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my every sense. — Take it then, Edwy;
and, when you can, you will in turn
assist me ; for I am poor, and a child
of sorrow, like yourself."

The hard creditor now said some-
thing about a discharge ; and the offi-
cers mentioned their fees.

" Silence!" said Edwy, starting
up. — He put back Vaga's hand, and
softly whispered —

" My mother, in her agitation, has
fainted : — but your mite is not unho-
nored ; for I can accept of kindness
shown to her! — When I am gone,
stay, and do what you can to revive
her ; comfort her, and say, that I shall
soon return : — and, as you are so good
—so merciful — perhaps" (looking to-
wards the body that slept the sleep of
death) " perhaps"- • • -he stopped — an
hysteric affection choaked the power


194 VAGA.

of speech — but Vaga*s quick sense
caught his meaning, which mounting
to her brain, a pain struck her in the
back of her head.

" The last sad offices shall be per-
formed for the dead," said she : —
" neither, Edwy, shall the living be

" Enough!" replied the youth. —
For a moment he breathed quick —
the lambent flame of gratitude fired
his breast — but, in another instant,
his blood cooled; and, meditating on
the ways of Providence, he calmly
walked out of the room, in custody
of the officers of the law.

The shrieks of the child recalled the
old woman's suspended existence. —
" Edwy is gone," cried he; *' and the
ugly men, who have taken him away,
will put him in a bag, and kill him ;
and then he'll be like poor mamma,

VAGA. 195

who can*t speak to her little boy —
though I have called to her so often."

The landlady entered ; and, her
appearance seeming to intimidate the
child, he ran behind his grandmother's
chair, while Vaga gently chafed her
temples (wrinkled more by sorrow,
than time) and washed with vinegar
the palms of her hands.

" God be merciful to the departed!*'
said the hostess, turning her back to
the corpse: " but 'tis all one; we
must go, one time or other ; only, as
the saying is, a body is for putting off
the evil day as long as one can : but,
for all that, we must take it in turn;
and who knows whom it will fall upon
to go next? — So, to repeat the words
of the song, " grieving is a folly;"
though, to be sure, the loss of master
Edwy is enough to go to any woman's
heart — such a graceful, loving young

196 VAGA,

man! so kind, and so dutiful to bis
mother — so tender and affectionate to
his sister; but, poor thing, she's dead
now; and as it is all over with her,
what use was all the expense he went
to — getting himself into debt and dan-
ger — paying doctors, buying drugs,
and wine, and all such, in cases of
sickness — and a lingering one it
was — enough to take a fortune to
keep it up. — But, as I often said, a
grain of prudence is worth a pound
of sense. However, I may make my-
self too busy ; and meddlers never get
any thanks : therefore, to make a long
story short — here is an order on the
bank for five pounds, a fortnight's
salary, due to master Edwy, which
my good man called for at the office,
just now — to witness," (glancing an
eye-beam at Vaga) *' that writing is
not so bad a trade as I thought, for

VAGA. 197

your best working journeymen tailors
and shoemakers don't earn weekly
more than that. And, from this time,
though I should see a poet bare-foot,
I am resolved never again to cast the
least reflexion on either pen, ink, or

The death of a deserving and be-
loved daughter had deeply wounded
the mother's heart; and the final
stroke of her son's imprisonment
plunged her into deeper agony. — But
the human mind, when strained to
its pitch, bends, but to recoil.— A
weight proportionate to our strength,
may encumber and weigh us down ;
but, increase the load a degree beyond
the limit prescribed, and our powers
shall naturally resist and cast the bur-
den. — What applies to a sharp weapon,
may be said of sorrow : — when it cuts,
K 3

198 VAGA.

its edge is sometimes blunted. In a
word, the unhappy mother's attention
was now diverted from the remains of
the daughter to the absent son.

Vaga being made known to the old
lady by the landlady, how lively was
her admiration of a creature, who,
needing consolation herself;, yet was
so ready to administer comfort, and
divide her purse with the unfortu-
nate !

" May the Lord bless her, and in-
crec^se her store !" said the afflicted
mother : *^ and, as she came from
heaven to soothe and make happy the
troubled on earth — Oh! may her life
be long, and her virtues bloom for
ever !"

'' Why, Vaga," said Chili— ^' why
did you suffer the youth to go to
prison? — God gave to us; and what

VAGA. 199

was freely given by him, we should
freely share with others."

At this pause, a letter, brought by
the penny post, was delivered to
Vaga; and her heart acknowledging
the superscription, she impatiently
tore it open, and read —

*' Vaga,

" Yesterday I gave you
money : to-day, 1 would teach you
its use. — Take ; but do not keep
all to yourself. Give to the poor :
merit the prayers of the depressed
and the humble, and your benefactions
shall be repaid in blessings tenfold. —
Remember how the man of God re-
stored to the widow her son ; and, as
you have seen — Oli ! Vaga, commise-
rate suffering virtue ! — Go, commune
with your own heart; and you may
be bettered by its instructions. But,

200 VAGA.

should you be too timid to obey tlie
voice of benevolence — should you re-
press your liberality, expect counsel


*' Bathmexdi."

*' Dublin, August 2d, 1801."

** Oh ! that I might be permitted
to know my guardian angel !" said
Vaga, eagerly kissing the letter. —
" Yes!" continued she, tying on her
bonnet — *^ my heart whispers to me
instruction; and I will be taught by
its genuine dictates."

Edwy had not slept during the
night; for the boards of his prison
were not calculated to invite repose. —
He rose in the morning, harassed, and
oppressed with fever. The day was
now far advanced, when the turnkey
abruptly walking into the gloomy
chamber, said —

" Come, young man, be of good

VAGA. 201

cheer ; for you may now go about your
business. — All's paid; and here's the
young woman herself, come to take
you home."

Vaga rushed forward — " Edwy," said
she, " you are indebted for your libera-
tion, not to me, but to a much superior
agency. — However," (looking timidly
round) " this is not a place for expla-
nation. Come, then, dear Edwy ! A
carriage waits, to take us hence; and
as your mother expects you, v give me
the happiness of restoring you to her."

Edwy rose — but, trembling, recoil-
ed ; and covering his face with both his
hands, vainly strove to hide his emo-

" Egad," cried the jailor, leering, and
winking at Vaga, " that lad 's as soft
as mother's milk ; for joy, as well as
sorrow, can make him cry. — But you,
my fair maid, are a pretty nurse, as
K 5

202 VAGA.

may be ; and you'll hush the baby— -
will you not?"

Vaga was too much shocked to make
any reply: butEdwy, darting an angry
glance at the impertinent, spoke in his
looks more resentment, than any verbal
reproach could convey — and said —

** Vaga, I shall not expose you to fur-
ther indignity, by chastising an inso-
lent in your presence." — Here catch-
ing her hand, he hurried our heroine
along ; and having handed her into
the hackney coach in waiting, placing
himself beside her, motioned for the
carriage to drive on.

The youth now made an effort to
speak: but so low were his spirits, he
coidd scarcely make himself heard ;
and, giving up the attempt, he leaned
back his aching head.

Vaga, with real concern, beheld his
disordered looks ; and accusing her

VAGA. 203

own timidity, that suffered him to
contend with horrors to which his bo-
dily strength was unequal — she enter-
ed on, and gave (with a brief account
of her own history) the promised ex-
planation, relating to his enlarge-
ment; concluding the detail, by ob-
serving, that, should the consequences
of what she called her base fear to act
worthily, affect Edwy's life, though
assured of his charitable forgiveness
(it being a sin of omission), she could
never forgive herself — " But," con-
tinued she, " I offer you, amiable,
good young man, to him who can mi-
nister to soul and body. — -May health
sweetly smile on you ! and may the
God of all good preserve you, for the
sake of your suffering mother, and the
many, generally, whom your pious ex-
ample may greatly serve."

The carriage drew up, — " I am not

20J; VAGA.

good at professions," said Edwy,
alighting, and assisting Vaga — " but
I know I ought to be grateful ; and I
think I have not an unthankful heart.''

It is not the author's care to portray
the minutise of circumstances : — We
will leave to imagination, the widow's
joy at the restoration of her son — her
gratitude to his fair deliverer — toge-
ther with the gloomy scene the inter-
ment of Edwy's regretted sister, which
took place the evening after his return

Chili was still languishing, and
Vaga watching by her, with a solici-
tude in her countenance, that told
her whole happiness was bound in
her recovery.

** Angelic Vaga!" said Chili, smi-
ling through her tears, and suppressing
a sigh — which being clearly under-
stood by her excellent daughter —

VAGA. 205

" Chili r* replied Vaga — in the hour
of trouble, let us hope for better days.
— All those ills may pass away, like
a cloud before the sun. — Be you,
then, the sun to cheer and enliven
me ; and Vaga will, with grateful
transport, bask in the friendly ray she

'' Sainted creature !" said Chili, " I
repose on your affection : — it is the
polar star to guide me to peace and
happiness ; and, when our ' sorrows
pass away — the joy that shall succeed,
will indeed resemble the sun, which
shines, after the cloud, with redoubled
lustre. — Yes ! we will hope, and per-
haps be disappointed — yet we will
hope still ; for the siren, though she
cheats, cheers."

" Poor Edwy !" said Vaga— "I left
him very ill last night. Pray God
he may be better to-day. — Oh ! Chili,

9i06 VAGA.

for you I rigorously and undauntedly
combated all the terrors of the heart —
deliberately surrendered up the friend
whom I love best on earth, and — leav-
ing the good Angelo to his resent-
ments — dared to follow and adhere to
you: yet (with shame I speak it) too
soon I turned recreant; for, in the
cause of this good youth, I played the

" Say not so," replied Chili : '' ra-
ther say you had courage to oppose
principle to inclination; and that, in
order to be just to one, you repressed
your generosity towards another: —
therefore, 'tis I, not you, that am to
blame. — But, dear Vaga, my heart
whispers, that Edwy will soon be
well; and in that whisper there is no
deception : — therefore, let your spirit
be at peace, and rest in confidence on
that boundless goodness, which visits

VAGA. 207

the lowest and weakest of his crea-
tures with beneficence, to bless and
raise up Edwy — the favorite of Hea-
ven !"

The postman's knock electrifying
Vaga, she started up — and, hearing
her landlady loudly vociferate her
name, breathless with expectation,
ran down stairs, and received a sealed
packet, which, on opening, she found
to contain bank of Ireland notes to
the amount of five thousand pounds

Astonishment sealed our heroine's
lips: — she hurried to the bed, and,
gently dropping the national paper
into Chili's hand, prostrated herself
before God.

" 'Tis from our good genius," said
Chili, examining the notes : — then
Vaga, rising, read aloud the let-
ter : —

208 VAGA.

" When Virtue spoke, Vaga was
tried, and proved! — Be then, in fu-
ture, a trusty steward in the service of
benevolence. — I invest you with full
power to act : — yield a part, and your
store shall be replenished. — Go ! visit
hospitals and prisons : — seek out the
victims of disease and penury : — fur-
nish medicine to the sick, food to the
hungry, raiment to the naked. — Let
the sound of gladness re-echo through
the mansion of despair — and, as graves
shall, at the great day, give up the
dead — so, at your intercession, let
jails surrender to new life their no
less ^gloomy inhabitants. — Neither be
you unmindful of the frail unfortunate;
for it is the duty of true charity to
exhort the erring to repentance — to
whisper hope and consolation to the
dejected — and, finally, to raise up
those that fall. — Be kind to all—be

VAGA. 9.09

harsh to none : — treat, with the ut-
most softness, the hardened ; for ten-
derness is an emoUient designed for
the heart ; and, when you look upon
the corrupt — see the weakness of hu-
man nature, and let the warning affect
you. — Learn humility. — Scorn none
but the proud ; and know, that man's
best strength is false, unless invigo-
rated by virtue. — Vaga, your charac-
ter is not yet formed : but experience
shall complete what precept has begun.
— The path of life is a thorny maze ;
and its briars have torn and pierced
you already ; but, from simples, a
precious balsam is often extracted. —
Yes ! we will travel in quest of this
salutary herb; and its juice shall heal
all up. — Then, Vaga, go forth. — Your
way shall not be solitary, nor your
labor unrequited : for, at each pass.

210 VAGA.

you will meet a sister, and the sons of
the earth shall cherish my wanderer.

** Bathmendi."

" Dublin, August 6th, 1801.''

The secret was expounded. — Vaga
felt whence the bounty came. — " Oh !
Angelo!" thought slic — " my honored,
my beloved father! — 1 have found
you again — but have not words to
greet you; for feeling, like spirit, is
invisible. — I was in darkness till you
appeared. — A bright constellation you
are; and, at an humble distance, I
will ever pursue you."

Our heroine never slackened in the
performance of her duties. Each day
was now devoted to general useful-
ness, in the cause of society ; and,
after her employment, when she re-
turned home, how sweet the reflexion,

VAGA. gll

that invited her to rest, having the
power to say —

" My God ! I have been engaged in
your service, rescued the poor debtor
from confinement — the diseased from
death — the poor from want — and the
abandoned from despair. — Yes ! and
such deeds being mine, well may I
bless the hour that I was born, for I
have not lived in vain."

Nor did Edwy, when able to go
abroad, hesitate to join in her pious
labors ; for he was, like Vaga, the
enthusiastic votary of universal Na-

This youth was watchful : but deep
thought, not self-reproach, kept him
waking. He generally rose with the
lark : and, when the morning appeared
fine, desirous to share the imparted
blessing — softly tapping at our he-
roine's chamber door —

21g VAGA.

" Oh ! my Vaga ! " be would say
— waste not in sleep the sweet hour,
which Nature and genius loves. —
Come, with me, into the morning air;
the early gale is fraught with health
and freshness. — It is Zephyrus, that
causes the flowers to blow. He will
play round your face, and forehead,
more invigorating than Arabia's spice ;
and the sun, as it rises, shall catch its
brightest beam from you."

Vaga loved walking, and the coun-
try ; and many times, accompanied by
Edwy, did she stroll out, aud visit the
beautiful and magnificent scenery,
which the environs of Dublin display,
particularly the Phoenix Park. Here,
seated on the green turf, listening to
the sweet melody of the feathered song-
sters, they would pass whole hours; for
this amiable young pair delighted in
simple pleasures. Then, climbing the

VAGA. i2l3

little hills, that adorned and crowned
the plain — contemplating with trans-
port, through vista's of trees, a beau-
tiful extent of prospect, rich in ver-
dure, and bounded by mountain sce-
nery, would they offer up homage to
the Creator, in the admiration with
which his wonderful works inspired

Loved and loving, Edwy aspired
only to the possession of hi^s mis-
tress's heart. Vaga's esteem and con-
fidence appeared to him the height of
human felicity. — To see her, to attend
upon her, to be employed for her good,
was infinite joy to him : but, as for
the gratification of the senses — a
thought that way neither debased
the delicacy of his attachment, nor
offended the innocence and purity
of its object. — The pleasures Edwy
sought, were those of the mind : and

214 VAGA,

none other are durable. — The delicious
calm of pure and temperate felicity
alone is lasting; and the aifections of
Edwy, well regulated by wisdom and
virtue, partook more of the character
of sober friendship, than of the lively
emotions of the heart ; and when love
is thus nearly allied to reason, Heaven's
own voice responds to that of Nature.



" Edwy," said Vaga, " it is required
of me, by Bathmendi, to search out
objects of charity, generally. — Guided
by observation, and feeling, I have
already given two thousand five hun-
dred pounds to the relief of private in-
dividuals ; and it becomes my next
care to inform myself respecting the
many benevolent institutions existing
in this city, which, calling loudly for
panegyric, have rendered Dublin de-
servedly renowned for its charity.

In pursuing this inquiry, the young
pair first directed their attention to

216 VAGA.

the Foundling Hospital; and, having
gained admittance, behold them re-
viewing, with awful admiration, this
sublime testimonial of the vice and the
^virtue of man.

At each cradle sat a nurse, in at-
tendance on two children. — Vaga
looked upon a blooming, smiling in-
fant : — it lifted up its little hand ; and
a drop of social tenderness fell from
Vaga's eye.

Vaga then turned round her head :
— another child met her sight : — it
was wan and worn, and in strong con-

*' Oh ! suffering babe ! " said Vaga,
*V how shall the authors of thy mi-
sery answer unto thee? — There, for-
lorn innocent ! thou liest stretched
in all the agony of death ! — No parent
— no relative — no natural friend, to
close thy heavy eye-lids, and kiss

VAGA. 217

away the tear upon thy cheek ! — -
Oh ! man ! such, too often, is the
price nature pays for thy brutality
and wickedness ! Wronged beauty,
shame, and the timorous part of wo-
man, mutinous to tenderness (because
betrayed), cuts through the tie that
should hold the mother to her oiF-
spring : — yea ! ere it has yet been
born — and, when the hapless tell-tale
reaches the goal of life — behpld the
little stranger (as it were) solitary and

alone, left to — die! But there is

one bosom still open to the outcast.
Meek charity in this her hallowed
fane presides; and the refuse of the
earth is taken under her fostering
wing. Here, mercy, in divine perfec-
tion, is at hand, preparing for the suf-
fering innocent, when, like the trou-
bled sea, it cannot rest, the last retreat
from human woe, tlie grave."


218 VAGA.

Vaga subscribed five hundred
pounds to the fund for .the support
of the Foundling Hospital ; and next
proceeded to visit the Lock Hospital,
established for the recovery of dis-
eased beauty,

" I shall subscribe seven hundred
and fifty pounds to this institution,"
said Vaga, as she ascended the steps.
— Several medical men, high in repu-
tation, passed out, as she went in.
But not choosing to view a scene
which could only shock modesty, she
inquired of the superintendant, if
among the patients there were any
who were likely to leave the way of
wickedness. She left a handsome dona-
tion to be given to such as, it might be
hoped, only wanted the means to live,
and who would willingly reform if as-
sistance was lent to their endeavours.

Something like a skeleton appeared.

VAGA. 219

— Vaga started. — It was a young wo-
man : her countenance was cadave-
rous — her form shrunk, and withered :
— and, as she passed, tottering in her
weakness, our heroine stretched forth
her hand, and saved the languid
wretch from falling.

" Poor enfeebled creature!" said
Vaga. — " Here, lean on me — I'll as*
sist you."

" Oh !" interposed the guide,, " this
is the girl that was discharged
this mornino*. — She is well enough
now, only a little weak or so; but,
though young in years, she is old in
sin ; and I'll lay ten to one she's back in
the hospital, in one month, as bad as

*' Do not reproach her," said Vaga,
*^ for taunts only drive the guilty to
despair !"

L 2

220 VAGA.

The unfortunate raised her sunken
eyes, and looking up in Vaga's face —
burst into tears.

" If repentant," said Vaga, (ten-
derly drying with her handkerchief
the drops that fell), '' hope, poor girl,
and weep no more."

Again the hapless wretch looked
up, and again our heroine addressed
soft words of comfort to her.

" Who is it that deigns to speak so
gently to one so lost?" said the un-

** A being, who pities the whole of
her suffering species," replied Vaga ;
" but never shall take upon her to
condemn any."

" God bless you for your forbear-
ance !'' was now repeated, in querulous
accents, by the unfortunate.

She was now turning away from
Vaga ; —

VAGA. 2£1

** Whither are you going?" said
Vaga, stopping her.

" Into the streets," answered the

'* Have you no home?"

" No, none."

" Have you no natural friends?"

'* None that will acknowledge me,"
said the unfortunate.

** And are you about to resume

your misciauiv. v^v^^^ovc

'' I have no other means to live,**
rejoined the wretch ; " and I fear to—

" Then," said Vaga, " if you are
sorry for the past, and will reclaim
from sin, you shall be protected." So
saying, motioning to the poor girl to
follovir, she walked on.

Our heroine was now joined by
Edwy. Taking his arm, and pointing
to her follower, she said :
L 3

222 VAGA.

" We shall not go home without
our errand, my friend; for I bring
with me a creature once lost, and
hope to restore the strayed sheep to
the Shepherd."

Vaga had no sooner arrived at her
lodging, than the landlady, having got
a glimpse of the unfortunate, hastened
after Edwy, to make what she called
the necessary inquiries : and the youth,
unpractised in any disguise, (because
virtue needs none), garrulous in praise
of his beloved Vaga, gave a full ac-
count, how, and where, she had passed
the morning.

The hostess, greatly affected by the
mention of so much wealth, contrived
to squeeze out a tear at that part of
the narrative which related to tlie
Foundling Hospital : but, when the
youth touched on the Lock — surprise,
throwino; her off all guard, venting

VAGA. 223

nothing but invective against that in-
stitution, she declared it was a nui-
sance in the city — an encouragement
to vice — that every modest woman
was ready to expire with shame at the
mention of it; and that, for her part,
she would rather go a mile out of her
road any day, than subject her eyes to
be oifended by the sight of it.

'* Then," said Edwy, '' how will
you bring yourself to look upon one
that was once its unhappy tenant?
for the amiable Vaga has taken under
her protection a creature just dis-
charged from that establishment."

The hostess was combustible ; and
her pride catching the alarm : '^ What !"
said she, (her face in a blaze), " is my
honest dwelling turned into a nest for
wantons? my house polluted, and my
good name exposed to the censure of
my neighbours, for harbouring those
L 4


whom every door is shut against? —
However, I shall take warning in time,
and put the hussy out."

But this good lady, though she was
so very rigid in the support of her re-
putation, was not over-scrupulous in
the observance of her word. Certain
it is she went up stairs in a rage:
but she cooled before she came down
again ; for Vaga softened her heart to-
wards the unfortunate, by putting
into her hand a fee for her good-will.
And here it m.ay be necessary as well
to observe, that after she had lived
some time with Vaga, and evinced by
her behaviour that she was a sincere
penitent, her benefactress prevailed on
a benevolent lady to take the unfortu-
nate girl into her service, and had the
satisfaction to find her charity was
not abused.

Twelve hundred pounds were still

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