« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
From "The Druid."
His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles,
THE pernicious effects of too much indulgence to children are, in general, obvious to all but the over-fond parent. The neglect of a little salutary discipline, during the period of youth, proves, indeed, very frequently the bane of happiness throughout every after stage of life. It is, however, an evil which proceeds not from corrupt dispositions, but is rather what might be called an amiable weakness. Yet it ought to be carefully guarded against, even for the sake of the objects so dearly beloved.
We seldom fail to find a child losing the regard of every one else, just in proportion as he receives improper indulgence from his parents. He of course becomes untoward, haughty, and petulant; and is in danger of growing up like Esau, with a hand raised against every one, and every one's hand upraised against him. Accustomed to the gratification of all his desires, he can ill brook control or disappointment, and is apt to become impetuous upon every occasion of restraint and provocation, either real or imaginary.
The lasting influence of these intemperate early habits too often mars the happiness of social connexions. From them proceeds the turbulent and overbearing husband, and the self-willed and undutiful wife. It is, therefore, the duty of the guardians of youth, as they love them and prize their future prosperity, to guard against this fatal error. They ought, also, to watch over, and study the different dispositions of their minds, and to endeavour, accordingly, to arrange their mode of individual treatment.
Evaline was the only daughter of respectable parents. Engagements in an extensive business kept her father much from home; and her mother was of a weakly and delicate constitution. Evaline was their all; and their affection for her knew no bounds. She was, therefore, brought up with every indulgence which this excess of fondness could draw forth. She early contracted an intimate friendship with Agnes, the daughter of a widow lady, who had been left with a numerous family, and lived in the immediate neighbourhood. Agnes was educated with ideas very different from those of her young friend, having been,
of necessity and from principle, taught the profitable lesson of industry, and frugal economy, and to consider health and intellectual powers as given for higher purposes than the amusement of the possessor. The mispending of time, and the misapplication of these precious endowments, was impressed upon her mind as being a source of never-failing unhappiness and calamity to the infatuated abusers of such inestimable blessings. As she had learned from experience, that useful employment constitutes pleasure, and is pregnant with advantage, it prevented time from appearing tedious; and ennui was only known to her by
The two friends were nearly of an age, and happened to be married much about the same time. Agnes was united to a deserving man, whose dispositions exactly coincided with her own. They had not wealth, but enjoyed a competency, and were contented and happy. Evaline became the wife of a worthy man, possessed of an ample fortune. He was enamoured of her beauty, which in a great measure blinded him to her foibles, although these were but too obvious to others. Her conduct after marriage, however, proved so glaring, that his eyes, though reluctantly, were at last opened. Dress, equipage, and visiting, engrossed all her thoughts and attention. Her disappointed husband fondly cherished the expectation, that time and reflection might bring round a reform; but in this he found himself greatly mistaken. In due time she brought him a son. He now hoped that the career of folly would be at an end, and flattered himself that her attention would naturally be turned to an object so interesting. But no change in the lady's conduct took place. She soon informed him that a nurse must be provided for the child, because she would undergo neither the fatigue nor the confinement which the discharge of that duty required. He ventured to expostulate, but was upbraided with an unfeeling disregard of her happiness.
She next became the parent of a lovely daughter, without being diverted from her injurious propensities by a concern for her tender charge. Matters daily growing worse; and, although she saw her husband unhappy, she did not wish to consider herself the cause. As she could not endure the want of company, she became less select in her choice, and more extravagant in her follies, until the tongue of censure at length began to exaggerate them into enormous crimes. Her husband could no longer remain silent; and, as she did not choose to he admonished, a very unpleasant altercation took place. In the course of this, she branded him with want of affection, and questioned his ever having entertained for her the regard which he professed. She supposed his motives from the beginning were mercenary; and that now, having obtained her fortune, he began to discover his dislike of her person. She had, however, been always accustomed to gratify and follow her own inclinations, and had never, even when a child, met with either check or remonstrance from those who had a much better title to apply them, had they thought such interference necessary. She concluded with adding, that he might spare himself the pain and trouble of expressing them, as she was not disposed either to listen to his dictates, or attend to his admonitions. To the last part of her speech he made no reply, but throughout the remainder of the day appeared thought
ful and reserved; and when he addressed her, it was with a studied civility which she could not help feeling. Next morning he ordered his horse; and having put a paper into her hand, and told her that he would not return until the following day, he mounted and rode off. She hastily broke the seal and read the following letter:
"My dear Evaline-For such you still are, in despite of your errors and my sufferings; I do not yet consider you wicked, although I much fear you are on the high-way to ruin and infamy. As I, therefore, feel myself unequal to the task of combating the evil effects of your early habits, I have now resolved to restore you to the charge of those, under whose auspices they were formed. I shall give you these three reasons, by which I have been influenced in forming this resolution. The first is, that your ruin may not be accomplished while under my protection; the second, a dread of the evil consequences your giddy example may have upon our little ones; and the third, a desire of mutual peace. Alas! how soon have my high-formed hopes of conjugal felicity passed away like a morning cloud and left me forlorn and wretched! My house is become a scene of riot, and the beloved of my bosom cannot spare an hour's attention to a fond husband and his helpless children.
"I shall, however, satisfy you that my motives in forming the connection have been every thing but mercenary. You shall carry back the full sum I received as your dowry: and as you set a much higher value upon it than I do, to this shall be added another, not unworthy of your acceptance. Although your improvidence and profusion might soon have put it out of my power, I have still enough for my own wants, and wherewith to educate my children in the way I approve. With these wrecks of my blasted prospects, I shall retire to some peaceful seclusion; where, by devoting my whole attention to the formation of their youthful minds, I will endeavour to guard them against those habits, by the effects of which I am now overwhelmed with distress. The plan of your departure I expect will be arranged before my return; and may you ever be happier than is your sorrowful, but affectionate HUSBAND.'
Evaline was thunder-struck. She had no idea of matters being brought to such a crisis. While she could not repress a sensation of conscious shame, she at the same time knew not how to act, as it would be so humiliating to make the matter known to any of her fashionable acquaintances. She now thought of Agnes, who, since her marriage, had been by her forgotten and neglected. She instantly set out to call upon her early friend, and found her busily engaged in the management of her family, with a lovely child in her arms, and another at her knee. Agnes received her with unaffected kindness; and after repeated efforts, learned from her the object of her visit, and was permitted to read the letter. This being done, she remained silent until her friend, having urged her to speak her mind freely, begged her counsel and advice. " My dear Evaline," said Agnes, hesitatingly, "then, I must say I think you are to be blamed, very much to be blamed." "Well then," replied Evaline in faltering accents," allowing that to be the case, what would you advise me to do "Just,"
answered Agnes, "the only thing you can do to restablish yourself in the regard of your husband, and in the esteem of the world, and to secure your own happiness and honour;-you ought to receive your husband on his return, with every mark of penitence and submission. You ought to make a thousand concessions, though he do not require them. But you must first resolve firmly within yourself, that your future life shall be devoted to make atonement to him for the errors of the past."- “But do you think," replied Evaline, with tears streaming from her eyes," that he can receive me with forgiveness, or love me as formerly "Yes," said Agnes, "I think he will. His affection seems to be still within your reach; but one step farther might put it for ever out of your power. Do but read that letter dispassionately, and see what an affectionate husband you have rendered unhappy."
Evaline was silent, and appeared much humbled. She took an affectionate leave of Agnes, and returned home, secluded herself to ponder over the past, and to prepare her mind for future conduct. Upon a serious retrospection, she felt extremely dissatisfied. The longer she considered her own imprudences, an increasing respect for her husband gradually arose in her mind, and she now anxiously longed for an opportunity of making those concessions to which she at first felt so much reluctance. Her husband returned, and before the repentant Evaline had completed an acknowledgement of her errors, she was inclosed in an embrace of forgiveness and love. She has now become as remarkable for conjugal affection, maternal solicitude, and every social virtue, as she had formerly been for levity and extravagance. Agnes is her confident and counsellor. She is a tender mother, and a dutiful wife. "Her husband is known in the gates, her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."and in the words of the elegant Thomson,
They flourish now in mutual bliss, and rear
THE violet in her green-wood bower,
In glen, or copse, or forest dingle.
Beneath the dew-drop's weight reclining,
More sweet through watery lustre shining.
Ere yet the day be past its morrow;
Remained the tear of parting sorrow.
ADDRESS TO A WILD DEER
IN THE FOREST OF DALNESS, GLEN-ETIVE, ARGYLLSHIRE.
MAGNIFICENT Creature! so stately and bright!
Up! up to yon cliff! like a King to his throne!
Aloft on the weather-gleam, scorning the earth,
In daliance with danger, he bounded in bliss,
The ship of the desert hath pass'd on the wind,