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Delusion; or, The Witch of New England By Eliza Buckminster Lee Characters: 5601

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"I give thee to thy God,-the God that gave thee

A well-spring of deep gladness to my heart!

And, precious as thou art,

And pure as dew of Hermon, He shall have thee!

My own, my beautiful, my undefiled!

And thou shalt be his child."

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While the student sleeps, we will make the reader acquainted with his short and simple annals.

His maternal grandfather had been among the Puritan emigrants who sought the rock-bound coast of New England. He was a man of worth and property, had been educated at Oxford, and distinguished for classical learning and elegant pursuits. But at the call of conscience he left the luxurious halls of his fathers, the rank, and ancestral honors that would have descended to him, to share the hardships, privations, and sufferings of the meanest of his companions. He brought with him his wife and an only child, a daughter of twenty years.

Like her mother, she had been carefully nurtured, and had lived in much luxury, although in the strict seclusion of the daughters of the Puritans.

The wives and daughters of the Pilgrims have never been honored as they deserved to be. Except the Lady Arbella Johnson, is there a single name that has descended with pride and honor to their daughters, and been cherished as a Puritan saint?

It is true they lived in an age when the maxim that a woman should consider it her highest praise to have nothing said about her was in full force; and when the remark of Coleridge would have been applauded, "That the perfection of a woman's character is to be characterless."

But among the wives of the Pilgrims there were heroic women that endured silently every calamity. Mrs. Hemans says, with poetry and truth,-

"There was woman's fearless eye,

Lit by her deep love's truth."

But how many fearful days and nights they must have passed, trembling with all a mother's timidity for their children, when they heard the savage cry, that spared neither the touching smile of infancy, nor the agonized prayer of woman!

They had left the comforts, and even the luxuries, of their English homes,-the hourly attendance of servants, to meet the chilling skies of a shelterless wilderness. She whose foot had trodden the softest carpets, whose bed had been of down, who had been accustomed to those minute attentions that prevent the rose-leaf from being crumpled, must now labor with her own hands, endure the cold of the severest winter, and leave herself unsheltered; all she asked was to guard her infant children from suffering, and aid by her sympathy, her husband.

It is indeed true, that the sentiment of love or religion has power to elevate above all physical suffering, and to ennoble all those homely cares and humble offices that are performed for the beloved object with a smile of

patient endurance; and it asks, in return, but confidence and tenderness.

The wife of Mr. Seymore soon sank under the hardships of the times, and the severity of the climate of New England. Her grave was made in the solitude of the overshadowing forest, and her daughter, who had brought with her a fine, hardy, English constitution, lived to console her widowed father.

He died about five years after his wife, and then his daughter married an Englishman of small fortune, who had come over with his family: his father and mother, both advanced in life, had settled on the small farm we have attempted to describe. He built the cottage for his parents, and then, with his wife, the mother of our young friend Seymore, returned to England.

She lived not long after her return. The religious enthusiasm of the time had taken possession of her mind, and, before her death, she dedicated this, her only child, to the service of the church, and requested her husband to send him to America, where poverty presented no insurmountable barrier to his success.

His father, in sending him to America in his twelfth year, promised to advance something for his education; but unfortunate circumstances prevented, and the boy was left to make his own fortune under the roof of his grandparents.

His disappointment was great to find his grandparents in so narrow circumstances, and himself condemned to so obscure a station. He had aspirations, as we have seen, beyond his humble circumstances. The few books he brought with him were his consolation. They were read, reread, and committed to memory; and then he longed for more. An accident, or what we term an accident-the instrument that Providence provides to shape our destiny-threw some light upon the gloom that seemed to have settled on his prospects.

He met at C--, where he had gone on some business connected with his agricultural labors, the clergyman of the place.

Mr. Grafton was interested by his fine intellectual expression, and pleased with the refined and intelligent remarks that seemed unsuited to his coarse laborer's frock and peasant's dress.

He took him to his house, lent him the books that were necessary to prepare him for our young college, and promised his aid to have him placed on the list of those indigent scholars who were devoted to the church.

From this time his industry and ambition were redoubled, and we have seen the poor aspirant for literary distinction striving to unite two things which must at last break down the body or the mind,-heavy daily labor, with severe mental toil at night.

He was young and strong; his health did not immediately fail, and we must now leave him where thousands of our young men have been left, with aspirations and hopes beyond their humble fortunes.

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