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had remained devoted to her first betrothed, even while she was bestowing her hand upon another, began to be troubled in mind; and the somewhat harsh and narrow temper of her husband did not mend the matter by any gentle soothing. She grew worse, and was put into a private Madhouse in the neighbourhood. Meanwhile her son grew up, and showed the most determined predilection for painting. Being a fiery fellow, he ran riot over all his father's close restraints, and crowned his escapades by making his way to Italy in the most romantic fashion, and settling in Rome as a painter. He throve amazingly, being able in his art. In the second year of his stay in Rome, he married a beautiful Italian. In eleven months thereafter she presented him with Florence Arnot, but alas ! the mother herself died of puerperal fever. Up grew young Florence, the fairest child on earth, the very apple of her father's eye. She was now twelve years old, and rarely accomplished, when he too died, bequeathing her, with a small sum of money, to her Scottish grandfather's care. And thus little Florence came to our Village. The Laird was a good deal perplexed about her coming, fearing, no doubt, that somehow or other the thing would break sadly in upon his old-fashioned ways. He happened to fall sick, however, a few days before the child arrived ; and when she came, being of a nature at once spirited and affectionate, she set herself to tend him day and night. She managed his little household ; she put a spirit of elegance and beauty into everything; she was about him continually; she became to him, in her lustrous foreign loveliness and the exquisite tenderness of her ministrations of love, the very dream of an Angel of Light sent down from Heaven to comfort him. Ill though he was, the old man was constrained every now and then to sit up

in his bed and look at her with a kind of awe, as she went about his house with steps of order and grace; wondering at first whether it was a vision which he beheld, and then enchanted to think such a creature was really his own. And when she saw him sitting up, she ran to him and flung her arms about his neck and kissed him; and the it ;

old Laird almost sobbed with joy, as he laid down his head again on the pillow, his heart being so knit to the child. Being an acquaintance of his, I went repeatedly to see him in his illness; and so little Florence became

my

friend. The Laird got round again, and was altogether a new and enlarged man, every right vent of his heart being now open, fresh, and strong ; so well had that dear child worked upon his nature.

Of course he cast about in every possible way to pleasure her—he gave her a little farm of green leas with lambs

upon

he
gave

her skeps of bees ; he gave her a flower garden, and an apple tree; he gave

her a pony, called Shagrem, to ride upon,

and a silver-mounted whip; he gave her a dog, and a cow, and a young kid, and I don't know what all, besides : And, if necessary, the old Laird would have given her his very life. And thus little Florence was very well set up in the world. And every now and then came she tripping over the sunny croft to see my sister and myself; one day bringing us a piece of honey-comb, or a basket of mushrooms which she had gathered for us in the old pasture field; another day, coming as a shepherdess, with her rye-straw hat on, her crook and pipe in her hand, to tell us of her farm, and have us away with her, to see her lambs, and taste her dairy. And in the summer gloamings, she played to us on her harp, singing as she played; for she was skilled in music, and had brought her harp with her from Italy. In everything she said or did, there was some freakish fanciful accompaniment of grace to the beautifully clear spirit of duty which ran through the life of this foreign little lass,

I had observed for some days that Florence was more pensive than usual, when, on going one evening to visit the Medical Superintendent of the Asylum where her grandmother was boarded, I saw the girl playing on her harp before one of the grated windows of the house ; while inside stood an elderly lady, of a worn and faded countenance, listening to the music, and looking intently down at the little minstrel : This, I learned the same night, was Mrs Arnot : Florence had been playing to her for some days, morning and evening. Whether from the

- the

“What! my son's

influence of the music, or from some natural change in her malady, Mrs Arnot was soon afterwards restored to reason, and requested her husband to come and see her. He did so ; and finding her in her right mind, prayed her to return with him to her home. This, however, she refused to do, saying that she never loved him, and had never been a proper wife to him ; that, notwithstanding this, he had treated her generously, giving her a liberal maintenance in her present place; that she was altogether unworthy to come into his house; that she was about to die; and that she would meet death in the chamber where she had spent the greater part of her life. “ Then I will bring a friend to you,” said her husband; and he brought to her the damsel Florence, accordingly. “ She is your grand-daughter," said the old man, only child of our departed son: Let her be with you, to comfort you, to the day of your death.” child ?” exclaimed the lady,“ my own grand-daughter, that has been so piously at my melancholy window? Come to me, my young dove come to me, my own lamb !” And saying this, she kissed little Florence many a time; and long and wistful was the

gaze

with which she scanned the features of the beautiful girl, “But why," turning to her husband, she asked, “why did you not make my Keeper explain to me that the child was my granddaughter? Why keep back the dear cherub so long from my heart and love? She would have done me good-she has done so,'even as it is.” “ It was your son's own desire,” replied the Laird : “We have acted up to his injunctions precisely." So saying, he opened and read a Letter from their dying son (the last he had written), in which all his wishes touching his daughter Florence were fully set forth : Her Italian relatives had prayed hard to keep her with themselves ; but he had resisted their importunities, being determined to send her to Scotland, for this among many

that he wished the damsel to soothe his mother, and try to make her well by playing on her harp to her : In reference to this playing, the Letter said, " Let not my poor dear mother know, for some time at least, that Florence is her grand-daughter. Well do I know the darkest courses of man's spirit. To make my mother long for the child from day to day, to make her eagerly and even anxiously guess who she is, and why she comes to harp to her, may, independently of the damsels soothing song, help her to mark the interchanges of day and night—to calculate to note points of interest; and may thus help to make her thoughts run in channelsof distinction, and may thus help to break up the wild continuity of madness into the defined and affixed periods of feeling and reason.” “ My own wise and good son !” exclaimed Mrs Arnot, when she had heard the Letter read. A restoration to sanity of mind is often the immediate forerunner of dissolution, and it was already evident that Mrs Arnot's apprehensions of her own approaching death were too well founded. From an unwillingness to part with Florence, while at the same time she could not think of making the child stay with her in the Asylum, but chiefly from a necessary conformity to the regulations of the Institution, she consented at last to be taken to her husband's house. There she prepared for her end. Florence sat in the bed with her, her young arms often around her neck, as she answered a thousand things to the never-ending affectionate questions of the dying lady. And day and night never did that grandmother cease to caress the beautiful child that sat beside her, so excited was her heart, now that its native issues of love were set free. And she made the damsel sew her shroud, as she sat beside her.

other reasons,

Death came the sooner that her heart was feverishly overweighed by the very excess of her affection for Florence. The little maiden, as was her wont, was one still evening singing an anthem by her grandmother's bedside, touching her harp to the hymn, when the dying lady's voice was heard feebly joining in it. In that last holy effort her spirit had passed away. I need say nothing more of Florence Arnot: She is now the wonder, and pride, and love of all the country round.

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One evening about midsummer, being in Edinburgh, I was passing at somewhat late hour along one of the crowded streets in the Old Town, when I was tapped on the shoulder from behind ; and, on looking round, a bareheaded

man,

dressed in a night-gown, thus abruptly questioned me:- “ Did you ever, Sir, thank God for preserving your reason ?"

“Why I don't know-never formally, perhaps," was my somewhat hesitating reply to this strange question. “Then do it now," he rejoined, “for I have lost mine." So saying, he bowed to me with a wild unsteady fervour, and wheeling round withdrew from me at a rapid pace. As he seemed to be labouring under some frenzy, and might need to be looked after, I followed him. This I did for the farther reason, that I had seen him before under circumstances which caused me rather to dislike him. It was thus :-On my final return to Scotland, I found

my beloved father and mother dead. On the day of my last leaving them, to go abroad, they had accompanied me along the footpath by the side of a little burn which led from our Village up some green glens and valleys to the Mail road about two miles off. On our way we had sat together for a while by the side of a deep pool ; and there they had parted from me, turning back, while I went forward on my journey alone. On getting home, it was one of my first duties, melancholy and yet pleasing, to seek the green spot where I had last sat with my dear parents, and there fling myself down, and let Memory have her fill. On reaching the place, I found it occupied by a stranger. I withdrew, and returned the following evening. sacred spot was again occupied by the same stranger, whom I felt myself now the more disposed to dislike for his coarse red face, his ill-shaped bald head (for he sat looking into his hat), and the undignified precaution of his coat-skirts carefully drawn aside to let him sit on his outspread handkerchief. This second night also I withdrew,

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