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stand, yet he preached with so much ease, and with' such animation, that I felt more of the importance of religion last Sunday than I ever felt before." "I have no doubt," Mrs. Denham replied, “but Mr. Ingleby is a very good man, and a most excellent preacher; but you know that Mr. Denham is so attached to his religion, that he would not like for us to change ours."
"You see, my dear," said Mrs. Denham to her daughter, as they were going home, "the propriety of the suggestion which I gave you some time since, to avoid associating with Mrs. Stevens; as it is to her influence we may attribute the entire secession of the Roscoes from our social parties. They are all gone, as you may perceive from our interview with them this morning; and I fear their example will influence others. It is prodigiously affecting to see what progress this evangelical religion is making in the higher circles of life; and no one can say where it will end." "But, Mamma, one thing is certain; if we judge from obsenvation, they are happier with their religion than we are with ours." "Yes, my dear, they say they are happy; but what pleasure can there be in religion?" "I don't know, Mamma; but I am sure that Mrs. Stevens and Miss Roscoe have a larger share of mental enjoyment than I have. I often feel a gloom come over my mind, which I can neither remove nor account for; and sometimes I feel such a singular depression of spirit that I am inclined to read my Bible; but, unfortunately, that increases the evil I wish removed." "Why you know, my dear, you have been rather more confined at home than usual, which has relaxed your spirits too much; but as our parties will soon meet, they will recover their tone, and then the gloom of which you speak will go off. But I must request you to avoid associating with your old friends, especially now you are somewhat depressed in your spirits; for if you do, they will bring you over to embrace their religious opinions; which would be, as I have often told you, a most overwhelming affliction to your father and myself." "I cannot, Mamma, efface from my memory the sermon which I once heard Mr. Ingleby preach. It sometimes recurs to my recollection with a force that quite overpowers me. I hope God will bless us, and save us."
stereotyped by 3. HADDON ; and Printed by 3, S. HUGHES, 63, Paternoster Ros,
"He found Miss Denham sitting in an arm chair beside the fire, with a Bible open before her on the table. There was a melancholy cast on her countenance, which formed a very impressive contrast to the brilliancy of her eye, and the beautiful, though fatal hectic, which flushed her cheek. On taking his seat opposite to her, he saw the nurse cautiously removing the chess-board, with a pack of cards on the top of it, which stood on a chest of drawers behind the door."
THE FATAL VISIT.
Smitten, while all the promises of life
"She bowed her head in quietness.-She knew
As I was taking my morning ramble I perchance met Miss Roscoe, and at her request accompanied her to Mr. Denham's, where we met Mr. John Ryder, who was paying his addresses to Miss Matilda. He was a fine figure-polite, yet conceited-possessed of a tolerable share of common-place wit-very loose in his principles-just the very thing for a fellow of a fashionable society. Mr. Denham was a very pleasant, goodnatured man, who inherited a handsome fortune, which had been accumulated by the industry and frugality of his ancestors; and, as his habits were rather penurious, he had very much increased it. He originally farmed one of his own estates; but as he had no son to beat the clods of the valley, or pen the sheep in the fold, he disposed of it by lease to a very good tenant, and retained only a few acres of meadow land for his cow and his horses. He was a churchman of the old school ;regular in his attendance at the morning servicedevout, and rather loud in his responses a decided enemy to all innovation, often saying that no one ought to forsake the religion of his fathers. In the afternoon he regularly took his nap and his pipe; and in the evening amused himself sometimes in one way, and sometimes in another. He was now verging fast towards sixty; and having supported an honourable cha racter amongst his friends and his neighbours, and made his will, he had nothing else to do but to receive his rents, and watch the sun of his life, which was gradually going down under the calm serenity of an unruffled evening.
Mrs. Denham, though possessed of some of the moral qualities of her husband, belonged to a very different cast. She loved money-but she was rather more fond of spending it; and such was her passion for dress, and for the elegant and fashionable amusements of high life,
that she sometimes, rather imprudently, endangered the harmony of domestic peace in seeking its gratification. She excelled Mr. D. in strength of intellect, and in wit, and was more benevolent in her disposition; but her temper was not quite so mild, nor did she always act so prudent and upright a part as he generally performed. She was attached to home, except in the winter, when she wished to spend a few months at Bath; and in the summer, when Brighton, or Cheltenham, or some other fashionable resort, presented more powerful attractions than the dull uniformity of a country life. She was fond of reading the lighter productions of the press; and would sometimes, on a Sabbath-day, read a chapter in her Bible, to keep up a family custom; but the grave exercise of meditation and reflection was particularly offensive to her taste. She could quote a few passages from that holy book; but no one with more emphasis, than the commonly perverted aphorism of the wise man,Be not righteous over much. She was facetious; never more at home than when moving in a gay circle; easily susceptible of offence, but not so easily appeased; passionately attached to this life, but unwilling to be reminded of the approach of another.
Miss Denham inherited the failings and the excellencies of both her parents; and hence she alternately exhibited a moral character whose more prominent features bore a striking resemblance to each. But as she was animated by the ardour of youth, there was more sprightliness in her gaiety, and less gravity in her decorum-more flippancy in her invectives on the religious people around her, and less of the appearance of devotion when engaged in the solemnities of public worship. There was so much of the finesse of fashionable life about her, that she thought it less disreputable to be altogether ignorant of the Scriptures, and the great truths on which the eternal destiny of the soul depends, than to betray a familiarity with them; and though there was an amiable sweetness in her disposition, which could not but relish the high moral accomplishments of her friends, Mrs. Stevens and Miss Roscoe, yet her enmity against their religious principles was at once bitter and sarcastic.
We found, after Mr. Ryder had left, that he had
been to press Mrs. and Miss D. to join a party which he was forming to go to a public ball in the following week at B; and after hearing a great deal about the inconvenience of the distance, &c. &c. we were informed that they had consented to go.
The morning of the day on which they went to this scene of gaiety was fine and beautiful. The heavens displayed their softened glories; as the sun threw his enfeebled rays over the vast expanse, no cloud arose to intercept his beams: the air moved in gentle and refreshing breezes; and had we seen the budding trees, or the opening flowers, we should have concluded that it was the month of April rather than the beginning of November, But about noon the wind suddenly changed; the clouds were seen passing and repassing each other, as though they were conducting some mysterious intercourse between distant regions, telling the affrighted inhabitants of the approaching storm. The rain began to descend in torrents, and the wind, let loose from its secret dwelling-place, blew where it listed; we heard its awful sound, and felt the earth becoming tremulous under our feet. At ten o'clock the fury of the tempest abated, and the inhabitants of the Villa were preparing to retire to rest; when, after about half an hour's pause, it returned to the work of terror and devastation, and continued to rage, with increasing violence, through the greater part of the night.
It was in this dark and tempestuous night that Mr. Ryder and his party had to return from the ball; and it was with great difficulty they reached home. The next morning Miss Denham complained of a slight cold, and it was thought proper that she should remain in her own room during the whole of the day. On the following day she still felt unwell, but not ill; and as there was a select party engaged to tea and cards, she dressed and appeared amongst them. She was gay and sprightly; but the dew of health was gone off her countenance; her eyes did not sparkle with their usual lustre; and all received an impression from her general appearance, that some fatal disease had seized her, though no one had courage enough to mention it.
As there never had been much illness in the family, no one thought of sending for any medical gen