• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Constance Latimer
 The son and heir
 The village tragedy
 Newton Ainslie






Title: Tales for the young
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002787/00001
 Material Information
Title: Tales for the young
Physical Description: 192 p., <5> leaves of plates : ill. ; 14 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Embury, Emma C ( Emma Catherine ), 1806-1863
Dickes, William, 1815-1892 ( Engraver )
Thomas Nelson & Sons
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh
Publication Date: 1853
 Subjects
Subject: Parent and child -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Blind children -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Rich people -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Pride and vanity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Prisoners -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1853   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1853
Genre: Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Scotland -- Edinburgh
England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Miss E. Embury.
General Note: Frontispiece and added t.p. signed: W. Dickes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002787
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002225829
oclc - 45964854
notis - ALG6109
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Half Title
        Page 3
    Frontispiece
        Page 4
    Title Page
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
    Constance Latimer
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 12a
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
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        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
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        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74-75
        Page 76
    The son and heir
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 88a
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 100a
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
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        Page 108
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        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126-127
        Page 128
    The village tragedy
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134-135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
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        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 154a
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
    Newton Ainslie
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
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        Page 192
Full Text














TALES FOR THE YOUNG.








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TALES FOR THE YOUNG.



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T'. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON AND EDINBURGII

















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CONSTANCE LATIMER;

Oa,

THE BLIND GIRL.



CHAPTER I.
AMONG the many fine mansions which have
recently disappeared before the rage for public
improvement was one, which from its com-
manding situation on the banks of the Uudson,
and the unobtrusive beauty of its appearance,
deserved to have been spared. Standing on a
little eminence which sloped gradually down to
the water's edge, and completely imbosomed in
trees, Latimer Cottage, with its picturesque out-
houses, formed one of the most beautiful points
of view as seen from the river, and attracted
many an admiring glance from the roadside








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


traveller. But a wide, naked-looking avenue,
destitute of every green thing, now runs through
that once verdant lawn; the place of the per-
fumed flower-garden is supplied by the paved
-footpath, with its inodorous kennel; the cot-
tage, with its cheerful apartments and quiet
library, has disappeared, to make room for the
dark and dirty warehouse; and hundreds of
busy feet now hurry to and fro over the spot
once consecrated by the happiness, and hallowed
by the grief of human hearts.
Charles Latimer was the son of a rich East
India merchant, and had been originally edu-
cated for the bar. His passion for literature
led him to adopt this profession rather because
it was a gentlemanly way of doing nothing,
than with the expectation of deriving from it a
livelihood; for he well knew that the only son
of a man whose income far exceeded his most
profuse expenditure was not likely to require
it as a means of support. The sudden death of
his father, however, just as he had completed
his studies, changed the tenor of his fortunes.
He found himself the only representative in


10








OR, THE BLIND GIRL.


America of one of the most extensive commer-
cial houses in the world; and, when he consi-
dered that several years must necessarily be
consumed in settling the affairs of a concern
which had its agencies in England, France, and
India, he determined to relinquish his profes-
sion rather than give up a business for many
years past extremely lucrative.
But Latimer was one of the few who look
upon wealth as a means rather than an end.
He cared not to devote all his noble energies to
the task of making haste to be rich; but, satis-
fied with regular and steady profits, wlich ena-
bled him to indulge all his elegant tastes, he
mingled with the toils of business the pleasurs
of social and literary life. For several years
after the death of his father he continued to
reside in the same mansion, surrounded by the
old family servants, dividing his time between
the counting-house and the library, or occa-
sionally mingling in the gay scenes of which he
was so bright an ornament. But accident threw
him in the way of a young and lovely southern
belle, and he soon found his home had never


11








CONSTANOE LATIMEB;


looked so cheerful as it did when gladdened by
the presence of his fair bride.
Brilliant in conversation, sufficiently well-
informed to join in the discussion of any ordi-
nary topio, and gifted with that tact which
enables a woman to turn aside the ball when it
exceeds her grasp, there were few more attrac-
tive than the beautiful Mrs. Latimer. The
total want of energy of character, which she
owed to her luxurious southern habits, was a
fault not likely to be discovered in the day of
prosperity.
Immediately after his marriage, Mr. Latimer
set himself to the task of modernizing and
adorning his father's villa. Its proximity to
the city, which enabled him to combine the ad-
vantages of town and country life, decided him
to make it his permanent residence; and in a
Very few years he found himself the happy poe-
sessor of the loveliest home, the prettiest wife,
and two of the sweetest children that ever
blessed a mortal's lot.
At the time when our story commences,
Julian, the younger child, was a lively, rosy









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little fellow, of perhaps three years of age Wfth
the bold blue eye and open brow of fearless
innocence. Constance was about two years his
elder; but who ever beheld that child and
paused not to look again and again ere they
found language to describe her loveliness I Hers
was a face of perfect beauty. The broad white
forehead, the delicately-pencilled brows, the
straight nose, the exquisitely-chiselled lips, and
the perfect oval of its contour, might have made
it a model for a sculptor; while the wonderful
transparency of the complexion, the delicate
rose-leaf tint upon the cheek, the soft brown
hair curling thick upon the snowy neck, and,
above all, the superb eyes so beautifully shaped,
and filled with an indescribable expression of
frankness, tenderness, and truth, made it no
less a study for a painter.
How seldom are the characters of children
properly and discriminately studied! A certain
mode of discipline is usually adopted in a school
or family, to which all its members are required
to submit, and which is expected to benefit all
in an equal degree while every judicious mo-


13








CONSTANCZ LATIMEB,


th can state, as the result of her own expert*
ence, that no two children will bear precisely
the same kind of culture. The modern system
of forcing the mental faculties to unnatural
growth, and attempting to ingraft the moral
virtues by the uame hotbed process, have been
productive of incalculable evil The mental
powers are weakened by being overtasked, the
moral perceptions blunted by the vain attempt
to infuse abstract ideas, the physical organize
tion disordered by a total neglect of all bodily
training, and the result of the instructor's la-
bours is total disappointment. In nine cases
out "of ten the precocious child ends by becom-
Ing the dull, self-conceited man. If parents
would be content with weeding out the early
springing vice of insincerity, as the only effort
at moral culture, and awakening the spirit of
inquiry as the only attempt at mental improve-
ment during .the first years of their childhood;
if they would turn -their little ones into the
fields instead of the school-room, and teach them
the beneficent power of the Creator by familiar
izing them with his wonderful works, they


14








OR, TEUB LIND GIBIL.


would reap a rich reward in the healthy, h ,
and active minds which would afterward be
brought to the labour of learning. The plan of
education might almost be limited to that of
the early Persians; and if our sons were only
taught in boyhood to ride on horseback, draw
the bow, and speak the truth," the result would
probably be less physical infirmity and more
mental strength.
Such were the ideas with which Mr. latimer
began the work of instruction, and never was
teacher blessed with a more docile pupil than
the little Constance. Gifted with that exqui-
site delicacy of perception which frequently
accompanies extreme delicacy of organization,
she required no stimulus to the acquisition of
knowledge. Young as she was, every faculty
seemed already awakened, and only waiting to
be employed. The endless variety of the
painted flower, the changeful beauty of the in-
sect wing, the various shapes of the leaves
which strewed the autumn paths, and the mult
titude of voices by which nature breathes her
music through the summer bowers, were all to


15








CONSTANCE IsATIXMB ;


hI objects of interest and inquiry. It was,
indeed, beautiful to behold that fair childish
face bending with eager glance over some newly-
discovered wonder, or brightening with delight
as some new truth mnddenly dawned upon the
rapidly-developing mind. But all these truths
were taught by example rather than precept,
The pages of Nature were the only books her
father employed for the purposes of mental eul
tivation, while the foundation of all-moral im-
provement was laid by forming the habit of
self-examination--a habit easily acquired by an
ingenuous child, whose spirit has never been
crushed by fear. An occasional impulse of im-
patience, or a momentary preference of selfish
indulgence, formed the subject, not of a lecture,
but of a cheerful conversation between father
and daughter, which resulted in her perfect
comprehension, not of metaphysical subtleties,
but of some of the most essential truths in
morality.
a You are a happy child, Constance," said her
another one day, as the little girl was carolling
a broken birdlike melody


16








OR, TH'1 BLIND Gr1 7


I know it, mother," was the laughing re
sponse.
S"Surely you uught to be happy if any one
on earth could be so," said her father; "-you
have nothing to trouble you."
Yes I have, father," said the child, while a
sweet gravity stole over her sunny face.
And, pray, what ever troubles you, Con-
stance ?"
My pasaions9, was the earnest and innocent
reply.


17








CONTANOC LA'TIMXRx;


CITAPTEL II.
Death should come
Gently to ee of gene mould like thee,
As lght wintas, wauderIng through growe of bloom,
Detach the delicate blosoms from the tree."--BBrrT.

a You ask me of my enjoyments and of my
prospects. I can only say, that the present is
full of happiness, and the future of promise.
I am sometimes almost terrified at the magni-
tude of my own blessings; for while my sym-
pathies are continually awakened by the mis-
fortunes of others, my own lot remains entirely
unclouded. Health, fortune, and domestic bliss
all combine to render me as happy as mortal
ean ever be. Yet you will wonder when I teU
you that I am sometimes disposed to look upon
all this calm as but the prelude to a fearful
tempest. When I consider how little I have
merited all my good fortune, I cannot help fan-
eying that these bleesins are only lent me for


18








OR, Ti s BLINrD OIBRa


a season, in order to prove me more severely by
their bereavement by-and-by. I feel that I am
making to myself idols, and I cannot but fear
that I shall, ere long, be taught the bitter les-
son of humiliation, which all must learn who
give to the creature the worship due only to the
Creator. You will think me fanciful, but I am
sometimes more desponding than those who
have to encounter real evils; as the brighter
the sunshine, the darker will be the shadow
cast by an intervening object."
Such were the sentiments expressed by Mr.
Latimer in a letter to a friend in Europe, when
six years of uninterrupted happiness had dawned
upon Latimer Cottage; but, alas! misfortune
already hovered over them, and never was a
deeper shadow flung from her dark wing
One fine spring afternoon, as Mr. Latimer sat
reading aloud the popular poem of the day,
while his wife was busied with her needle-work
beside him, they were startled by the sudden
entrance of Constance, who, panting with her
speed, and flushed with excitement, threw hee
selfiunto her mothers arms and burst into a


19








CONSTANCE LAtIIER ;


passion of tears. It was long before her pa-
rents' kind soothing could quiet her troubled
feelings, or induce her to relate the cause of
such unwonted sorrow. She told a simple, but
touching tale. When the children wept out to
walk after dinner, the nurse had taken them to
Mrs. Morden's cottage, where they frequently
went to distribute their childish charities.
They found the poor woman seated near the
coffin of her baby, and holding in her arms
another child soon to be stretched beside its
playmate.
Oh, mother, I cannot tell you how I felt,"
sobbed Constance; I was not afraid, and yet
I did not dare to touch little Mary, though I
have so often played with her tiny hands when
she was alive; she looked so white, and when
Margery put her hand in hers she was so
dreadfully cold." The child had never looked
on death before; and when they told her that
little Mary would never more open her eyes,
but must now be laid in the dark cold earth,
never again to be looked upon by the kind mo-
ther who now watched beside her, she gave way


so








01t, THE BLIND GIRL.


to the utmost violence of terror and grief.
Her parents listened to the tale with earnest
sympathy.
Of what disease did Mary die, Constance I"
asked her father.
I believe Mrs. Morden called it scarlet fever,
father; and the face of the sick boy on her lap
was very red."
A pang shot through the hearts of both hex
parents as she spoke.
"Was Julian with you 9" said Mrs. Latimer.
SYes; but he did not seem to notice any-
thing; he ran about just as he used to do when
we went there to gather strawberries, and he
tried to make the poor sick boy play with him."
The tears of childhood vanish far sooner than
the sympathy they excite; and, long after Con-
stance had ceased to think of the- dead child,
her parents brooded over her narrative with ap-
prehensions which neither dared breathe to the
other. Mr. Latimer, with 'his usual kindness,
hastened to the cottage of his poor neighbour,
and found the second child just expiring with
scarlet fever of the most malignant kind. The


21








CONSTANCE LATIME ;


atmosphere of the apartment was polluted by
the feverish breath of the little sufferers; for
the mother, in her ignorant caution, had ex-
cluded every breath of pure air, lest it should
increase the virulence of the disease. And in
that dreadful room my two darlings have just
been shut up !" exclaimed the anxious father
as he gladly emerged into the fresh evening
breeze.
His fears were not unfounded; twenty-four
hours had scarce elapsed when Julian's rosy
cheek wore a deeper hue, and his blue eye was
suffused with the crimson tint of fever. Ere
the next morning's sun had dawned upon the
sleepless pillow of the alarmed parents, the fevet
spot burned the delicate cheek of Constance
also. Who shall describe the anxiety of that
doting father and mother Who may enter
into the depths of the human heart, and describe
the workings of that most common, but, alas !
most fearful of all human pangs, the anguish
of a devoted parent 1 The buoyancy of spirit,
which was one of Mrs. Latimer's strongest cha-
racteristics, prevented her from yielding to ter-


22








Oa, THE BLIND GIRL.


ror and despondency-as soon as her husband;
but the moment he saw the drooping form of
his darling boy, and heard the low moan of
his- sweet Constance, hope vanished from his
heart.
The children had wept so much at their se-
paration when first taken ill, that the physicians
deemed it advisable to place them both in one
apartment. It was, indeed, a melancholy sight
to behold those fair creatures so prostrated by
disease, and to feel assured that on the frail
tenure of their lives depended the whole future
comfort of two noble hearts. Julian refused to
leave his mother's bosom for an instant, while
Constance lay in her little bed with her hand
clasped in her father's, and her dim eyes fixed
with unutterable tenderness upon her brother.
Hour after hour, day after day passed away,
and brought no change. No change did say ?
Alas did an hour ever pass without bringing
change to all of us t The fever was most vio-
lent in its attack upon Julian; and, after ten
days of such anguish as none but a parent can
know-such anguish as whitens the darkest


23








CONSTANCE LATJNMER;


locks, and withers the greenest heart, Constance
was pronounced out of danger, but Julian lay
like a waxen image in the cold sleep of death.
In proportion to her vain hopes was Mrs.
Latimer's grief. She would not believe that a
creature so beloved could die; and it was not
till nature sank exhausted, after a succession of
fainting fits, that her feelings could be in the
slightest degree composed. The father looked
upon the lifeless form of his little one with
agony unutterable; but he heard the broken
accents of his daughter, and while he felt that
in His dealings God had remembered mercy, he
tried to say, in sincerity of his heart, Thy
will be done."
Constance was unable to rise from her bed
when the body of her brother was about to be
borne to the tomb; but she pleaded so earnestly
to look once more upon his sweet face, that her
father bore her in his arms to the chamber of
death. Never did the king of terrors assume a
lovelier form. His forehead was as fair as if it
had never known the touch of pain; his eyes
as gently closed, and his lips as placidly folded,


24








OB, TUB BLIND GIRL b


as if the little boy had been laid down to sleep
after the fatigues of a merry game. Constance
looked long and earnestly on the lifeless body
of her lost companion. Her frame shook as
with an ague fit, but no tears fell from her eyes;
and her father, startled by the sudden rigidity
of her features, placed her in bed just as she
was seized with a frightful convulsion. The
dead was borne to its last resting place while
the fate of the living was yet undecided ; but,
alas a more fearful doom than that of death
awaited Constance. The violence of her spas-
modic attack had produced amaurosis, or para-
lysis of the optic nerve, and her brother's life-
less form was the last object that ever her eyes
beheld. Every means that medical skill could
devise was resorted to, but in vain; and Con-
stance arose from her sick bed only to find her-
self totally and helplessly blind.
For a long time hope struggled in the hearts
of her parents. Like him who, dwelling at the
mountain's foot, mistakes the darkness of the
impending avalanche for the shadow of the
cliff--the very magnitude of their calamity


25








CONSTANoC I.ATIXnERi


rendered them doubtful of its existence. But
when, at last, hope was crushed beneath the
dreadful certainty of evil, no words can express
the utter desolation of their hearts. "Why,"
exclaimed the agonized father, why, when the
Almighty sped the arrow that destroyed my
child's precious sight, did he not also take her
useless life Imagination is too feeble to por-
tray such anguish. The Grecian painters veil
must be drawn over such unutterable woe.


26








OR, TEB BLIND GIRL.


CHAPTER IIL

SThe day.too short for my distress; and nigni,
E'en in the zenith of her dark domain,
Is sunshine to the colour of my fate." Youa.

MONnTS passed away; the glow of health once
more dwelt upon the fair child's cheek, and her
lip again wore its rosy tint, but the light of her
glorious eyes was quenched for ever. Tney
were still as deeply blue-still as deeply fringed
by their long dark lashes; the disease which
had destroyed them had not impaired their ex-
ternal loveliness, but their expression had for
ever departed. They were still beautiful, but
it was the beauty of the unlighted alabaster
vase.
The effect of this misfortune upon the child's
character was very remarkable. At first she
wept unceasingly, and complained bitterly of
the darkness. I can see nothing," she would


27








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


say, but a dark, dark room, with a little white
form extended in one corner." Her imagina-
tion afforded the only organ of vision, and
memory offered objects to its gaze. Her mind
appeared to have acquired a sudden maturity.
The absence of all outward things seemed to
make the eye of the spirit more clear and pene-
trating. Childish things were put away, and
she spoke with the earnestness, the tenderness,
the energy of a woman. Library after library
waS exhausted for her amusement- but, alas!
they who find in the common exercise of their
aight a world of enjoyment, of which they are
scarcely sensible, can form but a faint idea of
the terrible privation of the blind. For them
the light of the sun is darkened ; the moon has
withdrawn her ray; the beauty of the earth is
vanished; the loveliness of household faces has
departed; the familiar places have become
strange; and, as one walking in the Valley of
Death, every step is faltering and uncertain.
To Constance this utter darkness was peculiarly
painful, for she remembered too vividly the
last object on which her eyes had rested, and


28








OR, TOE BLIND GIRL.


the emphatic language of Scripture night here
be used literally, for it was, indeed, The sha-
dow of death upon the eyelids."
Father," said Constance, as he led her one
pleasant evening along the garden-walks, I
wish you would have the flowers planted just
in the same spots next year, for I have learned
to know them by the touch of the leaf as well
as by their I erfume, and I can almost fancy I
see them since I have become so familiar with
them." The promise was readily given, and
Constance continued: When first my eyes
were darkened, the image of poor little Julian
was always before me; but now I try to think
of other things. I try to remember how the
sky looked, and the different coloured flowers,
and oftener still I try to bring before me your
face and mother's. I am sure I shall never
forget them.; but I am afraid I shall forget
many other things which I used to take little
notice of when I could see them every day."
Mr. Latimer's heart was full, but he mastered
his emotion, and patiently set himself to the
task of imprinting on her mind those ideas








CONSTANCO LATIMER;


which, at her age, are usually evanescent, but
which now required to be graven as with a
sunbeam. But those mysterious compensations
which Providence usually vouchsafes to those
who suffer under great privations were already
hers. Her sense of hearing had become exceed-
ingly acute, her touch extremely delicate. She
learned to distinguish the different trees by the
various sounds made by their leaves as they
rustled in the wind. The flowers she recog-
nised by their perfume, or, if they were desti-
tute of fragrance, she could pass her slender
fingers over their petals, and at once discover
their names. Music, which had always been
her delight, now bF' .me her passion; and three
fourths of her time was spent beside her mother's
piano, or listening to her father's voice, as, with
swelling heart, he sang to her the songs she
loved Her ear became so accurate that she
was soon able to mingle her own sweet tones
with the music; and no one who looked upon
the child, as she sat in her delicate beauty
amid the costly luxuries which decked her
home, singing some plaintive melody, would


30








OR, 3aF2 BLIND GIR.


have imagined that the portals of so glorious
a temple had been for ever closed against
earthly objects. But a more touching picture
was sometimes presented, when, thinking her-
self alone, the fair creature over whom six
summers had not yet passed would wring her
little hands, and exclaim, in that thrilling tone
which the blind so soon acquire, What shall
I do! oh, what shall I do!" Would that this
were entirely a fancy sketch; would that the
portraiture of this gentle child owed its colours
to imagination only, and was not shaded by the
deeper tints of sad reality!
The next four years were passed by Constance
in a monotony so unvarying, as far-as regarded
external things, that the pen of her historian
finds little to record. But the change that
gradually came over her spirit might form a
noble study for a philosopher. She knew that
she was beautiful, for she heard it murmured
from every lip; but each expression of admira-
tion was uttered in a tone of sympathy which
her delicate ear did not fail to detect, and the
lesson of humility was learned along with that


31








CONSTANCE LATIMER ;


which might have taught her vanity. She
knew, too, that her voice was as musical as a
bird's, and this was one of the chief blessings
of her darkened lot; for the little blind girl's
car had now become endued, as it were, with a
double sense, and great would have been her
privation if she could not have expressed her
innocent feelings in tones of sweetness. She
sang beautifully, and never was music more
expressive. She had learned, too, to weave
baskets, (a favourite resource of the blind,) as
an amusement to her many vacant hours; but,
alas! with these acquisitions she was obliged
to be content. The fountain of knowledge
seemed sealed to her for ever, and she was fain
to rest satisfied with an occasional draught of
its pure waters from the hand of another. In
spite of all her efforts at cheerfulness, she began
to feel life a heavy burden, which daily grew
more intolerable. At nine years of age she had
all the weariness of spirit which belongs only
to earth's care-worn children, when time has
blanched the sunny hair, or sorrow seared the
lonely heart. Her mother, given up to grief,


32








OR, THEI JBLJKD GIRLL,


had gradually sunk into such infirm health,
that there was but little prospect of her pro-
longed life; and when Mr. Latimer thought of
the probable fate of his beautiful and helpless
child, he was almost tempted to yield to utter
despair. She will have plenty of useless
wealth," said he to himself; "but who will
protect her when we are gone I Who will guard
that delicate frame from the rude contact with
a harsh and unfeeling world I" He had not
yet learned to believe that God ever tempers
the wind to the shorn lamb."
One day, while in his counting-room, Mr
Latimer was addressed by a gentleman distin.
guished for his philanthropy, who, utterly ig-
norant of his domestic misfortunes, applied for
pecuniary assistance in forming an institution
for the instruction of the blind. Mr. Latimer's
feelings were almost too powerful for words, as,
grasping his new friend's hand, he vehemently
proffered half his fortune if the project could be
accomplished. "Only let me see my child ree-
cued from the depth of darkness into which she
is sinking, and half my fortune shall repay your
c


3-3








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


labours," he said, as he added his name to the
list of subscribers. On his return he commu-
nicated the occurrence to his wife and daughter.
Far different was the manner in which the two
received it.
You would not surely send Constance away
from us to a place where everybody wouli be
received, and where she must live like the
poorest among them I" said her mother.
"You will let me go," exclaimed Constance,
her cheek flushing and her lip quivering with
unwonted excitement. Oh, father, I should
be so happy if I could only learn to be less
helpless; when will they be ready to receive
pupils ,"
"Will you be content, Constance, to feel
yourself alone among the many who, like your-
self are deprived of one of life's best blessings
Will you not pine for the devoted attention,
the undivided care of your parents I" asked the
father.
Oh father," replied the child, how little
you know of my feelings. Should I not be
happier if I did not require your attentions T"


34








OB, TH33 BLIND IRL.


Her father sighed, but answered not. He
could not avoid observing, however, that from
that moment a new hope seemed to have arisen
in her heart, and that her despondency was ra-
pidly giving place to a nervous restlessness of
manner, which betrayed how deeply the cur-
rent of her feelings had been stirred.
At length the benevolent founders of the in-
stitution were enabled to carry out their scheme,
and among the first of their pupils was Con-
stance Latimer. Great was the opposition she
encountered from her mother, who dreaded the
privations her child must undergo in an insti-
tution which could provide comforts but not
luxuries; but Constance withstood all attempts
to turn her from her purpose, and left her home
without one sigh of regret.
If I can learn anything, father,. my short
absence will be for the future happiness of -us
all; if I cannot, I shall not long be a burden
so you," said she, as the carriage stopped, and she
ras carried in her father's arms to her new home.
The extreme beauty of the child and her
Pinning manners awakened the warmest in-


35








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


terest in all who looked upon her. The num-
ber of pupils was as yet few, and Constance at
first found her situation rather irksome; but
when the plan of instruction was once made
clear to her, nothing could exceed her happi.
piness. Once in each week she returned to
her father's house, and even her mother aot
knowledge she had never seen her so cheerful
It was, indeed, delightful to hear her anmating
expressions of joy as on each successive Saturday
she sat down between her parents to relate ths
new acquirements of the past week. The al,
phabet, the first principles of arithmetic, the
notes of music, were acquisitions worth the
wealth of the Indies to her. Gradually, but
surely, she progressed in the-path of knowledge;
every step required guidance, but every step
brought her nearer the goal of all her hopes.
If he be a benefactor to mankind who causal
two blades of grass to grow where only one
grew before, what gratitude do those deserve
who devote all their talents and energies to the
task of ameliorating the condition of those whom
God has so fearfully stricken I


36








OB, THE BLIND GIRL.


Never was a creature so changed as constance
appeared after a years's sojourn at the Institu-
tion for the Blind. She -had applied the fine
powers of her mind most diligently to the
labour of learning, and great had been her suc-
cess. It was now her pleasure to exhibit to
her happy parents her accurate knowledge of
grammar, arithmetic, geography, and music.
Above all, it was her delight to stand by her
father's side in the library, and while her
finger traced the words on the page as ra-
pidly as the eye could have noted them, to
read in her sweetest tones the pages of the Book
af Life.
Her presence is now a perfect jubilee in
my house," said her father to one of the patient
teachers who had opened so many sources
of enjoyment to her. "Formerly I almost
dreaded to enter my door, for I could not bear
to behold the hopeless sadness depicted in my
poor child's face; but now the day of her
visit is looked upon as a holyday in the
family. May God forgive my bitter repin-
ings, and teach me to be grateful for the good-


37








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


ness which has thus mingled mercy with chas-
tening."
Constance anxiously sought to make herself
mistress of every branch of knowledge. She
would ponder over the embossed maps until her
fingers had made her perfectly familiar with
the form of a country and its most prominent
objects of interest; then her Inext Saturday's
visit to her home enabled her to learn from her
father's lips all that his library could afford of
other information on the subject. She thus
became thoroughly versed in the history, as well
as geography, of every quarter of the globe.
'ental arithmetic was peculiarly suited to her
reflective habits; but music still continued to
be her chief delight, and it was wonderful to
see how rapidly she progressed. Her dread of
cver. being idle led her also to acquire the vari-
ous kinds of handicraft practised among the
pupils, and it was not long before she could
frame a rug, weave a basket, and even occupy
herself in needlework.
Let us pause for a moment, and contemplate
the blind girl in her former and in her present


38








OR, THE BTINI) GIRT.


circumstances. At the period which is usually
the sunniest of all ages, we see her sitting in,
utter darkness, beneath the shadow of despair,
and exclaiming, in the heart-rending accents of
hopeless misery, Who will show me any good '"
Now we behold her moving in the pleasant
light of contentment, and hiving up knowledge,
as the bee stores honey, to be the support of the
wintry days of life.
To crown the happiness of Constance, her
home once more echoed to the- voice of child-
hood. A brother had been born since her
abode in the institution, and she felt as if he
had been sent to supply the place of her little
Julian. A beneficial effect was produced by
this event on the health of the mother, who, in
Che new exercise of maternal duties, seemed to
lose that" burden of grief which had almost
crushed her to the earth. A stranger who
should have looked in upon that little house-
hold of love, as they were grouped in the li-
brary on a Saturday evening, when Constance
touched her guitar in accompaniment to her
sweet voice, and the babe sat on her mother's


39








40 CONSTANCE LATIMER ;
knee, stretching its little hands towards h6r in
childish glee, while her father looked on with
tenderness too deep for words, would have
deemed them perfectly happy.









OR, THE BLIND OIRL.


CHAPTER IV.
When I look
On one so fair, I must believe that Heaven
Sent her in kindness, that our hearts might waken
To their own loveliness, and lift themselves
By such an adoration from a dark
And groveling world. Such beauty should be worshipped,
And not a thought of weakness or decay
Should mingle with the pure and holy dreams
In which It dwells before us."--P aczvAz.

IT was on her fourteenth birthday that Con-
stance returned to her father's house, skilled in
all the wisdom which could be communicated
to the blind. Her person had developed into
that pure, classical beauty of which her child-
hood had given promise. Tall and delicately
formed, with a face of exquisite sweetness, her
soft brown hair parted smoothly on her fair
forehead, and shedding its bright tendrils on
her snowy neck, she was, indeed, a picture of
innocent loveliness. The expression of her
countenance was so gentle, and the long lashes
which usually shaded the pale cheek, and con-


41








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


cealed the rayless eyes, gave such an air of pen-
siveness to her appearance, that she excited the
interest of all who looked upon her.
In addition to her various acquisitions in
learning, and her wonderful skill ii music, her
heart had taught her a new and sweeter lore.
Possessed of the most ardent feelings and a pas-
sionate love for Nature, who always spoke to her
in music; condemned to feed so much upon her
own thoughts, and to find her sweet and bitter
fancies uninterrupted by any external object,--
is it wonderful that the blind girl learned
the language of poetry, and became the lyrist
of emotions which were too powerful for com-
mon speech t Her knowledge of music and her
delicacy of ear enabled her to adapt airs with
great facility. It soon became no unusual thing
for her, after sitting silent a few minutes, to
take her guitar, and sing her own simple words
to some remembered melody. It is true, she
was little more than a child in years; but the
fearful calamity which had cut her off from the
enjoyments of her childish days had made her
prematurely wise in feeling. Her heart was


42








OR, THE BLIND GIRL.


filled with all the gushing tenderness, all the
deep though unawakened energy of a woman's
nature, combined with a purity of thought and
fancy which rarely outlasts the full development
of intellect. There is too much of evil mingled
with the good of this world's wisdom; too much
unholy fire is blended with the light of truth;
and rarely can the mind be illumined by the
one without bearing some blackened trace of con-
tact with the other. But Constance had escaped
a81 knowledge of evil. She was like the pure
and stately lily, growing whiter in the sunshine
-vhich withers the roses that surround it. Poetry
was the natural language of her unsullied heart;
she breathed in numbers because her whole soul
was attuned to harmony. The harp was not
discordant because it had lost a string, for a
master-hand had touched the remaining chords,
and attuned them to discourse the sweetest of
a!l earthly music.
One of her first efforts in verse was a little
song addressed to her brother. Alfred was now
a lovely little boy of some four years old, and
most tenderly attached to his sister. He had


43









CONSTANCE LATIMER


learned to guide her feet to unfrequented spots
with as much care as if he knew the full extent
of her privation; and when she took her guitar,
or seated herself at the piano, his usual station
was upon a cushion at her feet. One afternoon
he had thrown himself on a sofa beside her,
and fallen asleep with his head in her lap. She
busied herself for some time in tracing with her
fnger the outline of his features; but, suddenly
desisting, and brushing away the involuntary
tear, she sung to a plaintive melody the follow-
ing words.:-

Is thy check fair, my brother?
Are thine eyes bright?
Hast thou the smile of our mother,
Her remembered smile of light?
Art thou like the gentle vision
That comes to my sleeping eye,
When my heart in dreams elysian
Claps its lost one in yonder sky?
Vainly I ask, my brother,
No lip caM tell;
The Imaged form of another
In my memory still must dwell;
In vain with impatient fingers
Thy features I seek to trace,
I/i look in my soul still lingers,
And in thine I find Julian's face.


44








OR, THE BLIND GIRL,


Who cannot sympathize with the father,
who stood without, listening to the sweet voice
and touching complaint of his gifted child I
Wealth, such as might purchase a prince's
ransom; beauty, such as immortalized a Helen;
genius, that might have won the laurel of a
Corinna, all were given as if to show the utter
worthlessness of those things which the world
prizes when unaccompanied by the most com-
mon of God's blessings. The shrine was a
glorious one; the music of the sanctuary was
not wanting; but the sacred lamp of the temple
had been extinguished, never to be relighted
till kindled by the flame of immortality.
Constance did not relax in her exertions to
acquire knowledge. Her memory never allowed
any thing to escape its grasp; and her father's
unremitting kindness in reading to her for
hours together enabled her to obtain a vast
deal of elegant literature, which otherwise
would have been a sealed book. The pages of
the poet and the historian were alike familiar
to her; and perhaps, to her sensitive mind,
the graphic sketches of the one and the har-


45








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


monious strains of the other derived a peculiar
charm from being always expressed in the
tones of a father's tenderness.
Your voice is sorrowful, dear father," said
she one day, as her father paused after an
hour's reading; I am afraid you have some
new trouble, for your tones are lately full of
sadness."
You are a quick observer, Constance," re-
plied he; but do you not think your imagina-
tion- sometimes misleads you 7"
No, father, no; the ear that has learned
to detect every shade of feeling, even as your
eye marks every gradation of colour, is not to
be deceived; the faintest change in your voice
is to me as evident as if I could see the cloud
upon your brow. Nay, dear father," continued
she, I cannot bear to hear you sigh; give me
my guitar, and I will sing to you the song I
made yesterday, when Alfred ran with a little
green leaf in his hand to tell me spring was
coming.
They tell me spring is coming
With her wealth of buds and flowers


40









O*R, TUE BLIND GIRL.


47


But I hear no wild bee humming
Amid the leafy bowers;
And till the birds are winging
With music from each truck,
Till the insecttribes are singing,
Spring is not spring to me.

They tell me spring Is waking
All nature from her sleep,
That stream.% their Ice-chains breaking,
Once more to sunshine leap;
But the mountain brook rejoices
In music through the lea,
I must hear earth's many voices,
Or 'tis not spring to me."


Did you sing that sweet but melancholy
song to cheer me, Constance I" said her father.
" Alas! think you the recollection of my child's
misfortunes can comfort me?"
Dear father," replied she, I did not mean
to utter the voice of complaint; earth is so full
of music to mine ear that I sometimes think I
am almost as happy as if mine eye divided its
enjoyments. You know not how rich is the
melody to which God opens the ear of the
blind. Listen !" and the gentle girl touched a
simple accompaniment of chords, while she










48


CONSTANCZ LATIMEa;


sung, in a strain of triumphant music, the fol.
lowing words:-

Earth speaks in many voices: from the roar
Ot the wild cataract, whose ceaseless din
Shakes-the far forest and resounding shore,
To the meek rivulet which seems to win
Its modest way amid spring's pleasant bowers,
Singing its qulet song to charm earth's painted flowers.
Earth speaks in many voices: from the song
Of the free bird which soars to heaven's high porch,
As if on joy's ftUl tide it swept along,
To the low hum that wakens when the torch
Summons the Insect myriads of the night
To sport their little hour and perish in its light.
Earth speaks in many voices: music breathes
In the sweet murmur of the summer breeze,
That plays amid the honeysuckle's wreath.a
Or swells its diapason mid the trees
When eve's cold shadow steals o'er lawn and lea,
And day's glad sounds give place to holier minstrelsy.
Earth speaks in many voices: and to me
Her every tone with melody is fraught;
Her harmony of tints I may not see,
But every breath awakes some pleasant thought;
While to mine car such blissful sounds are given,
My spirit dwells in light, and dreams of yonder heaven








OR, THE BLIND GIRL.


CHAPTER V.
"Though Fortunds malice overthrow my state
My mind exceeds the compass of her whleeL"
SUAK=PKARLU.

CONSTANCE was not deceived when she thought
she discovered sadness in the tones of her father's
voice. The cloud had been for several months
deepening on Mr. Latimer's brow; and though
invisible to the rayless eye of his affectionate
child, yet she was not insensible to the chill
which it threw upon his cheerful spirit. In his
devoted attention to his daughter he had allowed
his business to be chiefly transacted by others,
and he found that the unfaithfulness of agents
abroad and the imprudence of partners at home
had involved him in engagements he should
find it extremely difficult to fulfil. He had
never before known the want of money, and his
proud spirit was goaded almost to madness by


49








COA'STANCE LATIMER ;


the necessity of asking for pecuniary supplies.
But one of those seasons of commercial distress
which occasionally occur in all mercantile coun-
tries, and are felt in every quarter of the globe,
now ensued, and the consequence to Mr. Latimer
was total ruin. The energy with which he had
borne his earlier misfortunes seemed now utterly
to fiil him. Not that fortune was to him of
more value than every other blessing; but, with
a wife in infirm health, a son in early infancy,
and a daughter hopelessly blind, he felt that
poverty was an evil of far greater magnitude
than he had ever before dreamed. His high
sense of honour forbade him to compromise
with his creditors. He knew that he had
property sufficient to pay all his debts at home;
and he doubted not that his foreign affairs, if
properly arranged, would enable him to satisfy
all demands abroad. But, in order to complete
these arrangements, it would lie necessary for
him to leave his family penniless and wander
off into distant lands. The struggle of feeling
stretched him at last on a bed of sickness, and
it was from his delirious ravings, during a severe


50








On, TfIT BLIND GIRTL.


attack of fever, that his family learned the fatal
truth.
A good constitution enabled him to withstand
the violence of his disease; and, immediately
upon his convalescence, he set himself seriously
to the task of retrenchment. One of those sin-
gular but not infrequent changes, which make
the character of woman always a beauty and a
mystery, now occurred in the mind of Mrs. Lati-
mer. For a whole week she gave herself up to
the deepest despair; then, as if she had indeed
found sorrow to be knowledge, she dried her
tears, and never allowed another murmur to
escape her lips. Laying aside all her habits of
luxurious self-indulgence, she devoted herself to
the consolation of her husband, and witnessed
with perfect composure the rapid vanishing of
her costly furniture and plate. A small house
in the city was taken and furnished in the
simplest manner. The kindness of a creditor,
who had often shared the hospitality of the
ruined family, adorned their humble abode with
the piano and guitar, which were so essential to
the bereaved Constance, but no other articles of


51








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


Jaxury found their way within its walls. As if
she had never known their use, Mrs. Latimer
seemed totally regardless of the want of those
elegancies to which she had been accustomed
from her cradle. Her thoughts were only for
her husband and her children. For them she
sought, with all a woman's tact and tasteful man-
agement, to make their new residence look like
the home of comfort, if not of wealth; and Mr.
Latimer felt that even in this sorrow the hand
of Providence had provided a solace. Well may
the mourner believe in the beautiful system of
compensations which prevails throughout the
universe; for never was man compelled to drink
of the bitter fountain of Marah without finding
some kind hand to throw the branch of healing
into its distasteful waters.
For a few days the little Alfred wondered at
the change, and complained for want of the
broad green lawn; but the sorrows of childhood
are as evanescent as the joys of maturer years,
and he soon forgot the privations in the novelties
of his situation. To Constance the change in
their circumstances brought no selfish regrets.


52








OR, THE BLIND GIRL.


It was long since external things had been to
her a source of enjoyment; and though the
bustle of a city was exquisitely painful to an ear
so acutely sensitive to the melody of nature, yet
she would have felt not a momentary pang if
she could have been insensible to the alteration
in her father. With renewed health Mr. Lati-
mer's strength of mind had returned; but the
cheerful tone and elastic step, for which his
daughter used to listen so anxiously, were no
longer heard. Constance knew that his foot
now fell heavily on the narrow stairs; and, in-
stead of the full rich tone she was accustomed
to hear, his voice now sounded in her ear like
the monotonous and melancholy music of the
distant sea.
The acquirements which Constance had re-
garded merely as means of amusing her heavy
hours became, at this time, of actual use. It was
not long before the place of those costly trifles,
which had decorated their former abode, was
supplied by neatly-framed articles of use and
ornament, woven by the delicate fingers of the
blind girl. Mrs. Latimer, in the fulfilment of


53








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


her duties as a housekeeper, found full employ-
ment for a great part of the day, and all the
plain sewing which was required in the little
household was, therefore, performed by Constance.
Nor was this all; for her knowledge of mental
arithmetic and rapidity in calculation enabled
her to be of great assistance to her father in the
arrangement of his private accounts; while her
poetry and music, like the harp of David, served
to chase from the minds of all the demon of de-
spondency.
At the expiration of a year all Mr. Latimer's
debts at home were fully paid, and he was left
penniless. But his high-toned feelings would not
allow him to rest satisfied until his name was
rescued from disgrace abroad; and, borrowing a
sum of money sufficient to secure the comfort of
his family until his return, he embarked for
England, resolving to visit every place where he
had ever established an agency. This was the
hardest of all his trials. lHe knew that several
years must elapse before he could revisit his
home; and when he looked upon his lovely
daughter, now verging towards womanhood,


54








OR, THE BLIND ORItL.


his courage almost failed him. lie thought of
her destitute situation in case he was never per-
mitted to return, and the picture of her unequal
conflict with a selfish world almost overpowered
his imagination. But he believed he was ful-
filling the dictates of conscience; and, silencing
every regret, he bade adieu to all lie held dear on
earth.
How deeply Constance felt the loss of that
devoted parentit is in vain to describe.. It seemed
as if the last glimmer that had cheered her
darkened life was now extinguished. But she
was not one to sit down content with fruitless
repining, when it was possible to act as well as
to suffer. A plan had been secretly maturing
in her mind, which she now determined to put
into practice, since the only obstacle to its ac-
complishment was removed by her father's
absence. This was a scheme for procuring pupils
to be instructed in music, and thus obviating the
necessity of making use of the money which she
knew her father, at the expense of his proudest
feelings, had secured for the maintenance of his
family. In vain did her mother oppose what


55








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


she, naturally enough, considered a hopeless
attempt. Constance was not to be moved from
what she believed to be her duty,and hermother
was at last induced to write, by her dictation,
to a gentleman connected with the Institution
for the Blind, and whose extensive charities were
well known.
"DRAR SIR,-Your well-established reputation
as the friend of the afflicted induces me to ad-
dress you on a subject of vital interest to one
suffering under the severest of all privations. I
am totally blind; and but for that noble insti-
tution of which you are a member, should have
been utterly helpless. I am now well versed in
all the knowledge which could be imparted to
me. Music has been my especial study, and I
may refer you to my instructors for assurances
of my capacity to teach it, which my father's
misfortunes have induced me to attempt as a
means of support. I can teach but I cannot
seek out pupils; and if, amid th : multitude of
urgent claims upon your time, you can find a
moment's leisure to bestow upon her who walks,


56








OR, THE BLIND OIBR. r57
even at noonday, in the shadow of night, your
kindness will not be unrewarded."
The letter also contained her address, and
was signed by herself, her mother guiding her
lund.









CONSTANCE LATIMER;


CHAPTER VI.
"Pensive grace
Was in every motion, and her look
Had something sacred in It, that declared
How pure tho spirit in that form enshrined,
Like light that dwellcth in the diamond gem."--S. P. C.
Tun apartment was brilliantly lighted up, and
a smile of welcome sat upon the lips of his
cheered family, as Mr. Wilson entered his home
at the evening hour. The large arm chair was
rolled to his favourite corner, and the children
of all ages, from the fair girl of eighteen to the
noisy boy of three years, clustered round their
father as he took his accustomed seat. But an
unusual shade of pensiveness was on his brow,
and tears glistened in his eyes as he pressed the
hand of his daughter, which rested fondly on
his knee. "I have seen this evening," said he,
in answer to their anxious inquiries, "a picture
which has thrilled my very heart."


58








OR, TUE BLIND GIL.


Oh, tell us, father, tell us," echoed from the
group.
"I received a letter yesterday," replied he,
"from one whom I well recollect as having been
one of the first pupils admitted into our institu-
tion for the instruction of the blind-I mean
Constance Latimer."
"What, that beautiful little girl you once took
me to see when she was taking her music
lesson, and who, you told me, refused to wear
the ornaments with which her mother had
loaded her, because they excited the envy of
the poorer pupils "
"The same, Gertrude; she was then the heiress
of an immense fortune, and her father one of
the wealthiest as well as worthiest men in the
community. le has since become bankrupt,
and, after having sacrificed every thing to redeem
his honour here, has left his family. in poverty
that he might fulfil his engagements in Europe.
I determined to answer her letter in person,
and glad am I that I did so. I was directed to
a house in street; a healthy-looking
little fellow, about six years of age, opened the


69








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


door for me, and conducted me into one of the
smallest but neatest parlours I ever entered.
The tables and mantel-piece were adorned
with various kinds of fancy articles, such as are
usually manufactured by the blind; and upon
a stand in the corner lay a pile of those large
volumes, printed in embossed letters, which
constitute the Bible for the blind. By the fire
sat a lady, pale and sickly in her appearance,
but extremely graceful in her address, while
near the window was a low seat occupied by the
loveliest figure I ever beheld. Constance Lati-
mer is about two years younger than yourself,
Gertrude, and might serve a painter as a model
for a personification of modesty. Her beauty
is wonderful; I never saw any thing like it;
the recollection seems to me almost dreamlike."
You are quite enthusisatic father," said
Gertrude, smiling.
No wonder, my child," replied Mr. Wilson;
"this lovely young creature is totally blind,
and yet she applied to me to assist her in proof
curing pupils in music, that she might thus be
enabled to support her mother and brother with..


60








OR, TUE BLIND GIRL.


out encroaching on the small sum which her
father left with them, and which, she said, hehlad
only obtained by incurring new obligations.
The heroic virtue of a delicate girl, who thus
forgot her own terrible privations in the wish to
spare her father's feelings, almost overpowered
me. I listened to her plans with wonder, and
left her with a feeling of bewilderment, for the
whole scene seemed rather like a phantasy of
the imagination than a picture of read life."
Oh, father, let her teach me music," said
little Emily, as she clambered on his lap; "I
will be very good, and not trouble the poor
blind lady; do, dear father."
Let me accompany you when next you visit
her," said Gertrude.
I met Mrs. Latimer in public," said Mrs.
Wilson, "when she was the gayest and most
brilliant woman in society; but years have
passed since then; she has gone through much
suffering; and if our slight acquaintance may
now be renewed without an appearance of intru
sion, I should be glad to proffer her the hand
of friendship."


6t








CONSTANCE JIATIMER ;


S"I knew your hearts," returned Mr. Wilson,
eand I was assured I need only tell my story
to awaken as much enthusiasm in you as my
little Gertrude accused me of feeling."
Two pupils were secured to Constance in this
happy group, and the unremitting exertions of
Mr. Wilson during the next three months in-
creased their number to twenty, so that an in-
come of fifteen hundred dollars was secured to
the family by the labour of her who, at first,
seemed the most helpless of its mernbers. As
she could not go abroad to give lessons, she was
necessarily much confined to the house, and de-
barred from that exercise which had always
been so essential to her health; but early in the
morning she might frequently be seen, guided
by the hand of her brother, along the pleasant
walks of the Battery, or crossing to the heights
of Brooklyn to listen to the melodies of nature.
The family of Mr. Wilson did riot relax in their
interest for the-noble-minded girl. An intimacy,
such as probably never would have arisen in the
days of her prosperity, now existed between
Constance and the amiable Gertrude; and


62









OR, TUE BLIND GIRL,


63


many a quiet evening, after the fatigues of a
day's labour in teaching, was spent by the blind
girl in the cheerful parlour of her friend. It
was on one of those evenings, during the early
part of their acquaintance, that Constance sung
the following song addressed to Gertrude:
l.ady, they tell me thou art fair,
They say the rose blooms on thy check;
The rose's blush 1 have forgot,
Its breath alone to mean speak.
Lady, they say thine eye's sft blue
With heaven's own tint is flashing bright;
Alas! I have forgot that hue,
My ky is always clothed in ni;hlt.
Iady, they tell me thou art good,
Thy heart in virtue's cause beats high
I know this tale at least is true,
My ear assists my darkened eye.

Little I know of beauty's form,
The dimpled mouth, the snowy skin,
But I can learn from step and voice
If gentle be the heart within.
I know thou'rt one whom all may lore,
Though thy fair brow I ne'er may see,
And can I doubt thou wilt allow
The blind girl's claim to sympathy.


But their intimacy had not lasted


Tnany3








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


months, when Gertrude was compelled to claim
the sympathy which Constance so plaintively
desired for herself, for she was taken violently
ill, and for many days her recovery was deemed
hopeless. The heart of the blind girl had so
few objects of affection, that it clung to each
with a tenacity which made it almost death to
sever its clasp. Nothing could exceed her pas-
sionate regret when she found that, though Ger.
trude's life was spared, a severe inflammation
had fallen upon her eyes, which confined her
to a darkened room, and threatened her with
total loss of sight. Oh mother." exclaimed
she, when first the tidings were communicated
to her, how will Gertrude bear that dreadful
darkness ? No one can imagine its horrors;
though so young when I was stricken, et to
this hour I shudder when I remember the awful
blackness which enveloped me-a blackness
broken only by the white and stiffened- form
which imagination presented to me. Oh, mother,
mother! I cannot bear to think of Gertrude's
sufferings." Alas none but the God who had
smitten her knew the bitter feelings which Con-


64








OR, THE BLIND GIRL.


stance had hidden in her heart of hearts. She
had come out brighter from the furnace of afflic-
tion, but no one could tell how fierce had been
the fire which had purified her of all earthly
dross.
AU her leisure hours were devoted to her sick
friend ; all that sympathy or affection could de-
vise for her amusement was tried ; and during
the many days her eyes were bandaged, Ger-
trude learned much of the handicraft which has
been appropriated to the occupation of the blind.
She delighted to hear the blind girl sing; and
many a song did Constance frame for the amuse-
ment of the half-impatient invalid. During one
of her visits she for the first time heard, in the
course of conversation, that beautiful line from
the Arabic, The remembrance of youth is a
sigh." The sentiment was too poetical to escape
her sensitive mind, and the ideas which it awak-
ened were expressed in a language which had
now become habitual.
Oh, yes, we may weep over moments departed,
And look on the past with a sorrowthl eye,
For who, roving on, through the world weary-hearted,
But knows the remembrance of youth is a sigh ?"
S


65









CONYSTANCE LATIXER;


Though earth still may wear all its verdure and flower.
Though our pathway still bloom neathh a bright sum9
mer sky,
Yet the serpent lies hid in life's sunniest bowers,
And still the remembrance of youth is a sigh."
Then surely the heart whose best pleasures have vanished,
As spring birds depart when cold winter draws nigh,
The bosom whence hope's sweet illusions are banished,
Must feel the remembrance of youth is a slgh."
Too early bave faded my moments of gladness,
Ere the freshness and morning of life have gone by,
Too early my days have been shrouded in sadness
And to me the remembrance of youth is a sigh."
There was one who took a deeper interest in
the blind girl during her attendance on Gertrude
than he dared to avow. This was Mr. Wilson's
eldest son, who had just returned from the tour
of Europe. Young, talented, and enthusiastic,
there was something peculiarly fascinating to
his romantic nature in the history of the beauti-
ful Constance. Seated unnoticed in a remote
corner of the dimly-lighted apartment, he lis-
tened for many an hour to the sweet fancies and
pure thoughts which filled the measureofherdis-
course with Gertrude. She seemed the very im-
personation of his boyish dreams. Her beauty,
her strength of mind, her poetical genius, lhe


66








OR, THE BLIND GIRL.


graceful manners, nay, her very helplessness,
were all powerful attractions to him. He gazed
upon her delicate loveliness until it almost
seemed to him that the fable of Pygmalion was
realized. But, dangerous as this intercourse
might he to him, it was -to Constance perfectly
harmless. The passions of our mortal nature
seemed effaced from her breast, while only the
gentler affections seemed left; and she welcomed
Edward Wilson as a brother, without dreaming
that there could be any stronger feeling.
A few weary months of darkness were all that
Gertrude was destined to endure. The disease
in her eyes abated, and once more she was per-
mitted to behold the light of day. If anything
could have disturbed the equanimity of Con-
stance's contented temper, it would have been
the exuberance of her friend's joy. Every
moment she was exclaiming aloud at some new
delight afforded her by her newly-recovered
sense. But, whatever Constance felt, her well-
disciplined mind taught her at once to repress
all fruitless regret, and, in sympathy with her
friend, to forget her own privations.


67








CONSTANCE LATIMER;


My brother loves you, Constance," said Ger-
trude, a few weeks after her recovery, as she
beheld his irrepressible agitation at hearing one
of her songs. "' Well, Gertrude, is that strange ?"
replied the pure-hearted girl ; "' do not you love
me too ? I think," added she, "that I regard your
brother as I might have done Julian had he
lived to man's estate."
Nay, Constance, but it is not thus Edward
loves you; he looks on you as one with whom
he would share his future fortunes ; he would
make you his wife, Constance," said Ger-
trude.
Never, Gertrude never!" exclaimed she,
vehemently; "do you forget that the glory of
my life has departed, and that I must hereafter
grope my way in hopeless darkness ? No, he
would not think of it; do not talk so wildly again,
Gertrude ; I have no such dreams, and I would
not have the quiet current of my life disturbed
by vein imaginations."
The next time Constance took her guitar at
her friend's bidding, she sang the following
song :-


68









OR, TnFi BLIND GIRL.


69


Like the wind harp whose melody slumbers
Unwakened by mortal hand,
Till the s~tt breeze called forth its sweet numbers.
Like tones from a seraph's land;
So my lips ever echo the feelings
Which nature alone may impart,
I know nought of passion's revealing,
Then wake not my slumbering hearc
Like a lake lying far on the mountain,
Where foot of man scales not its height,
Fed only by Heaven's pure fountain,
And only reflecting Heaven's light:
So my soul's qniet depths give back only
The feelings where childhood has part
Bless'd with friendship, my life is not lonely.
Ther. wake not my slumbering heart.
The song was breathed into other ears than
those of Gertrude. Edward had stolen to hear
the lay, and it uttered a mandate which he dared
not disobey. No," said he inwardly," the pure
course of that life should never be disturbed
by more eartlily affections than those which
awake in life's bright, infancy. The daughter's
and the sister's love ; the friendship of a heart
unacquainted with the wilder passions of human-
ity ; such alone should be the habitants of that
gentle bosom." With a degree of heroism to-
tally unappreciable by colder hearts, he schooled








' 0 CONSTANCE LATIMER;
himself to look on Constance as a lovely sister,
whose helplessness might naturally awaken a
deeper interest than fraternal tenderness. If
his heart sometimes beat thick, and his pulse
quickened as he gazed upon her exceeding love-
liness, he mastered his emotion and reaped Ilis
reward in the approval of his conscience.








01, TIuE BLINDR GIRL.


CHAPTER VII.
"*You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly bletsMngs
Follow such creatures."---SIAs PIA&v.
TIll Latimer family found many friends will-
ing to aid in rescuing them from a life of toil
and privation, but the noble heart of Constance
spurned the thought of dependence. Her pupils
increased in number, and she was happy in the
certainty that, whatever might be her father's
success, she should never more be a burden to
him. Mr. Latimer had written regularly to
his family, and occasionally sent small sums of
money ; but, unwilling to excite false hopes, he
said nothingof his pecuniary affairs, and they,
of course, concluded that he had nothing favour-
able to communicate. His stay wos prolonged,
month after month, until three years had
elapsed, -when he at length intimated his inten-
tion of returning. Great was their joy when the


71








CONSTANCCE LATIMER ;


time drew near to receive that beloved father.
Everything that affection could suggest was pre-
pared to welcome him ; and, when he did re-
turn, though Constance could not see the re-
newed cheerfulness of his countenance, her first
exclamation was, Oh, father, you have won
back your own glad voice !"
Mr. Latimer had devoted himself to the settle-
ment of his affairs with a zeal and diligence
that gained the good-will of all who had ex-
pected to suffer by his failure. Facilities of all
kinds were afforded him, and, after the most
unremitting toil, he succeeded in satisfying
every claim. A small remnant of his once vast
fortune still remained ; and a successful specu-
lation, which presented itself at the moment
when he was preparing to embark for his native
land, more than trebled its amount. I am
not rich," he replied to his wife's anxious in-
quiries, but I have enough of this world's gear
to raise us far above want ; henceforth I shall
devote myself entirely to my family, and relin-
quish all attempts at commerce." But what
were his feelings when informed of the heroic


72








OR, TUE BLIND GIRL.


conduct of his darling Constance She had care-
fully concealed from him her success as a teacher,
lest lie should be made unhappy by the idea of
the toil which she was enduring ; but now,
when all privation was at an end, he learned
from the lips of Mr. Wilson the whole story of
her energy and heroism. He learned that to
the patient, self-denying labour of his blind
child, the child for the sake of whose suppose
helplessness he most regretted his loss of for-
tune, his family had been indebted for every
comfort, during three long years, while the
money which, at the sacrifice of so much pride,
he had borrowed for their subsistence, had been
paid in less than six months after his departure.
" And this creature," exclaimed he, in a trans-
port of feeling, this angelic creature I would-
have consigned to the grave in my first
moments of despair; this is the child for the
preservation of whose darkened life I dared to
murmur against Providence."
Mr. Latimer's first wish was to possess him-
self once more of his beautiful cottage ; but the
work of improvement was begun, and the home


7.3





Pages
74-75
missing
from
original















THE SON AND HEIR.








TICE


SON AND HEIR.


Slie that soweth Iniquity shall reap vanity."

MY earliest recollections arc those of poverty
and sorrow. I saw my father wasting talents
of the noblest order in a constant struggle for a
bare subsistence ; and my mother, a gentle and
delicate creature, who might have been the or-
nament of palaces, daily condemned to the
merest drudgery of existence. The circumstances
which led to such distress it is needless to re-
count. The childhood of my parents had been
passed amid the most gorgeous scenes of
wealth and luxury; but the birth of their only
son found them "steeped in poverty to the very
lips." Is it any wonder then, that to my








THE SON AND HEIR.


infant mind, wealth should have seemed the
greatest earthly good ?
Children that are brought up in the midst of
affluence are like greenhouse plants ; they de-
velop slowly, and require the constant care of
the cultivator: but the children of the poor,
reared amid privation and suffering, are like the
hardy plants that find their nourishment in the
crevices of the rock; they evolve rapidly, and,
perhaps, partake too much of the nature of tho
indurated soil that fed them. I soon learned to
look upon the world around me with an eye of
thought. He who is not too young to suffer is
old enough to reflect, and many a bitter hour
have I spent in contrasting the degradation of
my own lot with the splendour of others. The
poor who have minds suited to their stations
-they who have been poor from their earliest
generation-are comparatively happy; their toil
procures all that with them constitutes enjoy-
ment; but if there be an evil which exceeds all
others in bitterness, it is poverty when it falls
upon a refined and sensitive spirit.
My father died broken-hearted when I was


80








THE SON AND HEIR.


bout twelve years of age. A neighboring law-
yer, who accidently became acquainted with our
distress, took me into his house as a menial-yes
-I do not hesitate to confess it. I was charit-
ably allowed to brush his boots and make his fires,
while my mother obtained a miserable pittance
by doing coarse sewing for the shops. The two
sons of my master were older than myself, but I
was not long in discovering how infinitely in-
ferior they were in intellect. My father had
laboured diligently to cultivate my mind, and
the facility with which I acquired knowledge
was a solace to his pride, even while it added
new stings to his poverty. I was, therefore, far
more advanced in education than most boys of
my age; and many a time, as I stood behind
the chair of my young masters, obeying their
capricious commands, have I been compelled to
restrain the bitter sneer that rose to my lip at
their palpable ignorance. My boyish vanity soon
induced me to make some display of my rare
acquirements; and the consequence was, that I
was often compelled to sit up half the night pre-
paring Latin exercises for which my masters


81








THE SON AND HEIR.


were to be applauded on the morrow. This was
undoubtedly the worst thing that could have
befallen me. Circumstances would otherwise
have subdued my towering spirit, and reduced
me to the level of my situation; but now a con-
sciousness of my own superiority took entire
possession of my mind. I felt that I was born for
betterthings; and,while I cherishedaboyish con-
tempt for my youthful tyrants, I felt an innate
certainty that the time would come when, from a
superior station in society, I should look upon
them as my inferiors in rank as well as intellect.
Such a state of things was, however, too un-
natural to last long. A blow given by one of
my young tormentors, and returned by the proud
menial, led to a discovery of the peculiar ser-
vices which were required of me. Mr. M, who
was really a generous and liberal-minded man,
after carefully ascertaining the extent of my
acquirements, removed me from my servile
station to the equally laborious, but more hon-
ourable situation of clerk in his office. I received
no salary; but, when my master found that my ser-
vices would enable him todispense with one of hia


82









THEI SON AND HEIR.I


hired assistants, he offered to give me instruction
in his profession as an equivalent, and his offer
was gladly accepted. Behold me, then, at the
age of fifteen, copying deeds in a lawyer's office,
wearing my master's cast-off clothes, pursuing
my studies at moments stolen from sleep, yet
cherishing as lofty dreams of ambition, as if I
had been heir to the proudest name and largest
fortune in the kingdom. My ambition was not
for fame; proud as I was of my mental supe-
riority, I never desired to be distinguished for
learning and talent; wealth was all I asked.
My situation brought me into continual con-
tact with wealth and rank, and little did the
titled clients of my master think that the poor
clerk whowroteout their cases, often with a smile
of contempt at their paltry subjects of litigation,
concealed beneath his shabby exterior a spirit
destined because determined, -to rise. "Possunt
quia posse videntur" has ever been my motto.
I believe that the mind of man,with its strangely
complicated energies and lofty aspi rations, is equal
to any undertaking; and where the wil is un-
faltering, the power cannot be found wanting.


83








8THE SON AND IEIR.


How vividly do I recollect all the occurrences
of that period. Youth is generally a season of
enjoyment; and, therefore, it is that, when we
look back to it in later years, we can scarcely
ever recall its details. We remember some
events, perhaps, but how few are they in com-
parison with those we have forgotten! We
recur to the season of youth with a feeling of
vague and indistinct pleasure, for the footprints
of joy leave too slight an impression upon the
sandy desert of our hearts not to be easily effaced
by the next whirlwind of emotion. But when
our early life has been unhappy it is very differ-
ent. When we grow up amid privation and
suffering; when our souls are consumed by the
fire of secret discontent even from our childhood;
when we are daily compelled to endure the
"proud one's contumely," and to have our best
feelings trampled on by those who, born with-
out hearts themselves, can never learn that
others may be less fortunate; when such have
been the events that have measured out our
youth, we never forget them.
It happened one day that Mr. M. was un-


84








THE SON AND hEIR.


avoidably absent from the office, and several
gentlemen were awaiting his return; so that
in addition to the half dozen clerks usually found
there, the apartment was occupied by a number
of his clients. Among others I "observed the
lion. George Fitzroy, and easily perceived from
his manner that he was exceedingly impatient
of the delay. I was at that moment busily en-
gaged in finishing the papers which I knew he
came to obtain. Wishing to spare him some
unnecessary detention, I approached him, and
in a low voice said, We have almost finished
your papers, sir, and if you wil have the good-
ness to send in half an hour, they will be ready."
Eying me with a look of ineffable scorn, and
raising his voice so as to be heard by every person
in the room, he exclaimed, "We, sir I We / pray
who are we ? My business is with Mr. M., not
with a hireling !" Maddened wfth passion, my
first impulse was to fell him to the earth, but
my upraised arm was caught by a fellow-clerk.
The violence of my emotion was too great even
formy robust frame ; the blood gushed in torrents
from my mouth, and I fell senseless at the feet


85








THE SON AND HEIR.


of my insulter. I had broken one of the minor
blood vessels, and for many weeks was unable
to leave my room ; but even there, in the soli-
tude of a sick chamber, with death watching
beside me, I& vowed to be revenged. I never
stretched out my hand to injure the scorner, yet
my vow was gloriously fulfilled. Time, that slow
but sure avenger, brought an opportunity that
the utmost refinement of hatred could scarcely
have anticipated. Fifteen years afterward, when
I was presiding with almost unlimited authority
over one of the richest provinces in British India,
the Hon. G. Fitzroy, beggared by extravagance,
and an outcast from his family, was occupying
the humble station of my under secretary! Yes,
I saved him from starving, and, until the day of
his death, the proud fool received the wages of
servitude from the hands of the lawyer's hire-
ling.
Such were the insults and mortifications that
goaded me almost to madness, and would have
crushed me into an untimely grave, had I not
been supported by the hope that the hour of
triumph would come. That hour did come.


86








TIE SON AND HEIR.


I have lived to trample upon those who would
have trodden me under foot; aye, and to be
crushed too, even in the moment of success, by
a blow as unexpected as it was inevitable.
I was twenty-one years of age when an office
of considerable trust and profit under government
wasbestowed uponmymaster. Oneofhissons was
at first employed as his secretary, but it wassoon
discovered that young M. could only be saved
from an ignominious dismissal by substituting me
in his place. The appointment was accordingly
transferred to me, with a salary of three hun-
dred pounds a-year. Could the newly-fledged
butterfly, as he lifts himself upon his golden
wings far above the earth on which he so lately
crawled, be endowed with human feelings, me-
thinks he would feel as I did then. For the
first time I was independent; nay, more, I was
rich-richer with that poor three hundred a-year
than I have since been with an income of fifty
thousand. Everything, even our own emotions,
must be appreciated by comparison; and cer-
tainly the man who, for the first time in his life,
receives the means of a comfortable live:ihoux,


87








TH3 SON AND HERB.


as the fruit of his own industry, is happier than
he will ever be again, though he should in after-
life become the possessor of millions.
I was now enabled to rescue my mother from
a life of toil; and never shall I forget the ex-
quisite sensations which thrilled my heart when
I brought her from the miserable lodgings
where she had wasted the best years of her life
to the plain but comfortable abode which we
were now to occupy together. From my infancy
I had been accustomed to consider wealth the
source of happiness, and now the oe favour
which I had received from the hands of fortune,
had been the means of procuring me the sweet-
est pleasure which the heart of man is capable
of enjoying. Is it any wonder then, that I still
determined to pursue the career of wealth ?
Everything served to keep alive the love of gold
in my heart. My new situation threw me con-
stantly in the way of that peculiar class of men
whose every look is indicative of moneyed im-
portance ; whose very complexion seems satur-
ated with gold dust; I mean the East India
merchants. I soon learned that the shortest


88















I -O













m ....










Myv new nltuatlon threw mu consttv litn bthe way of t at Upd ar clas of in)n w)iose very look is
Indillatle of monded Importance, whob* very complexion setns asiut. td with gold dust; 1 mu1n
the Vast India merchan.--Page 8&.


.5~fh,~' Xq
~a 1.:








THE SON AND HEIR.


possible road to wealth was to be found in India,
and there I determined to seek it.
All my leisure time was now devoted to the
study of the various Indian dialects. An old
merchant, who had resided many years in the
country, offered to assist me, and, no doubt, was
as much gratified to find a ready listener to his
marvellous tales, as I was to obtain a capable
guide in the new path which seemed opening
before me. He was a man of very singular
character. Possessing a mind of wonderful en-
ergy, he would have distinguished himself in
any profession to which he had applied himself;
but he had been early devoted to a business
life, and repugnant as it was to his elegant taste,
he soon learned to adapt himself to circum-
stances, and forgot that he had ever had a wish
beyond his counting-room. It happened with
him, as it doubtless does with many others:
compelled to sacrifice his first hopes, he devoted
all his energies to the work that he was called
to perform; and as a man of ardent temper-
ament can never be mddiocre in anything, he
soon became as eager in the pursuit of wealth


89








THE SON AND HEIB.


as he might otherwise have been in the acqui-
sition of fame. He was now an old man, and
money was everything to him. To pile guinea
upon guinea was his only pleasure; and no
sooner did he learn the similarity of my feel-
ings, than I became his chief favourite.
His house had however another attraction
for me. His only surviving relative was an
orphan niece, whom, since his return from India,
he had taken home as his adopted daughter.
Young, beautiful, and artless as a child, Emily
Halford appeared to me like a creature of an-
other sphere. It is true I had scarcely looked
upon a woman when I beheld her; but even
now, after the lapse of so many years, when so
many visions of youth, and beauty, and mental
loveliness, are bright in my recollection, there
is still no form like hers. Mr. Halford early per-
ceived my attachment. You love my niece,"
said he ; I am not surprised ; she is a charm-
ing girl, and I would rather bestow her on a
man like yourself who, born poor, possess the
capacity of making a fortune, than on the heir
of a princely estate, if- the follies and exti ava-


90








THE SON AND HEIR.


gances of modern education were a part of the
inheritance.. The husband of my niece will
be the heir of my fortune, but not until he shall
have merited it; my gold is the fruit of indus-
try, and it shall never go to enrich the idle."
Alive only to the consciousness that I was per-
mitted to win the affections of Emily, I was
utterly regardless of the old man's last words.
Alas I remembered them bitterly enough soon
after.
I should have loved Emily if she had been
friendless and destitute. There was a graceful
and womanly tenderness in her manner, which
to me was irresistible. Sordidness and selfsh-
ness have ever characterized my dealings with
men, but never have I forgotten my almost
chivalrous veneration for the pure and noble
nature of woman. After a brief interval we
were married; and as it had been arranged
that Emily should still reside with her uncle, a
very material change immediately took place in
my mode of life. Had I hoped to derive any
pecuniary advantages, however, I should have
been much disappointed; a set of pearl ornaments


91








THE SON AND HEIR.


was Mr. Halford's only marriage gift. I was
now, apparently, on the very pinnacle of good
fortune. Living, if not in the midst of the re-
finements of rank, at least surrounded by all
the magnificence of opulence, who would ever
have recognized in the happy husband of the
beautiful heiress, the ragged and squalid serving
boy I Emily was devotedly attached to me, and
there was something inexpressibly delightful in
the consciousness that, among the cold and self-
ish beings who made up my world, one heart
was found to love me with a deep and disinter-
ested affection.
Our happiness was first interrupted about a
year after our marriage by the illness of my
sweet wife. The sudden death of our infant
boy, who lived just long enough to awaken a
mother's tenderness in her bosom, seriously
affected her health, and she was just recover-
ing from a long fit of sickness, when we were
called to mourn the death of her eccentric but
kind old uncle. He had been talking cheer-
fully with us all the evening, smoked several
pipes of his rose-scented Turkish tobacco, drank


92








THE SON AND HEI.


his usual quantity of old Madeira, and the next
morning he was found lying cold and stiff in
bed, apparently in the very posture in which
he had composed himself to sleep. We mourned
for him with a genuine sorrow; for, singular
as were his habits, no man possessed a kinder
heart; and, if that heart had been contracted
by trafficking with his fellow-men, and his na-
turally fine intellect subjected to the iron bond-
age of selfish avarice, it was the fault of those
who chained to the galley of commerce a spirit
that might else have aspired to the loftiest
realms of undiscovered truth.
But the worst of our misfortunes was yet to
come. Mr. Halford had frequently thrown out
hints of his intention to procure for me a situ-
ation in India ; and, although I expected, of
course, to benefit by his wealth in future, I
was still desirous to push my own fortunes. It
was, doubtless, a fear lest the possession of im-
mediate wealth should induce me to relax in
my habits of industry that induced him to make
so singular a will. Upon examining his papers,
three several copies of his will were found in


93








THE 80N AND HEIR.


different, but equally secure places, as if he
were resolved to guard against all contingen-
cies. After a few trifling legacies to old do-
mestics, he bequeathed the whole of his fortune
to me, but with this singular proviso-the
whole of the property, including landed estate,
stocks, furniture, plate, &c., was given in trust
to his executors, to be paid into my hands as
soon as I should give satisfactory proof that I
was worth fifty thousand pounds, acquired by
my own exertions. In case of my death be-
fore the requisite sum was obtained, a certain
portion was allotted to my wife, and the re-
mainder appropriated to the endowment of
several charitable institutions. Thus I found
myself the heir to a magnificent fortune, but,
at the same time, with no other means of pro-
viding for my family than the salary which I
received from my secretaryship. Irritated as
I was by this absurd bequest, my anger knew
no bounds when I found that even the house
we occupied, with its furniture and plate, was
to be sold, and the proceeds added to that al-
ready overgrown fortune, which was not to be


94








THE SON AND BEIR.


mine until I should be able to do without
it. I was compelled to remove to my former
abode, still occupied by my mother ; but I en-
tered it as if it had been a prison. The fetters
which luxury weaves around us are like the
bonds with which the IAlliputians confined the
sleeping Gulliver ; separately, each might be
broken by the turning of a finger ; it is the
vast number of invisible chains fastened upon
us by the factitious indulgences of wealth that
renders us powerless beneath them. Little
more than two years before, I had tasted in
these humble apartments the first sweet draught
from fortune's cup ; and now, when her over-
flowing chalice seemed offered to my lips, only
to be withdrawn ere I could quaff one drop,
my impatient spirit was almost maddened by
the disappointment. My poor Emily used
every effort to reconcile me to my situation.
Though her life had been passed amid all the
comfort of affluence, and mine amid all the
evils of poverty, yet she cheerfully relinquished
the luxurious habits which to her were a se-
cond nature, while I could not reconcile myself


95








THE SON AND HEIR.


to their loss, though I had scarcely yet learned
to enjoy them. Unwilling to pain her gentle
nature, I endeavoured to appear contented;
but only those who can fully enter into my
passionate desire for wealth, could understand
with what loathing I looked upon my present
mean condition From the time I left Mr.
Halford's house I never enjoyed a single re-
past. The rich dnasik, the massive silver
dinner-service, the splendid china, which alone
had cost more than the whole of my present
income-all had vanished from my table, and
I was weak enough to feel their loss as severely
as if they had been as essential as the food to
which they were the accompaniments.
I was soon to be punished for my folly. The
death of Mr. M., my first patron, deprived me
of my only dependance-the salary which I
received as his secretary. Judge, then, of my
situation. I had taken up all the arrears of
my salary in order to furnish anew my hum-
ble habitation for the reception of my wife,
and I now found myself absolutely penniless.
Even now my blood boils at the recollection of


96








THE O8N AND HEIR.


that period. In vain I sought for employment;
the very eagerness with which I desired it
seemed to prejudice those who might other-
wise have engaged my services; for, in nine
cases out of ten, the wealthy consider poverty
so great a temptation to dishonesty, that they
can seldom bring themselves to confide in the
integrity of a poor man. The conditions of Mr.
Halford's will were also prejudicial to my cha-
racter, for the mass of mankind are always ready
to attribute the worst motives and causes to
that which seems incomprehensible. Day after
-day my affairs became more desperate, until, at
length, it was only by the sale of our useless
furniture and my wife's ornaments that w.
were preserved from starvation. I knew that
Mr. Halford had applied for a situation for me
in the service of the East India Company, but
no answer had been returned to his application;
and, rendered half mad by the rapid diminu-
tion of our little stock of money, I resolved to
apply to one of the executors of Mr. Halford's
estate. He was a stern, hard-featured man,
who had begun life as a cabin-boy on board a
a


97








THE SON AND HEIR.


man-of-war ; and, having weathered many a
stiff gale, he had no idea of any distress beyond
that which the animal frame might suffer. He
listened with the utmost coolness to my im-
passioned appeal, and calmly repUed, that, as
the estate had been given to him in trust, he
was not at liberty to dispose of it ", But my wife
-my mother, are starving !" I exclaimed ; give
me only a hundred poundsforpresent necessities."
Impossible, yoing man," was his reply ;
" your chances of obtaining the estate are very
trifling, and it is my duty to fulfil the wishes
of the testator. An industrious man never
need have a starving family ; there are plenty
of employment for those who choose to seek
them. I cannot dispose of the funds of my
late friend ; but, as you are in distress, here is
a sum which will relieve you for the present.
You need not consider it a loan; you will pro-
bably never be able to repay it." So saying,
he handed me a bank bill for five pounds. I
need not say how indignantly I spurned his in-
suiting charity, and, dashing the bill in his
-face, hurried from the house.


98








THE SON AND HEIR.


Cursing, in a paroxysm of rage, the fool who
had given me a fortune in expectancy, only to
render more bitter my present misery, I hast-
ened home. What a scene there presented it-
self! My landlord had been, during my
absence, to demand his rent; his harsh and
unfeeling violence terrified my helpless family,
and I entered the house only to look upon the
dead body of my second infant, and to behold
my wife in strong convulsions. The fearful
strength of my agony produced the same effect
that excessive rage had done in earlier life, and
again a ruptured blood-vessel stretched me upon
a bed of sickness. Many weary weeks passed
before I was again conscious of surrounding
objects. The agitation of my feelings brought
on a fever, which spent its strength upon my
brain, and, during the paroxysms of my de-
lirium, I was continually raving about my
dying Emily. How great was my delight when
the first object on which my eye rested, with
a glance of recognition, was my wife-pale, in-
deed, and languid, but evidently restored to
health.


99




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