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•** The curiosities figured in our plate, were recently sold, with a choice collection of similar articles, at Brockley Hall.
Great Terror of the nations—thunder storm
What Cyclopean prison-force can form
Must a vast towering pile of mountain brown—
Of shapeless crag, a huge chaotic heap Be piled above, to weigh securely down
That restless brow "which kept the world from sleep?"
Must the unfathomable, endless tide—
The illimitable, never-staying deep, In some abysmal caverned prison, hide
The Troublous One "who kept the world from sleep?"
Or mighty masonry, broad based, high,
Must Europe's princes, in such wise, supply
Not so :—A narrow home—a little dust
Besprinkled o'er him, while bystanders weep,
Forms his long resting place—a ward of trust—
THE WIDOWS DEATH BED.
In a mean back room, in one of the quietest suburbs of our great metropolis, lay a youthful female, on what seemed the bed of death. The apartment was very small, and totally destitute of comforts; the small grate held hardly the vestiges of a fire—one tolerably easy looking chair and two or three little stools, with an old round table, was all the furniture; yet, from the perfect tidiness of the whole, one might be led to suppose, the inhabitants were accustomed to make the most of what little they might enjoy. There were three little children present too, yet the room was perfectly still and quiet.
The pale cold sun of a London November, shed but a twilight ray or two upon the lowly uncurtained couch of the invalid; but the holy light of eternity evidently rested on her countenance, and it was one of no common loveliness. Sweetness and yet sensibility was the character of its expression, and the features were but rendered paler, not wasted, by the ravages of rapid decline. Her look was so youthful that she might have been mistaken for being under twenty, though in fact she was a year or two more, had been several years a wife, and was the mother of the three children I have mentioned.
The two youngest of these sat together near the little fireplace; they had evidently been weeping, and looked cold and hungry; and though their dress was of coarse material, it had been made up with taste and exquisite neatness. The eldest child was stretched on her mother's bed; one of the thin cold hands clasped in both her own—as if to infuse into it some of the life and love of youth and health—or as if the poor little girl dreaded some ruthless mysterious stroke was about to separate her from her only friend. Her large blue eyes wandered expressionless from side to side, for the child was blind I The mother seemed struggling to speak, but the voice was husky, and the words unintelligible; so she raised her yet undimmed eyes to heaven, and sunk into a slumber of exhaustion— the last she was to have in this weary world.
Sympathizing reader! enjoying, perhaps, the blessings of youthful health and vigour—or if sick and weak, surrounded by kind attendants, and convenient appliances, and many other comforts—contemplate this picture for a few minutes, and lift your heart in gratitude and prayer to Him "who hath made you to differ," and then attend to a few more particulars of the sad group I have presented to you, which is sketched from real life, as are all the other circumstances of this little history.
The young female you have seen stretched on yonder lowly hed, was born and reared amidst affluence and refinement. You have been told she was beautiful—she was also elegant in manners, and accomplished in mind, and she was much admired by many a thoughtless votary of wealth, of fashion. I have seen her dressed for a ball, in days now long gone by. Her splendid hair was unadorned but by its own natural waving ringlets; but rich jewels were on her bosom and her arms, and her robe was of silver tissue from the farthest East—nobles strove for her hand in the dance—and a proud father looked on exultingly. Short was her day of triumph and prosperity, poor thing! and,' in sooth, she never enjoyed it much; for she was amiable and domestic in her tastes: and had she not been motherless and inexperienced, she would never have followed a vain unprincipled father, to the giddy whirl of heartless vanities. This unhappy man terminated a life of folly and extravagance in a duel—a victim of that most unhallowed "code of honor," we trust now becoming obsolete, which teaches a poor sinner rather to brave the wrath of God than the contempt of worldly fools!
The orphaned girl was left penniless, and soon after, married a gentleman of good family, of foreign extraction, but poor as herself in this world's goods. The youthful pair descended without a sigh into comparatively humble but industrious life and in their strong mutual affection they were most happy.
But then came bad times; the husband—now also a father
was dismissed, with many others, from the public office where he had served, and no other situation was to be procured. Broken spirited, he sunk into bad health, and died some few weeks before the birth of his third child—the boy he had so much prayed and wished for.
Where were all the poor widow's rich, and noble, and sparkling friends now? Her husband's family connection were far from England, and had never paid her any attention. Her own relations cast not a thought on the desolate one, who had, in later years, kept herself from their notice; not from false pride, but true-hearted independence of feeling. F3
Crushed and poverty stricken, she now attempted to gain a livelihood for her fatherless children, by setting up in a small shop for ornamental work, in which she was an adept. To many a half-finished piece of embroidery or painting were given the last tasteful touches by her talents and industry; while her infants were kept under her own eye, in a small room opening through her shop. These fatigues and anxieties, however, told heavily on an always fragile frame, unfitted to bide the pitiless blasts of unprotected penury—for her occupation, though light and graceful, was engrossing, and ill remunerated.
Think on this sometimes, ye thoughtless ones, when employing such as she! Before she felt really ill, she was compelled to give up her little business, from weakness, and then she sank rapidly towards the grave—a welcome haven of rest for her weariness; but without a friend to care for, or a hope to cheer her, as to her children's future support.
One bright ray illumines this dreary, but alas! not uncommon picture. Gentle and impressible, the interesting girl had not been wholly destitute of religious teaching and serious feeling, even in the days of her prosperity: and as the shadows of affliction darkened her life's mid-day sky, the sun of righteousness shone brightly and soothingly, till at the gloomiest hour, she now felt surely approaching, faith and hope in God her Saviour, sustained and elevated her sinking spirit, and enabled her to tread the dreary valley with unfaltering steps. Having so deeply experienced the heartlessness, and therefore the little dependence to be placed on worldly rank or splendours, she shrunk from appealing even now, on behalf of her children, to her worldly-minded relations, and preferred committing them to Him, "who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb." She parted with every article she had possessed, not absolutely necessary, to provide shelter and food, plain and scanty indeed, but still, the bread and the water, the Lord has ensured to His own. A poor but respectable neighbour performed, for the invalid and the little ones, the slight services they required; but this humble assistant was now unavoidably absent—the moment of extremity had arrived, and the young mother seemed about to die, in the presence of her helpless children, alone.