« PreviousContinue »
rebellious head ? But what signifies the word father to him who has denied God, the Father of us all!”
“Oh, press him not too hardly!” said his weeping wife, coming forward from a dark corner of the room, where she tried to conceal herself in grief, fear, and shame. “Spare, O spare my husband! He has ever been kind to me!" And with that she knelt down beside him, with her long, soft, white arm mournfully and affectionately laid across his neck.
“Go thou likewise, my sweet little Jamie,” said the elder, “go even out of my bosom, and kneel down beside thy father and thy mother, so that I may bless you all at once, and with one yearning prayer.”
The child did as the solemn voice commanded, and knelt down somewhat timidly by his father's side ; nor did the unhappy man decline ercircling with his arm the child too much neglected, but still dear to him as his own blood, in spite of the deadening and debasing influence of infidelity.
“Put the word of God into the hands of my son, and let him. read aloud to his dying father the 25th, 26th, and 27th verses of the 11th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John."
The pastor went up to the kneelers, and, with a voice of pity, condolence, and pardon, said,
“ There was a time when none, William, could read the Scriptures better than couldst thou. Can it be that the son of my friend hath forgotten the lessons of his youth ?”
He had not forgotten them. There was no need for the repentant sinner to lift up his eyes from the bed-side. The sacred stream of the gospel had worn a channel in his heart, and the waters were again flowing. With a choked voice he read, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life : be that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this ? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord : I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
“ That is not an unbeliever's voice,” said the dying man, triumphantly ; "nor, William, hast thou an unbeliever's heart. Say that thou believest in what thou hast now read, and thy father will die happy!”
“I do believe; and as thou forgivest me, so may I be forgiven by my Father who is in heaven.”
The elder seemed like a man suddenly inspired with a new life. His faded eyes kindled, his pale cheeks glowed, his palsied hand seemed to wax strong, and his voice was clear as that of manhood in its prime." Into thy hands, O God, I commit my spirit!" And, so saying, he gently sunk back on his pillow, and I thought I heard a sigh: there was then a long, deep silence; and the father, the mother, and the child rose from their knees. The eyes of us all were turned towards the white placid face of the figure now stretched in everlasting rest; and, without lamentations, save the silent lamentations of the resigned soul, we stood around the DEATH-BED OF THE ELDER.
WILSON, (Christopher North.)
NELSON AND HARDY.
The life of Nelson abounds with illustrations of naval daring, but all are so well known that great difficulty has been experienced in presenting any to the reader with a feature of novelty. One, however, narrated by Colonel Drinkwater Bethune, the historian of “The Siege of Gibraltar," and an eye-witness of what follows, is as well worthy of general fame as some of Nelson's more splendid achievements; and the more so as, on this occasion, that personal affection to his more immediate followers, which in every case secured their devoted attachment to himself, was the inciting cause to a display of that gallantry which, a day or two after, was more conspicuously called forth in the cause of his country, at the battle of Cape St. Vincent,—after which “Nelson's patent bridge for boarding first-rates” (he having boarded one enemy's first-rate from the deck of another) became a boasting byword of the English sailor.
Commodore Nelson, whose broad pendant at that time was hoisted in the Minerve, Captain Cockburn, got under weigh from Gibraltar on the 11th of February 1797; in order to join Sir John Jervis's fleet. The frigate bad scarcely cast round from her anchorage, when two of the three Spanish line-of-battle ships in the upper part of Gibraltar Bay were observed also to be in motion. The headmost of the Spanish ships gaining on the frigate, the latter prepared for action, and the Minerve's situation every instant becoming more hazardous, Colonel Drinkwater asked Nelson his opinion as to the probability of an engagement. The hero said he thought it was very possible, as the headmost ship appeared to be a good sailer ; " but,” continued he, looking up at the broad pendant, “before the Dons get hold of that bit of bunting I will have a struggle with them; and sooner than give up the frigate I will run her ashore.”
Captain Cockburn, who had been taking a view of the chasing enemy, now joined the Commodore, and observed that there was no doubt of the headmost ship gaining on the frigate. At this moment dinner was announced; but before Nelson and his guests left the deck, orders were given to set the studding sails. Seated at dinner, Colonel Drinkwater was congratulating Lieutenant Hardy, who had been just exchanged, on his being no longer a prisoner of war, when the sudden cry of “a man overboard” threw the dinner party into disorder. There is, perhaps, no passage in naval history of deeper interest than the following account of what then occurred :
“The officers of the ship ran on deck ; I, with others, ran to the stern windows to see if anything could be observed of the unfortunate man. We had scarcely reached them, before we noticed the lowering of the jolly-boat, in which was my late neighbour, Hardy, with a party of sailors; and before many seconds had elapsed the current of the Straits (which runs strongly to the eastward) had carried the jolly-boat far astern of the frigate, towards the Spanish ships. Of course the first object was to recover, if possible, the fallen man; but he was never seen again. Hardy soon made a signal to that effect, and the man was given up as lost.
“ The attention of every person was now turned to the safety of Hardy and his boat's crew. Their situation was extremely perilous, and their danger was every instant increasing from the fast sailing of the headmost ship of the chase—the Terrible, which by this time had approached nearly within gunshot of the Minerve. The jolly-boat's crew pulled "might and main' to regain the frigate, but apparently made little progress against the current of the Straits. At this crisis, Nelson, casting an anxious look at the hazardous situation of Hardy and his companions, exclaimed, 'No, it shall not be; I will not lose Hardy: back the mizzen-topsail.' No sooner said than done: the Minerve's progress was retarded, having the current to carry her down towards Hardy and his party, who, seeing this spirited maneuvre to save them from returning to their old quarters on board the Terrible, naturally redoubled their exertions to rejoin the frigate. To the landsmen on board the Minerve an action now appeared to be inevitable; and so, it would appear, thought the enemy, who, surprised and confounded by this daring manæuvre of the Commodore's (being ignorant of the accident that led to it) must have construed it into a direct challenge.
“Not conceiving, however, a Spanish ship of the line to be an equal match for a British frigate with Nelson on board of her, the captain of the Terrible suddenly shortened sail, in order to allow his consort to join him, and thus afforded time for the Minerve to drop down to the jolly-boat to take out Hardy and the crew;
and the moment they were on board the frigate, orders were given again to make sail. Being now under studding-sails, and the widening of the Straits allowing the wind to be brought more on the Minerve's quarter, the frigate soon regained the lost distance, and in a short time we had the satisfaction to observe that: the dastardly Don was left far in our wake; and at sunset, by steering to the southward, we lost sight of him and his consort altogether, and Commodore Nelson thus escaped, to share in the battle of St. Vincent, and win fresh laurels from the Spaniard.”
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS. I LOOKED far back into other years, and, Here Louis, Prince of Condé, wears his lo! in bright array,
all-unconquered sword, I saw, as in a dream, the forms of ages With great Coligni by his side--each name passed away
a household word ! It was a stately convent, with its old and And there walks she of Medicis—that lofty walls,
proud Italian line, And gardens, with their broad green walks, The mother of a race of kings——the haughty where soft the footstep falls;
Catharine ! And o'er the antique dial-stones the creep- The forms that follow in her train, a gloriing shadow passed,
ous sunshine makeAnd all around the noonday sun a drowsy A milky way of stars that grace a comet's radiance cast.
glittering wake; No sound of busy life was heard, save from But fairer far than all the rest, who bask the cloister dim,
on fortune's tide, The tinkling of the silver bell, or the sisters' Effulgent in the light of youth, is she, the holy hymn.
new-made bride! And there five noble maidens sat beneath | The homage of a thousand hearts--the the orchard trees,
fond, deep love of oneIn that first budding spring of youth, when The hopes that dance around a life whose all its prospects please ;
charms are but begunAnd little recked they when they sang, or They lighten up her chestnut eye, they knelt at vesper prayers,
mantle o'er her cheek, That Scotland knew no prouder names -- They sparkle on her open brow, and highheld none more dear than theirs ;
souled joy bespeak. And little even the loveliest thought, be- Ah! who shall blame, if scarce that day, fore the Virgin's shrine,
through all its brilliant hours, Of royal blood, and high descent from the She thought of that quiet convent's calm, ancient Stuart line ;
its sunshine, and its flowers ? Calmly her happy days flew on, unoounted
LEAVES FRANCE. in their flight, And as they flew they left behind a long- The scene was changed. It was a bark that continuing light.
slowly held its way,
And o'er its lee the coast of France in the HER MARRIAGE.
light of evening lay; The scene was changed. It was the court And on its deck a lady sat, who gazed with -the gay court of Bourbon
tearful eyes And 'neath a thousand silver lamps a Upon the fast-receding hills, that dim and thousand courtiers throng;
distant rise. And proudly kindles Henry's eye---well No marvel that the lady wept—there was pleased, I ween, to see
no land on earth The land assemble all its wealth of grace She loved like that dear land, although she and chivalry :
owed it not her birth; Gray Montmorency, o'er whose head has It was her mother's land, the land of childpassed a storm of years,
hood and of friendsStrong in himself and children stands, the It was the land where she had found for first among his peers;
all her griefs amendsAnd next the Guises, who so well fame's The land where her dead husband sleptsteepest heights assailed
the land where she had known And walked ambition’s diamond ridge, The tranquil convent's hushed repose, and where bravest hearts have failed
the splendours of a throne : And higher yet their path shall be, stronger No marvel that the lady wept--it was the shall wax their might,
land of France For before them Montmorency's star shall The chosen home of chivalry-the garden pale its waning light.
of romance !