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been moulded into a perfect child. I stood still, as in a trance. I dreamed that I was enjoying a personal intercourse with my heavenly Father—and, extravagantly, put off the shoes from my feet—for the place where I stood, I thought, was holy ground.
This state of mind could not last long--and I returned, with languid feelings, to my inn. I ordered my dinner—green peas and a sweetbread—it had been a favourite dish with me in my childhood - I was allowed to have it on my birth days. I was impatient to see it come upon table—but, when it came, I could scarce eat a mouthful—my tears choaked me. I called for wine—I drank a pint and a half of red wine--and not till then had I dared to visit the churchyard, where my parents were interred.
The cottage lay in my way—Margaret had chosen it for that very reason, to be near the church—for the old lady was regular in her attendance on public worship-I passed on— and in a moment found myself among the tombs.
I had been present at my father's burial, and knew the įspot again—my mother's funeral I was prevented by illness from attending--a plain stone was placed over the grave, with their initials carved upon it—for they both occupied one grave.
I prostrated myself before the spot— I kissed the earth that covered them I contemplated, with gloomy delight, the time when I should mingle my dust with their's--and kneeled, with my arms incumbent on the grave-stone, in a kind of mental prayer—for I could not speak.
Having performed these duties, I arose with quieter feelings, and felt leisure to attend to indifferent objects. Still I continued in the church-yard, reading the various inscriptions, and moralizing on them with that kind of levity, which will not unfrequently spring up in the mind, in the midst of deep melancholy.
I read of nothing but careful parents, loving husbands, and dutiful children. I said jestingly, where be all the had people buried ? Bad parents, bad husbands, bad children—what cemeteries are appointed for these ? do they not sleep in consecrated ground! or is it but a pious fiction, a generous oversight, in the survivors, which thus tricks out men's epitaphs when dead, who, in their life-time, discharged the offices of life, perhaps, but lamely?—Their failings, with their reproaches, now sleep with them in the grave. Man wars not with the dead. It is a trait of human nature, for which I love it.
I had not observed, till now, a little group assembled at the other end of the church-yard; it was a company of children,
who were gathered round a young man, dressed in black, sitting on a grave-stone.
He seemed to be asking them questions--probably, about their learning—and one little dirty ragged-headed fellow was clambering up his knees to kiss him.—The children had been eating black cherries for some of the stones were scattered about, and their mouths were smeared with them.
As I drew near them, I thought I discerned in the stranger a mild benignity of countenance, which I had somewhere seen before—I gazed at him more attentively-
It was Allan Clare! sitting on the grave of his sister.
I threw my arms about his neck. I exclaimed " Allan”-he turned his eyes upon me—he knew me--we both wept aloud . it seemed, as though the interval, since we parted, had been as nothing—I cried out. “ come, and tell me about these things."
I drew him away from his little friends—he parted with a show of reluctance from the church-yard--Margaret and her granddaughter lay buried there, as well as his sister—Itook him to my inn----secured a room, where we might be private —ordered fresh wine--scarce knowing what I did, I danced for joy.
Allan was quite overcome, and taking me by the hand he said, " this repays me for all.”.
It was a proud day for me—I had found the friend I thought dead---earth seemed to me no longer valuable, than as it contained him; and existence a blessing no longer than while I should live to be his comforter.
I began, at leisure, to survey him with more attention. Time and grief had left few traces of that fine enthusiasm, which once burned in his countenance—his eyes had lost their original fire, but they retained an uncommon sweetness, and, whenever they were turned upon me, their smile pierced to my heart.
“ Allan, I fear you have been a sufferer." He replied not, and I could not press him further. I could not call the dead to life again.
So we drank, and told old stories--and repeated old poetry —and sang old songs--as if nothing had happened.—We sat till very late—I forgot that I had purposed returning to town that evening--to Allan all places were alike—I grew noisy, he grew cheerful—Allan's old manners, old enthusiasm, were returning upon him--we laughed, we wept, we mingled our tears, and talked extravagantly.
Allan was my chamber-fellow that night—and lay awake,
planning schemes of living together under the same roof, entering upon siinilar pursuits;—and praising God, that we had met.
I was obliged to return to town the next morning, and Allan proposed to accompany me." Since the death of his sister," . he told me," he had been a wanderer."
In the course of our walk he unbosomed himself without reserve--told me many particulars of his way of life for the last nine or ten years, which I do not feel myself at liberty to divulge.
Once, on my attempting to cheer him, when I perceived him over-thoughtful, he replied to me in these words:
Do not regard me as unhappy, when you catch me in these moods. I am never more happy than at times, when, by the cast of my countenance, men judge me most miserable.
.66 My friend, the events, which have left this sadness behind them, are of no recent date. The melancholy, which comes over me with the recollection of them, is not hurtful, but only tends to soften and tranquillize my mind, to detach me from the restlessness of human pursuits.
" The stronger I feel this detachment, the more I find myself drawn heavenward to the contemplation of spiritual objects.
" I love to keep old friendships alive and warm within me, because I expect a renewal of them in the World of Spirits.
“I am a wandering and unconnected thing on the earth. I have made no new friendships, that can compensate me for the loss of the old—and the more I know mankind, the more does it become necessary for me to supply their loss by little images, recollections, and circumstances, of past pleasures.
“ I am sensible that I am surrounded by a multitude of very worthy people, plain-hearted souls, sincere, and kind.—But they have hitherto eluded my pursuit, and will continue to bless the little circle of their families and friends, while I must remain a stranger to them.
"Kept at a distance by mankind, I have not ceased to love them--and could I find the cruel persecutor, the malignant instrument of God's judgment on me and mine, I think I would forgive, and try to love him too.
“ I have been a quiet sufferer. From the beginning of my calamities it was given to me, not to see the hand of man in them. I perceived a mighty arm, which none but myself could see, extended over me. I gave my heart to the Purifier, and my will to the Sovereign Will of the Universe. The irresistible wheels of destiny passed on in their everlasting rotation, and I suffered myself to be carried along with them without complaining."
Allan told me that for some years past, feeling himself disengaged from every personal tie, but not alienated from human sympathies, it had been his taste, his humour he called it, to spend a great portion of his time in hospitals and lazar houses.
He had found a wayward pleasure, he refused to name it a virtue, in tending a description of people, who had long ceased to expect kindness or friendliness from mankind, but were content to accept the reluctant services which the often-times unfeeling instruments and servants of these well-meant institutions deal out to the poor sick people under their care.
It is not medicine, it is not broths and coarse meats, served up at a stated hour with all the hard formalities of a prison,it is not the scanty dole of a bed to die on—which dying man requires from his species.
Looks, attentions, consolations,—in a word, sympathies, are what a man most needs in this awful close of mortal sufferings. A kind look, a smile, a drop of cold water to the parched lipfor these things a man shall bless you in death.
And these better things than cordials did Allan love to administer—to stay by a bedside the whole day, when something disgusting in a patient's distemper has kept the very nurses at a distance—to sit by, while the poor wretch got a little sleepand be there to smile upon him when he awoke—to slip a guinea, now and then, into the hands of a nurse or attendantthese things have been to Allan as privileges, for which he was content to live, choice marks, and circumstances, of his Maker's goodness to him.
And I do not know whether occupations of this kind be not a spring of purer and nobler delight (certainly instances of a more disinterested virtue) than arises from what are called Friendships of Sentiment.
Between two persons of liberal education, like opinions, and common feelings, oftentimes subsists a Vanity of Sentiment, which disposes each to look upon the other as the only being in the universe worthy of friendship, or capable of understanding it,—themselves they consider as the solitary receptacles of all that is delicate in feeling, or stable in attachment:
—when the odds are, that under every green hill, and in every crowded street, people of equal worth are to be found, who do more good in their generation, and make less noise in the doing of it.
It was in consequence of these benevolent propensities I have been describing, that Allan oftentimes discovered considerable inclinations in favour of my way of life, which I have before mentioned as being that of a surgeon. He would frequently attend me on my visits to patients; and I began to think, that he had serious intentions of making my profession his study.
He was present with me at a scene—a death-bed scene—I shudder when I do but think of it.
I was sent for the other morning to the assistance of a gentleman who had been wounded in a duel,—and his wounds, by unskilful treatment, had been brought to a dangerous crisis.
The uncommonness of the name, which was Matravis, suggested to me, that this might possibly be no other than Allan's old enemy. Under this apprehension, I did what I could to dissuade Allan from accompanying me— but he seemed bent upon going, and even pleased himself with the notion, that it might lie within his ability to do the unhappy man some service. So he went with me.
When we came to the house, which was in Soho-Square, we discovered that it was indeed the man—the identical Matravis, who had done all that mischief in times past but not in a condition to excite any other sensation than pity in a heart more hard than Allan's.
Intense pain had brought on a delirium--we perceived this on first entering the room—for the wretched man was raving to himself—talking idly in mad unconnected sentences -- that yet seemed, at times, to have a reference to past facts.
One while he told us his dream. “ He had lost his way on a great heath, to which there seemed no end-it was cold, cold, cold—and dark, very dark—an old woman in leadingstrings, blind, was groping about for a guide”—and then he frightened me,- for he seemed disposed to be jocular, and sang a song about " an old woman clothed in grey," and said, - he did not believe in a devil."
Presently - he bid us " not tell Allan Clare”--Allan was hanging over him at that very moment, sobbing.--I could not resist the impulse, but cried out, " This is Allan Clare,Allan Clare is come to see you, my dear Sir."—The wretched man did not hear me, I believe, for he turned his head away, and began talking of charnel houses, and dead men, and 66 whether they knew anything that passed in their coffins."
Matravis died that night.