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fortes. The song was of a tender and regretful cast, it is that which gives the immaterial spirit to actual and it was given as if the singer understood and felt it vision—which enables us to see the soul. Hence, in all -no more. I stood motionless; my ears were drinking our recollections of one we have loved, it is the look in the sweetest and most touching sounds I had ever which is ever the most present-for that places her beheard, and I scarcely allowed myself to breathe, lest I fore us, body and mind at once. Yes, I can see her might impede the slightest note reaching me. My de- now-her tall and rounded form, possessed beyond all light in music had always been something passionate- others of that grace of motion which adds such charm not scientific, elaborate, complex music, which means to accuracy of shape, where it exists--and almost supnothing, and feels nothing, and makes nothing under- plies its place to us, where it does not ; her face, of stood and felt—but music such as this, where poetry and more than earthly loveliness, with its bright clustering sound join their sweetest and strongest powers, to en- hair, and its clear, pale, pearl-like complexion-varied chant the senses, and enthrall the soul.
on occasions with a flush of rich blood, of a tint like I was so engrossed while the song lasted, that I never that presented by the interstices of the fingers when thought of the singer. I was standing in a corner of held against the sun; and, above all, the deep and mathe room, where I had been talking to my friend, shut gical effect of her general image ; all, all are now before in, as it were, by a pillar; so that, from the crowd of me in that full, lavish, luxuriance of beauty, which was persons collected before me, I could see no more than her's whén my eyes rested upon her for the first time. the top of the harp. But of this I was scarcely aware, She was sitting, as I have said, by the side of the until the music had ceased, and a long deep-drawn re- harp: which gave, as it were, token and remembrance spiration had relieved me from pleasure which had of the exquisite sounds she had drawn from it, and of almost become oppressive. Then, I began to desire to those she had superadded, She had all the advantages see her from whose lips such sounds could flow, and I of dress : the perfect and exquisite whiteness of her skin strove to extricate myself from the crowd. I was some was given to view-her full and rounded arm was un. little time accomplishing this—but when I did, I came covered—and her bright beautiful hair was fastened at once in full sight of a creature, of a beauty, such as with a knot of diamonds. I thought then she never iny eyes had never rested upon before. She was seated
could be so lovely, as when full dressed; I afterwards by the side of the harp, receiving the praises which thought that in simple unadornment she was more lovely were naturally being dealt forth most lavishly. Her still. But I found the reality to be—and in a truly cheek was a little flushed, and her eye glistened in a beautiful woman it always is so)—that the dress in manner which shewed that she was touched by the in- which she is in before our eyes, is that in which we toxication of success, and of the consciousness of the think she looks the best. At night the brilliancy of keen admiration which she excited. But the expression dress appears to us most suited to her beauty ; in the of a glance which she now and then cast on those morning, we become converts to the plain white gown, around her, and a sort of shade which, at intervals, and that indescribable loveliness of complexion, which passed over the brightness of her countenance, sufficed a perfect, but a still healthy, paleness, possesses by to show, that though she could not but enjoy the ho- day-light; and, when night returns again, she again mage paid her, yet she fully knew how hollow and
seems to eclipse her simple self, and we revert to our worthless it was.
This was plain to me, as I gazed former creed. upon her face of heavenly beauty; and I was just then, as may be supposed, in no mood to judge severely. No The spot where we were seated is as present to me at -I thought-I still think-those emotions of young this moment, as if it were before my actual vision. It and womanly vanity, far more than outweighed by the was by the side of a steep rocky path, which wound, in countervailing feelings I have described. Succés de zigzag lines, up the face of the mountain. Before us, soriété are, beyond all things, likely and able to make was a deep and narrow valley-so narrow, indeed, that giddy a youthful brain. I believe there are few who it might almost be called a ravine-which separated the would not have enjoyed the incense as she did—1 am
In front sure there are few who at such a moment would have of this valley, a little to the right, was the sea—the felt its light value, and have sighed for something far magnificent eternal sea ; now spreading its boundless higher and better than this.
expanse of deep inky blue into the horizon, with an unHow beautiful I thought Eleanor then-how beauti- ruffled surface, but a heavy, bulky, swell of the body of ful she really was !—and that, too, of a beauty exclu- its waters. I do not know that there is any state in sively, even strangely individual. I have, during the which the ocean is so solemn and imposing as in this. course of my life, seen some women who were her equals In a perfect calm, it is dreary and monotonous ; in a -one or two who, strictly, perhaps, were her superiors, light breeze, it is dressed in smiles and brightness; in in beauty. But I never, either before or since, knew a storm, it is awful, fearful, terrible. But in the state any one, in the least degree, like her. Her eye, espe- I have described, we gaze on it with a deep and opprescially, was such as I never saw in any
other person. It sive sense of its majesty and vastness, which it inspires was a full, beautiful blue eye, but with all—with more at no other time. In calm it loses the one, in tempest than all-the fire and power of a dark one. I can see the other—for the rage of the elements always narrows it at this moment, beaming on me with the softness of the circle of our view. tender affection with the flashing of passionate love. The sun, too, was setting on it now. It was one of I can see it bright with the fearful brightness of agony those evenings in which the sun goes down almost to -subdued in the melancholy mildness of sorrow. I the horizon, shrouded and hidden by dense clouds ; and can see it as if curdled and frozen in the coldness and then shines forth for a few moments with that deep and dimness of death! Oh, it is the human eye which be- lurid brightness, which it sheds at such times. The stows creating expression upon the human countenance ! wide sea was tinged with a dark shadowy tint of red,
like that which is produced by looking through obscured glass at an eclipse. Its full having acquired a sullen threatening aspect from this blood-coloured hue, and looked, if I may so say, like the face of a guilty man, brooding over fierce and revengeful thoughts. The valley was in perfect gloom, as well as the hill behind us, and three-fourths of that opposite—but the summit of this last caught the only ray of gold which the clouds permitted the sun to shed, and shone in feeble and melancholy lustre, as contrasted with the darkness, or the gloomy light, which spread over all else.
We had walked slowly up the difficult path, and sat down here upon a fragment of a rock to gaze on this beautiful and impressive scene. The seat placed us close to each other ; our limbs touched, and I was forced to pass my arm round Eleanor, to support her on the rock. Is there any one who was ever thus placed, in such a scene, at such a season, and does not treasure in his heart's memory the sensations of that hour? Even when alone, mountains—the vast sea—a frowning sunset-occasion a full deep awfulness which weighs on the heart, and even on the physical breath. There is a tightening of the breast, and a leaden oppression of the nerves, which, nevertheless, cause a deep moral sensation rather than bodily pain, The most thoughtless pause in their thoughtlessness—the most wicked are softened to repentance-the most callous, for that moment, feel. Upon a heart warm and ardent-untouched, at least untainted, by crime—it is needless to say what the effect must be and is. But when we are with one we love-whom we doat on with all the softness of the tenderest feeling-whom we adore with all the fervour of burning passion ;—when we feel the vital warmth of her frame thrill through us ;—when her breath is mingled with ours—and we gaze into her very soul, which beams in her eyes with inexpressible affection and abandonment—then, indeed, does the heart swell with sensations which have no words to paint them—but which need them the less -as those who have once felt them require no description, and to none but those who huve felt them, could any description convey the feeblest shadow of what they are.
We were thus placed :—my arm supported Eleanor on the narrow seat-her eyes mingled with mine. We did not speak. There are some moments, and this was one of them, when speech is wholly powerless. Nay, more--when to speak would break, as it were, the enthralling spell which is over us—would destroy at once those air-built visions, which, as in the Eastern story, lap our silent spirits in Elysium. Yes! thus we feltas if the earth, and sky, and sea, had vanished from our eyes, and there were only ourselves in the world; as if we were but one being—as if we had but one soul !
But, alas! there is no scene, however sublime—there is no hour, however solemn-which can long suspend the head-strong wilfulness of passion. I took advantage of the softening and swelling of the heart, which we then both felt, to return to my ceaselees topic—to urge my usual suit. But the heart of Eleanor was not like mine : that which passed away lightly in me was by her far more strongly felt. The holy sensations of that hour outweighed its dangers, and spiritualized and made pure even unlawful affections.
As I proceeded, though she continued to listen atten. tively, she seemed to cease to hear; her eye became fixed and unmeaning, and her whole form grew motion
less and stiffened. A sort of waking stupor appeared to come over her; I strove to rouse her, but in vain. “I shall be better presently," was her only answer, and she repeated it to all I said. The continued, unvaried, and mechanical manner in which she repeated this sentence, was more fearful than if she had been wholly speechless. I became alarmed to a maddening degree. There she sat like a stone ; her eyes fixed-her colour gone—her frame rigid. “I shall be better presently," she repeated to every thing I said to her, and even when I did not speak. I was utterly, helplessly, at a loss. A fit, a swoon, hysterics, I should have known how to succour and relieve; but this unearthly statue-like suspension of animation, with the single exception of that one-echoing phrase, made me nerveless and helpless as a child. There was no water on this rocky mountain, and I feared to leave her to fetch it. She remained motionless.
At this moment there came singing down the path a little boy of, it might be, ten years old, in ragged clothes, and with bare feet, but skipping along at a merry pace, and carolling forth bis ditty, with the gaiety and lightness of an innocent and happy heart. The path brought him close to us ; but, after looking at us for a moment with some surprise, he proceeded on his way. As he passed, I saw, to my infinite relief and joy, expression again begin to spread over Eleanor's face, The tears rose in her eyes, and at last begun to flow freely. “I don't know why it is,” said she, “I was not thinking of that child-and yet the sight of his poor naked little feet, tripping over the hard sharp stones, brought tears to my eyes, as it were by in. stinct.” And she wept on, and I rejoiced, for the tears relieved her.
I have often wondered at this since, I have thought it strange that this merely physical sight should produce tears in one who was in such a death-like state, and who had so much cause and will to weep, but could not. Neither could she ever account for it, more than in the few words which she had employed when it happened—“I saw his bare feet on the rough path, and I cried."
Eleanor continued to weep, and I did not endeavour to check her tears. I feared to renew the unnatural and appalling state from which they had relieved her : and I determined to say no more on the subject which had caused it. To my surprise, however, she begun it herself. After the silence had lasted some time, she strove to dry up her tears, and, turning to me, said, in a voice, firm indeed, but of a low, distinct, sustained intonation, which carried with it something unearthly“If it will give you happiness, it-it-it shall be as you wish-but-I could not live after it;" and so saying, she sank upon my bosom, and began to weep unrestrainedly.
Oh, God! what at that moment were to me all the gratifications of passion ! How weak, how pitiful seemed to me then, the motive which had actuated me all along !-how cruel and remorseless did it appear, to desire to sacrifice her happiness to my own-po, not even that-for happiness I knew it could not cause, even to myself. Here was this lovely and gifted creaturewhom I loved with a love passing all human affection -throwing herself upon my feelings of mercy-yielding, but entreating to be spared. I do repeat, that at that moment all evil passion died within me. “No," I said in my heart, “I will not sacrifice this dear one at the shrine of selfish and impure indulgence. I will cherish her in my inmost heart, but it shall be with the purity of a brother's love—though still with all the deep and overflowing tenderness of my own. I will spare her—and, oh how blessed will the feeling be hereafter, that I have done this good deed, when the temptation to a bad one was so fearfully strong—that I have preferred her happiness to my own enjoymenther innocence to my triumph !"
I paused some moments while these thoughts were passing through my mind, and then said to Eleanor,
· No, it shall not be, I never will urge it again ; and, as I spoke, I stooped my face to her's, and our lips met for the first time. They then met in guiltlessness and purity-yes, purity; for the kiss which a mother imprints upon her new-born infant's brow, is not more free from unholy passion, than was that in which my lips were pressed to Eleanor's then.
We were now married. My heart's wildest wish — my imagination's most extravagant hope-were now realized. Our communion was now constant and per. mitted ; our love was unreproved by man, and sanctioned by heaven. She was mine-mine before the face of the world, as well as on the altar of our own hearts – mine by the ties of lawful observance, as well as by those of irrepressible affection. And were we happy ? - Alas! none who have been thus wedded will ask a question, the answer to which is so sadly certain. Happiness can never be reached through guilt. What would be happiness under other circumstances, ceases to be so in these. The means have destroyed the end. If, six months before, I had been asked what would make me perfectly and transcendantly happy, I should have said without a pause-to be married to Eleanor. And now we were married—now she was my wife--and happiness was farther from me than ever. It was then be fore me though beyond my reach ; I was now past it, and it was irrecoverable.
hollow, which took from the power of its glance, and gave to it a more saddened expression. She leaned heavily on my arm, but before we had got far she complained of fatigue, and I supported her to a seat. We watched together the sun decline, and finally sink below the line of the horizon : we saw the glowing and brilliant colours, which he left in his descent, gradually deepen in the sky, till all became shadow ; while, on the other side, the beauties which the heavens wear by night, grew, first vaguely, and then by degrees, more strongly visible. The stars began to glitter one by one, and the firmament became more distinctly and brightly blue. As the chill of the night came on, pressed Eleanor to go in, but she begged to stay to gaze, for the last time, on the loveliness of night. “I know," she said, “I never shall come out again I am so feeble, I scarcely could get these few steps-1 must cease to attempt it altogether. Let me, then, stay, that I may gaze on all that Nature has of soft, and solemn, and enchanting—that the last time my eyes rest on it may be with you. The evening of my life has come, the night is fast approaching-let me look on this emblem of the fate which is so near me ; and, Oh! let me hope, that after the agitations of the day, and the shadows of the night-fall, I may wake to the pure, solemn, beautiful serenity of a state like this !!-She bent her head upon my shoulder, and laid her cheek upon mine
-it was hot even unto burning; and the wasted and feshless fingers, which I held within my own, were dry and parched. But her spirit was unfevered by the body's illness, and she prayed to heaven with me that night-for the last time in that most glorious and holiest temple, Nature-with that calm resignation, that solemn and subdued, but yet assured hope, which are the best passports to the blessed immortality for which they implore.
Why do I dwell on these scenes ? Is it that I dread approaching that of death itself? On that, indeed, I cannot dwell.—Life ebbed away in gentle, imperceptíble, but sure gradations. Her mind had ceased to suffer sometime before her death, on all points but one-her child. She had no cause for anxiety concerning it, as regarded itself—but yet in the last days of her existence she longed to have with her that being to whom she had given birth—whom she had loved more tenderly, perhaps, if not so fervently-if not so passionately, more purely, than any other upon earth. She would speak of her child more and more often as her death drew near—the last word, indeed, which she distinctly pronounced, was her child's name ; but after articulation had ceased, her last look was given to me -her last sigh was breathed upon my lips.
The last time we were ever out together, was on an occasion of this kind;—when the sky and the earth seemned alike lighted up by the glories of the setting sun. We paused opposite to it at that time when its radiance sheds a brightness and lively aspect over all within the horizon's compass. As the sun declines lower, there is an air allied to sadness thrown over the landscape ; but it was before this that we stopped to gaze upon its beauties and its splendour. It was a very little way from the house--for she was too feeble to walk far. Alas! what a contrast she now was, to the radiant being I have described. Her forin was wasted to a fearful thinness—to a degree of attenuation, indeed, almost unnatural -yet it retained that graceful. ness of outline and of movement for which it had been
remarkable. But it was now the grace of languor, Dot of elasticity and buoyant youth. The deep red spot burned in the centre of her cheek--the rest of which, as well as her brow, was of that clear, transparent wbiteness, common to her disease. Her eye—that eye, whose expression I have never seen equalled, and which remains so intensely in my memory, her eye alone appeared unchanged. Yet even this was changed. Its brightness still remained, but it had an unhealthy glassiness superadded ; and it was sunken within its
No. XXXIX-VOL, IV.
When there was none to watch us-not an eye,
Save the lone dwellers of the silent sky, To gaze "pon our love- onr pare delight: And in that hour's anbroken solitude,
When the white moon bath veiled her in her beam,
I've thought some vision of a blessed dream,
Her voice's sweet notes breathed not of this earth,
Her beauty seemed pot of a mortal birth,
A thrill, like some deep warning from above,
It was Ida's birth-day; and her papa, before he left home, had invited a number of nice ladies and gentlemen, and a great many little folk, to his house to spend the evening--and there was to be a dance,---and the carpet in the great drawing-room was removed, and the beautiful curtains and couches that had been covered with ever so much striped cotton, were disrobed, and looked as beautiful as---oh dear! my young friends must find the simile. Well, Ida's head, I am sorry to say, ran upon nothing but finery for ten days at least before this grand gala; and she had neglected every thing in the shape of work or lessons, and talked of blond and bouquets as if she were a milliner's maid. I beg it to be understood, that I would not make the acquaintance of any young lady who disregarded her apparel, whose frock was not always neatly closed, whose hair did not shine and throw off the sunbeams as unsullied as they came ; because I know that a wellordered mind will invariably be shewn by well-ordered and well-befitted garments.
But the dress I admire is of habit, not of preparation ; and next to “ a sloven," all rational people dislike a “ dresser,---one who thinks time is like gossamer, only useful in frittering and flouncing ;---but to my story.
Ida was ushered into the drawing-room by Nurse Scroop, who whispered, “ Hold up your head, my darling, and speak out, and shew off your dancing : you'll beat them all out, though there are a great many strange ladies---my beauty---that's a love !" And old nurse parted with her nurseling, after administering this precious sugar-and-poison advice.
How the lamps burned---how the music played---how the ladies praised---how the children waltzed---I leave to my young friends' imagination. Ida would have been perfectly happy, had she not overheard Lady Sarcasm say to Lady Deafness, that little Cecilia Howard carried herself much better than Miss Leverton. Now, she had so often been told to hold her head up, that she imagined it must be holding it well; and she positively strained her neck in the effort to make it has long as Cecilia's. Presently Mr. Leverton, who had not entered until the compauy were assembled, came to her, and taking her hand led her across the room, and introduced her to a mild, pale lady, who took her on her knee and kissed her so very kindly, that for a little while she ceased to think about her own Honiton lace frock and her silver band; and thought she liked the strange visitor better than any one she had ever seen.
“ This is her seventh birth-day,” said Ida's papa; adding ,---" what will she be in ten years' time!"
Every thing you could wish her, I am sure, if she is properly managed, replied the mild lady.
“ If she has learnt nothing good, I am sure she has learnt nothing bad,” observed Mr. Leverton;
" and that, at least, is something,"
I cannot agree with you, I am convinced that the mind never remains inactive: if she has learnt nothing good, she must have learnt something bad. However, we will try and root out the evil as soon as possible, and sow good seed in such fertile ground.”
“ Are you to be my governess, then?” inquired Ida, who drew such a conclusion from the tenor of the lady's
words...“ Are you to be my governess ?" she repeated, looking into the mild lady's face, who she perceived grew very red.
“ Little girls must not ask questions," said Mr. Leverton, patting her cheek, and smiling at the same time,
“ May I again say I do not exactly agree with you ?” observed the lady. “ Little girls may surely ask questions, provided they do it in a modest, quiet manner, and without interrupting the conversation of others. Curiosity is a virtue, when it seeks to discover what is necessary and useful to be known ; it only becomes dangerous when, like the lady in Blue Beard, it peeps into forbiden things.”
“ I have read Blue Beard,” said Ida, anxious to display her information," and a great many other books ;" adding, with a dangerous longing for admiration, did you see me dance !''
“ Yes, my dear."
Ida looked as if she expected some commendation ; but neither the lady (whose cheek was again pale) nor her papa added one word of praise. This mortified the little maid sadly, and she felt ready to burst into tears. She, however, restrained herself, and was soon again called upon to dance with Sybella Leslie.
" She certainly dances very gracefully,” said the pale lady to Mr. Leverton ; “ but I do not like to tell her so, because she appears to solicit applause; a female cannot be too early taught the danger of vanity, and the true incitement to accomplishments."
“ And what is the true incitement?"
“ But you would not make a woman merely useful?" persisted Mr. Leverton.
“ No---I would make her greatly useful. I consider accomplishments to be so as well as knowledge. Even in the formation of a flower, the Almighty has made the more beautiful parts essential to its value. The gaudy leaves of a tulip protect the germ from injury. On the same principle I would have every woman edu. cated rather to form a valuable whole, than a brilliant
“ I have heard some very clever persons say, that education was always the effect of circumstances."
“ More shame for the parents who permit it to be so!" replied the lady. “ I, too, have often heard the observation ; but never from those who had been cared for in their youth. I am willing to admit that strong minds are capable of great exertions, and frequently educate themselves; yet they always remind me of a garden where some glorious flowers are cherished with peculiar care, but where you are perpetually annoyed by disagreeable weeds, that increase, multiply, and inar the beauty of the parterre. Nevertheless, granting that strong minds perform great things, what is to become of the weak ones ?---they are not less valuable in the sight of their Creator because of their weakness ; though if neglected in their youth they too often be. come wicked.
But I am betrayed into the error of speaking a homily, where I only intended to make a reply. The young ladies will expect us to lead the way to their early supper ; and.
“ We shall have plenty of time to talk over dear Ida's education," interrupted her father, as he conducted the lady to the supper-room.
Ida was very tired and very sleepy, yet she was startled and surprised at the agitation of her nurse,
“ You shan't send away my nurse--you shan't send away my nurse !” vociferated the angry Ida, losing all respect for her father's presence and authority. Mr. Leverton, as I have said at the commencement of my story, did not understand how children ought to be managed; and so he looked towards his wife, as if he wished her to determine what was to be done.
Mrs. Leverton advanced mildly from the other end of the room; and addressing the nurse in a firm, and yet a very sweet-toned voice, observed :
• Take Miss Leverton out of the room, put her to bed, and to-morrow your master and I will determine upon what course it is best to pursue as regards both the young lady and yourself. Thus much I would say now: I should be sincerely sorry that any old servant, after living long, and (to the best of her abilities) serving faithfully in this house, should be dismissed, unless strong necessity commanded it. I am sure you are attached to your nursling; and next to my husband's happiness, it is both my duty and my pleasure to minister to the happiness of his child."
Nurse Scroop had entered the drawing-room with a scowling brow and a trembling lip; but there was a dignity and sweetness about “the new lady," that both awed and won her; and without making any reply to her observations, she curtsied respectfully, and left the
who, when she conducted her from the drawing-room, almost suffocated her with tears and kisses.
“ What's the matter, nurse ?" she enquired. take off my shoes and my frock. I wish nobody would ever give any balls ; though every body did admire my dancing, except papa, and that pale mild lady."
" Ah, miss, miss.--that pale lady! you may well call her pale---so unlike your dear mamma, who had cheeks like roses. Mild---mild indeed! My poor darling, that I have petted so much, and humoured in every thing, that I never in all my life contradicted, and who never knew what it was not to have her own way! Ah! you, my sweet young lady, will soon find the difference between your poor nurse Scroop and a step-mother!"
"A what!” screamed Ida, stamping at the same moment on the floor.
“ A step-mother !--A horrid step-mother, and most likely a step-brother into the bargain: they will beat you black and blue, feed you on mouldy bread, and dress you in coarse cloth.”
Ida wept outright at such a picture.
“ There, don't cry, darling," continued the kindminded but most injudicious nurse ; don't cry, but go to bed. I should not be at all surprised if you were put to sleep in the garret by-and-by:---and to think that his own servants knew nothing about the wedding till to-night! Oh, I wish you were old enough to pluck up a spirit !”
• But I am old enough !" shouted the lady vixen ; " and I know what a step-mamma is---it's worse ten times, and wickeder, than a governess-- and I won't have a step-mamma, that I won't; and I'll go to the drawing-room and say so."
“ Oh! no! my lamb, you must not do that," exdaimed Mrs. Scroop; but before the words were out of her mouth, the lady (who at that moment was as little like “ a lamb" as can well be imagined) was out of the nursery, down the stairs like a lapwing, and positively into the apartment were Mr. and Mrs. Leverton and one or two intimate friends were conversing in a group near the fire-place.
Ida flung herself into her father's arms, and sobbed on his bosom. Her long, half-curled, silken hair fell over her neck and shoulders, and her disarranged dress gave her altogether a wild and unrestrained appear. ance. The pale lady whom we shall hereafter designate as Mrs. Leverton, kindly advanced to inquire the cause of her agitation; but the child in her violence, threw off the hand that would have caressed her, and sobbed out, “ I won't have a step-mamma.--I won't have a stepmamma !”
“ And who told you you had a step-mamma ?” said her father.
" Oh, I know that lady is my step-mamma---indeed, indeed I won't !” persisted Ida, crying as if her heart would break. Nurse Scroop followed her down stairs, but dreaded to enter the room, lest her master and her new mistress should be displeased at her mischievous interference.
Mr. Leverton disengaged the child from his arms; and walking to the door, observed the nurse on the landing-place.
“ This is some of your doings," he said to her, in an angry tone ; " but since you are pleased thus to pervert my daughter's mind, the sooner you provide for yourself elsewhere, the better."
“I opposed the mystery you wished preserved towards Ida, as to my new relationship to her, my dear Leverton," continued Mrs. Leverton, addressing her husband; “ because mystery is little else than falsehood-it is incompatible with either truth or innocence, and therefore should never have been resorted to: it would have been much better for you to have told her that I was what the world calls a “ step-mother; and then pointed out, kindly and judiciously, the advantages which I hope she will derive from my care and affection. I cannot love you, dearest, without loving your child.”
Mr. Leverton looked affectionately on his wife ; and well he might. With more beauty than usually falls to the lot of woman, she also possessed a store of rich and practical information, a calm judgment, a subdued and patient spirit, and a warm heart. She was fully alive to the advantages of education, because she had experienced their excellence in herself; and she resolved to devote herself steadily to the formation of Ida's character, and the direction of her abilities.
" I am not blessed,” she would say, “ with a strong, or even a healthy constitution ; and I am sure, that in a very few years dear Leverton will again weep over his widowhood : be it my task to prevent its being lonely, as ,before. I will train Ida to be his friend and companion; I will build my monument within their bosoms; and when I am dead, they will bless me for the happiness I planted in their own home.”
This excellent lady had taken a task of no little difficulty. It was very wicked, but it is no less true, that Ida at first positively hated her step-mother with most decided hatred.
Poor nurse Scroop had of necessity been discharged; and Mrs. Leverton devoted herself, as she intended, to eradicate evil, and forward the growth of good in her step-child's mind. She never attempted to mislead her, in any way, or on any topic. She told her that God had made her beautiful ; but she also convinced her, how much more admiration was excited by plain girls