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any visitor or attendant fixed upon the articles which had belonged to them.
Mr. Danzy, who sincerely loved his wife, retained his regard for her during her long illness; and when the severest symptoms of the disorder were so far abated that she began in some degree to recover her recollection, and to be able to amuse herself with the articles about her, he took particular care that all the little things which she had once valued should be brought before her and placed as she wished. He also provided her with an attendant, who, he trusted, would make her life as comfortable as possible. Every day, at a certain hour, he made a point of visiting her; and as he knew that she expected him at that hour, he would put off any other engagement, rather than disappoint her.
And now, having stated with some accuracy the afflictions of this lady, and the situation to which she was reduced in consequence of them,--a situation, though melancholy, not without its comforts, at least while her husband lived, --I pass on to a more remote period of my history, in order to give some account of the daughters of this lady, and the manner of their education.
Isabella, the elder, was nearly three years of age, and Clarissa, the younger, not more than half a year old, when they were deprived of the attentions of their tender mother. As Clarissa was a very tender infant, when taken from her mother's breast, a decent matron, who resided in the village, was hired, not only to take care of her, but to administer that nourishment to her which her mother could no longer supply. This nurse proved a very faithful servant; and as her husband was taken at the same time into the family, (her only child, a boy, being placed with his grandmother,) she continued in charge of her little nursling till she was seven years old, bringing her up to the best of her judgment and abilities. Miss Isabella was likewise partly left under the jurisdiction of this nurse; but, not being so fond of her as her sister Clarissa was, she often made her escape from the
nursery into the housekeeper's room, where the lessons she received from Mrs. Burton, the housekeeper, were of a far less desirable nature than those with which her sister was furnished by her nurse.
In those days there was not that outcry on the subject
Now if any
of education which we now hear: but whether affairs of that kind were not quite so well managed at that time as they are now, remains perhaps to be decided. There is reason to think, that the whole system of education, as now generally conducted in this country, is built on such false principles, that, although the superstructure may be enriched with many dazzling ornaments, yet that the whole fabric is naught by reason of its lacking a proper
basis. For it is greatly to be feared, that our modern system too often wants that only good foundation, without which we are told that every building is utterly worthless – For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. mun build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Cor. iii. 11-15.) But to leave these matters, which are not precisely to our present purpose, and return to our story.
It happened, however, that Margaret Neale, the little Clarissa's nurse, was one of those happy persons who, though possessing little learning, and endowed with little skill except in the ordinary duties of common housewifery, had been favoured, through divine grace, with a deep sense of the importance of religion. And as we naturally endeavour to impart that which we think most precious to those we love most dearly, so she used her utmost exertions to bring her beloved little nursling to the knowledge of her duty to God, as explained in Scripture. To this important instruction she added the use of the needle, in which little Clarissa shewed considerable skill, at the same time paying great attention to neatness of dress and orderly manners.
Under the tuition of this excellent woman, the little girl long preserved that sweet simplicity of childhood which, like the down of the peach, when touched by an unskilful hand, is instantly removed never again to be restored. There was no one toʻutter worldly sentiments in her ear, for she seldom saw any one but her nurse,
and Margaret Neale had no such sentiments. And although the child was exceedingly pretty, and always delicately dressed, she was seldom praised by those who saw her, because it was known that every word of commendation bestowed on Clarissa would be considered as an affront by Mrs. Burton, the housekeeper, who always maintained, that Clarissa ought not to be named in the same day with dear Miss Isabella, who was assuredly a very beautiful young lady; and Mrs. Burton was in such high authority in the family, and among the dependents of the family, that her word was upon no account to be disputed.
Thus was Clarissa shielded, through the divine mercy, from many trials to which her elder sister was exposed: and though Margaret Neale did all in her power to attract little Isabella to her, and to give her that instruction of which she stood in so much need, yet the child invariably repulsed her advances with contempt, and would seldom submit to remain in her presence, excepting in case of Mrs. Burton's being engaged and unable to have her in her room; on which occasions the little girl was sometimes left in the nursery with her sister.
The apartment which was commonly occupied by Clarissa and her nurse was near the roof of the house, and had a projecting window commanding a view of the whole extent of the large old-fashioned garden at the back of the house, with its long straight alleys, its little formal groves and parterres, its circular ponds, leaden images, bowers, and summer-houses; and, beyond these, it overlooked a little kind of paddock, in the centre of which arose a mound covered with earth.
It happened, one day, as Clarissa and Isabella were sitting in this window, being occupied with their needles, that Isabella, looking off from her work for a moment, cast her eyes on that little inclosed spot of ground, which had been railed off from the rest of the pleasuregrounds for the especial amusement of Mrs. Danzy. It happened, at this instant, that the poor lady was taking her regular airing, accompanied by Mrs. Burton, who walked on one side, and Mrs. Diana Burton, her sister, who was stationed on the other side.
This second person had been for some time past employed by her sister to help her in looking after Mrs. Danzy, and it had been whispered among a few, that the poor lady was not altogether kindly used by these sisters. But as she was not in a state to tell her own story rationally, and as the sisters had the art to satisfy Mr. Danzy with regard to their fidelity, no one felt herself en to interfere, nor indeed was there any hope of doing so successfully.
The afflicted lady, therefore, whether well used or otherwise, was always left under the jurisdiction of the same persons with whom she now appeared in the garden. Her dress on this occasion was a blue brocade gown and petticoat, the gown looped up behind in festoons, according to the fashion of the day.
She wore a lace apron, ruffles, and head-dress, having a round black silk cloak, trimmed with lace, over her shoulders. She leaned with one hand on the arm of Diana Burton, and in her other hand she held a short stick, with which she seemed to be inclined to point at certain flowers and shrubs; and, had she been permitted, would have stood still by one and another of these, to relate some circumstance connected with them—to speak of those who had given her such and such flowers -and to amuse herself with plucking off the dead leaves, or loosening the earth near the roots. But it was evident, from the motions of those who were with her, that these indulgences were not permitted her; for, when she attempted to stop, she was evidently drawn forward, and compelled to retrace the same dull round of the flower-garden, without pause or intermission, till the hour for her regular airing was expired. There,” said Isabella, when she had contemplated this affecting scene for some moments, “there is mamma in the garden! I dare say that she wants to be standing still to tell some of her long stories. Do you know, Mrs. Neale,” continued the child, “that mamma has begun to talk a great deal lately, and to ask many questions? Do you know, that she enquires after people who have been dead and gone years ago ? and she will have it they are alive now. And there is scarcely a tree in the garden that she has not some tale to tell about, if any body would hear her!” * And will nobody hear her, poor lady?" said the
“ If they would but let me see her, I would
hear all her poor tales, if it were a hundred times over.
“0, very fine indeed!” said Miss Isabella: “ but I doubt not you would be as tired of them as other people are.”
The naughty girl then bent down her head to lier sister's ear, and whispered certain words which I shall not repeat, but the purport of which was to inform her that their mother was deranged, and that she never spoke any thing but nonsense.
On hearing this, the little Clarissa, who was then not quite six
age, reddened till her fair face and neck were all in a glow, her little bosom swelled and heaved, her eyes filled with tears, till she at length burst into an agony of crying, sobbing quite aloud.
The nurse was startled, and placed her darling upon her lap; and while she pressed her in her arms, she looked angrily at Isabella, saying, “ Miss, what have you said to vex your sister?"
Isabella, with much confidence, repeated the words aloud which she had whispered in her sister's ear.
The tears now started in the eyes of the nurse, and trickled down her cheeks, while she uttered the strongest expressions of disapprobation. “Woe, woe,” she said, “be to them who have put such thoughts as these into a daughter's heart concerning a suffering mother, and caused such words to proceed from her lips! Do I not remember the day? Yes, Miss Isabella, I remember the day, and they who have taught you these things may remember the day also, when your mother came a lovely bride to this house, the fairest then of all the fair. And do they not recollect how tender she was to you her firstborn? how she tended
months with her own fair hands? how she nourished you with her own milk? And, when you dropped from the breast filled and satisfied with the sweet food which nature provides for the new-born creature, she did not hasten to give you to the hireling attendant, but still kept you on her lap, while with eyes of love she gazed on your infant features as you lay sweetly sleeping. And in that flowergarden,--that very flower-garden, -- how often have I seen her watching your uncertain steps, and holding out her dear arms to protect you from this danger, and
you for many