“To use a homely illustration, just rising in my fancy,—shall the good housewife take such pains in pickling and preserving her worthless fruits, her walnuts, her apricots, and quinces—and is there not much spiritual housewifery in treasuring up our mind’s best fruits—our heart’s meditations in its most favored moments?
“This sad simile is much in the fashion of the old Moralizers, such as I conceive honest Baxter to have been, such as Quarles and Wither were with their curious, serio-comic, quaint emblems. But they sometimes reach the heart, when a more elegant simile rests in the fancy.
“Not low and mean, like these, but beautifully familiarized to our conceptions, and condescending to human thoughts and notions, are all the discourses of our LORD—conveyed in parable, or similitude, what easy access do they win to the heart, through the medium of the delighted imagination! speaking of heavenly things in fable, or in simile, drawn from earth, from objects common, accustomed.
“Life’s business, with such delicious little interruptions as our correspondence affords, how pleasant it is!—why can we not paint on the dull paper our whole feelings, exquisite as they rise up?”
“——I had meant to have left off at this place; but looking back, I am sorry to find too gloomy a cast tincturing my last page—a representation of life false and unthankful. Life is not all vanity and disappointment—it hath much of evil in it, no doubt; but to those who do not misuse it, it affords comfort, temporary comfort, much—much that endears us to it, and dignifies it—many true and good feelings, I trust, of which we need not be ashamed—hours of tranquillity and hope. But the morning was dull and overcast, and my spirits were under a cloud. I feel my error.
“Is it no blessing that we two love one another so dearly—that Allan is left me—that you are settled in life—that worldly affairs go smooth with us both—above all that our lot hath fallen to us in a Christian country? Maria! these things are not little. I will consider life as a long feast, and not forget to say grace.”
“——Allan has written to me—you know, he is on a visit at his old tutor’s in Gloucestershire—he is to return home on Thursday—Allan is a dear boy—he concludes his letter, which is very affectionate throughout, in this manner—
“’Elinor, I charge you to learn the following stanza by heart—
“’The monarch may forget his
That on his head an hour hath been;
The bridegroom may forget his bride
Was made his wedded wife yestreen;
“’The mother may forget her
That smiles so sweetly on her knee:
But I’ll remember thee, Glencairn,
And all that thou hast done for me.”