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no material consequence, I shall not attempt to
That the lady had some time since reached the meridian of life, may, however, be safely asserted; but the path of declination was travelled by her with all the steady stateliness of unaffected piety, and solid and extensive information. Shortly after we had taken our seats, Mr. Goodall himself appeared,-and never shall I forget his form ; it now stands before my imagination, with only a little less vividness than that which actual vision could produce. Years seemed to have caused a slight change in his manly form, from an erect posture, and had silvered over his head with thinly scattered hairs, white as the blossom of the hawthorn. His eye, that index of the soul, still retained its powers of silent eloquence, and threw over a countenance of uncommon urbanity, a lustre of intelligence, such as that organ, when good, seldom fails to impart.
We were received by him with the courtesy of a gentleman, and the openness of a friend. A variety of interesting conversation, concerning the signs of the times, the providence of God, and the glory and extent of his kingdom in the world, engaged us for awhile; in all which matters Mrs. Goodall took a sensible and modest part. After partaking of some refreshment, Mr. Goodall very politely conducted me to his study. Here again I was indulged with a survey of a choice and wellselected library, principally made up of the works
of some of our most celebrated theologians, both of ancient and modern date.
Shakspeare, in his pithy description of the movements of time, declares, that with some it “gallops withal.” At the period in question, I found that with others, besides those the great bard has mentioned, time sometimes "gallops." With regret I perceived the hour had fully come, when it became necessary I should say farewell to one, whose fellow I shall not often meet on earth. The good old man walked with us through an angle of his paddock, to our horses, and then, with an affectionate pressure of the hand, and a kind invitation to visit him again, he commended us to the blessing of his master, and left us to pursue our ride homewards.
There is a species of curiosity indulged in by some people, which is execrable. It leads its possessor, in restless, prying scrutiny, to seek to dive into all the connexions and particulars of every family, and with no higher motive forsooth than the pleasure of knowing the affairs of others better than they know their own. Such littleness of conduct evinces great puerility of mind, and merits every degree of reprehension which can be directed against it: and yet, while I hold and publish this doctrine, I confess that I felt an irrepressive desire to know more of the amiable person I had just visited.
Every indulger in any particular vice, has his own particular method of excuse or apology for
what he does. So, too, have I, in reference to my present curiosity : it was not a desire to know, for the idle sake of knowing, but from a conviction that additional knowledge would give strength to my regards for the worthy object of them. But how to obtain that information, was difficult to determine, or rather, I could not conceive. All I could learn of Mr. Goodall from my friend, I had already learned, and that, as I have intimated, was of such a nature, as to lead to a desire of more rather than to satisfy.
A few months from my visit to the parsonage, , I was spending a cheerful hour with a gentleman of my acquaintance, when the estimable Mr. Goodall became the leading subject of our conversation. Now the object of my solicitude seemed likely to be gained; my hopes were afresh excited; and after I had proposed a few general questions on the subject, I found that my expectations were not more flattering than solid. I soon obtained all the information I wished, which not only interested my own mind very deeply, but furnished me with the means through which I now give the sequel of my tale. .
Upwards of eighteen years had passed away, prior to my visit to Mr. Goodall's happy residence, since, in accordance with the convictions of his conscience, he had given up a cure, which he held in another part of the country, and came to reside on the spot where the claims upon his services appeared the strongest. At this period his family consisted of one son and three lovely daughters. Death had, however, a few months before, entered the domestic circle, and torn away from his arms the wife of his youth,--the amiable mother of his beloved children. The management of so important a charge, he felt would exceed his ability, and distract his attention from the weighty obligations connected with his ministerial duties; and hence, at a proper season, he entered a second time into the married state, with the excellent lady whom I had, on the occasion referred to, the pleasure to meet.
No change in human affairs can stay the foot of time: it continues to move on with uniform and tireless celerity. Years had passed away since Mr. Goodall's second union, and manhood began to brace the limbs of his son, while his daughters advanced fast towards womanhood, with every advantage which personal attractions and a liberal education could give,
As in the family of the “Vicar of Wakefield" there was an Olivia, so was there also in this. She was the youngest of three, and perhaps the most lovely.— “Grace was in all her steps,-heaven in her eye,
In every gesture, dignity and love." Her person was of perfect symmetry; her bright eyes, which sparkled with intellectual energy, were black as the mountain slow; while her glossy ringlets, of the same hue, set off to striking advantage, her complexion, which was fascinatingly fair. But many a casket of pre-eminent beauty exists, whose furniture is of the most homely character. Here it was not so. Fair as was the person
of Olivia Goodall, the adorning of her mind was equally fair.
She either was not aware of her external attractions, or she thought, with Solomon,
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain : but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Her affectionate disposition, and pious simplicity, endeared her to an extensive circle.
Twenty summer suns had passed over her head, and her heart had never known a more tender emotion than friendship could inspire, excepting what she had felt towards God, and her family connexions :—but her reign of peace and freedom expired nearly with her teens. A pressing invitation from one of her sisters, who had already been some time married, and was settled respectably in London, drew her from the sylvan scenes of a quiet country life, to the glare and bustle of one of the most captivating cities in the world. To state what were her feelings during the hurry of preparation, or the period of her departure, would be mere speculation : these things, and others connected with her journey to town, are easily supplied by the most morbid imagination. It will therefore be sufficient to my purpose to state, that counsel, such as piety, experience, and affection might be supposed to offer, was given by her venerable sire, and received by the amiable Olivia with devout attention; and that after four