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COTTAGE ON THE MOOR.
Night, sable goddess, from her ebon throne,
YOUNG'S NIGHT THOUGHTS.
AT the foot of a high hill, on a large tract of barren land, known by the name of Stanmore, about seven miles from Kendal, in the county of Westmorland, stood a small cot, whose thatched roof tempted not the midnight robber; nor yet whose penurious aspect seemed to refuse, in this dreary spot, comfort to the distressed traveller.
On a frosty night, the latter end of December (when the mild radiance of the moon, to a mind at ease, might-have made even this rough scene delightfuł), the inhabitants of the cottage were disturbed by a loud knocking, which was answered by a female voice, who, from a window in the upper story, demanded the reason of this late alarm! Accents which at once bespoke pity, and claimed from the humanised mind immediate succour, reached the car of the interrogator to the following purport:- Alas! if you refuse me entrance, here must I perish; I have wandered amidst these wilds, till cold has almost deprived me of sensation.” The stranger ceased; the hospitable wicket opened wide, and discovered to the pitying portress a female sinking with fatigue: the succouring arm of Mary (for so was the attendant of the cottage named) was immediately held out. “ Fear not, Madam,” said she, “lean on me; I will conduct you to my mistress, who will gladly afford every assistance in her power.” With feeble step and slow, the benighted stranger reached the apartment of the mistress of this humble mansion, who rose to "receive and wel come her unexpected guest; then turning to Mary, ordered her to bring some warm wine, and mend the half-extinguished fire. Mary had a heart that needed no prompting to tenderness and humanity, her mistress was, therefore, immediately obeyed;
When the stranger had taken some refreshment, and vital warmth diffused itself on her limbs, she returned such thanks as convinced Mrs. Rivers, the mistress of the cottage, that her prepossessions in favor of her new guest were not ill founded. The ladies now had leisure to examine each other, though not with the supercilious eye of envy with which the modern belle observes her competitor in dress and fashion: here every fresh glance discovered a new grace, or additional virtue; such is the power of sympathy on uncorrupted minds. The stranger found her entertainer possessed of beauty, though at the age of thirty-six; nor was it lessened by the plain mourning habit she wore: native dignity shone conspicuous, though woe had strongly marked her lovely features with his iron traits. The fair wanderer, (who was named Louisa ) appeared to Mrs. Rivers about seventeen ; she was tall and elegantly formed; her complexion of the most transparent fairness; her lovely downcast blue eyes seemed sureties that innocence and virtue dwelt within. The pale blush of her cheek was admirably contrasted by the vermilion of her lips, which opened on rows of pearl ; bright auburn locks, whose ringlets needed not the assistance of art, fell negligently on her snowy neck : in fine, 'she was loveliness itself, without the aid of ornament.
For some moments, did the humane Mrs. Rivers survey the lovely distressed in silent sorrow; her surcharged hcart overflowing in pearly drops, to think so delicate a form should be exposed to the dangers of the night and inclemency of the season ; curiosity, though in general predominant in a female breast, was here absorbed by gentle pity. This tender sensation was however changed into a sudden start and look of horror, on perceiving several spots of blood on the fair stranger's habit; and her inquiring eye seemed to demand explanation of what she almost dreaded to hear!--Mrs.' Rivers's strong emotion was not unobserved by Louisa, who, casting her eye downward , perceived the cause : “You have seen, Madam," said she, “what till this moment, was unknown to myself, think not unfavorably of me, if I appear confused; it is not from conscious guilt, buț, the recollection of dangers which I have this night escaped; this blood was shed in a moment of desperation, to preserve a wretched girl her only possession." " Alas !", returned Mrs. Rivers, “ can any thing authorise a deed so shocking to humanity?" " Yes, Madam," replied Louisa, “ the defence of innocence and virtue ; but for that wound, which, however, I hope is slight, I had been deprived of both. If I have not already too far trespassed on your goodness, I will relate the