« PreviousContinue »
And kiss the rod, and do the will of Heaven ;
Rev. J. Grant.
CONSUMPTION, OR THE THREE SISTERS. · CAROLINE was the first to die. Her character, unlike that of both her sisters, had been distinguished by great spirit and vivacity, and when they were present, had always diffused something of its own glad light over the serene composure of the one, and the melancholy stillness of the other, without seeming ever to be inconsistent with them; nor did her natural and irrepressible buoyancy altogether forsake her even to the very last. With her the disease assumed its most beautiful show. Her light-blue eyes sparkled with astonishing brilliancy-her cheeks, that had always hitherto been pale, glowed with a rose-like lustrem although she knew that she was dying, and strore to subdue her soul down to her near fate, yet, in spite of herself, the strange fire that glowed in the embers of her life, kindled it often into a kind of airy gladness : so that a stranger would have thonght her one on whom opening existence was just revealing the treasures of its joy, and who was eager to unfold her wings, and sail on into the calm and sunny future. Her soul, till within a few days of her death, was gay in the exhilaration of disease; and the very night before she died she touched the harp with a playful hand, and warbled, as long as her strength would permit, a few bars of a romantic tune. No one was with her when she died, for she had risen earlier than her sisters, and was found by them, when they came down to the parlour, leaning back with a smiling face on the sofa, with a few lilies in her hand, and never more to have her head lifted up in life.
The youngest had gone first, and she was to be fol, lowed by Emma, the next in age. Emma, although so like her sister who was now dead, that they had always been thought by strangers to be twins, had a character altogether different. Her thoughts and feelings ran is a deeper channel: nature had endowed her with extraordinary talents, and whatever she attempted, serious acquisition, or light accomplishment, in that she easily excelled. Few, indeed, is the number of women that are eminently distinguished among their sex, and leave names to be enrolled in the lists of fame. Some ac
cidental circumstances of life or death have favoured · those few, and their sentiments, thoughts, feelings, fancies, and opinions, retain a permanent existence. But how many sink into the grave in all their personal beauty, and all their mental charms, and are beard of no more! Of them no bright thoughts are recorded, no touching emotions, no wild imaginations. All their fine and true perceptions, all their instinctive knowledge of the human soul, and all their pure speculation on the mystery of human life, vapish for ever and aye with the parting breath. A fair, amiable, intelligent young maiden has died and is buried that is all; and her grave lies in its unvisited rest. Such an one was Einma Beatoun, Her mother, her sisters, and a few dear friends, knew what treasures of thought were in her soul, what gleams of genius, and what light of unpretending wisdom. But she carried up her pure and high thoughts with her to heaven, nor did any of them survive her on earth, but a few fragments of hyinns set by herself to plaintive music, which no voice but her own, so deep and yet so sweet, so mellow yet so inournful, could ever have fitly sung.
The sufferings of this sister were heavy indeed, and she at last prayed to be reliered. Constant șiçkņess, interrupted only by fits of racking pain, kept the fair Shadow for the last weeks of her life to bed, and nothing seemed to disturb her so much as the incessant care of ker dying sister, who seemed to forget her owu approaching doom in the tenderest ministrations of
love. Emma's religious thoughts had long been of an almost dark and awful character, and she was possessed by a deep sense of her own utter unworthiness in the sight of God. It was feared, that, as her end drew near, and her mind was weakened by continual suffering, her ļast hours might be visited with visions too trying and terrible; but the reverse was the case, and it seemed as if God, to reward a life of meekness, humility, and wisdom, removed all fear from her soul, and showed her the loving, rather than the awful mysteries of the Redeemer. On her dead fące there sat a smile, just as pleasant and serene as that which had lighted the countenance of Caroline, when she fell asleep for ever with the lilies in her hand. The old nurse, who had been with them from their infancy, alone observed that she had expired, for there had been no sigh, and the pale emaciated fingers moved not as they lay clasped together across her breast,
Louisa, the eldest, was now left alope, and although her health had always been the inost delicate, there seemed, from some of the symptoms, a slight hope that she might yet recover. That fatal hectic Hush did not stain her cheeks; and her pulse, although very faint, had not the irregularity of alarming fever. But there are secrets known but to the dying themselves; and all the encouraging kindness of friends was received by her as sweet proofs of affection, but never once touched her heart with lope. The disease, of which both her sisters had died, was in the blood of her father's family, and she never rose up from her bed, or her couch, or the gray osier seat in the sunny garden, without feeling a death-like lassitude, that could not long endure. Indeed, she yearned for the grave; and hers was a weariness that could only find entire relief in the perfect stillness of that narrow house.
Had Louisa not felt death within her bosom, there were circumstances that could not have failed to ingke her desire life, even after her mother and sisters had been taken away. For she had been betrotbed, for a
-esar and are regent Tourist ...and bad ce was Emas
dear read s her soul, what's c'erding WXS
tbonylts wat crive her on eart is herself to pass wn, so deep and may could ever bak
were beast inde d. Constant siaz lig paja, kept tha ser life to bed, 2018
fruch as the incenti er med to forget bers
year past, to one who would have made her happy. He received an account of the alarming state of the sisters at Pisa, whither he had gone for the establishment of his own health, and he instantly hurried home to Scotland. Caroline aud Emma were in their graves; but he had the mouruful satisfaction to be with his own Louisa in her last days. Much did he, at first, press her to go to Italy, as a faint and forlorn bope; but he soon desisted from such vain persuasions. “The thought is sweet to lay our bones within the bosom of our native soil. The verdure and the flowers I loved will brighten around my grave,- the same trees whose pleasant murmurs cheered my living ear, will hang their cool shadows over my dust; and the eyes that met mine in the light of affection, will shed tears over the sod that covers me, keeping my memory green within their spirits!" He who had been her lover,—but was now the friend and brother of her soul, had nothing to say in reply to these natural sentiments. “After all they are but fancies, Henry; but they cling to the heart from which they sprung, -and to be buried in the sweet churchyard of Blantyre, is now a thought most pleasant to my soul.”
In dry summer weather, a clear rirulet imperceptibly shrinks away from its sandy bed, till on some morning we miss the gleam and the murmur altogether, and find the little channel dry. Just in this way was Louisa wasting, and so was her life pure and beautiful to the last. The day before she died, she requested, in a voice that could not be denied, that her brother would take her into the churchyard, that she might see the graves of her mother and sisters all lying together, and the spot whose daisies were soon to be disturbed. She was carried thither in the sunshine, on her sick-chair, for the distance was only a very few hundred yards; and her attendants having withdrawn, she surveyed the graves with a beaming countenance, in presence of her weeping friends. “Methinks,” said she, “I hear a hymn, and children singing in the church! No-no-it is only the remembered sound of the psalm I heard the
last Sabbath. I had strength to go then. Oh! sweet was it now, as the reality itself!” He who was to have been her husband was wholly overcome, and hid his face in despair. “I go, my beloved, to that holy place, where there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage,
but we shall meet there, purified from every earthly stain. Dry up your tears, and weep no more. KissOh kiss me once before I die!" He stooped down; and she had just strength to put her arms around his neck, when, with a long sigh,—she expired.
FIVE O'CLOCK IN LONDON.
Tus is perhaps the most important hour in the busy twelve. People may refrain from walking, talking, reading, and writing; but it is logically clear that they cannot refrain from dining; and it is equally clear, that the usance of modern times has appointed five o'clock exclusively for that necessary and important occupation, Five o'clock! the very breath that pronounces it smells of savoury mouthfuls-hashed, boiled, and 'roasted dishes—and blows heavily, as though it were laden with all good things. Now is the hour for general and active employment. Persons that are torpid, like toads in their holes, through every hour of the day, start into sudden activity at the first symptoms and annunciation of dinner. « The road through the stomach's the way to the heart,” sings or rather shouts an eminent modern poet, and a great judge of such matters ; and it would be heretical in us to dispute the truth of his assertions. What bustling, what crowds in the streets ! Dandies rigged out with effeminate primness, old gentlemen tenacious in the wear of the last century's apparel, mingle promiscuously in the grand moving mass that pay their devoirs as the church bell tolls cut its quintuple repercussions. You