Page:Letters of Life.djvu/281

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269
DOMESTIC LIFE.

The custom which prevailed among merchants in the olden time, of drawing within their circle of home-charities those whom they received as pupils in their profession, was both kind and wise. The benevolence of sheltering from temptation the young who are thus severed from parental supervision, and whose hearts often pine for the tones of lost affection, is often recompensed by a more perfect identification of interests, and sometimes by a lifelong friendship.

The year after our marriage we removed to a habitation which Mr. Sigourney had erected after his own plan, in a commanding and beautiful situation. It combined convenience with elegance in a remarkable degree. Facing the east, its stately columns caught the first rays of the rising sun, as they unveiled, like a picture, the city stretching at its feet. The interior, with its lofty ceilings, marble mantel-pieces, folding-doors, and windows reaching to the floor, had a patrician aspect, more noticeable half a century since than now, when such appendages are common. It was environed by an extensive lawn, whose curving gravel-walks were adorned with shrubbery; and spacious gardens, one of which stretched downward to the fair river that girdled the domain, from which it was protected by a mural parapet. One of the most unique features of the scenery was a grove sloping rather precipitously to the borders of the same graceful stream, traversed by winding paths, and shaded by lofty trees