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"Come, come, child, clean the table for dinner, and thou canst afterwards think more at leisure of thy journey to St. Petersburg."
Such treatment was more apt to dissuade Prascovia from her projects, than the severest upbraiding, and the worst usage. The humiliation of seeing herself treated like a child, did not, however, long oppress her, or prevail, for a moment, over her natural consistency. The difficulty of the first step was surmounted: she touched afterwards, repeatedly, on the subject, and her entreaties were so frequent and urgent, that her father became angry, reproved her most seriously, and commanded her never more to speak of her plans of deliverance. Her mother proceeded with somewhat more gentleness to convince her, that she was yet too young to meddle with such serious business.
This result of her first endeavours prevented Prascovia for three years from renewing her entreaties with her parents. In that interval of time she was obliged to attend her mother in an obstinate illness, which alone would have obliged her to postpone her journey; but never did she permit a day to pass without including in her ordinary prayers a fervent petition that she might obtain from her father the desired permission; and the more she prayed, the more she became persuaded that God would grant her request.
Such a religious disposition and confidence, in a girl of her age, is so much the more surprising, as they were not the fruit of her education. Though her father was not irreligious, but, on the contrary, read the bible every day, he did not set her an example of fervent and real piety; and even her mother, who was more attentive to these higher duties, was too little informed, to awaken piety in hearts that were unprepared for religious culture. But Prascovia needed neither encouragement nor advice. To an exquisite sensibility, she united an excellent judgment, which, in the last three years, had acquired so much strength, that her parents began to listen, in their debates and domestic concerns, to her remarks, and she obtained, insensibly, a sufficient ascendency over them, to propose again, and to support with less hesitation, her great project. Yet her parents, in losing the advantage they had over her, in laughing at her presumption, did not render their resistance and objections less painful to her, by
representing how much her absence would increase their difficulties. With tears, and a thousand endearments, they told her that they had neither friends nor resources of any kind in Russia, and that upon her depended all their comfort, and in part their subsistence. "Could she leave her parents in a desert," they asked her, "to undertake a distant journey, which might prove fatal to herself, and embitter the rest of their lives, instead of procuring them their liberty?" Prascovia could only answer with tears such reasoning; but far from wavering in her determination, she grew every day more resolute and confident.
The opposition of her parents was not the only nor the greatest obstacle she had to overcome. She could not set out on her pilgrimage, nor even leave her village, without a passport. In not answering the letters of her father, the governor of Tobolsk had given no encouragement to the hope that he would favor her plan.
Fortunately for her, there was in the village another prisoner, born in Russia, and son of a German tailor. This man had been servant to a student at the university of Moscow, and had, on the strength of that connexion, assumed the the reputation of a free-thinker, amongst the rude villagers and prisoners, to whom he rendered himself besides useful, by his exertions in the useful art of his father. He sometimes visited Lopouloff, and, we are sorry to say, was permitted to laugh at his daughter, and to nickname her "St. Prascovia." She did not much care for it; but supposing that an unbeliever must, at least, know how to write, she hoped he would prepare for her a petition to the governor, which she thought her father would readily consent to send, if he had no other trouble than to sign it.
It happened that one evening, when she was about to pack up the linen, which she had washed in the river, and was turning her steps homeward, Neyler (for that was the name of the free-thinker,) met her, while she was making the sign of the cross; an usual accompaniment to prayers in her religion. Neyler said to the poor girl, had you made some more gesticulations of that sort, your linen, by a miracle, would have returned home, without your being at the trouble of carrying it on your back; but I will do as much for you without entreaties, and show you that infidels, whom you hate
so much, are glad to help their neighbours." He did not give her time to make any objection; but, taking the parcel, he went along with her towards the village. As they proceeded, it occurred to Prascovia, that the " philosopher" might be in a mood of extending farther his services to her, and write the petition to the governor ; but his science did not go so far. He pretended, that since he had begun his handicraft, he had bidden adieu to all literary pursuits, but he fortunately knew a man who could render her the service she desired. Prascovia felt obliged for the information he gave her about that individual, and rejoiced in the thought that she should, not later than the next day, make a decisive step towards the execution of her great project. When she entered the habitation of her parents, she found them in company with some of their acquaintance, to whom Neyler immediately imparted the service he had rendered her, in sparing the trouble of working miracles by her prayers. He was not a litle disconcerted, when Prascovia said, in answer to this and some other silly jests of the same sort, Why should I not put my whole confidence in the Divine goodness, when I remember, that after a short prayer, a professed infidel voluntarily rendered me his services: was not that a miracle?" The whole company laughed heartily at the discomfited tailor, who, instead of waiting for better success on a new attack, silently strutted off.
The next day, Prascovia called on the person whom Neyler had mentioned to her, and who promised to write the petition, in the requisite form, but informed her that she, and not her father, ought to sign it. After some new difficulties, her father at last yielded, and forwarded the petition, with a letter of his own, relative to his personal situation.
From that moment Prascovia ceased to feel unhappy, her health improved rapidly, and her parents wondered and rejoiced to see her suddenly recover her former gaiety. This change had no other source than a strong conviction that she should obtain the desired passport, and an unlimited confidence in the protection of her Creator. She often extended her walks far on the road of Tobolsk, in the hope of meeting a state messenger. For some time she regularly called on the old soldier, who distributed the letters, at the place where the post horses were kept; but she was soon discouraged from
repeating her inquiries, by the rudeness with which the man in office received her, and by the jests in which he indulged on her projected pilgrimage.
(To be continued.)
TO LYDIA ANN.
BY ROBERT SYDAL.
Thou see'st that bright star beaming,
Throughout the heaven that bound it :
Then chace each other thought away,
Thou hear'st that soften'd melody
When I am gone, love, should
From pleasure's revel flee,
Again th' enchanting sound to hear,
Then think, O, think of me!
THE EVENING OF THE YEAR.
ADDRESSED TO THE LADIES OF 1829. BY J. R. PRIOR.
Ye, who are breathing down the stream
Of long oblivious time;
Who look for mercy's haven safe
In heaven's celestial clime:
Rise and reflect the passage through,—
Far, far away from fear;
And in the storms the calm review,
Past the Evening of the Year.'
Knowledge!-Hath this been well achiev'd?
They, who have erred, must err no more :
The fire of love with lambent flame
Through the Evening of the Year.'
And, lit and guarded by the sun,
Evening of the Year.'
Abstinence, exercise, and care,
The body still requires ;
The mind must have its reading stores,
Its gifts, its tokens,-eyes and books