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cause of my appearing before you in this strange situation, and at so late an hour.”
The innocence of Louisa’s manner, and readiness to satisfy any doubt, pleaded strongly with Mrs. Rivers, in whose bosom she had a powerful advocate from the first moment of their meeting. “Not to-night,” said that lady; "your exhausted strength and spirits require rest. If you can spare a little time from happier connexions, I shall be much pleased with your company at the cottage”. Louisa raised her eyes to heaven, deeply sighed, bowed her thanks, and retired with Mary, who waited to light her to her chamber.
Tir'd Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
YOUNG'S NIGHT THOUGHTS.
ON Mary's return, she found her mistress lost in thought, which she interrupted by exclaiming, “ Bless me, Madam, do you recollect any one like this young lady. ?” “ No," returned Mrs. Rivers. “ Then, Madam," replied Mary,
you must have forgot yourself, when about her age, for the former part of your life is renewed in her every look and motion." Mary awakened a painful sensation, and recalled affliction gave its accustomed tribute-a tear. “Let us hope, Mary," said the good lady, " a happier fortune than mine awaits her, whatever may be the resemblance of our persons."
Mary, though in a station of life inferior ta Mrs. Rivers, had a heart replete with goodness, and sincerely accorded with that lady in her well-wishes to the fair stranger, whom they did not fail to remember in their orisons to that Power, who sometimes, for his own wise purposes, may chastise, but is never deaf to the
of the virtuous.
And now, for a few hours, the inhabitants of this lonely cot were lost in silence, though sleep refused its soft dominion over Mrs. Rivers and her fair guest : the former reflected with amazement on the strangeness of her meeting with so lovely a girl, and, if for a moment the idea withdrew itself, a heavy sigh from the latter, from whom she was only separated by a slight partition, again gave it fresh strength. Towards morning, their woe-worn souls forgot their sorrows in gentle slumbers; but soon Louisa waked, and fearing she might keep her hospitable entertainer waiting, hastily rose and went down to the apart'ment she was in the night before. Mrs. Rivers having not yet made her appearance, she had an opportunity of observing the cottage, which the confusion of her thoughts the night before prevented. It was plain, and the only thing that eould make it superior to any other, was neatness; a small harpsichord, two shelves of books, containing some of the best theological and poetic works estant. All further examination was stopped by the entrance of Mrs. Rivers, who again welcomed and saluted her fair visitor. Louisa now offered
to fulfil her last night's promise, and give her kind entertainer some account of herself. promised me, last night, your attention, Madam," said she;
I now intrude? " I had rather,” returned Mrs. Rivers, “ that a few days should calm that perturbation of spirits, which at present so visibly disturbs you; a recital of what is so lately "past, will but renew your sorrows; in the mean time, be assured I believe
you innocent of ill, nor would I for the world think the contrary. If you can prefer this solitude to the gaiety of the world, which at your age must have charms, you are welcome: Nay, no thanks”
uisa attempted to speak, “I am the obliged. I find myself attached to you by a power, which I neither strive or wish to withstand.”. Louisa's breast was too full for utterance; tears usurped the place of words; which the amiable Mrs. Rivers perceiving, changed the subject, by telling her fair guest it was the hour appropriated for morning devotion. “We have not,” continued she,
church nearer than seven miles-; for my own part, I do not think prayer less acceptable to the Almighty, though ascending from a cottage.”. After about an hour passed in supplication, Mary retired to the call of industry; and Mrs. Rivers to furnish a change of linen for Louisa, who cleared her habit of those sanguinary drops with which it was spotted.
The remainder of the day was spent in conversation; and friendship, swift as the moments flew, increased in their sympathising bosoms : but though Louisa felt its soothing power, she could not restrain the rising tear; her agitation was considerably increased, when the little clock on the table struck six : “Exactly at this time,” said she,“ last night, I began my weary walk-after such a scene-the wound I gave-Heaven pardon me-'twas designed for my own bosom-but thy all-seeing eye directed my trembling hand, and fixed it in his vicious arm !” Recollection could no longer sustain the painful idea — she ceased and fainted. Mrs. Rivers flew to her assistance; and with the aid of Mary, who was almost as much attached to her as her mistress, she soon recovered, and apologised to her benefactress, who, though grieved at her situation, was not displeased to hear the wound spoken of was the arm, from thence concluding it not dangerous ; and though she much wished to hear the whole of this mysterious relation, yet the goodness of her own heart would not permit that of Louisa's to be wounded by the recital of misfortunes, whose impressions were so freshly engraven on it.