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echoes of the first have died away over the train lengthens into sight as it the distant woods. That sound is the winds up the ascent from that wild summons of the grave. Some neigh- dingle.
The bearers and their insensibouring peasant is borne to-night to his ble barthen are already near, and long home, and see, as we turn this there follow the female mourners foreangle of the church, there beside that most. Ab! I know now for whom broad old maple, is a fresh-opened that bell tolls-for whom that grave is grave. The dark cavity is covered in prepared—whose remains are there by two boards laid loosely over, but it borne along to their last resting-place. will not be long untenanted. Let us Close behind the coffin comes a solitalook abroad for the approaching fune- ry mourner-solitary in her grief
, and ral, for by the tolling of the bell, it yet she bears in her arms a helpless must be already within sight. It comes innocent, whose loss is even more de not up that shady lane-no, nor by plorable than hers. That poor old the broad heath road, from the further woman is the widowed mother of Ra. hamlet-nor from the direction of the chel Maythorne, whose corpse she is Grange Farm-but there—ah!-there following to the grave, and that usit is, and close at hand, emerging from conscious baby who stretches out its that little shrubby hollow, through little hands with laughing glee towards which the road dips to the near village the white drapery of the coffin, is the of Down. Is it not a beautiful thing to desolate orphao of her only child gaze on, in this lovely secluded spot, Alas! of its unwedded mother.-A by the light of that yellow sunset, the dark and foul offence lies at his door
, mellow hue of which falls with such a who seduced that simple creature from rich yet tempered brightness on the the paths of innocence! A few words white draperies of those foremost in will tell her story, but let us stop till the the procession ?
funeral train has passed on into the It is a maiden's funeral, that proba. church, from wbich the minister now bly, of some young person ; for see, advances to meet it. That poor childthe pall is borne by six girls, each less mother! with what rapid strides shrouded like a nun in her long white have age and infirmities overtaken her, flowing hood, and in lieu of the black since we saw her this time twelve pall, a white sheet is flung over the month, holding open that very gate for Coffín. The lower classes are very te- the farmer's prosperous family, and nacious of those distinctive observan- following them into church with conces, and many a young creature I have tented humility, accompanied by her known, whose delight it seemed, dur- duteous Rachel. Then, she was still a ing the last stages of some lingering comely matron, looking cheerful in her malady, to arrange everything for her poverty, and strong to labour. Now, own burial. The fashion of her shroud, how bent down with age and feeble
. and the flowers they should strew over ness does that poor frame appear ! her in the coffin-the friends who The burthen of the little infant is one should follow her to the grave, and the she can ill sustain, but to whom would six of her young companions to be se. she resign the precious charge? She lected for her pall-bearers. Almost has contrived a black frock for the the very poorest contrive, on such oc- little creature-probably from her own casions, what they call “ a creditable old gowo-her widow's gown, for she burying" -even to the coarse refresh- herself has on no mourning garment, ments distributed among the funeral only an old rusty black willow bon. guests
. Poor souls !- long and sorely net, with a little crape about it of still do they pinch for it, in their own few browner hue, and a large black cotton comforts, and in their scanty meals- shawl, with wbich she has covered but the self-inflicted privation is unre- over, as nearly as possible, that dark piningly endured, and who would take linen gown. She holds up no handupon him, if it were possible, to re- kerchief to her eyes, with the idle pas strain that holy and natural impulse, to rade of ceremonial woe, but her face honour the memory of the dead? See! is bent down over the baby's bosom.
and drops are glistening there, and on a meek and tender expression in her its soft cheek, that never fell from those mild hazel eyes, and in her dimpled young joyous eyes.
smile, and in the tone of her low quiet A few neighbours follow her—a few voice, even in the slight hesitation poor women two and two, who bave which impeded her utterance, that all contrived to make some show of never failed to excite interest, when decent mourning, and those three or once they had attracted observation. four labouring men, who walk last, The mother and daughter lived a life
have each a crape bat-band, that has of contented poverty—the former, * served for many funerals. They are strong and healthful, round frequent
all gone by now-the dead and the employment as a char-woman, or in living. For the last time on earth, going out to wash, or in field-labour.
the departed mortal has entered the The latter, brought op almost deli| House of God. While that part of the cately, though the child of indigence,
burial-service appointed to be read and still occasionally subject to disthere is proceeding, a few words will tressing fits, was principally occupied tell her story.
at home, in the care of their cow, the Rachel Maythorne was the only management of the little dairy, in the child of her mother, and she was a
cultivation of their small patch of gar:widow, left early to struggle with ex- den, (and small though it was, Rachel i treme poverty, and with the burthen had her flower-knot in a sunny corner,) E of a sickly infant, afflicted with epic and in knitting and coarse needle
leptic fits, almost from its birth. The work. In summer, however, she shared - neighbours, many of them, said, “it her mother's task in the hay-field, in
would be a mercy, if so be God Al- mushroom-picking, and in the pleae mighty were pleased to take away the sant labour of the gleaners; and how
poor baby; she would never thrive, or sweet was the frugal meal of that live to be a woman, and was a terrible contented pair, when the burthen of bindrance to the industrious mother.” the day was over, and they sat just But she thought not so, neither would within the open door of their little she have exchanged her puny wailing cottage, over which a luxuriant jessainfant, for the healthiest and the love. mine had wreathed itself into a natural liest in the land-she thought it the porch ! loveliest, ay, and the most intelligent If Nature had been niggardly in too, though everybody else saw well storing the simple head of poor Raenough that it was more backward in chel, she had been but too prodigal of every thing, than almost any child of feeling, to a heart which overflowed
But it did weather out with the milk of human kindness, the precarious season of infancy, and whose capacity of loving seemed boundit did live to be a woman, and even to less, embracing within its scope every enjoy a moderate share of health, created thing that breathed the breath though the fits were never wholly sub- of life. We hear fine ladies and senti. dued, and they undoubtedly had wea- mental misses making a prodigious kened and impaired, though not de- fuss about sensibility, and barbarity, stroyed her intellect. Most people at and “the poor beetle that we tread first sight would have called Rachel a upon ;" but I do firmly believe simple very plain girl, and she was, in truth, Rachel, without even thinking of her far from pretty, slight and thin in her feelings, much less saying a word person, and from the feebleness of her about them, would have gone many frame, stooping almost like a woman steps out of her way, rather than se in years.
Her complexion, which her foot upon a worm. It was a sori might have been fair and delicate, had trouble to her, her annual misery she been a lady, and luxuriously rear- when Daisey's calf, that she had peted up, was naturally pallid, and, ex- ted so fondly, was consigned to the posure to sun and wind in her out. butcher's cart, and while the poor door labours, had thickened it to a mother lowed disconsolately about in dark and muddy hue; but there was quest of her lost little one, there was
the same age.
no peace for Rachel. Every moan even in jest the credulous innocence of went to her heart. But her love, and that unoffending creature. But the pity, and kindness of nature were not human “ heart is desperately wicked;" all expended (as are some folks' sensi. and one there was, so callous and corbilities,) on birds, and beasts, and rupt, and absorbed in its own selfishblack beetles. Her poor services were ness, as to convert into an “occasion at the command of all those who need- of falling," the very circumstances ed them, and Rachel was in truth a which should have been a wall of dewelcome and a useful guest in every fence about poor
Rachel. neighbour's cottage. She was called
It chanced that, towards the end of in to assist at the wash-tub, to take a last year's harvesi, the widow Mayturn at the butter-churn, to nurse the thorne was confined to ber cottage by baby while the mother was more ac a sprained ancle, so that for the first tively occupied, or to mind the house time in her life, Rachel went out to while the goodwoman stepped over to the light labour of gleaning, unaccomthe shop, or to watch the sick, while panied by her tender parent. Through others of the family were necessitated to the remainder of the harvest season, be about the daily labour that gained she followed Farmer Buckwheat's rea. their daily bread; she could even spell pers, and no gleaner returned at even out a chapter of the Bible, when the ing so heavily laden as the widow's sick person desired to hear its com- daughter. For the farmer himself to fortable words. True, she was not al- voured the industry of simple Rachel. ways very happy in her selections. and no reaper looked sharply towards “ li was all good;" so she generally her, though she followed him so close, began reading first where the book fell as io glean a chance handful
, evet open, no matter, if at the numbering of from the sheaf he was binding toge the twelve tribes, or at “ The Song of ther. And she followed in the wake Solomon," or the story of “ Bel and of the loaded waggons, from whos
? the Dragon.”—“It was all good,” toppling treasures, as they rustled said Rachel; so she read on boldly through the deep narrow lanes, the through thick and thin, and fine work, high hedges on either side took tribafe, to be sure, she made of some of the and though her sheaf acquired balk terrible hard names. But the simple more considerably than ever from the soul was right— It was “all good.” golden hangings of the road side
, no The intention was perfect, and the one rebuked the widow's daughter, op spirit in which those inapplicable por- repelled her outstretched hand; and tions of Scripture were almost unintel- one there was, who gave more than ligibly read, found favour doubtless passive encouragement to her hamble with Him who claims the services of encroachments. And when the last the heart, and cares little for the out- waggon turned into the spacious riekward form of sacrifice.
yard, and the gleaners retired slowly A child might have practised on the from the gate, to retrace their way simplicity of Rachel Maythorne, and homeward through the same lanes
, when April-fool-day came round, on where a few golden ears might yet be many a bootless errand was shie sent, added to their goodly sheaves
, then and many a marvellous belief was Rachel also turned towards her home, palmed upon her by the village ur- but not in company with her fellow chins, who yet in the midst of their gleaners. For the young farmer led merry mischief, would have proved her by a nearer and a pleasanter way, sturdy champions in her cause, had through the Grange homestead, and real insult or injury been offered to the the orchard, and the hazel copse
, that kind creature, from whom all their tor- opened just on the little common where menting ingenuity could never provoke stood her mother's cottage, the first of a more angry exclamation, than the the scattered hamlet. But though the short pathetic words, “Oh dear!” way was certainly shorter, and there One would have thought none but a
were no stiles to ciamber over, and the child could have had the heart to abuse young farmer helped Rachel writu ber
jest teraz, load, by the time they reached the pose, which yet seemed ever to slip
little common, lights were twinkling away unaccomplished from her bewilin all its skirting cottages, and the re- dered mind; and sometimes she would turned gleaners were gathered round wander away from her home for an their frugal supper boards, and the hour or more together, and from those Widow Maythorne was standing in lonely rambles she was sure to return her jasmine porch, looking out for her with looks of deeper dejection, and
long absent Rachel, and wondering eyes still heavy with the traces of reDo por la
that she lingered so late, till the sight cent tears. The mother's observation
Alas! som, and was to thee a loving and a bone and it was given and kept, though dutiful child; and the spoiler came, *** the poor thing comprehended not why and broke down thy little fence of
she might not make her dear mother earthly comfort, and laid waste the Frien
partaker of her happy hopes; but it peaceful fold of nature's sweetest cha
was his wish, so she promised all he rities. *** exacted, and too faithfully kept si The rustic libertine, whose ruthless far lence. So time passed on. The bright sport, the amusement of a vacant hour, 6:47 broad harvest moon dwindled away had been the seduction of poor
Rato a pale crescent, and retired into the chel, soon wearied of his easy constarry depths of heaven, and then, quest, and cast her “like a loathsoine
again emerging from her unseen paths, weed away." He found it not at first are e she hung out her golden lamp, to light an easy task to convince her of his
the hunter's month. Then came the own baseness, and intended desertion
dark days and clouded nights of No. of her; but when at last he roughly URB! vember, and the candle was lit early insisted on the discontinuance of her
in the widow's cottage, and the mother importunate claims, and the simple and daughter resumed their winter tasks mind of his poor victim once fully
of the spinning wheel and the knit. comprehended his inhuman will, she e ting needles. And the widow's heart would have obeyed it in upbraiding
was cheery, for the meal-chest was full, silence; but alas ! her injuries were and the potatoe-patch had yielded not to be concealed, and it was the abundantly, and there stood a goodly hard task of the afflicted mother to peat-stack by the door; and, through appeal for such miserable compensathe blessing of Providence on their tion as the parish could enforce, to careful industry, they should be fed and support her unhappy child in the hour warmed all the long winter months : so of trial, and to assist in maintaining there was gladness in the widow's heart. the fatherless little one. Three months But Rachel drooped; at first unobserved ago it was born into this hard, bleak by the fond parent, for the girl was ever world, and though the child of shame, gentle and quiet, and withal not given and poverty, and abandonment, never to much talking or to noisy merriment; was the heir of a mighty dukedom but then she would sit and sing to her- more fondly welcomed, more doatingself like a bird, over her work, and ly gazed on, more tenderly nursed, she was ever ready with a smiling look than that poor baby: and it was a and a cheerful answer, when her moth- lovely infant. How many a rin er spoke to or asked a question of her. childless pair would have Now she was silent, but unquiet, and even to the half of all their would start as if fron sleep when to be the parents of such spoken to, and fifty times in an hour creature! All the sorrows lay by her work hastily, and walk to saken mother, all her reject the door, or the window, or the little tions, all her intense capab cupboard, as if for some special pur- loving, became so absorbed au
centrated in her maternal feelings, smoke curled up from every chitney that when she looked upon her child, but that of the Widow Maythorne's and hugged it to her bosom, and drank dwelling. There, door and window in at her eyes the sweetness of its in- continued fast, and the little maslia nocent smiles, it would have been dif- curtain was undrawn from within the ficult, perhaps, to have kept alive in chamber-window. So the friendly her poor simple mind a repentant sor- neighbour, mindful of her promise, row for her past fault, as associated stepped across to the silent cottage, with the existence of that guiltless and it was not without an apprebencreature. No one judged hardly of sive feeling, that she lifted up the poor Rachel, though many a muttered latch, of the garden-wicket, before curse, not loud, but deep," was im- which stood the old cow, waiting to precated on her heartless seducer. be disburthened of her milky treasure, She was still a welcome guest in every and lowing out, at intervals her uncottage-she who had ever been so easy impatience at the unusual cardiready with all her little services to ness of her kind mistress. Fast was every soul who needed them, was now the door, and fast the chamber-winwelcome to sit with her infant in the dow, and that of the little kitchen, low nursing-chair beside their humble and cold was the hearth within, and hearths, or to lay it in the same cradle all was still as death, and no noise with their own little ones, while she answered to the repeated knocks and busied herself at her task of needle. calls of the friendly neighbour. She work. It was a great comfort to the tried the chamber casement, but it anxious mother to know, that, while was fastened within, and the live she was absent from her cottage, her curtain drawn befi re it precluded al daughter had many a friend, and many view of the interior. But, while the a home, to which she might resort dame stood close to it, with her face when her own was lonely, or when glued to the glass, ber ear caught an the peculiar symptoms, with which indistinct sound, and in a moment she she was familiar, warned her of an distinguished the feeble wail of the approaching fit. On such occasions, little infant, but no mother's voice (and she had generally sufficient no was heard tenderly hushing that plaistice,) experience had taught her, that tive murmur. by flinging herself flat down on her Quickly the good dame summoned face, either on the bed or floor, the the assistance of a few neighboursattack was greatly mitigated in vio- the cottage door was forced open, and lence, and sometimes wholly averted; they passed on through the cold empty and it had been hitherto an especial kitchen into the little bed-chamber. mercy, that the afflictive malady had There stood the poor uncurtained bed never made its terrific approaches in whereon the widow and her daughter the night season. Therefore it was, had slept side by side so lovingly, for that the Widow Maythorne now and so many quiet and innocent years
, and then ventured to sleep from home, where of late the new-born babe had when engaged in one of her various nestled in his mother's bosom. It was occupations, nurse-tending. So en- still clinging there --alas !—to a life gaged, she left her cottage one evening less breast. The living infant was alof last week, and, not expecting to re ready chilled by the stiffening coldturn to it before the afternoon of the ness of the dead mother, who had ensuing day, she made it her provi- been, to all appearance, for many dent request to a neighbour, that, if hours a corpse. The immediate cause Rachel did not look in on her early in of her death was also too probably surthe morning, she would step across mised. She had evidently expired in a and see how it fared with her and her fit, and, from the cramped posture in baby. Morning came, and the good which she was discovered, it was also woman was stirring early, and soon evident her first impulse had been to every cottage lattice was flung open, turn herself round upon her face, so and every door unclosed, and the blue to baffle the approaching crisis. But