Parental Feelings

DECEMBER 25th.--Last Christmas I was a bride, with a heart overflowing with present bliss, and full of ardent hopes for the future--though not unmingled with foreboding fears. Now I am a wife: my bliss is sobered, but not destroyed; my hopes diminished, but not departed; my fears increased, but not yet thoroughly confirmed;--and, thank Heaven, I am a mother too. God has sent me a soul to educate for heaven, and given me a new and calmer bliss, and stronger hopes to comfort me. But where hope rises fear must lurk behind, and when I clasp my little darling to my breast, or hang over his slumbers with unutterable delight, and a world of hope within my heart, one of two thoughts is ever at hand to check my swelling bliss; the one: `He may be taken from me'; the other: `He may live to curse his own existence.' in the first, I have this consolation: that the bud, though plucked, would not be withered, only transplanted to a fitter soil to ripen and blow be neath a brighter sun; and though I might not cherish and watch my child's unfolding intellect, he would be snatched away from all the suffering and sins of earth; and my understanding tells me this would be no great evil; but my heart shrinks from the contemplation of such a possibility, and whispers I could not bear to see him die, and relinquish to the cold and cruel grave this cherished form, now warm with tender life, flesh of my flesh and shrine of that pure spark which it should be my life's sweet labour to keep unsullied from the world,--and ardently implores that Heaven would spare him still, to be my comfort and my joy, and me to be his shield, instructor, friend--to guide him along the perilous path of youth, and train him to be God's servant while on earth, a blessed and honoured saint in heaven. But in the other case, if he should live to disappoint my hopes, and frustrate all my efforts--to be a slave of sin, the victim of vice and misery, a curse to others and himself--Eternal Father, if Thou beholdest such a life before him, tear him from me now in spite of all my anguish, and take him from my bosom to thine own, while he is yet a guileless, unpolluted lamb!

My little Arthur! there you lie in sweet, unconscious slumber, the tiny epitome of your father, but stainless yet as that pure snow, new-fallen from heaven--God shield thee from his errors! How will I watch and toil to guard thee from them! He wakes; his tiny arms are stretched towards me; his eyes unclose; they meet my gaze, but will not answer it. Little angel! you do not know me; you cannot think of me or love me yet; and yet how fervently my heart is knit to yours; how grateful I am for all the joy you give me! Would that your father could share it with me--that he could feel my love, my hope, and take an equal part in my resolves and projects for the future--nay, if he could but sympathize in half my views, and share one half my feelings, it would be indeed a blessing to both himself and me: it would elevate and purity his mind, and bind him closer to his home and me.

Perhaps he will feel awakening interest and affection for his child as it grows older. At present, he is pleased with the acquisition, and hopes it will become a fine boy and a worthy heir; and that is nearly all I can say. At first, it was a thing to wonder and laugh at, not to touch: now, it is an object almost of indifference, except when his impatience is roused by its `utter helplessness' and `imperturbable stupidity' (as he calls it), or my too close attention to its wants. He frequently comes and sits beside me while I am busied with my maternal cares. I hoped at first it was for the pleasure of contemplating our priceless treasure; but I soon found it was only to enjoy my company, or escape the pains of solitude. He is kindly welcome of course, but the best compliment to a mother is to appreciate her little one. He shocked me very much on one occasion: it was about a fortnight after the birth of our son, and he was with me in the nursery. We had neither of us spoken for some time: I was lost in the contemplation of my nursling, and I thought he was similarly occupied--as far, at least, as I thought about him at all. But suddenly he startled me from my reverie by impatiently exclaiming,--

`Helen, I shall positively hate that little wretch, if you worship it so madly! You are absolutely infatuated about it.'

I looked up in astonishment, to see if he could be in earnest.

`You have not a thought to spare for anything else,' he continued, in the same strain: `I may go or come, be present or absent, cheerful or sad; it's all the same to you. As long as you have that ugly little creature to dote upon, you care not a farthing what becomes of me.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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