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and promised to speak in her behalf to the Emperor, — giving her 300 roubles for her present needs. Prascovia was so much overcome by her kindness, that when afterwards Mme. V- asked how she had sped in her interview, she could only weep for gladness.
Two days after, the Empress-mother herself took her to a private audience of the Emperor himself and his wife, the Empress Elizabeth. No particulars are given of this meeting, except that Prascovia was most graciously received, and that she came away with a gift of 5,000 roubles, and the promise that her father's trial should be at once revised.
And now all the persons who had scarcely attended to Prascovia vied with each other in making much of her; they admired her face, found out that she had the stamp of high birth, and invited her to their drawing-rooms. She was as quiet and unmoved as ever; she never thought of herself, nor of the effect she produced, but went on in her simplicity, enjoying all that was kindly meant. Two ladies took her to see the state apartments of the Imperial palace. When they pointed to the throne, she stopped short, exclaiming, “Is that the throne ? Then that is what I dreaded so much in Siberia !” And as all her past hopes and fears, her dangers and terrors, rushed on her, she clasped her hands, and exclaiming, “The Emperor's throne !” she almost fainted. Then she begged leave to draw near, and, kneeling down, she kissed the steps, of which she had so often dreamt as the term of her labors, and she exclaimed aloud, “Father, father! see whither the Divine Power has led me! My God, bless this throne, — bless him who sits on it, — make him as happy as he is making me!” The ladies could hardly get her away from it, and she was so much exhausted by the strength of her feelings, that she could not continue her course of sight-seeing all that day.
She did not forget the two fellow-exiles who had been so kind to her ; she mentioned them to every one, but was always advised not to encumber her suit for her father by mentioning them. However, when, after some delay, she received notice that a ukase had been issued for her father's pardon, and was further told that His Majesty wished to know if she had anything to ask for herself
, she replied that he would overwhelm her with his favors if he would extend the same mercy that he had granted to her father to these two poor old banished gentlemen; and the Emperor, struck by this absence of all selfishness, readily pardoned them for their offence, which had been of a political nature, and many years old.
Prascovia had always intended to dedicate herself as a nun, believing that this would be her fullest thank-offering for her father's pardon, and her heart was drawn towards the convent at Nishnï, where she had been so tenderly nursed during her illness. First, however, she went to Kief, the place where the first Christian teaching in Russia had begun, and where the tombs of St. Olga, the pious queen, and Vladimir, the destroyer of idols, were objects of pilgrimage. There she took the monastic vows, a step which seems surprising in so dutiful a daughter, without her parents' consent; but she seems to have thought that only thus could her thankfulness be evinced, and to have supposed herself fulfilling the vows she had made in her distress. From Kief she returned to Nishni, where she hoped to meet her parents.
She had reckoned that about the time of her arrival they might be on their way back from Siberia, and as soon as she met the abbess, she eagerly asked if there were no tidings of them. cellent tidings,” said the abbess. “ I will tell you in my rooms. Prascovia followed her in silence, until they reached the reception-room, and there stood her father and mother! Their first impulse
on seeing the daughter who had done so much for them, was to fall on their knees; but she cried out with dismay, and herself kneeling, exclaimed, “What are you doing? It is God, God only, who worked
Thanks be to His providence for the wonders He has wrought in our favor.”.
For one week the parents and child were happy together; but then Captain Lopouloff and his wife were forced to proceed on their journey. The rest of Prascovia's life was one long decline, her health had been fatally injured by the sufferings - that she had undergone; and though she lived some years, and saw her parents again, she was gently fading away all the time. She made one visit to Petersburg, and one of those who saw her there described her as having a fine oval face, extremely black eyes, an open brow, and a remarkable calmness of expression, though with a melancholy smile. It is curious that Scott has made this open-browed serenity of expression a characteristic of his Jeanie Deans.
Prascovia's illness ended suddenly on the 9th of December, 1839. She had been in church on that same morning, and was lying on her bed, with the sisters talking round her, when they observed that they were tiring her. They went away for one of their hours of prayer, leaving one, who began to chant the devotions aloud, but Prascovia begged her to read instead of singing, as the voice disturbed her prayers. Still she did not complain, and they left her at night without alarm, but in the morning they found her in her last long sleep, her hands forming the sign of the cross.
THE CHILDREN OF BLENTARN GHYLL.
LENTARN GHYLL is the name of a little
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tains, called Langdale Pikes, at whose feet lie the lovely green vale and lake of Grasmere. The lake is fed by mountain streamlets, called in the north becks. One of these becks comes down another beautiful valley called Easedale, sheltered by mountains and green with grass, as smooth and soft as on a lawn, from being cropped short by the sheep, which can be turned out here earlier in the spring than on the other mountain-sides. At one end, Easedale opens on the village of Grasmere, at the other is a steep ascent, leading to a bare stony ravine, shut in on all sides by high mountains, and with no outlet except the rough descent into Easedale, and likewise a dangerous winding path about six miles over the mountains to Langdale Head. This lonely.ravine is called Far Easedale, and at the upper end there formerly stood a cottage named Blentarn Ghyl). Ghyll means a cleft worn in the rock by water; and just above the cottage there is such a cleft, opening from a basin in the rock that must once have been a tarn, or mountain lakelet, but the pool is now dry, and for want of the living eye of sparkling water, it is termed Blentarn or Blind pool.
The cottage was the dwelling of an honest old
soldier named George Green, who had taken the little mountain farm, and married an active, bustling woman, who kept her home in great order, and regularly sent her children, tidily dressed, to school at Grasmere, whenever the weather did not make the long, wild mountain walk impossible for them.
It was in the winter of the year 1807 that there was an auction of furniture at a farm-house at Langdale Head. These sales are great occasions among the people of these hills ; every one attends them for a considerable distance round, and there is much friendly hospitality, much business of all sorts transacted, and many meetings of old friends, who scarcely ever see each other at other times. To this gathering George and Sarah Green set off early in the forenoon of a bright winter day, leaving their cottage and six little ones in the charge of the eldest sister, a girl of nine years old, named Agnes, for they had neither indoor nor outdoor servant, and no neighbor nearer than Grasmere.
Little Agnes was, however, a remarkably steady and careful child, and all went well through the day, but towards night the mist settled down heavily upon the hills, and the heavy sighing in the air told that a storm was working up; the children watched anxiously for their parents, but the fog cut off their view, flakes of snow began to fall, and darkness closed in early on them.
Agnes gave the others their supper of milk and oatmeal porridge, and they sat down waiting and watching, and fancying they heard sounds in the hills; but the clock struck one hour after another, and no step was on the threshold, no hand at the latch, no voice at the door, only the white silent flakes fell thicker and thicker, and began to close up the door, and come in white clinging wreaths through the crevices of the windows. Agnes tried to cheer the others up, but there was a dread on