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much affected at the sight of her granddaughter, much grown, greatly improved, and exhibiting every expression of affectionate regard. She was delighted with Mrs. Garston and her daughter, her neat house, its pretty situation, the beech wood, the Gothic tower, together with the preparations made for her comfort. Neither was Mrs. Garston less pleased with Honoria than the old lady was with her and with all about her. She however soon perceived that her respectable visitant wanted those clear, simple, and cheerful views of religion which might have been wished ; and as it was very apparent that the old lady's term of existence in this world would probably not be very long, she determined, with God's help, to avail herself of the occasion now offered to set before her brighter and clearer views of the scriptural scheme of man's salvation. And as an assistant to her in this charitable work, she requested the pious rector of the parish frequently to visit her family during the time of the old lady's residence in it: and in this good man she found a powerful auxiliary, while his frequent appearance at their tea-table added much to the interest of their little society.
The old lady being soon established in her new apartments, found herself extremely happy; and being pressed by Mrs. Garston, consented to be her inmate during all the summer months.
And now Constantia really began to appear in an amiable point of view. Her attentions to her grandmother were not only singularly pleasing in themselves, but extremely soothing to the old lady, whose gratitude to Mrs. Garston for this improvement in her beloved grandchild was without bounds. Honoria took many an airing in her garden chair, accompanied by Mrs. Garston, her daughter, and Constantia, who walked by her side. She found a sacred pleasure in the daily perusal of her Bible, and hearkened with increasing interest to the religious conversation which passed in the family; till, by the blessing of God, her mind became settled with regard to many important points in which she had hitherto been wavering and uncertain. She began also at the same time to contemplate her past life in a new point of view; perceiving how sinfully she had
been conformed to the world, and lamenting the many grievous offences into which she had fallen, even without suspecting that she had done amiss. Her heart was now made so tender, that she was continually employed, when alone, in lamenting her sins: and yet, with this strong sense of sin, she felt, through the divine mercy, such a persuasion of the love and power of her Saviour, as to enjoy not only a great degree of peace, but even a perfect assurance that she should be finally happy through the merits of her adorable Lord.
In this manner all the summer with the beginning of autumn passed away in the family of Mrs. Garston. At length, Honoria was reminded, by the increasing shortness of the days, that the season approached in which she was fearful of travelling: and this compelled her reluctantly to decide upon her return home.
On the morning previous to that fixed for her departure, she first called her beloved granddaughter to her bed-side, and afterward had a long conversation with Mrs. Garston. She conversed with Constantia upon the most important subjects which can engage the thoughts of a human creature—the necessity of using this transient life aright, in order to our happiness in the eternal world; the grand scheme of man's salvation; the love of the Father; the propitiatory sacrifice of the Son: the influences of the Holy Spirit; the depravity of the heart; and the vanity of the world-subjects on which she had been lately led to meditate with the deepest interest.
On this solemn occasion, the venerable lady did not spare herself, but frankly acknowledged to her granddaughter the errors of her past life, particularly as to the want of Christian simplicity in the management of her beloved Constantia in infancy and childhood; pointing out what she herself had but lately been enabled to discern, namely, the innumerable occasions on which pride and a sense of family consequence had led her to injure her darling child, by making her of too much importance in her own eyes as well as in those of servants and dependants.
Honoria proceeded with her discourse, by expressing her high approbation of Mrs. Garston's mode of life and daily conversation; adding, that it was her peculiar wish
that Constantia should remain in her present situation at least till she had entered her nineteenth year, at which time she hoped that, with the divine blessing, her charaeter might have attained to some degree of stability. After adding much more of a similar nature, she concluded her discourse with these words: “If I live I shall have no difficulty in carrying this point; and if I die, I hope, my Constantia, that you will remember this my earnest request, and throw no difficulties in the way of its accomplishment."
Constantia did not fail, with many tears, to assure her dear grandmamma, that all she wished should be done: at the same time expressing her fondest hope, that she might live, not only to see her enter her nineteenth year, but many succeeding ones; and that the next summer especially might be spent as sweetly, in the same scenes, and with the same dear friends, as the last few months had been.
Honoria's conversation with Mrs. Garston was not less tender and affecting than that with Constantia. The old lady thanked her in the most solemn manner for the unexpected blessings which she had been the means of conveying to her and her granddaughter, and took this occasion to express a strong desire that Constantia should remain with her till she had attained her nineteenth year; entreating Mrs. Garston, that, in case of her death, she would not be discouraged from keeping her with her, by any little diificulties which might be raised by any other parts of the family.
Mrs. Garston gave her every assurance which she required, and expressed her hope that the return of the next summer might bring with it a renewal of the happiness they had lately enjoyed in each other's society.
The poor old lady was melted into tears, on hearing these expressions of affection, and pressing Mrs. Garston's hand, she replied, “These matters are in the hand of God, my dear Madam; and I desire in all things to show a due submission to the divine will. I cannot describe to you how happy I have been in this place, nor what an inestimable privilege I account it, to have been thus brought into simple Christian society before that
awful change takes place which my advanced age leads me daily to look for."
The next morning, Honoria took her leave of the weeping family, and every thing returned into its usual routine in Mrs. Garston's house.
During the winter many pious and affectionate letters were received from Honoria: but in the spring, when Mrs. Garston was beginning to look forward to the appearance of her summer visiter, and Constantia was watching the growth of certain flowers, with a hope that they might adorn her grandmamma's re-occupied apartment-a letter arrived, reporting the sudden death of that respectable lady. Honoria's departure was easy, her mind being preserved in a calm and resigned state, full of humble acquiescence and cheerful hope, which sweetly tempered the anguish of her body. She had made the same request to her daughters as she had done to Constantia and Mrs. Garston: but not having required an actual promise from them that they would not remove Constantia from her present situation till she had attained her nineteenth year, it did not appear that they thought themselves bound to submit to this request, but rather judged themselves at liberty to act as occasion might dictate.
Many letters passed between Constantia and her elder aunt in the course of the summer. But as there was much family business to arrange during these months, no hint was given of a wish to see her before the Christmas holidays, at which time a trusty servant was sent to conduct her home.
On this occasion, Mrs. Garston, her daughter, and Constantia, separated with many tears; while Constantia expressed a hope that she should return after a few weeks. Mrs. Garston reminded Constantia of her grandmother's last request: to which she answered, that she wanted not this motive to make her wish a return to Mrs. Garston's house. “My heart is with you,” said Constantia: “I have been happier with you than I ever was in any other place, and I shall not be happy till I meet you again."
Constantia felt what she said at the time, and Mrs.
Garston saw no reason to doubt of her present sincerity. But she knew what to expect from this young person, when she should be again placed in a situation where self would be indulged, and advantage again given to the deceitful lusts of the flesh. She was therefore prepared for whatever might happen, and accordingly saw her young pupil depart not without feeling a considerable depression of spirits. She retained, however, a comfortable assurance, that her faithful labours for Constantia's good would not be absolutely lost; and under this view she quietly resigned her charge into the hands of God.
Thus Constantia returned home, and was joyfully received by her mother and aunts, who had accumulated for her an infinity of indulgences, which were not allowed her, nor indeed ever thought of by her, while living with Mrs. Garston.
And here let me stop to point out the evil of inspiring young people with the love of needless and every way useless possessions. How many children do we see laden with books before they can read !-with crayons and pencils before they have an idea of drawing !-not to mention toys and trinkets without end! Thus do parents and injudicious friends administer to the lusts of the eye and the pride of life, exciting an endless train of wants which never can be satisfied.
But to return to Constantia. The indulgences prepared for her within the limits of her own family were the smallest of the dangers which beset her on her return home. During her residence with Mrs. Garston, a very important change had taken place in the neighbourhood, which I shall now proceed to mention.
Adjoining to the estate which was now, by the death of their mother, become the property of Mrs. Kitty and her sisters, lay the extensive domain of a certain noble marquis, whom we will call Lord T- In the centre of this estate stood a superb mansion, encircled with groves of venerable oak, and possessing every character of old magnificence. The history of Lord T- was, that in early life he had dipped so deeply into his property, as obliged him to leave the country, and reside many years abroad; where, by adopting a plan of great comparative economy, he had so far retrieved his affairs,