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midst of an area of cultivated land. A fine river, surmounted by a rustic bridge of the trunks of trees, cast a sparkling line through the deep, unchanged autumnal verdure.
“Here we live," said their guide, “a hard-working, contented people.
That is your house which has no smoke curling up from the chimney. It may not be quite so genteel as some you have left behind in the old states, but it is about as good as any in the neighbourhood. I'll go and call my wife to welcome you ; right glad will she be to see you, for she sets great store by folks from New England.”
The inside of a log cabin, to those not habituated to it, presents but a cheerless aspect. The eye needs time to accustom itself to the rude walls and floors, the absence of glass windows, and the doors loosely hung upon leathern hinges. The exhausted woman entered, and sank down with her babe. There was no chair to receive her. In the corner of the room stood a rough board table, a low frame resembling a bedstead. Other furniture there was none. Glad kind voices of her own sex, recalled her from her stupor. Three or four matrons, and several blooming young faces, welcomed her with smiles. The warmth of reception in a new colony, and the substantial services by which it is manifested, put to shame the ceremo. nious and heartless professions, which in a more artificial state of society are dignified with the name of friendship.
As if by magic, what had seemed almost a prison, assumed a different aspect, under the ministry of active benevolence. A cheerful flame rose from the ample fireplace ; several chairs and a bench for the children appeared; a bed with comfortable coverings concealed the shapelessness of the bedstead; and viands to which they had long been strangers, were heaped upon the board. An old lady held the sick boy tenderly in her arms, who seemed to revive as he saw his mother's face brighten, and the infant, after a draught of fresh milk, fell into a sweet and profound slumber. One by one the neighbours departed, that the wearied ones might have an opportunity of repose. John Williams, who was the last to bid good night, lingered a moment as he closed the door, and said
“ Friend Harwood, here is a fine, gentle cow feeding at your door; and for old acquaintance sake, you and your family are welcome to the use of her for the present, or until you can make out better."
When they were left alone, Jane poured out her gratitude to her Almighty Protector in a flood of joyful tears. Kindness to which she had recently been a stranger, fell as balm of Gilead upon her wounded spirit.
“ Husband," she exclaimed in the fulness of her heart, "we may yet be happy."
He answered not, and she perceived that he heard not. He had thrown himself upon the bed, and in a deep and stupid sleep was dispelling the fumes of intoxication.
This new family of emigrants, though in the midst of poverty, were sensible of a degree of satisfaction to which they had long been strangers. The difficulty of procuring ardent spirits in this small and isolated community, promised to be the means of establishing their peace. The mother busied herself in making their humble tenement neat and comfortable, while her husband, as if ambitious to earn in a new residence the reputation he had forfeited in the old, laboured diligently to assist his neighbours in gathering of their harvest, receiving in payment such articles as were needed for the subsistence of his household. Jane continually gave thanks in her prayers for this great blessing, and the hope she permitted herself to indulge of his permanent reformation, imparted unwonted cheerfulness to her brow and demeanour. The invalid boy seemed also to gather healing from his mother's smiles, for so great was her power over him since sickness had rendered his dependence complete, that his comfort, and even his countenance, were a faithful reflection of her own. Perceiving the degree of her influence, she endeavoured to use it, as every religious parent should, for his spiritual benefit. She supplicated that the pencil which was to write upon his soul, might be guided from above. She spoke to him in the tenderest manner of his Father in heaven, and of his will respecting little children. She pointed out his goodness in the daily gifts that sustain life; in the glorious sun as it came forth rejoicing in the east, in the gently-falling rain, the frail plant, and the dews that nourish it. She reasoned with him of the changes of nature, till he loved even the storm, and the lofty thunder, because they came from God. She repeated to him passages of Scripture, with which her memory was stored ; and sang hymns, until she perceived that if he was in pain, he complained not, if he might but hear her voice. She made him acquainted with the life of the compassionate Redeemer, and how he called young children to his arms, though the disciples forbade them. And it seemed as if a voice from heaven urged her never to desist from cherishing this tender and deep-rooted piety; because, like the flower of grass, he must soon fade away. Yet, though it was evident that the seeds of disease were in his system, his health at intervals seemed to be improving, and the little household partook for a time, the blessings of tranquillity and content.
But let none flatter himself that the dominion of vice is suddenly or easily broken. It may seem to relax its grasp, and to slumber, but the victim who has long worn its chains, if he would utterly escape, and triumph at last, must do so in the strength of Omnipotence. This James Harwood never sought. He had begun to experience that prostration of spirits which attends the abstraction of an habitual stimulant. His resolution to recover his lost character was not proof against this physical inconvenience. He determined, at all hazards, to gratify his depraved appetite. He laid his plans deliberately, and with the pretext of making some arrangements about the waggon which had been left broken on the road, he departed from his home. His stay was protracted beyond the appointed limit, and at his return, bis sin was written on his brow in characters too strong to be mistaken. That he had also brought with him some hoard of intoxicating poison, to which to resort, there remained no room to doubt. Day after day did his shrinking household witness the alternations of causeless anger and brutal tyranny. To lay waste the comfort of his wife, seemed to be his prominent object. By constant contradiction and misconstruction, he strove to distress her, and then visited her sensibilities upon
her as sins. There was one modification of her husband's persecutions which the fullest measure of her piety could not enable her to bear unmoved. This was unkindness to her feeble and suffering boy. It was at first commenced as the surest mode of distressing her. It opened a direct avenue to her heartstrings. What began in perverseness seemed to end in hatred, as evil habits sometimes create perverted principles. The wasted and wild-eyed invalid shrank from his father's glance and footstep, as from the approach of a foe.
More than once had he taken him from the little bed which maternal care had provided for him, and forced him to go forth in the cold of the winter storm.
On such occasions, it was in vain that the mother attempted to protect her child. She might neither shelter him in her bosom, nor controul the frantic violence of the father. Harshness, and the agitation of fear, deepened a disease which might else have yielded. The timid boy in terror of his natural protector, withered away like a blighted flower. It was of no avail that friends remonstrated with the unfeeling parent, or that hoary-headed men warned him solemnly of his sins. In
temperance had destroyed his respect for man, and his fear of God.
Spring at length emerged from the shades of that heavy and bitter winter. But its smile brought no gladness to the declining child. Consumption fell upon his vitals, and his nights were restless and full of pain.
« Mother, I wish I could smell the violets that grew upon the green
bank by our old dear home.” “It is too early for violets, my child. But the grass is beautifully green around us, and the birds sing sweetly, as if their hearts were full of praise.”
“In my dreams last night I saw the clear waters of the brook that ran by the bottom of my little garden. I wish I could taste them once more.
And I heard such music, too, as used to come from that white church among the trees, where every Sunday the happy people met to worship God."
The mother saw that the hectic fever had been long increasing, and knew that there was such an unearthly brightness in his
that she feared his intellect wandered. She seated herself on his low bed, and bent over him to soothe and compose him. He lay silent for some time. Do you think
my father will come ?” Dreading the agonizing agitation which, is his paroxysm of coughing and pain, he evinced at the sound of his father's well-known foot-step, she answered,
“I think not, my love. You had better try to sleep.”
“Mother, I wish he would come. I do not feel afraid now. Perhaps he would let me lay my cheek to his once more, as he used to do when I was a babe in my grandmother's arms. I should be glad to say good-bye to him, before I go to my Saviour.”
Gazing intently in his face, she saw the work of the destroyer, in lines too plain to be mistaken.
“My son ; my dear son; say, Lord Jesus receive my spirit.
“Mother,” he replied, with a sweet smile upon his ghastly features," he is ready, I desire to go to him. Hold the baby to me, that I
kiss her. : That is all. Now sing to me, and, oh! wrap me close in your arms, for I shiver with cold.'
He clung, with a death grasp, to the bosom which had long been his sole earthly refuge.
Sing louder, dear mother, a little louder, I cannot hear A tremulous tone, as of a broken harp, rose above her grief, to comfort the dying child. One sigh of icy breath
was upon her cheek, as she joined it to his--one shudderand all was over. She held the body long in her arms, as if fondly hoping to warm and revivify it with her breath. Then she stretched it upon its bed, and kneeling beside it, hid her face in that grief which none but mothers feel. It was a deep and sacred solitude, alone with the dead. Nothing save the soft breathing of the sleeping babe fell upon
the Then the silence was broken by a wail of piercing sorrow. It ceased, and a voice arose, a voice of supplication, for strength to endure, as seeing Him who is invisible.' Faith closed what was begun in weakness. It became a prayer of thanksgiving to him who had released the dove-like spirit from the prison-house of pain, that it might taste the peace and mingle in the melody of Heaven.
She arose and bent calmly over her dead. The thin, placid features, wore a smile, as when he had spoken of Jesus. She composed the shining locks around the pure forehead, and gazed long on what was to her so beautiful.
The father entered carelessly. She pointed to the pallid immoveable brow, “ See, he suffers no longer !” He drew near and looked on the dead with surprise and sadness. A few natural tears forced their way, and fell on the face of the first-born, who was once his pride.• The memories of that moment were bitter. He spoke tenderly to the emaciated mother; and she, who a short time before was raised above the
sway of grief, wept like an infant as those few affectionate tones touched the sealed fountains of other years.
Neighbours and friends visited them, desirous to console their sorrow, and attended them when they committed the body to the earth. There was a shady and secluded spot, which they had consecrated by the burial of their few dead. Thither that whole little colony were gathered, and, seated on the fresh-springing grass, listened to the holy healing words of the inspired volume. It was read by the oldest man in the colony, who had himself often mourned. As he bent reverently over the sacred page, there was that on his brow which seemed to say, “this has been my comfort in my affliction.' Silver hair thinly covered his temples, and his low voice was modulated by feeling as he read of the frailty of man, withering like the flower of grass, before it groweth up; and of his majesty in whose sight, a thousand years are as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.' He selected from the words of that compassionate One, who'gathereth the lambs with his arm, and carrieth them in his bosom,' who,