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tion of her enthusiasm. There was a similarity of disposition in many respects, and a sympathy of feeling, between her and Emily, which led to a striking conformity of tastes. They were both passionately fond of poetry; and while Lydia's sentiments and language were often highly poetical, Emily's secluded mode of life, and long-cherished habits of reflection, which often amounted to a kind of pleasing melancholy, had led her to court the muses from her childhood. It was after listening to one of Lydia's rhapsodies, in which she expatiated on the excellences of her beloved country, as the nurse of wisdom, bravery, and genius, the hallowed refuge of piety and virtue, and the sweet abode of every domestic blessing, that Emily retired to her desk, and expressed the feelings of her heart in the following stanzas:
THERE is a land, a happy laud,
Where peace and liberty are found;
Has with its richest blessings crowned:
Where comfort smoothes the peasant's lot-
There is a land, where freedom reigns,
Her song with ardor fires his breast;-
And make its blessings doubly blest.
Is twined with mercy's olive-leaf;
Yet weeps to view the widow's grief.
In conscious majesty arrayed,
Protection, peace, and generous aid.
Of diff'rent clime, or faith, or name;
From cold and want th' unsheltered poor,
Her radiant wings from shore to shore.
Shines forth, with full, unclouded blaze;
Has fled before its heavenly rays;
And own its power from age to age.
England! let other regions boast
Their brighter skies,-their golden fruit,→ Thy holier claims shall ne'er be lost,
Thy juster praise shall ne'er be mute. Dearer than Gallia's gayest smile,
Or fair Italia's richest bloom,
And peace and virtue's quiet home.
Or mingles in thy healthful breeze.
"Tis then domestic circles meet; Affection's smiles their dullness cheer,
And fire-side comforts make them sweet. Then hail to thee, thou loveliest land!
Thou beauteous isle! thou brightest gem
Has fixed in ocean's diadem!
Each murmuring rill, each hallowed grove; Still may thy echoing hills repeat
The sounds of harmony and love!
Beloved Albion! may thy God,
Whose watchful care thy comforts own,
And still thy lot with blessings crown.
A rock, amidst the ocean's foam:-
It may easily be supposed that this little piece, though very im perfect, was received with the most enthusiastic delight by the English girls; but none more feelingly entered into its spirit than Lydia. She proudly exulted in the picture it drew of her native country; and the tears of emotion would rush to her eyes while repeating some of its descriptive lines.
The most affectionate and endeared friendship subsisted be tween Helen, Louisa, and herself; but as Louisa was more decid edly serious than either of her friends, she knew less of their sentiments than would otherwise have been the case. Lydia and Helen, also, slept in the same room, and a similarity of tastes and inclinations insensibly drew them nearer to each other. Hence arose that intimate communion which seemed almost to blend their very souls into one. They communicated their every feel ing to each other, and the sweet contagion of affection made those feelings common to both. But there was, perhaps, no subject on which the pliant mind of Helen so completely imbibed the senti ments of her companion, as that of religion. The volatile cha racter of Lydia generally enabled her, on common occasions, to ward off the effect of her serious impressions. Yet there were moments when she could not silence those convictions ;-when the voice of conscience would be heard, and its faithful admonitions inflicted the keenest anguish. It was during one of these moments, that she retired to her room, self-condemned and unhappy. It was the Sabbath evening; and, during the two hours of study, she had been reading again (perhaps for the twentieth time) The Decision." Little conversation passed between the two friends, while preparing for bed; and Lydia, according to her custom, extinguished the light. She bade Helen good night, but she could not go to sleep; restless and miserable, she sat on the side of her bed, and burst into tears. Her sobs attracted the attention of Helen, who, immediately rising, intreated her to communicate the cause of her distress.
"O Helen! I am continually offending God; I know the way of truth, yet persist in refusing to follow it. I laugh and trifle on the brink of ruin, and obstinately reject the Saviour who died for me. The example and sentiments of Gertrude have pierced my very heart; yet I cannot resolve to seek the Lord in earnest; or, if I did resolve, it would only be as usual, to break my resolutions. Oh! what shall I do? I am indeed a miserable creature !"
Helen threw her arms around her friend's neck, and wept in sympathetic sorrow. It was long before she could speak; but at length she said, with great emotion, "My dearest Lydia, believe me, your Helen is much worse than you are. I, too, trifle with my convictions, yet do not feel my misery as you do. But pray do be comforted: I am sure you have every reason to be so; for you know Miss Mortimer often says, that it is a sign of grace when we feel our sinfulness."
This, however, was not exactly the kind of comfort which Lydia's case required; and the two friends continued mingling their tears together, till fatigue and weariness drove them to seek refuge in sleep. The next day they resolved to watch, and strive against sin; and their conduct, for a short time, was more serious and consistent. But, alas! they rested on their own strength, and, like a broken staff, it mocked their vain confidence. "Their goodness was a morning-cloud; and like the early dew it faded away." The world and their passions regained their wonted influence; and their serious impressions once more vanished, with out producing any fruit.
O ye, whose youthful hearts have been taught to feel something of the power of divine truth, beware how you wound a tender conscience, and grieve the Spirit of God, by slighting his gracious admonitions. Beware lest you strew a dying pillow with thorns, or draw upon you that most awful sentence," Ephraim is joined to idols,-LET HIM ALONE!"
God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit an in truth.-JOHN IV. 24.
THE winter season had now set in, and the Christmas festival was eagerly expected. Many of the French boarders anticipated a short visit to their friends, during the few holidays which were then given. To the English girls, indeed, the prospect was far from being so bright; but some of them had acquaintances in the town, or its vicinity, who would naturally invite them to spend a few days with their families; and, even to those who had not these
advantages, it was something delightful to enjoy a temporary relaxation from intense study.
"Will you go to the Midnight Mass, Emily?" asked Miss Lushington, as they were walking in the garden one evening about a week before Christmas.
I don't understand you, dear Anna."
"Oh! you don't know, I suppose, what the Midnight Mass is. Well, I will tell you. It is a ceremony performed on Christmas eve, and I assure you it is very grand. The cathedral is brilliantly lighted, and the music beyond everything beautiful. They have also a representation of Christ in the manger; but I suppose you will not like that, for they prostrate themselves before it, and you will say it is idolatry."
"My opinion of Popish superstition is not likely, I fear, to become more favorable, from witnessing the ceremony you speak of. But do all the young ladies go?"
"Oh, no! only a few are allowed that privilege, as the cold night air makes it rather dangerous; but, if you wish to see the sight, I dare say you can accompany one of the teachers."
"I have a great curiosity to witness every characteristic feature of the church of Rome, and shall therefore go, if I have an opportunity. But the more I know of Popery, the more thankful do I feel, that my lot has been cast in a country which is comparatively free from its baneful influence."
Miss Douglas, Caroline, and Lydia, having also expressed a great desire to see the Midnight Mass, Mademoiselle Laval kindly engaged to take them all under her protection, should the weather be favorable, and Madame d'Elfort consent to their going. The night, however, happening to be stormy, that lady declared she would only allow Emily and Caroline to accompany her; but Rose de Liancourt, after many pressing entreaties, was subsequently permitted to join their party. She was the only French young lady who manifested a desire to attend.
It was about half-past eleven, when they entered the spacious cathedral. It was splendidly illuminated; the high altar was surmounted by a wreath of brilliant lamps, and the others profusely ornamented with tapers. The congregation was numerous, and almost every one had brought a small taper, to increase the general glare. The priests, in their magnificent robes, were beginning to celebrate mass; and the whole presented a spectacle of imposing splendor. Emily gazed on the glittering pageant, and sighed; for she thought on Him whose birth it was intended to commemorate, and felt how unacceptable all those services must be, while an empty form was substituted for spiritual worship, and the glad tidings he came to bring concealed beneath the veil of error and superstition. She thought of his lowly manger; -of his obscure and indigent state; his humility, and aversion