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call up in a countenance rendered habitually grave by the cares of business or ambition. I remember entering a well-known mercantile house in London, just as some unfavorable intelligence had been received. The head of the firm, with his hard but honest features, looked at once stern and anxious, A small hand twitched his coat behind. He turned slowly round, with a sullen and almost a savage brow. His eye fell upon the prettiest little human face that ever gleamed upon the earth. But the child's merry laughter was scarcely more delightful than the bland and beautiful smile that kindled on the merchant's care-worn cheek. His aspect underwent such an instantaneous and entire change, that he looked as if he had changed his nature also. Had a painter stamped his portrait on the canvass at that happy moment, it would have presented an exquisite illustration of amenity and love. Few, however, of his mercantile friends, would have recognized the man of business. He was single and childless; but the fondest parent could not have greeted his own offspring with a sweeter welcome.

I have in some moods preferred the paintings of our own Gainsborough to those of Claude,-and for this single reason, that the former gives a peculiar and more touching interest to his landscapes by the introduction of sweet groups of children. These lovely little figures are moreover so thoroughly English, and have such an out-of-door's air, and seem so much a part of external nature, that an Englishman who is a lover of rural scenery, can hardly fail to be enchanted with the style of his celebrated countryman. His children have not been dandled in courts or draw. ing-rooms, nor tutored by fiddling and caper-cutting dancing masters. They have a natural grace about them that is always charming to an unsophisticated eye. They spring up into life and beauty like the flowers around them, that are the more lovely the less they are meddled with by an ambitious taste. They are

The sweetest things that ever grew
Beside a human door!

When I revisited my dear native country, after an absence of many weary years, and a long dull voyage, my heart was filled with unutterable delight and admiration. The land seemed a perfect paradise. It was in the spring of the year. The blue vault of heaven, over which were scattered a few silver clouds—the clear atmosphere—the balmy vernal breeze-the quiet and picturesque cattle, browsing on luxuriant verdure, or standing kneedeep in a crystal lake—the blue hills sprinkled with snow-white sheep and sometimes partially shadowed by a wandering cloudthe meadows glowing with golden buttercups and bedropped with daisies—the trim hedges of crisp and sparkling holly—the sound of near but unseen rivulets, and the songs of foliage-hidden birds —the white cottages almost buried amidst trees, like happy human nests—the ivy-covered church, with its old grey spire 'pointing up to heaven,' and its gilded vane gleaming in the light—the sturdy peasants with their instruments of healthy toil—the whitecapped matrons bleaching their newly-washed garments in the sun, and throwing them like snow-patches on green slopes or glossy garden shrubs—the sun-browned village girls, resting idly on their round elbows at small open casements, their faces in sweet keeping with the trellised flowers ;--all formed a combination of enchantments that would mock the happiest imitative efforts of human art. But though the bare enumeration of the details of this English picture, will perhaps awaken many dear recollections in the reader's mind, I have omitted by far the most interesting feature of the whole scenethe rosy children loitering about the cottage gates, or tumbling gaily on the warm grass !

When the cottager of England ventures to link himself for life to the object of his honest affections, and anticipates without dismay, “the ruddy family around,' he is rebuked by the Political Economists for what they consider his culpable imprudence. These unfeeling calculators seem to forget that a poor man is a human being. They might almost as well expect him to abstain entirely from the simplest food, (for even that is to him expensive,) as to check all those natural yearnings of the heart which are as necessary to the enjoyment of existence as any purely physical gratification. They forget too, how the thought of his wife and children nerves the labourer's arm, and how when the daily task is over he is soothed and cheered by their evening welcome. His home is home, however homely. If the husband and the father has a heavy task, his reward is great. The Cottar's Saturday Night's' enjoyments are cheaply purchased by a week of labour. Children are not less precious to the English peasant than they were to the Roman matron. They are alike 'the jewels' of the high-born and the humble.

But even in a political point of view, marriage is commendable, for it puts a man in the way of becoming a quiet, a useful, and an industrious citizen. They who marry, says Bishop Atterbury, give hostages to the public that they will not attempt the ruin of society or disturb its peace. The American Franklin, who can hardly be suspected of a romantic enthusiasm or a want of prudence, expresses his disapproval of the unnatural state of celibacy for life, and maintains that it makes a man of less value than he ought to be. In a moral sense, marriage is especially advantageous. Certainly,' says Lord Bacon, 'wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity; and single men, though they may be many times more charitable, because their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hard-hearted, (good to make severe inquisitors,) because their tenderness is not 80 often called upon.'

* The best thing I can wish you,' said Sir Walter Scott to Washington Irving, 'is that when you return to your own country you may get married, and have a family of young bairns about you. If you are happy, there they are to share your happiness; and if you are otherwise—there they are to comfort you.'

No parent can be wholly wretched, let his fate be what it may, if his children are about him, with their cheeks tinged with health. It is sweet to be surrounded by those whom we dearly love, and who love us in return beyond all the world. There is no music so delightful as the sound of a child's affectionate voice-and no sight so cheering as its little happy face. But alas ! in this comfortless and uncongenial clime*, the forlorn English exile must too generally forego these domestic pleasures. It is indeed a terrible deprivation. This is the unkindest cut of all. It is the stroke that

goes most directly to the heart. It is not the mere absence alone that constitutes the bitter trial, but a consciousness of the vast intervening distance. The parent and the child are divided from each other by a world of waters. They live in different spheres. The death of a child would scarcely seem a heavier doom than such a separation. In the one case there is an end of all doubt, suspense and fear; but in the other there are feverish hopes, and hideous apprehensions. The mother dreams incessantly of her distant child, for whom she anticipates every ill that flesh is heir to. If sometimes in a happier moment she soothes her soul with brighter fancies, and sees her dear offspring wandering in careless happiness about the same green spots that are hallowed by her own earliest associations, the delight is neither lasting nor unalloyed.

“Oh! there is e'en a happiness that makes the heart afraid."

This sweet picture of the imagination is soon contrasted with the drear reality of her own position, and the possible difference of her child's actual fate, from that presented by her flattering dreams. The re-action of the mind is fearful. That way mad. ness lies.' A state of exile is every way unnatural, and breaks humanity's divinest links. The spirit of domestic happiness rarely wanders far from her native hearth.


The generous and chivalric protection which men bestow upon the feebler but fairer sex, is allied in some degree to the feeling which we cherish towards a child. The graceful and trusting helplessness of both is flattering to our pride, and is an appeal to our love that is utterly irresistible. He who has a large family of children, is necessarily conscious of an agreeable self-importance. If he has the means of supporting them, they cannot be too numerous. His children are

so many re-creations of himself. They are ties that must bind his affections to the world, and yet solace him in his latest hour, for a man cannot wholly die while his children live. He has spread out his existence into different channels. When he looks upon his little divided lives, he feels not the effect of age so palpably as he who is solitary and child

He beholds in them the lovely April of his prime.'

* This is to be new made when he is old,
And see his blood warm when he feels it cold.'

When the wedded lose a partner, the dead parent is still present in the child. It is a living miniature of the departed. It is pleasant, when we become conscious of the defiling influence of the world, and feel the cold blasts of care, to see ourselves reflected in a fairer form in the bright faces of our children. They suggest the purest and sweetest thoughts. They are beautiful in themselves, and like the fresh buds of spring are full of precious promise of blossoms and of shelter. He whose evening of life is cherished and adorned by a lovely cluster of kindred faces, may well exult in his latter state, whatever may have been the trials and deprivations of his earlier hours.


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