« PredošláPokračovať »
forward to intercept the blow. It was too late !
I have no idea James Murray intended to kill his child, or indeed that he knew, at the time, what he did ;—but when he saw the guiltless victim of his wrath, lying like a crushed lamb-senseless-pale as marblethe blood streaming from his mouth and nostrils, it recalled the maniac to his senses. The chords of his better feeling, which for a long time had not vibrated, were touched and the fountain of his affections, which had seemed withered, scorched, dried up, suddenly gushed forth with the stream of tenderness. With the most careful attention he assisted me to raise the body of his child-he chafed his temples and little hands-he spoke soothingly to his wife, in the tone and with the words of endearment, once so familiar to her ear.
We essayed everything to revive the child, but in vain—the spirit of the young sufferer had passed from earth. When we became convinced that life was extinct, the lamentations of the mother were heart-rending. Her husband listened one moment-his features were convulsed with agony, and I hoped and prayed he might weep—but that relief was denied him. Suddenly his countenance assumed a fixed and horrid expression ; it was the wildness of utter despair. His eyes glared, he gnashed his teeth, and clenching both hands, invoked on his own head the most awful denunciations, and rushed from the house.
Mrs. Murray—but I see you are distressed,—and I will not attempt to describe her feelings. She died the next morning, and I rejoiced at her release from a world she had found so filled with thorns. Yesterday, just as the thunder was bursting in fury, the body of James Murray was found. He had drowned himself! Probably he never paused after leaving his house, as the expression of his features was unchanged his teeth were setand his hands still clenched. We buried him in silence, near the spot where his body was discovered ; and yonder, attended by nearly all the inhabitants of our village, as mourners, come the remains of his murdered child and victim wife.'
-Wooing thee, I found thee of more value
ABOUT one mile from the pretty village of N- -, thạt stretches along the banks of the fertile Connecticut, there lived, some thirty years since, a farmer by the name of Williams. He was a good man, in the Yankee sense of the term, that is, industrious and thriving, and accounted honest and pious—for he lived aboveboard, paid all his contracts punctually, and belonged to the church. So he was called a good man, and on many accounts he truly deserved the epithet ; but there was one foil to his virtues—he was avaricious.
The acquisition of property is, in our country, so very creditable, that probably many who yield themselves slaves to the love of money are not aware of the dominion it exercises over their hearts and passions. They do not intend to love the world, or the things thereof, unduly; but they want to have the comforts of life, and the means of entertaining their friends, and somewhat to bestow in charity, and a por
tion for their children, and many other items, which appear indispensable; and thus they deem the eagerness with which they go on increasing their hoards, but the duty they owe themselves, families and society.
I have said Williams was a thriving man, indeed he was rich for the sphere in which he moved. He cultivated his excellent farm with great care, the eye of the traveller was always arrested by his charming situation, and it was often remarked that so quiet and pleasant a residence must be the abode of content and happiness. How little of either are dependent on worldly prosperity !
Both Williams and his wife loved the world so well they had but little love to bestow on each other; and though they both toiled hard, and rose up early, and sat up late, and eat the bread of carefulness,' it was not from the sympathy of affection, but to become rich. They gained their wishes; but then they found, as all will find, that whenever worldly desires are inordinately indulged, their gratification is sure to bring disappointment and vexation, if not misery, to the worldling. They thought, and people generally said, that all their uneasiness was caused by the untoward behaviour of their only son. Obed Williams was one of those common characters, and they are much the most numerous class, which seem to have no distinguishing lineament, but take their form and pressure entirely from surrounding objects and accidental circumstances. He was in infancy rather a sickly child, and so his mother constantly indulged him in every whim-and in childhood he was, chiefly in consequence of that indulgence, cross and wilful ; and then his father, who made Solomon's mode of gove ernment his standard, as constantly whipped him for every fault, and it is difficult to decide which mode of treatment had the worst effect on his disposition. To complete his evil destiny, it was often whispered in his ear, and that too by his own mother, that he was a rich man's only child, and would, sometime, inherit a large estate, and have it in his power to do just as he pleased. Should it excite wonder that, as he grew towards manhood, and therefore found himself exempted from corporal punishment, he displayed a selfish, sullen, overbearing temper? His parents, by their injudicious management had increased, if not kindled it; and they were punished by his wilfulness and disobedience. But still Mr. Williams hoped that if his son married a good wife he would improve, and with his usual sagacity, when pecuniary profit was in question, he had selected such an one for Obed.
Your cousin, Ann Ellsworth, will be here to-morrow,' said Mr. Williams and, Obed, I do hope you will not show any of your contrary temper, but be sociable and endeavour to please her. Ann is a girl worth pleasing, for she will have a fortune of four thousand dollars; —and her mother, before she died, consented that Ann should marry you.'
'What, whether I choose it, or no?' said Obed, looking up with an expression of features between a simper and a sneer,