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Literary and Village
Addressed to the Young of our Neighbourhood,
IN THE VALE OF
"With her sweet skill, my skilless youth she drew,
To have a feeling view of Him that sits
Beyond the Heavens.".
Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia.
THE good old-fashioned custom of our English Gentry, of annual removals from London earlier in the year than at present, was still adhered to by the family of Fitz**. The approach of the vernal season was to them a signal of retreat from a spacious town-residence to the family mansion, situated in a retired village.
But, amid the manifold chances and changes of mortal life, that mansion is now doomed to be desolate," the guardian spirit of the place shall long lament the silent halls, the untenanted apartments, the dreary aspect of lone gardens, woods, and lawns."
Such was the train of musing which occupied my mind in a visit to this desolate scene, whither I had been summoned to assist in the melancholy office of executor. In searching for deeds and law-papers, there appeared to view the following pages in MS. inscribed by the hand of my lamented friend"Legacy to my young friends in the Vale of**.-In these Sketches you will find some traces of the sentiments which lately animated the breast of the mother of a family, and who points out to you the sources of religious and moral instruction which she here imbibed, and now tenderly recommends to your serious consideration."
"I hope to be forgiven the harmless prejudice of wishing you to think that Nature wears her most benign aspect in your own village-that roses blow fresher, woodbines scent sweeter, the mornings rise brighter, the stars shine kindlier, the moon walks in serener majesty here than in any other place.
"Permit me to allure to the safe path to happiness, oftenest found in rural retirement, where you, dear Children, will be better enabled to discharge all moral and religious duties; to cultivate that species of tranquillity which flows from a well-regulated mind, whose resources lie chiefly within itself.
"To seek the approbation of our heavenly Father, by adhering to religious principles, drawn from Holy Writ. This light is from above.
The beacon lights of Holy Writ,
They one by one upon me stole :
The Editor has so far discharged his duty, as to make selections from the MSS. of his Friend, hoping they may serve the cause of virtue and religion among the higher classes of society, and especially those of her own sex. Not originality, but an attractive form of instruction, seems to have been the writer's object.