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time had spared, his servant delivered to him a letter, bearing his address, on one corner of which “speed” stood conspicuous. He hastily tore it open, and soon learned that his instant return home was indispensible. His father had been suddenly seized with fever, and his life was then despaired of. Filial affection, above every other consideration, influenced him, and, throwing himself into a chaise, he was driven off rapidly, and in a few hours was set down at the gates of his parental residence. With breathless anxiety, he inquired of the servant who opened the door to him, concerning his father. The extent of his danger, and the degree of affection in which he was held by his servants, were powerfully evidenced by a silent but significant shake of the head, while a flood of tears gushed from the eyes of the old domestic, to the total prevention of utterance.
Alphonso required no more information. He ascended the stairs, as though his ethereal part had been strengthened, so as to supersede the necessity of the employment of his material powers. He entered an ante-chamber near that in which his parent lay, and was instantly announced. As he entered the chamber of death, his eye fell on the withered countenance of his beloved father. The struggle was nearly over :-his eye brightened for a moment, as Alphonso leaned over the bed. The good old man blessed his son-his enervated grasp let go the hand which he had taken-a gentle sigh only escaped him, and he was not-for God took him. Another moment elapsed, and the arms of his widowed mother were thrown half-franticly around his neck. His manly frame supported her, while, with subdued feelings, he whispered, in soothing accents, "My mother, let us not sorrow like those who have no hope. Remember who hath said, ' Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. He who lately was dear to us on earth, is now dear to us in heaven, for, ' to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."" This was not the language of heartless indifference; Oh no! He felt the bereavement as a man, but he bowed as a Christian, to His decree, who “doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth; while noné can stay His hand, or say unto Him, what doest thou ?”
Years passed on, and the heir of house became its possessor. The playfulness of the sportive Alphonso had softened down into the staid, but still cheerful, Mr. Alphonso St. Belmont. The grief which the death of his father occasioned, had long since passed away. He had for years been united to the object of his early attachment, who, in all that was amiable and good, was the complete counterpart of himself, and already had been made more happy, if addition to such bliss was possible, in the possession of two lovely children.
William Henry, his first-born, looked the prototype of his grandfather, after whom he was called; while all the beauty, intelligence, and mildness of female loveliness, beamed in the laughing eye of the charming Urina, the namesake of her mother. Such a combination of blessings now clustered around Mr. St. Belmont, that no inconsiderable degree of danger existed, lest the sentiment of the dweller of Uz might be employed by him, “I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand ;"—but this was not permitted. Sudden as the destructive earthquake, which not unfrequently yawns while the summer sun is beautiful and the skies serene, afflictions came upon him. His aged mother fell unexpectedly beneath a stroke of apoplexy, and was borne to the silent dwellingplace of her forefathers.
It was about this period that my acquaintance with Mr. St. Belmont commenced; and never will the manner of our meeting be blotted from
my mory. It has been, and will continue to be, one of those sunny spots in the dark circumference of my existence, to which I have looked, and shall look back with delight, while every fresh contemplation of it will, in imagination, cause the lapsed periods of mortality to return, and place me again on the enchanting spot, in the company of Mr. St. Belmont.
There are in providence labyrinths, such as the unassisted powers of man cannot explore; amidst whose mazes, mere human wisdom is utterly bewildered. Its turns and windings however, may be tracked with comparative ease, if we take hold of, and retain the clue with which we are furnished, as Theseus did of the web by which he explored the labyrinth of Crete.
In one of those unexpected changes to which the affairs of man are subjected, my place of residence was changed from the North, to one of the Southern counties of our island. I had fixed tent but a few weeks, when I became desirous to reconnoitre the vicinity of my abode. "Turn which way I might, I was furnished by nature with landscapes, "rich and various.” Therefore, in my almost first ramble, I was led by carelessness, rather than directed by choice. It was a fine evening in the early part of September, when I walked forth, and, possessing in my constitution a considerable quantum of the recluse, it might have been, that the undefinable but inherent dispositon of my nature, led me to saunter to a point which, because of its retired situation, was the less likely to be broken in upon by mere pleasure-takers.
I was sauntering beside an arm of the romantic river Avon, on the border of which a fine copse flourished, with more than poetic beauty; while here and there several large oak and beech trees threw their majestic limbs abroad, as if, in voiceless but impressive action, to declare their right of dominion. Their dark shadows were pleasingly intermingled with the gorgeous brightness of a fastsetting sun, and powerfully impressed the mind, by the emblematical teaching, of the lights and shades which exist in earthly affairs. My thoughts had just entered the arcanum of the moralist's enjoyment, when my ear was suddenly struck upon by some pleasing, but indistinct sounds, which evidently proceeded from the thicket by which my path was skirted. A soft, music-like echo followed the tones, and seemed to reverberate from the surface of the stream which wound round one end of the copse. My curiosity was excited; and, listening, I soon, very distinctly, heard a human voice reading, or reciting, I knew not which, with a classic elegance, which is better conceived than described, the following nervous passage from the “Night Thoughts” of Young:
“ Happy day, that breaks our chain! That manumits, that calls from exile home, That leads to nature's great metropolis, And readmits us, through the guardian hand Of elder brother, to our Father's throne, Who hears our Advocate, and, through his wounds, Beholding man, allows that tender name. 'Tis this makes christian triumph a command. 'Tis this makes joy a duty to be wise. 'Tis impious in a good man to be sad."
I perceived by the sound, that the person from whom it proceeded, advanced towards me; and from the pleasing sensations produced upon my mind, by the manner of the unknown individual, I felt interested to learn who he might be. The tones in which the lines were delivered, were not melancholy, and yet there was a soothing sadness in the cadence, blended with a cheerfulness of expression, which well accorded with the beautiful language which had been uttered, and assured me