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changes, its stops, and its antidote; they come in the moment of trial, and presto! the whole scene of life is variegated with the pleasing colors of faney. Is it all fancy? Let us see.
“Now, good wife, knock at the door of our guests, bid them come forth to our humble meal; they have been kind to our children, and their strange dress and manner, assumed no doubt for purposes of their own, is no business of ours. Call them to breakfast."
The wife obeyed, and the door being opened, out came, not the decrepit old man and woman, but a young and lovely couple dressed in fine clothes, their faces lit up with smiles, and the merry Christmas was given with a fervor and sincerity, to hear which was to feel that it came from the heart. The humble family started and gazed upon their guests; the children crept behind their parents, for their youthful imaginations had already clothed their kind patrons in a supernatural garb.
“ How is this,” exclaimed the father, “why these disguises, and
-" “Hush, sir,” exclaimed the laughing couple, “recollect this is Christmas morn, and we now appear, not as old Santa Claus and his wife, but as we are, the mere actors of this pleasing farce. But say no more, your coffee smells delicious, these cakes look inviting, and my Amelia is hungry, I know she is.”
Amelia,” muttered their host and hostess. “ Yes, Amelia ; why, how sad you look, is there anything in the sound calculated to make you feel sad?”
No, no, on the contrary, the name calls up the past, when all was joy, all was happiness.”
“Ah, William, see how you distress these poor people. No more of this."
“But, sir," exclaimed their host, one word, gracious
heaven, let me gaze once more on that face. Wife, looklook up ! see! do you not- -am I awake?”
“ Father! mother! do you not know your long lost Amelia ?”
“My child ! my child !” screamed the mother, and in a moment the daughter was clasped to the breast of her overpowered parent.
6 Stand back !” exclaimed her father, as Amelia now approached him, “ stand back ! let not the crimson blush of shame mantle on thy mother's cheek for taking to her arms the lost and abandoned. Away! leave us to our sorrow; the withered tree cannot revive, though the green tendril should entwine itself once more around it. Its purity is gone." " O, father! hear me.”
Speak not, ungrateful girl ; that man, that base “Silence, father, wrong him not, he is all truth, all honor." “ He is thy paramour, girl.” “ No, father, he is my kind and affectionate husband." “Ah! thy husband !"
In a moment the daughter was clinging to the breast of her father.
Then there was joy, and the Christmas morn looked forward to in sorrow, became all sunshine and happi
Our story is told. William Sandford had stolen away, like Othello, the old man's daughter, and like him, married her. William had been wild and dissipated, and was forbidden the house. Amelia loved him ; they were young and foolish, the world appeared before them all sunshine, a garden of flowers—they looked not for the clouds, they dreamed not of the thorns. Shortly after the elopement they left America for England.
Amelia sent a letter to her father, which it appears he never received. They left friends and
home-thought not of the misery they had caused, and the sorrowing hearts of those they left behind. Reflection in youth is not the reflection of age. The one is the offspring of a day, the other of years. One agitates the surface of the mind, the other maddens the brain.
After their arrival in England, Sandford became heir to a large estate ; then it was, after Providence had blessed them with a fine boy, they thought of the past, for parents only can feel for parents. The remembrance of a father's kindness, a mother's love, came over Amelia's dream of happiness like a cloud, frowning on her joy, and dimming the brightness of her life's sunshine. That heart can never know happiness which closes its doors against a parent's love. “Dear mother, can you forgive me-father, will you
bless your Amelia once more ?"
“Say no more, all is forgotten-all is forgiven."
“ And my brother, too, and dear little sis—God bless me, but I am so happy.”
To say they were happy is a word scarcely strong enough. Repentance brings happiness, and the sunshine of religion sheds over the soul that holy ray of light which nothing on earth can ever dim. It is the star of Jehovah fixed eternal in the heart.
Did the landlord seize their little furniture ? No! happiness was theirs, and a more cheerful Christmas day could not be imagined than the one passed beneath the humble roof of Robert Paxson. Let my readers reflect on the moral of this sketch, if it creates one throb of pleasure and sympathy for the poor family now made happy, then is the author fully repaid for his CHRISTMAS LEGEND.
LEAF SEVENTEEN TII.
“On Sabbath morning, the 25th of May, I preached in the prison at Cherry Hill, and after the sermon conversed with some of the prisoners, and I found them inclined to be penitent and seek salvation through our blessed Redeemer. I had remarked in my sermon, . Perhaps there are those here who have listened to the voice of prayer as it ascended to Heaven from the lips of a pious parent, or a godly wise, in their behalf, but that they had broken through all restraints, scoffed the pious admonitions from dear and pure hearts, and dashed aside the proffered hand that was held out to assist them.' One of the prisoners called me to his cell, the tears were coursing their way down his cheeks—Sir,' says he, 'I once had a praying wife, an affectionate, lovely woman, how often has she plead with me to give my heart unto the Lord, and to seek in prayer that peace the wicked know not of; but I refused, and rushed headlong into vice, nor did I awaken from that horrid dream, until I found it all reality, and myself an inmate of this cell ! but, sir, I praise God, for he has answered the prayers of my wife, and two years ago the Lord through Christ converted my soul, and although shut off from all communion with my kind here, I can sweetly commune with my blessed Saviour. And, sir, I am ready and willing to die whenever he chooses to call me hence. The words of this man affected me much, and my heart was sad when I heard the sounds of the bolts pulled upon him, and, thus shut him out as it were from the world -but not from his God.”—Home Missionary's Report,
There is something melancholy in this picture, and one upon which the heart, as well as the eye should rest. As far back as 1789, societies were formed for the
of alleviating the distresses of those who were imprisoned for debt, and many of the calamities attendant on that law, and its consequences were relieved, by the humane and charitable. But not until recently has it become almost a general thing to visit the cells of criminals, and by exhortation, and expounding the holy scriptures, administer to their spiritual comfort, and prepare them for another and a better world. The murderer chained in his cell, with no human being near him-alone--shut out from the world, encased in a living tomb, all his dark deeds rushing upon him, and busy memory torturing him with their recollection—the grave yawning ready to receive him, feels human at the sound of the voice of the Missionary. It comes upon his soul like a ray of light, it illumines the dark chambers of his heart, and bids him hope. O! who can tell the feelings of one so situated, who can describe the sensations of the condemned of man, when by his side a fellow creature kneels and prays -prays for him—him the lost—the outcast-the murderer !-Yes, while the rich enjoy the comforts wealth brings—the poor wretch, homeless, penniless, wanders on to crime—to murder-to the gallows. One kind word, one tender look-a helping hand in his dark hour of gloom pro
-a bably would have saved him. But alas ! such is the world, and truly is it said, that one half of it does not know how the other half lives.
It is the Missionary who can trace out the cause of crime, and it is in his capacity of one he endeavors to remove it. Our readers can form but a very faint idea of the duties of a home Missionary, perhaps they are more conversant with those who carry the glad tidings of christianity