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There forms, that mortals may not see,
Too glorious for the eye to trace,
Move with unutterable grace.
In vain the philosophic eye
May seek to view the fair abode,
It is THE DWELLING-PLACE OF GOD.
The Better Land.-MRS. HEM'ANS.
“I HEAR thee speak of the better land;
-“ Not there, not there, my child !" " Is it where the feathery palm-trees rise, And the date grows ripe under sunny skies? Or midst the green islands of glittering seas, Where fragrant forests perfume the breeze, And strange bright birds, on their starry wings, Bear the rich hues of all glorious things ?”
“Not there, not there, my child !"
“ Is it far away, in some region old,
-"Not there, not there, my child !
«Eye hath not seen it, my gentle boy!
Time doth not breathe on its fadeless bloom;
-It is there, it is there, my child !”
The Widow and her Son.-C. EDWARDS.
“My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
My widow-comfort, and my sorrow's cure!" CONSUMPTION is a siren. She can give a charm even to deformity. In my school boy days, there lived an aged widow near the church-yard. She had an only child. I have often observed, that the delicate, and the weak, receive more than a common share of affection from a mother. Such a feeling was shown by this widow towards her sickly and unshapely boy.
There are faces and forms which, once seen, are impressed upon our brain ; and they will come again, and again, upon the tablet of our memory in the quiet night, and even flit around us in our day walks. Many years have gone by since I first saw this boy; but his delicate form, his quiet manner, and his gentle and virtuous conduct, are often before me.
I shall never forget,-in the sauciness of youth, and fancying it would give importance to my bluff outside, --swearing in his presence. The boy was sitting in a high-backed easy chair, reading his Bible. He turned round, as if a signal for dying had sounded in his ear, and fixed upon me his clear gray eye—that look! it made my little heart almost choke me :-I gave some foolish excuse for getting out of the cottage; and, as I met a playmate on the road, who jeered me for my blank countenance, I rushed past him, hid myself in an adjoining cornfield, and cried bitterly.
I tried to conciliate the widow's son, and show my sorrow for having so far forgotten the innocence of boyhood, as to have had my
Maker's name şounded in an unhallowed manner from my lips : but I could not reconcile him. My spring flowers he accepted; but, when my back was turned, he fiung them away.
The toys and books I offered to him were put aside for his Bible. His only occupations were, the feeding of a favourite hen, which would come to his chair and look up for the crumbs he would let fall, with a noiseless action, from his thin fingers, watching the pendulum and hands of the wooden clock, and reading.
Although I could not, at that time, fully appreciate the beauty of a mother's love, still I venerated the widow for the unobtrusive, but intense, attention she displayed to her son.
I never entered her dwelling without seeing her engaged in kind offices towards him. If the sunbeam came through the leaves of the geraniums, placed in the window, with too strong a glare, she moved the high-backed chair with as much care as if she had been putting aside a crystal temple. When he slept, she festooned her silk handkerchief around his place of rest. She placed the earliest violets upon her mantel-piece for him to look at; and the roughness of her own meal, and the delicacy of the child's, sufficiently displayed her sacrifices. Easy and satisfied, the widow moved about. I never saw her but once unhappy. She was then walking thoughtfully in her garden. I beheld a tear. I did not dare to intrude upon her grief, and ask her the cause of it; but I found the reason in her cottage : her boy had been spitting blood.
I have often envied him these ndearments; for I was away from a parent who humoured me even when I was stubborn and unkind. My poor mother is in her grave. I have often regretted having been her pet, her favourite : for the coldness of the world makes me wretched; and, perhaps, if I had not drunk at the very spring of a mother's affection, I might have let scorn and con'tumëly pass by me as the idle wind. Yet I have, afterwards, asked myself what I, a. thoughtless though not heartless boy, should have come to, if I had not had such a comforter : I have asked myself this, felt satisfied and grateful, and wished that her spirit might watch around a child, who often met her kindness with passion, and received her gifts as if he expected homage from her.
Every body experiences how quickly school years pass away, and many persons regret their flight. As for myself, I do not wish for the return of boyhood's days.
I cannot forget the harshness of my master. I cannot but know, that, if he had studied my character, and tempered me as the hot iron is made pliable, I should have been a different and a better being. I still remember the tỹr'anny of older spirits. School may have its pleasures; but the sorrows of a thinking boy are like the griefs of a fallen angel.
My father's residence was not situated in the village where I was educated; so that, when I left school, I left its scenes also.
After several years. had passed away, accident took me again to the well-known place. The stable, into which I led my horse, was dear to me; for I had often listened to the echo that danced within it, when the bells were ringing. The face of the landlord was strange; but I could not forget the in-kneed, red-whiskered hostler* : he had given me a hearty thrashing as a return for a hearty jest.
I had reserved a broad piece of silver for the old widow. But I first ran towards the river, and walked upon the millbank. I was surprised at the apparent narrowness of the stream; and, although the willows still fringed the margin, and appeared to stoop in homage to the water lilies, yet they were diminutive! Every thing was but a miniature of the picture within my mind.' It proved to me that my faculties had grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength.
With something like disappointment, I left the river side, and strolled towards the church. My hand was in my pocket, grasping the broad piece of silver. I imagined to myself the kind look of recognition I should receive; I determined on the way in which I should press the money into the widow's hand. But I felt my nerves lightly tremble as I thought upon the look her son had given, and again might give me.
Ah, there is the cottage! but the honey-suckle is older, and it has lost many of its branches !
The door was closed. A pet lamb was fastened to a loose cord under the window; and its melancholy bleating was the only sound that disturbed the silence. In former years, I used, at once, to pull the string which assisted the wooden latch; but now, I deliberately knocked. A strange female form, with a child in her arms, opened the door. I asked for my old acquaintance. “ Alas! poor Alice is in her coffin: look, sir, where the shadow of the spire ends : that is her grave." I relaxed my grasp of my money. her deformed boy.?” “He too, sir, is there!" hand from my pocket. It was a hard task for me to thank the woman; but I did
I moved to the place where the mother and the child were buried. I stood for some minutes, in silence, beside the mound of grass. I thought of the consumptive lad;
* And drew my
and, as I did so, the lamb at the cottage window gave its anxious bleat. And then all the affectionate attentions of my own mother arose on my soul; while my lips trembled out-"Mother! dear mother! would that I were as is the widow's son! would that I were sleeping in thy grave!. I loved thee, mother! but I would not have thee living now, to view the worldly sorrows of thy ungrateful boy! My first step towards vice was the oath which the deformed child heard me utter.
“ I have often wished my means were equal to my heart. Circumstances, alone, have unmade me.--- And you, who rest here as quietly as you lived, shall receive the homage of the unworthy. I will protect this hillock from the steps of the heedless wanderer, and from the trampling of the village herd. I will raise up a tabernacle to purity and love. I will do it in secret; and I look not to be rewarded openly.”
The Little Man in Black.-W. IRVING.
The following story has been handed down by family tradition for more than a century. It is one on which my cousin Christopher dwells, with more than his usual prolixity;, and I have thought it worthy of being laid before my readers.
Soon after my grandfather, Mr. Lemuel Cockloft, had quietly settled himself at the Hall, and just about the time that the gossips of the neighbourhood, tired of prying into his affairs, were anxious for some new tea-table topic, the busy community of our little village was thrown into a grand turmoil of curiosity and conjecture,-a situation very common to little gossiping villages,—by the sudden and unaccountable appearance of a mysterious individual.
The object of this solicitude was a little, black-looking man, of a foreign aspect, who took possession of an old building, which, having long had the reputation of being haunted, * was in a state of ruinous desolation, and an object of fear to all true believers in ghosts. He usually wore a high sugar-loaf hat, with a narrow
* Haunt, pronounced to rhyme with aunt, not with want,