« PreviousContinue »
of our pilgrimage will swiftly pass, and then, beyond the gates of death, our guardian angel will receive us with rapture, and conduct us in triumph to our brilliant and everlasting home.
Oh, no! cold casuists may say what they will -it cannot be that the love which has blessed us on earth, which has supported us through the rough blasts of adversity and soothed us in sickness; which has outlived all the storms of angry fortune; which has been entwined with the very heart-strings where it dwelt; which shone out in the last dying glance that rested on us; it cannot be, we repeat, that such devotion. can die when the fragile body dies, and this strong tie be severed for ever; that this earthly rending asunder of joined hearts can be eternal ! No, in Heaven it is renewed with tenfold force and purity. We must believe it or religion itself would lose its most effectual power of consolation. What else could have virtue to dry the widow's tears, and enable her to support a wearisome existence, shorn of its sun, its centre of attraction? What else could calm the wild
agony of the mother, whose only son has met with a violent and untimely death, whilst his young spirit was still unquenched, and his bright eyes yet radiant with the delusive hopes of life? We have all some dear one
“Not lost—but gone before.” who draws our hearts heavenwards; but alas ! too often, the gentle voice of our guardian-angel is drowned by the clamour of worldly thoughts, and hopes, and contending passions !
Two more individuals were shortly added to Mrs. Ellis in Teresa's friendship. A clergyman and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Hartford. They had come abroad for the health of their eldest child, a delicate interesting girl of fifteen. Both Mrs. Anson and Teresa were delighted with this excellent couple, and found great enjoyment in their society.
Mrs. Hartford was a sweet, lovely woman, a being who once seen, must ever be retained in the memory. Her tall, graceful figure, seeming as though it could scarce support itself; her soft, blue eyes, shining with virtue, and emitting
rays of the exalted goodness which dwelt within her peaceful bosom ; her smile, so exactly like what one imagines must be the smile of angels; the beautiful flush on her delicate cheek, which all gazed on with trembling interest, -created an affection for her even in the coldest and most selfish breast. Teresa prayed that she might be long spared to a world which possessed so few like her, and which could so ill spare her saintly virtues. She was a being one longed to take to one's heart and cherish. Her husband was a true Christian, earnest, gentle, yet sparing not censure to the faults of the rich as well as the poor; charitable, in the sublimest sense of the word, and found often at the bed-sides of the sick and indigent. He was eloquent, persuasive, irresistible in the pulpit ; highly cultivated in mind, with the most refined and classical taste, and a deep love for whatever was beautiful in art or nature ; eminently accomplished, yet humble, meek and lowly,--such was the excelcellent Mr. Hartford, the idol of his happy parishioners.
A celebrated singing-master came to make a short stay at Como, and, as Teresa engaged him to give her lessons, Madame de Bertin proposed that she should profit by his instructions at the same time, and sing with Lady St. John during the intervals between the lessons. This arrangement was exceedingly unpleasing to poor Teresa, as she foresaw that it would bring Madame de Bertin incessantly to the villa; but, as it was proposed in her husband's presence, and he urged her compliance, she submitted with a good grace, and was condemned to be tortured by the young Countess's labours, who worked harder than any mechanic to polish the rough juttings out, and angular points of her voice, into a smooth roundness, an achievement of no small difficulty, considering that she possessed neither ear nor taste.
Nothing can be more atrocious, more absolutely intolerable to sensitive ears, than inhabiting the same house with one cultivating a newly. discovered voice! All sounds they have hitherto been led to consider as hideous and unnatural,
will then seem the most dulcet harmony, compared to those which at present torture them; and, of course, their sufferings will be in exact proportion to the strength and energy of their tormentor's lungs; and if this is the case even with the most gifted beginners, what must it be when an absolute absence of ear is united to a voice of surpassing power and compass ?–Woe -woe--for the hearers !
In the mean time the stricken Mrs. Anson was suffering beyond cure; her earthly sun had set, her earthly hopes had been utterly crushed ; yet, as Teresa sat with her, and looked at, and listened to her, she even envied her. Her mind was so pure, so single, so noble. She never uttered a complaint; she looked so gentle, so resigned ; there was something so dignified and placid in her grief; her smile was so patient and unearthly—a severing of the lips without joy's illumining ray; that she was an object for the most intense love and pity. Teresa wrote, in describing her to the Princess M-" Years may pass, and I may (for all things are possible)