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two most beautiful and engaging creatures that ever died in youth. They were twins. Like were they unto each other as two bright-plumaged doves of one color, or two flowers with the same blossom and the same leaves. They were dressed alike, and whatever they wore, in that did they seem more especially beautiful. Their hair was the same—a bright auburn; their voices were as one; so that the twins were inseparable in my love, whether I beheld them or my dim eyes were closed.
From the first hour they were left alone with me, and without their mother, in the manse, did I begin to love them; nor were they slow in returning an old man's affection. They stole up to my side, and submitted their smooth, glossy, leaning heads to my withered and trembling hand; nor for a while could I tell, as the sweet beings came gliding gladsomely near me, which was Edward and which was Henry; and often did they, in loving playfulness, try to deceive my loving heart. But they could not defraud each other of their tenderness; for whatever the one received, that was ready to be bestowed upon the other. To love the one more than the other was impossible.
“ Sweet creatures ! it was not long before I learned to distinguish them. That which seemed to me, at first, so perfectly the same, soon unfolded itself out into many delightful varie
and then I wondered how I ever could have mistaken them for one another. Different shadows played upon their
that of the one being silky and smooth, and of the other slightly curled at the edges, and clustering thickly when he flung his locks back in playfulness or joy. His eyes, though of a hazel hue, like that of his brother, were considerably lighter, and a smile seemed native there; while those of the other seemed almost dark, and fitter for the mist of tears. Dimples marked the cheeks of the one, but those of the other were paler and smooth. Their voices too, when I listened to them, and knew their character, had a faint fluctuating difference of inflection and tone - like the same instrument blown upon with a somewhat stronger or weaker breath. Their
very laugh grew to be different unto my ear
that of the one freer and more frequent, that of the other mild in its utmost glee. And they had not been many days in the manse before I knew in a moment, dim as my eyes had long been, the soft, timid, stealing step of Edward, from the dancing and fearless motion of Henry Howard.” Here the old man paused, not, as it seemed, from any
fatigue in speaking so long, but as if to indulge more profoundly in his remembrance of the children whom he had so tenderly loved. He fixed his dim eyes on their sculptured images with as fond an expression as if they had been alive, and had lain down there to sleep; and when, without looking on me, whom he felt to have been listening with quiet attention, he again began to speak, it was partly to tell the tale of these fair sleepers, and partly to give vent to his loving grief.
“ All strangers, even many who thought they knew them well, were pleasantly perplexed with the faces and figures of the bright English twins. The poor beggars, as they went their rounds, blessed them, without knowing whether it was Edward or Henry that had bestowed his alms. The mother of the cottage children, with whom they played, confused their images in her loving heart, as she named them in her prayers. When only one was present, it gave a start of strange delight, to them who did not know the twins, to see another creatures so beautifully the same, come gliding in upon them, and join his brother in a share of their suddenly bestowed affection.
“ They soon came to love, with all their hearts, the place wherein they had their new habitation. Not even in their own merry England had their young eyes ever seen brighter green fields, trees more umbrageous, or, perhaps, even rural gardens more flowery and blossoming, than those of this Scottish village. They had lived, indeed, mostly in a town; and, in the midst of the freshness and balminess of the country, they became happier and more gleesome — it was said by many, even more beautiful. The affectionate creatures did not forget their mother. Alternately did they write to her
every week; and every week did one or other receive from her a letter, in which the sweetest maternal feelings were traced in small delicate lines, that bespoke the hand of an accomplished lady. Their education had not been neglected; and they learned every thing they were taught with a surprising quickness and docility — alike amiable and intelligent. Morning and evening, too, did they kneel down with ciasped hands these lovely twins even at my feet, and resting on my knees; and melodiously did they murmur together the hymns which their mother had taught them, and passages selected from the Scriptures, many of which are in the affecting, beautiful, and sublime ritual of the English church. And always, the last thing they did, before going to sleep in each other's arms, was to look at their mother's picture, and to kiss it with fond kisses, and many an endearing name.'
XX. - THE SAME SUBJECT CONCLUDED.
“ One evening in early autumn, (they had been with me from the middle of May,) Edward, the elder, complained, on going to bed, of a sore throat, and I proposed that his brother should sleep in another bed. I saw them myself, accordingly, in separate places of repose. But on going, about an hour afterwards, into their room, there I found them locked, as usual, in each other's arms,
face to face, and their innocent breath mingling from lips that nearly touched. I could not find heart to separate them, nor could I have done so without awaking Edward. His cheeks were red and flushed, and his sleep broken and full of starts. Early in the morning I was at their bedside. Henry was lying apart from his brother, looking at him with a tearful face, and his little arm laid so as to touch his bosom. Edward was unable to rise ; his throat was painful, his pulse high, and his heart sick. Before evening he became slightly delirious, and his illness was evidently a fever of a dangerous and malignant kind. He was, I told you, a bold and gladsome child, when not at his tasks, dancing and singing almost every hour; but the fever quickly subdued his spirit, the shivering fits made him weep and wail, and rueful, indeed, was the change which a single night and day had brought forth.
“ His brother seemed to be afraid more than children usually are of sickness, which they are always slow to link with the thought of death. But he told me, weeping, that his elder brother had died of a fever, and that his mother was always alarmed about that disease. •Did I think, asked he, with wild eyes and a palpitating heart, did I think that Edward was going to die?' I looked at the affectionate child, and taking him to my bosom, I felt that his own blood was beating but too quickly, and that fatal had been that night's sleeping embrace in his brother's bosom. The fever had tainted his sweet veins also, and I had soon to lay him shivering on his bed. In another day he, too, was delirious, and too plainly chasing his brother into the grave.
“Never in the purest hours of their healthful happiness had their innocent natures seemed to me more beautiful than now in their delirium. As it increased, all vague fears of dying left their souls, and they kept talking as if to each other of every thing here or in England that was pleasant and interesting. Now and then they murmured the names of persons of whom I had not formerly heard them speak friends who had been kind to them before I had known of their existence, and servants in their mother's or their father's household. Of their mother they spoke to themselves, though necessarily
kept apart, almost in the very same words, expecting a visit from her at the manse, and then putting out their little hands to embrace her. All their innocent plays were acted over and over again on the bed of death. They were looking into the nests of the little singing birds, which they never injured, in the hedge-rows and the woods. And the last intelligible words that I heard Edward utter, were these : "Let us go, brother, to the churchyard, and lie down on the daisies among the little green mounds !'
“ They both died within an hour of each other. I lifted up Henry, when I saw he, too, was dead, and laid him down beside his brother. There lay the twins; and had their mother at that hour come into the room she would have been thankful to see that sight, for she would have thought that her children were in a calm and refreshing sleep!”
My eyes were fixed upon the sculptured images of the dead, lying side by side, with their faces up to heaven, their little hands folded as in prayer upon their bosoms, and their eyelids closed. The old man drew a sigh, almost like a sob, and wept. They had been intrusted to his care — they had come smiling from another land — for one summer they were happy - and then disappeared, like the other fading flowers, from the earth. I wished that the old man would cease his touching narrative both for his sake and my own.
So I rose, and walked up quite close to the monument, inspecting the spirit of its design, and marking the finish of its execution. But he called me to him, and requesting me to resume my seat beside him on the gravestone, he thus continued :
“I had written to their mother in England that her children were in extreme danger; but it was not possible that she could arrive in time to see them die, not even to see them buried. Decay was fast preying upon them, and the beauty of death was beginning to disappear. So we could not wait the arrival of their mother, and their grave was made. Even the old gray-headed sexton wept, for in this case of mortality there was something to break in upon the ordinary tenor of his