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BY

MRS. S. C. HALL.

- those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day."

WORDSWORTH,

IN THREE VOLUME S.

VOL. I.

LONDON:
HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS
SUCCESSORS TO HENRY COLBURN,

13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.

1857.

The right of Translation is reserved.

249, 2.537.

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PRINTED BY CHALLES BETAS ASD SOX, CHAPEL STREET, GROSVENOR SQUARE,

A WOMAN'S STORY.

CHAPTER I.

“The innocent brightness of a new-born day

Is lovely yet:
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality :
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.”

WORDSWORTH.

ALTHOUGH there is nothing to gratify self-love in the distinction I claim, it is, notwithstanding, very pleasant for a person—such as I am

-who has acquired a habit of observation, and who loves to listen rather than talk, to be considered a NOBODY—a sort of harmless

VOL. I.

were

“familiar '— permitted to go and come, to move about, to read, work, or nod in a corner, without giving offence, and without being noticed, except by a bright look, a kind smile, or to be greeted, on entrance, perhaps, by words like these

“Oh, we are so glad to see you ! sit down; and, as we never make a stranger of you, we will go on with our talk, just as if you were “nobody ;' that is exactly what you like.”

. And so it is; I desire to glide noiselessly through life, observing and thinking, not musing and dreaming; studying the characters of my friends, not to pry into their secrets, or display their foibles to the world, but from an earnest wish to practise what would give them pleasure, and to avoid causing them pain. I daily balance the motives which impel or impede the movements of the circle that forms my world; that is sufficient to interest me day by day, while things and events of greater import hang about my heart, or crowd upon my memory. I have lived in wonderful times, and seen what the past would have rejected, had it been foretold by the

rem

voice of prophecy, and to which the future will hardly give credit. Yet, on the whole, comparing that which now is, with that which must be hereafter, I think my faculty of observation—I say, on the whole—has given me more pleasure than pain. I have silently chronicled within my heart of hearts many noble deeds, of which the world has heard nothing ; and, by much comparing, and much pondering, I have been able to clear up and remove, to my own satisfaction, and frequently to the satisfaction of others, doubts and suspicions thrown upon actions that deserved an immortality for their purity and unselfishness. I have seen great hearts, although worn out by mighty beatings, accomplish high purposes in the end, and so depart, with their triumph, to the Heaven they were worthy of entering ; and I have also seen the mean and base, however prosperous for a time, left to pant out the last hours of unworthy or polluted lives, without consideration and without respect. I have seen people change unconsciously-proud, lonely men pass from old opinions, and embrace new ones, not feverishly,

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