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“ These sentiments are unworthy of you, Edward. If money has had any thing to do with our regard for each other, it is well it should part us; otherwise, why this apprehension now? I thought we were friends, Edward."
Amy's color rose as she said this: she was aware that she had gone farther than the conventional creed of the world might authorize; she had spoken simply from her heart. Edward seized her hand; it was in vain for him to attempt to hide any longer all that was in his heart. He confessed all his hopes, all his fears, so long cherished; his intended self-denial so suddenly over
From that moment, what were riches to her, or poverty to him? From those who have never truly loved, who have never had this full mysterious harmony of souls awakened within them, this question may call forth a smile ; but, thanks be to the great Source of all true love, there are many, very many, of the rich as well as the poor, whose hearts will understand and respond to it.
Amy and Edward knew that they had now one severe trial to encounter, and they wisely resolved to meet it at once. They knew that Mr. Weston would be greatly displeased at his daugh
ter's engaging herself to a man who had no property.
“What shall I say to your father ?” asked Edward.
« Tell him the whole truth," replied Amy “Yes; but he will be deeply offended."
Very like; but we must bear that patiently, and let him see that in all that is right we will conform to his wishes."
"I will see him at once," said Edward, “and tell him that, although I have sought your affection, I do not ask for your hand till I have earned the means of supporting you.
He must not suspect me of the baseness of wishing to depend upon him for my subsistence. Cannot I see him
“He is not at home,” replied Amy;“ but you can see him this evening ;” and they parted till then.
Strange as it may seem, it was a relief to them both to be separated for a while. The first moment of perfect certainty that we are beloved by the object of our deepest affections, falls on our souls with an oppressive power.
The religious mind, at such a time, longs to be alone with the Father of spirits. A true and pure
love cannot be spoken in all its fulness. It is by faith in that which is invisible and unexpressed; it is through our own deep consciousness, that we know how we are loved by another. The heart involuntarily rises to that Being who can penetrate the depths of its love, and it is in his presence alone at such moments that it seems to breathe freely and calmly. So felt Amy and Edward when they parted this morning.
Amy's father was, and he prided himself upon being, a man of the world. He also prided himself upon being what is called a moral man; and he was one, if morality be that cold system of expediency which is sometimes all that is meant by the words, “a good moral man." He thought that religion was a very good thing to keep the people in order; without this safeguard, the poor, and all those unfortunate beings who have none of the good things of this life, would be dangerous to those who have an abundance; and that they must be bribed into submission by the promise of a large reversion in the life to come. He believed in a just Providence, because he was himself provided for. The opinion of what he called the respectable part of the community, which with him always meant the rich and powerful, was the standard by which he graduated all his views. He piqued himself upon his skill in avoiding to commit himself upon any important or questionable subject till the opinion of the wise in their generation had settled it. If any thing ever betrayed him into a violation of this strict, mental neutrality, and an argument was brought up against him, he would directly quote some high authority in defence of the opinion he had ventured to advance. His only very decided conviction was, that money was the chief good.
Amy fully understood her father's character; she dreaded the result of Edward's confession to him. She bravely resolved to speak first to him herself, and thus share and perhaps abate some of the indignation which she knew otherwise would fall entirely on his head. Amy possessed a peculiarly free and fearless mind; her nature had instinctively rebelled against the narrowness and slavishness of her father's mode of thinking. She had early learned to think for herself. By her mother's death she had been placed, at the age of fourteen, at the head of her father's family. He was rich; she was his only child, and he was proud of her; and the darling hope of his heart was, that his daughter should form what he considered a suitable connection, whenever she married.
What saved Amy in this trying situation? What made her that which is said to be
« The thing that's most uncommon,
Partly that saving principle in our natures which God has mercifully implanted, — the principle of reaction, that makes the tyrant the promoter of freedom, and the selfish and narrow the teachers of an enlarged philanthropy. It was partly this, but principally the religious education she had received from her mother. Associated as it was with her childish recollections, and interwoven with her earliest thoughts, it had first awakened her to a consciousness of her own nature, and its high destiny. The religious character of Amy's mind, as it had been formed by her mother's life, so had it been hallowed and sealed by her death. Her father had never understood the treasure he possessed in his daughter; how should he? he had never understood her mother.
When Amy had resolved that it was right that she should be the first to meet her father's
anger, she allowed no false shame, no selfish fears, to influence her for a moment. As soon as he returned from his walk, she went to his room.
“My dear Amy,” said he, as she seated herself by him in the sofa, “why were you so zeal