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distinction to be a member of the famous court of the Areopagus, and a woman named Damaris, probably of considerable rank and influence.
At Athens, all this free discussion on topics relating to the religious and moral nature of man, and involving the authority of the existing religion, passed away without disturbance. The jealous reverence for the established faith, which, conspiring with its perpetual ally, political faction, had in former times caused the death of Socrates, had long died away. With the loss of independence, political animosities had subsided, and the toleration of philosophical and religious indifference allowed the utmost latitude to speculative inquiry, however ultimately dangerous to the fabric of the national religion. Yet Polytheism still reigned in Athens in its utmost splendour; the temples were maintained with the highest pomp; the Eleusinian mysteries, in which religion and philosophy had in some degree alesced, attracted the noblest and the wisest of the Romans, who boasted of their initiation in these sublime secrets. Athens was thus at once the head-quarters of Paganism, and at the same time the place where Paganism most clearly betrayed its approaching dissolution.
History of Christianity.
THE SENATOR AT HOME.
H. B. STOWE.
The light of the cheerful fire shone on the rug and carpet of a cosy parlour, and glittered on the sides of the tea-cups and wellbrightened tea-pot, as Senator Bird was drawing off his boots, preparatory to inserting his feet in a pair of new, handsome slippers, which his wife had been working for him while away on his senatorial tour. Mrs. Bird, looking the very picture of delight, was superintending the arrangements of the table, ever and anon mingling admonitory remarks to a number of frolicsome juveniles, who were effervescing in all those modes of untold gambol and mischief, that have astonished mothers ever since the Flood.
“ Tom, let the door-knob alone—there's a man! Mary! Mary ! don't pull the cat's tail-poor pussy! Jim, you musn't climb on that table—no, no! You don't know, my dear, what a surprise it is to us all, to see you here to-night !” said she, at last, when she found a space to say something to her husband.
“Yes, yes, I thought I'd just make a run down, spend the night, and have a little comfort at home. I'm tired to death, and my head aches !"
Mrs. Bird cast a glance at a camphor-bottle, which stood in the half-open closet, and appeared to meditate an approach to it, but her husband interposed.
“No, no, Mary, no doctoring! a cup of your good hot tea, and some of our good home living, is what I want. It's a tiresome business, this legislating !"
And the senator smiled, as if he rather liked the idea of considering himself a sacrifice to his country.
Well,” said his wife, after the business of the tea-table was getting rather slack, “and what have they been doing in the Senate ?”
Now it was a very unusual thing for gentle Mrs. Bird ever to trouble her head with what was going on in the house of the State, very wisely considering that she had enough to do to mind
Mr. Bird, therefore, opened his eyes in surprise, and said,
“Not very much of importance.”
“Well; but is it true that they have been passing a law forbidding people to give meat and drink to those poor coloured folks that come along? I heard they were talking of some such law, but I didn't think any Christian legislature would pass
it!” “Why, Mary, you are getting to be a politician, all at once."
“ No, nonsense ! I wouldn't give a fip for all your politics, generally ; but I think this is something downright cruel and unchristian. I hope, my dear, no such law has been passed.”
“There has been a law passed forbidding people to help off the slaves that come over from Kentucky, my dear; so much of that thing has been done by these reckless Abolitionists that our brethren in Kentucky are very strongly excited, and it seems necessary, and no more than Christian and kind, that something should be done by our State to quiet the excitement.”
“ And what is the law ? It don't forbid us to shelter these poor creatures a night, does it ? and to give 'em something comfortable to eat, and a few old clothes, and send them quietly about their business ?”
“Why, yes, my dear ; that would be aiding and abetting, you know."
Mrs. Bird rose quickly, with very red cheeks, which quite improved her general appearance, and walked up to her husband with quite a resolute air, and said, in a determined tone
“Now, John, I want to know if you think such a law as that is right and Christian ?”
“ You won't shoot me, now, Mary, if I say I do ?”
“I never could have thought it of you, John! You didn't vote for it?”
“Even so, my fair politician.”
“You ought to be ashamed, John ! Poor, homeless, houseless, creatures ! It's a shameful, wicked, abominable law, and I'll break it, for one, the first time I get a chance ; and I hope I shall have a chance, I do! Things have got to a pretty pass, if a woman can't give a warm supper and bed to poor, starving creatures, just because they are slaves, and have been abused and oppressed all their lives, poor things!”
“But, Mary, just listen to me. Your feelings are all quite right, dear, and interesting, and I love you for them ; but, then, dear, we mustn't suffer our feelings to run away with our judgment. You must consider it's not a matter of private feeling ; there are great public interests involved; there is such a state of public agitation rising, that we must put aside our private feelings."
“Now, John, I don't know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate ; and that Bible I mean to follow.”
“But in cases where your doing so would involve a great public evil”
“ Obeying God never brings on public evils. I know it can't. It's always safest, all round, to do as He bids us.”
“Now, listen to me, Mary, and I can state to you a very clear argument, to show_" Oh, nonsense, John! you can talk all night, but you
wouldn't do it. I put to you, John, would you, now, túrn away a poor, shivering, hungry creature from your door, because he was runaway? Would you, now ?”
Now, if the truth must be told, our senator had the misfortune to be a man who had a particularly humane and accessible nature, and turning away anybody that was in trouble never had been his
forte ; and what was worse for him in this particular pinch of the argument was, that his wife knew it, and of course was making an assault on rather an indefensible point. So he had recourse to the usual means of gaining time, for such cases made and provided ; he said “ahem,” and coughed several times, took out his pockethandkerchief, and began to wipe his glasses. Mrs. Bird, seeing the defenceless condition of the enemy's territory, had no more conscience than to push her advantage.
“I should like to see you doing that, John—I really should ! Turning a woman out of doors in a snow-storm, for instance ; or. maybe you'd take her up and put her into jail, wouldn't you ? You would make a great hand at that !”
“Of course, it would be a painful duty,” began Mr. Bird, in a moderate tone.
“Duty, John! don't use that word ! You know it isn't a dutyit can't be a duty! If folks want to keep their slaves from running away, let ’em treat 'em well—that's my doctrine. If I had slaves (as I hope I never shall have), I'd risk their wanting to run away from me, or you either, John. I tell you, folks don't run away when they are happy; and when they do run, poor creatures! they suffer enough with cold and hunger, and fear, without everybody's turning against them ; and, law or no law, I never will !”
“Mary! Mary, my dear, let me reason with you.”
"I hate reasoning, John-especially reasoning on such subjects. There's a way you political folks have of coming round and round a plain right thing; and you don't believe in it yourselves, when it comes to practice. I know you well enough, John. You don't believe it's right any more than I do ; and you wouldn't do it any sooner than I."
At this critical juncture old Cudjoe, the black man-of-all-work, put his head in at the door, and wished “Missis would come into the kitchen ;” and our senator, tolerably relieved, looked after his wife with a whimsical mixture of amusement and vexation, and, seating himself in the arm-chair, began to read the papers.
After a moment his wife's voice was heard at the door, in a quick, earnest tone,“ John ! John ! I do wish you'd come here a moment.”
He laid down his paper, and went into the kitchen, and started, quite amazed at the sight that presented itself—a young and tender woman, with garments torn and frozen, with one shoe gone, and the stocking torn away from the cut and bleeding foot, was laid back in a deadly swoon upon two chairs. There was the impress of the despised race on her face, yet none could help feeling its mournful and pathetic beauty ; while its stony sharpness, its cold, fixed, deathly aspect, struck a solemn chill over him. He drew his breath short, and stood in silence. His wife, and their only coloured domestic, old Aunt Dinah, were busily engaged in restorative measures ; while old Cudjoe had got a little boy on his knee, and was busy pulling off his shoes and stockings, and chafing his little cold feet.
“Sure, now, if she ain't a sight to behold !” said old Dinah, compassionately ; "'pears like 'twas the heat that made her faint. She was tolable peart when she come in, and asked if she couldn't warm herself here a spell ; and I was just a askin' her where she cum from, and she fainted right down. Never done much hard work, guess, by the looks of her hands."
“Poor creature !” said Mrs. Bird compassionately, as the woman slowly unclosed her large dark eyes, and looked vacantly at her. Suddenly an expression of agony crossed her face, and she sprang up, saying, “Oh, my Harry! Have they got him ?”
The boy, at this, jumped from Cudjoe's knee, and running to her side, put up his arms. “Oh, he's here! he's here !” she exclaimed.
“O ma'am!” said she wildly, to Mrs. Bird, “do protect us ? don't let them get him !”
“Nobody shall hurt you here, poor woman,” said Mrs. Bird, encouragingly. “You are safe ; don't be afraid."
“God bless you !” said the woman, covering her face and sobbing ; while the little boy, seeing her crying, tried to get into her lap.
With many gentle and womanly offices, which none knew better how to render than Mrs. Bird, the poor woman was in time rendered more calm. A temporary bed was provided for her on the settle, near the fire ; and, after a short time, she fell into a heavy slumber, with the child, who seemed no less weary, soundly sleeping on her arm; for the mother resisted, with nervous anxiety, the kindest attempts to take him from her; and even in sleep her arm encircled him with an unrelaxing clasp, as if she could not even then be beguiled of her vigilant hold.