Page images
[ocr errors]

66 It is,

weakness of humanity; but my comfort is not therefore lost." “ I heard you," said the other, “ in the pulpit; I rejoice that such consolation is yours. my friend,” said he; “ and I trust I shall ever hold it fast ; if there are any who doubt our faith, let them think of what importance religion is to calamity, and forbear to weaken its force; if they cannot restore our happiness, let them not take away the solace of our affliction.”

Mr —_'s heart was smitten; and I have heard him, long after, confess, that there were moments when the remembrance overcame him even to weakness; when, amidst all the pleasures of philosophical discovery, and the pride of literary fame, he recalled to his mind the venerable figure of the good La Roche, and wished that he had never doubted.

No. 49. TUESDAY, July 13, 1779.

As I walked one evening, about a fortnight ago, through St Andrew's-square, I observed a girl, meanly dressed, coming along the pavement at a slow pace. When I passed her, she turned a little towards me, and made a sort of halt, but said nothing. I am ill at looking any body full in the face, so I went on a few steps before I turned my eye to observe her. She had, by this time, resumed her former pace. I remarked a certain elegance in her form, which the poorness of her garb could not altogether overcome: her person was thin and genteel, and there was something not ungraceful in the stoop of her head, and the seeming feebleness with which she walked. I could not resist the desire, which her appearance gave me,

[ocr errors]

of knowing somewhat of her situation and circumstances: I therefore walked back, and repassed her with such a look, (for I could bring myself to nothing more,) as might induce her to speak what she seemed desirous to say at first. This had the effect I wished.—“ Pity a poor orphan!”

I said she, in a voice tremulous and weak. I stopped, and put my hand in my pocket. I had now a better opportunity of observing her. Her face was thin and pale; part of it was shaded by her hair, of a light brown colour, which was parted, in a disordered manner, at her forehead, and hung loose upon her shoulders; round them was cast a piece of tattered cloak, which with one hand she held across her bosom, while the other was half-outstretched to receive the bounty I intended for her. Her large blue eyes were cast on the ground: she was drawing back her hand as I put a trifle into it; on receiving which, she turned them up to me,


muttered something which I could not hear, and then, letting go her cloak, and pressing her hands together, burst into tears.

It was not the action of an ordinary beggar, and my curiosity was strongly excited by it. I desired her to follow me to the house of a friend hard by, whose beneficence I have often had occasion to know. When she arrived there, she was so fatigued and worn out, that it was not till after some means used to restore her, that she was able to give us an account of her misfortunes.

Her name, she told us, was Collins; the place of her birth one of the northern counties of England. Her father, who had died several years ago, left her remaining parent with the charge of her, then a child, and one brother, a lad of seventeen. By his industry, however, joined to that of her mother, they were tolerably supported; their father having died possessed of a small farm, with the right of pasturage on an adjoining common, from which they obtained a decent livelihood: that, last summer, her brother having become acquainted with a recruiting serjeant, who was quartered in a neighbouring village, was by him enticed to enlist as a soldier, and soon after was marched off, along with some other recruits, to join his regiment: that this, she believed, broke her mother's heart, for that she had never afterwards had a day's health, and, at length, had died about three weeks ago ; that, immediately after her death, the steward employed by the 'squire of whom their farm was held, took possession of every thing for the arrears of their rent: that, as she had heard her brother's regiment was in Scotland when he enlisted, she had wandered hither in quest of him, as she had no other relation in the world to own her. But she found, on arriving here, that the regiment had been embark

« PreviousContinue »