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Maria

Chapter 1O
"MY FATHER'S situation was now so distressing, that I prevailed on my uncle to
accompany me to visit him; and to lend me his assistance, to prevent the whole
property of the family from becoming the prey of my brother's rapacity; for, to
extricate himself out of present difficulties, my father was totally regardless of
futurity. I took down with me some presents for my step-mother; it did not require
an effort for me to treat her with civility, or to forget the past.
"This was the first time I had visited my native village, since my marriage. But
with what different emotions did I return from the busy world, with a heavy weight
of experience benumbing my imagination, to scenes, that whispered recollections
of joy and hope most eloquently to my heart! The first scent of the wild flowers
from the heath, thrilled through my veins, awakening every sense to pleasure.
The icy hand of despair seemed to be removed from my bosom; and--forgetting
my husband--the nurtured visions of a romantic mind, bursting on me with all
their original wildness and gay exuberance, were again hailed as sweet realities.
I forgot, with equal facility, that I ever felt sorrow, or knew care in the country;
while a transient rainbow stole athwart the cloudy sky of despondency. The
picturesque form of several favourite trees, and the porches of rude cottages,
with their smiling hedges, were recognized with the gladsome playfulness of
childish vivacity. I could have kissed the chickens that pecked on the common;
and longed to pat the cows, and frolic with the dogs that sported on it. I gazed
with delight on the windmill, and thought it lucky that it should be in motion, at the
moment I passed by; and entering the dear green lane, which led directly to the
village, the sound of the well-known rookery gave that sentimental tinge to the
varying sensations of my active soul, which only served to heighten the lustre of
the luxuriant scenery. But, spying, as I advanced, the spire, peeping over the
withered tops of the aged elms that composed the rookery, my thoughts flew
immediately to the churchyard, and tears of affection, such was the effect of my
imagination, bedewed my mother's grave! Sorrow gave place to devotional
feelings. I wandered through the church in fancy, as I used sometimes to do on a
Saturday evening. I recollected with what fervour I addressed the God of my
youth: and once more with rapturous love looked above my sorrows to the Father
of nature. I pause--feeling forcibly all the emotions I am describing; and
(reminded, as I register my sorrows, of the sublime calm I have felt, when in
some tremendous solitude, my soul rested on itself, and seemed to fill the
universe) I insensibly breathe soft, hushing every wayward emotion, as if fearing
to sully with a sigh, a contentment so extatic.
"Having settled my father's affairs, and, by my exertions in his favour, made
my brother my sworn foe, I returned to London. My husband's conduct was now
changed; I had during my absence, received several affectionate, penitential
letters from him; and he seemed on my arrival, to wish by his behaviour to prove
his sincerity. I could not then conceive why he acted thus; and, when the
suspicion darted into my head, that it might arise from observing my increasing
 
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