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-Ah! who can judge the full extent
Of art!! exceeds all bounds descriptive.
The family of the worthy Mr. Thorowgood, a wealthy merchant, residing in the city of London, were thrown into anxiety and confusion, by the unexpected absence of George Barnwell, (at that time one of its inmates ; an interesting youth, sincerely beloved by every branch of this respected family,) who had left home the evening before, without giving any intimation where lie was going; and the night bad passed withcut his return. Whether this innovation upon the rules of the establishment proceeded from accident or design, it was impossible to tell ; but as the propriety of his conduct, the purity of his morals, and his strict conformity to every regulation of his master's house, had been hitherto undisputed, apprehensions were entertained for his safety. One circumstance, however, excited painful ideas : Barnwell had never before leit home without informing his friend, Walter Trueman, of his busi
and mostly indeed they went out together
These two young men were what strictly might be termed true friends. They were nearly of the same age; and not only was there a similarity in their pursuits, but a strong resemblance in disposition and principles. Their sentiments and intentions had hitherto been mutually imparted; and Trueman trembled, he knew not why, at this first instance of his friend's want of confidence. Mr. Thorowgood questioned him as to the cause of Barnwell's absence, when he was painfully compelled to plead ignorance; yet without hinting even a cause of suspicion.
The midnight hour had struck ere Mr. Thorowgood, and some of his elder servants retired to rest; but his anxious daughter, the gentle Maria, Trueman, and the younger servants, sat up all night. Every moment offered hopes of his arrival, but their hopes and anxieties were vain : Barnwell returned not till late the following morning! Trueman was the first who saw him ; and eagerly advancing towards him, he seized his hand : “ Ah ! my dear Barnwell (he exclaimed)-how I rejoice at your return. What unhappy mischance has kept you from us? Oh! what a night of anxiety we have passed, trembling lest any aecident had occurred-you cannot conceive how tenderly you are beloved—but why do you turn from me, Barnwell? What ails you? Speak, tell me what has happened ?"
“ Do not question me, Trueman, I am unhappy! but you cannot aid, you cannot serve me ! !”
Why cannot I serve you, Barnwell ? What can have happened in the course of a few hours to make you desperate, or to render friendship ineffectual : Speak to me,
faith ? Look on me ; what have I done, that you should turn away from me; or rather what have you done, that you cannot look upon your friend ?"
Barnwell shuddered ! “ Leave me, Trueman(said he angrily)-.Leave me! wbat right have you
to pry into my sorrows ? You presume upon our friendship.”
“ Presume ! Barnwell, presume ! Could I have expected to hear such an expression from you? Well, well
, I have done and yet”Barnwell's heart smote him for his cruelty to his friend; he turned towards him and offered his hand. Trueman started at observing him more closely ; his pallid cheek, where the traces of tears were apparent -his sunken eye--his quivering lip—his dishevelled hair, and the disordered expression of his countenance, all-all implied some heavy calamity. Trueman besought his confidence, and conjured him by all their past friendship to impart the ill which had occurred; but Barnwell repulsed him with anger, accusing him, with asperity, of impertinent interference and curiosity, until Trueman's patience being exhausted, he was on the point of retiring; but pity and affection led him back, convinced this was no light affliction, but that something dreadful had happened, ere so total a revolution could have taken place. He felt it was the duty of friendship to bear with the infirmity of an unhappy youth bending beneath some heavy sorrow : to all Barnwell's impetuosity, therefore, he replied with patient forbearance; but could not lure him on to any degree of confidence in regard to the event which had caused such an alteration in a man who had been accustomed to consider confidential friendship as the very
climax of human felicity. He clung round him—“Forgive me, dear Barnwell ; I cannot leave you till you impart to me the cause of your sorrow. Gracious heaven, what a change !" Here Trueman paused, and then adding—“Do you remember these lines ? it is but three days ago since you wrote them ! Is the blessing of friendship at an end ! are its fruits decayed ? is 'Trueman or is Barnwell altered ?"-be presented a paper which Barnwell tremblingly received, and as his eyes glanced over it, he burst into an agony of tears, and rushed from the apartment!
What a revolution indeed had a few hours occasioned ! Barnwell! the happy Barnwell, was suddenly plunged from the height of happiness to the depths of wretchedness, yet none could tell the
George Barnwell was an orphan ! He had been brought up by an affectionate uncle, with the utmost tenderness ; educated in every religious and moral virtue, removed from all care and anxiety, his days of youth had passed without the slightest shade of sorrow : at sixteen years of age, he was removed from the care of his first friend, to the protection of Mr. Thorowgood; and in the exchange had not experienced any diminution of happiness; he had only exchanged one peaceful home for another and even a more attractive one. All the virtues of his beloved and venerated uncle lived in the mind of his worthy master ; but to this bliss was added the pleasing society of youth. Maria Thorowgood, a lovely unaffected girl, rendered their doinestic society delight
and dear to the heart of Barnwell, also, was the possession of a friend. Trueman, a resident in the house of Mr. Thorowgood, was an estimable youth, just three years older than himself; they became deeply attached, pursued their studies together, read, walked, talked, and knelt at the same altar ; and George, whose soul was pure and spotless, whose feelings were ardent and glowing, and whose sentiments rather partook of the refinement which marked the conduct and character of the ancients, than of more modern and vitiated manners, unconscious of any sentiment less exalted than friendship, looked upon a true friend as the acme of human delight, as the perfectability of human happiness. It was but three days previous to this period, that
Barnwell, in the pure joy of an untainted spirit, the ardent glow of an enraptured imagination, had breathed the effusions of his soul, and presented, as a tribute to his beloved Trueman, that paper which had now risen up in judgment against him; and which, when referred to by his friend, had stung him to the inmost soul, feeling assured that he was no longer worthy of his esteem !
EFFUSION TO FRIENDSHIP,
Companion, Walter Trueman.
Description dies !!!
into his hands, it had struck upon his heart with icy coldness-had stung him with remorse and shame, with bitter reinembrance of what innocence and peace were his,