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at its own. You must forget him, my child, he has purposely avoided us."
“Forget him ! never !" and as she spoke tears came into her eyes, and she wept.
With a silent and stealthy tread Mrs. St. Clairville left the room, and a few moments afterwards was seen to quit the house.
A mother's heart who can portray ? who can picture its emotions, or describe its feelings? It is the concentration of all that is fond and affectionate. It is the altar of true religion, before which even sceptics bow. A mother's heart is an attribute of deity, one of the bright gems from the diadem of heaven!
“ In a mother's love
So says Willis—and many a beautiful thought, and poetic expression, owe their existence to that delightful writer. Mrs. St. Clairville had watched her child for
and it was no difficult matter for her to detect the cause of her silent grief. She therefore soon ascertained that love for Alfred was the cause, and for the purpose of promoting that daughter's happiness she had, unknown to her, been actively engaged several weeks in the vain endeavor to ascertain if he was in the city. She had engaged two or three persons for that purpose, and the cause of her abrupt departure from the house, as stated above, was to call upon one who had promised to find him if in the city, although he might have changed his name, as the man observed : “ These kind of gentle folks, pride themselves so much on family, that they would not have their names coupled with poverty; it is all nonsense, ma'am, I knows, but still they do change
'em, and that is the reason they escape those who are after them.”
“I think, ma'am,” said the man on whom she called, “ I have him now, a young man out of elbows, answering your description to a T, lives with a Mrs. Ellis ; he is studious like, writes for the newspapers, and makes books, and his name is Alfred."
“ Alfred Clement ?"
“ Well, ma'am, there you have me at fault.—But Alfred is his name, and that is all I could learn."
6 Mrs. Ellis ! and where does she live ?"
Mrs. St. Clairville hesitated some time before she could make up her mind to visit Alfred; misfortune she knew well had fallen upon him heavily, and his pride kept him away Her daughter's happiness was at stake, and there were reasons only known to herself, which fully satisfied her that Alfred loved Agnes. Her position, therefore, was a peculiar one. Their friend in the hour of distress was now poor, and would she stand upon idle ceremony or etiquette, when it was in her power to alleviate his sufferings ? No! she resolved upon going, and having received the necessary information, she wended her way to the humble dwelling of Mrs. Ellis.
The evening was a lovely one, a gentle breeze came sweeping down the streets, and the hum of the bee in a neighboring garden, and the whistling of caged birds, in the vicinity of Alfred's dwelling, were calculated to make him as he sat at his window, feel most poignantly the sad reverse of his fortunes. He looked back upon the lingering pasta retrospection brought up the festoons of the heart, as they hung around it in his days of wealth--they had withered now-faded-gone, and the intellectual--the high-minded son of genius was desolate-solitary-alone, as it were, in the world! All had forsaken him-even she whom he loved; no-no-not her—how could he blame her, that knew not of the sadness and the misery which surrounded him; and if she did, would it be delicate to inform him that he still lived in her remembrance? So intensely was his mind engaged in these mental cogitations that he scarcely heeded the entrance of his kind landlady, Mrs. Ellis. “ Ah!
my dear madam, is that you ? be seated Mrs. Ellis; it is not often that you condescend to pay me a visit."
“It is your own fault, Mr. Alfred; you are ever poring over your books, and I feel loth to disturb you; but an old and very respectable lady, having left this note for you with an earnest desire that I would present it to you immediately, is the apology I have to make for interrupting your meditations now."
“For me—a note for me; thanks, dear Mrs. Ellis; let me see !-ah!” he exclaimed as he glanced his eyes over its contents, “they have not forgotten me.” Mrs. Ellis having left the room, he read it carefully-it was worded thus : “ If Mr. Alfred Clement has not ceased to remember those he once was pleased to honor with his attention, and whose kindness of heart rescued from misery and want a suffering family, and placed them in a situation, not only to enjoy the comforts of life, but to obtain through his bounty, that fortune they now inherit, a knowledge of which could never have reached the obscurity in which poverty had placed them; if he has not entirely erased from his memory the name of Mrs. St. Clairville, she and her daughter, will be pleased to see him this evening at their house No. Walnut street; or if he should be engaged, at any other time that may suit his convenience.”
“How I have wronged her? Yes, they have been search
ing for me, and how ungrateful, how selfish must I have appeared. Why have I not called upon them? Has poverty lessened me as a man? Has it deprived me of the privilege which the honest and the upright have a right to exercise ! No! then why have I let poverty unman me! fool, idiot, am
! I not as good as Miss St. Clairville? Her equal in birth, as I have been in fortune? I will go and will assume that dignity my distresses may have lessened but not degraded; and henceforth I will be, (as all men should be who value honor more than lucre,) independent of the sneers and frowns of the inflated sons of aristocracy.”
The State House clock had just struck eight, as Alfred ascended the steps of the dwelling of Mrs. St. Clairvillehis hand trembled as he pulled the bell—the heavy tread of a servant-the opening of the door-the glare of light from an entry lamp—the sound of voices—all tended to render him still more nervous. The parlor door was opened, the splendor of which burst upon his sight in all its gorgeous hue. He stood for a moment gazing around him in admiration—"And this," he exclaimed, “is the home of Agnes !"—Alas ! how changed—what a contrast. The servant having handed him a chair, left the room to announce his arrival to his mistress. He sat down on a splendid ottoman; his foot rested on a stool made of rose wood, covered with plush.-He felt at home there was nothing awkward in his manners, for he had been accustomed to such scenes, and with the ease, and elegance of a gentleman, he quietly awaited the approach of Agnes. His eye, as it wandered around the room became rivetted upon a superb paintingthe subject was familiar. Could it be reality? The story was a simple one as conveyed to the mind through the medium of the pencil. It represented a young girl in the street -time night-and the ground covered with snow; her de
licate limbs only partly protected from the cold blast, she was looking up into the face of a youth, whose countenance resembled his own. Strange! could it be possible. “ And has she thought of me!” he ejaculated—“ thought of me amid the glare of fortune, and the flattery of the world— thought of that night of storm and tempest, and associated me with those thoughts—Yes! the poor heart-broken Alfred has one friend, and that friend~"
• Is here!”—He started up—the voice so near him, so soft, so tender, struck upon his heart, and called up the image of one never to be forgotten—he turned aroundthere stood before him in the rich light from innumerable lamps, the most beautiful creature he ever beheld-it was Agnes! but oh! how lovely did she appear-he gazed in admiration - he could not speak, but instinctively as it were, he took her hand, pressed it to his lips, and fell back upon the seat he had just arisen from, completely overcome with the revulsion of his feelings. “Pardon me, Agnes-Miss St. Clairville I mean--pardon me, I am not as I was; I have become so sensitive that the least excitement unmans me, and to meet you thus, and to find you kind —"
“ And why not, Alfred ? would you monopolize all the kindness in the world to yourself.—Talk of kindness, it is too cold a word; gratitude, the deepest, the most profound, is what this heart must ever feel for one whom that dark hour
“Speak not of that—look at me, Agnes ! look at these pallid cheeks—look at my habiliments, so ill befitting a room like this-look, if you can, into this almost broken heart, and it will tell you a tale of sorrow and of wo, equal to the wildest that the imagination has ever conceived. When that dark cloud rested on your peace, you were but a child ; the sorrows of the young are not like those of the more ad