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6 'Tis an
had come to welcome their pastor, turned their looks towards him at the sound; he explained their meaning to his guest. “ That is the signal,” said he, “ for our evening exercise; this is one of the nights of the week in which some of my parishioners are wont to join in it; a little rustic saloon serves for the chapel of our family, and such of the good people as are with
choose rather to walk out, I will furnish you with an attendant; or here are a few old books that may afford you some entertainment within."
By no means," answered the philosopher, “I will attend Ma’moiselle at her devotions.” 5. She is our organist,” said La Roche ; our neighbourhood is the country of musical mechanism; and I have a small organ fitted
purpose of assisting our singing." additional inducement,” replied the other; and they walked into the room together. At the end stood the organ mentioned by La Roche; his daughter placing herself on a seat within, and drawing the curtain close, so as to save her the awkwardness of an exhibition, began a voluntary, solemn and beautiful in the highest degree. Mr. H- was no musician, but he was not altogether insensible to music ; this fastened on his mind more strongly, from its beauty being unexpected. The solemn prelude introduced a hymn, in which such of the audience as could sing immediately joined ; the words were mostly taken from holy writ; it spoke the praises of God, and his care of good
Something was said of the death of the just, of such as die in the Lord.—The organ was touched with a hand less firm ; -it paused, it ceased ; and the sobbing of Ma'moiselle La Roche was heard in its stead. Her father gave a sign for stopping the psalmody, and rose to pray. He was discomposed at first, and his voice faltered as he spoke; but his heart was in his words, and his warmth overcame his embarrassment. He addressed a Being whom he loved, and he spoke for those he loved. His parishioners caught the ardour of the good old man ; even the philosopher felt himself moved, and forgot, for a moment, to think why he should not!
'Twas with regret Mr. H— left a society in which he found himself so happy ; but he settled with La Roche and his daughter a plan of correspondence; and they took his promise, that, if ever he came within fifty leagues of their dwelling, he should travel those fifty leagues to visit them.
About three years after, our philosopher was at Geneva. While he was hesitating about a visit to La Roche, he received
a letter from the old man, which had been forwarded to him from Paris, where he had then his fixed residence. It informed him of the approaching nuptials of Ma'moiselle La Roche, with a young man, a relation of her own, and formerly a pupil of her father's, of the most amiable disposition and respectable character. Attached from their earliest years, they had been separated by his joining one of the subsidiary regiments of the Canton, then in the service of a foreign power. The term of his service was now expired, and they expected him to return in a few weeks, when the old man hoped, as he expressed it in his letter, to join their hands, and see them happy before he died.
Mr. H- felt himself interested in this event; but he was not, perhaps, altogether so happy in the tidings of Ma’moiselle La Roche's marriage, as her father supposed him.-Not that he was ever a lover of the lady; but he thought her one of the most amiable women he had seen, and there was something in the idea of her being another's for ever, that struck him, he knew not why, like a disappointment.—After some little speculation on the matter, however, he could not but look on it as a thing fitting, if not quite agreeable, and determined on this visit to see his old friend and his daughter happy.
On the last day of his journey, different accidents had retarded his progress; he was benighted before he reached the quarter in which La Roche resided. His guide, however, was well acquainted with the road, and he found himself at last in view of the lake, which I have before described, in the neighbourhood of La Roche's dwelling. A light gleamed on the water, that seemed to proceed from the house ; it moved slowly along as he proceeded up the side of the lake, and at last he saw it glimmer through the trees, and stop at some distance from the place where he then was. He supposed it some piece of bridal merriment, and pushed on his horse that he might be a spectator of the scene ; but he was a good deal shocked, on approaching the spot, to find it proceed from a torch of a person clothed in the dress of an attendant on a funeral, and accompanied by several others, who, like him, seemed to have been employed in the rites of sepulture.
On Mr. H—'s making inquiry who the person was they had been burying, one of them, with an accent more mournful than is common to their profession, answered, “ Then you
knew not Mademoiselle, Sir !-you never beheld a lovelier”-“ La Roche !” exclaimed he, in reply.“ Alas ! it was she indeed !"
The appearance of surprise and grief which his countenance assumed, attracted the notice of the peasant with whom he talked. He came up closer to Mr. H—; “I perceive, Sir, you were acquainted with Mademoiselle La Roche.”—“ Acquainted with her !—(Good God !)—when-how did she die ?—where is her father ?? _^ She died, Sir, of heart-break, I believe ; the young gentleman to whom she was soon to have been married, was killed in a duel by a French officer, his intimate companion, and to whom, before their quarrel, he had often done the greatest favours. Her worthy father bears her death, as he has often told us a Christian should; he is even so composed as to be now in his pulpit
, ready to deliver a few exhortations to his parishioners, as is the custom with us on such occasions,—Follow me, Sir, and you shall hear him.”—He followed the man without answering.
The church was dimly lighted, except near the pulpit, where the venerable La Roche was seated. His people were now lifting up their voices in a psalm to that Being whom their pastor had taught them ever to bless and to revere. La Roche sat, his figure bending gently forward, his eyes, half closed, lift up in silent devotion. A lamp placed near him threw its light strong on his head, and marked the shadowy lines of age across the paleness of his brow, thinly covered with grey hairs.
The music ceased :-La Roche sat for a moment, and nature wrung a few
tears from him. His people were loud in their grief. Mr. H— was not less affected than they—La Roche arose.—“ Father of mercies !” said he, “ forgive these tears ; assist thy servant to lift up his soul to thee, to lift to thee the souls of thy people !—My friends! it is good so to do; at all seasons it is good ! but, in the days of our distress, what a privilege it is! Well, saith the sacred book, • Trust in the Lord ; at all times, trust in the Lord.' When every other support fails us, when the fountains of worldly comfort are dried up, let us then seek those living waters which flow from the throne of God.—'Tis only from the belief of the goodness and wisdom of a supreme Being, that our calamities can be borne in that manner which becomes a man. Human wisdom is here of little use ; for, in proportion as it bestows comfort, it represses feeling, without which we may cease to be hurt by calamity, but we shall also cease to enjoy happiness. I will not bid you be insensible, my friends ; I cannot, I cannot, if I would, (his tears flowed afresh)—I feel too much myself, and I am not ashamed of my feelings ; but therefore may I the more willingly be heard ; therefore have I prayed God to give me strength to speak to you : to direct you to him, not with empty words, but with these tears ; not from speculation, but from experience,—that while you see me suffer, you may
“You bebold the mourner of his only child, the last earthly stay and blessing of his declining years ! Such a child, too ! It becomes not me to speak of her virtues ; yet it is but gratitude to mention them, because they were exerted towards myself. — Not many days ago you saw her young, beautiful, virtuous, and happy ; - ye who are parents, will judge of my felicity then, — ye will judge of my
affliction now. But I look towards Him who struck me; I see the hand of a father amidst the chastenings of my God.—Oh! could I make you feel what it is to pour out the heart, when it is pressed down with many sorrows, to pour it out with confidence to Him in whose hands are life and death, on whose power awaits all that the first enjoys, and in contemplation of whom disappears all that the last can inflict !--For we are not as those who die without hope ; we know that our Redeemer liveth,—that we shall live with Him, with our friends his servants, in that blessed land where sorrow is unknown, and happiness is endless as it is perfect.Go then, mourn not for me; I have not lost my child : but a little while, and we shall meet again, never to be separated.— But ye are also my
that I should grieve without comfort ?--So live as she lived ; that, when your
death cometh, it may be the death of the righteous, and your latter end like his.'
Such was the exhortation of La Roche ; his audience answered it with their tears. The good old man had dried up his at the altar of the Lord; his countenance had lost its sadness, and assumed the glow of faith and of hope.--Mr. H.- followed him into his house — The inspiration of the pulpit was past; at sight of him the scenes they had last met in rushed again on his mind ; La Roche threw his arms round his neck, and watered it with his tears. The other was equally affected; they went together, in silence, into the parlour, where the evening service was wont to be performed. — The curtains of the organ were open ; La Roche started back at the sight.—"Oh ! my
friend !" said he, and his tears burst forth again. Mr. H- had now recollected himself: he stept forward, and drew the curtains close--the old man wiped off his tears, and taking his friend's haud, “ You see my weakness,” said he ; “'tis the 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.”—“ It is, 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. H—'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 !
Ada !* sole daughter of my house and heart!
And then we parted, -not as now we part, But with a hope.
Awaking with a start, The waters heave around me; and on high
The winds lift up their voices: I depart, Whither I know not; but the hour's gone by When Albion's lessening shores could grieve or glad mine eye. Once more upon the waters ! yet once more !
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed That knows his rider. Welcome, to their roar !
Swift by their guidance, whersoe'er it lead !
*. It is gratifying to Lord Byron's admirers, who can hardly fail to feel an interest in his daughter, (notwithstanding the offensive exclusion of his Lordship’s monument from Westminster Abbey), that the beautiful and accomplished " Ada " is happily married to the man of her choice, the Earl of Lovelace, son of the well-remembered Lord King.