While engaged in writing these simple memorials, I have often been led to think on a friend, before whose eye the pages must frequently have brought scenes and characters no less familiar to her than to myself. Circumstances had parted us, many years ago; and under the pressure of our respective cares, amid the multiplying demands on our attention, the correspondence had died away : but many a sweet anticipation has gladdened my thoughts, as they dwelt on a future re-union, either in her own green isle, or wheresoever the Lord might permit us to renew the intercourse which, for three years, subsisted, to our mutual delight, almost without a day's separation. Together we watched the fading of the interesting snow-drop— poor Theresa! and our tears were mingled over the tidings of her blessed transition to the world of happy spirits: together we rejoiced over the first manifestations of divine grace in the little dumb boy, who was devotedly attached to her friends, thus fancifully identified, are still bright and blooming as their gentle representatives; and very delightful it is to behold them together; more particularly if the friend and the flower unexpectedly meet, the first after a prolonged absence, the other in the earliest beauty of its annual re-appearance. The May-flower has greeted me thus ; and others not unconnected with the blossom of May ; and my heart has bounded with a joy that few can realize—with a fond anticipation of future re-appearances, even on earth; and the more sober, but far more satisfying prospect of eternal re-union in that better land where the flowers fade not, and friends can part no more.
But I am wandering from the Lemon-plant, and from her whose memory is like it, fragrant and ever-green. Before we met I had heard so much of her extraordinary attainments and acknowledged superiority in all that is both brilliant and valuable, that I rather expected something more to be admired than loved: and froze myself as hard as people can freeze, amid the sun-shine of Irish society, under the impression that if I took a fancy to Marie, she would prove too abstract a person to reciprocate it. How much was I mistaken ! Never in my life, did I behold a softer personification of all that is modest in the truly feminine character; arrayed, too, in the meek and quiet spirit wherewith God loves to adorn his dearest children.
Her dress, her manner, every feature of her intelligent and pensive countenance, bespoke the unassuming disciple of a lowly Master. Elegant, she could not but be, fashionable she had been, and, as she told me, proud and overbearing. I was forced to believe it, for Marie was infinitely superior to the affectation of self-condemning humility ; but years of close observation did not enable me to detect a vestige of such characteristics. It often astonished me that she, who so dearly prized in others the gifts of intellect and superior information, should be so utterly insensible of her own elevated scale in both respects ; but I believe it to have been, that having long traded in goodly pearls, she so justly appreciated the one pearl of great price, which she had happily found, that her former collection faded into absolute nothingness in the comparison.
One hour passed in her society sufficed to rivet my regard ; for, interested by some painful circumstances that she had previously heard, as connected with my situation, she laid aside her habitual reserve, and bestowed on me such sweet attentions as would have won a much colder heart. It was on that occasion that she gave me half of a sprig of the Lemon-plant from her bosom; and finding that it was a favourite shrub with me, she reared one from a cutting, to perfume my little study. The growth of cur friendship, however, outstripped that of the plant, so that before the slip had taken root, Marie and I were daily companions.
Our earliest walks were beside a river, the banks of which were fringed with tall trees ; or along a road, where the lofty mountain of Slieve-na-man towered, many a mile to the right, while in nearer prospect, across the river, was one of the proudest and most ancient of Ireland's embattled castles. After a while, we became so enamoured of the precincts within that castle's walls, that our more extended rambles were given up, for the delightful privilege of sauntering beneath the rich foliage of its venerable trees, and talking over tales of the olden time, dear to the children of Erin. The noble proprietors, on leaving the country for a time, had given me the privilege of free entrance at all hours, by a private door, into the grounds; with permission to extend my rambles into every room of the castle. Often have we availed ourselves of this indulgence to gaze on the antique tapestry, to examine the curious reliques of other days, when one of the purest patriots that ever drew Irish breath, held vice-regal state beneath those battlements ; or to promenade the long saloon, enriched by the portraits of man)'-generations, and terminating in a projecting window, that, from an almost incredible height, looked com-mandingly down upon the slow deep river which guarded the foot of that impregnable fortress. My beloved companion had not, in becoming spiritual, lost a whit of her patriotism—would that none ever did so !—and she was proud of the castle, and looked on the waving honours of its surrounding trees, with a depth of feeling truly Irish. Indeed, under their shadow I seemed to become Irish also; for it is from that spot, and from that period, I date my fervent devotion to dear Ireland and her cause,—a devotion which, I hope and trust, will abide in the veins of my heart till they cease to throb with life.
But there were traits in Marie's character more endearing than even her nationality. She was a truly consistent Christian; her views of divine things were uncommonly deep and clear; and the powers of her fine mind were unreservedly consecrated to His service who had so richly gifted it. She was slow in asserting an opinion, because she always made sure of her ground ; and rarely, if ever, had she occasion to retract it. Great decision of character was tempered with such softness of manner, and powerful arguments were so modestly put forth, that even a child might feel as if on an equal fooling with her, while imbibing the lessons of wisdom. How tender she was in this respect, a little instance may shew: I never could forget the circumstance, nor think of it without emotion.