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If such a necessity existed, it was a sad and ruinous necessity. “ Should he preserve silence altogether?” He knew that every man should look for advice and support in difficulty, and for increase of joy by sharing it, both from his life's partner ; still he had doubts ; late circumstances bewildered him. He decided wrongly.
" When my cue comes, call mc, and I will answer."
“None are so severely caught when they are catch'd
Wink at each other, hold the sweet jest up;
This sport well carried shall be chronicled." "Folly in fools bears not so strong a note
As fooleries in the wise."
“It is much that a lie, with a slight oath, and a jest with a sad brow, will do with a fellow that never had the ache in his shoulders."
"You have some offence upon your mind,
Youth! how delighted dost thou revel in the full flow of nature's bounteous stream, swelling to expected perfection! To the present feeling of enjoyment, and to the unbounded anticipation of future bliss, how open is youth! How full of delight and how beauteous in infancy, although, like the early blossom of spring, it feels the chills that its nature is heir to. We press the elastic muscle, full and soft, of the healthful child, and pass our fingers through the glossy curls, and fondly pinch the rosy, dimpled cheek, and gaze in the laughing eyes, and express with enthusiasm our admiration of the promise na
ture gives of its future perfection-we know not what; but we feel and know that we love youth even in its imbecility. As it approaches to and attains maturity, how admirable, how lovely is youth in its pristine purity!
Such is man's love of youth, and so prone is he to compare and measure all else by himself, that, as he experiences age and decay, and sees that generations after generations have sprung up, bloomed, performed the acts assigned to them, sickened, withered, and died; and the cities and kingdoms of the earth have in like manner had their feeble beginnings, growth, and death-their childhood, youth, maturity, splendour, decline, and fall. When he looks to the past, and sees that his species and all connected with it, have ever had the same unvaried path and progress through life to extinction: that the infant, the man, and the tomb, are but types of the building's cornerstone, erection, existence, dilapidation, and ruins ; and both but symbols of the empire's commencement, growth, glory, intoxication, reeling, subversion, and utter destruction: so that he looks in vain for the traces of its existencc. While he contemplates on all this, the thought occurs, that even globe itself, and all that it inherits"—this glorious orb, for whose use the sun and the moon and the stars seem to have been created--and even more, that this immeasurable universe, of which they are a puny part, has had its childhood, its youth, its maturity, and must have its decay and extinguishment. Thus man measures the infinite by his own finite. But shall we say, that all these myriads of light-darting suns, with their countless revolving planets, the proofs of the Eternal One, his goodness and power, are only formed to cease? May we not think that the Eternal has impressed upon them the image of his eternity ? Even in this our planetary habitation, though ever moving, ever changing, we can perceive no indications of decay. Though life is ever ceasing, it is ever reviving. As the sea recedes here, it advances there. The mountain summit is washed to the plain and to the ocean, or sinks into the bowels of the earth—but another mountain ascends from the plain or from the great deep. Where the arid sand of the desert now lies, denying sustenance or being to animal or vegetable life, once flourished the date and the palm, and every living thing in its full perfection--man, in his greatest pride. And who can say, that the same power which caused its former fertility, will not cause the mountain to start from the sands of the desert, and pour the river from the hill upon the barren plain ; causing the fountain to spring, the herb to grow, and
every living thing to flourish ; peopling the same region again with life, and youth, and joy-not again and again to see disease, decay, and death, but perfection and immortality ?
Though man may not measure the power of God by his own weakness, he may, and must, love youth, beauty, and purity ; and while such love is active in him, he must adore his infinitely good Creator.
But while we talk of youth, we are growing old. Time flies, and our story is yet to be told.
The incident in the life of Zebediah Spiffard, which I am now to relate, produced consequences which could not have been foreseen by the most quick-sighted. The actors in the scenes,connected with this incident, were of course blind to their results ; nor could they, by any knowledge of the past, have the most remote conception of the events which followed ; otherwise they would have refused their participation ; or in phraseology suggested by the words “actors” and “scenes, they would have thrown up their parts. But in this, as in many other instances, jocund youth led on to sport, ending in repentance and sorrow.
The train of unintended and unexpected events, materially affecting our hero's future life, must be ascribed partly to the discrepancy existing between Spiffard and his companions of the theatre, (and the associates of those companions,) and partly to the circumstances attending his various domestic ties.
The opening scene of these volumes has given the reader some notion of the contrasted characters of the water-drinker, and the gay young men his choice of profession had brought him in contact with. The dinner at Cato's further introduced these gentlemen to notice.
This discrepancy, combined and mingled with domestic cir. cumstances, made the winter of 1811 and ’12, productive of a succession of miseries, a complication of irritating and stinging tortures, to the hero of our tale, such as few, with his purity of mind and action, have been called upon to endure. The sufferings he experienced were occasioned, in part, by faults of commission and omission, with which he is justly chargeable, (as is the case with most, perhaps, all men ;) and these faults might be traced to the early incidents of his life, his defective education, and his unguided, unrestrained modes and habits of thinking as well as acting.
His natural good temper, and his musical as well as conversational talents, made him a welcome guest among the gay young friends of the manager, at the same time that his
artlessness tempted them strongly to amuse themselves by what they intended as innocent tricks, and playful pranks, to the effects of which his unsuspicious nature made him obnoxious. These sports might have passed off harmless, and often had done so ; sometimes ending in the triumph of the man of temperance; but the unhappy position in which he found himself placed at this time, by his hasty matrimonial connexion, and the effects of meeting his mother's sister, were powerful causes in producing most untoward effects. involved in perplexities, which, as we have seen, ho feared to communicate the knowledge of to that person, whose duty as well as interest, it was, most of all others, to assist him with consolation and counsel : the person, of all others, who, it is the duty as well as interest of every man, to trust with his fears, his doubts, and his perplexities—his wife. With every disposition to frankness, he became incommunicative where most he should have confided. We shall see the result.
While our hero's affairs were in this posture, and his naturally imaginative and irritable mind, in this state of excitement, he and the young gentleman we have before mentioned by the name of Allen, met at the front door of the theatre ; the latter lounging toward the boxes, more to kill ennui, than from love of Shakspeare; the first hastening from the green-room, where his majestic wife was left adjusting the robes of the Thane's ambitious lady, before a mirror capable of reflecting her lofty and splendid figure, previous to her first entrance on the stage for the evening. Already Mrs. Spiffard had established her fame in this character ; still, her husband was anxious to see the reception she would meet from a brilliant audience, many of whom were already thumping with sticks, and stamping impatiently, for the show to commence; for to the thumpers and stampers, Macbeth was little more than a show.
Mrs. Spiffard, as my intelligent reader already knows, was eminently gifted by nature for the representative of the ambitious, guilty, and sublime Lady Macbeth. Her tall and masculine frame; powerfully expressive eye; strongly marked, black, flexible brow, and mental energy in the expression of passions, (by no means uncongenial to her nature, or strangers to her vigorous but ill regulated intellectual faculties,) would have made her, had they been brought together, no contemptible rival to the great Lady Macbeth of the English stage.
“Ha! Mr. Spiffard, I am glad to encounter you here,” said Allen. “ You must give me your opinion of the play and the acting. Cooper has got it up in magnificent style; and has