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any form, and my religion was the overflowing of gratitude, not the want of poor humanity. I could not realize the force of Lucy's expression. To be willing to leave this bright world, so full of the blossoms of hope and love, to quit the pure air, and the bright skies, and be the mouldering tenant of the solitary tomb-how could it be gain? I looked at her thin pale cheek inquiringly, and could not restrain my tears.
Lucy smiled sadly—“Life appears,” said she, very differently to one who, like you, enjoys the sympathy of friends, of such friends too! I am now only a weed on the stream of time. When I pass into the ocean of eternity, who knows but that I may be attached to something bright and beautiful too ?”
From that moment, that little moment of heart and sensibility, my relations with Lucy assumed a different aspect. I drew a chair near her—" Lucy,” I said, cheerfully, “ I will be the beautiful thing to which you shall be attached in this world; so do not talk of another,
dear." I was checked by the pressure of her thin hand, where even labour had not been able to shade the blue veins, so light was their covering.
From the moment that this delicate chain of sympathy was thrown over our minds, there was a quiet but distinct course of action between us. My part was to strengthen and animate her sinking frame. I brought her fresh flowers, new books, kind friends, and little luxuries that cool the feverish lip; but Lucy had a higher task to perform. It was, to direct my thoughts to a feeling of the value and necessity of Christianity; to teach me to subdue the idolatry of my affections, and give them a spiritual bias.
She spoke of Edward as a “ being of soul, a candidate for immortality.”—“He is too beautiful for the grave, Lucy,” said I; “I can never, never let him die.--I can go myself, if God calls me, but I cannot spare him ; that manly form, those high and generous feelings, that warm, warm heart,--oh, they are my life. Talk to me of any thing but the death of Edward !"
Still she gently recurred to high and spiritual topics, and led my thoughts at times beyond earthly affections. She marked passages in the Bible of the most attractive character for me to read to her, and, when her cough would allow, breathed out a hymn in sweet and happy strains, in which I soon loved to join. Time wore away, and she revived a little with reviving spring. She still had strength to carry her plants from window to window to catch the sunbeams, and could sit to watch the twilight in its dying glory.
But soon she failed again, and one night Edward and I were awaked to go to her. She could but whisper to us as we bent over her, "Do not love each other too well. Pray with and for each other. Forget not that Christ lived and died for you. I shall expect you both, both-in Heaven.” And thus she died. One favour only had she asked of us.
It was that she might be buried in the country churchyard of her native town.
“I would have overcome that little prefer
ence,” she once said, "did I not know there is something soothing in complying with the wishes of the dying. How idle a fancy,” she continued, smiling, “to wish that trees should wave and birds sing over this wasted form; but nature has been so lovely to me that I have a kind of gratitude to her, and it is sweet to think that I shall repose among those objects which God has given me sensibility to enjoy."
She was carried to her favourite resting-place. From that period a religious repose chastened the intense tenderness of our hearts, as we remembered Lucy's character and death; and when we occasionally left the city to breathe the country air, our souls were refreshed by a visit to her grave.
Ever at early dawn, and close of day,
My next domestic trial was unconnected with household cares. My “help” was "the perfectest pattern of excelling” housekeepers, and my
affairs went on like clockwork. Our meals "came like spirits.” No half-cooked potatoes betrayed a cold and hard heart beneath a soft surface-no half-picked poultry came to the table as if reluctant to resign the feathery insignia. The amalgamation of sauces and gravies was like the intercourse of society, where the piquant is softened by the modest, and the feeble animated by the strong. My windows were clear as a good conscience, my