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Charles. No, I do not; but I certainly feel a curiosity to know whether any, and what positive miracles, these saints have been honoured with the performance of.
Mr. Constance. Even Bede himself, with all his learning, and all his piety, has not escaped the superstitious contagion of the dark age in which he lived; and his works, therefore, contain accounts of miraculous occurrences far too marvellous to be believed in the present day.
Mrs. Constance. Was he remarkable for piety?
William. Yes, particularly So. "To see him pray," says an ancient writer, " one would have thought he left himself no time to study; and 'when we look at his books, we wonder how he could have found time to do any thing else but write." He has also been called by Camden, "the singular and shining light;" while Leland, the historian, terms him " the chiefest and brightest ornament of the English nation; most worthy, if any man ever was, of immortal fame." And William of Malansbury says, "it is easier to admire him in thought, than to do him justice in expression."
Angelina. That being the case then, William, perhaps you had better pass on to the next day mentioned.
William. Thank you, Angelina; I take your hint: for if those who have studied his works feel themselves incompetent to give him due praise, it must be quite impossible for me, who have but a slight knowledge of them, to pass a just encomium upon him. Notwithstanding, I cannot but venerate the memory of a man who has left such a character behind him.
Mrs. Constance. I hope you all do. my dears; and I sincerely wish that these examples of piety and perseverance in the acquirement of useful knowledge, may not he lost upon you.
William. The next and last remarkable day in this month is called King Charles II. restored; but as you u
have no doubt read the whole account of that interesting event, in the History of England, I need only remind you, that on this day, the 29th, it was customary for the people to wear oak leaves in their hats, in commemoration of the King's concealment from his pursuers, in an oak tree, after the battle of Worcester. It is also the anniversary of his birthday.
With this notice, the business of the evening closed. Owing to the early festivities of the day, the youthful party felt themselves unusually fatigued; they therefore immediately retired, fully satisfied with the instruction and kind hospitality of which they had participated.
J UN E.
1 He heat of the day had declined, and the refreshing breezes of evening were heard softly rustling among the "many-twinkling leaves," at the time when our youthful friends were assembling. Every thing around denoted the presence of Summer: the birds, the flowers, and the insects were all equally gay; and nothing interposed to prevent the enjoyment of the first evening of
; « The leafy month of Jane."
The windows of the drawing-room were thrown open, and a clear view afforded of the profusive luxuriance of the garden; while the fresh and thick foliage of the surrounding country, with its increased fertility since their last meeting, were objects of admiration and delight. Anxious to offer some evidence of the riches of the season, as displayed in the production of flowers, each visiter brought a small nosegay as a present to Mrs. Constance, whichj when combined in one clustering bouquet, and placed upon the table, diffused throughout the apartment a balmy and grateful fragrance.
During the service of tea, a feeling of cheerful contentment prompted many an observation on the beauty of the evening, the grandeur of the setting sun, the utility of the showers, and every thing connected with the appearance of nature; while at times a thoughtful silence prevailed, as if in wonder at the cause of all they saw. In one of these contemplative moments, Mr. Constance, who had also been musing on the pleasing variety of the prospect, thus gave utterance to his reflections. "It has been well observed (he said) by Addison, that' the creation is a perpetual feast to the mind of a good man: every thing he sees cheers and delights him: Providence has implanted so many smiles on nature, that it is impossible for a mind, which is not sunk in mere gross and sensual delights, to take a survey of them without several secret sensations of pleasure.' The truth of which remark (continued Mr. Constance) the present scene strikingly exemplifies. It is truly beautiful: but when we reflect upon the Cause that has produced the springing grass, the budding blossom, and the clustering fruit, wonder succeeds delight, and the mind is bewildered in the contemplation of His immensity! The renovation of all vegetable matter is effected in silence: we can distinguish the change of season, and admire the effects of that change; but are still comparatively ignorant of the grand operation by which we are ensured a constant return of the blessings of life. When, therefore, we look upon such a scene as is now before us, so rich in produce, so harmonious in colour, and so fragrant in perfume, we cannot but entertain greater and more exalted ideas of that benevolent Providence which orders and directs the whole. That mankind should generally regard with indifference the works of nature, results, perhaps, from the habit of inattention with which they accustom themselves to view all before them—' the brute unconscious gaze'—permitting, as they frequently do, the sun to rise and set, the year to roll round in its course,—the spring's fertility, the summer's luxuriance, the autumn's fruitfulness, and the repose of winter, to pass away without a single thought of their ' being's end and aim.' I therefore am pleased to observe in this youthful assembly, such
an admiration of this evening's loveliness, and hope that you may long continue to be sensibly affected by Nature's charms, being assured that such a disposition will lead you to a more attentive consideration of the goodness and wisdom of Him who hath created all things for our use."
At this moment William, for whom the company had been waiting, stepped into the room, and prepared to enter on the business of the evening. He commenced by observing,—
"The name of this month is probably derived from Juno, in honour of whom a festival was celebrated at the beginning of the month; our Saxon ancestors called it Sere Monath, or Dry Month. The 1st of June is marked in our calendar as the festival of an early martyr in the cause of Christianity; but the place of his birth, the precise time of his death, or any particulars relating to his history, more than that his name was Nicomede, a scholar of St. Peter, and a sufferer under the cruel tyranny of Domitian, have not, I believe, been transmitted to posterity. Indeed, it is matter of surprise that the Reformers continued to notice his festival at all, since so little of his history was known to them."
Mr. Constance. The accounts of St. Nicomede are not so few as you suppose, William. It is related of him that, in defiance of the severity with which the Christians were treated by Domitian, he continued his exertions in support of the glorious cause, and proved eminently useful to the apostles and martyrs when in adversity. He visited them in prison; and procured them decent interment at their demise: he also exhorted the wavering converts, and confirmed the faithful: for which generous conduct he was at last cruelly beaten to death by leaden plummets.
Mrs. Constance. If no other end is attained by the retention of the name of St. Nicomede in our calendar, than that of bringing to our recollection a man who wa*