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privacy, than in the sullen splendours of dissipation.
And is it even so, that of a gift like this, we make an instrument of folly—to dissipate every serious thought—to put to the blush every right feeling-to disseminate falsehood and mischief-wound others, and corrupt ourselves?
GOOD OLD MARY.
She for her humble sphere by nature fit,
All who enter on the world are in pursuit of happiness; each one questions of another where it is, or fancies he perceives it from afar; but very few confess that they have found it. The young, starting into life with sanguine hopes and spirits gay, expect it everywhere: the more experienced, having sought it long and found it not, decide that it is nowhere. The moralist tells us there is no such thing; and the historian almost proves it by the miseries he details. Poverty says, It is not with me; and Wealth says, Not with me. Splendour dashes by the cottage door, heaves the rich jewel on her bosom with a sigh, and says the dwellers there are happier than she is. Penury looks out upon her as she passes, loathes her own portion, and silently envies what she must not share. Ignorance, with dazzled and misjudging eye, admires the learned, and esteems them happy. Learning decides that "ignorance is bliss," and bewails the enlargement of capacity it cannot find enough to fill. Wherever we ask, the answer is still, % Seek further.” Is it so, then, that there is no happiness on earth? Or if it does exist, is it a thing of circumstance, confined to
certain states, 'dependent on rank and station; here to-day and gone to-morrow, in miserable dependence on the casualties of life? We are often asked the question by those by whom the world is yet untried, who, even in the spring-time of their mirth, are used to hear the complaints of all around them, and well may wonder what they mean.
We affect not to answer questions which never were answered yet; but we can tell a story of something that our ear has heard, and our eye has seen, and that many besides can testify to be the truth. And well may we, who so often listen to what we like not, be allowed for once to tell a pleasant tale.
Distant something more than a mile from the village of Desford, in Leicestershire, at the lower extremity of a steep and rugged lane, was seen an obscure and melancholy hovel. The door stood not wide to invite observation; the cheerful fire gleamed not through the casement to excite attention from the passenger.
The low roof and outer wall were but just perceived among the branches of the hedgerow, uncultured and untrimmed, that ran between it and the road. As if there were nothing there that any one might seek; no way of access presented itself, and the step of curiosity that would persist in finding entrance, must pass over mud and briers to obtain it. Having reached the door with difficulty, a sight presented itself such as the eye of delicacy is not used to look upon. It was not the gay contentedness of peasant life, that poets tell of, and prosperity sometimes stoops to envy. It was not the labourer resting from his toil, the ruddy child exulting in its hard, scant meal, the housewife singing blithely at her wheel, the repose of health and fearlessness ; pictures that so often persuade us happiness has her dwelling in the cabins of the poor,
The room was dark and dirty : there was nothing on the walls but the bare beams, too ill joined to exclude the weather, with crevices in vain attempted to be stopped by torn and moulded paper. A few broken utensils hung about the room: a table and some broken chairs were all the furniture, except what seemed intended for a bed, yet promised little repose. The close and smoky atmosphere of the apartment, gave to it the last colouring of discomfort and disease. Within there sat a figure such as the pencil well might choose for the portrait of wretchedness. Quite grey, and very old, and scarcely clothed, a woman was seen sitting by the fire-place, seemingly unconscious of all that passed around her. Her features were remarkably large, and in expression harsh: her white hair turned back from the forehead, hung uncombed upon her shoulders ; her withered arm, stretched without motion on her knee, in form and colouring seemed nothing that had lived her eye was fixed on the wall before heran expression of suffering, and a faint movement of the lip, alone giving token of existence. Placed with her back towards the door, she
perceived not the intrusion, and while I paused to listen and to gaze, I might have determined that here at least was a spot where happiness could not dwell; one being, at least, to whom enjoyment upon earth must be forbidden by external circumstance-with whom to live was of necessity to be wretched. Well might the Listener in such a scene as this be startled by expressions of delight, strangely contrasted with the murmurs we are used to hear amid the world's abundance. But it was even so. From the pale shrivelled lips of this poor woman, we heard a whispering expression of enjoyment, scarcely articulate, yet
not so low but that we could distinguish the words “Delightful,” “ Happy.”
“ Are you
As we advanced with the hesitation of disgust into the unsightly hovel, the old woman looked at us with kindness, but without emotion, bade us be seated, and, till questioned, showed very little inclination to speak. Being asked how she did, she at first replied, “ Very ill,” then hastily added, “ My body is ill—but I am well, very well.” And then she laid her head upon a cold, black stone, projecting from the wall beside the fire-place, as if unable to support it longer. We remarked that it was bad weather. “Yes," she answered—then hastily correcting herself—“ No, not bad—it is God Almighty's weather, and cannot be bad.” in pain ?" we asked—a question scarcely necessary, so plainly did her movements betray it. always in pain—but not such pain as my Saviour suffered for me: his pain was far worse than minemine is nothing to it.” Some remark being made on the wretchedness of her dwelling, her stern features almost relaxed into a smile, and she said she did not think it so; and wished us all as happy as herself.
As she showed little disposition to talk, and never made any remark till asked for it, and then in words as few and simple as might express her meaning, it was slowly and by repeated questions that we could draw from her a simple tale. Being asked if that was all the bed she had on which to sleep, she said she seldom slept, and it was now a long time since she had been able to undress herself; but it was on that straw she passed the night. We asked her if the night seemed not very long.
No—not long," she answered—“never long-I think of God all night, and, when the cock crows, am surprised that the morning has come so soon. “And the days—you sit here all day, in pain and