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very design of his long-suffering may be, to lead him to repentance. In such a case, how well is it, that the hand of human wrath cannot smite down, before the hand of divine grace is raised to save. These views were forcibly impressed on me in early youth, by the history of two lovely sisters ; a history which so fully illustrates all I have been saying, that it shall form the subject of my first letter to you."
My governess was just leaving me for the summer vacation, and scarcely a week elapsed before I received the following
LETTER FROM Miss Owen : “My dear Caroline,
“Lest I should be interrupted in the midst of my narrative, I will hasten to fulfil my parting promise. Ellen and Matilda Rose were the sisters I mentioned ; they were sweet and gentle girls ; of delicate constitution, and peculiarly intelligent minds. They were, like myself, placed as apprentices with a lady of the name of Casen; the .conductor of a well-established school. Their father, a widower, was the confidential clerk of a mercantile establishment: and having little property, save his yearly salary, thought that the best service he could render his children, was to fit them for a useful and honourable employment. The premium he paid by instalments : and had just completed the sum ; when a sudden apoplectic seizure removed this valuable parent; leaving Ellen and Matilda, orphans in a frowning world. Soon did the selfish and mercenary spirit of that woman, who ought to have watched over them with double care, begin to work. No one being left to examine their progress, small was the time allowed them for improvement. It was not long before Miss Casen discovered, they had no taste either for music or drawing. So constantly were they employed in attending to the younger children, in needlework, and even in assisting the servants at their domestic employments; that minds less quick and active, or less desirous of knowledge, would have learned nothing. Still, by seizing every possible moment, and shortening the hours of sleep, they contrived to keep up the few things they were permitted to engage in ;-a circle however, which was constantly diminishing.
“Those who at all watch the workings of the human heart, will be aware, that an injured object, never fails, ere long, to become an object of dislike. Perhaps this may arise, from a wish to discover something, to justify ill-treatment; or from the uneasiness of a conscience, not altogether seared. But from whatever cause, so it is ; and so these poor orphans found it. The teachers knowing their situation, usually favoured them: but when, in the hope of gaining them more leisure, imperfect lessons were one day complained of, Ellen was severely punished for saying, she “really had no time ;' Miss Casen observing, “it would have been much more creditable to confess, she was without ability or inclination.'
“I have said, these dear children were of delicate constitution. Matilda soon began to droop, under exertions which were beyond her strength and application, which she still resolved to give. Her appetite failed; but whether she ate or not, seemed, with Miss C., a matter of indifference. Ellen watched over her in agony ; but no word or look of sympathy soothed her sorrow, from her who ought to have acted as their guardian : it appeared, as if she could not bring her mind to speak kindly. The young ladies delighted in offering Matilda any little delicacy they could procure; but this was evidently far from agreeable. Plain food is much the best in her state,'—was the usual remark. And when illness so increased, as to confine the young sufferer to her room, it became very difficult to gain access. · In one point however, Ellen was determined; she would snatch time to give requisite attendance; though not such as her affectionate heart dictated. But even this little was grudged : with an utter want of feeling and delicacy, Miss C. magnified the inconvenience she was put to; and almost insinuated it was a great stretch of generosity, that she did not send them to the parish work-house. I happened to learn afterwards, that a distant relative had been written to; who kindly became answerable for medical attendance, and funeral expences, if needed : but this was not mentioned, either to the Miss Roses, or in the family. We knew enough however, as you will readily conceive, to fill us with indignation : and our young hearts scarcely deemed it possible, that such unkindness should be suffered ; that injury so irreparable, as inevitably to mar every future prospect, should be permitted. My mind was painfully exercised; while I endeavoured in vain to reconcile the ways of providence. The fresh light that broke in upon it, was in my
parting conversation with the dying girl. I had stolen to her bedside, and found her, as usual, alone. Pressing my hand between her own pale and emaciated onęs, she said with a sweet smile, though with difficulty of utterance, 'Dear Margaret, I know you have often been very sorry and very angry, on my account; and now, where was the need for it?–My Heavenly Father, you see, was educating me, not for this world but another. Before my dear father's death, my studies had so interested me, that I was fearfully neglecting my soul: but when my occupations became all uncongenial, and had scarcely anything mental in them, the pious instructions of a departed mother, returned with powerful influence to my mind; so that while the world employed my hands, my heart, I trust, was given to God alone. Speaking to myself in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, I found that to the child of God ariseth light in the darkness; that the ways of religion are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths peace. When outward things went smoothly, my ungrateful spirit had not felt its need of divine support: but trials were so blessed, as to drive dear Ellen and myself to God; to seek our rest and happiness in Him. To me, and I joyfully believe to her also, all the paths of the Lord have been mercy and truth. I doubt not they will appear so, one day, in the sight of others : and I know we shall feel them to have been such, when, in the bright realms of glory, we raise our united song of praise to Him who led us through the wilderness, for His mercy endureth for ever.' After a short pause, the gentle girl added,— In saying this, I do not mean to justify our poor governess: that would be confounding right and wrong. Her conduct—though overruled to our good, has been such, as I know she must mourn for, here or hereafter. O may the Lord grant her repentance unto life.'
“ Not many days after this conversation, Matilda's happy spirit took its flight to heaven ; and Ellen soon returned to former and increased employment, Miss Casen always treating her, as one whom she had laid under the deepest obligation ; whereas, the whole premium being paid during Mr. Rose's life, and the most unreasonable service exacted ever since, nothing but gain had accrued to her. When my term of residence ended, I left poor Ellen, immersed in menial services, and as much as possible secluded from intercourse with others; for her pleasing manners and cheerful activity, her real excellence and mental superiority, apparent in spite of every disadvantage, could not fail, if known, to excite interest. Miss Casen was evidently afraid of losing her services, and always spoke of her as unfit for any higher situation than that which she occupied ; occasionally expressing astonishment that she could have passed through a school of such eminence, and acquired so little. Thus, when with indignant tears, I took leave of this injured orphan, she was almost as much a prisoner as a slave. Any letter sent to her was uniformly opened, and, I have reason to believe, not unfrequently withheld.
6 Years passed, varied objects and events came with them, and early scenes were fading from my remembrance. One spring, however, I was permitted to pay a pleasant visit to a friend in London; and, among other interesting arrangements, she proposed taking me to hear the parting charge, addressed to some Missionaries, who were about to set forth on their errand of love. You will judge what was my surprise and pleasure to see, in the meek and modest help-meet of one of these devoted Christians, my long-loved Ellen. After the meeting, I obtained a little converse with her :- Now, my kind friend,' she said, ' you have a second proof that, though appearances may be most adverse, our gracious Ruler and Guide does all things well. Ile kuew the path of life that was before me; the service to which he designed to call me; and for that, in wisdom and in love, he trained me. What advantage would those accomplishments be now; which, speaking with respect to human instruments, I ought to have been taught ? But the things I have learned, and the quickness required, are invaluable in my present state ; while the yoke borne in my youth, will, I trust, have prepared me suitably, to endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Unite with me in praise, dear Margaret; and in prayer, that the guilty channel, whose bitter streams were made thus salutary, may be purified and healed.'
“ My Caroline ! was not the history of these young people well calculated to justify the ways of God to man? But I have still to tell of judgment and of mercy. The oppression of the fatherless and friendless, according to the fearful warnings of scripture, brought its present punishment. The selfish calculator had vainly thought, that an unknown orphan could excite no interest. Very different was the fact. The character of Miss Casen suffered
deeply. Servants, teachers, masters, had lost their respect for her, and, consequently, being retained by a slight hold, were often changing. Sometimes they were good, sometimes inferior. Her school sunk in estimation; while chagrin, acting on an anxious, irritable temper, brought on an attack of paralysis. Thus rendered unfit for her former employment; unable to procure the indulgences she needed; sick, straitened, and neglected; this once unbending spirit, was left to solitude and reflection. Thoughts of Matilda would sometimes arise under these circumstances, and conscience writhed within her. All, and more than all the same privations, were now her own lot; while to the peace and heavenly consolations enjoyed by that patient sufferer, she was an utter stranger. Her hard and selfish heart burst out in rebellious murmurs; and she deemed that never sorrow was like unto her sorrow. Through five long years did the unhappy governess experience in body and soul, the divine chastisement: but at the end of that period, a message of mercy was sent even to her. And who was the gentle messenger ?-even that despised and injured Ellen ; who, but for heavenly teaching, had looked on her with abhorrence. It was ten years since the faithful missionary left his native shores : active service, and an unfavourable climate, had so impaired his health, that necessity compelled him to return for a season. His friends resided in the village, which contained Miss Casen's humble lodging; thither providence directed their steps: and oh! with what deep anxiety, did they commence the christian work of rendering blessing for persecution, inestimable good for temporal evil. Mrs. Hamden's unaffected kindness, went to the sufferer's heart; and opened her ear to the instruction which was earnestly, though delicately, poured in; the Holy Spirit, without whose gracious operation all other aid is vain, blessed the means; and she was enabled, in the midst of much mental imbecility, to become more truly wise than she had been in her days of proudest intellect, for her friends thankfully believed her to be wise unto salvation. She felt herself the chief of sinners; she beheld the Lord Jesus Christ as the one only refuge; and while she prayed to be pardoned through his precious blood, she prayed also to be renewed and sanctified by the spirit of holiness: striving to live as becometh the gospel.
“Here then was a glorious triumph of religion : a display, first of