She was one among many, a school-girl of fifteen,
growing as others grow at that interesting age. Her oval face was a
clear gipsy-brown, and her shining black hair lay banded on her dimpled
cheeks. A bloom like a summer rose would sometimes throw a brilliant
lustre over her countenance, but it was usually thoughtful, and the
occasional dropping of her long silken lashes gave a fascinating sadness
to its expression. Her eyes were the softest brown, and I used to watch
the big tears gather there, till they brimmed over, and rolled silently
down her dark cheeks, telling, as they fell faster and more thickly, the
touching tale of an orphan's woe.
A few years have gone by: she is an orphan still. The
voice she missed so grievously has never sounded since. The gaze she
mourned after so deeply has fallen on her no more. The lips are as
silent as they were; the brow as pallid, the cheek as cold. The body she
loved is crumbling; the soul,—ay, where is it? But she weeps no longer.
Oh! but if a kinder voice had soothed her! if a better gaze had
satisfied her! if a mightier Father's blessing had healed her! But it
was not so. There was One whose stronger love would have dried up her
tide of orphan grief; but she would not. She turned away, and the
chilling world has frozen it instead.
She is nearly twenty now. Woman's loveliness is in
her face, and the smile of pleasure plays round her mouth. She was like
a drooping lily of the vale; but her head is lifted joyously in the
consciousness of beauty, and the semblance is passed away. The lash
falls not so closely over her dark eye as it used, and the wild satire
that early grief sobered awhile streams out unchecked in its brilliant
gaze. The soft blush of girlish modesty has forsaken her cheek, and
given place to a richer bloom ; the arched brow has lost its witching
shade of pensiveness, and the laugh of wayward mirth sits proudly on her
curling lip. She is beautiful,, but it is no longer as the simple valley
flower. She grows in the garden of the world, rearing her lovely
blossoms among her gay peers, and opening her sunny graces in the
dazzling glare of shortlived pleasure.