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father; and it is pleasing that we are able to say that she was not materially injured by the false system of education, the evil principles, and dreadful examples, which prevailed in the house. The religion of the family (if the lax principles and practice which obtained therein could be called religion) was Roman Catholic. The young people were, indeed, required to attend mass on the Sunday morning ; to learn a catechism, to which they seldom attached any definite ideas, however obvious the meaning might be, and to confess during Lent: but these observances were not required of Emily, because she was a Protestant. One unhappy consequence of this situation was, that, after a while, she became careless in her private religious duties, and was persuaded, in the course of a few months, to accompany her young companions to Tivoli and Beaujon, on the evening of the Lord's-day. In these places she had opportunity of witnessing all the absurdities of what is called the pleasurable world; such as waltzing, flying down the Montagne Russe, rope dancing, theatrical amusements in the open air, fortune-telling, and flirting.
We do not mean to say that Emily readily consented when first these amusements for the Lord's-day were proposed to her—that she did not remember with pain the peaceful and happy sabbaths spent under her grandmother's roof-that her conscience did not sometimes trouble ber, when she reflected upon her great departure from Christian simplicity. But Emily was only in her sixteenth year, and had not one friend to remind her of her duty, or one example set before her by which she might be rendered sensible of her danger. She had also, since her father's return, been accustomed to hear perpetual sneers against religion, and the evidences of Christianity attacked by false reasoning; and though she as yet, through the divine blessing, indulged no professed doubts, yet she insensibly grew more and more careless respecting religion, and the love of pleasure gradually obtained increasing power over her.
It has been remarked before, that Mrs. Courtney was herself somewhat confused in her religious opinions ; that she had not that clearness of perception into divine truth which would have enabled her to convey her instructions in a convincing way to her young people; in consequence
of which, Emily had not the information and discernment which would have enabled her to detect the absurdities of popery, or to resist the sophistries of its teachers; and although she never once thought of adopting the Roman Catholic religion, yet she was greatly in danger, if not of becoming entirely an infidel, like her father, of falling into such a state of confusion and carelessness as would have left her, in fact, little better.
In the mean time, what improvements she made were in matters of secondary importance. She indeed acquired facility in speaking French, could enter a room with less embarrassment, and obtained a considerable knowledge of mu sic, though not of the best kind.
While his daughter was thus passing through the fiery ordeal of this contagious society, and was preserved from utter destruction by Him who from the beginning, as afterwards appeared, had chosen her to everlasting salvation, the major was passing his time in the cafes, gamblinghouses, and theatres of the corrupt capital in which he resided, increasing his tendency to gout by high living—to irritation, by continually exposing himself to the caprices of fortune-and to infidelity, by contaminating books, and licentious society; till, length, after a lapse of about two years, he resolved, in a fit of disappointment, to quit Paris, because his vicious courses could not procure bim that pleasure which belongs exclusively to virtue. Whither next he should bend his course he knew not, but to remain where he was he felt to be impossible. He therefore suddenly removed his daughter; and, having added an elderly French female servant to his establishment, and bought a carriage, he proceeded towards the frontier of the Pays-Bas.
Emily felt as if suddenly awakened from a dream, in which she had long remained, when taken, without warning, from her young, her gay, and her unprincipled companions, and placed in the comparative quiet of a close carriage, with her father; Monsieur Wietlesbach and Madame la Blonde (the femme-de-chambre) being seated on the box. The major, who was uneasy, and dissatisfied with himself and all around him, was no companion to his daughter. It seemed to her that he had made greater advances to old age and infirmity, since last she had been familiarly associated with him, than the lapse of two years
could account for; and, though she had been lately used to much license of discourse, she was not a little shocked at his sudden and frequent bursts of passion, and his intemperance of language, when he addressed his servants.
There was little to amuse Emily in her journey from Paris to Brussels, and still less in her progress through Flanders towards the German territory; for the major, after some hesitation, had made up his mind to reside for a while at Cologne. But, uneasy as Emily was with her father, she could less endure her own thoughts, which presented only reflections of a painful or perplexing nature; for, whether she thought of her grandmother, of Charles, or of her unhappy brother-whether she meditated on her present state, or looked back on her past life during the last two years-she saw nothing but subjects of regret, of shame, and grief; and, in order to fly from these, she could think of no resource but reading; and, as she had with her no English books but her Bible, (of which, at that period, she thought as a sick man does on the surgeon's knife, which may be necessary to secure him from death,) she was glad to procure a temporary relief by reading volumes such as the Continent chiefly supplies; namely, philosophical essays, corrupt histories, poetical works calculated only to inflame the passions, and various romances and novels; which last we may account as being more dangerous, because more fictitious and attractive, and requiring less mental effort in their perusal than all the other books we have enumerated.
Every well-meaning and intellectual traveller on the Continent must have observed, that most of the objects there to be seen are calculated to enervate the mind, and to excite the imagination and the passions at the expense of the judgment; and that scarcely a single ornamental work, a book, a picture, a statue, or even a human individual, is visible of a contrary tendency. Hence the danger, the dreadful danger, to young and unstable characters in visiting these countries ; and the impropriety of intrusting young persons, without a guide, in regions where sensual pleasure spreads all her snares; and where superstition, in the garb of religion, presents those allurements that decoy the thoughtless mind, rather than instruct and purify it.
Major Muller had, among his baggage, a variety of publications which he had collected at Paris, all of which were at Emily's command; nor did he refuse to add such volumes to his collection as the booksellers’ shops afforded in the towns through which they passed; and, as the party travelled slowly, and made frequent stoppages, Emily found too many opportunities to pursue her dangerous studies ; and thus, before she reached the place of their present destination, she had filled her mind with much of the trash, the false sentiment, and romantic desires, which books of imagination, not regulated by truth and religion, are calculated to inspire.
Amid all these moral vapours of France, one true and natural feeling only acted with any power on Emily's heart. This was the remembrance of her brother, with anxiety for his fate; and sometimes, when left alone in her chamber, she would think of him, and of many things connected with his history; of her happy early days, and the pious instructions of her grandmother; of the corner of her little play-room, where she had been accustomed to kneel and call upon her God; of her old Bible and hymn-book; till floods of tears would gush from her eyes, and a half-uttered prayer would burst from her lips. But these better feelings were continually chased from her mind by her dangerous studies, by the constant change of scenes and objects, and by the idle and corrupt tattle of her waiting-maid.
I shall not, in this place, attempt to describe any of the countries through which the travellers passed in their way from Brussels to Cologne; though I might say much of the various beautiful churches in the Pays-Bas, with their musical chimes, and the venerable aspect of many of the towns and villages in that country, so entirely different from those in our happy island, where all look lively, fresh, and
I should feel a gratification in describing some of the forests on the confines of Germany-forests which have scarcely changed their aspect since they afforded a shelter to the wild hordes of Celtic and Gothic barbarians, the original inhabitants of the country--forests whose dark and gloomy appearance awakens the most fearful and terrific sensations.
I should also have much pleasure in describing the Vol. VII. D
hills and valleys, the houses of lath and plaster, with their thatched roof and frowning gable-ends, which meet the eye in every direction in this part of the world; but these things not being to my present purpose, I proceed to observe, that the major with his family having arrived at Cologne, he hastened to take a furnished house, in which having established Emily with her waiting-maid as a kind of companion, or duenna, and a suitable number of inferior servants, he became anxious for such society as his depraved taste rendered most desirable.
Cologne is a very large walled town, founded, as it is said, by the Romans. The houses in the principal streets are wide and lofty, and have shutters on the outside. There are some magnificent churches, and the inhabitants are Papists. Here, as in many parts of the Continent, it is customary, both for gentlemen and ladies, to dine at a table prepared in the principal inns, at a fixed hour; and it was at these public tables that the major always took his principal meal; but he did not suffer Emily to accompany him; and from these tables he frequently resorted to the billiard-room, concluding his evening, at the theatre. By this means he presently formed acquaintance with most of the loose and dissipated characters of the place; and soon made himself conspicuous among those who were forward in discussing political subjects, and ridiculing religion generally; together with the existing absurdities of popery.
In the mean time poor Emily was left the mistress of a wide, half-furnished house, with no other companion than her femme-de-chambre, and no other amusement than her harp and her books, unless she sometimes ventured to peep at what was passing in the street, through the half-closed window-shutters : for, although her father was so careless with regard to his own morals and manners, he had worldly prudence enough to observe that a young woman detracts from her excellence by being seen much abroad; and, as his daughter was particularly attractive in her external appearance, he doubted not but she might be considerably elevated in life by marriage, if her friends and guardians used such precautions as worldly wisdom might dictate.
The major, however, scarcely seemed aware that bars and bolts, window-shutters, blinds, and duennas, all are