Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

was married to the young Marquis de Roseville, one of the handsomest and richest men in France, and went to live in Paris with her husband, where she was introduced in the court of the king, and lived amongst the greatest and gayest people in France.”

- Where is Paris, Mamma ?' said Lucy.

You know, my dear,' answered Mrs. Fairchild, * that London is the chief town of England, and the residence of the king : in like manner, Paris is the chief town of France, and the king of France's palace is in Paris.'

“ Maria's husband” (continued Henry) “ was one of the pastors of the Waldenses, of the name of Claude: he lived in a small and neat cottage in 'a beautiful valley: he was a holy young man, and all his time and thoughts were given up to teaching his people and serving his God. Maria was much happier in her little cottage with her kind husband, than she had been in the castle of the Baron. She kept her house clean, and assisted her husband in dressing their little garden, and taking care of a few goats, which afforded them abundance of milk.

“ When the Marchioness of Roseville had been married twelve months, she brought the Marquis a son, to whom his parents gave the name of Theodore. This child was so beautiful, that he was spoken of in Paris as a wonder; and his parents, who were very proud and vain before, became more and more so. All the Marchioness's love seemed to be fixed upon this child: so that, when at the end of two years more, she had a second son born, she shewed no affection whatever for him, although he was a lovely infant, not less beautiful than his brother, and of a tender and delicate constitution.

• When this little infant, who was called Henrie, was little more than two months old, the Marquis and Marchioness undertook a journey to the Castle of Bellemont, to visit the old Baron, bringing their two sons with them. The fatigue of this journey was almost too much for poor little Henrie, who, when he arrived at bis grandfather's castle, was so ill that it was supposed he could not live ; but bis mother, having no love but for her eldest child, did not appear to be in the least troubled by Henrie's sickness. " " As soon as Maria heard of her cousin's arrival at Bellemont she hastened over to see her, though she did not expect to be very kindly received. Maria, by this time, had two children; the youngest of which, who was more than a year old, and a very healthy child, she was just upon the point of weaning. When this kind woman saw poor little Henrie, and found that his parents did not love him, she begged her cousin to allow her to take the poor infant to her cottage in the valleys, where she promised to nourish him with her own milk, and to be as a tender mother to him. The Marchioness was glad to be freed from the charge of the sick cbild, and Maria was equally glad to have the poor baby to comfort. Accordingly, she took the little Henrie home with her; and he was brought up amongst her own children, in the fear of God and in innocent and holy habits. . .“ When the Marquis and Marchioness had remained awhile at the Castle of Bellemont, they returned with their favourite Theodore to Paris ; and there they delivered themselves up to all the vicious habits of that dissipated place. The Marchioness never staid at home a single day, but spent her whole time in visiting, dancing, playing at cards, and going to public gardens, plays, and musical entertainments. She painted her face, and dressed herself in every kind of rich and vain ornament, and tried to set herself off for admiration; but she had little regard for her husband, and never thought of God. She was bold in her manners, fond of herself, and hard-hearted to every body else. The only person for whom she seemed to care was her son Theodore; for as for little Henrie she seemed to have forgotten that she had such a child ; but she delighted in seeing her handsome Theodore well dressed, and encouraged him to prattle before company, and to shew himself off in public places, even when he was but an infant. She employed the most famous artists in Paris to draw bis picture : she hired dancing-masters to teach him to carry himself well, and music-masters to teach him to sing and play: she herself arranged his glossy hair; and sometimes, when he was to go out with her, she rouged his cheeks, in order that he might look the handsomer. She employed many servants to attend upon him, and commanded them never to contradict him, but to do every thing to please him. As she continued to lead this life, she became every year more and more bold, and more hardened in wickedness : so that from beginning to be careless about God, she proceeded in time to mock at religion, and to despise all God's commandments. Nor was the Marquis any better - than his wife: he was proud and quarrelsome: he despised God; and he loved no one but himself. He spent all his time amongst a set of wicked young men of his own rank : they sat up all night, drinking and swearing, playing at cards for large sums of money, mocking at their king, and scoffing at God.

« In this wicked manner they went on till Theodore was as much as fifteen years of age. In the mean time the old Baron died, and left all his money to his daughter: but the Marquis and Marchioness were not the better for all the riches left them by the Baron ; for they became more and more wasteful, and more and more wicked. .“ About this time the king, who was a very wicked man, began to talk of driving the Waldenses out of their pleasant valleys, or forcing them to become Roman Catholics : he consulted the great men in Paris about it; and they gave it as their opinion that it would be right, either to make them become Roman Catholics, or drive them out of the country. The Marquis, among the rest, gave his opinion against the Waldenses; never considering that he had a relation amongst them, and that his little son Henrie was at that very time living with them.

" Whilst these things were being talked of in the king's palace, Theodore was seized with a riolent fever; and before any thing could be done for him, or his father and mother had any time for consi. deration, the poor boy died. The Marchioness was like a distracted wonian when Theodore died, she screamed, and tore her bair, and found fault with God for what he had done : and the Marquis, to drive away the thoughts of his grief, went more and more into company, drinking and playing at cards and blaspheming God. When the grief of the Marquis and Marcbioness for the loss of their beautiful Theodore was a little abated, they began to turn their thoughts towards their son Henrie, and they resolved to send for him. Accordingly the Marquis sent a trusty servant to the valleys of Piedmont, to bring Henrie to Paris. The servant carried a letter from the Marquis to the Pastor Claude, thanking him for his kind attention to the child, and requesting him to send him immediately to Paris. The servant also carried a handsome sum of money, as a present from the Marquis to Claude; which Claude, however, would not take.

" Whilst all these things, of which I have been

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

telling you, were happening at Paris, little Henrie had been growing in stature and in the fear of God, in the humble yet pleasant cottage of Maria and the pious Claude. During the first years of his infancy he had been very delicate and tender, and no one would have reared him who had not loved him as tenderly as Maria had done; but from the time that she first saw him in the Castle of Bellemont she had loved him with all the love of the tenderest mother. As she carried him home in her arms she kissed his sweet pale face, dropping many tears upon it - Oh, my sweet babe!' she said, your parents do not fear God: it would be better for you to die and go to your Saviour, before you have committed actual sin, than that you should be brought up according to the fashions of this world. Then Maria looked up to Heaven, and prayed for the lovely infant who lay in her aris-0 my Saviour! O bleeding Lamb !' she said, ' if this sweet child is not to grow up to become a servant of God, take him now-pow in his days of infancy: take him now to thyself, O blessed Saviour !' -In this manner Maria prayed for the little delicate Henrie, as she carried him towards her cottage: and often afterwards, when the poor little babe was unable to sleep, for he had much sickness during the first years of his infancy, she would walk with himn in the little garden in the front of her cottage, and there would she sometimes offer up to God prayers to the same effect as the one I have now repeated ; and sometimes she would sing him to rest by lovely hymns in praise of God, and of the wonderful work of the holy Trinity in bringing about the salvation of sinful man.

“ Little Henrie very early shewed great delight in the sweet hymns sung by his tender nurse : even during the first year he learnt to stroke her

« AnteriorContinua »