Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Chapter 5

IS there such a feeling as love at first sight? And if there be, in what
does its nature differ from love founded in long observation and slow
growth? Perhaps its effects are not so permanent; but they are, while they
last, as violent and intense. We walk the pathless mazes of society, vacant
of joy, till we hold this clue, leading us through that labyrinth to
paradise. Our nature dim, like to an unlighted torch, sleeps in formless
blank till the fire attain it; this life of life, this light to moon, and
glory to the sun. What does it matter, whether the fire be struck from
flint and steel, nourished with care into a flame, slowly communicated to
the dark wick, or whether swiftly the radiant power of light and warmth
passes from a kindred power, and shines at once the beacon and the hope. In
the deepest fountain of my heart the pulses were stirred; around, above,
beneath, the clinging Memory as a cloak enwrapt me. In no one moment of
coming time did I feel as I had done in time gone by. The spirit of Idris
hovered in the air I breathed; her eyes were ever and for ever bent on
mine; her remembered smile blinded my faint gaze, and caused me to walk as
one, not in eclipse, not in darkness and vacancy--but in a new and
brilliant light, too novel, too dazzling for my human senses. On every
leaf, on every small division of the universe, (as on the hyacinth ai is
engraved) was imprinted the talisman of my existence--SHE LIVES! SHE IS!
--I had not time yet to analyze my feeling, to take myself to task, and
leash in the tameless passion; all was one idea, one feeling, one knowledge
--it was my life!

But the die was cast--Raymond would marry Idris. The merry marriage bells
rung in my ears; I heard the nation's gratulation which followed the union;
the ambitious noble uprose with swift eagle-flight, from the lowly ground
to regal supremacy--and to the love of Idris. Yet, not so! She did not
love him; she had called me her friend; she had smiled on me; to me she had
entrusted her heart's dearest hope, the welfare of Adrian. This reflection
thawed my congealing blood, and again the tide of life and love flowed
impetuously onward, again to ebb as my busy thoughts changed.

The debate had ended at three in the morning. My soul was in tumults; I
traversed the streets with eager rapidity. Truly, I was mad that night--
love--which I have named a giant from its birth, wrestled with despair!
My heart, the field of combat, was wounded by the iron heel of the one,
watered by the gushing tears of the other. Day, hateful to me, dawned; I
retreated to my lodgings--I threw myself on a couch--I slept--was it
sleep?--for thought was still alive--love and despair struggled still,
and I writhed with unendurable pain.

I awoke half stupefied; I felt a heavy oppression on me, but knew not
wherefore; I entered, as it were, the council-chamber of my brain, and
questioned the various ministers of thought therein assembled; too soon I
remembered all; too soon my limbs quivered beneath the tormenting power;
soon, too soon, I knew myself a slave!

Suddenly, unannounced, Lord Raymond entered my apartment. He came in gaily,
singing the Tyrolese song of liberty; noticed me with a gracious nod, and
threw himself on a sopha opposite the copy of a bust of the Apollo
Belvidere. After one or two trivial remarks, to which I sullenly replied,
he suddenly cried, looking at the bust, "I am called like that victor! Not
a bad idea; the head will serve for my new coinage, and be an omen to all
dutiful subjects of my future success."

He said this in his most gay, yet benevolent manner, and smiled, not
disdainfully, but in playful mockery of himself. Then his countenance
suddenly darkened, and in that shrill tone peculiar to himself, he cried,
"I fought a good battle last night; higher conquest the plains of Greece
never saw me achieve. Now I am the first man in the state, burthen of every
ballad, and object of old women's mumbled devotions. What are your
meditations? You, who fancy that you can read the human soul, as your
native lake reads each crevice and folding of its surrounding hills--say
what you think of me; king-expectant, angel or devil, which?"

This ironical tone was discord to my bursting, over-boiling-heart; I was
nettled by his insolence, and replied with bitterness; "There is a spirit,
neither angel or devil, damned to limbo merely." I saw his cheeks become
pale, and his lips whiten and quiver; his anger served but to enkindle
mine, and I answered with a determined look his eyes which glared on me;
suddenly they were withdrawn, cast down, a tear, I thought, wetted the dark
lashes; I was softened, and with involuntary emotion added, "Not that you
are such, my dear lord."

I paused, even awed by the agitation he evinced; "Yes," he said at length,
rising and biting his lip, as he strove to curb his passion; "Such am I!
You do not know me, Verney; neither you, nor our audience of last night,
nor does universal England know aught of me. I stand here, it would seem,
an elected king; this hand is about to grasp a sceptre; these brows feel in
each nerve the coming diadem. I appear to have strength, power, victory;
standing as a dome-supporting column stands; and I am--a reed! I have
ambition, and that attains its aim; my nightly dreams are realized, my
waking hopes fulfilled; a kingdom awaits my acceptance, my enemies are
overthrown. But here," and he struck his heart with violence, "here is the
rebel, here the stumbling-block; this over-ruling heart, which I may drain
of its living blood; but, while one fluttering pulsation remains, I am its
slave."

He spoke with a broken voice, then bowed his head, and, hiding his face in
his hands, wept. I was still smarting from my own disappointment; yet this
scene oppressed me even to terror, nor could I interrupt his access of
passion. It subsided at length; and, throwing himself on the couch, he
remained silent and motionless, except that his changeful features shewed a
strong internal conflict. At last he rose, and said in his usual tone of
voice, "The time grows on us, Verney, I must away. Let me not forget my
chiefest errand here. Will you accompany me to Windsor to-morrow? You will
not be dishonoured by my society, and as this is probably the last service,
or disservice you can do me, will you grant my request?"

He held out his hand with almost a bashful air. Swiftly I thought--Yes, I
will witness the last scene of the drama. Beside which, his mien conquered
me, and an affectionate sentiment towards him, again filled my heart--I
bade him command me. "Aye, that I will," said he gaily, "that's my cue now;
be with me to-morrow morning by seven; be secret and faithful; and you
shall be groom of the stole ere long."

So saying, he hastened away, vaulted on his horse, and with a gesture as if
he gave me his hand to kiss, bade me another laughing adieu. Left to
myself, I strove with painful intensity to divine the motive of his request
and foresee the events of the coming day. The hours passed on unperceived;
my head ached with thought, the nerves seemed teeming with the over full
fraught--I clasped my burning brow, as if my fevered hand could medicine
its pain. I was punctual to the appointed hour on the following day, and
found Lord Raymond waiting for me. We got into his carriage, and proceeded
towards Windsor. I had tutored myself, and was resolved by no outward sign
to disclose my internal agitation.

"What a mistake Ryland made," said Raymond, "when he thought to overpower
me the other night. He spoke well, very well; such an harangue would have
succeeded better addressed to me singly, than to the fools and knaves
assembled yonder. Had I been alone, I should have listened to him with a
wish to hear reason, but when he endeavoured to vanquish me in my own
territory, with my own weapons, he put me on my mettle, and the event was
such as all might have expected."

I smiled incredulously, and replied: "I am of Ryland's way of thinking, and
will, if you please, repeat all his arguments; we shall see how far you
will be induced by them, to change the royal for the patriotic style."

"The repetition would be useless," said Raymond, "since I well remember
them, and have many others, self-suggested, which speak with unanswerable
persuasion."

He did not explain himself, nor did I make any remark on his reply. Our
silence endured for some miles, till the country with open fields, or shady
woods and parks, presented pleasant objects to our view. After some
observations on the scenery and seats, Raymond said: "Philosophers have
called man a microcosm of nature, and find a reflection in the internal
mind for all this machinery visibly at work around us. This theory has
often been a source of amusement to me; and many an idle hour have I spent,
exercising my ingenuity in finding resemblances. Does not Lord Bacon say
that, 'the falling from a discord to a concord, which maketh great
sweetness in music, hath an agreement with the affections, which are
re-integrated to the better after some dislikes?' What a sea is the tide of
passion, whose fountains are in our own nature! Our virtues are the
quick-sands, which shew themselves at calm and low water; but let the waves
arise and the winds buffet them, and the poor devil whose hope was in their
durability, finds them sink from under him. The fashions of the world, its
exigencies, educations and pursuits, are winds to drive our wills, like
clouds all one way; but let a thunderstorm arise in the shape of love,
hate, or ambition, and the rack goes backward, stemming the opposing air in
triumph."

"Yet," replied I, "nature always presents to our eyes the appearance of a
patient: while there is an active principle in man which is capable of
ruling fortune, and at least of tacking against the gale, till it in some
mode conquers it."

"There is more of what is specious than true in your distinction," said my
companion. "Did we form ourselves, choosing our dispositions, and our
powers? I find myself, for one, as a stringed instrument with chords and
stops--but I have no power to turn the pegs, or pitch my thoughts to a
higher or lower key."

"Other men," I observed, "may be better musicians."

"I talk not of others, but myself," replied Raymond, "and I am as fair an
example to go by as another. I cannot set my heart to a particular tune, or
run voluntary changes on my will. We are born; we choose neither our
parents, nor our station; we are educated by others, or by the world's
circumstance, and this cultivation, mingling with our innate disposition,
is the soil in which our desires, passions, and motives grow."

"There is much truth in what you say," said I, "and yet no man ever acts
upon this theory. Who, when he makes a choice, says, Thus I choose, because
I am necessitated? Does he not on the contrary feel a freedom of will
within him, which, though you may call it fallacious, still actuates him as
he decides?"

"Exactly so," replied Raymond, "another link of the breakless chain.
Were I now to commit an act which would annihilate my hopes, and
pluck the regal garment from my mortal limbs, to clothe them in ordinary
weeds, would this, think you, be an act of free-will on my part?"

As we talked thus, I perceived that we were not going the ordinary road to
Windsor, but through Englefield Green, towards Bishopgate Heath. I began to
divine that Idris was not the object of our journey, but that I was brought
to witness the scene that was to decide the fate of Raymond--and of
Perdita. Raymond had evidently vacillated during his journey, and
irresolution was marked in every gesture as we entered Perdita's cottage. I
watched him curiously, determined that, if this hesitation should continue,
I would assist Perdita to overcome herself, and teach her to disdain the
wavering love of him, who balanced between the possession of a crown, and
of her, whose excellence and affection transcended the worth of a
kingdom.

We found her in her flower-adorned alcove; she was reading the newspaper
report of the debate in parliament, that apparently doomed her to
hopelessness. That heart-sinking feeling was painted in her sunk eyes and
spiritless attitude; a cloud was on her beauty, and frequent sighs were
tokens of her distress. This sight had an instantaneous effect on Raymond;
his eyes beamed with tenderness, and remorse clothed his manners with
earnestness and truth. He sat beside her; and, taking the paper from her
hand, said, "Not a word more shall my sweet Perdita read of this contention
of madmen and fools. I must not permit you to be acquainted with the extent
of my delusion, lest you despise me; although, believe me, a wish to appear
before you, not vanquished, but as a conqueror, inspired me during my wordy
war."

Perdita looked at him like one amazed; her expressive countenance shone for
a moment with tenderness; to see him only was happiness. But a bitter
thought swiftly shadowed her joy; she bent her eyes on the ground,
endeavouring to master the passion of tears that threatened to overwhelm
her. Raymond continued, "I will not act a part with you, dear girl, or
appear other than what I am, weak and unworthy, more fit to excite your
disdain than your love. Yet you do love me; I feel and know that you do,
and thence I draw my most cherished hopes. If pride guided you, or even
reason, you might well reject me. Do so; if your high heart, incapable of
my infirmity of purpose, refuses to bend to the lowness of mine. Turn from
me, if you will,--if you can. If your whole soul does not urge you to
forgive me--if your entire heart does not open wide its door to admit me
to its very centre, forsake me, never speak to me again. I, though sinning
against you almost beyond remission, I also am proud; there must be no
reserve in your pardon--no drawback to the gift of your affection."

Perdita looked down, confused, yet pleased. My presence embarrassed her; so
that she dared not turn to meet her lover's eye, or trust her voice to
assure him of her affection; while a blush mantled her cheek, and her
disconsolate air was exchanged for one expressive of deep-felt joy. Raymond
encircled her waist with his arm, and continued, "I do not deny that I have
balanced between you and the highest hope that mortal men can entertain;
but I do so no longer. Take me--mould me to your will, possess my heart
and soul to all eternity. If you refuse to contribute to my happiness, I
quit England to-night, and will never set foot in it again.

"Lionel, you hear: witness for me: persuade your sister to forgive the
injury I have done her; persuade her to be mine."

"There needs no persuasion," said the blushing Perdita, "except your own
dear promises, and my ready heart, which whispers to me that they are
true."

That same evening we all three walked together in the forest, and, with the
garrulity which happiness inspires, they detailed to me the history of
their loves. It was pleasant to see the haughty Raymond and reserved
Perdita changed through happy love into prattling, playful children, both
losing their characteristic dignity in the fulness of mutual contentment. A
night or two ago Lord Raymond, with a brow of care, and a heart oppressed
with thought, bent all his energies to silence or persuade the legislators
of England that a sceptre was not too weighty for his hand, while visions
of dominion, war, and triumph floated before him; now, frolicsome as a
lively boy sporting under his mother's approving eye, the hopes of his
ambition were complete, when he pressed the small fair hand of Perdita to
his lips; while she, radiant with delight, looked on the still pool, not
truly admiring herself, but drinking in with rapture the reflection there
made of the form of herself and her lover, shewn for the first time in dear
conjunction.

I rambled away from them. If the rapture of assured sympathy was theirs, I
enjoyed that of restored hope. I looked on the regal towers of Windsor.
High is the wall and strong the barrier that separate me from my Star of
Beauty. But not impassible. She will not be his. A few more years dwell in
thy native garden, sweet flower, till I by toil and time acquire a right to
gather thee. Despair not, nor bid me despair! What must I do now? First I
must seek Adrian, and restore him to her. Patience, gentleness, and untired
affection, shall recall him, if it be true, as Raymond says, that he is
mad; energy and courage shall rescue him, if he be unjustly imprisoned.

After the lovers again joined me, we supped together in the alcove. Truly
it was a fairy's supper; for though the air was perfumed by the scent of
fruits and wine, we none of us either ate or drank--even the beauty of
the night was unobserved; their extasy could not be increased by outward
objects, and I was wrapt in reverie. At about midnight Raymond and I took
leave of my sister, to return to town. He was all gaiety; scraps of songs
fell from his lips; every thought of his mind--every object about us,
gleamed under the sunshine of his mirth. He accused me of melancholy, of
ill-humour and envy.

"Not so," said I, "though I confess that my thoughts are not occupied as
pleasantly as yours are. You promised to facilitate my visit to Adrian; I
conjure you to perform your promise. I cannot linger here; I long to soothe
--perhaps to cure the malady of my first and best friend. I shall
immediately depart for Dunkeld."

"Thou bird of night," replied Raymond, "what an eclipse do you throw across
my bright thoughts, forcing me to call to mind that melancholy ruin, which
stands in mental desolation, more irreparable than a fragment of a carved
column in a weed-grown field. You dream that you can restore him? Daedalus
never wound so inextricable an error round Minotaur, as madness has woven
about his imprisoned reason. Nor you, nor any other Theseus, can thread the
labyrinth, to which perhaps some unkind Ariadne has the clue."

"You allude to Evadne Zaimi: but she is not in England."

"And were she," said Raymond, "I would not advise her seeing him. Better to
decay in absolute delirium, than to be the victim of the methodical
unreason of ill-bestowed love. The long duration of his malady has probably
erased from his mind all vestige of her; and it were well that it should
never again be imprinted. You will find him at Dunkeld; gentle and
tractable he wanders up the hills, and through the wood, or sits listening
beside the waterfall. You may see him--his hair stuck with wild flowers
--his eyes full of untraceable meaning--his voice broken--his person
wasted to a shadow. He plucks flowers and weeds, and weaves chaplets of
them, or sails yellow leaves and bits of bark on the stream, rejoicing in
their safety, or weeping at their wreck. The very memory half unmans me. By
Heaven! the first tears I have shed since boyhood rushed scalding into my
eyes when I saw him."

It needed not this last account to spur me on to visit him. I only doubted
whether or not I should endeavour to see Idris again, before I departed.
This doubt was decided on the following day. Early in the morning Raymond
came to me; intelligence had arrived that Adrian was dangerously ill, and
it appeared impossible that his failing strength should surmount the
disorder. "To-morrow," said Raymond, "his mother and sister set out for
Scotland to see him once again."

"And I go to-day," I cried; "this very hour I will engage a sailing
balloon; I shall be there in forty-eight hours at furthest, perhaps in
less, if the wind is fair. Farewell, Raymond; be happy in having chosen the
better part in life. This turn of fortune revives me. I feared madness, not
sickness--I have a presentiment that Adrian will not die; perhaps this
illness is a crisis, and he may recover."

Everything favoured my journey. The balloon rose about half a mile from the
earth, and with a favourable wind it hurried through the air, its feathered
vans cleaving the unopposing atmosphere. Notwithstanding the melancholy
object of my journey, my spirits were exhilarated by reviving hope, by the
swift motion of the airy pinnace, and the balmy visitation of the sunny
air. The pilot hardly moved the plumed steerage, and the slender mechanism
of the wings, wide unfurled, gave forth a murmuring noise, soothing to the
sense. Plain and hill, stream and corn-field, were discernible below, while
we unimpeded sped on swift and secure, as a wild swan in his spring-tide
flight. The machine obeyed the slightest motion of the helm; and, the wind
blowing steadily, there was no let or obstacle to our course. Such was the
power of man over the elements; a power long sought, and lately won; yet
foretold in by-gone time by the prince of poets, whose verses I quoted much
to the astonishment of my pilot, when I told him how many hundred years ago
they had been written:--

Oh! human wit, thou can'st invent much ill,
Thou searchest strange arts: who would think by skill,
An heavy man like a light bird should stray,
And through the empty heavens find a way?

I alighted at Perth; and, though much fatigued by a constant exposure to
the air for many hours, I would not rest, but merely altering my mode of
conveyance, I went by land instead of air, to Dunkeld. The sun was rising
as I entered the opening of the hills. After the revolution of ages Birnam
hill was again covered with a young forest, while more aged pines, planted
at the very commencement of the nineteenth century by the then Duke of
Athol, gave solemnity and beauty to the scene. The rising sun first tinged
the pine tops; and my mind, rendered through my mountain education deeply
susceptible of the graces of nature, and now on the eve of again beholding
my beloved and perhaps dying friend, was strangely influenced by the sight
of those distant beams: surely they were ominous, and as such I regarded
them, good omens for Adrian, on whose life my happiness depended.

Poor fellow! he lay stretched on a bed of sickness, his cheeks glowing with
the hues of fever, his eyes half closed, his breath irregular and
difficult. Yet it was less painful to see him thus, than to find him
fulfilling the animal functions uninterruptedly, his mind sick the while. I
established myself at his bedside; I never quitted it day or night. Bitter
task was it, to behold his spirit waver between death and life: to see his
warm cheek, and know that the very fire which burned too fiercely there,
was consuming the vital fuel; to hear his moaning voice, which might never
again articulate words of love and wisdom; to witness the ineffectual
motions of his limbs, soon to be wrapt in their mortal shroud. Such for
three days and nights appeared the consummation which fate had decreed for
my labours, and I became haggard and spectre-like, through anxiety and
watching. At length his eyes unclosed faintly, yet with a look of returning
life; he became pale and weak; but the rigidity of his features was
softened by approaching convalescence. He knew me. What a brimful cup of
joyful agony it was, when his face first gleamed with the glance of
recognition--when he pressed my hand, now more fevered than his own, and
when he pronounced my name! No trace of his past insanity remained, to dash
my joy with sorrow.

This same evening his mother and sister arrived. The Countess of Windsor
was by nature full of energetic feeling; but she had very seldom in her
life permitted the concentrated emotions of her heart to shew themselves on
her features. The studied immovability of her countenance; her slow,
equable manner, and soft but unmelodious voice, were a mask, hiding her
fiery passions, and the impatience of her disposition. She did not in the
least resemble either of her children; her black and sparkling eye, lit up
by pride, was totally unlike the blue lustre, and frank, benignant
expression of either Adrian or Idris. There was something grand and
majestic in her motions, but nothing persuasive, nothing amiable. Tall,
thin, and strait, her face still handsome, her raven hair hardly tinged
with grey, her forehead arched and beautiful, had not the eye-brows been
somewhat scattered--it was impossible not to be struck by her, almost to
fear her. Idris appeared to be the only being who could resist her mother,
notwithstanding the extreme mildness of her character. But there was a
fearlessness and frankness about her, which said that she would not
encroach on another's liberty, but held her own sacred and unassailable.

The Countess cast no look of kindness on my worn-out frame, though
afterwards she thanked me coldly for my attentions. Not so Idris; her first
glance was for her brother; she took his hand, she kissed his eye-lids, and
hung over him with looks of compassion and love. Her eyes glistened with
tears when she thanked me, and the grace of her expressions was enhanced,
not diminished, by the fervour, which caused her almost to falter as she
spoke. Her mother, all eyes and ears, soon interrupted us; and I saw, that
she wished to dismiss me quietly, as one whose services, now that his
relatives had arrived, were of no use to her son. I was harassed and ill,
resolved not to give up my post, yet doubting in what way I should assert
it; when Adrian called me, and clasping my hand, bade me not leave him. His
mother, apparently inattentive, at once understood what was meant, and
seeing the hold we had upon her, yielded the point to us.

The days that followed were full of pain to me; so that I sometimes
regretted that I had not yielded at once to the haughty lady, who watched
all my motions, and turned my beloved task of nursing my friend to a work
of pain and irritation. Never did any woman appear so entirely made of
mind, as the Countess of Windsor. Her passions had subdued her appetites,
even her natural wants; she slept little, and hardly ate at all; her body
was evidently considered by her as a mere machine, whose health was
necessary for the accomplishment of her schemes, but whose senses formed no
part of her enjoyment. There is something fearful in one who can thus
conquer the animal part of our nature, if the victory be not the effect of
consummate virtue; nor was it without a mixture of this feeling, that I
beheld the figure of the Countess awake when others slept, fasting when I,
abstemious naturally, and rendered so by the fever that preyed on me, was
forced to recruit myself with food. She resolved to prevent or diminish my
opportunities of acquiring influence over her children, and circumvented my
plans by a hard, quiet, stubborn resolution, that seemed not to belong to
flesh and blood. War was at last tacitly acknowledged between us. We had
many pitched battles, during which no word was spoken, hardly a look was
interchanged, but in which each resolved not to submit to the other. The
Countess had the advantage of position; so I was vanquished, though I would
not yield.

I became sick at heart. My countenance was painted with the hues of ill
health and vexation. Adrian and Idris saw this; they attributed it to my
long watching and anxiety; they urged me to rest, and take care of myself,
while I most truly assured them, that my best medicine was their good
wishes; those, and the assured convalescence of my friend, now daily more
apparent. The faint rose again blushed on his cheek; his brow and lips lost
the ashy paleness of threatened dissolution; such was the dear reward of my
unremitting attention--and bounteous heaven added overflowing recompence,
when it gave me also the thanks and smiles of Idris.

After the lapse of a few weeks, we left Dunkeld. Idris and her mother
returned immediately to Windsor, while Adrian and I followed by slow
journies and frequent stoppages, occasioned by his continued weakness. As
we traversed the various counties of fertile England, all wore an
exhilarating appearance to my companion, who had been so long secluded by
disease from the enjoyments of weather and scenery. We passed through busy
towns and cultivated plains. The husbandmen were getting in their plenteous
harvests, and the women and children, occupied by light rustic toils,
formed groupes of happy, healthful persons, the very sight of whom carried
cheerfulness to the heart. One evening, quitting our inn, we strolled down
a shady lane, then up a grassy slope, till we came to an eminence, that
commanded an extensive view of hill and dale, meandering rivers, dark
woods, and shining villages. The sun was setting; and the clouds, straying,
like new-shorn sheep, through the vast fields of sky, received the golden
colour of his parting beams; the distant uplands shone out, and the busy
hum of evening came, harmonized by distance, on our ear. Adrian, who felt
all the fresh spirit infused by returning health, clasped his hands in
delight, and exclaimed with transport:

"O happy earth, and happy inhabitants of earth! A stately palace has God
built for you, O man! and worthy are you of your dwelling! Behold the
verdant carpet spread at our feet, and the azure canopy above; the fields
of earth which generate and nurture all things, and the track of heaven,
which contains and clasps all things. Now, at this evening hour, at the
period of repose and refection, methinks all hearts breathe one hymn of
love and thanksgiving, and we, like priests of old on the mountain-tops,
give a voice to their sentiment.

"Assuredly a most benignant power built up the majestic fabric we inhabit,
and framed the laws by which it endures. If mere existence, and not
happiness, had been the final end of our being, what need of the profuse
luxuries which we enjoy? Why should our dwelling place be so lovely, and
why should the instincts of nature minister pleasurable sensations? The
very sustaining of our animal machine is made delightful; and our
sustenance, the fruits of the field, is painted with transcendant hues,
endued with grateful odours, and palatable to our taste. Why should this
be, if HE were not good? We need houses to protect us from the seasons, and
behold the materials with which we are provided; the growth of trees with
their adornment of leaves; while rocks of stone piled above the plains
variegate the prospect with their pleasant irregularity.

"Nor are outward objects alone the receptacles of the Spirit of Good. Look
into the mind of man, where wisdom reigns enthroned; where imagination, the
painter, sits, with his pencil dipt in hues lovelier than those of sunset,
adorning familiar life with glowing tints. What a noble boon, worthy the
giver, is the imagination! it takes from reality its leaden hue: it
envelopes all thought and sensation in a radiant veil, and with an hand of
beauty beckons us from the sterile seas of life, to her gardens, and
bowers, and glades of bliss. And is not love a gift of the divinity? Love,
and her child, Hope, which can bestow wealth on poverty, strength on the
weak, and happiness on the sorrowing.

"My lot has not been fortunate. I have consorted long with grief, entered
the gloomy labyrinth of madness, and emerged, but half alive. Yet I thank
God that I have lived! I thank God, that I have beheld his throne, the
heavens, and earth, his footstool. I am glad that I have seen the changes
of his day; to behold the sun, fountain of light, and the gentle pilgrim
moon; to have seen the fire bearing flowers of the sky, and the flowery
stars of earth; to have witnessed the sowing and the harvest. I am glad
that I have loved, and have experienced sympathetic joy and sorrow with my
fellow-creatures. I am glad now to feel the current of thought flow through
my mind, as the blood through the articulations of my frame; mere existence
is pleasure; and I thank God that I live!

"And all ye happy nurslings of mother-earth, do ye not echo my words? Ye
who are linked by the affectionate ties of nature, companions, friends,
lovers! fathers, who toil with joy for their offspring; women, who while
gazing on the living forms of their children, forget the pains of
maternity; children, who neither toil nor spin, but love and are loved!

"Oh, that death and sickness were banished from our earthly home! that
hatred, tyranny, and fear could no longer make their lair in the human
heart! that each man might find a brother in his fellow, and a nest of
repose amid the wide plains of his inheritance! that the source of tears
were dry, and that lips might no longer form expressions of sorrow.
Sleeping thus under the beneficent eye of heaven, can evil visit thee, O
Earth, or grief cradle to their graves thy luckless children? Whisper it
not, let the demons hear and rejoice! The choice is with us; let us will
it, and our habitation becomes a paradise. For the will of man is
omnipotent, blunting the arrows of death, soothing the bed of disease, and
wiping away the tears of agony. And what is each human being worth, if he
do not put forth his strength to aid his fellow-creatures? My soul is a
fading spark, my nature frail as a spent wave; but I dedicate all of
intellect and strength that remains to me, to that one work, and take upon
me the task, as far as I am able, of bestowing blessings on my
fellow-men!"

His voice trembled, his eyes were cast up, his hands clasped, and his
fragile person was bent, as it were, with excess of emotion. The spirit of
life seemed to linger in his form, as a dying flame on an altar flickers on
the embers of an accepted sacrifice.

Sorry, no summary available yet.