Page images
PDF
EPUB

34

THE SHADOW OF A COMING EVENT.

We

6 Checks and disasters
Grow in the veins of actions highest rear'd,
As knots, by the conflux of meeting sap,
Infect the sound pine, and divert his grain,

Tortive and errant from his course of growth!”
Still,

“ The ample proposition that hope makes

In all designs begun on earth below”shall it fail“ in the promised largeness ?” must have patience: the Jesuit will have patience.

Meanwhile, an important event is about to take place in the family. A fortnight has elapsed since Leonard's departure. During the day, Mr. Devigne has been somewhat restless, thoughtful, absent in mind : in the evening, the following conversation naturally began between the brother and his affectionate sister.

AMBIGUOUS GOOD.

35

CHAPTER V.

A LETTER, AND A DEATH-DED.

“How you are changed, brother! Are you ill? Is it the absence of Leonard that afflicts you? You seemed, too, in such good spirits at his departure. What ails

you,

brother?“Do I seem ill, sister? I am quite well—only a little bothered—but it will pass over.”

“Have you heard from Leonard ?”
“I have, this morning.”
“ Has he written anything that annoys you ?”

“ Not the least in the world. Quite the contrary. Every word gratifies me. Never thought there was so much in the fellow. See what travelling will do for him. I was just going to read the letter to you.”

“Do, brother; I hope you are not deceived in your interpretation of good!”

Well, judge for yourself.”

66

66. MY DEAR FATHER.-I doubt not that

you

will be exceedingly pleased to hear that we are safe

36

PLETHORA AND MENTAL STARVATION.

in Paris, and in excessively good quarters. I am very happy — happier then I can find words to express.

“ Bewildered by the strange but delightful sensations produced by all that I can see and hear, it seems to me that I am only just born in a new world created for my own special enjoyment. An extraordinary fancy, no doubt: but I can by no other expression convey an idea of the emotions that fill me with endless delight. There is positively nothing that does not awaken pleasant, buoyant thoughts in my mind, whilst my heart melts with gratitude to the bountiful Creator, who has fashioned the mind to find everywhere the features of perfect beauty, to ravish the heart, and compel it, by this sweetest violence, to believe in, and long for that heaven of which all beauty on earth is but a shadowy image.'

“Now, didn't I tell you that travelling would cure him? Did you ever hear anything like that from the stupid dreamer of former days ? Mr. Bainbridge was right. He said: all he needs is food for his eyes and ears : he suffers from mental starvation.' And so it was. Just observe how he has digested his first meal. But listen:

[ocr errors]

Every sense is intensely gratified: my heart is surfeited with human kindness. What a world to remain unknown so long!

“. We had a delightful voyage across the Channel.

THE PICTURE OF PROVIDENCE.

37

As neither Mr. Bainbridge nor myself was troubled with sea-sickness, I preferred to remain on deck; and Mr. Bainbridge consented.

665 I shall never forget the feelings that agitated my heart at the sight—the first sight of the ocean, made one vast picture-the steamer in the centre, the chief point of attraction — the beautiful blue waves in

every variety of shade and light, stretching to the circling frame of the picture, the distant horizon. Rapidly cleaving the waves at every revolution of the mighty wheels—at every moment receding from the point of departure, and nearing our destination-and yet, seemingly still there, in that same, identical spot, the eternal centre of that eternal circle! How curious! I made the remark to Mr. Bainbridge, and he observed :

"Such is man in the centre of God's providence. He is carried forward by forces which he feels and sees in operation : but who can compute his progress to the haven of bliss ? Nay, in his impatient infatuation, he complains that he does not even approach it. And yet, in the bark of Providence he is incessantly, though invisibly moved onwardsonwards for ever,-if, upright in heart, firm in faith, unshaken in hope, he yields himself, without reserve, so that in all things he may say, Thy will be donc !'

“ There, sister, there's something for you.'

“The thought is indeed well conceived,” said Mrs. Malcolm ; “I am glad we came to an explanation.

38

DELICATE FLATTERY.

'Tis a beautiful thought, full of consolation. It could only occur to a good man. I wronged Mr. Bainbridge, and am sorry for it.”

“I always told you so, but you will never listen to me.”

“Go on with the letter, brother.”

So if you

“I doubt not that aunt will be highly pleased with this thought. I told Mr. Bainbridge so; and he said ’t was very likely, for he had heard her express a sentiment very like it. “Indeed,” said he, “I freely give your aunt all the merit. think of repeating it to her, don't fail to make my acknowledgment." I was much pleased with this generous candour of Mr. Bainbridge: and I hope that aunt has altogether, and for ever, recovered from her unkind feeling against Mr. Bainbridge.'

“I have, I have; he is a good, kind man, to think of me so generously.”

“I love him more than ever : I esteem him more than ever. What mind! what expression! what fluency has he exhibited in conversation! He knows everything The passengers flocked around to listen to him: all were delighted.

“We made an acquaintance, or rather I was introduced to a passenger who recognised in Mr. Bainbridge, an old friend from whom he had been long separated. His name is - Count Emile de Valremy; a perfect gentleman: speaks several

« PreviousContinue »