The summer recess of Mr. Pearson’s school was not more anxiously anticipated by the scholars than it was by the numerous family of Seymour, who, at the commencement of the year, had parted from a beloved son and brother for the first time. As the season of relaxation approached, so did the inmates of Overton Lodge (for such was the name of Mr. Seymour’s seat) betray increasing impatience for its arrival. The three elder sisters, Louisa, Fanny, and Rosa, had been engaged for several days in arranging the little study which their brother Tom had usually occupied. His books were carefully replaced on their shelves, and bunches of roses and jasmines, which the affectionate girls had culled from the finest trees in the garden, were tastefully dispersed through the apartment; the festoons of blue ribbons, with which they were entwined, at once announced themselves as the work of graceful hands, impelled by light hearts; and every flower might be said to reflect from its glowing petals the smiles with which it had been collected and arranged. At length the happy day arrived; a post-chaise drew up to the front gate, and Tom was once again folded in the arms of his affectionate and delighted parents. The little group surrounded their beloved brother, and welcomed his return with all the warmth and artlessness of juvenile sincerity. “Well,” said Mr. Seymour, “if the improvement of your mind corresponds with that of your looks, I shall indeed have reason to congratulate myself upon the choice of your school. But have you brought me any letter from Mr. Pearson?” “I have,” replied Tom, who presented his father with a note from his master, in which he had commented, in high terms of commendation, not only upon Tom’s general conduct, but upon the rapid progress which he had made in his classical studies.
“My dearest boy,” exclaimed the delighted father, “I am more than repaid for the many anxious moments which I have passed on your account. I find that your conduct has given the highest satisfaction to your master; and that your good-nature, generosity, and, above all, your strict adherence to truth, have ensured the love and esteem of your school-fellows.” This gratifying report brought tears of joy into the eyes of Mrs. Seymour; Tom’s cheek glowed with the feeling of conscious merit; and the sisters interchanged looks of mutual satisfaction. Can there be an incentive to industry and virtuous conduct so powerful as the exhilarating smiles of approbation which the school-boy receives from an affectionate parent? Tom would not have exchanged his feelings for all the world, and he internally vowed that he would never deviate from a course that had been productive of so much happiness.
“But come,” exclaimed Mr. Seymour, “let us all retire into the library. I am sure that our dear fellow will be glad of some refreshment after his journey.”
We shall here leave the family circle to the undisturbed enjoyment of their domestic banquet, and invite the reader to accompany us in a stroll about the grounds of this beautiful and secluded retreat.
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