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ST. LOUIS, Sept. 16th, 1855,
REV. SIR,-To-night, for the first time in four years, I have been seated in God's Holy Sanctuary, and listened to the outpourings of scriptural wisdom or goodness. Your lips are the first that have given utterance to the mighty and sublime truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in my presence, for several weary, wicked ycars of my life.
ear, and arrested my feet. Mechanically, as it door. I had then no thought of entering, but were, I mounted the steps, and stood before the the gentleman in attendance invited me to a seat; scarce thinking what I was about, I followed him, and before I recovered my presence of mind, found myself seated in one of the pews of the church. I thought of leaving it immediately, for I had no desire to listen to words that might paint my wickedness in too bright a color. But I thought it ill-mannered to go out before the congregation was dismissed, so I remained. I paid but little attention to your prayer; 1 did not wish to hear. But when you gave forth your text, from which you delivered your discourse, I could not but notice the godly devotion which the few simple words conveyed.
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
your words, when you pronounced them "All vanity, vanity of vanities!"
But I will not weary you with a recital of my thoughts and feelings. I left your church deeply impressed with what I had heard; I felt and now feel the power-not of your eloquence, but the sublime truths you set forth
I listened deeply, intently, to your sermon; my mind and heart floated along with the discourse, A scoffer at religion and Christianity, a pro- and drank in every word you uttered. Strange fane, profligate, and licentious man, I have, for feelings entered my breast; I looked back to more than five years, wallowed in the very cess-worldly pleasures, and could feel the truth of pool of depravity and sin. Stamped with crimes the most hideous and appalling, I deemed myself forsaken of God, despised by the world, and bereft of friends. 'Tis true, a mother's holy love, a father's hope in his son, and a sister's devotion, have clung to the poor wreck of my former self, and striven to withdraw me from the fearupon me. ful vortex down which I am plunging, lower, I could not retire until I had expressed to you lower, lower still! But they are far from me a sinner's thanks. To-night I feel as though I the influence which they might exert over me, was guarded by some holy spoll; to-morrow I were I near them, loses its magic powers in the shall awake to the world and its hollow pleasdistance; and until to-night, until the pastures-shall awake to sin and folly, to mingle hour, I've given loose rein to my wildest passions, and, unmindful and reckless of everything, have let myself be driven towards the fathomless gulf of perdition, careless of the present, and indifferent of the life to come.
My associates are of a description worthy a wretch like me. Gamblers, drunkards, and profane swearers, are and have been my constant companions; with them, hand in hand, and side by side, have I sailed madly and desperately from every thing holy and good, toward a sinner's grave, and a sinner's awakening before the judgment throne of Almighty God!
I know not why I entered your place of worship to night. I was passing as they were singing, with my thoughts far away from everything good or pious, but the sound struck upon my
again with dissolute companions, and again partake of vice. There is no guardian hand to pluck me from the dangerous pitfall. I am an alien from all that's good and pure, and without friends to assist, or power to extricate myself from the company I keep, I feel I must sink down, down to a sinner's grave.
You are a holy man, a good man, a servant of the Lord. It seems almost sacrilege on my part to address you; but, sir, I again repeat, accept the grateful thanks of a wretched sinner. You have called my thoughts from evil for a few hours, and I bless you for it. When you kneel and offer up your prayers to heaven, remember those who dare not ask for salvation from their God. Truly and gratefully yours,
PEEPS FROM A BELFRY. By the Rev. F. W. | wade through. We sincerely sympathize with Shelton. New York, Scribner: London, the "Seven Sleepers," of whom we are told in Trubner & Co.
THIS is one of the dullest and most commonplace of American works; the subject is sketches of clergymen who came within the observation of the writer. American clergymen must be heavy fellows, if the originals are like the pictures. The characters are either very uninteresting or the author lacks the talent of making them live and breathe; a less amusing or instructive book we have seldom had occasion to
one somnolent chapter, whose inattention to the discourse so enraged the pastor that he lifted up his voice to the highest pitch, in the belief that their drowsiness resulted from their inability to hear, rather than from his own inability to preach. We would not be too severe upon the American sleepers, who respond by a snore to the application of such intellectual narcotics as the Rev. F. W. Shelton seems to dispense. Athenæum.
From Chambers' Journal.
THE sun had not yet risen, and a heavy mist hung over Mount Vesuvius, spreading on towards Naples, and enveloping the small towns on the coast. The sea was calm. On the beach of a small gulf under the Sorrentine rocks several fishermen were engaged in hauling up the boats and nets which had been used during the night, whilst others were preparing their tackle and trimming their sails for a fresh start. No one was idle; for even the old women had brought out their spindles, and the wives and children were engaged in work or play.
"Shall we have fine weather, my son?" inquired the little priest, looking doubtfully towards Naples.
"The sun has not yet risen," replied the young owner of the boat; "it will soon clear away the mist."
"Then hasten on, that we may arrive before the heat of the day."
Antonino seized the long oar to push the boat into deep water, but suddenly stopped and looked up the steep path which led from the beach to the little town of Sorrento. The slight form of a girl was visible, hastening down the steps, and waving a handkerchief. She carried a little bundle under her arm, and her dress was plain in the extreme; "Look there, Rachel ! there is our padre," but the head thrown haughtily back, and the said an old woman to a little thing of ten noble cut of the features, contrasted strangely years old, who played around her spindle. with her apparent poverty. The black braids 'He is just stepping into the boat. Anto- of her hair were crossed above her forehead, nino is to take him over to Capri. Holy like the diadem to which she seemed born. Maria! how sleepy the venerable pastor looks." Thus saying, she greeted a little benevolent-looking priest, who was just seating himself in a boat, after having carefully lifted his long black robe and spread it on the bench. The men on the shore paused in their work to see the departure of their pastor, who nodded and greeted right and left.
Why does he go to Capri, grandmamma?" asked the child. "Have the people there no priest, that they must borrow ours?"
Why are we waiting?" asked the priest. "There is a woman coming towards the boat who wants to go to Capri, if you do not object, padre. We shall not go any the slower, for she is a light little thing, scarcely eighteen years of age." At this moment the girl stepped from behind the wall which enclosed the winding path.
"Laurella!" said the priest; "what has she to do in Capri? Antonino shrugged his shoulders. The girl advanced hastily with her eyes on the ground.
"How do you do, La Rabbiata!" cried several of the young sailors. They would have said more, had not the presence of the priest restrained them; for the silent, scorn
greeting seemed to irritate the rude fellows.
"How do you do, Laurella?" said the priest; "how are you to-day? Do you wish to go to Capri?”
"With your permission, padre."
Silly child!" said the old woman; they have plenty of priests over there, and the most beautiful churches, and even a hermit, which we have not. But there is a noble lady who lived here for some time, and was so ill that more than once it was thoughtful way in which the girl received their she could not recover, and the priest had to go to her with the Host. However, the Holy Virgin succored her; she is now strong and well again, and bathes in the sea every day. When she went from this place over to Capri, she gave a great heap of ducats to the church and to the poor, and would not go till the padre had promised to continue his visits to her there, that she might confess to him. She has wonderful confidence in him, and we may consider ourselves fortunate" in keeping him as a pastor; for he has the talents of an archbishop, and many of the highest in the land inquire after him The Madonna be with him!" Whereupon she again nodded towards the little boat, which was just pushing off from the shore.
"Ask Antonino - he is the owner of the boat. Every one is master of his own property, and God is Lord over us all!"
"Here is a half-carline," said Laurella, without looking at the young boatman; can I go for that?"
"You want it more than I do," murmured the young man, as he pushed aside some baskets of oranges to make room.
"I shall not go for nothing," replied the girl, knitting her black eyebrows.
Come, child," said the priest; "he is a
good youth, and will not make himself rich but even hearts oppressed with sadness may at the expense of your little store. There, give a kind word." She looked down, and get in and sit down here by me. See, he contracted her brows, as if to hide the dark has spread his jacket, that you may sit more eyes beneath. For some time they continued comfortably he did not do as much for me; their way in silence. The sun now shone but that is the way with young people brilliantly over the mountains; the summit more care is taken of one little girl like you of Vesuvius rose above the mist; and the than of ten reverend gentlemen. Well, well, houses in the orange-gardens around Sorrento you need not excuse yourself, "Tonino; this looked dazzling white in the morning rays. is always the way of the world! ”
Laurella had meanwhile stepped into the boat and seated herself, but she pushed the jacket on one side without a word of thanks. The young sailor did not remove it, but murmured something between his teeth. He then pushed vigorously from the shore, and the little skiff flew out into the gulf.
"What have you got in that bundle?" asked the priest, while they sailed across the water, which was just now glistening in the first rays of the sun.
"Have you heard nothing more of that painter, Laurella that Neapolitan who wished to marry you?" asked the priest. She shook her head.
"He came once to take your picture; why did you refuse to allow him?"
"What did he want it for? There are many girls more beautiful than I am. And, then, who knows what he would have done with it? My mother said he might bewitch me, and injure my life, perhaps even hurt my soul."
"Do not believe such sinful things," said
"Silk, thread, and a bit of a loaf, padre. I am to sell the silk to a woman in Anacapri | the priest earnestly. "Are you not always in who makes ribbon, and the thread to some the hands of God, without whose will not a one else." hair of your head falls; and can a man like that, with a mere picture in his hand, be more powerful than our Heavenly Father?
"Did you spin it yourself?"
"If I remember right, you have also learnt Besides that, you might have known he wished to make ribbons ?" you well, or would he have asked you in marriage?"
"Yes, padre; but my mother is so much worse that I cannot leave the house, and we are not able to buy a loom for ourselves."
"O is she worse? When I was with you at Easter she was sitting up."
"The spring is always the worst time with her. Ever since the great storm and the earthquake, she has suffered so much as to be obliged to keep her bed."
"Indeed! then you must be earnest in prayer to the Virgin for her, and be good and industrious, that your prayers may be heard." After a pause, he continued: "As you were coming down to the shore they shouted, 'How do you do, La Rabbiata!' Why do they call you so? It is not a pretty name for a Christian girl, who should be soft, mild, and gentle." Her dark face crimsoned with blushes, and her eyes flashed.
"They mock me because I will not dance, and sing, and talk nonsense, like other girls. Why cannot they leave me alone? I do them no harm."
"But you should be courteous to every one. Perhaps you may not like to dance and sing, like others whose lives are happier ;
The girl was silent.
"And why did you refuse to marry? continued the priest, after a pause. "He was a good and handsome man, and would have supported your mother much better than you can do with the trifle you earn by spinning and silk-winding."
"We are poor people," replied Laurella vehemently; "and my mother has been so long ill, we should only have been a burden to him. Besides, I am not fit to be a signora. When his friends came to visit him, he would have been ashamed of me."
"How you talk! I tell you that he was an excellent man; and, besides, he would have come to live in Sorrento. You will not easily find such another: he seemed as if sent from heaven to succor you."
"I do not want a husband; I shall never marry!" she said disdainfully, as if speaking to herself.
"Have you made a vow, or are you going into a convent?"
She shook her head.
"People are right in calling you head
strong. Do you consider that you are not uncertain how far he should acknowledge the alone in the world, and that you make the justice of the girl's reasoning. At last he illness and poverty of your mother only more said: "Forgive him, my child, as your mother bitter by your obstinacy? What good reason has forgiven him. Do not let your thoughts could you have for refusing the honest man dwell on such sad scenes, Laurella: better who wished to support you? Answer me, times are in store for you, and all this will be Laurella." forgotten."
"Then unburden your heart, my child. If you are right, I will be the first to commend you; but you are young, and know little of the world, and may afterwards regret having thrown away your happiness for some childish fancy." She cast a hasty glance towards the young man, who, busy with his oar, sat in the bow of the boat, his woollen cap drawn down over his eyes. He was gazing on the sea, and seemed occupied with his own thoughts.
The priest saw her look, and bent down his ear.
"You did not know my father," she whispered, and her eyes were full of gloom.
"Your father! why, he died when you were scarcely ten years old, I think! What has your father, whose soul, I trust, is in Paradise, to do with your obstinacy?" "You did not know him, padre! You do not know that to him alone is my mother's illness owing!"
"How so?" inquired the priest with surprise.
"Never! I shall never forget it!" she said shuddering. "And it is this which has determined me to remain unmarried, padre. I will not be subject to one who will ill-treat me one moment and caress me the next. If any were now to attempt to do either the one or the other, I should know how to defend myself; but my mother would not do so, because she loved him. I will love no one well enough to endure such things from him.”
"What a child you are to talk such nonsense!" replied the priest. "Are all men like your father, who gave way to every whim and passion, and did, in truth, ill-treat your mother? Have you not seen numbers of excellent men in the neighborhood, and women who live in perfect unity and peace with their husbands? "
"Ah! they appear to do so; but no one knew my father's conduct to my mother: she would rather have died a thousand deaths than have uttered a word of complaint, and all because she loved him. If it be love which closes one's lips, so that one dare not cry out for help, and which makes one defenceless against greater injuries than would be endured from an enemy, then, as I have said before, I will never give up my heart and liberty to any man."
"I tell you, you are an ignorant child, and do not understand what you are talking of. Your heart will not ask you whether you will love or not: when the time comes, all these notions will then give way." After a pause, he again continued: "And did you tell that painter-did you tell him that you feared his harshness?"
Because he beat and ill-treated her. I remember well the nights when he would come home in a perfect fury. She never spoke a word, and did all he wished; but he would beat her till my heart nearly broke. I used to draw the covering over my head, and pretend to be asleep; but, in truth, I cried all night. And when he saw her lying on "His eyes looked just like my father's the floor, his manner would suddenly change; when asking forgiveness of my mother, and he would raise her, and clasp her in his arms, trying to make it up with her. I know those close to his heart, till she cried out half-suffo- eyes; they can be feigned even by a man who cated. My mother forbade me to say a word beats the wife who has never done him any about it then; but it had such an effect upon harm; and I shuddered when I saw them her, that, ever since his death, many years again." After this, she remained silent, and ago, she has never regained her health; and the priest followed her example. He was if she dies-which Heaven forbid!-I know who will have killed her."
The little priest shook his head, and seemed
thinking of much good advice that he could give to the girl; but the presence of the young sailor, who, towards the end of the
conversation, had become apparently restless, closed his mouth.
a movement, as though they would excuse themselves for the accident, and then the girl continued her walk with firmly closed lips.
It was an hour after noon, and Antonino had already sat for two hours on the bench before the little public-house frequented by
In about the space of two hours, they arrived in the little harbor of Capri. Antonino carried the padre through the surf to the shore; but Laurella would not wait till he had waded back to fetch her she lifted her little the fishermen. Something exciting must have skirt, took her wooden shoes in her right hand, the bundle in her left, and splashed sturdily through the water.
"I shall remain some time at Capri today," said the priest, "and you need not wait for me, my son. Indeed, I may possibly not return till to-morrow. Laurella, salute your mother for me when you get home; I shall visit her before the week is out. I suppose you return before night?"
"If there be any opportunity," said the girl, as she arranged something about her dress.
"You know that I must get back," said Antonino, in what was intended for a very indifferent tone. "I shall wait for you till vespers; and if you are not here by that time, it does not matter to me."
"You must go back, Laurella," put in the little priest; "you must not leave your mother alone all night. Have you far to go
"To Anacapri, to a vineyard."
been passing in his thoughts; for every five minutes he jumped up, stepped into the sunlight, and looked carefully along the roads which led to the right and left towards the two towns of the island.
"The weather seems doubtful,” said he to the hostess, by way of excuse; "it is clear for the moment, but I know how to trust the color of the sky. It looked just so before the last great storm, when I had so much difficulty in getting the English family safe to land. Do you remember it?"
"It is a late spring. I wonder if you "Ah! then our roads do not lie together. have earned as much as we folks of Capri ? I am bound for Capri. The Madonna bless I should not have contrived to dine even you, my child; and you, too, my son." twice a week on macaroni, if I had to depend Laurella kissed his hand, and uttered a fare solely on my boat," replied Antonino. well, in which the priest and Antonino might letter or two to be taken to Naples, or to claim an equal share; but the young boat-row out a gentleman occasionally to fish, was man did not seem to perceive it. He took off all I could find to do. But you know my his cap to the priest, but did not even look uncle owns the large orange-garden, and he at Laurella. However, when they had both is a rich man. "Tonino,' he said to me, left him, his eyes but for a moment followed you shall never know want as long as I the priest as he toiled wearily over the shingles, live; and after my death, I have cared for and then they were turned with an eager look you.' And thus, with God's help, I have to the hilly road on the right, up which toiled got through the winter." the girl, her hands over her eyes, to protect them from the scorching rays of the sun.
Before the path was lost between the rocks, she stood still for a moment, as though to take breath, and looked around her. The shore lay at her feet; she was surrounded by the wild island scenery, and the blue ocean gleamed in more than ordinary splendor; indeed, it was a view worthy of some atten
Has your uncle any
"No; he never married, and was long absent in foreign lands, where he got together many a solid piaster. He proposes now to commence a large fishery, and put me at the head of it, to look after his rights."
"Then you are a lucky and a happy man, Antonino," remarked the hostess. The young seaman shrugged his shoulders.
"Each one has his own burden to bear," said he, as he again arose and looked anxiously on all sides, though he must have