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rogeneous mass of the heartless and the vain who pursue the things of this life as though they could last for ever; of these, my Emily, and all such as these, I have taken my final adieu.' • Dearest uncle,' I said, 'you make me melancholy-not that I lament the gaieties of a townlife, for I can be happy any where; but I lament to see that your former cheerfulness has forsaken you: might I not venture to ask the cause ? not from curiosity but from heartfelt interest.' . You may do any thing, my Emily; but the seat of my sorrow lies too deep for removal. Two things alone remain for me : religious resignation and the grave. They may and will bring peace ; but joy on earth is not to be my portion more.' 'Dear, dear uncle, say not so, I beseech you,'—and I burst into tears. He rejoined, Well, my best comforter, my earthly treasure, you are still left me. I ought to be grateful. Emily,' he continued, ' I charge you never let us renew this conversation. He
pronounced these last words so solemnly, that my blood seemed to run cold.
66 There is then a subject on which we are
never to touch, a bound we are never to overpass, a barrier to free communication. What a change does this fatal prohibition not produce in my relation with my ever honoured uncle ! And oh! Alpinia, if you knew all I have heard, you would pity me; but to no human being can I mention this terrible secret. I am strong in the confidence that the dark inuendo which met my ear is a false and base aspersion ; but I have too much reason to believe it is not unknown to my uncle, and it is undermining the very springs of his existence. Why does he not shake it off at once? why does he not disperse the pestilential vapour which poisons his existence ? But enough-too much: Alpinia, my heart is overcharged, or I should not have allowed myself to express my feelings; I know it is my duty to suffer in silence.
“ Two days after Frances's wedding, my uncle asked me to walk out with him; I obeyed with alacrity. This request brought back the remembrance of former days; we walked on in silence through the streets—a silence I was not inclined to break, as there was something in my
uncle's manner which prevented my asking him any questions ; at length I ventured to say,
My dear Sir, I am sadly afraid you will be fatigued.'— We have not far to go now,' was his reply; and we reached Westminster Bridge. Heie he called to a waterman, and having procured a boat, we stepped into it. The busy Thames, the noise of the town, and the rude voices of those who were plying their various craft on the river-the dome of St. Paul's dimly seen in the distance, and the nearer spires of Westminster Abbey, created a medley of thoughts and feelings which were not in unison with the interest that absorbed me. I wished I had never seen those sights, or heard those sounds. I seemed to connect all that I had ever known of pain, or trouble with them, and they were distasteful to me. As I sat in the boat, thus lost in a variety of sensations by my uncle's side, he took my hand and said, ' Now, dearest Emily, once more reflect ere you decide irrevocably. You are going with an aged man to a life of seclusion, and, when contrasted with your former existence, of comparative hardship.
You may yet avoid this; you may continue to dwell in the sunshine of prosperity and the lap of luxury ; but if you follow my fortunes, you will, even young and lovely as you are, probably be forgotten, and may spend the flower of your youth unnoticed. In tending the declining days of your old uncle, you may, and probably will, lose all the advantages of worldly prosperity and consideration which a different mode of existence might secure you. I am selfish, I fear, in allowing you to make this sacrifice; and at least I must once represent to you, in true colours, the nature of the choice you have made.'
6. Do not,' I said, interrupting him, 'do not, I beseech you, wrong me by supposing for a moment that any thing can make me desert you. The more wretched, the more forsaken you are by the world, the more I will endeavour to make you forget such an unworthy world, and such undeserved sorrow; and I can only simply assure you, that in living with you under any circumstances, I am fulfilling the natural impulse of my heart; whereas, away from you, nothing could make me happy.'- You will not go,' rejoined my uncle, “to an elegant retirement, where books and flowers, and the mental luxuries of life, create a never-failing spring of enjoyment to minds such as yours, trained by habit as well as taste to derive pleasure from the resources they afford; but you will live in a habitation devoid of outward charm, where the bare necessaries of life are maintained by frugal economy, and where the occupation of the mind .. is merely how to exist. We are not about to live in any region of romantic beauty, where the fancy is excited by scenery or romance so as to make it forget privation, or delight in solitude ; but we go to the plain monotony of an English country habitation, devoid of those luxuries which have become by use mere necessaries, to the presence of which you are unconscious, but to whose absence you will be painfully alive; and to the tame aspect of common nature in her least beautiful garb. Can you endure this weighty pressure of existence? Oh! my Emily, look well at the contrast. With your sister, wealth and pleasure will surround you; the persons