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Arming all her gallant sons,
THE FATAL FALSEHOOD.
Mrs. Opie, in her “ Illustrations of Lying,” gives, as an instance of what she terms “the lie of benevolence,” the melancholy tale of which the following is the conclusion. Vernon is a clergyman in Westmoreland, whose youngest son, at a distance from home, had in a moment of passion committed murder. The youth had been condemned and executed for his crime. But his brothers had kept the cause and form of his death concealed from their father, and had informed him that their brother had been taken suddenly ill, and died on his road homeward. The father hears the awful truth, under the following circumstances, when on a journey.
The coach stopped at an inn outside the city of York ; and, as Vernon was not disposed to eat any dinner, he strolled along the road, till he came to a small church, pleasantly situated, and entered the church-yard to read, as was his custom, the inscriptions on the tombstones. While thus engaged, he saw a man filling up a new-made grave, and entered into conversation with him. He found it was the sexton himself; and he drew from him several anecdotes of the persons interred around them.
During their conversation they had walked over the whole of the ground, when, just as they were going to leave the spot, the sexton stopped to pluck some weeds from a grave near the corner of it, and Vernon stopped also,-taking hold, as he did so, of a small willow sapling, planted near the corner by itself.
As the man rose from his occupation, and saw where Vernon stood, he smiled significantly, and said, “ I planted that willow; and it is on a grave, though the grave is not marked out.”
“Of a murderer!" echoed Vernon, instinctively shuddering, and moving away from it.
“Yes," resumed he, “ of a murderer who was hanged at York. Poor lad !-it was very right that he should be hanged; but he was not a hardened villain! and he died so penitent! and as I knew him when he used to visit where I was groom, I could not help planting this tree for old acquaintance' sake.” Here he drew his hand across his eyes.
“Then he was not a low-born man?” “Oh! no; his father was a clergyman, I think." “Indeed! poor man: was he living at the time?” said Vernon, deeply sighing.
“Oh! yes; for his poor son did fret so, lest his father should ever know what he had done; he said he was an angel upon earth; and he could not bear to think how he would grieve; for, poor lad, he loved his father and his mother too, though he did so badly." “Is his mother living ?”
“No; if she had, he would have been alive; but his evil courses broke her heart; and it was because the man he killed reproached him for having murdered his mother, that he was provoked to murder him." "Poor, rash, mistaken youth! then he had provocation ?”
Oh! yes ; the greatest : but he was very sorry for what he had done; and it would have done your heart good to hear him talk of his poor father."
“I am glad I did not hear him," said Vernon hastily, and in a faltering voice (for he thought of Edgar).
“And yet, sir, it would have done your heart good, too."
“Then he had virtuous feelings, and loved his father, amidst all his errors ?”
"Aye.” "And I dare say his father loved him, in spite of his faults?”
“I dare say he did," replied the man; “ for one's children are our own flesh and blood, you know, sir, after all that is said and done; and may be this young fellow was spoiled in the bringing up.”
“Perhaps so," said Vernon, sighing deeply.
“I am glad of that! and he lies here,” continued Vernon, gazing on the spot with deeper interest, and moving nearer to it as he spoke “ Peace be to his soul! but was he not dissected ?"
“Yes; but his brothers got leave to have the body after dissection. They came to me, and we buried it privately at night.”
His brothers came ! and who were his brothers ? " “Merchants, in London; and it was a sad cut on them; but they took care that their father should not know it.”
“No!” cried Vernon, turning sick at heart.
“Oh! no; they wrote him word that his son was ill; then went to Westmoreland, and—”
“Tell me,” interrupted Vernon, gasping for breath, and laying his hand on his arm,“ tell me the name of this poor youth!”
Why, he was tried under a false name, for the sake of his family; but his real name was Edgar Vernon.”
The agonized parent drew back, shuddered violently and repeatedly, casting up his eyes to heaven, at the same time, with a look of mingled appeal and resignation. He then rushed to the obscure spot which covered the bones of his son, threw himself upon it, and stretched his arms over it, as if embracing the unconscious deposit beneath, while his he:en] rested on the grass, and he neither spoke nor moved. But be uttered one groan ;-then all was stillness!
His terrified and astonished companion remained motionless for a few moments,—then stooped to raise him ; but the FIAT OF MERCY had gone forth, and the paternal heart, broken by the sudden shock, had suffered, and breathed its last.
THE DIFFICULTY OF RHYMING.
That soft and balmy month,
And (wunth-hunth-sunth-bunth--I can't find a rhyme to month).
Years were to pass ere we should meet;
A wide and yawning gulf
While (ulf-sulf-dulf,mulf-stuck again; I can't get any rhyme to gulf. I'm in a gulf myself).
Oh, how I dreaded in my soul
To part from my sweet nymph,
Before (hymph-dymph-symph-I guess I'll have to let it go at that).
Beneath my fortune's stern decree
My lonely spirits sunk,
And a (hunk-dunk-runk-sk-that will never do in the world).
She buried her dear lovely face
Within her azure scarf,
As well as (parf-sarf-darf-harf-and-harf-that won't answer either).
Oh, I had loved her many years,
I loved her for herself;
And also for her (welf-nelf—helf-pelf—no, no; not for her pelf).
I took between my hands her head,
How sweet her lips did pouch!
(Bouch-mouch-louch-ouch-not a bit of it did I say ouch!).
I sorrowfully wrung her hand,
My tears they did escape,
And I was but a (sape-dape— fape-ape; well, perhaps I did feel like an ape).
I gave to her a fond adieu,
Sweet pupil of love's school,
And always be a (dool--sool-mool-fool; since I come to think of it, I was a fool, for she fell in love with another fellow before I was gone a month).
THE BARTENDER'S STORY.-PELEG ARKWRIGHT.
When I knowed him at first there was suthin',
A sort of a general air,
And what you might call-debonair.
And highfalutin, perhaps,
Of several quality chaps,
But speakin' of this here young man,
On a sort of a liberal plan.
And manners expressin' with vim
Was just as good fellers as him.
Nor inclined to be easy put down;
Wherever he went around town.
Quite regular, every night;
In mixin' the thing about right.
It is natural for me to admire;
They is pison complete and entire;
As a boss is the devil's own chum; And this chap, I am sorry to state it,
Was floored in a wrastle with rum.
For he got to increasin' his doses,
And took 'em more often, he did;
Till inter a bummer he slid.
A-lettin' hisself down the grade,
At the risk of its injurin’trade. At last he got awfully seedy,
And lost his respect for hisself;