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was this— Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. (Prov. iii. 17.) It was, however, several minutes before I felt myself sufficiently calm to appear, before
mother; and when I at length resolved on so doing, I took a turn round the house, entered at a sidedoor, and came into the saloon as if I had come from my own apartment.
“I had lately affected to be much alone, and my mother was one of those gentle and quiet characters whom it is never very difficult to deceive. No question therefore was made respecting my absence, and I had sat perhaps an hour in the saloon with a book in my hand, (for I was too much agitated to read,) before my mother, calmly raising her eyes from her work, and looking at a time-piece which stood on a pedestal in the room, asked me if I knew any thing of my father.
“ Never shall I forget the effect which this question had upon me, or the train of horrible ideas which it suggested to my mind. The figure which I had seen passing the
in the direction from the chateau, the altercation which had ensued near the carriage, and the report of a pistol which I had heard, altogether, combined with my own indiscreet conduct, and the apprehended absence of my father from the chateau at this late hour, filled me with such terrors as I had never before experienced, and such as I hope never again to encounter. • My father!' I repeated, on my mother putting the question; ‘my father!
Oh! I have murdered
father!' and casting my book from me, I was about to rush out into the park, when Mr. Gisborne seized my hand, arrested my progress, and, with some difficulty, drew from me such hints as directed him where to look for his patron, before I sunk senseless on the floor.
“In the mean time, such consternation was excited, that no one had leisure to consider my case but little Alfred, who, though unable to raise me from the ground, rendered me all the assistance which his tenderest feelings could suggest: and when I recovered my senses, I found
his lap, while he was bathing my temples with cold water. But, with the exception of Alfred, no person was in the room, and, from the deep silence, the house itself seemed to be abandoned.
• Oh, Alfred! Alfred!' I said, as I raised myself so as to sit upright on the floor, and looked wildly round me, what has happened? Where is my father? my mother? are all gone?' and I burst into tears.
• The child rose, and stood by me. aunt Ellen,' he said ; they will come back; God will take care of our dear father.' But the child trembled, and shed tears as he spoke.
Oh, Alfred! Alfred !' I said, “I now wish I had the confidence in God which you have; but' and I was silent, and looked round with a kind of terror on the various paintings and statues, all of a heathen character, with which the room was surrounded; the long shadows of these last shedding a kind of gloomy horror over the apartment: for the large room was but feebly illuminated by lamps fixed in girandoles, supported by the statues themselves, all the lights having been removed from the table round which we had been sitting.
“The child again pressed on me the duty of confidence in God, and I have no doubt that I uttered many shocking avowals of my entire unacquaintedness with these things, in reply to his entreaties; for I hardly knew what I said, so great was the terror and agitation of my mind. At length, however, recollecting myself, I arose, and was advancing into the portico, when the sound of approaching footsteps and of many voices from without, reached my ear.
The voices were not those of pleasure, and the steps were heavy, as of persons carrying some weight. For another moment I seemed incapable of reflection, and had hardly time to sustain myself against one of the pillars which supported the roof of the hall, when several persons entered the hall, bearing the body of my father, apparently in a lifeless state. My mother, Mr. Gisborne, and the rest of the family, followed the dreadful procession, while the groans of the former alone disturbed the general silence.
“Still clasping the pillar to prevent me from falling, my eyes were fixed on the figure of my father, which now lay stretched upon a sofa, while Mr. Gisborne, who alone seemed to retain his presence of mind in this awful scene,
father's dress in order to assist his breathing, which, it seems, was hardly perceptible. It was a question, I perceived, with all
present, whether my beloved father was not actually dead; but it was a question I dared not ask. Mr. Gisborne, however, lost no time in ministering the only relief which could be afforded. He ordered my father's arm to be bared with astonishing composure, produced a lancet from a small case of instruments, and making an incision in a vein, the blood began to flow, and presently, in consequence of the friction which was applied, it began to flow freely: on which Mr. Gisborne exclaimed, with a warmth of feeling for which I ever afterwards loved and honoured him, 'He lives! he lives!' my
mother at the same time yielding to such an agony of mingled emotions as I never before witnessed.
I now ventured to come forward, and stand at the foot of the couch, to witness the gradual recovery of my beloved parent. I saw him open his eyes, and look round; and the first words which he uttered were• Where is my daughter? where is my Ellen?'
• I approached - and never shall I forget the change which passed on his countenance when I presented myself: it was a mixture of satisfaction at my presence, and bitter reproach. Miserable daughter!” he said, and the words struck to my heart; "and more miserable father! But I have deserved this, Mr. Gisborne: I deserved this, when I forsook the fountain of living waters, and hewed out broken cisterns of my own from whence to endeavour to satisfy the spiritual thirst of my child.'
Every eye was turned on me as he spoke, and every countenance seemed to ask, What can all this mean?
“Unhappy father!' repeated my parent. But I have deserved all; yes, all that I have encountered ; yea, and more also. When I forsook the living God, when I threw reproach on the divine instructions of my heavenly Father, could I have expected otherwise than that my child should bring reproach and sorrow upon
Compose yourself, my dear Sir,' said Mr. Gisborne. “Oh, Mr. Gisborne!' said my father, 'did you
but know all!'
“We will speak of this hereafter,' said Mr. Gisborne: “your health is now the first concern; I beseech you to be calm. If your daughter has in anywise done
wrong, she now, I am convinced, sees her error:' and so saying, he brought me forward to the head of the couch, where falling on my knees, I implored my parent's forgiveness with such an agony of tears, as my father, who was naturally the tenderest of men, was unable to endure. Never, never will that moment be erased from my memory, when he graciously extended his arms to me, and I sunk, almost fainting, on his bosom.
“But although Mr. Gisborne had thought it best to yield, in the first instance, to this explosion of feelings on both sides, the occasion of which was still an enigma to all, it was now absolutely necessary for him to put an end to this scene; and a medical man, who resided not very far off, being by this time arrived, my father was removed to his own chamber, where he was immediately put to bed, and such further remedies applied as his situation required. In the mean while I was left to give such an account to my mother of what had passed as I was enabled to do; and which I did without prevarication, though I could give no satisfactory explanation of the motives which had induced my father to follow me, or of the circumstances which had reduced him to the situation in which he had been brought back to his family. However, it was not long before my dear parent found himself enabled to fill up all that was wanting in my
dreadful narrative. “ It seems, that he was walking in the portico, at the very time that I left the house; and having seen me cross an alley of the garden at a small distance, he had been induced to follow me, being greatly surprised that I should have chosen such an hour for a walk. Having, however, pursued my steps for some time, he caught sight of me again at a distance; and still following me, he came to a little eminence, from whence he perceived a carriage by the light of the moon. Alarmed at this combination of extraordinary appearances, he still went on; when passing the small gate of the pleasure-ground, and the entrance of the grove in which I then actually was, he advanced to the carriage, and there encountered the Count of Rheinswald, from whom he demanded his daughter, not doubting but that I was in the carriage. Violent words ensued on the part of the count. My fa
ther became enraged, and struck the young man. Whereupon, the latter discharged a pistol at my father's head, the ball of which passed through his hat, without doing him any injury: but it is supposed that by some other act of violence he was brought to the ground in a state of insensibility. What further happened my father was unable to say; but no doubt the treacherous party thought it wisest to make the best of their way from the scene where they supposed that murder had been committed.
“ Thus had I, by my incorrigible obstinacy and selfwill, a second time brought the life of my beloved parent into the most dreadful peril, and furnished such evidence of the fruits of an ill-directed education as might seem sufficient to carry conviction to every heart. For, vile as the nature of man is, and depraved as his inclinations assuredly are, it cannot for a moment be conceived possible, that, if I had been brought up in a right sense of religion, and with a proper dread of infidelity and heathenism, I should have allowed myself to be thus misled by persons who avowed their depraved sentiments without disguise, scarcely qualifying their infidel sentiments by the affectation of a refined taste, and the love of classical lore.
“But mine is not a solitary, though, from its remark-able and almost romantic circumstances, perhaps it may be considered as a striking, instance of the evil effects of those loose principles which are generated by too gre a familiarity with heathen literature; and I much doubt, if the histories of many other lovers of these profane writers were as faithfully recorded as mine, whether they would be found to be less stained with gross and dreadful error. And here I might repeat much of what I have already selected from the conversation which passed between Mr. Gisborne and my father on the need of such correctives of the youthful passions as are found in Scripture, had I not already extended my narrative to an unwarrantable length, and were I not convinced of my inability to add any thing further on this subject likely to-strike conviction to the heart, if all I have already said has failed of its purpose. This only I must add.. that, if Christians would more maturely consider the extreme abhorrence in which idolatry, with all that hath reference thereunto, is spoken of in Scripture, they would