delight was
in occasionally seeing Mr. Donald, for whom he felt the fondest love,
and who seemed to have a presentiment of the happy union in which they
would together soon rejoice before the Lord. Jack was courteous in
manner, even to elegance; most graceful; and being now nineteen, tall
and large, with the expression of infantine innocence and sweetness on a
very fine countenance, no one could look on him without admiration, nor
treat him with roughness or disrespect: but Donald's tenderness of
manner was no less conspicuous than his; and I have watched that noble-
minded Christian man waiting on the dying youth, as he sat patiently
reclining in his chair--for he could not lie down--and the grateful
humility with which every little kindness was received, until I almost
forgot what the rude unfeeling world was in that beautiful
contemplation. How much the fruit in God's garden is beautified by the
process that ripens it.

Jack labored anxiously to convert his sister; and as she could not read
at all, the whole controversy was carried on by signs. Mary was
excessively mirthful, Jack unboundedly earnest; and when her playful
reproaches roused his Irish blood, the scene was often very comic. I
remember he was once bringing a long list of accusations against her
priest, for taking his mother's money, making the poor fast while the
rich paid for dispensations to eat, inflicting cruel penances, drinking
too much whiskey, and finally telling the people to worship wooden and
breaden gods. To all this Mary attended with perfect good-humor, and
then told him the same priest had christened him and made crosses upon
him. Jack wrathfully intimated that he was then a baby, with a head like
a doll's, and knew nothing; but if he had been wise he would have kicked
his little foot into the priest's mouth. The controversy grew so warm
that I had to part them. His horror of the priests was solely directed
against their false religion; when I told him of one being converted, he
leaped about for joy.

At the commencement of the year 1831 he was evidently dying; and we got
a furlough for his brother to visit him. Poor Pat never went to bed but
twice during the fortnight he was there, so bitterly did he grieve over
the companion of his early days; and many a sweet discourse passed
between them on the subject of the blessed hope that sustained the dying
Christian. He only survived Pat's departure four days. On the third of
February the last symptoms came on; the death-damps began to ooze out,
his legs were swelled to the size of his body, and he sat in that state,
incapable of receiving warmth, scarcely able to swallow, yet clear,
bright, and tranquil, for thirty hours. The morning of the last day was
marked by such a revival of strength that he walked across the room with
little help, and talked incessantly to me, and to all who came near him.
He told me, among other things, that once God destroyed all men by rain,
except those in the ark; and that he would soon do it again, not with
water but with fire. He described the Lord as taking up the wicked by
handfuls, breaking them, and throwing them into a fire; repeating, "All
bads, all bads go fire." I asked if he was not bad; "Yes, Jack bad
very." Would he be thrown into the fire? "No; Jesus Christ loves poor
Jack." He then spoke rapturously of the "red hand," of the angels he
should soon be singing with, of the day when Satan should be cast into
the pit, and of the delight he should have in seeing me again. He prayed
for his family, begged me to teach Mary to read the Bible, to warn Pat
against bad example, to bring up my brother's boys to love Jesus Christ,
and lastly he repeated over and over again the fervent injunction to
love Ireland, to pray for Ireland, to write books for "Jack's poor
Ireland," and in every way to oppose Popery. He called it "Roman,"
always; and it was a striking sight, that youth all but dead, kindling
into the most animated, stern, energetic warmth of manner, raising his
cold, damp hands, and spelling with them the words, "Roman is a lie."
"One Jesus Christ, one," meaning he was the only Saviour; "Jack's one
Jesus Christ;" and then with a force as if he would have the characters
impressed on his hands, he reiterated, as slowly as possible, his dying
protest, "Roman is A LIE!" Very sweetly he thanked me for all my care;
and now he seemed to bequeath to me his zeal against the destroyer of
his people. The last signs of removal came on in the evening; his sight
failed, he rubbed his eyes, shook his head, and then smiled with
conscious pleasure. At last he asked me to let him lie down on the sofa
where he had been sitting, and saying very calmly, "A sleep," put his
hand into mine, closed his eyes, and breathed his spirit forth so
gently, that it was difficult to mark the precise moment of that joyful
change.

I still hope to throw into a volume the numerous particulars that remain
untold concerning this boy; and I will not now dwell upon the subject
longer. God had graciously kept me faithful to my trust; and I
surrendered it, not without most keenly feeling the loss of such a
companion, but with a glow of adoring thankfulness that overcame all
selfish regrets. Thenceforth my lot was to be cast among strangers, and
sorely did I miss the comforting, sympathizing monitor who for seven
years had been teaching me more than I could teach him; but all my
prayers had been answered, all my labors crowned; and with other duties
before me I was enabled to look at the past, to thank God, and to take
courage.



LETTER XIV.

A REMOVAL.


Circumstances led me to decide on removing nearer the metropolis; and
with reluctance I bade adieu to Sandhurst, where I had resided five
years. Jack was buried under the east window of the Chapel of Ease at
Bagshot, there to rest till roused by the Lord's descending shout, the
voice of the archangel, and the trump of God. I am very certain he will
rise to glory and immortality. It was a severe trial to part with my
school, to dispose of the endeared relics that had furnished a home
blessed by my brother's presence, to bid farewell to many kind friends,
and cast myself into the great wilderness of London. The feeling that
oppressed me was a conviction that I should there find nothing to do;
but I prayed to be made useful, and none ever asked work of a heavenly
Master in vain. The dreadful famine in the west of Ireland had called
forth a stream of English liberality, and collections were made
everywhere for relief of the suffering Irish: one was announced at Long-
Acre chapel; but before the day arrived, the committee put forth a
statement that they had abundant funds and required no more. I was then
residing in Bloomsbury, daily witnessing the wretchedness of St.
Giles's: and on learning this I wrote to Mr. Howels, begging him to say
a word to his congregation on behalf of those Irish who were starving at
their doors, whose miserable destitution I laid before him as well as I
could. He returned me no answer; but on the Sunday morning read my
letter from the pulpit, asked his flock to contribute, and collected
upwards of fifty pounds, which he gave to me.

Knowing the character of the people so well, and longing to make the
relief of their bodily wants subservient to a higher purpose, I resolved
to visit in person every case recommended to my notice. Many of my
friends stood aghast at the proposal: I should be insulted, murdered, by
the Irish savages; no lady could venture there, their language was so
dreadful: no delicate person could survive the effects of such a noxious
atmosphere. To this I replied that, happily, I could not hear their
conversation; and as for the unwholesomeness, it could not be worse than
Sierra Leone, or other missionary stations, where many ladies went.
Insult had never yet been my lot among the Irish; and as to murder, it
would be martyrdom in such a cause, of which I had little hope. So I
turned my fifty pounds into bread, rice, milk, meal, coals, and soup,
resolved to give no money, and on the very next day commenced the
campaign against starvation and Popery in St. Giles's.

For four months I persevered in the work, devoting from four to six
hours every day to it; and though I never in the smallest degree
concealed or compromised the truth, or failed to place in the strongest
light its contrast with the falsehoods taught them, I never experienced
a disrespectful or unkind look from one among the hundreds, the
thousands who knew me as the enemy of their religion, but the loving
friend of their country and of their souls. Often, when I went to visit
and relieve some poor dying creature in a cellar or garret, where a
dozen wholly unconnected with the sufferer were lodged in the same
apartment, have I gathered them all about me by speaking of Ireland with
the affection I really feel for it, and then shown them, from the
Scriptures, in English, or by means of an Irish reader sometimes
accompanying me, the only way of salvation, pointing out how very
different was that by which they vainly sought it. My plan was to
discover such as were too ill to go to the dispensary for relief, or to
select the most distressed objects whom I met there, and to take the
bread of life along with the bread that perisheth into their wretched
abodes. I was most ably and zealously helped by that benevolent
physician who had always been foremost in every good and compassionate
work for the Irish poor; and to whose indefatigable zeal it is chiefly
owing that at this day the poor lambs of that distressed flock are still
gathered and taught in the schools which it was Donald's supreme delight
to superintend. I cannot pass over in silence the devotion of Dr.
Pidduck, through many years, to an office the most laborious, the most
repulsive, and in many respects the most thankless that a professional
man can be engaged in--that of ministering to the diseased and filthy
population of the district. But many a soul that he has taught in the
knowledge of Him whom to know is life eternal, will be found to rejoice
him in the day when their poor bodies shall arise to meet the Lord.

The schools in George-street, to which I have alluded, are the main
blessing of the place: they were established long before the gospel in
Irish was ever introduced there; and they survive the Irish ministry
which, alas, has been withdrawn from the spot where God enabled me to
plant it. Those schools are a bud of promise in the desolate wilderness,
which may the Lord in his own good time cause to blossom again. * * *

During a sojourn of some years a little to the north of London, I
devoted myself more to the pen, and found less opportunity for other
usefulness than in Sandhurst and London; yet much encouragement was
given to labor among the poor neglected Irish, who may be found in every
neighborhood, and to whom few think of taking the gospel in their native
tongue--still fewer of bearing with the desperate opposition that Satan
will ever show to the work. We make the deplorable state, morally and
physically, of the Irish poor, an excuse first for not going among them
at all, and then for relinquishing the work if we do venture to begin
it. In both cases it ought to plead for tenfold readiness and
perseverance. I always found it a perilous task to attack the enemy in
this strong-hold: not from any opposition encountered from the people
themselves; far otherwise; they ever received me gladly, and treated me
with respect and grateful affection; but Satan has many ways of
assailing those whom he desires to hinder, and sometimes his chain is
greatly lengthened for the trial of faith, and perfecting of humility
and patience, where they may be sadly lacking. There are spheres of
undeniable duty where the Christian may often almost, if not altogether,
take up the apostle's declaration, and say, "No man stood by me." This,
to the full extent, has never yet been my experience; but I have often
found many against me, both without and within, when earnestly bent on
dealing a blow at the great antichrist. It is no good sign when all goes
on too smoothly.

In 1834 I was induced to undertake what seemed an arduous and alarming
office, that of editing a periodical. I commenced it in much prayer,
with no little trembling, and actuated by motives not selfish. That it
was not laid down at the end of the second year, was owing to the great
blessing just then given to my appeals on behalf of the cruelly
oppressed and impoverished Irish clergy through its means: and
recommencing, at the beginning of the third year, with an ardent desire
to promote more than ever the sacred cause of Protestantism, I found the
Lord prospering the work beyond my best hopes; and by his help I
continue it to this day. * * *

It was my blessed privilege, four years since, to abridge into two
moderate sized volumes the English Martyrology, as recorded by Foxe. In
the progress of this work I became better acquainted with the true
doctrines of the Reformation than ever before: I compared them, as I am
wont to do every thing, with what God has revealed; and I am satisfied
that they are perfectly accordant with Scripture: if they were not so, I
would reject them. By the same standard let us prove all things, that we
may hold fast that which is good.

I have not particularized the trial of my scriptural principles when
exposed for a short time to the pernicious doctrines of a subtle and
persuasive Antinomian teacher. At first he only appeared to me to insist
very strenuously on the doctrine of free, sovereign grace; and greatly
to magnify God in the saving of souls, wholly independent of aught that
man can do: but a little further investigation convinced me that the
vilest system of moral licentiousness might be built on such a
foundation as he laid; and I found the discourses of Peter and of Paul,
as recorded in the Acts, especially conclusive against his perverted
notions. Antinomianism is a most deadly thing; and I believe all
extremes in doctrines where good men have much differed to be dangerous;
while at the same time they are very deluding, for we all love to go far
in an argument, or under the influence of party spirit. * * *

Of myself, I have now no more to say than that, "by the help of my God,
I continue to this day" anxiously desirous to devote my little talent to
his service, as he may graciously permit. I have coveted no man's
silver, or gold, or apparel, but counted it a privilege to labor with my
hands and head, for myself and for those most dear to me. Many trials,
various and sharp, have been my portion; but they are passed away, and
if I have not enlarged upon them it is from no reluctance to declare all
the Lord's wonderful doings, but from a desire to avoid speaking harshly
of those who are departed. The Lord has accepted at my hand one
offering, in the case of the precious dumb boy, received into glory
through his rich blessing on my efforts; and he mercifully gives me to
see the welfare of two others, committed to me as the offspring of my
brother, over whose early years I have been permitted to watch, and in
whose growing prosperity my heart can rejoice. He has been a very
gracious Master to me; he has dealt very bountifully, and given me now
the abundance of domestic peace, with the light of his countenance to
gladden my happy home. Yet the brightest beam that falls upon it is the
anticipation of that burst of glory when the Lord Jesus shall be
revealed from heaven, to reign in righteousness over the world that
shall soon, very soon, acknowledge him the universal, eternal King: and
the most fervent aspiration my heart desires to utter is the response to
his promise of a speedy advent. "Even so, Lord Jesus; come quickly.
Amen."


      *       *       *       *       *

NOTE. Charlotte Elizabeth was born in October, 1790, and wrote the
Personal Recollections near the close of 1840, when fifty years of age.
She continued her active Christian beneficence, and the brilliant and
unceasing labors of her pen, in editing the Protestant Magazine, and
other writing for the press, until the very close of life. "Immediately
after breakfast," says a brief sketch of her remaining years, "she went
to her desk, locking the door to exclude interruptions; and when her pen
was laid aside, her garden afforded ever new delight; and with her,
gardening was no light occupation. She smiled at lady gardeners who only
enjoyed the labors of others. From the moment the gravel-walks and beds
were formed, all was the work of her own hands; and the most laborious
operations were to her refreshment and enjoyment. Each plant, each bed
was familiar to her. She knew their history, their vicissitudes, and the
growth and expansion of each became a source of lively and never-failing
interest. The emotions produced in her mind by the brilliant tints of
flowers, can only be compared to those of music to others, and this love
of color was regulated by the most delicate sense of harmony in their
disposition and arrangement. The writer wears at this moment a small
diamond ring, which she kept in her desk, and would place on her finger
only when engaged in writing; the occasional flashing of the brilliants
as the light fell upon them, producing most pleasurable sensations in
her mind, and greatly assisting the flow of her thoughts and
imagination. Her countenance, at such moments, would light up with
animation, and if an inquiring glance were turned to her, she would
smile, and add, 'Oh, it was only the diamonds.'

"Often would she lay down her pen in the midst of some work requiring
the whole energy of her mind, and much concentration of thought, and go
to her garden for half an hour; and while apparently wholly absorbed in
pruning or transplanting, she was really engaged in her work; and the
apparent loss of time was amply repaid by the rapidity with which she
wrote out the ideas conceived and matured during this healthful
recreation. A word, however, spoken to her at such times, would have
caused a most painful interruption in the current of her thoughts--she
compared the effect to a stone thrown into a quiet running brook--and
would utterly disable her from writing during the rest of the day, a
circumstance not easy to impress on the minds of servants. Even those
who would most carefully refrain from addressing her when they knew she
was actually writing, could hardly understand that like care was needful
when she was thus employed over her flowers.

"All communication was held with her by means of the finger alphabet,
but so quick was her appreciation of what was thus said, and so easy was
it for those about her to acquire great rapidity in this art, that her
total deafness was hardly felt to be an inconvenience; sermons,
speeches, conversations even of the most voluble speakers, were conveyed
to her with the greatest ease, and with hardly the omission of the
smallest word."

In 1841 she married Mr. L.H.J. Tonna, who held an office in London under
the British government, and who prepared the sketch from which the above
passage is quoted. Having in 1836 removed from Edmonton, (page 242,) she
resided at Blackheath till 1845, when she removed to London. About the
end of 1844, she found that a small swelling near her left shoulder was
indeed a cancer, which would doubtless terminate life; but she continued
her literary labors till a vary short time before her death, which was
one of peace and humble trust in her Redeemer, and occurred at Ramsgate
on the sea-side. The following epitaph, dictated by herself, is
inscribed on her tombstone:

HERE

LIE THE MORTAL REMAINS

OF

CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH,

THE

BELOVED WIFE

OF

LEWIS HYPOLYTUS JOSEPH TONNA,

WHO

DIED ON THE 12TH OF JULY,

MDCCCXLVI,

LOOKING UNTO JESUS.





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