« PreviousContinue »
read them, have faded to an outlined vision. You will remember a thin, pale girl, who loved flowers and music, and for whom you gathered the finest grapes; and the thought of her will bring back her last kiss her' white brow-her dead hand, the never-to-be-forgotten touch of death!-the tears a mother's precious tears and then the funeral. Ay, my beloved sister, all will be as a vision; but we may learn wisdom from such.
"I did think too highly of my acquirements, and practised them more for the sake of display, than a desire to give pleasure. They attracted the attention of one who, possessed of much beauty, much talent, and some--indeed many, amiable qualities, was, nevertheless, deficient in the great requisites for domestic-much less Christianhappiness. For a time, we were as two gay butterflies sporting in the sunshine ; I learnt to see with his eyes, to hear with his ears, to feel his feelings, to live but in his presence; and yet I hardly knew it-was not that strange ?—One of the mysteries of love; perpetually denying his influence with my lips-lying to my own heart-practising selfdeception; but however I might have succeeded in deceiving myself, I did not, could not deceive him. He knew his power, and while he loved me-(Ah! Kate, take my experience with you into the world, and remember that while men talk of love, women feel it)—loved me-he believed well-yet endeavoured to laugh at my amiable weaknesses,'
early prejudices, want of worldly knowledge. Such he termed, in honied words, woman's best and surest safeguard-her refuge-her hope
- her shield and buckler, At first I was alarmed-but he never wounded my feelings. Day by day, secure of my affections, he became more careless in his expressions, though he gave me no reason to suppose that he was guilty of infidelity. I wanted the courage, and, in truth, the Christian knowledge, to combat his assertions; and, for a long time, I sheltered myself under the hope, almost the belief, that he did but jest! And awful as it was, still it was a comfort-a coward's comfort, truly, that has no truth for its foundation. My dear mother, too, trembled while she prayed for my happiness; but my father thought of the splendour of the alliance, and rejoiced therein.
“ The time approached for our union, and the care, attention, and tenderness of my affianced husband made me almost forget what then I had hardly time to think upon amid the congratulations, the preparations, and the festivals that were to celebrate our marriage. Every one, too, assured me how certain I was of happiness, and I endeavoured toyes, I did--believe it. I gave myself up to the intoxication of an unsanctified hope, and I fought against my doubts and Christian terrors ; it was to be the last Sunday before our marriage, and we were to take the sacrament together. He had agreed with so much seeming pleasure that we should do so, that I hailed it as a happy omen; and on that memorable Sabbath morning entered a bower whose roses and jessamine had been twined by his hands—which made them doubly dear to me. It was a bright and balmy day—the sprays were bending beneath the dew drops, and the air was heavy with perfume; everything was hushed and silent-even the song of the bird was tempered in its sweetness; and I prayed -oh! how fervently prayed, that I might-that we might together find' the way, the truth, and the life.'
« I had escaped from the tumult of company to commune with my
own heart, and He, to whom 'all hearts are open,'' knows, that I prayed more for him than for myself. Suddenly, the church-bell sounded in my ear, and I rose to attend its blessed summons. pushing back the silver stars of a clustering jessamine that curtained the arbour's entrance, when I saw the object of my prayer coming towards me; perhaps I would not have drawn back had he been alone, but an intimate friend, who was to have been his bride's-man, was with him, and I shrank beneath the shade. As they approached, they laughed and talked together, and so loudly that I heard what one of them would have given worlds I never had heard.
“The Sacrament will take up so much time, that I cannot meet you as I intended. This sentence attracted my attention ; though when indeed did he speak that I was not attentive ? Oh, how I shuddered at what followed !
“Then, why do you go? Why submit to what you despise ? I would not do it for any woman upon earth !
• I would do more than that for Rachel; but when once away from this, she will get rid of all her early prejudices, and become one of the world; her mind is comprehensive, and her love for me will tend to teach her the superiority of rational over formal religion.'
“« To have a preaching wife-to be obliged to go to church, sing psalms on Sundays, and take the sacrament once a month-a pretty prospect of domestic felicity!'
“Psha-you do not suppose that my present life is a type of what is to come? No, no; I do not intend to be canonized under the denomination of Saint Alfred, but it pleases her, and believe me she is not half as bad as she was. I remember when she would not read a newspaper on Sunday!'
* Is it possible!
"Fact-upon my honour. Now she is getting better and better; -I must tolerate the mummery till we are married, and then
“ Kate, Kate, I heard no more. A torrent of bitterness overwhelmed me. The blessed sacrament to be termed mummery'--the man for whom I lived and prayed to exult that my religion was declining-to plan its destruction! I do not ask you to pity me now,
because my transgressions have been pardoned—my race run—my sorrows ceased their troubling-my spirit found its rest!—but then, or rather when restored to perfect consciousness, you would have pitied me.
“ For weeks I could not leave my bed; the delirium of brain fever for a time spared me worse agonies, but the TEMPTATION was with me still. I knew that Alfred's attentions had been unremittingthat he had watched over me—they said he had prayed for me. Oh! to whom was he to pray? his people were not my people, his God not my God. And yet I loved him-loved him in my heart of hearts-prayed for him; Kate, I pray for him still—at morn--at midnight-by the way-side—and in secret ; his name is on my lips-on my lips-in my heart! My mother, though she knew by bitter experience that two can never be as one, except in the Lord-she almost wished me to perform my contract-she feared that, though the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak—and she talked of the believing wife saving the unbelieving husband. It might be so; and had I married, believing that he believed, I would have borne my cross; but the
film had been graciously removed from mine eyes—he was an acknowledged infidel, regarding the holy ordinances of religion as mummeries. Could I look up to, select such a one as my guide through life? My father spurned me from him—talked of the lands which I had lost—the station I had cast away! My bride's-maids mourned that their splendid dresses could not be worn; and you, Kate, a little fairy of five years old, wept bitterly the loss of cake. But oh! when he, the loved one, promised to be all I desired-said that I could save him from the destruction into which he would surely plunge if I did not share his namethen came my worst temptation—then, then, I felt how bitter it was to remember that he who had deceived me once might repeat the deception! They tell us we ought to forget the faults of those we love; I found remembering their perfections the most dangerous of the two.
“Enough! we parted. He said, 'If his life, if his opinions, became really religious, would I marry him ?' I said, 'Yes.' He went forth again into the world, and he forgot me,I remained in my own homeI forgot not him. His career has been thoughtless, brilliant, and extravagant-he has grown of the world, worldly; while I have found rest, and peace, and hope,--and ere, long ere you have read these pages, shall have been made immortal. Oh, then, beloved Katherine, let your prayer be, ' Let me not be led into temptation ;' for once being led therein, by the vanities, the pleasures, or the riches of life, our escape is doubtful, and our trial great."
Bitterly did Katherine weep over the records of a life which was terminated before twenty summers had stamped the perfection of beauty on her brow; but I am happy to record, that Kate was saved much misery by the wisdom she gleaned from the “ Temptation of Rachel Morisson.”
WINDSOR BY MOONLIGHT,
By Mrs. HOFLAND.
Oh ! lovely scene--earth, water, air, and sky
RECORDS OF A STAGE VETERAN.
Incledon and Pope (the Tragedian) on American Manners.--Pope's love of the good things of this life was unbounded; amid many other sayings, one of his was to the effect that he knew of but one crime that man could commit, and that was peppering a rump-steak. When Incledon returned from America he met his old friend Pope, and after mutual congratulations, the latter exclaimed, “ Well, Charles, and how do they feed ?" “ Immortally," replied Charles," the very poetry of eating and drinking, my dear Pope, in all things but one; by they take no oil to their salads." “No oil to their salads !" reiterated the horror-stricken tragedian, “why did we make peace with them ?"
Michael Kelly and Pope. -Pope, who came out in London in 1784, and was then about twenty-seven years old, was very solicitous, towards the latter part of his life, of being reputed much younger than he really was, a desire that Mich. Kelly thought proper on all occasions to thwart. One morning Pope called, and Kelly put into his hands a letter with the Dublin post-mark, addressed to Pope, “ To the care of M. Kelly, Esq." After many thanks, Pope opened and read the effusion, which was from an unknown correspondent, begging a favour for his grandson, reminding Pope how often he (P.) in Dublin had patted the writer on the head, and praised his aptitude as a scholar, &c. &c., and concluding with the following paragragh:-" I am now eighty years of age, and do hope that the friend and patron of my boyhood will not desert me, or mine, in my declining years." Nothing but Kelly's good dinners could ever have tempted Pope to forgive this.
Kean's Learning.-When Kean first appeared, many contradictory reports were abroad respecting his education, and a Mr. C-, resolving to put it to the test, wrote to him one morning a note in Latin, requesting some tickets for his benefit. “Well,” said R " and how did Kean construe it?" "Into an insult,” was the reply. The same gentleman, who was always a warm partisan of Kean, being once hard_pressed on the subject of Kean's academic deficiencies, exclaimed, “ D-n it, Sir, surely a man may have drunk at the well of learning without being expected to swallow the bucket !"
Singular Fortune.-K—, a well-known literary gentleman, by the will of a relative, became entitled to a certain legacy, provided by a certain day therein named he had “ any children lawfully born in wedlock.” Time passed on, and K—, who was a bachelor, had not yet seen any one to whom“ his affections tended," and the person who, in failure of the above event became entitled, was anticipating his succession, when “Married this day, at St. George's Church, &c. &c.," dissipated, or at least shook his hopes. For some time the lady gave her lord little chance of obtaining the bequest; at length, when it was getting, in sporting phrase, too near to be pleasant, the lady proved enceinte ; months wore away, and K waited on an eminent chamber-counsel to consult him. Mrs. K-'s calculations rendered it probable the event would occur a fortnight or three weeks too late; “Should that be the case, would he forfeit the fortune ?" “ I fear you would," replied the lawyer; “ besides, my dear Sir, the will says children, and though the testator most probably meant child or children, the Court would construe it literally." Home in “ the study denominated brown" went poor K—, day followed day, until within four of the period named in the will, when Mrs. K blessed her husband with twins.
[Motives of delicacy prevent the mention of names, but the parties are too well known to render the accuracy of the story at all doubtful.]
A Hint from the Gallery - The Coburg Theatre, under the management of Glossop and others, enjoyed an unenviable celebrity for attention to anything but “words, phrases, and grammar.” On one occasion the scenes stuck in the grooves, and the gods were much offended at beholding the halves of a house with an interstice of a yard or so between them; at length a sweep called out, “Ve don't expect no good grammar here, but, hang it, you might close the scenes."
A Reformed Rake.- A theatrical lady, celebrated for everything but continence, at length resolved to marry and reform. Her conduct was duly canvassed in the dressing-rooms of the theatres. “ I am told," cried one, " that she confessed to her liege lord all her amours. “ What a proof of courage !" exclaimed one lady. “What an extraordinary instance of candour !” said another. “And what an amazing instance of memory ! cried the third.
American Feasting (a Kentuck).-When Mr. Gallot went through the United States with Mamselle D'Jeck, the celebrated elephant, he, one evening, was warm in his praises of the hospitalities and socialities of the mother country; amid other instances, he quoted one of the Rutland punchbowl, which, on the christening of the young Marquis, was built so Jarge that a small boat was actually set sailing upon it, in which a boy sat, who ladled out the liquor. “I guess," said one of the company, “ I've seen a bowl that 'ud beat that to immortal smash; for, at my brother's christening the bowl was so deep, that when we young'uns said it warn't sweet enough, father sent a man down in a diving bell to stir up the sugar at the bottom."
Dr. Abernethy and P, the Comedian.-P—, who was of a scorbutic habit, was, for a considerable time, the patient of Abernethy; the guineas followed one another into the pocket of the doctor, and the actor got no better. _At length, in no pleasant humour, he presented himself. “No better, Doctor !" “ Um,” said Abernethy, “ I'm afraid you don't strictly adhere to your regimen-vegetable diet." • Sir," said the enraged actor, " I've taken as much green stuff as a jackass, and yet I'm no better;" and flounced out of the house. Abernethy, who was too eccentric himself to be offended by eccentricity in others, had a prescription made up, and sent it with his red pills to Mr. P—, with this direction:-“Let the jackass take one of these per night, and go on with his hot mash of green stuff as usual.”
Egerton's Reply.-- It was often said of old Chapman, of Covent-garden Theatre, that he taught his sons to fight before he taught them to read; certain it is, that they were equally petulant and pugnacious; and the thing next heard of either S. or W. Chapman (after their engagement in any new company) was, that they had knocked up a play and knocked down the manager. This pugilistic propensity was most peculiarly developed in Samuel (the youngest and smallest), who had fairly fought his way through the provinces. When the late Mr. Egerton took Sadler's Wells Theatre, S. Chapman wrote to him for an engagement. Egerton's reply was laconic, but decidedly to the purpose :Dear Sam,
" I can't fight.
« Daniej. EGBRTON." Genius. The Tragedians of the last Century.-Genius has a power of investing trifles with importance, interest, and grandeur. Mrs. Siddons sang “ Billy Taylor" with a force of humour that our best comic actors might have envied ; Kean's parlante style of executing the ballads of “ Blackeyed Susan,” “ My trim-built Wherry," and "Sally in our Alley,'' was to the full as pathetic as his farewell in Othello; and Henderson drew tears in the old see-saw ballad of “The Babes in the Wood.” John