She ceased to speak, but her lips moved still as in inward prayer. Some few minutes elapsed, and suddenly the glowing light of the sun was darkened, as by an intervening shadow. The mother raised her head, and in another instant her son was at her feet.
“Mother, can you forgive, receive me? Bid me not go forth—I cannot, may not leave you.”
“Go forth, my son, my son—oh, never, never!” she cried, and clasping him to her bosom, the quick glad tears fell fast upon his brow. She released him to gaze again and again upon his face, and fold him closer to her heart, to read in those sunken features, that faded form, the tale that he had come back to her heart and to her home, never, never more to leave her.
In that one moment years of error were forgotten. The mother only felt she hold her son to her heart, a suffering, yet an altered and a better man; and he, that he knelt once more beside his mother, forgiven and beloved.
And now, what can we more say? Will not the Hamilton family, and those intimately connected with them, indeed be deemed complete? It was our intention to trace in the first part of our tale the cares, the joys, the sorrows of parental love, during the years of childhood and earliest youth; in the second, to mark the effect of those cares, when those on whom they were so lavishly bestowed attained a period of life in which it depends more upon themselves than on their parents to frame their own happiness or misery, as far, at least, as we ourselves can do so. It may please our Almighty Father to darken our earthly course by the trial of adversity, and yet that peace founded on religion, which it was Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton’s first care to inculcate, may seldom be disturbed. It may please Him to bless us with prosperity, but from characters such as Annie Grahame happiness is a perpetual exile, which no prosperity has power to recall. We have followed Mr. Hamilton’s family from childhood, we have known them from their earliest years, and now that it has become their parts to feel those same cares and joys, and perform those precious but solemn duties which we have watched in Mrs. Hamilton, our task is done; and we must bid farewell to those we have known and loved so long; those whom we have seen the happy inmates of one home, o’er whom—
“The same fond mother bent at night,”
who shared the same joys, the same cares, whose deepest affections were confined to their parents and each other, are now scattered in different parts of their native land, distinct members of society, each with his own individual cares and joys, with new and precious ties to divide that heart whose whole affection had once been centred in one spot and in one circle; and can we be accused in thus terminating our simple annals of wandering from the real course of life. Is