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Scotch Stories and Lectures, Humorous and Amusing
Lecture — The Affections

While looking for a subject with which I might occupy an hour of your time both pleasantly and profitably, it struck me that the great theme of all poets and story-tellers, namely, “the Human Affections,” had rarely been dealt with by the lecturer. Why it was so I did not know, I at once decided that such a theme was as well suited for the lecturer as for either the poet or novelist, presuming that he understood the subject, and took some little pains to illustrate it. I veiy soon decided that (after having for so many years noted the emotions of my own heart, and marked the emotional storms of my fellow-travellers on life’s journey, often reading the hearts of both men and maidens in their faces) I had a fair amount of knowledge on the subject, and might therefore be able to handle it in such a way as to throw some few rays of light into the minds and hearts of at least a portion of my hearers.

On resolving to make “the human affections” the theme of this lecture, I felt some difficulty in deciding what period of life I should select for my opening illustrations of their workings ; for at every step of life, from the cradle to the grave, the human being is both the object and source of affection. When the child, ushered into the world in a state of helplessness, is laid by gentle hands upon a downy bed, and guarded by maternal vigilance from every ill, it breathes the air of fond affection;—when thoughtless youth is warned to shun the snares that lead to certain death, and pressed and wooed to


tread the path that leads to knowledge, wealth, and power, its monitors have all their inspiration from fond affection;— when the full prime of life would quaff the cup of earth’s most heavenly bliss, the first iugredients in the draught are love and friendship—the ripened fruits of fond affection;—when years have silvered o’er the hair and furrowed wrinkles in the brow, the kind attentions which make light the cares of age come all from fond affection;—and when the latest tear is kissed from off the dying cheek, and the soft, deep voice of earnest prayer ascends to heaven for peace to the departing soul, that prayer is wafted on the wings of fond affection.

Where, then, shall I enter upon my subject ? Shall I speak first of the affection which the child either receives or gives, or of that which is pressed upon the youth, and only some-times presently returned ? Or shall I rather speak first of the affections of ripe life, when love and friendship are in full bloom? I think I may perhaps best enter upon my theme by speaking of that period of life lying immediately between what I shall call schoolhood and manhood.

The season of budded youth, when the human being is beginning to think and act on its own authority—when life has begun to appear a serious journey—when the first clouds of care have darkened the young pilgrim’s path—when the mind, in its unexperienced pride, seeks to understand all mysteries, and in its self-satisfaction rejects as false all that it finds beyond its own little comprehension—that is peculiarly the time of quiet evening walks with one, only one companion, with whom we speak of what we know, and more of what we do not know, and still much more of what we have a deep desire to know; and then we speak of what we don’t believe, and of what we feel we never can believe; and then we ponder on the wondrous mysteries of life. We know not whence we came nor whither we are going; but this we know, this we feel, it is sweet to meet thus, it is sweet to talk thus, it is sweet to lie on go waned bank, shaded by vails of leaves, with eyes turned up to heaven’s bright blue, and so to roam on tireless wings of wild imagination through all the realms of space, and to feel the silent worship rising in our hearts until our eyes o’erflow with tears of holy joy. It is sweet then to feel the first throbbings of that affection which shall soon ripen into friendship; it is then we intertwine our arms and gaze into each other’s eyes, thinking the while that, if ever the great mysteries of life, which are at present so utterly incomprehensible, shall be made plain to us, we shall then look back to the sweet memories of our present strange unspoken ponderings.

It is at this period of life, and in the circumstances I have been striving to sketch, that our most disinterested affections begin to develop themselves. They have often taken a deep root, and so a firm hold of our hearts, before we become aware of the fact. I am sure that many of you, my hearers, can call to mind some early companion with whom you walked and talked for years, and never dreamed the while that that companion had any place in your heart. This you never discovered until some unforeseen event decided your parting. It was then, as the hour of separation drew near, that you felt the joy of meeting, the pain of parting; it was then you recognized that you were friends, and loved to linger in each other’s company, and to speak of all your former speakings; it was then that you felt the first holy teachings of your affections; it was then that your hearts began to whisper, “Surely, for all our philosophic reasonings, such feelings as we have can never die—they are too sweet, too holy; surely we shall yet dwell in a land where there is no parting; surely we shall yet be permitted to know more than our present little span of knowledge!” It is thus that the whisperings of our affections put to rout the sceptical promptings of our ignorant and presumptive minds, and lead us to a longing after immortality.

I shall more fully illustrate this idea by sketching the final parting of early friends. The scene is a darkened chamber, the sole occupants of which are two youths: they are both on the portal of manhood. William is seated by the bed on which his friend John is laid to rise no more: the bright spots upon the cheeks of the invalid proclaim the malady consumption. William, prompted by his love and pity, speaks hopefully of John’s recovery. John softly smiles, and answers—“I am very weak, William; but, thank God, my mind is not impaired. I know that I am dying, and you know that I shall never rise from this bed; so you must not talk to me of life—you must speak of death.” William answers with big silent tears; and John continues —“What do you think now of our philosophic idea that we die and are no more, save that the atoms of which we are composed may go to the composition of other men who may prove wiser and better than we. If that idea be a correct one, how very soon you and I must part for ever.”William answers—“There is an everlasting life—I feel it, John, I feel it. The God of love could never have formed us capable of the emotions with which our hearts are now overflowing, and yet have doomed us to annihilation—no, no; an earthly father would not serve his children so, John: we shall meet again in heaven.” The dying youth, whose intellect is brightened to strange acuteness by his deep interest in the matter, replies—“ I have been thinking that, if God had doomed men to annihilation, as we make progress in knowledge, the fact must become gradually more clear, until we arrived at the certain knowledge that our present life is all, and that at any moment we may be snuffed out for ever; and so, as we advance in knowledge of the works and ways of God, we should have less of love for our Maker.” He adds— “The thought is absurd; our individual souls must live for ever. All virtue prays to God for life, all vice for annihilation: will the God of goodness grant the prayer of evil, and turn aside from that of good? No, no, no!”

We leave the friends—their further converse we touch not here; our purpose by the sketch is served if it has clearly indicated the thought we meant it to convey—viz., That the growth and development of true friendship lead to a longing after immortality, and so point the mortal pilgrim onwards and upwards.

While such is the elevating tendency of true pure friendship, our affections lead us in a very different direction when they mislead us into an alliance with the untrue, the impure, the unholy.' Any such companionship acts ever as a heavy chain which drags us down to the depths of folly, sin, and shame, and if not resolutely snapped asunder and cast far from us, will certainly prove our utter ruin.

I now pass from the high ground of true friendship to the still more lofty altitude of true love. It is on the dawn in the heart of this, the master passion, that such glorious emotions are born within the soul that earth and time are felt too limited for their full development. When we have met with the heart that beats responsive to our own, the eye that pierces to our soul, the voice whose every tone is heavenly melody to us—when we have met with the being of earth with whom we would be alone, with all the universe shut out for ever,—it is then we feel the fire within us that we know can never die—the flame that must bum on and on, ever brightening through all the endless ages of eternity. But I must curb my words, that would take wing, and in as simple language as I can command tell you all I know about love.

How, then, are we inspired by love % From the first moments of our mental life we begin to acquire a knowledge of the true, the good, the beautiful;and,according to our respective circumstances, we each form our own ideal of the lovely. Although both ancient and modem artists have favoured the world with models of perfect loveliness, there is really no fixed standard of beauty. Every style of feature and complexion has at some time, in some place, been accounted the


perfection of beauty, and so the objects of admiration and love: every human being has his or her own ideal of the lovely, which ideal is built up in our minds according to the requirements of our respective circumstances. What our ideal is, few of us could in words portray. It is a something that is written deep down in our hearts, where it remains silently enshrined, giving no token of its existence, until there suddenly flash upon our sight a face and form which have instant dominion over us. We feel as we never felt before; we have surely seen the being imaged in our heart, for we are heart-smitten; a deep mysterious yearning has laid hold on us,—we could give forth a storm of sighs. What matter although we may have no chance of exchanging words with the instant dear one; the spell is complete, and, long after, that image remains photographed in our hearts.

But I need hardly in words attempt to describe the feelings of love,—those feelings of which poets have sung ever since poets sung—those feelings which have been the theme of all the great masters of fiction. I may, by way of variety, make them the subject of a few commonplace prose remarks. The being, then, smitten by love has a strange, new, warm feeling at the heart,—we shall call it a pleasant pain: the being from whom the dart has come is very often present in the thoughts of the smitten,—present there by day, and present there in the silent watches of the night: sleep forsakes the smitten by love,—in vain the possessor of the pierced heart turns upon the pillow, in a new position to woo slumber: sleep will not come.

“Aye waukin 0, waukin aye and weary,
Sleep I canna get for thinking on my dearie.”

Sleep, I repeat, will not come, and busy fancy is taking advantage of her absence in painting pictures of the future, in every one of which the loved one is the chief figure; and then, thought coming back direct to the present, the hours love’s madness.

are counted since the loved one was looked upon; and then, with heavy sighs, the hours, and minutes too, are reckoned until they two shall meet again; and if but one other day and night must intervene, the lover thinks with Juliet—

"‘Tis twenty years till then.”

These manifestations of feeling I have been trying to portray come in the early stages of ordinary love. When the spark has burst into a raging flame, then all those feelings burn in the soul a thousand times intensified. The throbbing heart is felt to be on fire—a fire, the raging pain of which nothing on earth can assuage, save the ardent pressure of the heart beloved; that denied the victim, the flame must burn on in all its fury until it consumes the heart.

Reason, in such circumstances, says, “It is duty to extinguish the flameto which mad passion answers, “I can extinguish my life, but not my love; I can pluck out my heart from my breast, but cannot pluck out the love from my heart.” It is when the passion has reached this intensity (and this intensity is common) that thoughts of suicide intrude. When these thoughts are banished by the thick whisperings of hope, which come with one smile of encouragement from the loved one, it is then that the full intoxication of love is experienced; it is then that pictures of such glory as only are painted in lovers brains rise in quick succession on the raptured fancy,—pictures of long years of joyous intercourse, of happy days and rapturous nights—pictures, too, of endless ages of immortal love.

If there be any now hearing me who think I speak rather warmly on this subject, these know nothing of the matter, and must not read “Romeo and Juliet;” for if they do so, they are sure to charge Shakespeare with going beyond the mark; which all who know aught of love know it is impossible to do. I ask you all this simple question—Have not you often thought, when love was burning in your hearts, that your love was so great that even your lover could never know how great it was? Have you not often thought that there never was any love described in a book that was half so intense as yours, of which no one knew but yourself? I pause not for a reply: I know you have all thought, with Mr. Park’s hero—

“No man e’er loved like me.”

I know, too, that many of you have thought that one of the most rapturous enjoyments of the eternal world will be the exhibition of your boundless love for the being who now fills your heart. Then (I know you have thought) the depth and intensity of ray love shall be known, then the sincerity of my affection shall be proved, and then ray genuine worth be recognized, where such recognition will be the gratification of ray utmost wish.

Such are the thoughts that hourly flit through lovers’ brains. A certain portion of my audience may doubt the existence of the intense feelings of which I have now been speaking. I refer to those who, while yet very young, fell, as they thought, in love, and were at once married to the beings who caught their affections. It has been all plain sailing with such persons, and so they know nothing of the winds and waves which form the storms of love. That portion of my hearers who have arrived at the period of ripe life, and are still unmated, will understand perfectly all I have been saying. You will understand, too, all love’s strange mysterious uncertainties. How many of you have even asked the brightest stars of heaven to tell you of the loved one, to which, in brilliant beams, they have given you hopeful answers ? How many of you have asked the moaning midnight winds if the dear one would yet be yours, and have refused, as answer, the long-drawn melancholy no—o—o, and listened breathlessly for the sharp whistling sound which your poor hot hearts translated into yes? How many of you have, like Marguerite, the German maiden, plucked the tell-tale flower, and scattered all its leaves, thus, to the tune of—“He loves me—he loves me not; he loves me—he loves me not; he loves me—he loves me not;” giving its last leaf to the winds in ecstacy, with the words—“he loves me.”

You all know, too, how love sharpens all the senses,—the sense of sight, for instance. On entering the very largest of our public halls, if the object of affection is present, the lover sees her in one moment after he enters; the fair one, still quicker of sight while under the influence, has certainly seen him coming in! The sense of hearing, too, is so quickened by love that, I am told, in our very largest congregations, lovers, however widely apart they may be seated during the singing, catch distinctly every tone that passes from the loved one’s lips!

I do think that is the most appropriate word with which I could close this dissection of love. I know some of you may be inclined to say I have not half analyzed the tender flame. T have at least said enough to indicate that I do know something of the matter.

I would not, perhaps, have said so much as I have, if I did not think that the expression of these thoughts would do good. Such plain speaking on such a subject will, I trust, exhibit to many timid hearts, who may be smarting in secret, that the love which seems to them so peculiarly consuming is nothing at all peculiar,—it is just the same old, ardent feeling as thrilled through Adam’s heart when first introduced to the partner whom God had provided for him;—yes, just the same feeling; for although man had never fallen, love must have had its strange exquisite flutterings of uncertainty;—at any rate, the throbbings of hearts at the present hour are just the same as those of thousands of years ago; and these intense feelings are nearly as common to humanity a? hunger and thirst.

On entering on the discussion of the tender flame, I spoke of love’s sudden, strange, and mysterious kindling. A single glance or a single word will light the spark which may continue to smoulder on in our hearts for years before it crosses the portals of our lips; and not unfrequently a very ardent passion is never disclosed to the being who has inspired the soft and sweet emotion. All things are given to change, and nothing more so than our ideals of the lovable. The pretty rosy-cheeked creature that charms the youth of twenty would not certainly be the ideal of the same youth when he had reached the riper age of thirty; nor would the irresistible young man who puts the girl of eighteen in a flutter be very likely to disturb the slumbers of the same lady at eight-and-twenty. I do not mean to say that a man may not fall in love at twenty and love on till thirty, nor that a lady may not love the same man from eighteen to eight-and-twenty. I believe a woman’s love may, and very often does, remain unchanged during her entire life; and that many men have never loved but once. The idea I am striving to convey is, that our ideal changes; and that the girl who charms us at twenty—could she remain unchanged—would not likely please us at thirty ; and that our ideal of twenty, if we view her apart from all engagement, may or may not grow into our ideal of thirty: and so, if we keep our feelings to ourselves, the being who has first occupied our heart will very likely give place to another more up to the requirements of our enlarged experience. The girl who has taken a man by storm in the ball-room may be struck into nothingness by the softer loveliness of her who glides with velvet step through his sick-chamber; while the man who has taken his place in a woman’s heart by his flashing wit and humour, displayed in large companies, may very appropriately give way to him who has quiet, considerate common sense at the fireside. But this part of my subject requires little illustration. The fickleness of human nature is too well understood: so I here dismiss it; and now cast a parting glance at the teachings of the affections when they hold in their keeping a virtuous love. It is then we breathe on every breath an ardent prayer for everlasting life; it is then we yearn to flee the uncertainties of time, and to lay hold on glorious immortality; it is then we pant to stand on the eternal shore, certainly secured in the continuous and endless enjoyment of true, pure, holy love.

Look to the scene that now rises before us. Two faithful lovers, so parted by cruel fate that all circumstances seem to say their union in life can never be: they still love on, still hope on. The sky of fate grows darker: they still are true, and now yearn for the time when, “life’s fitful fever” over, they shall be one in the better land. A ray of hope breaks through the gloom; the star of promise rises, but sets again; and hope deferred has sickened both their hearts. But now all barriers to their union vanish, and they at last are, hurt to heart, now firmly locked in love’s embrace. Who does not know, who does not feel, what is their present thought and prayer? It is, “Thus let us die, that thus we may live for ever;” for the first and last, the beginning and the end of true love, is a fervent, hopeful, faithful prayer that it shall be eternal!

I now pass on to the still higher ground to which I must follow humanity. In climbing upward I first read “friendship” on the mortal pilgrim’s banner; I then (and lingered long to look upon it) read “love.” Now, having ascended higher, and still higher—having crossed the fair portal of marriage— I now read on his banner “parental love.” I must linger here to look upon the picture which these sweet words call up before us. The scene is a very lovely little chamber, adorned with many simple articles of ornament and use, the work of her fair hands who now sits quietly upon that couch, basking in the sunshine of her loving husband’s eyes, who, proudly bending over his dear young wife, smiles radiantly as he playfully lifts the little napkin with which the fond mother has veiled the face of their first-born. It is the first time that husband and wife have been alone with their child: what wonder, then, that they gaze long in silent admiration on its lovely lineaments—the dear, little, helpless innocent entrusted by God to their charge! Dry not those tears that now roll down that father’s cheeks: they are holy tears; let them fall upon the mother’s breast: they are tears consecrated by a feeling of deep responsibility; consecrated, too, by heart-registered resolve that that responsibility shall be faithfully discharged! That kiss, which both at once impress upon the little slumberer’s cheek, is the holy, heartfelt pressure by which they both have sealed their firm resolve to do their duty by their child. She shall be gently tended; she shall be watchfully educated; she shall be guarded well from all the snares of life. We leave these parents now. Their silent thoughts are stretching far beyond the things of time: in holy hope they see their little one an heir of everlasting glory. Look to that father now, amid crowds of men! Paternal love has given his voice a softer tone; the rude jest no more may pass his lips; the slightest whisper of impurity calls forth his instant frown. He would pluck all rankness from the world—that world his little daughter must pass through. And see the fond young mother now! Her years are such that she might well still be fond of youthful gaieties. She is happier far alone with her little daughter, whose infant accents she is teaching words of prayer. Such is the purifying and refining influence of parental love, which more than any other development of affection leads mankind onward and upward.

Take another sketch more fully illustrative of this idea. The scene is a humble cottage on a lonely mountain in Argyleshire. Three little girls are quietly amusing themselves on the hearth: a little, fair-haired, blue-eyed boy, their only brother, is laid in sore distress upon his little pallet. He has been seized with a severe oppression on his breathing. His mother is bending over him, but can administer no relief; his father has gone to a distance to procure medical aid. The child is growing rapidly worse; the mother knows he will die before his father’s return. That mother would willingly give her life for her son’s. But the child is in agony: she prays God to relieve his sufferings and take him to Himself: her prayer is heard,—the little sufferer is at rest. I must draw a vail over the returning father’s sorrow. See that father now, long years after his sad loss! He is standing at the door of his humble mountain home; he is looking on the radiant glories of the setting sun; he is thinking of the blissful land beyond—the everlasting home of his darling boy, who has only gone before. See that father once again! He is the stalwart, handsome Highlander seated in our City Hall, listening to that famous singer of our Scottish songs. You know why the big hot tears roll down his manly cheeks at the simple words,—

“Onr bonnie bairn's there, Jean,
She was baith guid and fair, Jean,
And, oh, we grudged her sair, Jean,
To the land o’ the leal.”

I need not dwell further on this branch of my subject. What I have said is sufficient to indicate that the teachings of our parental affections but repeat more forcibly the deep whisperings of both friendship and love; that is, they counsel us to truth, purity, holiness, insomuch as they beget within us a yearning desire for an everlasting residence in an eternal home, where there shall be no parting from the children of our love.

I shall but glance at that sweet development of affection— “brotherly and sisterly love.” There is no more pure or holy love, no more unselfish development of the affections, than that which brothers and sisters cherish towards one another; and there will be no more holy re-union in the better land than when a happy band of brothers and sisters meet to part no more.

I should now, perhaps, propose I directly to exhibit the glorious feelings of patriotism that are born of true friendship, virtuous love, and holy parental affection. Before doing so, however, I shall briefly retrace my steps, and endeavour to throw out a few practical hints for our guidance in life while forming our friendships, while selecting our partners in life, and when called upon to discharge parental duties. First, then, in this order comes the selection of our friends. According to our respective circumstances in life we must form our friendships—the humble in circumstances with the humble in circumstances; the well-to-do with the well-to-do, and so on. This order of things I would have no desire to infringe upon. A working man’s son may find just as good companionship amongst working men’s sons as he would do amongst the sons of the middle class; while a middle class youth may have as elevating society amongst his own grade as he would if permitted to associate with the youthful aristocracy. I would therefore say to the youths present,—Make your friends of the best of your own class—the best, remember; that is, the youths whose words are most to be depended upon; the youths who never do a mean action; the youths who would scorn a lie, however necessary that contemptible sin might seem, to screen either fault or folly. These essentials of friendship, truth and honour, being secured, you can make no great mistake in forming your friendships. Minor circumstances are of much less importance. If you make friends of the active and energetic, you are likely to be benefited by their activity and energy; while, if you associate with the lethargic, they are likely to be something of a drag upon you. This I merely drop as a hint; for I myself have been as happy in the friendship of the rather slow and comparatively unsuccessful in fortune, as I have been in that of the very energetic and very successful. Uncommonly active people have hardly time to be affectionate; and more than this, there is really a more sweet satisfaction in being able to give a rather behind friend a pull than in being yourself jerked forward by any one who attaches too much importance to eminent success. I repeat, then, that, your companions being virtuous, you may just exercise your taste as to which of them you make your friends: indeed, in such election, you must listen to the voice of your heart. Once having formed a virtuous friendship, preserve it as a something very precious—let no accidental trifles in any way mar it. Bear and forbear with your friend. When you feel yourself beginning (too nicely) to note your friend's sins of omission and commission, take a little gentle exercise in the examination of your own imperfections. In such a community as ours friends will frequently outstrip each other in the race for wealth. One will become rich, while another will remain in his original moderate circumstances, or perhaps become poorer: these externals should not and will not extinguish true friendship. One of the chief sweets of wealth honourably won, should be the power it gives its possessor of assisting his less fortunate friend; and he has no true generosity in him who, poor in circumstances, refuses the help of his well-to-do friend. Such help should be generously received when it is generously offered.

I have known men who, when they had succeeded in making a little money, ceased to remember the friends of their humbler days; and I have known men who, unsuccessful themselves, would suddenly, without any provocation, cease to hold intercourse with a friend who had gone ahead of them in fortune. I feel sorry for all such foolish ones. The man who, on the journey of life, has picked up common vulgar gold, and is so dazzled with its yellow glare that he instantly throws from him the priceless gem,

“Friendship,” is certainly an arrant fool; nor is he much wiser who, being denied by fortune gold, turns pettedly from his faithful friend who cannot perhaps help being rich. Such externals, I repeat, should never be peimitted to come between friends; and they will not weigh much with really faithful hearts. If I were an artist, with something of the power of Hogarth, I would draw a pair of pictures. The one would be the portrait of a silly savage, gaily tatooed, and adorned with numerous strings of shells; he should be strutting proudly along, his head held high in pride as he passed a group of his sable brethren who had no such superfluous adornments: the vain savage, in his jingling buttons, beads, and shells, should seem very silly in my picture. My second picture would be that of a man in fashionable attire, proudly carrying his bank-book in his hand: he would be descending from a handsome mansion, on the door of which his name would shine in burnished brass: he would be turning aside from several honest men, who would be looking on him with pity and contempt. Under both pictures I would write these words—“The very rich man who forgot his friends.” All would see the silliness of the savage with his paltry shells; and philosophers, at least, would see the silliness of him with the fine house, the clothes, and the money, giving all his heart to such very small matters. Friendships should ever be held as valuable in proportion to their age,—like the best liquors, they should have more of flavour the older they grow. Such is really the case. There is a mellow mildness about an old friendship which the friendship of yesterday has nothing to compare with. Preserve, then, especially your old friendships: death will soon enough take them one by one away; part not with them while you can retain them. You especially who are past the flower of your youth, lose not your friend if you can help it. At your time of life new friends are difficult to make: keep, then, by those you have,—let no angry ebullition of temper snap asunder the delicate strings that affection has been for years entwining around your heart. Remember the lines of Coleridge—

"Each spoke words of high disdain
And insult to his heart’s best brother:
They parted, ne’er to meet again,
But either never found another
To ease his hollow heart from pain.”

I repeat, then,—hold on by your old friends; and while you do so, keep your hearts ever open to friendly intercourse with all of genuine worth with whom kind Providence may bring you into contact.

I have now to say something practical on the very interesting subject—Our selection of partners in life. I Am almost afraid to touch this very delicate matter, lest I should, by harsh cold words of common sense awaken any of you from some sweet dream of most romantic love. Such dreams, we all know, are very common. Almost all the writings of our novelists are calculated to set our wits a-wandering about some dear creature far beyond our reach. Almost all the heroes of the stage also make wonderful matches-—each poetic youth getting, if not a princess, at least a wealthy heiress, whose old uncle is sure to come down handsomely with the very requisite money just at the proper time. I may, by way of refreshing our memories as to these very happy theatrical unions, tell you briefly the story of our most popular modem drama. Claude Melnotte, a young gardener, the son of a poor widow, falls deeply in love with Pauline Dischapelles, the proudest beauty in Lyons. He sends her verses, in which he tells the story of his love: his communication is treated with vulgar scorn, and so the young gardener is desperate. While in this state of mind he is met by two wealthy merchants, both of whom have been rejected by the proud beauty. The trio enter into a conspiracy, by which they mean to humble the haughty Pauline. The young gardener is to assume the character of an Italian prince—(he must have been a very highly accomplished gardener)—in which character he is bound to woo and wed the “Lady of Lyons.” The gardener prince is soon introduced to the fair one, and takes her affections quite by storm; and little wonder, seeing that he can woo her in this fashion. They are walking in the garden, when Pauline, fondly leaning on her dear prince’s arm, says—

“Come, tell me of thy palace by the Lake of silver; for wlien thou speak'st of Greatness, 'tis with such a mocking lip,—

Custom hath made thee familiar with greatness."

To this the prince replies—

"Nay, dearest, nay; if thou wouldst have me paint
The home to which, could love fulfil its prayers,
This hand would lead thee, listen:—a deep vale
Shut out by Alpine hills from the rude world,

Near a clear lake, margined by fruits of gold
And whispering myrtles, glassing softest skies,
As cloudless, save with rare and roseate shadows,
As I would have thy fate.
My own dear love,

A palace lifting to eternal summer Its marble walls from out a glossy bower Of coolest foliage, musical with birds,

Whose songs should syllable thy name.—At noon We'd sit beneath the arching vines, and wonder Why earth could be unhappy while the heavens Still left us youth and love: we'd have no friends That were not lovers, no ambition save To excel them all in love; we'd read no books That were not tales of love, that we might smile To think how poorly eloquence of words Translates the poetry of hearts like ours.

And when night came, amidst the breathless heavens We’d guess what star should be our home when love Becomes immortal; while the perfumed light Stole through the mists of alabaster lamps;

And every air is heavy with the sighs
Of orange groves, and music from sweet lutes,
And murmurs of low fountains that gush forth the midst of roses.—
Dost thou like the picture?

Paul. As the bee upon the flower, so do I hang
Upon the honey of thy eloquent tongue.
Claude. 0 Pauline, it is the prince thou lovest,
Not the man. If in the stead of luxury,

Pomp, and power, I had painted poverty and toil
And care, thon then hadst found no honey
On my tongue.—Pauline!
That is not love.

Paul. Thou wrongest me, cruel prince.
True, I might not at the first been won
Save by the glittering of a garish flame,
But, oh! the heart once scorched—

I’m thine,
And thine for ever.”

You all know how this story ends: the humble lineage of the prince being discovered, there is a terrible explosion, during which Claude departs for the wars. In his absence the proud beauty rejects all offers for her hand,—she is true to her gardener lover,—until her father, on the brink of ruin, compels her to consent to marry a wealthy man who will at once square up the old gentleman’s accounts. When this hated marriage is about to be forced upon the broken-hearted beauty, Claude returns—a general now, and laden with the spoils of camps. In vulgar phrase, he is possessed of lots of money. And so the proud beauty and the poor gardener are happy ever after.

Now, this is a very pretty story on the stage, but I would say to any poor young gardener who may be hearing me, that I could hardly recommend you, in looking out for a lover, to set your affections on the proudest, finest lady in your town; for it is very difficult, in our country, for a poor lad entering the army to come out a rich general. It is not, perhaps, impossible for a poor soldier to become a general; but he would require so many years to rise to that position that both he and his lady-love would have lost all notion of matrimony long before the fair one could be clasped to her gallant general’s heart. I would have more hope of the young gardener amongst us making a happy choice if I heard him singing—

“Young Kitty she is the charming girl,
Who carries the milking pail

Equal matches. or the equally popular and, in his case, equally appropriate song—

“Of all the girls that are so smart,
There’s none like pretty Sally;
Oh, she’s the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.”

I have taken this circuitous and somewhat ornamental method of conveying to you the very commonplace opinion, that in choosing a partner we are most likely to be happy with one moving in the same rank of life as ourselves. A slight shade of difference up or down may not be of much consequence; but where the disparity in position is very great, the chances of permanent happiness are not great. Unequal matches do not often take place amongst persons of genuine worth. The reason of this is—a really honourable man will scorn the idea of holding clandestine intercourse with any man’s daughter: he will not skulk about back lanes and back stairs, even for the glimpse of a sweet face or the pressure of a soft hand;—no, if he may not enter the house boldly, with the full knowledge of her parents, he will break off the intercourse. If he has real worth, he will have faith that the old folks will soon find it out, and then they will gladly signify their willingness to receive his visits. I know I speak the truth when I say “No young woman who has a proper regard for her own honour will meet clandestinely with any man.” Such a one may tell her father and mother in very plain English, “That she will only many the man of her own choice;” but she will not meet him by stealth. Such meetings are dishonourable alike to both man and maiden, and are hardly compatible with virtuous affection. Avoid, then, all clandestine love-making, and there is little fear of you making a foolish runaway marriage. Such marriages are generally consummated in haste and repented of at leisure; for, however fond lovers may defy and scorn the interference of their relations, husbands generally feel that much of their happiness in life depends upon their keeping perfectly sweet with their wives’ friends. And wives are rarely happy when not quite in harmony with their husbands’ relations; and such harmony is all but impossible when the match is not in every way “a fair match.” I close my counsellings on this matter with the Scotch proverb,—“Never let love creep whare it daurnawalk.” I do not think it necessary here to do more than glance at the false affection of the libertine, which would pour into the trusting maiden’s loving heart deeply poisoned words,— words that treat with affected scorn what such ones term the arbitrary laws which old dull men have framed to mar the joys of youthful love. The slightest breathing of such hellish breath should, and will I trust, on the instant, transform each virtuous maiden’s wholesome love, into hearty wholesome hatred. It certainly will do so in every case where the woman so insulted has one atom of self-respect. Look to the “heaven-kissing height” on which a virtuous maiden stands,—and see, her honour lost, the fearful depth to which she falls; and, as you gaze upon the contrast, join in my prayer,—that Heaven may grant each virtuous maiden power to fling from her heart, without one pang, all love that bears not, in its heart and on its brow, the strictest honour! I will dwell no further on this grave matter. The following lines, which the poet Rowe puts into the mouth of poor Jane Shore, convey the thought I would like to impress on every mind:—

“Such is the fate unhappy women find,
And such the curse entail’d upon our kind,
That man, the lawless libertine, may rove
Free and unquestion’d in the realms of love.
But woman—sense and nature’s easy fool—
If poor, weak woman swerve from virtue’s rule
If, strongly charm’d, she leave the thorny way,
And in the softer paths of pleasure stray,
Ruin ensues, reproach and endless shame,
And one false step entirely damns her fame.
In vain with tears her loss she may deplore,
In vain look back to what she was before,—
She sets, like stars that fall, to rise no more."

Taking it for granted, then, that we have the common sense to look for our partners in our own station, and that in all our affections we never disunite love and honour, I have still something further to say. I have been astonished, amused, and sometimes, I may add, disgusted, at the thorough business-like way in which some men prosecute their love ventures. They meet a friend in whose company they have met a charming fair one, to whom they request a special introduction. The favour is granted them, and they seem at once to lay siege to the maiden’s affections. They seem, in all eyes, to be making progress, when all at once their visits are discontinued, and you hear that by some other friend they have been favoured with an introduction to another fair one, who shortly gives place to some newer attraction. In this fashion half the ladies of a parish are gone over by these nuisances of men. No matter although in such circuit the heart’s peace of more than one honest maiden may be broken. The gentlemen have not committed themselves—so no one can find fault with them: they never meant anything serious—and so maidens’ hearts, the most true and tender of all God’s works, are treated as if they were things without feeling. I would have all such woeful specimens of humanity banished entirely the company of true women.

Besides those of whom I have been speaking, there is another class who are even more guilty of doing heart-hurt to the fair. I refer to those young men who, destined to a professional career, have to spend several of the best years of their lives in study, during which probationary period they are poor, their good time being in the distance. Such youths very often become the nightly visitants of some household where they have the pleasure of female society.

They do so with no intention of seeking a place in the affections of their fair friends; but they are continually in their company. They often read together; if musical, they sing together; they sometimes walk together, and certainly the girls begin to like their company; certainly love is kindled in the fair one’s heart, during which time the ambitious student is dreaming of

"Taking some proud lady,
And making her his bride;”

which he very likely does when he has made for himself a position in the world; and she whose heart, in his thoughtless selfishness, he has stolen, becomes the old maid of his acquaintance, whom he says he knew a little when at college. Rising merchants, as well as professional men, are often guilty of this dishonest conduct to their fair friends. They, on their way to fortune, account their humble female friends pleasant company in their leisure hours: but when they have done well in the world, they (to speak in language which they well understand) become bankrupt in their affections, pay nothing in the pound, and immediately start a new love business, and certainly many uncomfortably above their own rank.

I have an unmitigated contempt for all men who are guilty of such heartless conduct. If a man has no intention to make a wife of a girl, he should not seek her company. Her pleasant company is her capital in life. If, then, you do not mean anything, leave the ground clear for some one who does. If you are often in the way you may spoil the girl’s market; so, as Jack the sailor would say, “Sheer off, you lubber.” But perhaps I am troubling you with too much minutiae. I have been telling you not to seek a partner above your station, not to have any clandestine love affairs, never to dissociate love and honour; I have been reprobating the unmanly conduct of those men who go from fair to fair, heedless of the suffering they inflict, seeing t.iat they do not (what they call) commit


themselves; and 1 have been denouncing the conduct of those young men who, on their way up fortune’s hill, cheer their dull hours with the company of girls of their own rank, and, as soon as they have gained a position, break all former ties, and treat their fair friends, whom they have perhaps pestered for years, to an occasional distant nod of recognition. All these separate items of misconduct, then, are a portion of the deeds of which I would not have any of us guilty. What I would have all do in these matters is this:—I would have you treat all women both courteously and kindly, and at the same time studiously avoid all communings which are calculated to awaken those soft emotions—if, such emotions being awakened, you do not mean to return love for love. I can conceive of no greater cruelty than the lighting of love in a woman’s heart, and then leaving her silently to pine and droop, and droop and pine, until she sinks into the grave. That is very frequently the result of the soft attentions of men who never “ committed themselves” by any piomise—of men “who never meant anything serious.” I would have all young men to keep a sly, shy distance from their fair friends, never giving the slightest signal of love until they had decidedly made up their minds that there would be no stopping short on their part.

To those men who plight their troth to the maiclens whose affections they have secured, and thereafter break faith with them, I have nothing to say: I hand such criminals over to whomsoever it may concern, and call upon the blighted fair ones to thank God that they have been preserved from becoming the wives of such men: and I have to tell them, though disappointed love is a sore fever, yet, in the great majority of cases, it is ultimately recovered from; and many a man, and many a woman, who have been desperately bad, have come even to wonder that ever they could have cared anything for the being about whom they haid well-nigh gone distracted. Love’s cure comes about in a great variety of ways.

One lady I know was cured of a desperate flame by the fragrance of porter and snuff, breathed into her face by her old oeau, some twelve months after his marriage with another. One gentleman I know had the hole in his heart quite mended by seeing accidentally his haughty fair one denuded of her two beautiful portable front teeth. More than one lady I know has been set all to rights on being visited by the youth for whom she was languishing while that party was slightly affected with alcoholic stimulants, in which condition the youth showed a few of his paces which his fair friend had not seen before. One gentleman I know recovered rapidly from a hopeless love on being introduced to his dear one’s married sister, who was very like her to whom he had given his heart, but in matrimony had grown so very stout that she was a tight fit for any parlour door. Yes; hopeless love is cured in a thousand ways; and if youthful ardour would but listen to the voice of sagacious experiencef disappointments in love would always be easily got over. But I must hasten on, and so take leave of this branch of my subject by counselling all to seek in their partners honest, warm hearts, clear, intelligent heads, and sound and healthful constitutions. These requisites found—or not found—it is the duty of each married man and each married woman to believe in his and her heart that their partners in wedlock are the very best that the world could have famished them.

Parental duties I dismiss in a very few sentences. Parents require no counsellings to love their children: as to loving them wisely, that is a very different matter. I have known some parents who really seemed to love the follies of their children, detailing with pride their little acts of disobedience to themselves as a something that showed spirit. To such parents I would say, Look to that skilful gardener with his favourite rose tree; see how coolly he cuts off the useless little twigs which sprout out so prettily here and there. A foolish, unskilful person would not touch one of them, and so he would soon have a bunch of sprawling briers. But the man of knowledge trims the bush, and so it becomes a lovely tree, repaying his care with fragrant clusters of the richest roses. I would have too fond parents to take a lesson from the skilful gardener, and lop off, if possible, the little twigs of selfishness which all children more or less display. Teach them especially to be loving to one another; for this may be taken for granted, that the child who is not loving to brother and sister will not have much affection for father and mother when they come most to require such affection. Parental love sometimes goes very far astray when children have ceased to be children. Many a father and many a mother have, from the best motives, sacrificed the heart’s peace of their offspring by coercing them into marriages of inoneta/ry convenience, which marriages have proved a crushing of the heart’s best affections. I need not say how wrong this is. A parent should be ever ready with counsel to both son and daughter; but, in the matters of the heart, as much freedom as possible should be granted. Remember the lines of Campbell—

“Ties around this heart were spun
That could not, would not, be undone."

It is the duty of parents to keep guard over the affections of their children, and so to prevent them from becoming attached to objectionable persons; but such guard not being kept, and love’s knot being tied, it is the duty of parents to do their best to make the young folks as happy as possible. It is no light matter separating faithful young hearts for monetary considerations. It was a true poet who wrote these lines, and they would certainly be most becoming in the lips of any maiden who was commanded to break faith with her true lover for a match which would, in “world’s gear,” be more advantageous,—

“Oh, wha would buy a silken gown
Wi’ a poor broken heart?
And what’s to me a siller crown
Gin frae my love I part?

"Oh. I have vowed a virgin’s vow
My lover’s fate to share!
And he has gi’en to me his heart,
And what can man do mair?

“The longest life can ne’er repay
The love he bears to me,
And ere Pm forc’d to break my faith
I’ll lay me down and die.”

Wise parents will not directly cross their children in love matters. A father or mother may, however, earnestly plead for the delay of a union which seems to them destined to be unhappy; and such delay being granted, and the affection standing the test of the specified time, then all that parents can do to launch the true ones happily should be heartily done, and the result left confidently in the hands of God. With regard to children who are guilty of grave errors, I have merely to say, as the heart of our heavenly Father is ever open to receive the returning penitent, so ought each of our hearts to throw wide its portals for the reception of every erring son or daughter. I can say nothing so appropriate on this part of my subject as the simple repetition of the words of our Lord in describing the prodigal’s return:—"But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father,

I have sinned against Heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and be merry! for this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.*' Such being the reception given to the Prodigal son, let no parent’s heart be steeled by mean worldly pride against the return of the erring daughter.

After this much of practical counsellings, my subject seems naturally to require but a very few additional thoughts. I have been speaking of true friends, of faithful lovers, and of loved and loving children. All these objects of endearment gathered around us give us that which is expressed by the most beautiful word in our language,—Home !—

“Home, sweet, sweet home!”

I could easily write an entire lecture on the love of home. I shall only here express one thought. It is when kneeling at the family altar, with all we love on earth around us, that we pray most fervently that we may all be gathered to our Fathers home in heaven. Another thought. I have a home,—you, and you, and you, and all of us have homes ; these combined make our country—our native land. Whose heart does not thrill at the word “Our native land” Our dear, proud, free, happy native land! Our land of heroes and martyrs; our land of glorious liberty—bought by our fathers’ blood; our land of tuise heads and true hearts: would the world knew how much we love it! Let any power on earth pronounce to us the word invasion, and we’ll be tigers. Invasion I no, no, there can be no invasion of a free and happy land, guarded by the fond affections of its virtuous sons and daughters. But I can only touch this string, to which our hearts give forth such healthful music, and pass on to take a farewell glance at the mortal pilgrim whom we have followed through the sweets of friendship, the joys of love, and the high and holy feelings of parental affection. We see him now, life’s journey well-nigh over. He is climbing the steep and narrow way that leads straight to the celestial city, that stands secure upon the Rock of Ages. He holds in his hand the Bible—his never-failing guide. He has long read the sacred page with the eye of faith, aided by the soft light of his own affections; and now he is hastening to join the loved ones gone before. How radiantly he smiles! Hark to his words!—

“Saw ye not even now a blessed troop Invite me to a banquet, whose bright faces Cast thousand beams upon me, like the sun.

They promised me eternal happiness;
They brought me garlands—which
I feel I am not worthy yet to wear.”

Amongst that blessed troop that lines the avenues of light he sees the companions of his youth—the friends of his riper years : her he called by the holy name of wife. She is leading in her hand their little angel child. His father and his mother too are there; his brothers and sisters beckon him joyously; his brother’s orphan daughter, to whom he proved a father, is carrying his golden crown. In sight of such sweet natural visionings how eagerly the frail, among mortal lays hold on Him who saith, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me!” For he has found that anchorage alone can fully satisfy the heart and soul in which has burned the pure, holy ligiit of virtuous affection.

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