Page images

loved him so passionately, that we might have forgotten who bestowed him. To preserve us from this temptation, God in great mercy withdrew him. Let us turn our eyes from the one blessing we have lost, to the countless mercies which are continued to us, and especially to the hand which confers them ; to the hand which, if we continue to murmur, may strip us of our remaining blessings."

I cannot,” continued Dr. Barlow, “ make a higher eulogium of Mrs. Stanley than to say, that she is every way worthy of the husband whose happiness she makes. They have a large family of lovely daughters of all ages. Lucilla, the eldest, is near nineteen; you would think me too poetical were I to say she adorns every virtue with every grace ; and yet I should only speak the simple truth. Phoebe, who is just turned fifteen, has not less vivacity and sweetness than her sister, but, from her extreme naivete and warm-heartedness, she has somewhat less descretion ; and her father says, that her education has afforded him, not less pleasure, but more trouble, for the branches shot so fast as to call for more pruning.”

Before 1 had time to thank the good doctor for his interesting little narrative, a loud rap announced company. It was Lady Bab Lawless. With her usual versatility she plunged at once into every subject with every body. She talked to Lady Belfield of the news and her nursery, of poetry with Sir John, of politics with me, and religion with Dr. Barlow. She talked well upon most of these points, and not ill upon any of them. For she had the talent of embellishing subjects of which she knew but little, and a kind of conjectural sagacity and rash dexterity, which prevented her from appearing ignorant, even when she knew nothing. She thought that a full confidence in her own powers was the sure way to raise them in the estimation of others, and it generally succeeded.

Turning suddenly to Lady Belfield, she said, “ Pray, my dear, look at my flowers." They are beautiful roses, indeed,” said Lady Belfield, “ and as exquisitely exact as if they were artificial.' " Which in truth they are,” replied Lady Bab. “ Your mistake is a high compliment to them, but not higher than they deserve. Look especially at these roses in my cap. You positively shall go and get some at the same place.” Indeed,”

” said Lady Belfield, “ I am thinking of laying aside flowers, though my children are hardly old enough to take them." “ What affectation !” replied Lady Bab, “ why you are not above two or three and thirty; I am almost as old again, and yet I don't think of giving up flowers to my children, or my grandchildren, who will be soon wanting them. Indeed, I only now wear white roses.” I discovered by this, that white roses made the same approximation to sobriety in dress, that three tables made to it in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cards. Seriously though,” continued Lady Bab,

you must and shall go and buy some of Fanny's flowers. I need only tell you, it will be the greatest charity you ever did, and then I know you wont rest till you have been. A beautiful girl maintains her dying mother by making and selling flowers. Here is her direction,” throwing a card on the table.

no, this is not it. I have forgot the name, but it is within two doors of your hair-dresser, in what d'ye call the lane, just out of Oxford-street. It is a poor miserable hole, but her roses are as bright as if they grew in the gardens of Armida." She now rung the bell violently, saying she had overstaid her time, though she had not been in the house ten minutes.

Next morning I attended Lady Belfield to the ex. hibition. In driving home through one of the narrow passages near Oxford-street, I observed that we were in the street where the poor flower maker lived. Lady Belford directed her footman to enquire for the house. We went into it, and in a small but clean room, up three pair of stairs, we found a very pretty and very genteel young girl at work on her gay manufacture. The young woman presented her elegant performances with an air of uncommon grace and modesty.

She was the more interesting, because the delicacy of her'appearance seemed to proceed from ill health, and a tear stood in her eye while she exhibited

her works. “ You do not seem well, my dear," said Lady Belfield, with a kindness which was gatural to her. “ I never care about my own health, madam," replied she, “but I fear my dear mother is dying.” She stopped, and the tears which she had endeavoured to restrain, now flowed plentifully down her cheeks. • Where is your mother, child ?" said Lady Belfield. “ In the next room, madam.' “ Let us see her,” said her Ladyship,

w if it wont too much disturb her.” So saying, she led the way, and I followed her.

We found the sick woman lying on a little poor, but clean bed, pale and emaciated, but she did not seem so near her end as Fanny's affection had made her apprehend. After some kind expressions of concern, Lady Belfield enquired into their circumstances, which she found were deplorable.

66 But for that dear girl, madam, I should have perished with want,” said the good woman;

66 since our misfortunes I have had nothing to support me but what she earns by making these flowers. She has ruined her own health, by sitting up the greatest part of the night to procure me necessaries, while she herself lives on a crust."

I was so affected with this scene, that I drew Lady Belfield into the next room : If we cannot preserve the mother, at least let us save the daughter from destruction,” said I; “ you may command my purse.” “I was thinking of the same thing," she


replied. Pray, my good girl, what sort of education have you had ?” “ 0, madam,” said she,

one much too high for my situation. But my parents, intending to qualify me for a governess, as the safest way of providing for me, have had me taught every thing necessary for that employment. I have had the best masters, and I hope I have not misemployed my time,” « How comes it then," said I, “ that you were not placed out in some fami

“ What, sir! and leave my dear mother helpless and forlorn ? I had rather live on my tea and dry bread, which indeed I have done for many months, and supply her little wants, than enjoy all the luxuries in the world at a distance from her.”

“ What were your misfortunes occasioned by ?” said I, while Lady Belfield was talking with the mother. « One trouble followed another, sir," said she, “ but what most completely ruined us, and sent my father to prison, and brought a paralytic stroke on my mother, was his being arrested for a debt of seven hundred pounds. This sum, which he had promised to pay, was long due to him for laces, and to my mother for millinery and fancy dresses, from a lady who has not paid it to this moment, and my father is dead, and my mother dying ! this sum would have saved them both !"

She was turning away to conceal the excess of her grief, when a venerable clergyman entered the room. It was the rector of the parish, who came

« PreviousContinue »