« EelmineJätka »
Beaumont united their tears with ours; and we all continued in a state of the deepest dejection during the whole course of the day.
“ As the physician had ordered that the room in which the unhappy young ladies had lain, together with those adjoining it, should be fumigated, it was necessary that I should be removed. Immediately after the funeral, I was accordingly taken down stairs, and placed upon a sofa in the inner hall.
“ Never shall I forget the melancholy appearance which the house bore throughout the whole of that day; no one spoke excepting in an under tone, many were weeping, and all sound of mirth had ceased. Gabrielle was absent, but no one enquired after her; neither could I ever learn what was become of her, excepting that she was still living. I remembered the many peals of riotous mirth, and the bursts of laughter, which used to resound through the halls and along the high galleries of PalmGrove House: but these had all ceased; and the words of the wise man became too truly verified in this placeFor as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of fools. (Eccles. vii. 6.)
“I have reason to think," continued Miss Clara Lushington, " that the banishment of Gabrielle, and the dreadful end of poor Miss Chatterton, and her companion Miss Atkins, together with the excellent example of Amelia, had a good effect on the whole society at Palnı-Grove.
“ From the period of these dreadful events, Mrs. Patterson became evidently more attentive; and though she was not, at that time, a pious woman, yet her very presence was a considerable restraint upon the worst characters. Much confidence also was now placed, and deservedly placed, in Amelia: and I was here first brought to see the wonderful effect produced by good examples in the elder pupils of a seninary; an effect perhaps even more, certainly not less, powerful than that resulting from such examples in the teachers themselves. Miss Beau. mont also proved herself a great assistance to Amelia; the unguarded feelings of that young lady having, through the divine blessing, become effectually tempered by what she had suffered in her estrangement from Amelia, her imprudence, and subsequent disgrace, and, finally, boy
the awful adventure of the Ariadne, and the part which she had had in the affair. She was now become all that was lovely and excellent.
“With respect to myself; I can say but little: for though there was certainly a great change in my feelings after the deaths of my two unhappy schoolfellows, yet am I well convinced, that, had I at that time been removed from under the influence of Amelia, I should doubtless have fallen again, and any second fall would probably have been svorse than the first. But, after refecting on the whole course of my life, from infancy to the present moment, I am enabled clearly to see, that amidst innumerable snares and temptations, I have been led forward by a divine hand, and by a strength and a wisdom as far above the power of man as the heavens are higher than the earth; and that He who purposed my salvation, ere yet I had entered into existence, has caused every circumstance of my life to work together towards the promotion of my everlasting good.
“How many many times has my sweet Amelia laboured to make me comprehend the mighty plan of man's salvation, as begun, carried on, and perfected, by the blessed Trinity in Unity! How often has she endeavoured to excite my cold affections, by a description of the Father's love for perishing sinners, and by leading me to meditation on that which the Son has done and suffered for us! Of the agency of God the Spirit she also spoke often to me, and urged me to a close examination of my heart, and a strict scrutiny of my most private thoughts and actions.
“On the subject of governing the tongue, this sweet young lady, as you must already have observed, was particularly explicit. I well remember how she used to tell me, that the love of idle talking was a peculiar propensity of our sex, a propensity of which even religion seldom cures us, though it may perhaps give another direction to our discourse. I have often heard her speak, not only to me, but also to her friend Miss Beaumont, to this effect.—What is it,' she would say, 'that makes women in general more ignorant and more frivolous. than the other sex, but that habit which they have of getting together and discussing every unimportant concern of their neighbours? If men meet together,' she would
say, 'they talk at least of something rational, or something important or useful; of business, or politics, or agriculture, or of books: but women, even pious women, can talk of nothing but their neighbours' affairs; and school-girls, my dear Julia and Clara, lose half their opportunities of improvement by this foolish habit.'
“In this manner she would often silence us, whenever we attempted to introduce any common topic of tittletattle; and when we attended to her advice on this head, it was remarkable what peace we instantly found.
“ From the Christmas holidays which next followed after the deaths of poor Miss Chatterton and Miss Atkins, I spent two happy years at Palm-Grove, during the last of which a very decided change had taken place in the family. Mrs. Patterson having been persuaded to attend the ministry of the Rev. Mr. B had received such benefit from his discourses, the Lord being pleased to make him an instrument of good to her soul, that she effected, in consequence, a thorough reform in her family, having put a stop to many improper custoins, introduced family worship, and determined no longer to allow either of public or private balls. She never suffered her young people to go out, unless their friends came in person to fetch them; and she increasingly devoted her time to the improvement both of their understandings and their hearts. The Almighty so greatly blessed her labours, that I was told by a person who visited the house some years after I had left it, that the little society there was become as lovely and holy as it had once been disgusting and profane.
Having now, my dear friend, recounted to you the most important particulars of my life, I shall conclude my narrative in a few words. I left Palm-Grove when I had just entered my nineteenth year; being in a very feeble state of health. I was brought to England by my father and step-mother, both of whom behaved to me with the greatest kindness.
“I will not enter into any account of my grief at parting with Amelia, Julia, and little Flora, nor of the anguish that I felt in bidding adieu to my native shores; these things are more easily conceived than described. Suffice it to say, that the memory of Amelia is blended in my heart with all that is lovely, excellent, and admi
rable on earth; inasmuch as it pleased the Almighty to make her the most illustrious instance that I ever beheld of the power of religion, and of the regenerating and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. I heard that she left Palm-Grove soon after me, and was married to a gentleman of high rank up the country; where, no doubt, she diffuses peace and joy over all around he She has several children of her own: little Flora, however, lives with her, and still retains a most tender place in her regards. Miss Beaumont is also married, and conducts herself, I hear, as a Christian female ought to do. “Mrs. Patterson still resides at Palm-Grove, and, as I before said, is a new creature. Miss Crawford has long left her; but of her circumstances, or of those of Gabrielle, I know nothing. Madame de Roseau still. lives with Mrs. Patterson, and conducts herself with propriety: but whether she has yet learned to speak plain English I have not heard.
“And now, my dear friend, I conclude my history, humbly commending myself to the divine mercy through my dear Saviour, in whom I have learned to place my sole and entire confidence; being assured, that any sinful creature destitute of this hope, can look forward, in death, to nothing but grief, and pain, and long despair."
When the lady of the manor had concluded the history of Clara Lushington, one of the young ladies remarked, that she thought Amelia was, in her sphere, fully equal to Frederick Falconer.
“ Perhaps,” remarked the kind instructress, example of Amelia may be more useful to you even than that of Frederick; inasmuch as there are few situations in life, wherein a proper management of the gift of speech may not be exercised with advantage. There is also another reason why you may feel an additional interest in the history that I have just read, which is, that it presents a correct view of a variety of scenes peculiar to a very remote country; and many of these scenes are such as it would be difficult for any one to describe who has not witnessed something like them. Many of our places of education, even in this country, are, no doubt, far from pure; but I fear that the horrible picture which
VOL. IV. F F
I have given you of Palm-Grove, is but a faint sketch of what was the state of schools, some years ago, in our settlements in India. Things, however, are, we trust, now improving; and yet, perhaps, but little can be expected in societies of which more than one half of the members pass into them from the hands of heathen nurses, if not of heathen mothers.”
The lady of the manor then called her young people
Prayer for Grace to use our Speech aright. “O ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father, who givest wisdom and discretion to thy people, and hast promised to guide them, by thy counsels, through this present evil world; give us grace so to control and exercise that most excellent gift of speech, that it may be without offence to others, and not without profit to ourselves. Make us, O blessed Lord God, fully sensible of this important truth, that in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; and give us grace, as much as in us lies, to avoid all needless occasions for much talking; whereby time may be lost, and our responsibility increased, and wherein we may be tempted to injure the characters of our neighbours, to carry tales from house to house, or to misrepresent or falsify facts. Help us habitually to cherish that distrust of ourselves which may induce us to fly, rather than to seek, temptations of this kind; and, finally, when we may really be required to speak, give us grace to utter the words of wisdom, and to refrain from all communications which may tend to familiarize the ears of our auditors with sinful and corrupt ideas.
O, Father, constrain us, by thy love, to give thee the glory whenever praise is due; and, as we would desire to have our own ears closed against the words of flattery, grant that no vain or earthly motive may induce us to pour them into the ears of our brethren. When we would speak of those who have injured us, put thy bridle on our tongues; and when we would speak lightly and unadvisedly, do thou restrain our lips. Keep us back from all unadvised intimacies, and from all interchange of unholy confidences, by which young persons