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´╗┐Title: Principle and Practice - The Orphan Family
Author: Martineau, Harriet, 1802-1876
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Principle and Practice - The Orphan Family" ***

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Principle and Practice, the Orphan Family, by Harriet Martineau.

________________________________________________________________________
This book was written in the earliest part of the nineteenth century,
and its author was only in her twenties when she wrote it.  Basically
the story illustrates how at that time an ordinary decent family,
perhaps with its finances already a bit stretched with the effort of
educating several children, would be completely ruined if the
wage-earner were to die.  If there was any income at all it might be
reckoned in tens of pounds a year, and the greatest economy would have
to be exercised to make this go round.  Anyone in the family group who
was able to earn a little did their best to do so.  For instance one of
the girls might be able to draw attractively, and could sell some of her
pictures; another might be able to create nice useful items; another
might be able to teach the younger children, thus avoiding the expense
of sending them to school.  It was lucky if there was a wealthy friend
or relative who was prepared to pay for the education of one of the
boys, to the stage where he could in turn become a wage-earner.

Miss Martineau followed this book up with several more on such
politico-economic themes, and indeed made her name in this way by the
time she was thirty.

As so often with Miss Martineau there is a large cast: family members,
friends, relations; and unless you spend some time listing them you may
well not get the full impact of this book.

________________________________________________________________________
PRINCIPLE AND PRACTICE, THE ORPHAN FAMILY, BY HARRIET MARTINEAU.



CHAPTER ONE.

Let none sit down to read this little tale, whose interest can only be
excited by the relation of uncommon circumstances, of romantic
adventures, of poetical perplexities, or of picturesque difficulties.
No beauties of this kind will be here found.  I propose to give a plain,
unaffected narrative of the exertions made by a family of young persons,
to render themselves and each other happy and useful in the world.  The
circumstances in which they are placed are so common, that we see
persons similarly situated every day: they meet with no adventures, and
their difficulties, and the remedies they procure for them, are of so
homely a description, as to exclude every exertion of poetical talent in
their illustration, and to promise to excite interest in those readers
only, who can sympathise with the earnest desires of well-disposed and
industrious young persons striving after usefulness, honourable
independence, and individual and mutual improvement, amidst real, and
not imaginary, discouragements, and substantial, not sentimental,
difficulties.  I proceed at once to my narrative.

Mr Forsyth was a merchant, who lived in the city of Exeter.  He had
been a widower for a few years, and had endeavoured to discharge
faithfully a parent's duty to five young children, when he too was taken
away from those who depended upon him, and whose very existence seemed
bound up in his.  He was taken from them, and no one knew what would
become of these young helpless creatures, who, it was thought, would
inherit from their father nothing but his good name, and who possessed
nothing but the good principles and industrious habits which his care
and affection had imparted to them.  They had no near relations, and the
friends whom their parents' respectability had gained for them, had
families of their own to support, and could offer little but advice and
friendly offices: large pecuniary assistance they had it not in their
power to impart.  One of these friends, who was also Mr Forsyth's
executor, took the children into his house till the funeral should be
over, and some plans arranged for the future disposal of each of them.

The eldest girl, Jane, was of an age to understand and feel the
difficulties which surrounded them.  She was sixteen, and from having
been her father's _friend_ as well as housekeeper, she had a remarkably
matured judgment; she was of a thoughtful, perhaps an anxious,
disposition, and the loss of her father, together with the anxiety she
felt as being now the head of his helpless family, were almost too much
for her.  Though she was supported by her religious principles, it was
with difficulty that she could rouse her mind from dwelling on her
perplexities, to form plans, and looking round to see what could be
done, and in what way she was to exert her powers for the benefit of her
brothers and sisters.  She was sometimes oppressed by the thought that
the only prospect before her, was a melancholy one of long years of
struggles against poverty, and all the grievous evils of dependence.
Her brother Charles, who was a year younger than herself, tried with
some success to cheer her; he was of an active, enterprising
disposition, full of hope and cheerfulness.  This disposition subjected
him to frequent disappointments, but his father had wisely guarded
against their bad effects by forming in him strong habits of
perseverance.  Charles had been intended by his father for the same
business as himself, and he had therefore never been removed from under
his parent's eye.  It was well now for the whole family that Charles had
been so carefully trained.  His natural disposition, his acquired
habits, and his sense of responsibility, joined to his strong affection
for his sisters, made him the object on which Jane fixed her best hopes
for the future prosperity of the family.  Charles encouraged her hopes,
and expressed confidence in his ability to maintain himself at present,
and to assist the younger ones when a few years should have matured his
powers of usefulness.  Jane and Charles anxiously desired some
conversation with Mr Barker, the kind friend who had taken them into
his house; and were very glad when he invited them, the day after the
funeral, to a consultation on the state of their affairs.  He told them
that it was his intention always to treat them with perfect openness, as
it had been their father's custom to do.  He was the more inclined to do
so, from the knowledge that they were worthy of his confidence, that
they possessed prudence beyond their years, and that whatever exertions
they might make, would be more efficient if they knew perfectly what
they had to do, what objects were to be accomplished, and on what
sources they were to depend.

Mr Barker told them that when the affairs were all settled, their
income, he feared, would not exceed eighty or ninety pounds a year.
That he thought the first object ought to be to give the younger
children such an education as would fit them for supporting themselves
when they were old enough: that for this purpose the assistance of
friends would be required for a few years, and that he knew of some who
were willing to assist, believing, from the good principles of the
children, that their assistance would be well bestowed, and that their
endeavours would be in time rewarded by the usefulness and happiness of
those who now required their care.

Jane acquiesced in Mr Barker's proposal, but expressed her hope that
they might not be separated.  The one thing that she desired more than
any other, was, to remain with, and watch over the little ones, and be
as far as possible a mother to them.  If they were separated, the
children would forget her, she said, and that she was sure she could not
bear.  She did not mind any labour, any privation, any anxieties, if
they could but keep together.

"I knew you would think so, my dear," said Mr Barker.  "You are
perfectly right.  You must not be separated, if it can possibly be
avoided.  I have been consulting with my wife about it, and we have
devised a plan for you: but it is yet only a scheme; it is very doubtful
whether we can carry it through.  I am afraid, however, that Charles
must leave you."

"I have been telling Jane, Sir," said Charles, "that I should most
likely have to go to some situation where I may maintain myself.  I
hope, Sir, that that is what you mean."

"And do you think, Charles, that at your age you can work for your own
support?"

"Yes, Sir, I do, because others have done it before me.  My father
taught me enough of business to qualify me for a situation in a
merchant's warehouse.  At least, he said, only a few weeks ago, that if
I was but industrious, I need never be dependent, and that therefore he
was easy about me.  I hope you think so too, Sir."

"I do, my boy," replied Mr Barker: "as far as skill and industry go,
you are to be trusted.  But you have not considered, you do not know,
the difficulties and dangers which are met with when young men leave
their father's house, and go by themselves into the world, especially
into the London world, to which you may be destined."

"If you mean temptations to do wrong, Sir," said Charles, "I have been
warned by my father about them.  But, O, Sir, is it possible, do you
think, with all the advantages I have had, with my father's example
always before me, with all that is now depending upon me, being, as I
am, the brother on whom three sisters rely for support and assistance,
is it possible that I should neglect them? that I should disgrace them?
that I should forget all my father has done for me?  Jane will trust me,
I am sure."

He looked towards his sister, and a few proud tears swelled into his
eyes.

"No doubt, Charles, your sister feels that she can trust you; and, young
as you are, I believe that I can too.  But there are many difficulties
to be encountered besides direct temptations to crime."

"If I am made fairly to understand, Sir, what is to be required of me,
the extent of my trust, I hope I shall meet with no difficulties which
honourable principle, industry, and perseverance cannot overcome."

"We will talk more of this, my dear boy, when we have some situation in
prospect for you.  I hope it may not be difficult to procure one.  Your
father's name will be a good passport.  Then, I hope, I understand that
you both approve this first scheme of ours?"

Charles assented at once: Jane, with some exertion to repress her tears.

"And now, my dear Jane, what do you think yourself capable of doing?"

Jane very modestly doubted whether she could do any thing but take care
of the children.  If they were to live together, she could keep house,
she thought, carefully and economically, so as to spend no more than
could not possibly be avoided.  She thought she could also teach her
sisters a little more than she had yet imparted to them: but she hoped,
from what Mr Barker had said, that they were to have better teaching
than she could give them.

"We have certainly been planning, my dear," said he, "to send Isabella
to school, as she is now too old to learn of you only.  She is twelve
years old, I think?"

"Yes," said Jane; "and Harriet is nine."

"Very well.  If Isabella goes to school, Harriet may as well do so too,
as the additional expense will not be very great, and may be met by your
exertions, if you think as I do about the matter.  Your sisters have
given you experience in teaching young children, suppose you try your
skill again as a daily governess."

Jane was quite willing, if she did but think herself capable of it.  Mr
Barker thought she had already proved her capability, and advised her,
at least, to try the plan.

He told her that a very small house in the outskirts of the town was her
father's property.  A very little expense would make it habitable for
them: furniture was ready, and he could see no objection to their all
living in it together.  Jane was certainly rather young to become a
housekeeper, but the nursemaid, who had lived in the family for some
years, was much attached to the children, and had declared her wish to
"stay by them," if possible; and Mr Barker had little doubt that she
would do all the servant's work of the house, and make their friends
tolerably easy with respect to their domestic safety and comfort.

Jane was pleased with the plan, and accordingly it was put in execution
with as little delay as possible.  In two months' time the house was
ready for them.  The little furniture and house-linen which was required
was put into it, and all the family, except Charles, removed to their
new abode.  Jane was awfully impressed with the sense of responsibility,
when she took her place as mistress of the house, and when she looked
upon the three children who depended on her for their domestic comfort,
and for much more than this; for guidance in the formation of their
habits and characters.  But she also felt the great relief of being
alone with her brother and sisters, and of having once more a home.  The
house was tolerably comfortable, though very small.  The parlour and
kitchen were on the ground floor; over them were two bed-rooms, one of
which was occupied by Jane, the other by Isabella and Harriet.  Over
these were two attics, occupied by little Alfred and the servant.  The
furniture was scanty, but good of its kind, and likely to last for some
years.  The only luxurious article in the whole house was a small set of
book-shelves, filled with books, which Mr Barker would not allow to be
sold off with the other effects.  They were not many, but well chosen,
and therefore valuable to Jane at present, and likely to be so to her
sisters when they should be old enough to make use of them.

Mrs Barker wished that Jane should set out on her new plan of life, as
little oppressed by domestic cares as possible, and had therefore
assisted her before the removal, in overlooking her own and the
children's wardrobe.  They were all comfortably supplied with every
thing necessary.  Their mourning of course was new: perfectly plain, but
substantially good, it was intended to last a long time, and that for
many months their clothing should be very little expense to them.  Jane
was an excellent workwoman, and her sister Isabella had been in the
habit of assisting her, by keeping her own clothes in very good order.
With respect to the little cares of housekeeping, Jane was easy: she had
been so well taught, and so long experienced, that she felt herself
quite capable of discharging this part of her duty.  It was the
responsibility of her new office of daily governess which made her most
anxious.  A situation had been obtained for her, which answered in all
respects to Mr Barker's wishes.  Jane was to devote six hours a day to
the care of her young pupils, who were children of Mr Everett, a
surgeon.  Mrs Everett was so occupied with the cares of a large family,
that she needed assistance, and Jane was to have under her charge four
children from the ages of three to twelve: she was to teach them, to
superintend in their play hours, and to walk with them.  She was to
attend from nine till three, and her salary was to be twenty-five pounds
a year at first, and afterwards more, if her services were found
satisfactory.  She stipulated for a fortnight's holiday at Christmas,
and also at Midsummer: not for the sake of her own pleasure, but from
the fear that her home business would accumulate faster than she could
discharge it, so as to render it necessary to devote a short time
occasionally to clear it away, and set things straight again.  Before
she entered on her new engagement, she laid down a plan for the
employment of her days, to which she determined to adhere as strictly as
possible.  It was as follows: for the summer season, which was now
approaching, she rose before six o'clock, and set apart two hours for
study.  Study was absolutely necessary, if she was to keep up, or
improve, her ability to teach; and she found that the hours before
breakfast were the most quiet and undisturbed that she could devote to
this purpose.  At eight o'clock the little family assembled in the
parlour, to join in prayer, and in reading a short portion of Scripture;
after which, they breakfasted.  Jane then saw her sisters and little
brother off to school, and went into her kitchen to give her household
directions before she went out.  It was some inconvenience that she
could not dine at the same time with the rest of the family; but it
could not be helped.  The children were obliged to be back at school by
two o'clock, and she did not leave Mrs Everett's till three.  After
dinner, she sat down to her work, of which it may be supposed there was
always plenty to be done.  The children learned their lessons before
tea-time, and after tea they went out to walk all together, whenever the
weather would allow of it.  They generally returned in time to read a
little before nine o'clock, when the younger ones went to bed.  The duty
of evening, as well as morning prayer was never omitted.  Jane sat down
to her work again till ten, when she put every thing away, locked up her
closets, and went round the house with the servant, to see that all was
safe, and as it should be, and then retired to her own room, to enjoy
the rest which was fairly earned by the previous hours of activity and
usefulness.  She was very careful to adhere as closely as possible to
the whole of this plan, especially to the hours of walking and going to
bed.  She was sometimes tempted to think that the children could walk as
well without her, and that she was too busy to accompany them: but she
never would give way to her inclination to stay at home; for her reason
told her that it would be injurious both to herself and her sisters, to
give up her accustomed walk.  She could not expect to keep up her vigour
of mind and body without exercise and relaxation, and it would be wrong
to deprive the children of her society in their rambles.  A greater
temptation still was to sit up late: the quiet hour at night was
precious to her; it was the only time she could give to the formation of
her plans, and to reflection on her present circumstances and
anticipation of the future.  The previous exercise of prayer, left her
mind in a soothed and tranquil state; and however oppressed, at other
times, with fears and cares, this was to her an hour of hope and
cheerfulness.  She rejoiced that it came at the close of the day, as it
enabled her to lay her head on her pillow in that frame of mind which is
the best preparation for peaceful sleep and for a cheerful waking.
Often was she tempted to prolong this happy hour, but she never did.
She was aware of the duty of early rising, and also of taking sufficient
rest, and that in order to do both she must keep to the right time of
retiring to rest; and accordingly, the moment the clock struck ten, the
work was put away, and the train of thought, whatever it might be, was
broken off.

The school at which Isabella and Harriet were placed, was one of the
best of its kind, and it was not long before a rapid improvement was
observed in them both.  Isabella's talents were remarkable, but neither
herself nor her family were sufficiently aware of this while they
received only an irregular and imperfect cultivation.  She was
remarkably modest, and inclined to be indolent when she had no
particular object in view; but set one before her, and her perseverance
was unconquerable.  She had always been a great reader, and had
therefore an excellent stock of general information; but till she went
to school, she never could give her attention to any of the drudgery of
learning.  She wished to learn French and Italian as she had learned her
mother-tongue, by _picking up_, instead of beginning at the beginning,
and learning grammar.  She did _pick up_ wonderfully well, to be sure,
but she found that would not answer at school.  When once convinced of
this, she set to work at the grammar with all diligence, and conquered
difficulties every day, till she was surprised at her own progress.  Her
great ambition now was, to make herself a companion for Charles and
Jane; not merely to be their friend, but to help them in earning money
and obtaining independence, instead of being, as she now was, the most
expensive of the family.  Jane urged her to be patient, and to think at
present of her own improvement only: but she could not help forming many
plans for future doings, some reasonable, some much too grand.  She had
no taste for music, and, by her own desire, therefore, the great expense
of musical teaching was not incurred: but drawing was her delight, and
she soon made such progress in the art, that Jane was really inspired
with her sister's hope that this talent might be turned to good account.

Isabella's very judicious instructress exercised her pupils in
composition, and also in translation, much more than is the custom in
most schools.  To Isabella this was particularly useful; first, in
shewing the necessity of accurate knowledge, and her own deficiency in
it, and afterwards in serving as a test of her improvement, and,
consequently, as an encouragement.  She liked this employment much, and
soon excelled in it.  Her general knowledge was brought into play; and
her compositions were, at sixteen, what many at six-and-twenty need not
be ashamed of.  Her translations were also remarkably spirited and
elegant; and a hint from Jane, that this talent might prove useful in
the same way as her drawing, was quite sufficient to insure Isabella's
particular exertions in its improvement.

Mr and Mrs Barker called frequently to see their young friends, and
they never quitted the door without leaving happy and grateful hearts
behind them.  They rewarded Jane's exertions with something better than
praise--with their friendship and confidence.  Mr Barker talked to her
about her affairs without any reserve, and the gratitude this excited in
her was great.  Her kind friend told her, one day, that Mr Rathbone, an
old friend of her father's, who lived in London, had been enquiring
about the family of Mr Forsyth, and, on hearing of their circumstances;
had expressed his desire of being useful to them.  "I told him, my
dear," said Mr Barker, "that his kind offices would be more acceptable
by and by than at present.  We now see our way clear for two years, I
hope; and it is well to keep a stock of kindness in reserve, to be drawn
upon in case of need."

Jane expressed her gratitude for the kindness which had assisted them
thus far, and said she feared she must make up her mind to be a burden
to her friends for some time to come; but she could answer for her
brothers and sisters, as well as herself, that no exertion on their part
should be wanting.

"So we see already, my dear," said Mr Barker.  "Mr Rathbone made
enquiry about each of you; and I sent him, in return, a full description
of you all.  I think it most likely that he will keep his eye upon
Alfred, and that whatever he may do hereafter will be for him."

"I am sure," said Jane, "Mr Rathbone's kindness is most unlooked for;
for it must be many years since he has known our family.  I have heard
my father speak of him, but I do not remember ever to have seen him."

"It is only two years," replied Mr Barker, "since he returned from
India, where he passed twenty years, losing his health, and growing
immensely rich.  He tells me that he was under considerable obligations
to your good father for some exertions on his behalf during his absence;
but of what nature these exertions were he does not say.  Well, my dear,
I must be going.  Have you any thing more to say to me?  Is all
comfortable here, and as you like it?"

"Quite, Sir, thank you: we are only too comfortable for our
circumstances, I am afraid."

"No, no, my dear; I hope Hannah and you go on comfortably together.
Your house looks very neat and orderly," said he, looking round him.
"Is that her doing or yours?"

"All Hannah's doing.  We could not be better or more respectfully
served, if we were as rich as Mr Rathbone.  But I grieve to think that
such a servant should make such sacrifices for us; she would be prized
in any house."

"Depend upon it, Jane, she will find her reward in time.  I am much
mistaken if she does not find it now, day by day.  You will be
prosperous one day, and then she will share your prosperity, you know."

"We will hope so," said Jane.  "Will you thank Mr Rathbone, Sir, for
us, or shall I write myself?"

"No occasion at all, my dear, I am obliged to write to him to-morrow on
business.  Good-bye to you."

About a week after this, as the young people were busily employed, as
usual, before tea, Jane mending stockings, Isabella translating French,
Harriet learning geography, and Alfred frowning over his Latin grammar,
Hannah brought in a large box, which had just arrived from London by the
carrier, carriage paid.  It must be a mistake, Jane thought; but no, it
was not a mistake, the direction was plain and full: "Miss Forsyth,
Number 21, South Bridge Street, Exeter."  The stockings and books were
thrown aside, and the whole family adjourned to the kitchen, to open the
wonderful box.  After the removal of several sheets of paper, a letter
appeared at the top, addressed to Jane.  She hastily opened it, and read
as follows:

  "My dear young Friend,--

  "You must allow me thus to address you, though you have never seen me,
  and probably have never heard of me.  My husband's old friendship with
  your father is, however, a sufficient ground for the establishment of
  an intercourse between us, which may be advantageous to you, and I am
  sure will be very pleasant to us.  We owe too much to your excellent
  father, not to desire to be of use, if possible, to his children.  I
  cannot tell you now, but if we ever meet, you shall know how deep is
  the debt of gratitude due to the friend who incurred difficulty and
  hazard for the sake of our interests, and who, for many weeks and
  months, was subjected to anxiety and fatigue on our account, when we
  were in India, not aware of our obligations to him, and therefore
  unable to express or to testify our gratitude.  That friend was your
  father.  You must accept our good offices, my dear young friend, and
  tell us how we can be useful to you.  Mr Barker tells us that our
  assistance will be more acceptable hereafter than at present.
  Remember, then, if you please, that we expect to be applied to
  whenever you can give us the pleasure of serving you, or any of your
  family.  In the mean time, we hope that the contents of this box will
  be useful to you, and that its arrival will afford as much pleasure to
  your young brother and sisters, as I remember experiencing in my
  childhood from similar accidents.

  "I am not one, Miss Forsyth, who can reconcile it to myself to gain
  the affections of young people by flattery; but I cannot withhold the
  encouragement of an expression of approbation, when I really feel it
  to be deserved by the exercise of self-denial and honourable industry.
  I am told that you are now earning such approbation from all who feel
  an interest in you.  Believe, therefore, that it is with as much
  sincerity as good-will, that Mr Rathbone and myself add the word
  _respect_ to the affection with which we subscribe ourselves,--

  "Your friends,--

  "F. and S.  Rathbone."

Jane had escaped to the parlour almost as soon as she began this letter,
and her eyes were so dimmed by tears that she could scarcely proceed.
Isabella, who was far more anxious about Jane and the letter, than about
the box, immediately followed her, and they finished it together.
Isabella was almost as much pleased, quite as much touched, with the
part which concerned Jane, as with that which respected her father.  She
kissed her affectionately, and rejoiced that others were aware of her
merit; others who could encourage it as it deserved, and reward it
better than those in whose behalf her self-denial and industry were
exerted.

In the mean time Alfred and Harriet were extremely impatient to proceed
with the examination of the box, but Hannah would not allow it till Jane
and Isabella were present.  They soon returned to the kitchen, and it
would be difficult to say whose countenance exhibited the most
astonishment as the various presents were brought forth to view.  A
little card-paper box, well stuffed with cotton-wool, contained a
handsome plain gold watch, which, with its seal and key, were intended
for Jane.  A drawing-box, well fitted up with colours and pencils of all
kinds, and accompanied with a large quantity of drawing-papers, and two
sketch-books, was directed to Isabella.  A pretty writing-desk, filled
with all the comforts and luxuries which can appertain to that pretty
article of furniture, bore Harriet's name; as did also a large quantity
of music, which astonished her not a little, as, though she much wished
it, she had not yet begun to learn, and had no prospect of such an
indulgence for a long time to come.  Her sisters thought it a very
likely mistake for Mrs Rathbone to make: as one sister drew, she might
easily imagine that another played.  But Harriet could not help hoping
that, _some how or other_, it was to come to pass, that she should learn
music directly.  And she was right, as we shall see.  Imagination came
nearer the truth than reason, for once.

By this time Alfred began to be dismayed lest there should be no present
for him; but Hannah had not yet got to the bottom of the box.  When she
had, she took out several packages of books, two of them directed to
Alfred, and the others to the Miss Forsyths.  Alfred's present consisted
of some beautiful editions of the classics, so valuable that the owner
of them was likely to be long before he understood how rich he was in
their possession.  There was also a large cake directed to him, to which
he was disposed to pay a more immediate attention than to his books.
The girls found that their library was to be enriched by the best
foreign editions of Tasso and Alfieri, and of Racine, and by a beautiful
edition of Shakspeare.  They were bewildered by the splendour of these
presents, so far exceeding in value any thing they had before possessed.
Their usual tea hour was long past before they thought of any thing but
the wonderful box.  At length, however, they determined to finish their
meal as quickly as possible, and to go and tell their kind friends, the
Barkers, of their good fortune.  It was vain to think of putting their
riches out of sight, so the watch was hung over the chimney-piece, the
desk, drawing-box, and books, stuck up wherever room could be made for
them.  While they were at tea, however, Mr and Mrs Barker called,
probably with some suspicion of what they were to see, for Mr Barker
glanced round the room as he entered it.  "Why, young ladies," said he,
"you are so splendid I dare not come in, I am afraid.  My dear, we have
nothing like this to shew at home.  What good fairy can have done all
this?"

"Two good fairies from India have sent us these beautiful things, Sir,"
said Isabella.

"From India!  I did not know you had any such acquaintance in India."

"From India, by way of London, Sir," said Jane, "now you can guess."

"Yes, yes, my dear, I know well enough.  I had some idea of finding an
exhibition when I came to-night, but not such a one as this, I own.
Alfred, my boy, how comes your cake to be on this chair, instead of on
the tea-table?"

"We are not going to cut it to-night, Sir."

"I hardly know when we shall," said Jane.  "It is too large to eat it
all ourselves."

"It does look very good, to be sure," said Mr Barker.  "My mouth waters
when I look at it."

Isabella ran for a knife to cut it directly, but Mr Barker stopped her.
"Not now, my dear; but I hoped you would have asked us to tea, to taste
your cake."

"And will you really come, Sir?" asked Jane.  "Mrs Barker, will you
come to-morrow, and drink tea with us?  And the children too.  We have
no amusement to offer but the cake: but we shall be quite delighted if
you will come."

"With all my heart, Jane.  We and two of the children will come, and we
will take a long walk afterwards if you please.  We shall have more time
to look at your presents than we have now; we cannot stay longer
to-night."

Jane put Mrs Rathbone's letter into Mr Barker's hand, and he went
aside to read it.  He returned it to her in silence.  She obtained Mr
Rathbone's address, that she might, this very evening, write her thanks
for his munificent kindness.

When their friends were gone, the young people found it was too late to
take their usual walk; besides, their lessons were not finished, and
they resolutely sat down to their business: Alfred, with the fear of the
bottom of the class before his eyes; Harriet, with the mixed motive of
this fear, and the wish to do right; Isabella, influenced by the wish
alone.  Alfred asked Jane to hear him his lesson, and the two words,
"quite perfect," at length repaid his labours.

"But, Jane," said Alfred, "you have two watches now; you will not want
them both."

"Certainly," said Jane.  "Isabella shall have the old one; she will
value it as having been my mother's; though it is not a very serviceable
one."

"O! thank you, Jane," said Isabella.  "I had not thought of such a
thing, I am sure.  I had no idea of having a watch for many years to
come."

"If you will undertake to get Harriet and Alfred off to bed, Isabella, I
will.  And a watch-pocket for you.  Or you can make one in an hour.  Sit
up with me for this one evening, and we will consult what to do with our
books; and I will write my letter before breakfast to-morrow: my head
will be clearer then."

No sooner said than done.  The girls found room in a closet for their
shabbiest books, and in the morning the new ones were installed in their
places on the shelves, much to the satisfaction of their owners.  Jane's
letter was written and dispatched, and she was more comfortable when she
had attempted to express her gratitude to her father's faithful friends,
though she felt that nothing she could say could do justice to her
feelings.  When she had put her letter into the post-office, she turned
her attention from the subject, that her head might not be running on
other things when she ought to be attending to her pupils.

They all got forward with their business this day, that they might be
ready with a clear conscience to receive their friends on the first
occasion when they had to exercise hospitality.  Isabella found her
watch a prodigious assistance, she declared.

The Barkers enjoyed the evening as much as their young host and
hostesses.  The weather was charming, the country looked beautiful, the
children were merry, and, "though last, not least," the cake was
delicious.



CHAPTER TWO.

"But where is Charles all this time?" my readers will ask.  Charles is
in London, endeavouring to discharge, to the best of his ability, the
duties of a situation which had been procured for him in the warehouse
of a general merchant, who had had dealings with Mr Forsyth, had always
esteemed him for his integrity, and was, therefore, willing to make
trial of the services of the youth who had been brought up under the eye
of such a father.

Charles found his situation a laborious one; and his salary was so small
that he could only by great frugality subsist upon it himself.  He found
that he must wait till his character had been tried, and till he grew
older, before he could afford any substantial assistance to his family.
His state of mind and circumstances will be better understood from his
letters to Jane, than from any account we could give.  Here, therefore,
are some of them, with Jane's answers.

  "My dearest Jane,--

  "I am glad that the day appointed for writing has arrived: you cannot
  conceive the comfort your letters are to me, and the pleasure I have
  in answering them.  I suppose that in time I shall get accustomed to
  the silence I am now obliged to observe with respect to the subjects I
  love most to talk upon; but I sigh sometimes for some one to whom I
  can speak of my father, and of times past; or of you, and time
  present, and to come.  My companions here are good-tempered enough,
  and we go on smoothly and easily together, and I know that this is a
  great thing to be able to say; and that many in my situation would be
  glad to say as much: but yet I cannot help feeling the want of some
  friend to whom I can speak of what is nearest to my heart, and there
  is not one person in this wide city who knows you, or who could
  possibly feel much interest in hearing me talk of you.  Consequently I
  hold my tongue, and your name has never passed my lips since we
  parted.  But, dearest Jane, my thoughts of you are all the more
  frequent and the more dear, on this account; and on this account, I
  feel the more deeply, the privilege of opening my heart to the One
  friend who loves you better than any mortal can, who cares for your
  interests, more than any earthly friend can care, and who can provide
  for them when I can do nothing but love you, and pray for you.  I
  continually determine that I will not be anxious about you; that we
  will all trust and be cheerful; and I generally keep my resolution.  I
  hope you do the same.  Whatever anxious thoughts you may have, must be
  for yourselves: you may be quite easy about me.  I am well, very busy,
  and of course very cheerful; my comfort is attended to, and I have
  nothing to complain of in any body near me.  I enjoy many privileges,
  and shall be able to make more for myself, when I become better
  acquainted with my situation.  In short, the present is very tolerably
  comfortable, I have the prospect of increasing comforts, and may in
  time do grand things for you, as well as for myself.  You shake your
  head as you read this, I dare say: but I do not see why, by industry,
  I may not do as grand things as others have done before me; especially
  as I am blessed with good friends at my setting out, which is an
  immense advantage to begin with.  To shew you that I am not dreaming
  about any _luck_ happening to me, and that I only mean to depend on
  skill and industry for my prosperity, if I ever am to be prosperous, I
  will tell you how I spend my three hours in the evening--I am actually
  hard at work at the French and Spanish grammar.  Yes, at grammar!
  though, I dare say, that is the last thing you would have thought of
  my applying to.  I want to rise, as fast as possible, from trust to
  trust, in this house, and it can only be done by duly qualifying
  myself: so I mean to learn first every thing requisite for the proper
  discharge of the most responsible situation of all; and then, if I
  have time left, I will learn other things, to which my wishes begin to
  tend, for the sake of general cultivation and enlargement of mind;
  which, I am convinced, is as great an advantage to the man of
  business, as to the professional man, or the private gentleman.  I
  will tell you always how far I am able to carry my plans into
  execution, and you will give me what encouragement and assistance you
  can.  I wonder whether you like Mrs Everett as well as I like Mr
  Gardiner.  He is a most kind friend to me on the whole: I say `on the
  whole,' because there is the drawback of a fault of temper, which will
  occasionally try my patience; but this is all.  I should not have
  mentioned it, except that I wish you to know every particular of my
  situation, and that, I am sure, what I say goes no further, at least
  where _character_ is concerned.  Mr Gardiner makes a point of
  speaking to me every day, and seems to like to call me by my surname,
  doubtless because it was my father's.  One day he called me Alfred
  Forsyth: he begged my pardon, and said he had been used to that name.
  He has asked me to dine with him next Sunday.  This is very kind of
  him, I am sure.

  "Now, Jane, be sure you tell me every thing about yourself, and the
  other dear girls, and Alfred.  Every little trifling particular is
  pleasant to read about.  I am very glad that Isabella's drawing
  prospers so well: I wish she may be able to send me a drawing soon; it
  would be quite a treasure to me.  May I not see some of her
  hand-writing in the next letter?  There is only one thing more I wish
  particularly to say.  I entreat you, my dearest sister, not to work
  too hard or too anxiously.  Take care of your health and spirits as
  you value ours.  Give my best love to all at home, and my affectionate
  respects to Mr and Mrs Barker, if they will accept them.  I am,
  dearest Jane,--

  "Your most affectionate,--

  "Charles Forsyth.

  "Remember me kindly to Hannah."

_From Jane to Charles_.

  "Exeter, September 5th.

  "Dear Charles,--

  "We all thank you for your long letter.  It has made us, on the whole,
  easy and comfortable about you.  As long as you are as active and
  enterprising as you are now, you will be happy, for I believe that the
  grand secret of happiness consists in having a good pursuit, which can
  be followed with some success.  To ensure this success, the pursuit
  must be rational; and I assure you, that so far from shaking my head
  at your hopes of doing `grand things,' I think your hopes are very
  rational, provided that by `grand things,' you and I mean the same.  I
  suppose you mean no more than that, by qualifying yourself for higher
  situations than the one which you now hold, you hope to rise in rank
  and riches high enough to assist your family, and to enable them to
  work in the same manner for their own independence hereafter.  This
  prospect is quite grand enough for us at present.  We must never dream
  of being very rich; I am afraid that we must not even hope to
  discharge our very heavy obligations to our friends in any other way
  than by our gratitude, and by making the best use of their kindness.
  The weight of obligation sits heavy on me: I am afraid I am proud, and
  therefore it may be well for me that I am obliged to submit to
  dependence; but I will never rest till I can relieve our friends from
  a charge which extreme kindness has induced them to take upon
  themselves, but which must in time become burdensome.  How happy
  should I be to do any kind of service to any of them!  Amidst the
  chances and changes of the world, who knows but we may?  But I must
  not think and write in this way.  We must cheerfully and willingly, as
  well as most gratefully, accept the kindness which they so cheerfully
  and willingly offer.  We go on very comfortably on the whole.  We work
  very hard, but not more so than is good for body and mind, as you
  would be convinced if you could see how well we look and how happy we
  are together.  The only unpleasant circumstance which has occurred
  lately, is a misunderstanding between Mrs Everett and myself.  I
  really cannot tell you, for I do not know myself, what it was about;
  but she was, for two or three days, so dissatisfied with me, that I
  was afraid of being obliged to give up my charge.  I told no one of
  it, but determined to bear it quietly for a few days, and to do my
  best for the children, and see whether matters would not come round
  again.  My plan answered: we go on tolerably smoothly again, though
  not so very comfortably as before.  I must recollect, however, that in
  my inexperience I may commit errors in my management of the children,
  and that Mrs Everett may justly feel that she has something to bear
  with in me.  I wish, however, that she would tell me the causes of her
  discontent, and then the evil might be remedied without any ill-will
  on either side.  Before this time, she was as kind as possible, and
  will be so again, I hope.  I cannot help seeing that the children
  improve, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that Mr Everett
  thinks so too.  He told Mr Barker so, and I think I could have
  guessed it from his manner towards me.

  "Isabella desires her best love to you, and she will send you a
  drawing by the first opportunity that offers.  She has sketched your
  favourite Bubbling Spring for the purpose, thinking you would like it
  better than any other subject.  I am sure you would think it
  beautiful, independently of the sweet associations which endear that
  spot peculiarly to us.  I am really astonished at Isabella's progress
  in drawing: her pencil sketches are beautiful, and she succeeds as
  well or better in water-colours.  She finishes very highly in the
  latter, and yet she is quick.  If she spent as much time as many girls
  do on her drawing, I should not think it right to let her sacrifice
  other things to this accomplishment, though it is useful and
  beautiful, and may, she hopes, be turned to some good account.
  Harriet and Alfred are as good as children can be.  Their affection is
  delightful to me.  It is quite sufficient to repay all my cares for
  them.  They get on very well at school, though at their age their
  progress cannot be so remarkable as Isabella's.

  "Isabella is now come into the room, and she begs to fill the little
  that remains of this sheet.  She has a very fine subject to write
  about, which I kept to the last, as being the most remarkable event
  which has happened to us for a very long time.  Farewell, my dearest
  brother, we think of you hourly, and one of our greatest delights is
  to talk over the probabilities of our meeting.  O, when will it be?

  "Ever your affectionate,--

  "Jane Forsyth."

The subject on which Isabella wrote to her brother, was that of Mr and
Mrs Rathbone's noble present.  As my readers are already acquainted
with the circumstances, there is no occasion to weary them with a
repetition.  We also omit three or four of Charles's letters, which
contain no detail of new events, and proceed to one which he wrote on
Christmas-day.

  "Dear Jane,--

  "I address this letter to you, merely because I can express myself
  better when writing to one person than to several; but the contents of
  this are wholly, or in part, as you may see fit, for the public good:
  by the public, meaning the inhabitants of Number 21, South Bridge
  Street.  In the first place, I offer you all my love, and best wishes
  for a cheerful Christmas, and much enjoyment of your holidays.  I am
  afraid, dear Jane, that your holidays will be somewhat busy ones; but
  you have Isabella to help you to make `a clearance of business,' as
  you say.  I do not know what you will say to me for providing more
  work for you.  I will explain presently what I mean by this.  I hope
  the beautiful bright sun of this happy day brings as much cheerfulness
  to your hearts as it does to mine.  There is no day of the year which
  so forcibly reminds us of the great number and magnitude of our
  blessings as this; and consequently there is no day on which we can
  feel so happy.  I am more impressed than ever with this feeling
  to-day.  It is the first Christmas-Day that I have ever passed away
  from home; but so far from this making me melancholy, I am most happy
  in the full tide of affection which is flowing towards you all, and
  not less so, in the overflowing gratitude which I feel toward that
  Parent who has blessed us in each other, in the love which is our
  happiness here, and which, we hope, will make our joy hereafter.  God
  bless you all, and make you as happy as I wish you to be; as happy as
  I am at this moment.

  "I can quite imagine how you will spend this day.  You will take a
  long walk, and enjoy a long talk, in which I hope to come in for a
  share; though, alas! too far off to have the benefit of what you are
  saying.  You will go to church, and I think I know what your feelings
  will be there.  The rest of the day will be spent at Mr Barker's, I
  conjecture: but will good Hannah be at home alone?  I am going to dine
  at Mr Rathbone's, but as they dine late, I shall have time for a long
  walk after church.  You cannot imagine, no one who has not lived in
  London can imagine, the delight of a country walk to me.  I rejoice
  that the day is so fine.  Mr Gardiner was so kind as to ask me to
  dine with him to-day: so you see there was no danger of my being
  solitary, much less, melancholy.

  "But now to my business, for even to-day I have business to write
  about.  You know when I arrived here, at Midsummer, Mr Gardiner paid
  me my first quarter's salary in advance: he bid me not mention the
  circumstance, for fear of others expecting the same favour.  He said
  at the same time, that he hoped I would make a friend of him in case
  of any difficulty which might occur in money matters, as I was, he
  thought, very young to manage for myself on a small salary.  Knowing
  that I was necessarily at some unusual expense on my first arrival, he
  has frequently asked whether I wanted any assistance.  I have always
  said, no; for I have been really well off.  Mr Barker sent me up with
  ten pounds in my pocket, after my travelling expenses were paid, and
  this, with my quarter's salary, has been more than sufficient for me.
  Besides this I have the ten pound note that Mr Rathbone gave me still
  unchanged, so that I have every reason to hope that I shall get on
  till Midsummer, without taking any more money of Mr Gardiner; and
  from that time, I shall take my salary half-yearly.  Now, I think, I
  have found a very good occasion for changing my note: I hope you and
  Isabella will approve of my plan; as it is intended for your
  advantage, I am anxious that it should succeed.  I had occasion to go
  last week, on some business of Mr Gardiner's, to a large toy-shop in
  Holborn, and while I was waiting to speak to the owner, I saw the
  shopman unpack a basket, which seemed to have arrived from the
  country.  It contained a great variety of work-bags and boxes,
  card-racks, and such things, ornamented in various ways; many of them
  with drawings.  When I had finished my business, I enquired whether a
  ready sale could be found for such articles, and what would be the
  probable success, if some friends of mine, who could draw very well,
  were to send up some specimens of their talents, like those on the
  counter.  The owner of the shop, Mr Blyth, said, that he found it
  easy to obtain a supply of such articles, but that the best and
  prettiest would always command the best sale.  He told me I might, if
  I chose, shew him what my friends could do, and that if their work was
  approved he might employ them occasionally; but of course could
  promise nothing at present.  Now, my dear girls, I think you might
  make a little money these holidays by trying your hand on these
  things: you, Isabella, can draw all kinds of pretty things; and you,
  Jane, can make up the bags, etcetera, very neatly.  Let me know, by
  the next post, whether you are inclined to try, and I will send you a
  few patterns and materials.  I have the opportunity of getting
  remnants of coloured silk and ribbon cheap; so cheap that you need not
  grudge the carriage of them.  Suppose you make at first, with all your
  skill and care, about a dozen bags, and netting-cases, and card-racks;
  and pray, Isabella, let one of your card-racks have a sketch of the
  Bubbling Spring on it, and another the cottage at the foot of Elston
  Hill.  Do not scruple, my dear girls, on account of the risk, the very
  little risk to be incurred.  If our scheme answers, I promise you that
  you shall repay me; if not, I can spare the small sum needed.  Let me
  know exactly how your accounts stand this Christmas, and be easy and
  hopeful, whatever may happen.  I wanted to say a great deal about Mr
  and Mrs Rathbone, but it is just time for church, and I must close my
  letter.  I can write again by the parcel, if you authorise me to send
  it.--Farewell, my very dear sisters and brother.

  "I am your most affectionate,--

  "Charles Forsyth."

"What a comfortable letter!" exclaimed Jane, as she finished it.  "Dear
Charles is as happy as we are!"

"And just as kind as ever," said Isabella: "he will never be spoiled by
living in London.  He will never forget, or be ashamed of us.  How ready
he is to set his head and hands to work in our service!  But we are to
write by this day's post our answer to this proposal: what shall we do,
Jane?"

"Try, by all means, I think," said Jane.  "What do you say, Isabella?"

"Try, by all means, I say too, and I have very little doubt of success.
The sooner we begin the better, so we will write immediately.  I think
Mr Barker will not disapprove of it."

"Certainly not," said Jane.  "But, if you please, we will tell no one
about it till we see whether the plan answers or not.  I am not fond of
a hasty communication of plans; and besides, I wish that our friends,
instead of considering us as schemers, should see, that, while we form
plans, we have patience and industry to carry them through, or that they
should know nothing of the matter.  When we can go with earned money in
our hands to Mr Barker, we will tell him how we got it: in the mean
while, we will not trouble him, or run the risk of interruption
ourselves."

"Very right," said Isabella.  "What shall we do about Harriet and
Alfred?  May we tell them?"

"I think they must know," replied Jane.  "You must make use of the
day-light for your drawing, and they must see what you are doing.  We
must trust them.  It will be a good lesson in keeping a secret."

The whole plan was soon settled.  The letter was dispatched to Charles,
and, by the earliest possible hour, the parcel with its pretty contents
arrived.  Charles had most completely supplied all the necessary
materials, so that there were no purchases to be made, and nothing
hindered their setting immediately to work.  During the first evening
Jane and Isabella very carefully cut paper patterns from the articles
which were sent as patterns, and marked them very exactly on the
pasteboard before they cut it.  When the different sides of the bags,
etcetera, were cut out they were found to fit exactly; so that so far
all was right.  This was all that they could do by candle-light, and
Isabella longed for the morning that she might begin her drawing.  She
was pleased to see that the drawings on the pattern bags did not nearly
equal what she was capable of doing, though Charles had said that he
purposely picked out those which appeared to him the best done.

The next morning breakfast was soon over, and the table placed in the
best light by the window.  Isabella was seated at her drawing, Jane at
work beside her, and the children at their amusements, very carefully
avoiding the table, lest they should shake it and spoil Isabella's
drawing.  They were proud of their secret, and it was to be part of
their business to watch and give notice of the approach of any
uninitiated person, from whose sight all tale-telling materials were to
be quickly swept away.

By two hours before dinner one beautiful little drawing was finished.
It was duly admired, and Jane congratulated her sister on the success of
her first day's exertion; but she was surprised to see Isabella sitting
down to begin another.  "My dear Isabella, you have done for to-day,
surely?"

"No, Jane; I must outline another.  I can finish the outline and the
first shades before dinner."

"But when do you mean to walk?  You do not, surely, mean to stay at home
this beautiful day?"

"Only this one day: you can do without me this one day.  I cannot leave
off now, indeed."

"O, Isabella, how often have I gone with you when I had much more
necessary things than these trifles to do at home!  Depend upon it, you
will not do the second so well as the first, if you sit so long at it;
you will bring on a headache, too, and make me sorry that Charles ever
devised this plan for us."

"Do put it by, Isabella," said Harriet, "and go with us."

"I will, directly," said Isabella.  "I beg your pardon, Jane; I was
selfish, and you never are.  There, they are locked up till to-morrow,
and now let us make haste, and go for our walk."

When Isabella had done a few drawings, and became more accustomed to the
employment, she found that she need not be so absorbed in it, as to be
unable to attend to her sisters while they read aloud.  This added great
pleasantness to their morning employment, and both Jane's work, and
Isabella's drawing, got on fast while they listened to Harriet and
Alfred, who took it in turn to read.  But when the pasting together of
their work began, there was an end of reading.  It was too anxious a
business to admit of any division of attention.  The gilt edges must be
exactly even, the sides must go exactly together, the bottoms must be
exactly flat; or they would be deformed and unsteady.  Jane was the only
one careful enough to undertake this most difficult part of the
business, and she bestowed great pains upon it.  In general, she
completely succeeded; but it was a work of time, and the fortnight of
her holidays was over before their task was more than two-thirds done.
Eight articles out of the dozen were finished, and she longed to see
them completed.  It was with a sigh that she left the busy and happy
party at home, on the morning when she resumed her charge at Mrs
Everett's, and she could not help fancying that Mrs Everett was less
kind than usual, that the children were far from improved by their
release from her authority, that they had never been so troublesome, and
her task never so irksome.  This was in part true; the children were
nearly as unwilling to be managed, as Jane was to manage them, and they
were fully as sorry as she, that the days of lessons and work, of
authority and obedience, were come again, after the romping hours of
their Christmas revellings.

A strong effort at patience on Jane's part, and something like an
endeavour to be good on the children's, soon restored things to their
usual state, and teacher and learners were on their old terms again.
When Jane returned home, she found that Isabella had put away her
drawing in time to take Harriet and Alfred a walk before dinner.  The
evening was passed busily and happily, and the finishing stroke was put
to two more of the bags and baskets.  In a week more all were completed.
Jane was glad of it.  The last two or three drawings had not been quite
so well done, and it was easy to see that Isabella began to be tired.
She owned that she was a little, a very little; but said, that, after a
week's rest, she should be able to begin again with as much relish as
ever.  Jane was sorry that she had worked so hard, and recommended her
to think no more of drawing for the rest of the holidays.  Ten days only
now remained before school should begin again; and Isabella passed the
time very happily between books, walking, and work.  We must not forget,
also, a long letter which she wrote to Charles, by the box which carried
their work.  It will be in vain to guess at the hopes and fears, the
alternate confidence and anxiety which these industrious girls felt
about the probable reward of their labours.  They calculated the number
of days which must pass before a letter from Charles could arrive, to
bid them rejoice or be patient yet longer.  They told each other
continually that they were looking for a letter too soon; that it was
not likely they should have an answer till the things were sold.  Their
kind brother could imagine their anxiety, and the very first moment that
he could send them intelligence of their success he did so, in the
following letter.

  "My dear Girls,--

  "I hope I have not disappointed you by delaying my letter for a few
  days, but I thought it would be quite a pity to write till I could
  give you Mr Blyth's opinion, and that of the public, about your
  works.  I have just been to the shop, and though it is late at night,
  I cannot go to bed till I have offered you my congratulations.  I have
  in my pocket three guineas, which Mr Blyth thinks a fair price for
  your work.  I hope you will think so too, and be as well satisfied
  with your gains as I am.  Mr Blyth gave me an order for as many more
  as you like to send up, for he has eyes to see that your things are
  prettier, and better made, than any articles of the kind in his shop.
  I hope you will be encouraged by your deserved success, and that the
  next parcel you send will keep up your credit.  I know you cannot get
  on so fast when the holidays are over.  Indeed I scarcely know how you
  will find time at all; but as you desire me to send you more work, I
  conclude you will make time for it some how or other.  Your leisure
  hours can hardly be better spent, I think; and I have no fear but that
  you should overwork yourselves.  That you will neglect your duties of
  teaching and learning, I never, for a moment, supposed; so your
  assurances on that head, my dear girls, are quite unnecessary.  Now,
  pray take care of your health and spirits: take exercise and
  amusement, and remember that there is not the least hurry in the world
  for these things.  If they are not finished till Midsummer, it will be
  of much less consequence than your over-working yourselves.  I do not
  send you the money.  I can get your materials so very cheap that the
  carriage of them will answer again.  I have, according to your desire,
  paid myself: so now you stand on your own ground, and are, in this
  matter, under no obligations to any body, not even to your own
  brother; so I hope my proud sisters will be satisfied.  I laid out
  only eighteen shillings.  I have taken that sum from your three
  guineas, and will lay out the remainder in silk, ribbon, paper,
  etcetera.  It is pleasanter, I know, to see money at once, than
  materials for further work; but I think your present success, and
  especially your darling independence, will afford you pleasure enough
  for this time, and that you will be willing to wait awhile for more
  substantial gains.  You deserve all you can get, my dear girls, and I
  am sure you cannot desire success so earnestly, or rejoice in it so
  heartily, as I do for you.  My concerns prosper: that is, I am busy,
  well, and cheerful, and independent.  Some little rubs I meet with,
  like any body else; but I wonder sometimes to think how happy I am.
  Anxious thoughts for you sadden me now and then; but I try to
  remember, that the same kind Parent who has hitherto protected us, is
  still about our path, and that we have nothing to do but to labour and
  trust.  We are doing now what we can, and therefore we ought to be
  satisfied with the present and hopeful for the future, and grateful,
  day by day, hour by hour.

  "Your last letter was written in such a spirit of cheerfulness, that
  if I had been miserable, I could not have shut my heart against its
  influence: but I was not miserable.  I was sitting alone, my thoughts
  far from myself, from you, from every body; for I was absorbed in a
  Spanish book which I was translating.  You may imagine how readily it
  was thrown aside when the postman knocked at the door, and how
  joyously the full tide of my thoughts turned towards home, and how my
  affection rested on each of you in turn, and blessed each of your
  names as it rose, accompanied with a thousand sweet recollections, to
  my remembrance.  I hope you will give me the pleasure of such another
  evening soon.  I met Mr Rathbone in the street the other day.  He
  enquired how you all were, and said I must go and dine with him soon,
  as he has something to say to me.  He says that he has requested Mr
  Barker to allow Harriet to learn music, as he hears she has a taste
  for it.  He hopes that dear Harriet will come to London some time or
  other and play to him, as music is his passion.  I cannot describe to
  you how kind his manner is, nor how dearly I love the very sight of
  this good man.  And yet even he does not escape slander.  I have heard
  it said, often and often, that he is a perfect tyrant to his
  inferiors, that as long as he is treated with deference, he is
  unwearied in kindness, but that the least opposition enrages him, and
  that once displeased he is an irreconcilable enemy.  Of course I
  believe nothing of all this, and have shewn no little indignation when
  I have heard such things said.  What a world it must be, when such a
  man as Mr Rathbone is slandered!  I do not intend to be curious about
  what he has to say to me till the time comes.  Perhaps he will tell me
  what was the nature of the service which my dear father rendered him.
  But I will not think more of the matter: it may be only a trifle after
  all.

  "I am very sorry to conclude, but I must be off to bed; it is very
  late, and I must be at the warehouse two hours sooner than usual
  to-morrow.  I hope you will be satisfied with what I send you, and
  that Harriet will be pleased at her musical prospects.  Farewell, all
  of you; let me hear soon, and believe me,--

  "Your very affectionate brother,--

  "Charles Forsyth.

  "P.S.  I have now received a note from Mr Rathbone, in which he says
  that he and Mrs R. are obliged to leave town for some weeks: and that
  therefore they must defer seeing me at present.  He asks whether
  Alfred has ever shewn any taste for mathematics, and expresses his
  hope that his attention will be directed that way without delay.  What
  can this mean?  You had better ask Mr Barker."

Mr Barker was no better able to guess Mr Rathbone's designs than
Charles himself; so they were all obliged to wait in patience till their
kind friend should return to town, which did not take place till the
following autumn.  In the mean time, however, his directions were
observed, and Alfred began to learn mathematics.

Jane and Isabella had so little time now for the employment which their
brother had provided for them, that March was past before another box
was prepared for Mr Blyth.  Their brother had the pleasure of
transmitting five guineas to them, as the reward of their industry; and
we may imagine the complacency and satisfaction with which they revealed
the history of their labours and earnings to their friend Mr Barker.
He was as much pleased as they expected, and even more surprised.  He
asked them how they intended to apply the money.  They replied without
hesitation, to the children's school expenses; for their only object was
to make themselves less burdensome to their friends.  Mr Barker would
not allow of this.  He recommended them to lay by their earnings as a
separate fund, to be applied when any extraordinary occasion should
arise.  He kindly added, that money so earned should bring some pleasure
in its expenditure to those who had obtained it by industry, and that he
did not see why their parlour should not in time be graced by a pair of
globes, or even a piano, honourably obtained by their own exertions.
This was a splendid prospect, and an animating one for these good girls,
and they determined to set to work again, as soon as the holidays should
afford them leisure.  It was now necessary, however, to try their hands
at something else, as Mr Blyth had given notice that it would be some
months before he should want a further supply of the articles on which
they had hitherto so profitably employed their ingenuity.

What should they next attempt?  This was a difficult question to answer,
and the girls determined to look about them, and observe, and wait for
the present, and not expect to earn more money before the holidays.  So
they spent their leisure time through April and May in reading and
drawing for improvement, and in work, of which their hands were always
full.

When Midsummer came, and Jane made up her accounts at the close of her
first year of housekeeping, she thought she had every reason to be
satisfied and grateful.  She had the encouragement also of Mr Barker's
warm approbation of her self-denying industry, and of her excellent
management.  He gave her encouragement of another kind also.  He told
her that Mr Everett had expressed his entire satisfaction in her
conduct to the children under her care, and his intention of either
raising her salary, or doing something equivalent to this, at the end of
the next year.  The lady whose school Isabella and Harriet attended,
also spoke in praise of the girls to Mr Barker, and told him that their
good principles, their influential sense of religion, which was evinced
by their uniform good conduct, afforded a certain proof of excellent
management at home.  She made many enquiries concerning Jane, and
determined to keep her eye on her, and to find some opportunity of doing
service to one who so well merited kindness and assistance.  Mr Barker
did not tell Jane all this; but he told her enough to cause tears of
pleasure to swell into her eyes, and emotions of unspeakable gratitude
to arise in her heart.  She reserved the expression of this gratitude
till, alone in her chamber, she could pour out her whole soul before Him
who had directed and upheld her steps on the narrow path of duty, and
who was now showering rich blessings upon her, and filling her heart
with peace and hope.  She thanked him that he had preserved them to each
other, and yet more, that their family peace was unbroken: that they
were closely united in the love of Him and of each other.  She felt that
as long as this love subsisted she could bear any trials that came from
without; and though she looked forward to probable anxieties and
difficulties, the prospect did not dismay her, so strong did she now
feel in an Almighty support, and in perfect reliance on the goodness and
mercy which was now about her, and which, she trusted, would follow her
all the days of her life.  It was not indeed to be expected that every
year should pass away so smoothly.  They had all enjoyed health and
comfort at home, improvement and pleasure abroad.  They had gained new
friends, and so far from suffering want, their affairs bore a more
cheering aspect than they could have hoped.  Their income amounted, as I
have said, to eighty pounds a year, and they had besides a house of
their own.  They had been at scarcely any expense for clothes, and their
good servant Hannah had very low wages.  Their expenditure this year,
under Jane's excellent management, was only fifty-six pounds: the rest
of their income, with Jane's salary of twenty-five pounds, went
therefore towards the fund which their friends had raised for the
education of the three younger ones.  Charles managed to be independent,
as we know, and Isabella hoped that in four or five years she might be
so too.  Jane never expected to spend so little again.  She could not
hope that their house would be always so free from sickness, or that
their wants would always be so few.

Mr Barker, after examining her accounts, and praising the accuracy with
which they were kept, congratulated her on the result.  "I am glad, my
dear," said he, "that the first year has been so smooth an one.  I hope
you find it an encouragement, and that you will not be dismayed if you
should meet with a few rubs before long.  We all meet with rubs, and you
must expect your share."

"Certainly," replied Jane.  "I am only surprised that we have done well
so far.  We owe it to your help, Sir.  We could have done nothing
without you."

"You can do some things without me, though, Jane.  Remember you earned
five guineas, without my knowing any thing of the matter.  I cannot tell
you how glad I am that Isabella is likely to prove a good help to you.
She is a sweet girl, and will do us honour, when a few years have
brought out her talents.  But, my dear, she works very hard, and she is
too young to work all day long.  My wife is going to take the children
to the sea, in July: if you will spare Isabella, a fortnight's run by
the sea will bring more colour into her cheeks, and make her ready to
begin school with new spirit."

Jane was beyond measure gratified by the indulgence offered to Isabella.
She most thankfully accepted the kindness; and we cannot better close
this part of our little history than by leaving our readers to imagine
the actual happiness and hopeful anticipations of Jane, her sisters and
brother, at the close of the first year, which had bound them together
in those ties, the tenderness and strength of which only the fatherless
can understand.



CHAPTER THREE.

Few events worth recording happened during the next summer, autumn, and
winter.  The return of Mr Rathbone to London, which did not take place
till the month of May, was the first remarkable circumstance which I
have to relate.  He asked Charles to dine at his house the Sunday after
his arrival at home, and various and most kind were the enquiries he
made about the whole family.  He saw some specimens of Isabella's
drawings, which pleased him much, and he expressed great satisfaction
when he heard that Harriet was making excellent progress in music.  He
listened with benevolent interest when Charles spoke of Jane's
exertions, of the mother's care which she bestowed on those who stood
almost in the place of children to her.  This was a subject on which
Charles loved to speak, when he could find an auditor who could
comprehend and would sympathise with his feelings.  Such a listener he
was aware that he now had, and his heart warmed more and more towards
his benefactor with each moment in which he was allowed to dwell on a
sister's praises.  At length Mr Rathbone enquired how he who was so
ready to make known the exertions of others, was himself going on in the
world.  "If you do not object to give me your confidence, Charles," said
he, "I am as much interested in your concerns, as in your sisters."

Charles thanked him, and said there was but little to tell; and that
little he communicated at once.  He told Mr Rathbone the amount of his
salary, and that of his expenditure.  He told him how he was
endeavouring to qualify himself for a higher situation, and what were
the hopes which he ventured to indulge of affording his sisters some
substantial assistance in time.  At present he could do but little: the
first year he had by great self-denial saved three pounds.  This year he
hoped to send Jane a five pound note on Midsummer Day, and in a year or
two he had the prospect of a large salary.

Mr Rathbone questioned him closely as to his manner of living, and his
plans of economy.  Accustomed as he was to a very lavish expenditure,
such economy as Charles's struck him with wonder; and he was surprised
to find that so far from being despised by the young men among whom he
was thrown, Charles was regarded with respect by all, with affection by
some.  He did not live in close, grudging solitude: he had lost none of
the spirit of generous sociality which he brought with him to London,
and preserved there, in spite of its chilling and counteracting
influences.  He was benevolent; he was generous.  His purse he could in
conscience open to none but his sisters; but his heart was open, his
head was busy, and his hands were ready, whenever an opportunity of
doing good occurred.  Some of the young men with whom his situation
connected him, gave entertainments to their friends, or made parties to
go to places of public amusement.  Charles could not do this; nor did he
wish to offer, or accept, obligations of this kind; but all his
companions readily acknowledged, from their own experience, that Charles
had both the power and the inclination to do good.  One had been ill,
and had been nursed by Charles night and day, or as much of the day as
he could call his own, so carefully and tenderly, that he owed his
recovery in part, and the whole of what alleviation his disease
admitted, to his benevolent care.  Another had displeased Mr Gardiner,
it was feared irremediably; and the young man would have gone to ruin,
if Charles had not with indefatigable patience brought down his high and
perverse spirit to the tone of apology and due humiliation; and,
moreover, ventured to moderate his master's somewhat unreasonable anger.
He got no thanks from either of them at the time: but he did not want
thanks, and gained his end, which was, to see the youth re-established
in his respectable situation.  The hour of gratitude came at last, and
Charles now knew that he might command every possible service from the
youth whom he had obliged, and who was now proud to call him friend.  He
had rendered Mr Gardiner an essential service by informing him of the
malpractices of some of the inferior people on the premises, which no
one else had the courage to expose; and the widow with whom he lodged
was obliged to him for her release from the oppression of a tyrannical
landlord, who dared not trouble her, when he found that a spirited youth
was her friend, who would not sit still and see her ill treated, while
courage and activity could procure a remedy.

When we think that to these important services were added hourly
kindnesses, most acceptable in the intercourses of social life; when we
remember that where Charles was, there was cheerfulness, kindness, an
open heart, a quick eye, and a ready hand to do good; we shall not
wonder that he was beloved, though poor, and respected, though humble.
Mr Rathbone was not, could not be, aware of all these things, but he
heard Charles speak of the kindness that he experienced, and then it was
easy to guess that it was earned by kindness shewn.

"I forget," said he, "how long it is exactly, since you came to London."

"Two years next month, Sir."

"And have you not seen your sisters in all that time?"

"No, Sir; nor have I any near prospect of seeing them.  I do not venture
to wish it, for fear of growing discontented.  The girls are happy, and
so am I; and we do not repine because we cannot reach an unattainable
pleasure."

"I will try, Charles, whether it be unattainable.  Two years of industry
and self-denial deserve a reward.  I will call on Mr Gardiner
to-morrow, and beg for a fortnight's holiday for you.  If I can obtain
it, we will send you down to Exeter in a trice."

Charles's gratitude was inexpressible.  In spite of his struggles, the
tears started from his eyes.  In a moment, his home and its beloved
inmates rose up to his memory, and awakened his affections with an
energy and vividness which he had never experienced before, in the
deepest of the many reveries in which they had been presented to his
fancy.  Mr Rathbone understood his feelings, and so little doubted of
being able to obtain this favour, that he tried to work up still more
the ecstasy of hope which he had excited.  "I have no doubt Mr Gardiner
will spare you, Charles: you can be off by to-morrow night's coach."

But Charles had not so far forgotten common things in his joy, as to be
unmindful that Jane would lose half the pleasure of his visit, if it was
paid while she was engaged for the greater part of the day with her
pupils.  He knew that she was to have a fortnight's holiday at
Midsummer, and he felt that it would be but justice to her, and the best
economy of pleasure for himself, to defer his visit till that time, if
possible.  He did long, to be sure, to be off at once, and to take them
by surprise, and he was afraid the intervening month would appear
dreadfully long; but he felt that this was childish.  He stated the case
to Mr Rathbone, and begged that the request might be for the last week
of June and the first of July.

He was much surprised to see a dark cloud pass over Mr Rathbone's brow
while this explanation was being made: he could not believe it caused by
any thing he had said, and therefore took no notice of it.  The reply
was, "It is not likely, _Sir_, that Mr Gardiner should let you choose
your own time.  I will mention it, however, and see what he says.  I
suppose you will not refuse to go now, if you cannot be spared
afterwards?"

Poor Charles said what he thought best; but he was so astonished and
grieved to have given offence, that his words did not come very readily.
He tried in vain to forget Mr Rathbone's look and words; but, in spite
of himself, he could not help endeavouring to account for what was
unaccountable, and watching his benefactor's looks with intense anxiety.

The coldness passed off, and Mr Rathbone dismissed Charles with his
usual kindness.  Mrs Rathbone desired him not to trouble himself to
call, if he should go the next night; but that, if his departure should
be delayed for a month, she should wish to see him again.  He would find
her at home any morning before one o'clock.

The next day, about noon, Charles received a note, the contents of which
were as follows.

  "Dear Charles,--

  "I have called on Mr Gardiner this morning, and he grants you leave
  of absence from the moment you read this till Wednesday fortnight; so
  that you have two clear weeks' holiday, and two days for going and
  coming.  Mr G. can better spare you now than afterwards; so I hope
  you and your sister will find or make time for what you have to say to
  each other.  I do not intend that this journey should break your five
  pound note.  Let your sister have it, as you intended, and pay your
  expenses with that which is inclosed.  I hope you will get a place in
  this night's coach, and that all will go well with you till we meet
  again.

  "Mrs Rathbone wishes you much pleasure, and requests you to take
  charge of the accompanying letter to Jane.

  "I am yours very sincerely,--

  "Francis Rathbone."

The inclosure was a ten pound note.  Charles stood bewildered.  The
pressure of the time, however, made him collect his thoughts, and
determine what was to be done.  He first ran to the counting-house to
thank Mr Gardiner briefly, but gratefully, for his indulgence.  He next
wrote a note, warmly expressive of his feelings, to Mr Rathbone: one of
his friends in the warehouse engaged to leave it at the door that
evening.  Then Charles ran as fast as possible to secure a place in the
coach.  After some doubt and anxiety, he succeeded.  He then bid his
companions good-bye, and went to his lodgings to pack his little trunk
and pay his bill.  He then dined at a chop-house, and found that he had
a clear hour left before it was time to depart.  He did not hesitate how
to employ it.  There was a poor, a very poor family, who lived a little
way from his lodgings, whose misery had caused Charles many a
heart-ache.  The mother was a daughter of the widow who was Charles's
landlady, and it was through her that he knew any thing of them.  Some
trifling services he had been able to render these poor people, but with
money he had not been able to assist them.  Now, however, he felt
himself so rich, from Mr Rathbone's bounty, that he thought he might
indulge himself by bestowing a small present before his departure.  He
knew that one of the children was ill, and required better nourishment
than their poverty could afford.  He went to them, saw the child, sat
with it while the mother went out to buy food with the half-crown which
he had put into her hand, and left them with a light heart, followed by
their blessings.

Who was ever happier than Charles at this moment?  Whichever way his
mind turned, it met only thoughts of peace and hope.  The novelty of a
journey, the freshness and beauty of the country in the brightness of a
sweet evening in spring, the thought of two whole weeks of leisure, and
of the sweet family intercourse which was to endear it, gratitude for
benefits received, the sweet consciousness of benefits bestowed, all
conspired to make him inexpressibly happy.  His imagination represented
to him all the possible situations in which the meeting with his family
might take place.  He was well enough acquainted with the house to fancy
what the interior looked like; and he planned, in his fancy, where each
of the family would be sitting, what each would be doing, and how each
would express the astonishment and pleasure which his arrival must
excite.

At length he fell asleep, and continued so, except for the occasional
intervention of some pleasant dreamy thoughts, till the sunrise again
roused him to the observation of the exquisite beauties of the fresh
morning.  The hours now passed less rapidly away, and he found his
emotions becoming so tumultuous, that he tried to turn his thoughts upon
indifferent subjects, and to enter into conversation with his
fellow-passengers.  As the day advanced, he became impatient of being
shut in, so that he could catch only a confined view of the beautiful
country through which he was passing, and he therefore took his seat on
the roof of the coach.  He sat next to a young man, who soon made
acquaintance with him, and whom he found a very agreeable companion.
His name Charles could not ascertain, but he found that he lived at
Exeter, and it was interesting to them both to talk of persons and
places with which both were familiar.  In the afternoon, when they were
still busy talking, and reckoning that four hours more would bring them
to their journey's end, the coach stopped at a public-house by the road
side, which the coachman entered, leaving a man at the horses' heads to
take care of them.  Some one called the man, and he left his charge, and
the passengers did not for some moments perceive that he had done so,
till something passed which caused the horses to start.  Several men ran
at once to catch the reins: this frightened the leaders yet more, and
they set off at full gallop.  Charles was sitting in front, and his
companion, with much presence of mind, got over and seated himself on
the box, and caught the reins.  He attempted to pull in, but the screams
of some of the passengers were enough of themselves to terrify any
horses, and the young man's strength began to fail before they relaxed
their speed at all.  Still there was a wide road before them, with no
apparent obstruction, and Charles, who tried to keep himself calm, hoped
that the horses would soon be tired, and slacken their pace.  He saw his
companion's strength failing, and he leaned over and said, "Keep on one
minute more and we shall do," when, most unfortunately, a waggon turned
out of a field by the road side.  The leaders turned sharp round, and
upset the coach close by the hedge.  Charles's fall was broken by the
hedge, and he rose in a moment, with no other hurt than a few scratches
from the briars; but such a dreadful scene of confusion met his view,
that, though his first thought was to give help, he knew not where to
turn.  He looked for his companion, but could not see him, and hearing
the most dismal screams from the inside of the coach, he entreated one
or two persons, who were standing shaking their limbs, and apparently
unhurt, to help him to get out the passengers.  It was some time before
they comprehended what he meant, and longer still before they could
collect their senses sufficiently to be of any use.  At length, however,
Charles and another man climbed on the body of the coach, and pushed
down the window.  Two young ladies and a Quaker gentleman were inside.
The latter said to Charles, "Lend me thy hand, for I am uppermost, and
then we will rescue the others: there is not much harm done, I hope."

One of the ladies continued to scream so loud, that it was difficult to
make her understand that she must use her own limbs in getting out.  By
main force, however, she was hauled through the window, and set on her
feet.  The Quaker gentleman said to her, "I recommend thee to be more
quiet, if thou canst; if not, thou hadst better go a little out of the
way, that we may know what we are doing.  There is a stile yonder: sit
there, and I will bring thy friend to thee."

The lady was able to comprehend this, and she accordingly moved away.
There was more difficulty in rescuing her companion, who was really
hurt: her arm was injured, and she was in great pain.  She was quiet,
however, and exerted what strength she had.  Charles led her to some
grass at a little distance: he hastily spread her cloak, and laid her
down, and called her companion to her.  When he reached the scene of
disaster again, he was shocked to find that an outside passenger was
killed.  He was a dreadful object, and nothing was to be done, but to
move him out of sight as quickly as possible.  Still Charles looked
round in vain for his companion; but when the noise had a little
subsided, he thought he heard a faint groan from beneath the huge
box-coat which was lying close by.  Charles lifted it, and saw his
companion lying with a large trunk upon one leg.  He seemed in great
agony, and unable to move.  Charles called the Quaker gentleman.  They
gently lifted the trunk, and saw a sickening sight.  The leg was
dreadfully crushed.  Charles for a moment turned away, but, ashamed of
his weakness, he, with the Quaker's approbation, loosened the shawl
which he wore round his neck, and wrapped it about the injured leg.
They then raised the poor youth, and seated him on the trunk, and tried
to ascertain whether he had received any other injury.  They could not
detect any, but the sufferer was in so much pain, that they could not be
sure.  Charles beckoned to the waggoner, who was assisting the other
passengers, and enquired whether there was any house nearer than the
public-house which they had left, where the wounded passengers could be
taken in for the present.

The man answered that there was none, and that they were three miles
distant even from that.

Charles engaged him to convey the ladies and the young man in his
waggon, which was filled with straw, and the people from the
public-house having by this time reached the scene of disaster, the
Quaker gentleman was able to accompany them.  They therefore looked out
their luggage, deposited the young man and the two ladies in the waggon,
and returned to the public-house on foot.  By the way they agreed what
was further to be done.  The Quaker thought the two ladies would be able
to reach Exeter that night, and would prefer doing so to remaining in
the inconvenient and crowded public-house.  If the coach was able to
proceed, so much the better; if not, a chaise could probably be
procured.  As for the young man, he must certainly remain; he was in no
condition for travelling.

"I do not know," said Charles, "how you are circumstanced.  We must not
leave this poor youth; one of us must take charge of the ladies, and the
other remain with him.  Will you take your choice?"

"My wife is ill," replied the Quaker, "and I fear would be in terror, if
she should hear of the accident, and not see me, even if I assured her
of my welfare by my own hand.  I should therefore prefer returning.  But
perhaps thou hast calls equally pressing?"

"No, I have not," replied Charles.  "No one expects me: my family do not
know that I am on my way to them: the matter therefore is decided."

"Not quite," said the Quaker.  "The one who remains will have some
painful scenes to go through.  Thou art young: canst thou bear them?"

"I will _try_ to bear them," replied Charles.  "My heart aches for this
young man, but it will be a comfort to be of service to him.  We must
learn his name, and you will call at his house as soon as you arrive,
and inform his family; and some of them had better return in the chaise
with a surgeon; for I suppose there is no medical advice to be had
hereabouts."

"Probably not," replied the Quaker.  "It is now nearly six: if we can
procure a chaise without delay, in nine or ten hours hence his friends
may be with him, and thou wilt be in part relieved from thy charge."

"He will be able to command himself," said Charles, "at least, if I may
judge from his presence of mind at the time of the accident; and I shall
therefore know better what to do, than if he were as unmanageable as
that young lady."

"Her agony was so great," replied the Quaker, "that it would make one
think that fear is, for the time, a greater evil than actual pain.  Her
sister (for I conclude they are sisters) was quiet enough; but it was
beyond my power to stop her screams.  Tell me how thy companion acted,
for, being inside, I do not know."

Charles related how the youth had endeavoured to stop the horses.

"He indeed shewed self-command," said the good man, "and I am afraid he
will have occasion to exercise all his resolution.  I have no hope that
that leg can be cured; but I hope his life is not in danger!"

"Can you," said Charles, "give me any directions respecting his
treatment?  Is there any thing to be done besides making him as easy as
I can?"

"Nothing, that I am aware of," replied the Quaker.  "I think thou wilt
not have much need of thy purse for these few hours, or I would ask thee
whether it is well filled?"

Charles thanked him, and assured him that no assistance of that kind was
wanted.

By this time they had reached the public-house, and the young man was
soon laid on a bed, in a decent though not very quiet apartment.  On
enquiry being made, it was found that no chaises were to be had there,
but that a return chaise would probably pass very soon.  The ladies were
so incapable, one from pain, the other from terror, of judging what was
best to be done, that the Quaker gentleman decided every thing for them.
He directed the lady's arm to be bathed and hung in a sling, and
advised them to accompany him in the chaise to Exeter, as soon as it
should pass.  Charles meanwhile was sitting by the bedside of the
injured man, trying to ascertain the necessary particulars of his name,
place of residence, etcetera.  He was now able to speak, and said his
name was Monteath, that his father and mother lived in -- Street,
Exeter, and that Mr Everett was the surgeon whom he wished to attend
him.  He said, "Are you going directly? must you leave me now?"

"I shall not leave you till your friends arrive," replied Charles.
"Some of our fellow-passengers will carry our message to Exeter."

"Thank you!  God bless you!" were the only words in answer.  Presently
he said, "Who are you?  You have not told me your name."

Charles told his name.

"Forsyth!" exclaimed Mr Monteath; "surely you are the brother of Miss
Forsyth, whom I have seen at Mr Everett's!"

"I am," said Charles.

"Then do not stay with me," said the youth; "your sister will be
terrified when she hears of the accident."

Charles explained that his sisters did not expect him.  He then enquired
whether he did not suffer less than at first.

"Yes, I am rather easier," replied Monteath, "but still it is dreadful
pain.  However, I shall have worse to go through before I am better.  I
see what is before me: I do not wish to be blind to it."

"I am glad you are not blind to it," replied Charles.  "You have
strength of mind and self-command, and if you can keep up for a few
hours, the worst will be over.  Your present calmness assures me that
you will keep up."

"I know not," replied Monteath.  "Thoughts come crowding upon me faster
than I can bear.  This pain is not the worst: yet Oh! how it weakens me!
I ought to feel, even at this moment, that all is right, that this
suffering is for my good."

"It is," said Charles; "and it is this thought which has comforted me
for you.  In a few hours you will, I trust, be at ease, and, after that,
all will come easy to you.  In the mean time, think whose hand has
brought this evil upon you, and remember that he is pitying your pain.
He also gives strength and courage to those who ask for them."

"I will seek for them," replied Monteath.  "Leave me for a while: I will
try to compose my mind, and strengthen myself for these hours of pain."

Charles drew the curtains round the bed, and sat down in the
window-seat.  He did feel sick at heart.  His head throbbed, and his
heart beat thick, when he thought of the agony he had witnessed, of what
was yet to be undergone by his companion, and of the dreadful disclosure
which must be made to the father and mother, who were now probably
counting the minutes as they flew, in the hope of a joyous meeting with
their son.  By degrees, he became aware that he was looking only at the
dark side of the picture.  He reproached himself for overlooking the
mercies which had attended this dispensation.  His own preservation,
that of many besides, that only one life was lost among so many, that
the suffering had fallen upon those who were apparently the best able to
bear it; and he was not forgetful that the warning which was afforded
them all of the uncertainty of life, and health, and peace, was of
itself a great mercy.  He now remarked the sun disappearing behind the
hills, and remembered how he had watched it declining in the heavens,
with the confident expectation that the hours of succeeding darkness
would be spent in the home of his sisters; that, before the sun should
rise again, he would have embraced them, have looked on their faces, and
heard their voices, and exchanged affectionate greetings with them.  Now
the night was to be passed beside the bed of pain, and the sunrise would
find him, probably, exhausted and spiritless, and still far from those
he loved.  "What a little way can we see!" thought Charles: "how
uncertain should we ever feel of the future! how prepared for whatever
may happen! how grateful for every exemption from suffering!  I am not
happy now; I cannot be happy while one is near me who is suffering
severely: but let me be grateful: let me remember my preservation from
personal injury, and let me trust that those who suffer will find
strength and comfort from Him who has blessed and preserved me."

While these thoughts passed through his mind, tears coursed each other
down his cheeks.  He did not check them, for he found relief from these
quiet tears.  He was, meantime, not forgetful of his charge: he listened
to his breathing; it was, at first, loud and irregular, as of one in
pain, and now and then a deep sob could be heard.  Still Charles sat
quiet, for he judged rightly that Monteath would be better able to
compose himself, if left undisturbed.  By degrees, his breathing became
more regular, and all was so quiet, that Charles hoped he was at ease,
if not asleep.  Meanwhile it was becoming dark, and as night advanced,
the public-house was more quiet, and Charles entertained the hope that
his friend might be strengthened for his approaching suffering, by a few
hours of repose.  When the last tinge of brightness had faded from the
clouds, and was succeeded by total darkness, Charles still remained in
the window-seat: he would not procure a light for fear of noise; and he
continued to look out, though nothing was to be seen, but a servant
occasionally crossing the yard with a lantern, which cast a dim gleam
through the room.  The ticking of his watch was the only sound that he
heard.  It was too dark to see what time it was, but when he imagined he
had been sitting about two hours, the loud ringing of a bell broke the
silence, and disturbed poor Monteath, who had really been asleep.  He
attempted to move, but the attempt extorted a deep groan.  Charles
sprang to the bedside, and spoke to him.  "You are in pain again," said
he, "but you have been easier, and will be so again soon."

Monteath could not answer him.

Charles rang for a light.  It was brought, and Monteath asked what
o'clock it was.  It was near eleven.  "No more!" said he, and he
enquired how soon his father and mother could be with him.  Charles
thought in four or five hours, and he told his friend that if he would
be prevailed on to take a little refreshment, he thought he might sleep
again.

"O, no, do not ask me to move," replied Monteath.

"You need not move," replied Charles.  "I will give it you, while you
lie still: but indeed you need it."

"I will," said Monteath.  "But have you been beside me all this time,
without any refreshment?  You must be quite exhausted.  Pray go down and
have some supper: I shall not want you just now: why did you not leave
me?"

Charles, though little inclined to eat, consented to have some supper
brought up, but he would not leave his friend.  He asked Monteath if he
had not enjoyed his repose.

"It was a great rest," was the reply; "but I believe I have had my poor
mother in my mind almost all the time.  I am afraid she is more unhappy
than I am at this moment."

"But when she hears that you have slept, and when she sees you able to
speak, and even to comfort her, as I think you will, she will be
relieved."

"They will have Mr Everett with them," said Monteath, "and he is a kind
and judicious friend.  It is he who must free me from this pain," added
he.  "I hope I shall not hate him for the office, as I have heard that
some people hate their surgeons, in spite of themselves."

"No fear of that," said Charles.

"I hope they will not delay it," said Monteath.  "I would fain hope that
in twelve hours, it will be over.  I almost think it cannot be worse
than what I suffered when I was lying on the road, before you found me."

"Probably not so bad, and most probably much sooner over.  Some people
would think me wrong in letting you speak of this, but I think it will
do you no harm.  You would think about it at all events, and it makes
anticipated evils less, to talk rationally about them."

"You are right," said Monteath.  "I have been looking steadily at the
whole matter, and I want to ask you one thing.  Mr Everett will perhaps
bring no assistant.  If he does not, will you, can you, stand by, and
prevent my father from being present?  I know he will insist on it, if
no friend is at hand but Mr Everett."

"I can, and I certainly will," replied Charles.  "I have never attempted
any thing of the kind, but I think I can make my resolution equal to the
occasion.  If I can be of use, I shall not think of myself."

"Thank you, thank you," replied Monteath.  "Things might have been worse
with me yet.  There might have been no one who would have had compassion
on me, no friend who would have comforted me as you are doing."

"I can do little," said Charles.  "There is a better friend with you,
who can yield support when earthly friends are far away, or too feeble
to give comfort.  I hope you feel this."

"I do now, more than ever in my life before.  Just now, I was in too
much pain to think of any thing: but I am easy enough to think, and
speak, and listen, at present.  Have you a Bible with you?"

Charles instantly produced his Bible, and asked his friend what he
should read.

"The forty-second and forty-third Psalms first," said Monteath.

Charles read them, and afterwards chose a chapter in the New Testament,
and with pleasure he perceived that Monteath appeared more and more
tranquil, and in a little time he enjoyed the repose which his exhausted
frame required.

He slept till three o'clock, and was then too anxious for the arrival of
his father and mother to rest again.  Charles attempted to interest him
in conversation, and he was interested; but he started at every little
noise, and to say the truth, Charles was little less nervous than
himself.  At length, almost before they could reasonably expect it, they
distinctly heard a chaise drive up.

"O, go, go!" cried Monteath.  "Go and bring them to me!"

"Not yet," said Charles, firmly.  "I will go to them, but they must not
see you till I can tell them that you are more calm.  Compose yourself,
and remember that the best comfort you can give them is to see you
tranquil.  I will tell them that you have slept, and in a few minutes
you shall see them; in the mean time compose yourself."

Charles went down stairs, and the first meeting with Mr and Mrs
Monteath was very painful.  He was glad, however, to give them some
comfort, and he spoke as cheerfully as he could of the night which his
friend had passed.  Presently he conducted them to their son's chamber,
and left them at the door.  Mr Everett enquired the particulars of the
accident, and the extent of the injury, as far as Charles could judge of
it.  He shook his head, when he had heard the particulars, and said he
feared there was no help for it, but that the leg must be amputated.

"Thinking this would be necessary," he said, "I brought an assistant
with me; and I am glad I did, for delay would be dangerous; and I
suppose there is no surgeon near.  Is your friend prepared for it?"

"Perfectly," replied Charles: "and he thinks the sooner it is done, the
better.  How soon will it be, Sir?"

"Directly, if it has to be done," replied Mr Everett, "but you know I
have not seen him yet, and therefore cannot be sure that it will be
necessary."

Mr and Mrs Monteath came down presently, and told Mr Everett that
their son wished to see him.  Before he went, he told them that he
should recommend their trying to get some rest.

"Now that your son has seen you, he will sleep again," said he, "and I
wish to remain alone with him for two or three hours.  He will not rest
if you are beside him, so you must trust him with me, and our young
friend will bring you news of him from time to time."

The father and mother were obliged to consent: they retired, and Charles
took his station in the next room to his friend.  In a few minutes Mr
Everett's assistant came out of the chamber, and soon after returned
with a servant, and there were signs of preparation which were sickening
to poor Charles.  He made a great effort to forget himself, however, and
gently opening the chamber door, asked if he could be of use.

"You can, Sir, if you think yourself able," replied Mr Everett.  "I
believe we may trust you, for you are aware of the importance of
self-command just now.  I advise you to take a glass of wine, and then
go and speak to your friend, and we will call you when we want you."

Charles did so.

"Your mother has gone to lie down," he whispered; "by the time she
wakes, we shall have comfort to give her, and you will be better able to
see her."

Monteath pressed his hand.  "I am better than I was," said he; "stronger
in mind, too.  I do believe I dreaded seeing my mother more than any
thing else."

Mr Everett now approached the bed, and in a short time, which, however,
appeared to Charles as if it never would be over, the painful thing was
done, and Monteath was in bed again.  Charles remained beside him, and
in an hour the patient was once more in a sound sleep.  Mr Everett went
then to tell his father and mother what had been done.  They were
dreadfully agitated at first, but the sight of their son in deep repose
calmed them, and every thing was soon so comfortably arranged, that
Charles thought his assistance was no longer needed.  He went to bed,
rested till the middle of the day, and in the afternoon proceeded with
Mr Everett to Exeter, the assistant being left behind with the patient,
and Mr Everett promising to return the next day but one.  Monteath did
not | know how to express his gratitude, and his parents'
acknowledgments were painful to Charles, who felt that in common
humanity he could not have done less than he had done.  They however
thought differently, and were grateful, not only for what he had done,
but for the manner of doing it; and felt very sure, that, painful as
that night had been to Charles, every recollection of it would bring
pleasure as long as he lived.  He promised his friend that he would not
return to London without seeing him, and then set off, wondering when he
thought that his acquaintance with Monteath had been of only twenty-four
hours' standing, and that, in that time, he had been called on to
perform more painful offices of kindness, than generally devolve upon
intimate friends during a connexion of many years.

"At this hour yesterday," thought Charles, "we met for the first time,
and now we are perhaps friends for life.  It has been proved, by a fiery
trial, that Monteath has many virtues.  I know, beyond a doubt, that he
is religious, that he is attached to his family, that he is considerate
to others, that he is courageous and patient.  This is a great deal to
have learned in twenty-four hours.  If I were to consider myself alone,
I might rejoice in this accident.  I have gained a valuable friend, and
received a lesson which I shall never forget, at the expense of only a
few hours of salutary pain.  But I am the last person to be considered.
Better fruits even than these may spring from this calamity, to those
who have at present suffered more from it."

The journey with Mr Everett was cheerful and pleasant.  Charles had now
the opportunity of learning a great deal about his sister Jane; and all
that he heard gave him pleasure.  His home and its inmates had been
forgotten for some hours, but now he began again to anticipate the
pleasures of meeting, though with much less confidence than before.  At
first he felt almost sure that something would yet happen to delay their
meeting; but when they were within five miles of the city, he began to
recognise some well-known object at every step, and to feel a quieter
hope that at length he should reach his journey's end in peace.  He
started up at the first sight of the Cathedral towers, and gazed at them
till he actually passed them.  Then he looked for familiar faces, and as
the chaise turned the corner into the market-place, a boy looked up from
the foot pavement, who, tall as he was, could, Charles was sure, be no
other than Alfred.  "It _is_ Alfred," said Mr Everett, "going home to
tea, I guess.  You will find them just sitting down to tea, the lessons
all learned, the business all done, and nothing to do but to talk and
listen."

The chaise stopped, and Charles was soon on his way home, with his
little trunk under his arm.  When Hannah answered his knock, she knew
him instantly, and started back, calling, "Miss Jane, Miss Jane!"

Miss Jane rose from the tea-table, and she and Charles met at the
parlour door.  "Charles! my dear, dear Charles!  What can have brought
you?  What are you here for?"

"I am come to see you, my dearest; and you, and you," added he, turning
to the others, as they pressed round him.  "I am come for a whole
fortnight.  Now, dearest, I have taken you too much by surprise," for
Jane's tears flowed fast.  "Come, come, compose yourself.  Look up, and
smile at me."

Jane hung on his shoulder.  He led her to a chair, Isabella seated
herself on the other side, and Harriet sprung on his knee.  "I should
not have startled you so," said Charles, "but I had no time to write,
and give you notice.  I did not know myself, till a few hours before I
left town, that I was coming."

"But _how_ did you come?" asked Isabella.  "This is not the time when
any of the coaches arrive."

"My dear, I must explain all that by and by: there is a long and sad
story connected with that."

"I am glad we knew nothing about your coming," said Alfred; "for the
London coach was overturned yesterday, and we should have been afraid
that you were in it."

"It _was_ overturned, and there was a man killed," said Charles; but he
said no more about it, for he did not feel inclined to enter at once
upon that sad subject.

"I am afraid, Jane, I am not come at the pleasantest time for you: your
mornings are, I suppose, fully engaged, but we must make long evenings."

"And here is one to begin with," said Jane.  "We have you all to
ourselves for this evening at least.  But how very tired you look!  Are
you quite well?"

"Perfectly," replied Charles, "I am only tired."

"Come and have some tea," said Isabella.  "Let me make tea to-night,
Jane, and do you sit beside Charles."

So the happy party gathered round the table, and it would be in vain for
us to attempt to follow them through the variety of subjects which they
touched upon, or to record half that was said.  After tea, Charles went
into the kitchen to speak to Hannah, and to delight her by his
affectionate remembrance.  Then Jane and Harriet had to settle the
important affair of where Alfred was to sleep.  He was to give up his
bed to Charles, and a little bed was made up for him, in a corner of the
same room.  He declared that he would sleep on the floor rather than
that Charles should seek a lodging out of the house.

Late in the evening a note arrived from Mrs Everett: an unusually
gracious one for her.  It said that, as Miss Forsyth and her brother had
not met for so long, Mrs Everett would be sorry to keep them asunder,
for the few first days of his stay, especially as Mr C.  Forsyth must
require cheering and relaxation, after the melancholy circumstances of
his journey.  Mrs Everett therefore would not require Miss Forsyth to
resume her daily charge till the next Monday, and in the mean time
wished her much enjoyment of her brother's society.

"How very kind!" exclaimed Jane.

"How perfectly delightful!" said Charles.

"But how should Mrs Everett know that you are here, Charles?" said
Isabella.  "News must fly faster than I thought it did, if any body has
told her that you are come."

"I will explain it all in the morning," said Charles, "it is too long a
story to tell now."

"I wish," said Harriet, "_we_ had a holiday till Monday.  If the news
has got to Mrs Everett's, it might as well spread a little further:
just as far as Mrs --'s ears."

"I should like a holiday very well," said Isabella, "but Charles and
Jane had rather be alone, I suppose; and I had rather they should, for
part of the time."

Charles thanked her by a kiss, for her consideration.

It was with a deep feeling of gratitude and delight that he this evening
joined in family worship for the first time for two years.  Jane read
the Psalm and chapter with a somewhat tremulous voice this evening, and
sweet and touching was that voice to her brother's ear, and he deeply
felt the words of thanksgiving which were uttered by it.  "_Bless the
Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  Bless
the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all
thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life
from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender
mercies_."

What words could be so apt as these to express thankfulness for the
preservation of life, and for the subsequent bestowment of the sweetest
blessings which endear it to the pure and uncorrupted heart?  Sweet was
it also to join with his best friends in a prayer for the continuance of
these mercies, and for the blessing of their Giver upon their enjoyment.
The weight of sadness which had still pressed upon Charles's mind, and
which nothing else had availed to lighten, was now removed by the
exercise of prayer, and with a light as well as thankful heart he
retired to rest.  He awoke from refreshing sleep when Alfred rose the
next morning; and when they were assembled at breakfast, he told his
promised tale of the extraordinary events of his journey.  The name of
Monteath was not unknown to the Forsyths, and Jane had seen this very
youth at the Everetts' more than once, and knew that he was a great
favourite in their family.  Charles expressed his intention of calling
on his Quaker friend, if he could find him, and also at Mr Monteath's
house, to learn if any further account of his friend had arrived.  Mr
Barker also was to be seen, and plans were to be laid for the employment
of the precious days of Charles's stay.  Before these were half
arranged, it was time for the younger ones to be off to school; and when
the brother and sister found themselves really alone, Charles produced
Mrs Rathbone's letter, which he rightly judged must be partly on
business.  It was indeed of considerable importance.

Mrs Rathbone wrote in her husband's name, as well as her own.  She said
that Jane had probably heard through Mr Barker that they hoped to be of
use to Alfred whenever it should be time to think of placing him out:
that it was time the boy should have some idea of his future
destination, and that his family should know what to look forward to.
She went on to say,--

  "Mr Rathbone has influence in India, and if Alfred's talents are what
  we understand them to be, there can be no doubt of his distinguishing
  himself in the Company's service, and of procuring solid advantages to
  his family.  Our views for him are these.  We shall take the charge of
  his education at the Company's military schools, where he will be
  qualified for being a military engineer in the forces in India.  In
  five years he will be sent out, and then he will only have to exert
  himself to get forward, to distinguish himself, and probably to enrich
  his family, for there are perhaps no other means by which wealth can
  be so easily acquired.  It appears to us that there is no other way in
  which we can so effectually assist you as this; and few things can
  give us more pleasure than the anticipation of the time when you will
  be easy and prosperous, and look back on your present labours and
  cares as on a long past dream.  Alfred will rejoice to promote the
  prosperity of that kind sister who devoted herself to his welfare when
  he was too young to repay her cares, and that sister will rejoice in
  the honour and wealth which his well directed exertions will be the
  means of conferring on his family.

  "As you are all bound together by even closer ties of affection than
  usually unite those of the same family, it is natural that you should
  grieve at the prospect of a separation from Alfred of many years.
  These separations are certainly sad things; but I have too good an
  opinion of your sense and your self-command to suppose that you will
  set the gratification of even your dearest and most cherished feelings
  against the solid interests of the family who depend upon you, and of
  whom you are the head.  This is the only objection to our plan which
  we anticipate from you, unless it be the consideration of health.  But
  this is a thing so entirely uncertain, so many die at home, and so
  many sustain the trial of a foreign climate, and live to old age in
  it, that we cannot foresee and calculate, and therefore should not
  suffer our plans to be deranged by too much regard to this
  consideration, but should trust, that, whether at home or abroad, all
  will be well with those whom we love.  You will let us know soon what
  you think of our plan, and you will make up your mind to part with
  Alfred at the end of a year from next Midsummer.  In the mean time, he
  had better continue at the school where he now is, and the only
  direction we have to give is, that he will continue to devote his
  attention to mathematics.  If tolerably advanced in this branch of
  study, he will set out with the more advantage in his new studies next
  year.

  "We should like to see Alfred, and form our own judgment of him; and
  for this purpose, and also to afford him some pleasure, we hope you
  will not object to his spending a fortnight with us in the approaching
  holidays.  Charles will let us know when to expect him, and we will
  make him as happy as we can.  We have chosen the present opportunity
  of developing our plan to you, as we thought you would like to have
  Charles by your side to talk to concerning it.  Wishing you much
  enjoyment together, and assuring you of our interest in all your
  concerns, I am, my dear young friend,--

  "Most truly yours,--

  "Sarah Rathbone."

Charles and Jane looked at each other when they had finished reading
this letter.  "Well, Jane," said Charles, "what is your opinion of it?"

"O, Charles, I do not at all like it.  But we cannot judge till we have
thought about it."

"Let us think about it then," said Charles.--"In the first place, could
you part with Alfred for many years, if you were thoroughly convinced
that it would be for his good and ours?"

"I could, I hope, _if_ I were convinced of that.  But what good could
counterbalance all the evils of such a separation to him and us?"

"Let us consider the good first, Jane, and then we will weigh the evil
against it.  This is not a new idea to me; I had some suspicion of Mr
Rathbone's plans, and so I have thought a little about the matter.  If
Alfred goes, we may have it in our power to repay our friends here the
obligations we are under to them now; (I mean, of course, the pecuniary
part of the obligation;) and we may be able to place Isabella and
Harriet in a situation in society where their talents and virtues may be
exercised with as much benefit to others, and without such painful
labour and care as will probably be their lot, if, as we have hitherto
expected, they have to work for their own subsistence.  Are not these
real, solid advantages?"

"I believe they are," replied Jane.  "And you too--"

"O, I am out of the question just now, and so are you, Jane.  We must
now forget ourselves, and even each other, if we mean to decide coolly
for the good of those who depend on us.  Are there any other advantages?
Is honour, fame, or whatever else we call it, a good?"

"What kind of honour will it be?" asked Jane.  "The honour of bravery, I
suppose--a soldier's glory."

"More than that," said Charles.  "He may have the reputation of talent,
of industry, and of general honourable principle."

"This kind of reputation is valuable in many respects," said Jane; "but
it may be had at home as well as in India, better perhaps: for I do not
know how to reconcile the rapid acquisition of wealth with honourable
principle."

"Nor I," said Charles.  "Well, do you reckon this honour an advantage?"

"I think not," said Jane.  "I do not desire a mere soldier's glory for
any one I love, since it is bought by violence, and must therefore
harden the heart: and honour of a better kind may be had, as far as it
is desirable, at home."

"I quite agree with you," said Charles.  "Then again, the increase of
knowledge, and enlargement of mind, which is obtained by travelling, and
intercourse with foreign nations, is, in my opinion, a real advantage,
though Mrs Rathbone does not mention it.  We are not considering how it
is counterbalanced; but is it not in itself a good?"

"It is," said Jane; "and now I fancy we have come to the end of the
list.  For power, influence, high connexions, the ability to exercise
beneficence, all come under the heads of wealth and honour: and as to
the benefit to Alfred of exerting himself for his family, that also may
be had at home, and may be all the more beneficial for the wealth not
being got so easily as in India.  But _health_ is the grand objection.
I do wonder at the way in which Mrs Rathbone speaks of this.  She
speaks of many who die in England as well as in India: but who does not
know the difference in the proportions?  And she speaks of _trust_ too,
as if foresight and precaution were inconsistent with it."

"And of those who live," said Charles, "how few, if any, return in
health!  Mr Rathbone himself is rich: but who would take his riches in
exchange for the health he has sacrificed?"

"Have we any right to consent to such a probable sacrifice for Alfred?"
said Jane.

"Certainly not, in my opinion," said Charles.  "But there is another
question of greater importance still--Alfred's moral welfare.  His early
separation from his family would be a sad thing; but not half so fearful
as the risk of sending him into the society of the dissolute, or, at
best, the careless, where his duty will lie in scenes of bloodshed and
devastation, where his employment will be to contrive and execute plans
for spreading ruin and wasting life.  Can we devote him to an employment
like this?  Some may represent the matter in a different light, and say
that he is promoting the prosperity of his country and the extension of
commerce by his services.  But I say, let him, if he serves his country,
serve it by innocent means; by means reconcileable to the law of God,
and to the duty which man owes to man: let him do this, even if he live
and die in hardship and poverty, rather than corrupt his mind, and
harden his heart, and become such a one as we could not love, though he
were to make himself and us as rich and powerful as the most worldly
could desire."

"Oh, Charles, if this is all true, who could doubt for a moment?  How
could Mr Rathbone think of such a plan for a moment?"

"Different people," said Charles, "see things in a different light.  Mr
Rathbone has not experienced these dangers, because he has made his
fortune by commerce, not by war.  Besides, I must think Mr Rathbone a
very rare instance of the power of principle against temptation.  There
are few indeed who spend their Indian wealth so generously for others,
though every one who goes out with any principle to direct him, hopes
that _he_ shall be able to hold a straight course, though almost all
others have gone astray.  I could not, neither, I am sure, could you,
encourage this confidence with respect to Alfred.  If he were to be
separated from us for five years before he left England, and were to
have no prospect of seeing us again for twenty or thirty years, how weak
would be the family ties, and how easily chilled the family affection on
which we should wish to depend as a safeguard to higher principles!  And
as to those higher principles, _we_ could have little influence in
forming or strengthening them: we must, at the end of one other year,
commit them to the care of strangers.  How little knowledge we could
have of them; how little confidence that they could be firm enough to
resist the attacks of temptations, renewed from day to day, under which
the strong have sunk, and before which the fortified have given way."

"But Charles, my dear Charles, is this all true?  Are you sure there is
no mistake?  If but one hundredth part were true, I would not hesitate
for a moment."

"Ask those who know, dear Jane: let us ask Mr Barker.  Let us tell our
thoughts to Mr Rathbone himself.  This is too important a matter to be
decided on our own judgments, without further knowledge; but Mr
Barker's knowledge of the fate of many youths who have been sent out to
India, will, I believe, lead him to encourage us in declining Mr
Rathbone's offer.  Whatever we may think of the offer itself, Jane, we
must not forget the generosity which has been shewn in making it."

"Certainly," said Jane, "it will be very difficult to express our sense
of such kindness; and more so still to decline it: but I hope they will
understand and even approve our feeling about it."

The brother and sister then talked over other circumstances connected
with their affairs.  Charles asked whether any new plan was in view for
the girls to earn a little more money.  Jane smiled, and said that
Isabella had not been idle, but that what she had attempted was yet
unfinished, and that if Charles had not visited them, he would have
known nothing of the matter till the work was completed.  The thing was
this: a French lady who had been staying at Mr Everett's in the autumn,
had shewn Jane an elegant little French work on plants.  A variety of
flowers were arranged according to various peculiarities, which had
caused them to be adopted as emblems, some of royalty, others of natural
or moral qualities, etcetera.  There were plates of many of the flowers,
some well executed, others very indifferently.  It struck Jane at once
that Isabella might translate this work, and she borrowed it of the
French lady, that they might examine it at home.  They thought, on close
examination, that the work might be improved in the translation: that
various floral emblems might be added, and that drawings, very superior
to the plates of the work, might increase its value.  When Jane returned
the book, she asked its owner whether it had been translated into
English.  The reply was, that the original work had only been published
a few weeks, and could not yet be well known in England.  This
determined Isabella at once to make the trial.  The drawings were the
most important and the most difficult part; but by the interest and
assistance of a few friends, Isabella obtained access to some excellent
botanical works and plates.  Many, indeed most of the flowers, she was
able to draw from nature during the eight months that the work was in
progress; and where the flowers were so rare as to be out of her reach
altogether, there was nothing to be done but to copy from the plates of
the original work.  With the translation she took great pains, and here
Jane helped her.  Jane had an excellent and well-cultivated taste, and
she was therefore well fitted to judge of style, and she assisted
Isabella to re-write and polish her translation, till no foreign idiom
could be detected, and till there was no trace of the stiffness or
poverty which characterises most versions from the French.  When this
was done, Jane, who wrote a much better hand than Isabella, transcribed
it, by degrees, as the drawings were finished, one by one, so that the
work was complete as far as it went.  At this time, only four drawings
and about twelve pages of copying remained to be done, and then it was
to try its fate in the hands of a London bookseller.

Charles was delighted with the plan, as Jane described it; but she would
not let him see the work till Isabella was present.  She said that if it
did not answer she should be quite grieved, for that it had been the
object of chief interest to Isabella for many months, and she had been
unwearied in her application to it during all her leisure hours in that
time.  They could form no idea of the sum it ought to bring them; but
Jane said she would not take less than ten guineas, and she hoped for
more.  Charles shook his head, and was afraid she expected too much; but
he promised to take charge of it when he returned, if it could be
finished by that time, and to do all in his power to dispose of it
advantageously.  He then enquired whether the five guineas which they
had already earned remained untouched; and on being told that it was to
lie by till they were rich enough to purchase a piano, or till some
unforeseen emergency should call it into use, he presented his own five
pound note to Jane to add to the little fund.

Jane was most unwilling to receive the fruits of his labour and
self-denial; but she knew that he spoke the truth when he said that no
other use to which he could apply it would give him half so much
pleasure.  It gave him pleasure, he said, to think that they had a
little sum of their own to go to, instead of having to apply to their
friends in case of sickness, family mourning, or any other incidental
expense likely to occur in a family consisting of several members, and
widely, though distantly, connected with many more.  "It is not being
over-prudent, Jane; it is not being worldly-minded, I hope, to think in
this way, is it?"

"I think not," replied Jane.  "I am often afraid of becoming so, I
assure you, and I try to keep this fear in mind from day to day.  At
present, however, we have been led on so easily, our path has been so
smoothed for us, that it seems hardly possible that we should be
unmindful _who_ it is that has disposed all things for us.  _Now_ I am
reminded, day by day, how grateful I ought to be: if I become worldly,
it will more probably be when I have greater labours and anxieties to
undergo.  If we can meet in this way, dear Charles, from time to time,
it will be as strong a safeguard against worldliness as we can have."

In the course of the morning Charles called on his Quaker travelling
companion, and gave him an account of the night which he had passed with
poor Monteath, and of the circumstances under which he had left his
charge.  The excellent man was much interested, and said he wished that
he could himself have remained, and saved Charles the pain of these
anxious hours.

"My wife," said he, "was saved much fear by my speedy arrival, I hope
thy friends had no fear for thee?"

"My sisters," replied Charles, "were not aware of my journey, as it
fortunately happened."

"And thy father and mother: hadst thou not a father and mother to await
thy arrival?"

Charles shortly explained his family circumstances.

"Thy sister must have a strong mind, like thine, to conduct a household,
and to employ herself in another responsible situation also; considering
that she is yet young.  Thou wilt come again?" said he, seeing that
Charles was preparing to depart, "thou wilt come again?  Uncommon
circumstances have made us acquainted, and I should be unwilling to
discontinue our acquaintance, as it may be pleasant to both of us."

Charles promised to call again.

"My wife, as I told thee, is ill," said Mr Franklin, (for that was his
name,) "and therefore cannot go to see thy sister; but if thou wilt take
thy tea with us to-morrow, and if thy sister will disregard ceremony,
and come with thee, we shall be glad."

Charles accepted the invitation with great pleasure, as he thought that
this respectable family might prove pleasant and valuable friends to
Jane.

He next called on Mr Barker, who was not a little astonished at the
sight of him.  Charles told him that Jane and he were anxious to have
his advice on the important subject of Mrs Rathbone's letter.  Mr
Barker promised to devote the first leisure time he had to them.
Charles next called at Mr Monteath's door, to enquire concerning his
friend; but no account had arrived, or was expected before the evening.

When the messenger arrived, he brought a favourable report.  The patient
was easy, and all was going on right.  He sent, by his mother's letter,
an affectionate message to Charles, and said, he hoped by the time his
father returned to Exeter to be able to write a note himself to his
friend.

Mr Barker called in the evening to see Mrs Rathbone's letter
respecting Alfred, and to consult with Jane and her brother on the
subject.  They plainly told him their feelings upon it, their dislike to
the military profession, especially.

Mr Barker was silent, and looked thoughtful.

"Are we wrong, Sir?" asked Charles.  "Have we got high-flown or mistaken
notions about this? or is it presumptuous in us, who are so poor, and
under great obligations, to affect a choice for our brother?"

"No, my dear boy; none of these.  I was silent because I was thinking of
a sad story, and wondering whether I should tell it you.  Have you quite
made up your minds to reject Mr Rathbone's offer?"

"That depends on your opinion," said Jane.  "If you shew us that
Charles's ideas of the hazard and probable misery of such a destination,
are mistaken, we must deliberate further: but if what I have heard be
true, I would as soon see Alfred in his coffin as incur so fearful a
responsibility."

"I think what Charles has said is all true: but, my dears, you must
prepare yourselves for something which will be to you very terrible."

"Mr Rathbone's displeasure," said Charles.  "I feared that: but
grateful as we are and ought to be for his most disinterested generosity
to us, we ought to look on his gifts as curses, if they take from us the
liberty of unbiassed choice, where the moral welfare of a brother is in
question."

"Say so in your reply to him, Charles."

"But it may be," said Jane, "that he will not be displeased.  We take
for granted much too readily, I think, that he will misunderstand us."

"Mr Rathbone's temper is peculiar," replied Mr Barker.  "A somewhat
haughty spirit was rendered imperious by the power and rank he possessed
in India.  Considering this, it is wonderful that he should retain so
generous a disposition as his is; but every one knows, and Charles
himself must have observed, that he cannot bear to be opposed,
especially in any scheme of benevolence."

Jane sighed.  "At any rate," said she, "he cannot prevent our being
grateful for what he has done, and for his present kind intentions.  It
is hard to be obliged to estrange such a friend, but it would be harder
still to devote Alfred to danger, and to temptations stronger than we
dare encounter ourselves."

"The estrangement will not be your work, but his own, Jane: that is, if
you write such a letter as I expect you will.  Do not let your fear of
offending cramp your expression.  Speak your gratitude freely, and also
your resolution of independence.  Write as freely as you have been
speaking to me."

"May I shew you my letter, Sir, and have your opinion of it?" asked
Jane.

"By all means," replied Mr Barker, "and the sooner it is done the
better."

"We have been saved much pain," said Charles, "by your entire agreement
with us.  I thought you would think as we did; but yet it is generally
believed a very fine thing to get a young man out to India."

"It is," said Mr Barker: "and in my young days a brother of my own was
sacrificed to this mistaken belief.  So you will not wonder that I view
the matter in the same light as you do.  It is a very common story.  He
left home as good and promising a youth as could be, but too young.
Fine visions of wealth and grandeur floated before him: poor fellow! he
desired them more for his family than for himself when he set out on his
career; but his affections gradually cooled as time rolled on, and the
prospect of seeing his home again was still very distant.  As he thought
less of his family he thought more of himself, and gave more and more
into habits of self-indulgence.  He got money very fast, and
occasionally sent some home, but squandered much more on his own
pleasures.  Then, as might be expected, his health failed: he dragged on
a miserable existence for many months, till an attack of illness, which
would formerly have been overcome in two days' time, carried him off, a
feeble and unresisting prey.  He was thought to have left a large
property, but it could never be got at; and I have heard my poor father
say that he was glad we never had a farthing of it, for it would have
seemed to him the price of blood.  It was a mistake, however, and only a
mistake; for his welfare was the object of his parents: but it was a
mistake whose consequences weighed them down with sorrow to their dying
days."

After Mr Barker was gone, this little family gathered together to close
the day with an hour of pleasant intercourse.  Isabella's work was
produced, and extremely did Charles admire it.  "Will it bring her ten
guineas?" asked Jane.

"Twenty, or nothing," said Charles.  "Only, I am no judge of these
things.  You must get it done for me to take back with me, Isabella."

Isabella thought it was impossible she could have earned twenty guineas
so easily.  Not very easily, Charles thought: the leisure hours of eight
months had been spent upon this, and great efforts of perseverance and
resolution had been required.  Add to this, the uncertainty and delay
and hazard which she yet had to encounter, and he thought that twenty
guineas was no more than a sufficient recompense.  He told her that all
would not be over when the work was finished, but that she might have to
wait many months before she knew its fate, and it was even very possible
that it might remain on her hands.  Isabella, however, had made up her
mind to be patient and to hope for the best.

When they separated for the night, Jane whispered to her brother,--"Yes,
we will keep together and be happy.  Better is poverty in this house,
than wealth in India."  Charles kissed her in sign of agreement.

The next morning Jane sat down to write her letter, with her brother by
her side.  He approved the simple account which she gave of their
feelings and opinions upon the important matter, and made her add, that
she and her brother had the sanction of Mr Barker's experienced
judgment.  Mr Barker had given her permission to say this, and when
Charles shewed him the letter, he approved the whole of it, and it was
therefore sealed and dispatched.  Jane endeavoured to forget her fears
about the answer, and determined to bear it patiently, whatever it might
be, knowing that she had acted to the best of her judgment.  During the
walk which she afterwards took with her brother she forget this subject
and every other, for he told her over again, and more completely, the
history of the night he had passed with poor Monteath.  On their return
home they made enquiry again at Mr Monteath's door, and heard that the
young man was going on so well, that his father would return to Exeter
in two days.

Charles heard from Mr Franklin that evening some further particulars
respecting Monteath's family, and respecting himself.  He was in
business with his father, and had lately become a partner.  They were
not supposed to be rich, but were universally esteemed for their
integrity.  There were several sisters, one older, and the rest younger
than their brother; but he was the only brother, and the pride and
delight of the family.  The good Quaker was evidently affected when he
spoke of the sorrow which this sad accident had brought among them, and
yet more when he spoke of an attachment which was supposed to exist
between Monteath and a young lady who was at present staying with his
sisters.  Mr Franklin had been at the house that morning, and the young
ladies had expressed in strong terms their gratitude to Charles, and the
desire they had to see this friend of their brother.  When their father
returned they hoped to be able to shew that they were not insensible and
ungrateful.  Mr Franklin told them that Charles was to be at his house
that evening, and he promised to take him to call, if he would be
induced to go.  Charles only thought himself too much honoured for what
he believed any one of common humanity would have done in his
circumstances, and he accordingly left Jane with Mrs Franklin, and
accompanied his friend to Mr Monteath's.  He saw the two eldest ladies,
but not their friend, which he was glad of, for he would have found
himself tongue-tied before her.

The wish of the young ladies was to learn, as distinctly as possible,
every thing that passed on that terrible night; and Charles related,
with perfect simplicity, every circumstance, except one or two, which he
thought would affect their feelings too deeply.  He could not help
expressing his admiration of the rational and manly courage with which
his friend had met so sudden a misfortune.

"We were not surprised at this," said his sister: "we always believed
that our brother's strength of mind would prove equal to any occasion,
however he might be tried."

"And now," replied Charles, "it has been proved that you were right; and
you have the comfort of knowing that he is equal to any trial, for none
can now befall him more sudden and more terrible."

"No, indeed," replied Miss Monteath; and she passed her hand over her
eyes, as if the thoughts of her brother's misfortune were too painful to
be borne.

"I mean," continued Charles, "more terrible _at the time_: for though
you will not now be inclined to agree with me perhaps, I do not think it
will prove a very great lasting misfortune.  I have known many instances
of similar deprivations, where usefulness and activity have been very
little if at all impaired."

Miss Monteath shook her head.

"I incline to think that my young friend is right," said Mr Franklin.
"I believe that the worst is over with thy brother and with his friends.
When he becomes accustomed to his new feelings, when he finds that art
affords valuable helps to repair an accident like this, when he finds
that he can pursue his usual employments without impediment, and that
the affection of his friends, especially of the nearest and dearest, is
enhanced by sympathy and approbation, I will even say admiration, dost
thou not think that he will be happy?  I think he may be quite as happy
as he has ever been."

"There is one thing more that you have not mentioned," said Miss
Monteath, "the acquisition of a new friend."

"True," said the Quaker, "of a friend whose faithfulness was singularly
proved during the first hours of intercourse."

Charles became anxious to change the subject, and asked Miss Monteath
whether she had any idea how soon her brother would be able to return
home.

"Not for five or six weeks at the soonest," she said; and, after a few
more enquiries, Charles rose to take his leave.

Meantime, Jane had enjoyed a very pleasant hour with Mrs Franklin.
This good lady expressed some fear lest Jane should think her
impertinent; but she was really so much interested in her situation and
circumstances, that she could not help informing herself, as fully as
her young friend would allow, of their manner of living.  Jane made no
mysteries, for she was well enough acquainted with Mrs Franklin's
character to be very sure that it was not idle curiosity which made her
take so deep an interest in herself and her brothers and sisters.  Mrs
Franklin ended by saying, "When I am well, I will come and see thee; but
in the mean time, thou wilt bring thy sisters here, I hope.  I wish to
see them, and we have some fine prints, which will perhaps please
Isabella, as she likes such things."

Charles and Jane congratulated each other, as soon as they were alone,
on the acquisition of such friends as the Franklins appeared inclined to
be.

The following week passed away happily and quietly.  The only remarkable
circumstance which occurred was a call from Mr Monteath and his
daughter.  Jane was gratified by this mark of attention from Miss
Monteath, and Charles was no less pleased by receiving a short note from
his friend.  It was as follows.

  "My dear Friend,--

  "It is with some difficulty that I have obtained permission to write a
  few lines to you.  The purpose of them is to entreat you to spend a
  day or two with me on your return to London, if you can spare the time
  to one who has so slight a claim in comparison with your family.  On
  many accounts I wish to see you; but especially that I may express
  something of the gratitude and friendship which I feel, but cannot
  write, and which will remain a weight on my mind, unless you will come
  to me.  Do give me the greatest pleasure I can now enjoy.  I hope I am
  not selfish in urging it.  Farewell.

  "Ever your grateful friend,--

  "Henry Monteath."

Charles had pledged himself to be in London by Wednesday; and he
therefore determined to leave Exeter on the Monday morning, and to spend
the half of Monday and Tuesday with his friend.  His sisters were
grieved to lose a whole day of his society, but they made no opposition
to his plan, ready, as they always were, to give up their own wishes
when the sacrifice was required.  Isabella worked hard to finish her
little book; too hard, Jane feared, for she did not look well, and was
obliged to acknowledge frequently that her head ached.  On the Saturday
she set to work as soon as she returned from school, and was busy at the
last drawing all the afternoon.  She completed it just before dark, and
her brother and sisters heartily congratulated her on having put the
finishing stroke to her work: but she seemed to feel little pleasure;
and as she was putting away her pencils, Jane observed that her hand
shook violently, and that her face was flushed.  Charles gently
reproached her for her too anxious diligence; and she owned that she
felt very unwell, but she did not think it owing to her laborious
application.  Jane urged her to go to bed; but she would not consent to
lose so many hours of Charles's society, and she persisted in sitting up
to tea.  She was however unable to eat, and her headache became so
violent, and was accompanied with so overpowering a sickness, that she
could hold up no longer, and was conveyed to her bed.  Jane was very
uneasy, but Isabella and Hannah both thought it might be a common sick
headache, and persuaded Jane not to send for Mr Everett that night.

At bed-time she was very feverish, and passed a miserable night, and
when Jane went to her bedside at four o'clock the next morning, she was
terrified to find her slightly delirious.  Of course she remained with
Isabella, and before breakfast-time she sent to request Mr Everett's
attendance, as soon as convenient.  At six o'clock she gave her patient
some tea, and then Isabella spoke sensibly again; but she was restless,
and suffering much from headache.

This was sad news for Charles when he came down to breakfast; and this
last day with his sisters promised to be but a melancholy one.  Mr
Everett came early, and he was most anxiously questioned about his
patient.  He said that she was extremely unwell certainly; but whether
it would prove a short and sharp attack of fever, or an illness of more
serious consequence, he could not at present tell.  He advised that no
one should go into her room except Jane and Hannah, till they could be
quite sure that there was no fear of infection.  He desired Jane not to
think of resuming her employments at his house for a week at least, both
because it would be too painful to her to leave her sister, and because
he had rather ascertain the nature of the disorder, before he exposed
his children to the least risk of infection.  This did not serve to make
poor Jane less anxious.  She sat by Isabella's bedside, trying to keep
down melancholy thoughts, while Charles took Harriet and Alfred to
church.  The whole of the day was spent with them, and he scarcely saw
Jane at all.  In the dusk of the evening, he was sitting by the parlour
window, talking to his little brother and sister, when he saw the
postman come up to the door.  The arrival of a letter was a rare
occurrence, and the first idea which entered Charles's mind was that
perhaps a further leave of absence had come to cheer him and Jane, when
certainly such a comfort would be most welcome.  But his heart sunk when
he saw Mr Rathbone's hand-writing on the letter which Hannah brought
in.  He reproached himself for his ill-bodings as they arose, and he
asked himself why he dreaded a communication from one who had been the
kindest of friends to him, and he anticipated the shame he should feel
if, as was very likely, the letter should contain nothing but kindness.
He requested Hannah to bring candles, and then to sit with Isabella,
while Jane came down to read her letter, for it was addressed to her.
Jane opened it with a trembling hand, and Charles at once guessed its
contents when he saw it consisted of only a few lines.  He caught it as
it fell from his sister's hand, and read as follows:

  "Mr Rathbone is sorry that he was prevented by an unavoidable
  accident from opening Miss Forsyth's letter till yesterday.  Mr R.
  would have rejoiced to afford substantial assistance to the children
  of an old friend; but they who can set the romantic whims of unformed
  judgments against the knowledge and experience of a friend who has
  passed a long life in the world, prove themselves incapable of being
  guided by advice, and of profiting by well-meant and willing kindness.
  Mr R. has therefore only to regret that he can be of no further
  service, and to hope that Mr and Miss Forsyth will meet with other
  friends, and will know better how to value and retain them."

Jane had hid her face in her hands, and was sobbing violently, while
Charles read the letter.

He was almost choked with emotion.

"My poor Jane," he exclaimed, as he hung over her, "that this cruel
letter should have come just now, of all times.  What a heart must that
man have who could write to you in such a way.  I wish he could see you
now, that he might repent it as he ought to do."

"O Charles!" said Jane, "remember all his kindness to us."

"Remember it!" cried he, "it will stick in my throat as long as I live.
O that I could send him back his bank-notes and his presents, and be
free of all obligation!"

"Nay, dear Charles, do not let us be ungrateful because he is hasty.
His former kindness is not the less noble because of the present
misunderstanding.  We must be neither ungrateful nor proud."

"It is plain enough that he never saw you, Jane, or he would have
blushed to insult such a nature as yours.  I wish he could hear you
speaking of his kindness just when it is most painful to remember it: he
would feel how little he understands you."

"Never mind what he thinks of me," said Jane, raising her head and
attempting to smile.  She saw that poor Harriet was in tears, and that
Alfred was standing beside her chair with a look of deep concern.  They
both felt that all seemed to go wrong with them this day, though they
knew not the cause of their sister's unaccustomed tears.

Jane threw her arm round Alfred's neck and kissed him again and again.
"Never mind," she said again, "what Mr Rathbone thinks of us: we have
Alfred safe; we have not sacrificed him; we have done what we think is
best for our happiness; and shall we not willingly abide by our choice?"

"Surely we will," replied her brother, "and willingly pay the price of
our independence, though it be a heavy one."

"It is a heavy one, indeed," said Jane.  "I grieve for you the most,
Charles.  We can go on living as we have lived, and be only reminded
that we once had such a friend by the proofs of his kindness which we
see every day.  But it is hard upon you, separated from your family as
you are, to lose your only friend in London."

"Do not think about that, Jane; I have friends, and can make more.  If
you are able to get over this pretty easily, we need only be sorry for
Mr Rathbone: it must give him great pain to think us really ungrateful.
Harriet, dear, come and tell me what is the matter.  What makes you cry
so?"

"Because you are going away, Charles; and Isabella is ill; and Jane
cried so; I am sure something is the matter."

"But Isabella will be better to-morrow perhaps, and Jane is not unhappy
now; look at her, she is not crying now.  Go and kiss her."

"All will come right again soon, I dare say," said Jane.  "Charles will
come again some time when we are all well."

"And I shall not go to-morrow now," said Charles.  "I cannot leave you
so full of care."

"O, Charles! you will, you must go," said Jane.  "You have promised, and
you must go."

"I could not tell when I promised, that Isabella would be ill, and you
so anxious.  I cannot turn my back on you at such a time."

"You can do us no good, if you stay, indeed.  I must be with Isabella,
and Harriet and Alfred will be at school; so you would be of no use, and
it would make me uncomfortable to think you were breaking your promise.
O, indeed, Charles, this is mistaken kindness."

Charles did not know what to think: he proposed to consult Mr Barker.

"Do," said Jane, "he will tell us what is right."

Charles put on his hat.

"I wonder whether we shall see you again?" said Alfred.  "Harriet and I
are going to bed presently."

Charles kissed them tenderly.  "I dare say I shall see you at breakfast
to-morrow," said he: "if not, you will remember all the better what I
have been saying to you this evening.  You will be grown and altered
much before I see you again.  I hope I shall be able to love you then as
well as I do now, or even better."

Mr Barker was much concerned to hear Charles's little tale of
anxieties.  He advised him, however, to adhere to his promise respecting
his return to London.  Charles acquiesced at once in the decision of his
friend, and was relieved by the kind promises he received that his
sisters should be watched over with as much care as if their brother
were beside them; especially that Jane should not be allowed to try her
strength too much, in case of Isabella's illness proving long or
dangerous.  Charles with much emotion bid farewell to his good friend,
who said, "I cannot do for you what Mr Rathbone would have done: but
you may depend on me as a _sure_ friend at least.  I hope, for his own
sake, that he will come round again: in the mean time we must be more
sorry than angry."

"I _was_ angry," said Charles, "but Jane made me ashamed of myself: she
is as grateful to him as ever, and I will try to remember only his past
generosity."

"Jane is a good girl, and will be made all the better by these rubs,"
said Mr Barker.  "However, we will smooth things for her as well as we
can."

Charles called at Mr Monteath's to say farewell, and to take a parcel
from the young ladies to their brother.  He said nothing about his
sisters, as he knew Jane had rather be left in quietness, than have her
attention to her patient interrupted, even by the kind enquiries of
friends.  Mr Monteath took down Charles's address, and said he hoped to
call on him in London before long; and he earnestly desired that any of
the family would apply to him in any case where his advice or assistance
could be of service.

As Charles went home he thought with pleasure how his circle of friends
appeared to be widening.  He who was poor, and could only do good by
seizing accidental occasions, he who had, in his own opinion, nothing to
recommend him to the notice of his superiors, had gained friends whose
present kindness was delightful to him, and on the steadiness of whose
regard there was every reason to rely.  He and his sister agreed, before
they separated for the night, that, though they had some cares, they had
peculiar blessings; that, though one friend was unhappily estranged, new
and valuable supports were gained: and that valuable as these supports
were, there was One infinitely more precious, whose love no error can
overcloud, no repented sin alienate; who in sorrow draws yet nearer than
in gladness, and sheds his own peace over the hearts which humble
themselves under his chastening hand.

It had been arranged that Hannah should sit up with Isabella for the
first half of the night, and that Jane should take her place at three
o'clock in the morning: as by this means she might see Charles before
his departure at five o'clock.

Mr Everett had called again in the evening.  He saw no signs of
improvement in his patient, and was sorry to observe the great reduction
of strength which had taken place within a few hours.  He was now pretty
sure that the fever would prove a serious one.  What he said had given
Jane no comfort; but she endeavoured to brace up her mind to meet her
cares, and she found, as most in her situation do find, that her
strength proved equal to her trial.  In a melancholy, but not a restless
state of mind, she laid her head on her pillow, and having enjoyed the
relief of expressing her cares and fears to Him who alone could remove
them, she fell asleep, and continued so, till Hannah called her at four
o'clock, instead of three, as she had been desired.  Jane afterwards
asked her the reason, and good Hannah declared that she could not find
in her heart to disturb so refreshing a repose, till it was time to call
Mr Charles also.

"Thank you, Hannah," said Jane; "but the next time we divide the night,
I must take the first half, and you the last."

Isabella had slept but little, and though not delirious, was restless
and uncomfortable.  Her mind was full of Charles's departure, and of her
wish to see him again.  She even wished to get up and meet him at the
room door, if Jane would not allow him to breathe the air of the sick
chamber.  Jane was more prudent, however, than to expose Charles to the
risk of infection, and she brought Isabella to be content with a
cheerful message of love, which she knew Charles would send.  Charles
was yet more grieved than his poor sister to depart without exchanging a
word or a kiss; for he could not keep off the thought that he might
perhaps see her no more.  There was no knowing; she might perhaps be no
nearer death than the others; but it was a great grief to leave her so
ill, and without saying farewell.  He sent her a note, however, and
promised to write frequently to her, and with this she was obliged to be
satisfied.

Never had poor Jane felt the trial of separation so much: the trial
itself was greater, and she had no liberty to indulge her feelings.  She
could not leave Isabella, and she could not give way to tears before
her, nor even speak to her of her sorrow.  She smiled and spoke
cheerfully, though her heart was heavier than it had ever been.  Charles
was not much happier; but they had both the consciousness of being
useful to cheer them, and Charles really expected much pleasure from
intercourse with Henry Monteath.  He arrived at the well-known
public-house by breakfast-time: he had recognised the very spot on the
road where the coach was upset, and was himself surprised at the
involuntary shudder which the sight of it caused.

Mrs Monteath met him on the stairs, and welcomed him kindly.  She said
that her son was impatient to see him, and would be on his sofa, and
prepared for a long day of pleasure, by the time Charles had finished
his breakfast.  In the mean time she conveyed to Henry the parcel which
Charles had brought from the young ladies.

In answer to his very anxious enquiries, Mrs Monteath said that her
son's recovery had been as favourable as possible: this was partly owing
to the cheerful state of his mind, of which, she said, Charles would be
able to judge when he conversed with him.  She said she was surprised
every day to find how easy she herself was: but she supposed that the
pleasure of witnessing his daily progress, made her unmindful of what
her son had gone through, and of the trials and deprivations he yet had
to encounter.  Charles thought this a very natural and happy thing, and
he told Mrs Monteath, what he himself believed, that these deprivations
would be much less formidable in reality than in anticipation.  Mrs
Monteath was an anxious mother, and she asked Charles many particulars
about her family: how they were in health and spirits; how they spoke
respecting their brother; and many other things.  Charles told her all
that had passed the evening before, during his visit, and observed that
when he mentioned Miss Auchinvole, the friend of the young ladies, Mrs
Monteath's countenance expressed peculiar interest.  Charles had not
much to say about her, for she had scarcely spoken, but he could not
help saying how much he had been struck by her appearance and manner.
She looked pale and anxious, but she smiled occasionally; and there was
a sweetness in that smile which Charles thought must make its way to any
heart.  He freely told Mrs Monteath what he thought, and far as he was
from wishing to learn from her manner any family secrets, he could not
help believing from the tears which rose to her eyes, and the mournful
smile with which she listened to the praises of Margaret Auchinvole,
that the friendship between her and Henry Monteath was of a dearer
nature than that in which his sisters bore their part.  Charles
earnestly hoped that this might be the case, and that when restored to
health, a happiness, to which this accident need, he thought, oppose no
impediment, might be in store for his friend.

Charles observed that there was much more appearance of comfort in the
little parlour now than when he saw it before.  Mrs Monteath told him
that the people of the house were willing and obliging, and that she had
contrived by various means to collect comforts round them, and to make
their two rooms fit for the accommodation of an invalid, in preference
to hazarding a removal, which might have been dangerous, and which her
son dreaded more than any thing.  She hoped in another week to remove
him to lodgings in a farm-house, about four miles off, and in a month or
five weeks to take him home.

When Charles entered Monteath's chamber, he saw him lying on his sofa,
looking very pale and weak, but with a cheerful countenance.  He eagerly
held out his hand to Charles, and welcomed him with a smile and words of
great kindness.  Mrs Monteath left them together.

"I rejoice to see you so much better and happier than when I left you,"
said Charles.

"Much better and much happier," replied he.  "I am glad that you have
seen me again; for I am sure all your thoughts of me must have been
melancholy thoughts; and I wish that my friend should see me in other
hours than those of weakness and misery."

"So far from having none but melancholy thoughts about you," said
Charles, "I have been drawing a very fine picture of your future
usefulness and happiness, for your sisters' consolation."

"And did they believe you?"

"I hope so, for I am sure I said nothing unreasonable."

"And did they all hear you?"

"No, only two of them that evening.  Last night, however, I saw the
whole party, and they were all well and happy, as I dare say they have
told you themselves."

"They have.  When we get to our lodgings in the country next week, some
of them will come to us.  Much as I long to see them, I almost dread
stirring."

"O you will recover much faster when you are in quiet, and when you can
go out every day.  You can hardly feel here the delight of returning
health.  I know from experience that the first sight of the face of
nature, in a season like this, after days and weeks of illness, is one
of the most exquisite pleasures that life can afford."

"_I_ believe it," said Monteath.  "I expect to enjoy it much; though,
with me, all cares will not be over when health returns.  I have already
made up my mind to every thing, however, and am determined to make the
best of my lot.  It is astonishing how soon one's mind becomes
reconciled to circumstances.  At this hour, a fortnight ago, I should
have shuddered at the very thoughts of what I have yet to go through:
but I am pretty well reconciled to it now, and do not see why I should
not be tolerably happy.  To be sure, this fortnight has seemed longer
than any year of my life before."

"I do not see," said Charles, "why you should not be _very_ happy, when
you have once got into the round of your occupations again.  In the mean
time you will meet with some painful circumstances no doubt; but then
you have consolations which have supported you in a far worse trial than
any you are likely to meet with again."

"True; those consolations are worth any thing: it makes me quite ashamed
to set my fears and troubles in opposition to such comforts."

"If it is not painful to you," said Charles, "I should like to know what
your fears and troubles are; and perhaps by bringing yourself to speak
frankly of them, you may find that your imagination has magnified them."

"It is selfish to talk so much about myself," replied Monteath.

"I came on purpose to hear you," said Charles, "and nothing can interest
me so much."

"Well, then," said Monteath, "I have been thinking how far my usual
pursuits will be hindered by this accident.  I am afraid that my father
will not allow me to take on myself, as I used to do, the most laborious
part of our business concerns.  I have, to be sure, spent a great part
of my time in the counting-house; but there is a great deal of active
business to be done besides, and journeys to be performed; and I am
afraid that my father will take more upon him than at his age he can do
without fatigue."

"I do not see," said Charles, "why you should not be almost as active as
you have ever been; and as to journeys, unless this accident has made a
coward of you, which I do not believe, you seem to me just as able to
take them as ever.  If not, it is no difficult matter to procure a
traveller.  Depend upon it, your father will spare himself for his
children's sake.  So you see business may go on as well as ever.  Now
for pleasure.  Do you keep a horse?"

"No, but I mean to do it now; that is no difficulty.  There is one more,
which I am almost ashamed to mention; but I will.  I never could bear to
be conspicuous, to be unlike other people, to attract notice; in short,
to be stared at."

"Do not be ashamed of feeling that," said Charles: "in my opinion, this
is the worst evil of all."

"Is it, really?" said Monteath.  "Worse than having one's usefulness and
independence impaired?"

"No," replied Charles.  "But I see no reason why your usefulness and
independence should be impaired.  If you had lost an arm, the case would
have been different: but art affords such helps in your case, that it is
only on occasions of extraordinary danger that you would not be able to
exert yourself as well as ever."

"I hope you are right," replied Monteath.  "You think, then, that I am
not wrong to dread being made an object of curiosity for the first time
in my life?"

"I do not wonder at it, certainly," said Charles: "but, remember, it
will be only a temporary inconvenience: your acquaintance will soon get
accustomed to the sight of you; and, if you will condescend to take
pains at first with your manner of walking, there will be nothing
remarkable in your appearance.  I conclude you will throw aside your
crutches as soon as you can?"

"Of course," replied Monteath.  "You will see me in London for that
purpose as soon as I am allowed to go.  Now do you think me weak for
dwelling on these trifles, as some people call them?"

"Trifles they are not," said Charles: "and therefore it is any thing but
weakness to bring them out, to face them, and make up your mind how they
are to be met.  In my opinion, a great deal of mischief is done by
calling these things trifles, and putting them out of sight as fast as
possible, instead of affording that help to those who suffer under them
which is largely dispensed on occasions which have not nearly so great
an effect on happiness."

"That is exactly what I have often thought lately," said Monteath.  "In
how many books, where the loss of fortune is described, the minutest
difficulties which such a loss occasions are detailed at length! but if,
as seldom happens, the loss of a limb is mentioned, we never get beyond
the first part of the story, and the little daily difficulties and
privations, which are of more importance than the lesser evils of
poverty, are quite left out of sight.  I imagine there are some ideas of
ridicule attached to them."

"Perhaps so," replied Charles; "but such associations are false, and
ought to be broken through.  Blindness is frequently made interesting in
books: deafness seldom or never.  There are interesting and poetical
associations connected with blindness; ridiculous, low, or common ones
only with deafness.  A blind heroine is charming; but would not all the
world laugh at the very idea of a deaf one?  And yet this seems to me
unjust: for I question whether, in daily life, both would not have an
equal chance of appearing ridiculous on some occasions, and interesting
on others."

"Do you mean partial or total blindness and deafness?  A heroine totally
blind is certainly thought more interesting than one partially deaf: but
would not a deaf and dumb person make a better figure than one extremely
short-sighted?"

Charles laughed.  "They are both as far from picturesque as need be,
certainly," said he: "but still I think blindness has the advantage in
exciting interest."

"Well," said Monteath, "nobody is likely to make a hero of me.  I am in
no danger of finding my own likeness in a novel or on the stage."

"No," replied Charles, "nor yet in books of any other kind.  If you had
lost a friend or your fortune, you might find the most exact directions
how to comfort yourself, and plenty of medicine of the soul to suit your
particular case.  As it is, you must look in books for general
consolation, and elsewhere for what more you may need."

"This is no desperate condition to be in either," said Monteath.  "I
think I could do without the general consolations you speak of.  I have
been on my sofa here this fortnight, with only one book (which of course
you mean to except) and my own mind to draw consolation from, and I have
found enough for my need.  I expect, however, to be in greater need
hereafter."

"Surely not," said Charles.  "Surely you have gone through the worst!"

"I know not," said Monteath.  "The colour of my whole future life has
perhaps been changed by this accident; and I must expect this conviction
to come upon me painfully from time to time."

"What do you mean?" said Charles.  "The whole colour of your future
life!  You surely do not mean that you will not marry?"

"That is what I was thinking of, certainly," said Henry, in a very low
voice.

"My dear friend," said Charles, "this is the scruple of a sick man's
brain.  Put it out of your head for the present, I advise you, and I
will answer for it that, six months hence, you will feel very
differently.  The woman would but little deserve you who could raise
such an objection; and you have just as much power now as ever to make a
wife happy."

Charles wished to turn the conversation, for he saw that his friend was
agitated; but he could think of nothing to say at the moment, except
about Miss Auchinvole, and that was the only subject which would not do.
At length he said, "You must not let me weary you with talking.  You
know I cannot tell what you are equal to, and Mrs Monteath will never
forgive me if I set you back in the least.  Had I not better leave you?"

"O no! do not go!" said Monteath; "you do not know how strong I am.  I
shall sleep in the afternoon, but I hope to have you with me all day
besides.  I do not scruple saying so, for I cannot conceive that you
will find amusement elsewhere in a place like this."

"If I could," said Charles, "I am not much inclined for it to-day.
Conversation with a friend is a great cordial in times of anxiety, and I
own that I am anxious now."

He said this for the purpose of drawing his friend's attention from a
subject which appeared to agitate him too much.  Charles was not wrong
in expecting his ready sympathy.  Isabella's illness was mentioned, and
Monteath forgot himself in his anxiety for Charles.  He asked many
questions about the girls and Alfred.

"How old is Alfred?"

"Nearly eleven."

"What do you intend him for?"

"We have no present intentions about his future destination," said
Charles.  "He will remain at school till he is fifteen; so we need be in
no hurry about it."

"Then your sister will continue on her present plan till that time?"

"Yes," replied Charles; "for Harriet will not be old enough to go out
before five years from this time.  Isabella wishes to be independent in
two years, and I think she will be well qualified; but it will be a
grievous thing to Jane to part with her."

"It must, indeed," said Monteath.  "You know I have seen your sister
Jane, more than once, and she fixed my attention immediately by the way
in which she managed those spoiled children of Mrs Everett's.  Nobody
ever had any control over them but your sister; but they are in much
better order than they used to be."

"It gives Jane much satisfaction to think so," said Charles.

"But it must be very discouraging work," said Monteath, "to do her best
for them, for half of every day, and to be obliged to surrender them to
be spoiled for the other half."

"I should find it so," replied Charles: "but Jane makes as little as
possible of discouragements.  Her temper used to be an anxious one too:
but she has had so much to do and to bear, that she has learned not to
look from side to side in hope or fear, but to go on, straight forwards,
in the road of duty, whether an easy one or not."

"She is an enviable person then," said Monteath.

"All things are by comparison," said Charles, rather confused when he
recollected what he had said about his sister.  "I do not mean that she
never flags: I was only speaking of her in comparison with myself, and
with her former self."

"Nothing but religious principle could enable her to do this," said
Monteath.  "This is the secret of her superiority, is it not?  Without
this her trials would have produced depression, instead of renewed
energy."

"Certainly," replied Charles.  "There are many who pity her under her
weight of cares, and who are grieved when they think that she is an
orphan, and that she has more arduous duties to perform than many can
get through under the guidance and with the assistance of parents or
experienced friends.  But Jane knows that she is guided, though
invisibly, by the best and wisest of Parents, and the Bible is to her as
His manifest presence: she has recourse to it on all occasions of
difficulty, and can never want confidence or feel forlorn, while such a
director is at hand."

"Those whose reason is matured enough, and whose religious affections
are cultivated enough to attach their heart and soul to such a guide,
may well do without other support," said Monteath.  "`The integrity of
the upright shall guide them!'  But there are few of your sister's age
who are thus advanced in the ways of wisdom."

"If so," said Charles, "her superiority is to be ascribed to the
peculiar circumstances in which the Father of her spirit has placed her.
And, surely, trials which produce such an effect should be endured with
submission and remembered with gratitude."

"That comes home to my conscience," said Monteath: "_I_ am now under
trial, and such ought to be its effect upon me.  But your sister's
circumstances have been such as to draw her attention from herself, to
carry out her affections and fix them on various objects: but I am
afraid the direct tendency of personal suffering is to produce
selfishness."

"It may either do that or the reverse, I believe," said Charles: "I have
known instances of both.  I have heard of a cousin of my mother's, who
was a cripple from disease.  She passed through life very quietly.  She
never complained of her deprivations: her temper was placid, and she
found employment for her cultivated intellect in studies of various
kinds: but nobody was ever the better for them.  She did no good, though
she never did any harm: she never seemed to love any one person more
than another, and of course nobody was particularly attached to her.
She lived to the age of sixty, and went on with her own pursuits to the
very last, but she left no trace behind her of beneficent deeds, and she
lived in the memory and not in the affections of those around her.  I
have always grieved over the wasted talents of this lady.  Half her
learning communicated to those less informed than herself, half her time
(of which she had abundance) devoted to the assistance of her
neighbours, half her affections exchanged with those who were disposed
to love her, would have made her wise instead of learned, useful instead
of harmless, beloved rather than served, and mourned rather than merely
remembered."

"But she could not have been a pious woman," said Monteath.  "A life of
selfishness is inconsistent with piety."

"Nobody can say that she was not religious," replied Charles; "because
nobody knew what she felt and thought: some say that she must have been
pious, or she could not have been placid and contented under her
deprivations.  I should therefore suppose that she had just enough
reliance upon Providence to prevent a naturally cheerful mind from being
corroded by discontent: but it is easy to see that she had not those
comprehensive views, which teach that the very best of selfish
pleasures, those of intellectual cultivation, are to be pursued as a
means only, not as an end, and that the grand design for which we are
created is to diminish continually our concern for ourselves in an
increasing love of God and our neighbour."

"I cannot help," said Monteath, "applying cases like these to myself,
just now.  I want to place as many guides and as many warnings before me
as possible.  I hope it is not selfish to think of these things with a
reference to myself, and to tell you that I do so."

"By no means," replied Charles; "for I imagine that you feel the present
time as a kind of crisis in your character.  I think you must enter the
world from a bed of pain, either better or worse than when you left it,
and you are right to make use of all the helps you can."

"Then give me," said Monteath, "some instances of benevolence promoted,
of hearts and hands opened by personal suffering.  It will do me good to
hear them."

Just as Charles was beginning to speak, Mrs Monteath came into the
room, and the conversation was turned into a different channel.  Charles
regretted this, but she had something quite different to ask her son
about.  The greater part of the day was spent in cheerful chat, and in
reading aloud, which Mrs Monteath proposed, that Henry might not exert
himself too much in talking.  In the evening the young men were again
left alone for awhile, and Monteath asked his friend to read a little to
him from the Bible.  Charles did so with much satisfaction, and after he
had done, Henry tried to express to him what comfort and support their
religious exercises had afforded him on his night of suffering.  Charles
rejoiced to hear him say so, but stopped him when he wished to speak of
his obligations and his gratitude.  They parted for the night with as
warm feelings of interest and esteem as one day could produce, and
another confirm.

In the morning they met only for a few moments.  They agreed to
correspond occasionally, and to look forward to a time, not very far
distant, when Monteath's visit to London might give them an opportunity
of meeting again.  Charles then mounted the coach, and sighed when he
thought of the friends he had left behind, and of the small number who
would greet him with pleasure on his return to London.



CHAPTER FOUR.

When Charles returned to his usual employments, and mixed again with
companions who had no peculiar interest in his concerns, he could
scarcely for an instant keep his thoughts from dwelling on the home he
had left, and his anxiety to know more of Isabella became painful.

He received a letter from Jane the day after his arrival, but the
tidings were not pleasant.  Isabella was in great danger: her fever ran
high, and for many hours she had been delirious.  Charles was to hear
again by the next post.  The next post brought a letter from Mr Barker.
Isabella was not better, and Mr Everett thought that if a great change
for the better did not take place in forty-eight hours, she could not
live.  After giving these particulars, the letter continued:

  "Do not be too anxious about Jane: she is surrounded by kind friends;
  who are willing to help her, but she needs no assistance.  She will
  relinquish the care of her sister to none but Hannah, and never even
  to her, except when a few hours of rest are absolutely necessary to
  her.  She seems strong in mind and body, quite aware of the danger,
  and quite prepared for every thing.  She has allowed her friends to
  take charge of Harriet and Alfred: they are with us just now.  Mr
  Monteath and his daughters are much concerned at this illness, and so
  are the Franklins.  Mrs F. shews her kindness in a very acceptable
  manner.  She has sent a dinner ready cooked, every day, to your
  sister's house, that Jane may have as much of Hannah's assistance as
  possible.  Mr Monteath sent some excellent Madeira, on hearing that
  wine was ordered, and his daughters have procured foreign grapes and
  various other luxuries for the invalid.  I mention these things to
  prove to you that your sisters will want no assistance that friends
  can give, and even at this time it will be a great pleasure to you to
  be convinced that their worth is appreciated, and that their claims to
  esteem are allowed.

  "We are very sorry for you, Charles, that you must be away just now:
  but you did right in going at the time you promised, and we will still
  hope that you will be rewarded by hearing better tidings than I am
  able to communicate to-day.  You shall hear by every post.  All your
  friends here send their love to you, and so do I, my dear boy.
  Farewell.

  "P.S.  My wife has just been to your sister's.  Mr Everett was there,
  and he thought he perceived a slight improvement in the state of the
  pulse and skin.  May he be right!"

Charles longed to write to Jane, and this postscript encouraged him to
do it.  He wrote cheerfully, earnestly hoping that before his letter
should arrive, such an improvement might have taken place as should
render his expressions of hope not ill-timed.  Mr Barker wrote again
the next day.  Isabella was not worse, perhaps a little better, but in a
state of such extreme weakness, that there were yet but very slight
hopes that she could get through.  After this, the accounts were better
for a day or two; the fever was gone, and she had gained a little
strength.  In two days more, Jane wrote herself, as follows.

  "At length, dearest Charles, I can write to you again with my own
  hand.  I could not till yesterday leave Isabella's bedside for an
  hour.  Now, however, she sleeps a great deal, and therefore does not
  require such constant watching.  She is certainly better, much better;
  but still so weak, that she cannot move a limb.  O!  I was so glad
  when her delirium ceased.  Weak as she was, she was incessantly
  attempting to rise, and was never quiet for an instant.  Now she lies
  quite still, generally with her eyes closed, so that we can scarcely
  tell when she is asleep; but I think she dozes for many hours in the
  day.  She takes very little nourishment yet, but we have got down more
  to-day than yesterday.  Our friends have sent all kinds of delicacies
  to tempt her, but I do not think she knows one thing from another yet.
  She opens her eyes: I must go to her.  O, dear Charles, she has
  spoken for the first time since her delirium ceased!  I could scarcely
  understand her.  `Are you writing?' she said.  `Yes, I am writing to
  Charles, to tell him you are better.'--`My love to him: I _am_
  better.'  `May I say you are comfortable now?'--`O yes!'

  "My hopes have risen much since yesterday; but we must beware of too
  early hope: there is much to be done yet.  I have _trusted_
  throughout.  I have tried to be hopeful, even while I contemplated the
  danger.  Now that things look brighter, let us hope yet more; I need
  not say, let us be grateful; I am sure you are, and my own heart is
  now full of gratitude.  Farewell.

  "Jane Forsyth.

  "P.S.  You shall certainly hear, in a day or two: if not to-morrow,
  you may conclude that we go on well."

Slowly, very slowly, Isabella continued to gain strength, and in three
weeks from Jane's last letter, Charles allowed himself to dismiss all
apprehensions.  At that time, Isabella added two lines to a letter of
Jane's, to shew that she _could_ write, though the almost illegible
character of the writing shewed how much even this exertion cost her.
This was the signal for Charles to write to her, but he wished first to
know the opinion of the bookseller to whom he had taken Isabella's
little volume.  He called at the shop, accordingly, but could obtain no
decided answer.  The bookseller approved it, on the whole, and thought
it might make a very pretty volume, if he could be certain that it would
answer the expense of printing handsomely, and so forth.  Charles asked
him how soon he could make up his mind: he really could not tell, but
Charles might call again in a week.  Charles agreed to do so, and said
that he should wish to have the manuscript back at that time, or a
decisive answer.  He was sorry not to be able to give Isabella a more
satisfactory account of her book; but he had previously warned her that
she would probably have need of much patience.

At the end of another week Charles went again.  The bookseller had
thought no more of the matter; and Charles, not choosing to be any
longer put off in this way, insisted on the manuscript being restored to
him, and he could not help sighing as he pocketed it.  It was not in the
most cheerful mood that he left the shop, and his eyes were bent on the
ground as he walked.  On turning the corner of a street, however, he
looked up, and saw at a little distance, on the opposite pavement, a
gentleman approaching, who, he was pretty sure, could be no other than
Mr Rathbone.  A second look convinced him that it was, and he could not
resist the impulse which the sight of his old friend inspired, to run
towards him.  Mr Rathbone looked full at him, and then turned quickly
off the pavement, crossed the street, and pursued his way up another
street.  Charles was quite certain that Mr Rathbone had seen and known
him, and had deliberately avoided him, and with this conviction a flood
of bitter feelings came over him which almost overwhelmed him.  He
struggled against them, but tears would force their way, and his knees
even bent under him.  There was a print-shop behind him, and he turned
round and leaned against the window, while he tried to recover himself.

This was indeed bitter enmity in return for what he could not even allow
to be an offence.  This thought--that there was, in reality, no offence,
helped to restore his courage, and he was just dashing away the last
tear that remained upon his cheek, and turning away from the
picture-shop, on the beauties of which he had not bestowed a single
glance, when a person at his elbow spoke to him.  Charles looked up.  It
was Mr Blyth, who had purchased Isabella's work-bags and boxes.

"It is a curious thing, is it not?" said he to Charles, "that they
should have got that sketch up at a print-shop.  You see it is the very
same as your sister's drawing, that group of people and all."

Charles looked again, and saw a beautiful print of his favourite
landscape, the Bubbling Spring.  It was the very same indeed, and the
figures exactly copied from Isabella's drawing.  They could not be
mistaken: there were Jane and Harriet seated on the bank, and Alfred
kneeling on a stone, and looking into the basin which was formed a
little way below the fountain-head.

Charles uttered an exclamation of surprise.

"Why, did not you see it till I pointed it out?" said Mr Blyth.

"No, indeed," replied Charles.

"Where were your eyes, man?  But are you sure that your sister did not
copy from this print?  You told me it was her own sketch, but you might
be mistaken."

Charles explained that the figures represented his sisters and brother.

"Well, it is a singular thing: but if her sketches are thought so good,
it is a pity she should waste her drawings on workboxes, which hundreds
of people can make as well.  I think she might turn her talents to
greater advantage.  May I ask, whether she has been doing any thing of
the kind lately?"

Charles hesitated for an instant whether he should confide to Mr Blyth
his anxieties about Isabella's little volume.  A moment's thought
decided him to be open about it.  He knew Mr Blyth very well: he
thought he might obtain directions and assistance from him better than
from any one else in London.  He accordingly said, "I have some of my
sister's handiwork now in my pocket.  I do not quite know what to do
with it.  If we were not in the street, I would shew it you and consult
you."

"Come in here, then," said Mr Blyth, and he entered the shop, and first
bought the print and gave it to Charles, and then was ready to hear what
his young friend had to say.  When he had heard of the unsuccessful
application to a bookseller, he asked his name.

"Is he the only one you have applied to?"

"Yes, at present."

"Then perhaps I can help you.  You know Mr -- is a great publisher.
Well: he is a friend of mine, and, if you like it, we will ask his
opinion.  He will not, at all events, neglect your business.  If the
volume is not worth the expense of publication, he will tell you so at
once; if it is, he will give you a fair price for it."

Charles was much pleased.

"If you have time," said Mr Blyth, "we will go to him now, for he lives
near.  I shall be very glad to help you," he added, kindly, "for you
look rather too anxious."

Mr Blyth represented to the publisher that it was important to his
young friend to know soon the fate of his work.  An answer was
accordingly promised in a week: and Charles, once more full of hope,
took leave of Mr Blyth with many thanks.

The bookseller was as good as his word.  When Charles called again, at
the end of a week, he received twenty guineas for the copyright of the
volume.  He was quite satisfied, and it gave him much pleasure to
transmit the money to Isabella.  Jane told him, in her answer, that she
had considered the money as disposed of before it arrived, as both she
and Isabella thought that the expenses of the latter's illness ought to
be defrayed out of their own little fund.  But to her agreeable surprise
Mrs Everett had told her that her salary was increased to thirty-five
pounds a year.  Such an increase as this was quite unexpected, and Jane
at first refused to receive it, as she had not attended her charge for
some weeks, while she was nursing Isabella.  Mrs Everett would not
listen to her objection, and thus Jane was able to pay her very moderate
surgeon's account without breaking into Isabella's earnings.

Jane also laid before her brother a very important plan which her
friends, the Everetts and Monteaths, had been forming for her, when they
found that Isabella was really likely to be restored to health.  It was
proposed that Isabella should be sent to a London school for two years,
to perfect her in some accomplishments, and that, on her return to
Exeter, she and Jane should take a house in a better situation than
their own, where they should open a day-school, on an excellent plan.
Mrs Everett promised them three pupils from her own family to begin
with, and the Miss Monteaths doubted not that their influence would
procure more.  Jane liked the plan very much, because she and Isabella
would not be separated, and they could still afford a home to Alfred for
some years.  "I need not," said Jane, "tell you the delightful
anticipations which I have for the future, if this plan can really be
carried into effect.  We two have always dreaded a separation, and
considered it as unavoidable; for Isabella only looked forward to going
out as a private governess, as soon as she felt she could
conscientiously engage to teach, and I always regretted having no
definite object in view for myself.  Now I have, and I must work harder
than ever to make up the many deficiencies of which I am sensible, in my
qualifications for teaching.  I have had a good deal of experience, and
I may in that way prove a help to Isabella, and I have tried to make the
most of the two hours which I have daily set apart for study.  Still
much remains to be done; but two years of application may do much for my
improvement.  I scarcely think at all about the separation from my
sister, so pleasant is the prospect of living together afterwards, and
in independence too.  One thing, however, rather troubles me.  I am
afraid Isabella's expenses will be considerable, and a new tax upon the
kindness of our friends.  I think that our little fund, joined to what I
can save from our household expenditure in consequence of her absence,
may make up the difference for one year: how shall we manage to raise
the rest?  Can you put me in any way of doing it?  She is to go at
Christmas.  What a pleasure it must be to you, to think of seeing her so
soon!  You cannot possibly be much together, but a few happy hours you
may enjoy occasionally.  If Mr Rathbone indeed--but it is wrong to
repine at that one sad circumstance when we are so surrounded with
blessings.  Never, never let us forget to whom we owe them: never again
let us repine at the present, or fear for the future.  I almost fancy
that I can see the time, dearest Charles, when you may begin to work for
yourself.  If Isabella and I get forward as our friends hope we may,
Alfred will be the only remaining charge, for Harriet will be first our
pupil, and afterwards our partner, we hope.  Tell me, without delay,
what you think of our plans."

Charles was much pleased with the scheme, and, before Christmas arrived,
he was able to send his sisters the delightful intelligence, that he
could assist as well as approve it.  Mr Gardiner had given him a
situation of greater trust, with an enlarged salary, so that he found he
should henceforth be able to spare twenty pounds a year to his sisters.
This removed Jane's anxiety with respect to the increased expense which
must be incurred by Isabella's London advantages.  Still she was afraid
that Charles denied himself necessary comforts, and was not satisfied
till Isabella had seen his lodgings, and ascertained by close
examination that his self-denial was not too severe.  His little parlour
was found to be the picture of comfort.  His sisters had compelled him
to accept a share of the beautiful books with which Mr Rathbone had
presented them, and he had added a few from time to time, till his
little shelves made a very pretty figure.  A few of Isabella's sketches
and the print which Mr Blyth had given him, ornamented the walls, and
his careful landlady was scrupulously neat, as to the furniture of his
parlour; so that he was by no means ashamed to let his sister see his
little dwelling.

He had another visitor too, about the same time.  Henry Monteath had
gone to London, according to his plan, and as he was detained three
weeks, he and Charles had many opportunities of meeting.  Monteath had
quite recovered his health, and, what was better, his spirits.  He
seemed quite happy, took pains to obviate, as far as he could, all
inconveniences which arose, and bore cheerfully those deprivations which
could not be avoided.  He soon walked very well with his new leg, and
was so active and strong, that Charles asked him whether he expected to
be pitied any more, and if he did, on what account.  Monteath replied,
that the misfortune was no great one, to be sure, but that no one but
himself knew how many and how various had been the little trials he had
had to go through since he had last parted with Charles.  They were
over, however, and he hoped had produced their proper effect, as he
certainly felt the wiser for them.  Charles was encouraged by his manner
of speaking to ask whether he still thought that this accident had
changed the colour of his whole future life.  Monteath smiled, and said
that his fears had misled his judgment, in a case where his interest had
been too strong to let him judge impartially.  Charles rejoiced at this,
and longed to hear something of Miss Auchinvole.  Monteath did not
mention her at that time, but at another he asked Charles how much he
had seen of her during his visit to Exeter.  She had returned to
Scotland in the autumn, and Monteath was to take two of his sisters to
spend some time with her the next summer.

Charles afterwards expressed his obligations to the Miss Monteaths, for
the kind interest they had taken in his sisters' plans.  Henry would
hear no thanks, but asked whether any thing was yet in view for Alfred,
and on learning that there was not, said that his father and he had been
thinking that they should like to secure the services of a youth so well
brought up, under their own eye, and that they proposed to take him, at
the age of fourteen, into their warehouse.  They would require no
premium, but would qualify him for business, and accept his services for
five years, during which time he could live with his sisters, and they
would then take care to provide him with a responsible and profitable
situation in their own establishment.  Charles's pleasure in this
prospect was inexpressible, and he more than ever rejoiced that he had
declined Mr Rathbone's offer.  If he had given his wishes full scope,
he could not have framed a more delightful scheme.  The prospects of his
family seemed brightening before them.  In two years more they would
perhaps be independent, and if Charles had been in the habit of thinking
much of himself, he might have added that in seven years he might begin
to work for himself: but neither were his own interests important
objects with him, nor did he think it wise to look forward very far,
knowing as he did how many things might intervene to frustrate plans and
destroy hopes, in the course of seven years.



CHAPTER FIVE.

In two years from the time that Isabella went to London, she returned
from school, improved in appearance and manners, well qualified for
assisting Jane in the management of their new establishment, and, though
aware of the importance of the situation she was to fill, as simple,
affectionate, and sweet-tempered as ever.  All was in readiness for them
to set out on their new way of life after Christmas.  Jane and Mr
Barker had fixed on a pleasant small house, in a good situation, in the
middle of the city.  Jane was sorry to be obliged to take so important a
step as engaging a house, without either Charles's or Isabella's
sanction; but with such a friend as Mr Barker at hand, her choice could
not be much amiss.  Happily, Charles was allowed the seasonable pleasure
of a week's holiday at Christmas, and he accordingly visited his sisters
after they had removed, and just before they opened their school.  The
arrangement of the house pleased him much.  The large school-room was
ornamented with their pretty little library, and with a very handsome
pair of globes, which Mr and Mrs Everett had presented to Jane as a
parting gift, when she quitted the situation in their family which she
had filled with so much credit to herself and satisfaction to them.  The
little parlour was fitted up with plain new furniture, which had been
purchased with the remains of the funds which the friends of the young
people had raised for their education, on the death of their father.
One year's schooling for Alfred was all that remained to be defrayed, as
Harriet was to receive the rest of her education from her sisters, and
Mr Barker thought that what was left could not be better applied than
in the purchase of furniture for the parlour and school-room.  The
twenty-five guineas which the girls had themselves earned was the means
of procuring them a good piano-forte; a thing which was quite necessary
in their new establishment, but which could not at present have been
afforded if their own industry had not given them the means.

Their number of pupils was at first ten, and they wished to increase it
to twenty.  The school hours were from nine till three; an hour being
allowed in the middle of the time for a walk in fine weather, and play
within doors when it rained.

By this means, Jane and Isabella secured the whole afternoon and evening
to themselves, and their purpose was to devote a portion of it regularly
to their own improvement.  If they could obtain the appointed number of
scholars, their income, though small, would be amply sufficient for
their wants, without any assistance from Charles.  He would not hear of
this, but insisted on their accepting twenty pounds the first year, and
afterwards ten pounds a year for Alfred, till he too should become
independent.

It may be imagined with what pleasure Charles saw his sisters thus
established, and with how much gratitude he looked on their present
situation and future prospects.  These feelings were confirmed by a
letter which he received from Jane a few weeks after she had begun to
experience the toils and satisfactions of school keeping.

  "Our employments," she said, "afford just the anxieties and pleasures
  which we expected from them.  I find less fatigue in my present
  duties, arduous as they are, than in my situation of daily governess,
  and Isabella is indefatigable.  The children are very fond of her.
  She seems peculiarly fitted to engage their affections, and that is
  the grand point of all.  We have difficulty in establishing sufficient
  order and quietness, without introducing formality, which, of all
  things, we wish to avoid; but in time we hope to get over this, and
  all our other little difficulties.  Our difficulties are all _little_
  ones now, and the delightful consciousness of independence which
  attends us, animates all our exertions, and makes every day pass
  happily.

  "We feel as if a great weight were taken off our minds, now that we
  are at liberty to use our powers for our own support, instead of being
  burdensome to others.  You have long known and enjoyed this feeling;
  to us it is new and inexpressibly delightful.  For the future we have
  no fears, and no further desires than to go on living as we are living
  now, only with the additional satisfaction of seeing that our
  endeavours to be useful are not in vain.  Think what it will be, dear
  Charles, to send our pupils into the world with firm principles,
  cultivated minds, and amiable manners, fitted to perform their duties,
  and to do good in their turn.  Is not this a satisfaction worth
  working for?  Is not this an end worthy of all our pains, of the
  employment of all our powers in its accomplishment?  Our heavenly
  Father has blessed us in various ways, in so many that it makes my
  heart swell with gratitude to think over the few years of our orphan
  life, and our present situation: but surely, if He makes us the means
  of administering religious and moral blessings to others of His
  offspring, his _last_ will be his _best_ gift.  If we can always feel
  this, we shall be always happy; but we must not expect that it can be
  so.  We shall meet with much disappointment: we shall have to lament
  the ill success of our labours in some instances, and, in all, shall
  feel occasional humiliation that we have not done more, instead of
  complacency that we have done so much: besides, there is a kind of
  ardour and enthusiasm in us just at present, which will subside in
  some degree after a time, and make us more painfully aware than we are
  now, of the difficulties and labours of our employments.  We are,
  however, abundantly happy at present, and full of hope for the future.

  "One reason why I write to you to-day, instead of at the regular time,
  is, that you may know, as soon as possible, that Alfred has gained
  great honour at the school examinations this week.  He has taken his
  place pretty high in the next class, and when Mr Barker called on Mr
  --, to settle the school-account, he was pleased to hear very high
  praise of Alfred.  Mr Monteath is very kind to him: he asked him to
  dinner last week, and made him very happy.  Alfred likes the idea of
  being in the warehouse much, and I am glad he knows what he has to
  look forward to.  I have heard, through the Miss Monteaths, of two
  more pupils who are to come to us at Midsummer, and Mrs Franklin has
  told us that an application is about to be made for another, at the
  same time, from a friend of hers: so we are likely to begin with
  fifteen next half-year.

  "Mr and Mrs H.  Monteath return from Scotland in a week or two.
  Their house is very near ours, and they have frequently expressed a
  wish that we may be good neighbours.  This will be a great privilege
  to us and to you in your occasional visits.  I think you will
  henceforth be able to come once a year, and it is possible, that if we
  go on prosperously, you may see us in London some time or other.  We
  have no plan at present for any thing of the kind; but it would
  certainly be a great advantage to Isabella to have lessons from London
  masters occasionally.  This, however, must be left to the future to
  arrange.  In the mean time, we are very happy that so many of us have
  been allowed to live together.  I once thought that we should be all
  dispersed: you where you are; Isabella as a private governess; Alfred
  in India; and myself--I did not know where.  But now four out of five
  of us are living under one roof, and with no fear of being separated.
  O what a privilege!  But I must stop my pen.  I sat down intending to
  shew you how happy we are.  Have I succeeded?  If I have, join me in
  thanksgivings to the `Father of the fatherless,'

  "I am your most affectionate,--

  "Jane Forsyth."

FINIS.





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