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which she denied him; while it was evident to every one, that the little boy, then more than five years of age, and a child of engaging appearance and promising dispositions, was regarded by his father with little kindness. Of this, however, Mrs. Muller took no notice, but laboured, by every innocent contrivance, to render the child amiable in the view of the father, and to conceal from her husband any little failure of his son which might increase his prejudice against him.
Thus, by the becoming manner of this lovely young woman, Mr. Muller spent many months in more domestic happiness that he might be supposed to be capable of; and before the natural restlessness and impatience of his disposition had begun to render him dissatisfied with his quiet situation, she was suddenly removed from the friends in whose affections she was an idol, by a fever, immediately after the birth of a daughter.
I shall not enter into a detail of the husband's or mother's feelings on the occasion of this bereavement. Mr. Muller's grief, however, not being corrected by religion, was at first violent and impious ; while that of the mother was such as might be expected from one who, though not clearly acquainted with all the truths of our blessed religion, was habitually pious and resigned.
I shall now state the arrangements which were made, when, by the death of the beloved daughter, wife, and mother, the bond was loosened which united Ernesthus Muller and Mrs. Courtney.
The former again entered the military service, and accompanied his regiment abroad, leaving his son and infant daughter under the care of the old lady, not sorry to be relieved by this excellent woman of the charge which he would have found particularly burdensome in the line of life he had selected. Mr. Muller was not much more than twenty-eight when he became a widower a second time; and, though still in the prime of life, it was supposed that his regard and admiration of his late wife were such as would render him difficult in another choice.
It was before the year of mourning for his wife was expired, that Mr. Muller took his leave of his children to go abroad. It was remarked by Mrs. Courtney that he parted from his son without a tear; when the infant Emily
was brought to him, and placed in his arms, all the feelings of a father appeared in his manner, and he displayed such tenderness, that the sympathy of all who were present was awakened. The good old grandmother mingled her sobs with those of her son-in-law; and, from that day, it was observed, that she never failed to remember him in her prayers-thus performing a duty for this unhappy man which he never thought it needful to exercise on his own account.
Those who mourn in connexion with Christian hope, and who have the blessed assurance that they shall realize in the Saviour more than all they have lost on earth, find a delight in their very sorrows. And this was the case with Mrs. Courtney. Though deprived of her endeared Emily, though she saw no more before her a lovely and blooming daughter, who had been her sole earthly delight for many years of widowhood, yet she was not unhappy. She blessed her God for the comforts still left her; she found exquisite pleasure in the smiles of the infant Emily; and derived consolation to herself in the exercise of maternal care over the little Christopher, who, though not allied to her by blood, seemed to have a thousand claims on her tenderness and compassion. The very idea that this little boy was not loved by his father rendered him the more dear to her tender heart; and she resolved, that, with the divine blessing, he should never be sensible of nis orphan state by any failure on her part. taught to call her grandmamma, to tell her all his little griefs, to repose his sorrows in her bosom, and to confess to her all his faults and misdemeanours.
Such a friend was particularly needful to this little boy; for having been hitherto carelessly brought up, he was perpetually guilty of serious failures; and the dread he had conceived of his father often induced him to conceal those faults by untruths, the constant effect of harshness; and, although he was a child of amiable dispositions, and possessed that openness of countenance and smiling appearance frequently remarkable in the natives of Switzerland, he would certainly have been made an unfeeling and desperate character, had he continued long with his father, who always addressed him with some expression of contempt or suspicion; and this occasioned him to enter the
company of his elders with a cloud on his brow, which the good old lady generally contrived to disperse, by a friendly word, or some little act of kindness, which was often known only to the child himself. By this means, little Christopher, when relieved from his father's presence, soon recovered his natural ease and cheerfulness of character; and, though some sagacious persons hinted that the old lady sometimes carried her indulgence too far, yet the child undoubtedly grew and prospered under her management, and became open, generous, and affectionate.
A truly pious mind possesses a facility of deriving consolation from those mercies which remain after severe bereavements have taken place. When the worldly man has lost an object of affection, he seems, as it were, to bear a grudge (if so homely a phrase may be allowed me) against the Almighty, for having thus afflicted him; and he refuses to take pleasure in the blessings continued to him; but the religious man, aware that God does not willingly afflict the children of men, but, in exercising them with
sorrows, is only using a fatherly chastisement, and, believing that he shall receive what is infinitely better in a more blessed and heavenly state, where no bitterness shall mingle with his sorrows, he rejoices in affliction, and triumphs in tribulation.
Such was the case with Mrs. Courtney when the first months of sorrow were passed away, and she found herself quietly settled with her two little children, to observe their daily growth and improvement.
Emily was exactly six years younger than her brother, and was at first considered by him merely as a beautiful and delicate plaything, which might be injured by the least carelessness or roughness—by the least carelessness on his part; and therefore, during the first stages of her infancy, he cherished her with the utmost tenderness; and when she was able to follow him, and talk to him, he became excessively fond of her company, and considered it as the highest possible privilege to be intrusted with the care of her, and to be permitted to lead her into his garden, to show her his rabbits and his birds, or to administer in any other way
to her amusement. Immediately in the neighbourhood of Mrs. Courtney's
house was a little coppice, through which ran a pure stream, on a pebbled channel. This little brook, after having performed several windings in its contracted course, fell over some low rocks, and made its way to a pool at some distance beyond the precincts of the wood.
This pool, which might be seen from the coppice, especially when the sun shone upon its glossy surface, was frequently compared by the little Swiss to the Lake of Geneva; the child having, no doubt, been led to this comparison by early impressions: and when his little sister Emily was able to accompany him into this wood, he used to point out this Lilliputian lake to her, and amuse her with recollections of his infancy, and tales of his childhood, half remembered, and half blended with what he had heard spoken of at a later period of his short life.
Education, as it is now carried on, was not understood by Mrs. Courtney; nevertheless, what she knew, she taught with accuracy. She was methodical and orderly. She caused Christopher to study the Bible; he was taught to write and cipher, to read history, and to draw maps ; and, when of a proper age, she procured a respectable clergyman of the name of Harrington, in the town, to give him classical lessons with his own son, who was somewhat older than her boy, and who, after this engagement, became the constant companion of his play-hours, and another friend and protector of the little Emily.
Charles was an amiable boy, and possessed more steadiness of character than Christopher. Hence the friendship of Charles proved a great blessing to his friend; and the union, formed at this time between these young people, proved more permanent than schoolboy friendships are frequently found to be.
I could dwell long, with much pleasure, on the bappy manner in which many years of the early life of these young people passed, under the kind and pious auspices of the gentle Mrs. Courtney; Charles and Christopher being frequent companions, and the little Emily the object of the attention and love of each, so equally that it was impossible for her to know which of her brothers was most dear to her; neither was she scarcely able to decide, when they played at shepherds, and built little huts in the coppice, in imitation of the shepherds' tents,
remembered by Christopher, as seen on the mountains of Jura, with whom she should take up her abode, or whose rustic dwelling she should render gay with her innocent prattle and dimpled smiles.
The very contentions of these children were always tempered by good principle and the desire of doing well; and, though Christopher was sometimes hasty and unjust, one gentle word on the part of his friend, or one tear of his lovely Emily, would always bring him to his recollection, and restore him to temper and reason again.
No particular change took place in the situation of these young people until Charles had attained his eighteenth, Christopher his sixteenth, and Emily her tenth year. Nothing can be conceived in human nature more lovely than Emily was at that time; she was so gentle, so fair, so simple, so smiling, and yet so intelligent.
After these remarks, it will not be doubted but this little girl had some proper feelings respecting religion ; for it is religion only which, by correcting the heart, and governing the powers of the mind, can make a naturally fine countenance truly interesting. Nevertheless, Emily's religion was like that of her grandmother: it was not founded on an extensive knowledge of scriptural truths; though it was a sincere and pious approval of what was good: still it needed a broader foundation, to support her in the time of trial. But this time was not yet come: she was yet under the shelter of a tender parent's roof; her years were few; and she had no other thought than that of following implicitly the direction of others.
About the time of which I am speaking, a melancholy breach was made in the happy little society by the death of the elder Mr. Harrington, and the consequent removal of Charles to another situation.
The separation of Charles from his young companions was extremely affecting. It took place in the beloved coppice, in which they had spent so many happy days of cheerful infancy. On this occasion, deep sorrow sat on the fine countenance of Charles; little Emily wept and sobbed distressingly; while the tender and warm heart of Christopher seemed ready to burst. Charles consoled his young friends with promises never likely to be performed, of visiting them soon and often in this scene of their happy, early
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