Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

without reserve--told me many particulars of his way of life for the last nine or ten years, which I do not feel myself at liberty to divulge.

Once, on my attempting to cheer him, when I perceived him over thoughtful, he replied to me in these words:

“Do not regard me as unhappy, when you catch me in these moods. I am never more happy than at times, when, by the cast of my countenance, men judge me most miserable.

“My friend, the events which have left this sadness behind them, are of no recent date. The melancholy, which comes over me with the recollection of them, is not hurtful, but only tends to soften and tranquillise my mind, to detach me from the restlessness of human pursuits.

“ The stronger I feel this detachment, the more I find myself drawn heavenward to the contemplation of spiritual objects.

“I love to keep old friendships alive and warm within me, because I expect a renewal of them in the World of Spirits.

“I am a wandering and unconnected thing on the earth. I have made no new friendships, that can compensate me for the loss of the old-and the more I know mankind, the more does it become necessary for me to supply their loss by little images, recollections, and circumstances, of past pleasures.

“I am sensible that I am surrounded by a multitude of very worthy people, plain-hearted souls, sincere and kind.-But they have hitherto eluded my pursuit, and will continue to bless the little circle of their families and friends, while I must remain a stranger to them.

Kept at a distance by mankind, I have not ceased to love them and could I find the cruel persecutor, the malignant instrument of God's judgments on me and mine, I think I would forgive, and try to love him too.

“I have been a quiet sufferer. From the beginning of my calamities it was given to me, not to see the hand of man in them. I perceived a mighty arm, which none but myself could see, extended over

I gave my heart to the Purifier, and my will to the Sovereign Will of the Universe. The irresistible wheels of destiny passed on in their everlasting rotation,—and I suffered myself to be carried along with them without complaining."

me.

65

CHAPTER XII.

Allan told me, that for some years past, feeling himself disengaged from every personal tie, but not alienated from human sympathies, it had been his taste, his humour he called it, to spend a great portion of his time in hospitals and lazar houses.

He had found a wayward pleasure, he refused to name it a virtue, in tending a description of people, who had long ceased to expect kindness or friendliness from mankind, but were content to accept the reluctant services, which the often-times unfeeling instruments and servants of these wellmeant institutions deal out to the poor sick people under their care.

It is not medicine, it is not broths and coarse meats, served up at a stated hour with all the hard formalities of a prison,-it is not the scanty dole of a bed to die on—which dying man requires from his species.

Looks, attentions, consolations,-in a word, sympathies, are what a man most needs in this awful close of mortal sufferings. A kind look, a smile, a drop of cold water to the parched lipfor these things a man shall bless you in death.

And these better things than cordials did Allan love to administer—to stay by a bed-side the whole day, when something disgusting in a patient's distemper has kept the very nurses at a distanceto sit by, while the poor wretch got a little sleep —and be there to smile upon him when he awoke -to slip a guinea, now and then, into the hands of a nurse or attendant—these things have been to Allan as privileges, for which he was content to live, choice marks, and circumstances, of his Maker's goodness to him.

And I do not know whether occupations of this kind be not a spring of purer and nobler delight (certainly instances of a more disinterested virtue) than arises from what are called Friendships of Sentiment.

Between two persons of liberal education, like opinions, and common feelings, oftentimes subsists a Vanity of Sentiment, which disposes each to look upon the other as the only being in the universe worthy of friendship, or capable of understanding it,-themselves they consider as the solitary receptacles of all that is delicate in feeling, or stable in attachment :—when the odds are, that under every green hill, and in every crowded street, people of equal worth are to be found, who do more good in their generation, and make less noise in the doing of it.

It was in consequence of these benevolent propensities, I have been describing, that Allan oftentimes discovered considerable inclinations in favour of my way of life, which I have before mentioned as being that of a surgeon. He would frequently attend me on my visits to patients; and I began to think, that he had serious intentions of making my profession his study.

He was present with me at a scene--a death-bed scene-I shudder when I do but think of it.

CHAPTER XIII.

I was sent for the other morning to the assistance of a gentleman, who had been wounded in a duel,--and his wounds by unskilful treatment had been brought to a dangerous crisis.

The uncommonness of the name, which was Matravis, suggested to me, that this might possibly

« ZurückWeiter »