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MRS. S. H DE KROYFT.
“The darksome pines that o'er your rocks reclined,
In the preceding biographical sketches, it has been our uniform purpose to collect all the authentic statistics, relative to the lives of our authors, we could find in either European or American literature, and form a chain of events, interspersed with such original remarks as the occasion and our own experience under similar circumstances, seemed to suggest.
But in noticing our present authoress, having been unable to procure any accounts of her strangely eventful and interesting history, save those she has given to the public in her beautiful and universally admired volume, entitled, “A Place in Thy Memory," we deem it proper to digress from our former rule, and give them principally in her own language and connection.
The beautiful metaphoric drapery thrown around these references to her life and misfortunes, and the simple, natural, and deeply feeling manner in which she tells her tale of woe, form paragraphs so sacred that it seems like ruthless sacrilege to divest them of their original attire.
The following tender and pathetic lines, that must move every reader to tears, susceptible in the slightest degree to feel for others' woes, serve us as a par. tial introduction to her history :
ROCHESTER, October, 1846. “DEAR CLARA 'Tis autumn, and to-day the winds howl mournfully among the trees. Four long weeks I have been pillowed on a sick couch, and though with much of its drapery around me, I can to-day sit in an easy chair. Fever still burns on my cheeks, and my brow is pressed with throbbing pain. Last night they fed me opium, and I slept a pleasant sleep. I dreamed of other days. I thought that we again, arm in arm, paced the halls of the old seminary, and talked confidingly of bright realities in the future. The chime of the welcome school-bell again rang in my ears, and I heard the halls echo with the familiar tread of many feet, and mingling voices, all buoyant with hope and love. This morning, I engaged &
friend to write for me, while I fancy myself whispering in your ear the story of all that grieves me, and wrings every joy from my heart. “Truth is often stranger than fiction,' and the tale I shall tell you, needs no coloring. Clara, I am blind! forever shrouded in the thick darkness of an endless night. And now, when I look down the current of coming years, a heavy gloom settles on me, almost to suffocation.
“ Is there any sympathy in your heart? Oh, then weep with me, for now, like an obstinate prisoner, I feel my spirit struggling to be free. But oh, 'tis all in vain, 'tis all over, misery's self seems stopping my breath, hope is dead, and my heart sinks within me. Clara, I am in a land of strangers, too. Stranger voices sound in my ears, and stranger hands smooth my brow, and administer to my wants. I see them not, but I know they have learned the laws of kindness. I love them, and pray Heaven to hold them in remembrance. But let me change the subject. The first year after we parted at school, my love of knowledge increased every day. I continued Italian with a success that pleased me. I read various French authors, besides translating most of the Old Testament Scriptures, reviewed Rollin, &c.
“In June last, Dr. DeKroyft was seized with hemorrhage of the lungs. He sent for me and I came to him. Every day his lips grew whiter, and the deep palepass on his brow alarmed me. Now, in a halfcoughing tone, I hear him say, 'Helen, I fear the
hand of consumption is settling on me, and my days will soon be numbered !
“ On the afternoon of the Fourth he visited me, went out, and returned no more. Our wedding-day
It was his wish, and by his bedside our marriage was confirmed. Soon after, I saw him die. They laid him in the ground, and I heard the fresh dirt rattle on his narrow home, and felt as if my hold on life had left me. I lingered in R. a few weeks longer. How I got through the days I do not know. William's room, his books, and the garden where I wept, are all I remember, until I awoke one morning and my eyes were swollen tight together. I could no more move them, or lift up the lids, than roll the mountains from their places. They were swollen with an inflammation that, three days after, made me forever blind-oh, the word! Like the thunders of Niagara, it was more than I could bear.
“ Thus, dear Clara, in simplicity, I have told you all. No, not the half. .
Words can never reach the feelings that swell my heart, imagination can never paint them. They are known only to me. Sorrow, melancholy, blighted hopes, wounded love, grief and despair, clad in hues of darkness, all brood upon my silent heart, and bitter fear is in all my thoughts. Oh, what will become of me? Is there benevolence in this world ? Must charity supply my wants? Will there be always some hand to lead me? Have the blind ever a home in any heart? Does anything ever cheer them? Are their lives always useless ? Is there any thing they can do? So I question, and wonder, until with morphine they quiet my distracted thoughts. When my eyes were swelling as if they would quit their sockets, and my entire being was racked with pain, forgive me, Clara, I did question if there be a God in heaven who is always merciful. But to-day, in the calmness of better feelings, my confidence is unmoved, and, though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.' Though I do not feel all the self-abnegation of Fenelon, yet I am certain my heavenly Father loves me, and will grant me ever his protecting care and sustaining grace. Adieu, but think of me, and pray for me sometimes.”
Tears, and such deep anguish of soul as we find portrayed in the above, stoics have attributed to weakness and imbecility of mind; but, instead of coinciding with such philosophy, we are persuaded that precisely the opposite is true. The sluggish stream that moves torpidly in its encumbered course, can be suddenly stopped without agitating its smooth and languid surface; but the crystal torrent, cheered by misty clouds and rainbow tints, that rushes down the mountain side in power and majesty, if impeded, foams in fury, and impetuous waves in desperation wild, dash to and fro, till freed again to move forward in its resistless course. The dull and selfish being who plods along without comprehending either his design or destiny, or cheered with no higher Lope than mere physical gratification, is ever secure against