« PreviousContinue »
Grief and melancholy appeared the brilliancy of her eyes shewed a in every countenance in the house; spirit undaunted by all it had sufeven the lowest of the domestics fered, and not to be conquered by partook in the general affliction; the keenest pang of disease. Never so much was this sweet infant be- did a murmur escape her lips, and loved. when her parents or friends visited her, she uniformly declared herself better, and endeavoured to make the time pass as agreeably in her sickchamber as possible.
Harriet scarcely ever left the sickchamber. But the sufferings of the wretched mother were truly pitiable, in as much as they were mixed with remorse, which is the most dreadful torture of the human mind, for she mentally accused herself of being the cause of the child's sufferings. During the first days of Seraph's indisposition, Mrs. Lancaster took no notice of Mary Jones, who was her nurse: one day, however, on which the child seemed worse, and lower than usual, when she had remained for a long time weeping over her in an agony of despair, Mary rose from the other side of the bed, where she had been kneeling, and coming to her, took her affectionately by the hand, and said, "My dear mistress, why do you give yourself up to despair? Trust, I beseech you, in a wise providence, who can yet, if he thinks fit, restore this angel to you." "O Mary, dear Mary," said she, leaning her head on Mary's shoulder, and bursting into a fresh flood of tears, "is there
any hope for me?” "O yes!" replied Mary, "there is hope, God forbid there was not." Behold how affliction humbles pride, and levels us with those whom we before affected to despise! At this assurance of Mary, Mrs. Lancaster pressed her hand, and felt more composed than she had done for many days.
This lovely infant, as she lay in her little white bed, looked like "something not of this earth's mould," her beautiful curling hair clustered over her snowy forehead; her cheeks, from the internal heat that consumed her, had now assumed the deepest dye of the rose; while
BELFAST MAG. NO. XXXIV.
Yet she once during her illness told Mary Jones, that she knew she should die; saying, at the same time, that she liked the thoughts of dying very well, only she was sorry for the grief her mamma would feel. "For as heaven is a place, so much more delightful than this earth,” said she, "I wonder any one would wish to stay here."
Harriet in instructing her, had not neglected religion. Her creed was simple.-She believed there was a God, who made the world, that he was wise and good; and that after death he would punish the wicked, and reward the good. This far she could understand, and no farther was required of her: her memory was not burdened by a parcel of, (to a child,) unintelligible words, to which it cannot possibly annex the proper ideas.
One day as her mamma and Harriet stood beside her bed, she made an effort to raise herself, and placing the hand of her sister in that of her mother, looked wistfully at them, and lay down again. Mrs. Lancaster burst into tears, and left the room.
On the 13th day of her illness, she appeared much changed for the worse; she was too weak to speak, and only made signs for what she wanted. Seeing her parents and sister in the
room, her nurse raised her up in bed, and she signified that she wished her mother and sister to approach; she then again, in presence of her father, took the hand of Harriet, and abb
put it in that of her mother's, and cast her eyes to heaven. Mrs. Lancaster wept, but the child did not seem satisfied; she pointed to her mother's breast. At this Mrs. L. said, "I understand you, my dear" May none of my readers ever experience a pang like that felt by this child-accused mother, as she repeated, "I understand you, my dear!" Then taking Harriet in her arms, she said, "she shall be my daugh ter!" Seraph smiled her approba tion--was laid down, and raising her eyes and hands to heaven, seemed happy.
It was now the dinner-hour, and Mrs. Lancaster seeing her so composed, suffered herself to be persuaded to go and try to take some refreshment. For some nights she had not been in bed; since the commencement of her child's illness, she had scarcely eaten any thing, and nature was now almost worn out. The sorrowful parents had left the sick-chamber about ten minutes, when they were again summoned to it. The beauteous angel still lay as they had left her, but pale as marble, ber little hands and eyes were yet raised to heaven; the smile seemed still to play on her lips, but the spirit that had animated the clay
was fled for ever!
groan escapes him; his grief seems too big for the common forms, but he has felt as great, nay a greater load before, and knows he is able to bear it. As soon as the first burst of Mrs. Lancaster's violent affliction had somewhat abated, her husband came to her, and by a kind of affectionate violence, forced her from the chamber of death to her own room : there this miserable couple spent the remainder of that wretched evening. Considering the death of his child as a dispensation of providence, which no human foresight could have prevented, the father submitted in silence: though he bore his griefs like a man, he also felt them like a man. But what was his affliction compared with that of his wife-her heart bleeding with remorse and self-reproach? for she could consider this fatal event in no other light than as an accident of which she herself had been the cause; and felt like the murderer of her child.
Lancaster determined that in case Before the death of this child, Captain take occasion from it to give his wife such an event should happen, he would an impressive lecture; for he wished, if possible, to change the whole subsequent part of her conduct, and give a new bias to her mind. But did he now, in the silence and solitude of their melancholy chamber, attempt this? No, the tender affectionate husband, seeing her already too deeply wounded, felt nothing but pity for her, offered no arguments, save those of consolation, accompanied with kindness and endearment.
Behold now the frantic grief of the wretched mother! sce how she raves and calls aloud upon her darling, her first-born! What value does she now set upon that beauty of which she was once so vain? Behold her cheek pale and ghastly! her eyes dim and sunk with watching and weeping! her In the general grief and consternahair dishevelled! that beautiful hair tion of the family, Harriet had been of which she was once so proud! see, forgotten, the preceding evening, exshe tears it in handfuls from her head, cept by Mary Jones, who as soon as and scatters it about in wild agony - it was light the next morning, tapThe heart-stricken father leans silent-ped at her master's room-door, to say, ly over the bed of death, no tear, no that she was extremely ill, and Mary
sity. As the poet says→→→
Even should misfortunes come,
feared had caught the scarlet-fever. be gained from one shaded by adver Now it was that poor Lancaster found himself still vulnerable-found that he had not yet lost all; but that it was in the power of fate to render him still more wretched. As he jumped out of bed his wife thought she perceived a tear streaming down his cheek; he turned to the window, and throwing up his eyes, she distinctly heard him utter, "Spare me, O God of mercy, spare me!"
The funeral obsequies were performed for Seraph while the fate of Harriet remained doubtful. Every evening during a week the trembling parent feared that the ensuing morning should behold him childless. At length, however, it pleased providence that her disorder should take a favourable turn, and she began rapidily to recover. The heart of the enraptured father now overflowed with gratitude to heaven; he no longer murmured over the past, but thanked God for his present blessings. But, ah! not so the wretched mother, she still felt "reflection's stab
The first day that Harriet was able to leave her bed, she was visited by her step-mother, who taking her in her arms, gave her a truly maternal embrace; tears choaked the utterance of both, but though language was denied, affection spoke in their hearts, and was easily understood. From this time forth, Mrs. Lancaster uniformly behaved to Harriet as if she had been her own child.
Indeed the change which her husband so much wished to see effected in
her, was now gradually taking place: alliction made her behold objects in their true light, and estimate the things of this world according to their proper value. So true it is, that half the wisdom cannot be acquired in a life of uniform prosperity, that may
Through a remote part of Captain Lancaster's garden ran a murmuring brook, which was skirted on each side by a thick wood. As soon as Mrs. Lancaster's grief was somewhat mellowed by time, she a little diverted her mind by giving directions about the embellishment of a spot in this wood, which she intended should be kept sacred to the memory of her departed child. She ordered some trees to be taken away, leaving a clear circular space, in the middle of which she caused an urn of the purest white marble, to be erected: round which was inscribed, in black letters, "Sacred to the memory of an early victim of affection, Seraphina Lancaster, aged four years and eight months.
This spot, which is carpeted by the softest moss, is entirely circumscribed, and shut in by tall trees, the waving foliage of which, by partly obscuring the light, gives it an awful and gloomy appearance, while the gurgling of the stream, which flows
close behind their roots on one side,
inspires a still and solemn feeling.
The velvet carpet is embroidered by nature's hand with bunches of violets and water-lilies. Various wildflowers cluster about the roots of the old trees, among which and flowering shrubs, are thickly evergreens plan ed.
The creeping rose, and some scarhad been particularly partial, were let honey-suckles, to which Seraph planted at the base of the urn, and in time twined their branches round it.
To this spot for the remainder of her life, did Mrs. Lancaster retire to the exercise of her devotions; to contemplate, to weep, and to purify her heart. Three years after the decease of Seraph, Harriet was united to the man of her own and her father's choice; one who proved every way worthy of her.
Mrs. Lancaster brought her husband two boys, but never had another female child. She has spent a great part of the last twenty years of her life in reading and cultivating her mind; of beauty she thinks not, nor has she ever shewed the least symptom of vanity since the death of her beloved daughter. The fond husband declares that she is handsomer than she was when he first saw her; he says goodness speaks in every softened look, and that an enlightened mind now beams in her intelligent countenance. In short, she is now his friend and rational companion; and truly have they both experienced, that those "whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth."
appearing red and likely to blister. I, at length, spread a plaister of burgundy pitch, softened with a little oil, which I had long kept in the house to dress slight wounds, and applied it, merely because I happened to think of it, and soon forgot my burn, and when I again recollected it several hours afterwards, it immediately excited an inquiry for the cause of so speedy and unexpected relief; which, on a little reflection, was solved by the following train of reasoning. The application of fire to the flesh begins the work of dissolution, which gives the feeling of pain, which the active principle in the common air is capable of continuing, and in order to stop its progress, nothing more is necessary than the close application of any convenient substance capable of acting as a non conductor,
The convenience of the application consists in its being easily, and quickly applied; not so hard as to be uneasy to the part, nor yet so soft as to melt away with the heat of the flesh. To answer all these purposes I have adopted the admixture of an ounce of bee's wax, to four ounces of burgun‹y pitch, and less than a spoonful of sweet oil. Lard or fresh butter is perhaps as good as oil. In this way I have ever since, with uniform success, treated burns or scalds whenever they have happened in my family and neighbourhood. I have found this plaister equally effectual in easing the smart of a blister drawn with the Spanish fly. In every instance, where I have known it used, it immediately eases the smart, and finally heals the part affected. My own happy experience of its efficacy induces me to wish for the sake of suffering infants in particular, as well as others, that this remedy might be brought into general use, but I have hitherto neglected giving it that pub.
Of the many prevailing evils that distinguish the character of the present day, that of the too frequent use of spirituous liquors appears to be one of the foremost and not the least destructive. It seems to have found its way into almost every cir
ON THE DANGERS OF INTEMPERANCE, cle, and too few are sufficiently aware
ESPECIALLY TO YOUNG MEN.
NE use of a periodical publication is, the opportunity it affords to individuals, who are not altogether heedless spectators of passing events, of conveying their ideas on some matters that may, in the course of their observations, become the subjects of their attention; and surely the pages of a periodical print published professedly for the purpose of extending useful knowledge, and ad. vocating the cause of virtue, should ever be open to the free introduction of whatever may have a tendency in endeavouring to point out, how simple soever the manner may be, (and I ain: at nothing more) what may be apprehended inimical to the progress of pure morality, as it is on this the welfare of nations, and of individuals so very materially depends. A pure morality (which in my opinion is only another name for true religion. I cannot make a distinction,) embraces every duty we owe to God, to ourselves, and to our fellow-men. I much fear that many by entertaining loose ideas of the nature of morality, are led into liberties which by degrees may sink into very destructive habits, and eventually tend to their irrecoverable ruin.
Those who are in any degree attentive to the passing events of the age in which we live, will have mourn fully to acknowledge the many deficiencies that mark the present order of things from the highest to the lowest, with respect to a sound morality, and which powerfully operate to retard its progress.
of the danger of encouraging a prac tice so injurious in its consequences.
Its free introduction upon almost every occasion, as is now very commonly the case, is much to be lamented, and cannot be too earnestly remonstrated against by the friends of good order, who feel interested in all that concerns the welfare of society, and rejoice at any step tending to an advancement from the present corrup tion of manners. If a few individuals chance to meet, or wish to converse together for any length, of time, or have occasion to transact any little business, it is too commonly the prac tice to introduce the tumbler and glass, as if it was a custom absolutely necessary and could not be dispensed with, and as if the degrees of sociability were more advantageously extended by the practice.
Great caution is necessary, lest what is begun in harmless intention may end in a serious evil. It is dan gerous to meddle with the practice. Surely to quicken the pleasures of real sociability, and strengthen the bonds of genuine fellowship, it requires no such stimulus. They can better subsist without it. By falling in with the practice, though but seldom at first indulged, a fondness for the intoxicating draught may be acquired, and a relish for improper company may encourage this fondness, for it generally happens in such cases, an over-scrupulous attention is not paid in the choice of company. Thus led on from one degree to another, a confirmed habit of drunkenness and vice is in many instances the doleful con