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it to him to peruse, said, “ I know your
character and principles ; you may, if you please, accept this offer.”—“ I must decline it, sir,” replied Morton. “ Decline what?" inquired Lucy, who was sitting at work near the window ; she had alternately gazed at the countenances of her husband and Mr. Johnston. “ May I see that letter ?” William gave it to her, but his hand trembled, and he turned away. Lucy, as she read it, leaned her head down over the paper, and, at last, she let it fall; but, in stooping to pick up the letter, she pressed the handkerchief to her eyes, which she had been hemming ; and the tears, she had feared would overflow, were not discovered as she returned the letter to her husband ; “ I would not have him refuse this kind offer,” said she. William was desirous of refusing it at once : he could not bear the mere idea of leaving his wife. “ Would Mr. Johnston wait till this evening," asked Lucy,
“ for a decisive answer ?” He consented, and soon left them. William was desirous at once, to state his reasons, and convince his wife that he ought not to go. She felt then quite unable to resist even his wishes, much less his arguments ; she requested him to leave her for a short time, and retired to her chamber to pray, for she felt that a real sorrow had, at length, visited her, and that the time was come when her heart was indeed to be tried. And let it be remembered, that to such persons the trial was doubly severe. To any one, the parting
from another, whose society mere habit had endeared, would be sorrowful; but Lucy and her husband common lovers.
Their congeniality of tastes, their increased delight in each other's society, every thing had heightened their affection, and religion had sanctified that affection, during the trials they had so lately undergone.
Lucy, was also, about to become a mother; and to lose her husband, at such a time, was doubly afflicting : but as she thought of all this, she only felt the greater necessity of entire confidence in God. She met her husband, prepared to conquer, where the victory half broke her heart. Morton thought he was also prepared, and determined to remain with her : but after much consultation, it was agreed that it was Morton's duty to go.
The settlement of Morton's affairs was nearly finished, and his creditors had allowed him to leave England; he bad accepted the proposal of Mr. Johnston, and he had often determined to break his resolution and remain with his wife : but Lucy, though daily more sad and pale, was stil firm, assuring him that when he was once gone, she should soon become more resigned to his absence. She did not feel nearly resigned, however, she felt quite siek at heart as she stood over the packages, where all her neatness and ingenuity had been exercised, to put every thing in the smallest compass; and as she sat next him, on that last evening, how vainly did she strive to
speak and smile! she could only gaze on him, and think, till a deeply drawn sigh recalled her to herself. Who has not, on the mournful last evening, read over every feature with future despair, and felt that remembrances would intrude to make the heart doubly wretched remembrances of things, so trivial, that they are only regretted because, at the time they had occurred, the morrow was not dreaded ? “Well !” said Lucy to herself, as they sat down by the bright fire, at an early bour, “ I have this whole evening with him ;” but the whole evening passed away; and, as she knelt afterwards to her prayers, she could only hang down her head and weep. She thought it would be impossible to sleep, but she did sleep, to wake, alas ! to that sense of misery, which, when the anxious mind has been, as it were stupified with grief, is so dreadful! William was standing near her, quite dressed ; his kiss had awakened her, though he had been tempted to leave her in her quiet sleep, and had kissed her very softly. She started up, and guessed his intention; “ O William !” she exclaimed, “ you would not leave me in this manner? I was very weak last night, but you shall see that I can exert myself ; you may go down, for I am sure you will not leave me, as if I should act unbecomingly, and only distress you and myself.” Lucy was soon ready to join her husband ; she felt, as she threw open the window, and breathed the fresh morning air, greatly com
posed; and repeated to herself, “Though heaviness may endure for the night, yet joy cometh in the morning.” She put into her husband's hand, at parting, her own small Bible, and a written paper.
As soon as Morton was gone, Lucy began to employ herself very busily; and though at times she started up with some agonizing recollection, and burst into tears, her mind became gradually calmer. She passed much of her time at first, in writing, for she found that her pen could easily be made to express every succession of thought which passed over her mind; while in reading, it was difficult and often impossible, to follow the idea of an author writing with different feelings from her own.
This was never the case, however, with the Bible, where every mind can find some allusion to its situation, at every time; where the God, who breathed into man, and he became a living soul, has given his divine inspiration to every page.
Poor Lucy was very weak, but I am not speaking of a Stoic, but a woman endued with all the anxieties and weaknesses of a woman; but of a Christian, who, though pierced with many sorrows, still looks up, through her grief, for that consolation which never faileth. In her was hlended a woman's feeble qualities with a Christian's hope, a Christian's want of selfishness! and surely the tears. of such a person would not have been despised by Him who wept over the departed Lazarus.
Morton, after parting from his wife, was continually engaged, till he reached the ship which was to convey him from England. He stood on the deck, and looked wistfully on his native shores till they faded away, and all was sea and sky around him. The last glimpse of his dear home had vanished ; and, with a heavy heart, he descended to his cabin, to peruse, again, the paper which Lucy had given him. It is very delightful to read over and over, when no one present cares about us, the language of the true, constant heart, which is never indifferent to our slightest feelings. Morton read as fol
“ I thought, my dearest William, that I could say so much to you, before we parted, but now I cannot -I am so very much confused by grief, that, when I see you, I forget it all ; now that I am writing, even writing to you, my thoughts and feelings are all so mingled together. I know that when my letter and you are gone, I shall remember many things I meant to say, and did not. Dear William, am I not presuming in writing a letter of advice to you ? Something tells me that a wife should not claim the right of directing ; but my foolish heart whispers that you will not be displeased with my motives ; and, indeed, I don't claim any right; I only love you very much, so that I can't help risking your displeasure, by declaring my sentiments. Would not a wife be blamed, who, in my situation particularly,