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´╗┐Title: Be Courteous, or, Religion, the True Refiner
Author: Maxwell, M. H. (Mary H.), 1815-1891
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 "Be Courteous, or, Religion, the True Refiner" ***

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BE COURTEOUS:

OR,

RELIGION THE TRUE REFINER.

BY MRS. M. H. MAXWELL.



[Illustration: MARY AND THE SICK CHILD--SEE PAGE 56.]



PREFACE.


The scenes and characters of this story are those once familiar to the
writer. The story itself is but a disconnected diary of one who, early
refined from earthly dross, lived only long enough to show us that
there was both reason and divine authority in the words of an apostle,
when he exhorted Christians to "Be Courteous."



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

THE PLAIN--THE ISOLATED DWELLING--BLUE-BERRY PARTY--TAKING A
VOTE--TREATMENT OF NEW ACQUAINTANCES--THE FAMILY AT APPLEDALE--THE
YOUNG PEOPLE UPON THE PLAIN----SINCERE MILK OF THE WORD--A CALL AT THE
LOG-HOUSE--THE RIDE HOME--ORIGINAL POETRY

CHAPTER II.

THE KIND "GOOD-MORNING "--THE HIGH HILL--UNEXPECTED MEETING--ROMANCE
AND REALITY--THE GOOD FARMER--IMPRESSIONS OF CHILDHOOD--WORSHIPING--
BEARING THE CROSS

CHAPTER III

THE POOR WOMAN OF THE PLAIN--THE NOTE--MOURNFUL MUSINGS--THE CUP OF
TEA--THE STRUGGLE--CHARITY AND SELF--EMMA'S HISTORY

CHAPTER IV.

THE LITTLE TIME--HOW IMPROVED--FITNESS FOR REFINED SOCIETY--MORNING
REFLECTIONS--RUTH AND BOAZ--CHARITY AND COURTESY--THE VISIT

CHAPTER V.

THE OLD PEDDLER--BITTER WORDS--THE MEEK REPLY--THE EFFECT--ACTING A
PART--SOFTER FEELINGS--THE DEATH-SCENE--THE DAY OF SMALL
THINGS--SIMPLE CHRISTIAN COURTESY



BE COURTEOUS:

OR,

RELIGION THE TRUE REFINER.



CHAPTER I.

THE PLAIN--THE ISOLATED DWELLING--BLUE-BERRY PARTY--TAKING A
VOTE--TREATMENT OF NEW ACQUAINTANCES--THE FAMILY AT APPLEDALE--THE
YOUNG PEOPLE UPON THE PLAIN--SINCERE MILK OF THE WORD--A CALL AT THE
LOG-HOUSE--THE RIDE HOME--ORIGINAL POETRY.


Not more than a mile and a half from a pleasant village in one of our
eastern States is a plain, extending many miles, and terminated on the
north by a widespread pond. A narrow road runs across the plain; but
the line of green grass bordering the "wheel-track" upon either side,
shows that though the nearest, this road is not the most frequented way
to the pond. Many reasons might be assigned for this. There is a
wearisome monotony in the scenery along this plain. There are no hills,
and but few trees to diversify the almost interminable prospect,
stretching east, west, north, and south, like a broad ocean, without
wave or ripple. The few trees scattered here and there stand alone,
casting long shadows over the plain at nightfall, and adding solemnity
to the mysterious stillness of that isolated place. It is not a place
for human habitation, for the soil is sandy and sterile; neither is it
a place for human hearts, so desolate in winter, and so unsheltered and
dry during the long warm summer. Yet midway between the village and the
pond was once a house, standing with its back turned unceremoniously
upon the narrow road with its border of green. It was a poor thing to
be called a house. Its front door was made, as it seemed, without
reference to anything, for it opened upon the broad ocean-like plain.
No questions had been asked relative to a title-deed of the land upon
which that house stood, or whether "poor Graffam" had a right to pile
up logs in the middle of that plain, and under them to hide a family of
six. Through many a long eastern winter that family had lived there,
little known, and little cared for. Nobody had taken the pains to go on
purpose to see them; yet, during the month of July, and a part of
August, some of the family were often seen. At all times of the year,
in summer's heat and in winter's snow, the children going and returning
from school, were wont to meet "poor Graffam," a short man, with sandy
hair, carrying an ax upon his shoulder, and bearing in his hand a small
pail of "dinner;" for Graffam, when refused employment by others,
usually found something to do at "Motley's Mills," which were about
half a mile from the village. Sad and serious-looking was this poor man
in the morning, and neither extreme civility nor extreme rudeness on
the part of the school children could procure a single word from him at
this time of day. Not thus at evening. "Let us run after Graffam, and
have some fun," the boys would say on returning home; and then it was
wonderful to see the change which had been wrought in this
mournful-looking, taciturn man of the morning. Sometimes he was in a
rage, repaying their assaults with fearful oaths and bitter curses; but
it was a thing more general to find him in merry mood, and then he was
himself a boy, pitching his companions about in the snow, or talking
with them largely and confidentially of landed estates and vast
resources all his own. It is needless to inform my sagacious young
reader, that the cause of this change in the poor man was rum.

We have referred to the month of July and a part of August; it was
during this season of the year that the plain, on account of the rich
berries tinging its surface with beautiful blue, became a place of much
resort. These berries, hanging in countless clusters upon their low
bushes among the shrubbery, were at least worth going to see. It is the
opinion of most people, however, (an opinion first entertained in
Eden,) that fruit pleasant to the eye is desirable for the taste. Such
was the opinion prevalent in that region; and the sight of merry
"blue-berry companies," sometimes in wagons, sometimes on foot, was
among the most common of our midsummer morning scenes. Equally familiar
was the sight of like companies returning at evening, weary, but better
satisfied; glad that, with well-filled pails and baskets, they were so
near home. This was the time of year when the young Graffams became
visible. The blue-berry companies often encountered them upon the
plain, but found them shy as young partridges, dodging through the
bushes, and skulking away as though kidnappers were in pursuit.

There was, however, one boy among them, the eldest, (if we remember
rightly,) who was quite familiar with the villagers. He was a little
boy, not more than ten or eleven at the time of which I now write, and
for two or three summers had been in the habit of bringing berries to
the village, and offering them for any small matter, either for food or
clothing. Both the kind-hearted and the curious had plied this little
boy with questions, relative to his manner of life, his mother,
brothers, and sisters; but his answers were far from giving information
upon any of these points. He always declined a proposed visit by
saying, "Mother don't want no company." This seemed true enough; for
when any visitor to the plain called at Graffam's for a drink of water,
they were never invited to enter. The water was handed them through a
small opening, and the mother was seldom visible.

It was one of the brightest of our July mornings, when a blue-berry
company started from the village before-mentioned. Two wagons filled
with young people passed along the principal street at an early hour,
raising a cloud of dust as they turned the corner where stood a
guide-board pointing out the _plain_ road to the pond. Onward rolled
the two wagons, the tin-pails and dippers dancing and rattling in the
rear, keeping time with the clatter of untamed tongues in the van.
"Shall we call at 'Appledale?'" asked the driver of the first wagon,
coming to a sudden stand.

"Go along!" laughingly answered a gay girl in the second. "Our horse is
putting his nose into your tin rattletraps."

The question was repeated.

"They are strangers to us," replied a black-eyed young lady, "and from
seeing them at church I should think them precise. A refusal would be
mortifying; and if the prim Miss Martha concludes to go, that will be
still worse. We cannot act ourselves, and all the fun will be spoiled.
What say you, Fanny Brighton?"

Fanny, a bright-looking, but rather reckless girl, replied: "They shall
not go, neither Miss Martha nor Miss Emma; not that I care a
fiddlestring for their primness or their precision; nobody shall
prevent me from thinking, and acting, and doing as I please to-day;
from being, in short, what I was made to be--Fanny Brighton, and nobody
else."

Fanny spoke with her usual authority, and expected obedience; but to
her surprise Henry Boyd, the young driver of the first wagon, still
hesitated, and stooping down, he whispered to a mild, lovely-looking
girl, who, seated upon a box, was holding her parasol so as to shield
from the sun's rays a sickly little boy. "Take a vote of the company,"
whispered the pretty girl, whom he called Mary.

"If it be your minds," said Henry, rising to his feet, "that we call at
Appledale, and invite Miss Martha and Miss Emma Lindsay to be of our
company, please manifest it by raising the right hand. It is a vote,"
he quietly continued, taking his seat.

"Mary Palmer!" called out Fanny; "you are a simpleton, and so fond of
serving people as to court insult."

Mary's cheek flushed a little. It was not the first time that she had
been called a simpleton, or some kindred name, by the out-spoken Miss
Fanny; for this young lady prided herself on not being afraid to speak
plainly, and tell people just what she thought of them.

As we before said, Mary's cheek flushed a little; but she instantly
thought to herself, "It is Fanny, and I won't mind it." So she smiled,
and said very gently, "I am sure, Fanny, that no sensible person will
insult me for trying to be courteous, though I may not exactly
understand the way. It can do the Misses Lindsay no harm to receive
such an invitation from us, and we cannot be injured by a refusal."

"For my own part," said Henry, "I think that the question whether we
are to be neighbors or not should be settled. They are strangers, and
it is our business to make the first advance toward an acquaintance. If
they decline, we have only hereafter to keep at a respectful distance."

"Precious little respect will they find in me," said Fanny. "I am too
much of a Yankee to flatter people by subserviency, or to put myself
out of the way to gain acquaintances about whom I care not a fig. But
drive on: while we are prating and voting about the nabobs at Appledale
the sun is growing hot."

Henry gathered up his reins, and away the wagons clattered down the
long hill, and with a short, thunder-like rumble crossed the bridge
between the Sliver Place and Appledale. Perhaps the writer may be
called to account for this romantic name: he will therefore give it
here. Appledale was once called Snag-Orchard, on account of the old
trees whose fugitive roots often found their way into the road, making
great trouble, and causing great complaint from the citizens, who
yearly worked out a tax there.

The people of that place would never have thought of calling it
anything else, had it not been for Susan and Margaret Sliver, who
sometimes wrote verses, and thought that Appledale sounded better in
poetry than did Snag-Orchard. These ladies, (they called themselves
young, but we must be truthful, even at the expense of
courtesy,)--these ladies, Margaret and Susan, said that this old place
was decidedly romantic; but the plain people living in that vicinity
knew but little of romance. If they saved time from hard labor to read
their Bible, it was certainly a subject for thankfulness. Most of them
thought that Snag-Orchard was a gloomy place, and that it was a pity
for so much good ground to be taken up with overgrown trees. It suited
Mr. Croswell, however, who was the former proprietor. He had but little
interest in the land belonging to this world, for all his relatives,
nearly every one, had gone to the land that is "very far off." He loved
the trees, and seemed to us like an old tree himself, from which
kindred branch and spray had fallen, leaving him in the world's
wilderness alone. Some thought him melancholy; but he was not: he was
only waiting upon the shore of that river dividing the "blessed land"
from ours; and one spring morning, very suddenly to his neighbors, he
crossed that river, and found more, infinitely more than he had ever
lost. After he was gone, the house was closed for a time; and through
the bright days of the following summer, when the foliage became heavy
upon the old trees, casting so deep a shadow as to make noonday but
twilight there, and when the night breeze sang mournfully among the
pines in the rear of that old house, people coming from the pond by the
way of the plain looked stealthily over their shoulders at
Snag-Orchard: but they knew not why, for nothing was there--nothing but
loneliness and desertion.

There was a report among the school children that the Croswell house
was haunted; and in his merry moods poor Graffam had told the boys, how
many a time upon a dark night, when going from Motley's Mills to his
house upon the plain, he had seen that house brilliantly illuminated,
and once or twice had heard old Mr. Croswell call to him from the
window, and say, "Beware, Graffam, beware." Little, however, was
thought of these stories, for we all knew that the unhappy man often
went home at night with a fire upon his brain, and had no doubt but
that he got up his own illuminations; and as for the admonition,
"Beware, Graffam, beware," it doubtless came from the frogs, and was
interpreted by his own conscience. Snag-Orchard, however, was evidently
dreaded until the Lindsays came to live there, when it became less
gloomy: for though the old trees with their heavy foliage were still
there, descending in long sentinel-like rows down the hill-slope, until
the last row drooped their branches into the bright waters of the
brook, yet the rank grass around the house, that had so long raised its
seedy head, and looked in at the windows, was mowed down, and
sociable-looking flowers had taken its place; and then at evening, the
traveler returning from the pond by the way of the plain, realized what
had once been but the brilliant phantasy of poor Graffam's brain--for
though Mrs. Lindsay was a widow, she was neither poor nor deserted. The
reason for her coming there was not at that time known among us. A
gentleman who was projecting the plan of a settlement at the pond, in
reference to mill and factory privileges, bargained for the Croswell
place, and early in the spring this family took up a residence there.
Three months had passed away, and they were still strangers. This was
not from any want of sociability upon the part of their neighbors,--or
from studied indifference upon their own part, but from the time of
their first coming they had seemed fully occupied with company. Gay
parties upon horse-back had frequently issued from the large gate,
where in years gone by oxen had walked demurely in, bearing a
three-story load of hay. The long riding-dresses and feathered caps of
these gay riders, inasmuch as they were new in that old-fashioned
place, were judged of according to the several tastes of the farmers'
wives and daughters. Some thought it pretty business for girls to be
figuring about with men's hats, when there was work enough for women
folks within doors: and others thought (very justly too) that the
matter of this riding was no concern of theirs; and having business
enough of their own, they concluded to let Mrs. Lindsay and her guests
do as they pleased. This was a wise conclusion, since it daily became
more and more evident that they had no intention of doing otherwise
than as they pleased. Some of the family always presented themselves at
church on the Lord's day, but among them Miss Emma, and an elderly
woman supposed to be the housekeeper, were the only constant
attendants. Thus much of the new family at Appledale. The reader will
learn more as we progress in our story.

"I would see Mrs. Lindsay and the young ladies," said Henry Boyd, as
the servant opened the door. Henry was shown into the same room, where
many a time he had sat and talked with old Mr. Croswell, but which now
seemed to him like another place. A handsome carpet now covered the
white oaken floor, and rich curtains partially concealed the windows
once shaded by simple green. Where stood the old "sideboard" was now an
elegant piano, and luxurious chairs and lounges had taken the place of
Mr. Croswell's high-backed, upright-looking furniture. But Henry was
self-possessed; and though there were a number of young ladies in the
room, dressed in handsome morning _dishabille_, he neither stammered
nor turned red, but bowing easily to Mrs. Lindsay, gave Misses Martha
and Emma an invitation to go with him and the young ladies to the
plain. Mrs. Lindsay saw that Martha, on glancing from the window at the
rustic-looking company, could scarcely suppress a smile, so she
courteously thanked Henry, and was about to excuse her daughters, when
Emma entered the room. Henry could not accuse either Mrs. Lindsay or
Martha of impoliteness, but he felt somehow as though there was a great
contrast between this courtesy and that shown him by Emma; for she
offered him her hand, and said, "It is very kind of you to call for us,
and if mamma pleases, I should like to go."

"I have no objection, my love," said Mrs. Lindsay, "provided you return
before night."

Henry assured her that they should, Martha respectfully declined the
invitation, and Emma ran up stairs. "I am going," said she joyfully to
the elderly woman with whom she was often seen at church. "I am going,
Dora; and that dear little Mary Palmer is there." Dora arose, and
pinned a thin shawl upon the neck of the delicate girl, and while she
did so, looked affectionately into her white face.

"Of what are you thinking, Dora?" asked Emma.

"I was thinking," said she, "that my lily could shed her fragrance
beyond her own garden to-day."

"O, I am no lily," said Emma, half laughing, "only a poor blighted
thing going out to steal fragrance from other flowers."

"Well, darling," said Dora, "you can have it without theft, for we can
make for ourselves a garden of spices anywhere, and then you know who
will come in and eat our pleasant fruit."

Emma smiled, and nodded a good-by, as she left the room.

"What a singular girl is Emma," said one of the young ladies who looked
from the keeping-room window, as she entered the wagon. "I was glad
that they had the courtesy to offer her a cushioned seat; but she has
refused it, and is riding off upon a box. Dear Mrs. Lindsay, Emma is
excessively polite."

"_Mysteriously_ polite, I call it," said Mrs. Lindsay. "She seems more
and more to lose sight of herself, in a desire to make others happy;
yet before we left the city she often offended me by her disregard of
fashionable etiquette."

"Yet Emma never was offensive in her manners, mamma," said Martha.

"She was truly beloved, I know it, dear," replied the lady; "but her
great truthfulness kept me in constant jeopardy. Just think of her
telling Madam Richards that people considered her too old to dance."

"Well, it _was_ a shame," answered the first speaker, "for a lady of
such excellent qualities to make herself ridiculous by a single
foible."

"So Emma thought," said Mrs. Lindsay, "and had the frankness to tell
her so. It turned out well enough in her case, it is true; for she told
me when I went to apologize, that Emma had shown so much heartfelt
interest and concern in the matter of her being a public
laughing-stock, that she was obliged not only to forgive, but to love
her the better for what I called a rudeness. But," continued Mrs.
Lindsay, "singular as she is, I would give worlds to have her----"

Here the lady paused, and Martha said quickly, "She is better, mother.
She sleeps very well now, and her night-sweats are not so profuse."

The mother made no answer. It was not because Martha's hopeful words
were unheeded, but because mournful memories were at work in her heart;
and to avoid further conversation she arose and left the room.

"Mamma will look upon the dark side," said Martha, "but _I_ am much
encouraged. Our physician says, that rambling about in the country,
running in the fields and woods, climbing fences and trees, if she is
disposed, will do wonders for Emma: and I believe it; for how
wonderfully she has improved during these three months--so full of
life, and so full of interest in everybody."

Emma had refused the cushioned seat, because she saw at a glance that
the young boy occupying that seat was more feeble than herself. The
name of this little boy was Edwin. Emma had met him frequently in the
woods, and down by the brook where he went to fish. They had thus
become pretty well acquainted, and from him Emma had learned the name
of the pretty girl who sat in the pew in front of their own at
church--the little girl who wore a black ribbon upon her bonnet, and
whose manner in the house of prayer was both quiet and devout. Edwin
had told her that the name of this pretty girl was Mary Palmer; that
just before their family came to Appledale she had lost a little
sister; and that since then, though very quiet and kind before, Mary
had been very patient, even with Fanny Brighton. Emma, therefore, was
not wholly unprepared for the off-hand greeting bestowed upon her that
morning by Fanny. On first getting into the wagon, she pressed Mary's
hand without waiting for the ceremony of an introduction, for she knew
her name. Mary loved to have Emma so near her; for though they had
never spoken together before, a mutual affection existed between them;
but the modest girl felt that Henry ought to have given Emma a seat
beside some one who knew more than herself.

"Fanny Brighton," thought Mary, "is so amusing when she chooses to be;
Alice More is so witty; and the Misses Sliver so learned, Henry ought
to have seen that Emma was where she would be pleasantly entertained;
but I will make amends for this when we get to the plain--I will
introduce her, and leave her with them."

Emma, however, seemed well satisfied with her company. "I have long
wanted to speak with you," said she.

"That is very polite," thought Mary; "I suppose it is what well-bred
people generally say. I have _really_ wanted to hear her speak, though
I won't say so, for she will think that I am only trying to be polite."

Emma took off her sun-bonnet when riding through the woods, and told
Mary how happy it made her to hear the birds sing, and to breathe the
sweet fragrance which came from the hay-meadows; but Mary felt
diffident, and did not reply warmly, as she felt. She called Emma Miss
Lindsay; so Emma felt obliged to call her Miss Palmer, though she
longed to put her arms around her, as they sat upon the box, and call
her _Mary_.

All this time the company in the rear were talking in this way:--

"I suppose," said Fanny Brighton, "that this little chicky-dandy thinks
she has done us a great favor, by condescending to ride in a wagon, and
upon a box. If she shows off any of her aristocratic airs to me, I will
soon make her understand that her room is better than her company."

"What a milk-and-water looking thing she is," said Alice More; "they
had better have kept their cosset at home; she will be calling, 'ma!
ma!' before night."

"And we will answer, 'bah!'" said Josh Cheever, as Susan Sliver put her
hand over his mouth, for fear that he would give a sample.

Arrived at the plains, the wagons were turned a little into the
shrubbery, so as not to obstruct the passage of the narrow road; then
the company alighted, while Henry and Joshua led the horses to one of
the large trees, (of which there were, as we have already said, but
few,) each carrying a bundle of hay under his arm.

In the mean time Mary introduced the young ladies severally to Emma.
Alice More professed herself very glad to see her; but this profession,
for some reason, seemed to give Emma pain. Fanny made no professions at
all, only coldly nodding a "how-d'ye-do," without appearing to notice
that Emma wished to shake hands. The Misses Sliver were cordial enough,
but too sentimental for the occasion; Miss Susan, using the language of
some novel she had read, said, she hoped to find in Emma a "kindred
spirit;" at which remark Fanny laughed outright, saying she hoped that
"Sliver Crook" and "Snag Orchard" would not become etherialized.

"I cannot talk in that way," thought Mary; "so I will go by myself, and
pick berries, leaving Miss Lindsay with them." Mary felt, however, that
she should like to be somewhere near Emma; so she only withdrew a
little way, sitting down where she could see her through the bushes.
Alice chattered away very freely for a time, and then wandered off in
pursuit of Fanny, who, from the first, had not addressed a single word
to Emma. But the Misses Sliver kept near her, and seemed to be making
themselves very agreeable. Mary heard them mention at least a dozen
books, of which she had not heard even the titles before, and she was
glad for having left Emma with those who could talk of such matters.
She watched her though, as she bent over the blueberry bushes, and
fancied that she looked sad. Then after a time she saw her sit down
upon a log, looking very languid and weary. Mary had brought a bottle
of nice milk from home that morning, and the thought crossed her mind
that a draught of that milk might be refreshing to Emma; so she took a
bright little dipper from her basket, and ran off toward the wagon.

"Where are you going, Mary Palmer?" said Alice, whom she met on the
way.

"Miss Lindsay looks very pale and tired," said Mary. "I am going to
carry her some of my nice milk."

"I would do no such thing," said Alice; "she is used to having a host
of servants at her heels, and thinks that we country girls will act as
her lackies. If she wants refreshment, tell her where it is, and let
her go for it herself."

"Why, Alice," replied Mary, "you told her this morning that you were
very glad to see her, and now you have no interest in making her either
comfortable or happy."

"To be sure," said Alice; "do you suppose that I was going to say, 'I
am not at all glad to see you, Miss Prim--I am mad enough with Henry
Boyd to pull his ears, because he went to your house for you?' You
would not have had me say so; but these were my feelings; so what am I
to do?"

"I know what _I_ would do," said Mary, firmly. "I would pray to God
until I had better feelings; so that I could say from my _heart_, I am
glad to see you."

"O good!" exclaimed Alice, laughingly; "you _are_ getting to be
religious, and I shall tell Fanny: so look out, little Miss Courtesy."

"You are very kind," said Emma, as she took the bright dipper of milk
from Mary. "I ate but little breakfast, and am very fond of milk. This
looks so nice too, so pure and white, in this clean, shining dipper:"
and Emma sat looking at the milk, as though it were a pity to drink it
up; and Mary stood looking at her, until she thought that perhaps it
was not polite to do so, and turned away.

"Don't go," said Emma, "unless you choose to be by yourself. Sit down
here just a minute. I have queer thoughts about this milk; and since we
are all alone, I will tell you what they are. You read the Bible,
Ma--,--I mean Miss Palmer?"

"Yes; but call me Mary, if you please. I am not used to being called
Miss."

"Well then, Mary dear," said Emma, drawing closer to her, as they sat
upon the log, "you remember where the Bible speaks of the _sincere
milk_ of the _word_" Mary smiled; for she was much pleased, and a
little surprised. Mrs. Lindsay and her family, with their Sabbath rides
and evening dancing parties, were not of course considered religious
people. "What do you suppose," continued Emma, "is meant by the sincere
milk of the word?"

"When a very little girl," replied Mary, "father bought me a small book
called 'Milk for Babes,' and said it was for children who wanted to
learn the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. That little book
was all about _charity_."

"Was it?" said Emma, with animation, "how strange that I should have
the same thoughts, without knowing anything about it! When you gave me
this milk I thought of that passage, and of the one about the cup of
cold water; and now, Mary, please to say why you took all this pains
for me. Was it just to be polite?"

"No," replied Mary, smiling; "I was afraid that you might think me
_im_-polite for offering you milk in a tin dipper, but I saw you
looking pale and tired, and thought that it might do you good."

"That was giving it to me in the name of a disciple," said Emma, in a
low voice, looking at the milk again, as though it was now hallowed and
blessed of God. "It is delicious," said she, taking the cup from her
lips, "and I feel better. I am not so weary; my head aches less, and my
_heart_ is refreshed."

"Then I have not lost my reward," said Mary. "But here come Fanny and
Alice. They are very entertaining, and the day will be less tedious if
you can manage to keep with them. Fanny is plain spoken, but people
call her a good-hearted girl; and Alice is so funny."

"If you please," replied Emma, "I had rather be with you. I am not
afraid of plain-spoken people, if they are kind. Dora is very careful
to tell me my faults, but then her manner is such that I can't help
feeling that it is because she loves me so well; so I am neither pained
nor vexed. I used to be very partial to _funny_ people; but I feel
serious now nearly all of the time. I can love Fanny and Alice; but,
Mary dear, I had rather be with you, if you please."

"O," replied Mary, "I love to have you with me."

She was prevented from saying more, for Alice now called out, "Forward,
march! Do you hear the drum?"

"It is not probable," said Fanny, "that a _religious_ person like Mary
Palmer will march to the tune of Yankee Doodle upon a kettle-drum."

Emma looked at Mary, and saw the deep blush upon her face, and the tear
that, in spite of herself, trembled in her mild blue eye.

"How unkind," thought Emma, "and so _rude_ too! This plain-spoken girl
has not a good heart, if people do think so. I shall ask Dora about
her."

"It is the signal for dinner," said Mary, recovering herself in a
minute, and turning with a smile toward Emma. "Henry wants us to go to
the wagons." So they walked along arm-in-arm, while Alice and Fanny
whispered together about this sudden intimacy, and prophesied that hot
love like that would soon be cold.

"I mean to tell Mary just what I think of it," said Fanny; "for I am
not afraid to speak my mind to anybody."

"Well," replied Alice, "I cannot imagine what Miss Emma likes in Mary,
or why Mary is so charmed with her. This much I will say, but don't you
name it to any one--neither of them is at all to _my_ fancy."

It was not wonderful that Alice did not know the secret of that
affection between two who were comparatively strangers to each other.
The reason was not plain even to Emma and Mary, for neither of them yet
knew it by the Scripture name, which is "unity of the Spirit." Each had
loved the other while as yet no word of communication had passed
between them, because each had a portion of that Spirit which binds
heart to heart. Alice would not have understood this had it been told
her, for she had never entertained this gentle Spirit. She might have
done so, for it knocks at every human heart; but there are other
spirits there--spirits that must be cast out, before that which is
long-suffering, meek, and good, will come in and sup with us. Alice
would not cast emulation, pride, envy, and jealousy out of her heart,
that the good Spirit might enter. Would she have done so, she might not
have found it so difficult to understand what Emma and Mary saw in each
other to love.

The company was now assembled under a large tree near to the roadside.
Henry had constructed a rude table, over which was spread a cloth, and,
assisted by Joshua, he was now bringing the dinner from the wagon,
while the Misses Sliver arranged the dishes.

"Here is a comfortable seat, Miss Lindsay," said Henry, when the dinner
was ready; and he led her to a rock beside the table, which was covered
with moss.

"One of nature's verdant cushions," said Susan Sliver.

"Nature is very polite to the aristocracy," whispered Fanny, loud
enough to be heard; but Emma lifted little Edwin to the rock, saying
that it was just high enough for him.

Fanny had determined to show that she was not afraid to act herself
anywhere, so she talked about matters not at all interesting to the
company, taking care to think differently from every one who expressed
an opinion.

Again the question arose in Emma's mind, whether such rudeness could be
the fruit of a good heart; but she quieted herself by saying, "I will
ask Dora about it."

After the dinner was over, Miss Margaret Sliver began to talk of some
verses that Susan had written for this occasion, and insisted on
drawing them from her pocket. Susan pretended great unwillingness; but
her sister easily possessed herself of the copy, which, with great
pathos of manner, she read to the company.

"Splendid! elegant!" exclaimed Alice; but at the same time she stepped
upon Fanny's toe, and gave her a merry sidelong glance. "Beautiful! are
they not, Mary Palmer?"

"I am no judge of poetry," said Mary, modestly; "so my opinion is not
worth having."

"_You_ cannot say so, Miss Lindsay," continued Alice, "for I heard you
repeating some lines this morning."

"Did you," asked Emma, coloring a little, "then I think they must have
been from a hymn by James Montgomery, of which I am very fond, and
sometimes repeat unconsciously."

"Of course," said Fanny, looking suddenly at Emma, "you think Miss
Sliver equal to Montgomery."

"This is not the place for me to say whether I do or not," replied
Emma, quietly.

"I know," said Fanny, "that there are some people who think that the
truth is not to be spoken at all times; but I have never yet been
afraid to say what I think."

"There are things," said Henry, "of which we may not think rightly,
and, understanding this, some are slow to speak."

"And who is to be the judge of our thoughts," asked Fanny, "whether
they be right or wrong?"

All were silent now; not because they had no answer for Fanny's
question, but because they were not willing to give the _right_ answer.

At last, Mary, in a low voice, replied: "The Bible should be our rule,
both for thought and word, and conscience must judge between that and
us."

"And does the Bible teach you to flatter people with your tongue, while
you are laughing at them in your sleeves?" asked Fanny.

"No," replied Mary; "but it teaches us to love our neighbor as
ourselves, to be courteous, and pitiful."

"Then I keep one requirement," said Fanny, jumping over the log, seated
upon which she had eaten her dinner; "for I do pity people who are too
mealy-mouthed to be honest--pity, or _despise_ them, I cannot tell
which."

All now had withdrawn from the table, except Emma, Mary, Joshua
Cheever, and little Edwin. "Your milk is very nice, Mary," said Eddy,
"but it does not cure my thirst; O I do want some cold water."

"There is none nearer than the pond," said Joshua, "unless you go to
Graffam's; but they are so piggish, I would choke before I would ask
water of them. The last time I went there, the old woman sent one of
the young ones to tell me that the village folks were an unmannerly
set, and she wanted them to keep their distance. I told the girl to
give my love to her mother, and tell her that she was the sweetest
poppy upon the plain. So you see that it wouldn't do for me to go there
again; I might get my head cracked with one of Graffam's rum-jugs."

"I am not afraid to go," said Mary. "I have no doubt but that the
blueberry parties are a trouble to Mrs. Graffam."

"_Mrs_. Graffam!" exclaimed Joshua, laughing. "Nobody else calls her
anything but Moll, and her husband, Pete."

Emma now lifted Edwin from his seat upon the rock, and taking his hand,
while Mary brought the bright dipper, they started for the log-house,
which looked in the distance like a black stump.

"It is loving your neighbor _better_ than yourself,"--said the little
boy, looking smilingly up into Emma's face,--"I am sure it is, to come
all this way with me."

"Well, we ought to love our neighbor better than ourselves," replied
Mary, who was walking behind. "We shall, Eddy, if we are like----"

"Like Jesus?" asked Eddy.

"Yes," said Mary. "He didn't love himself at all; but he loved us, even
unto death."

"How wonderful!" said Emma. "Talk some more about him, Mary dear, if
you please."

But they were now at the poor door, which swung upon its wooden hinges:
they were about to knock, when they saw a forlorn-looking woman come
from a dark closet, with a sick child in her arms.

"Poor little thing!" said Mary, going toward her.[*] "What is the
matter with him, Mrs. Graffam?"

[Footnote *: See Frontispiece.]

"He is very sick," she replied, glancing from her to the door, when
Emma courtesied politely, and Edwin pulled off his hat. "Walk in," said
Mrs. Graffam; "my children are all out upon the plain, but you can help
yourselves to seats." Then turning to Mary she said again, "He is very
sick, and I cannot tell what is the matter with him, unless it is want
of----." Here she paused, and after a time added, "He is losing all his
flesh, poor thing!"

"Yes," said Mary, "he looks as my dear little sister did just before
she died!"

"When did she die?" asked Mrs. Graffam.

"Just as the grass was getting green," said Mary. "It was a fit time
for her to die, Mrs. Graffam; for she was born in the spring, and it
seemed exactly as though the sweet bud had to go back to the
summer-land before it could bloom."

"And if your little baby dies, Mrs. Graffam," said Eddy, "he will be a
flower in God's garden; won't he, Mary?"

"Yes," whispered Mary, while the poor woman's face flushed, and her lip
quivered. Mary glanced at Edwin, and remembered her errand.

"Mrs. Graffam," said she, "I know that the blue-berry parties must be a
great trouble to you, and we would not have come here for water, only
Eddy is not very well."

"You are welcome to as much water as you want," interrupted Mrs.
Graffam, "and so is any one who can treat us with civility. We are very
poor, it is true, and that is not our greatest misfortune either; but
it is hard to be despised."

While Mary was gone for the water, Emma sat looking at the sick baby,
and noticed, that though the weather was warm, its skeleton limbs
looked blue and cold. She was going to advise the mother to wrap it in
flannel, when the thought that perhaps the poor woman had none,
prevented her speaking: for Christian courtesy never says to the poor
"Be ye warmed and clothed," while it provides not the things which are
necessary; and fortunately Emma thought it time enough to speak of what
the poor child needed, when she had _supplied_ that need. Edwin was
greatly refreshed by his drink of cold water, and kissing the sick
child, he thanked Mrs. Graffam, and was ready to go.

"There is a good old lady living with my mother," said Emma, "who is
used to sickness, and might know what to do for your babe, Mrs.
Graffam; shall I ask her to come with me, and see you?"

"I shall be glad to see anybody," was the reply, "who is like you or
your little friends;" and bidding the poor woman a good-by, they went
back to the plain.

Henry Boyd remembered his promise to Mrs. Lindsay, and before the sun
was down the company were on their way home. The talk and clatter of
the morning were now hushed. Joshua whistled, while his horse plodded
lazily along, until Fanny peevishly bade him "hold his tongue."

"Anybody does that," said Joshua, "when he whistles!" but he
good-naturedly stopped.

Margaret Sliver undertook to repeat some poetry composed by Susan, upon
the setting sun:--

  The setting sun is going down
    Behind the western hills;
  It glitters like a golden crown,----

"What is the last line, Susan?" asked Margaret; but Susan was not
flattered by the way her poetry had been handled at the dinner-table,
and now she refused to supply the missing rhyme.

  The setting sun is going down
    Behind the western hills,

pursued Margaret;

  It glitters like a golden crown,
    "_On top of Motley's Mills!_"

added Alice; while Fanny, calling out to Henry Boyd, repeated the whole
verse as Susan's poetry, bidding him ask Miss Lindsay if Montgomery
could beat that. Susan was highly offended, saying that she considered
herself insulted, and chose to walk the remainder of the way.

"O no, Miss Sliver," said Joshua; "never mind Fanny Brighton--she is
only one of the blunt sort, saying right to your face what other folks
would say behind your back."

This explanation from Joshua was rather more favorable than Fanny
deserved; for she had not the faithful Christian charity, which, while
it unflinchingly speaks truth to those whom it concerns, is careful to
speak no evil anywhere. It was well known, that though Fanny boasted of
not being afraid to tell to people's faces what she thought of them,
she was not less fearless in talking of the same things in their
absence; so that she differed from common backbiters only in having
more--shall we call it impudence?

It is a harsh name, but let us analyze the principle. What spirit
possesses the human heart, when it shows a disposition to make others
uncomfortable? Is it frankness--we know that it is sometimes dignified
with that name; though it is little akin to the true Christian
faithfulness, which, always at peace with truth, never offends against
true courtesy. Charity regards the little foibles incident to fallen
human nature with a lenient eye, never pointing them out to the
scornful gaze of another, but remembering that they are to be touched
tenderly, if touched at all; _secretly_, too, apart from the scrutiny
of another, and by disinterested friendship alone.

"The Sliver girls make fools of themselves, and of each other," said
Fanny, when Margaret and Susan, arrived at their own house, coldly took
leave of the company.

"I know it," replied Alice. "To think that they will associate with us
girls, pretending to be young, when everybody knows that they are not:
dressing, prinking, reading novels, and making poetry; while their poor
old slave of a mother is making butter and cheese."

"It provokes me when I think of it," answered Fanny; "and how you can
flatter them so, calling their dresses becoming, and their poetry
beautiful, I cannot imagine, when you know, Alice, that it is all a
lie."

"Well," said Alice, laughingly, "I do it for fun. It is so amusing to
see their languishing airs; and then, Fanny, to tell the truth, I have
no objection to people's playing the fool, if it makes them feel
better."

"But I shall hate you, by-and-by," said Fanny, "for being a hypocrite."

"Guess it won't be any put out to you," replied Joshua; "for you are as
full of hate as an egg is of meat."



CHAPTER II

THE KIND "GOOD-MORNING"--THE HIGH HILL--UNEXPECTED MEETING--ROMANCE AND
REALITY--THE GOOD FARMER--IMPRESSIONS OF CHILDHOOD--WORSHIPING--BEARING
THE CROSS.


"Good-morning, Mr. Graffam," said Emma, who was in the garden when the
poor man of the plain passed along the road on his way to the mills.

We have before said that morning was not the time for this man to talk,
and now he felt inclined, as usual, to pass this early salutation
without notice; but it had been a long time since he had been accosted
in that manner. It was no uncommon thing for people to address him in
this way: "Good-morning, Pete! Feel sober after your last night's high,
eh?" But a respectful "Good-morning, Mr. Graffam," now met his ear. "Can
it be," thought the fallen man, "that I am still _Mr._, or are they
mocking me?" He looked up, but saw neither jest nor scorn upon the fair
face looking over the garden-wall.

"Good-morning, sir," repeated Emma; "it is a fine morning."

Poor Graffam looked with his dull swollen eyes upon the bright-blue
sky, and then upon the wood-crowned hill, and the shaded dell, where
the waters rippled and murmured, and the birds sang cheerily, and his
heart caught some apprehension of beauty, for he answered slowly, "So
it is, miss,--a very fine morning."

"And pray, how is your dear little babe, sir?" asked Emma, in a voice
of tender concern.

This question seemed fully to rouse him. There was a glance both of
surprise and intelligence in his eye, as he replied, "The child is very
sick;" and then repeated, as though it were a fact new to himself,
"Yes, that poor child is very sick indeed."

"I was at your house yesterday," continued Emma, "and promised Mrs.
Graffam that I would bring a good old lady living with us to see her;
but I am not well enough to go to-day."

"Sorry if you are sick," murmured Graffam.

"Thank you," said Emma. "I was going to ask if you would have the
kindness just to call at the gate tonight, and take a small package for
Mrs. Graffam?"

"I will," said he, with a tone and manner something like self-respect
and respect for his wife,--"I will, miss, with pleasure;" and he pulled
his old hat from his head, and bowed low, while Emma bade him good-by.

"Go out upon the hills, my love," called Mrs. Lindsay from her window
to Emma; "it will do you no good to be tying-up flowers, and talking
with ragged old men by the roadside. Put on your bonnet, and walk
briskly over the bridge, and let me see you from my window upon the top
of yonder hill."

Emma cheerfully obeyed, and though she felt extremely languid,
compelled herself to walk briskly as her mother had desired; but coming
to the foot of the hill she paused, and looked doubtfully upon its
steep sides and lofty top. "It reminds me of 'the Hill Difficulty,'"
thought Emma; "but the Christian pilgrim did not allow himself to stop
and think over the difficulties, but 'addressed himself to his
journey.' So must I:" and ceasing to look at the top, but only at the
place for her feet, step by step, she at length gained the summit, and
waved her handkerchief toward the house. The signal was answered from
her mother's window, and then she sat down upon a rock to rest. But the
morning was too dazzlingly beautiful there. She felt oppressed by the
glory of distant mountains, sparkling rivers, and wide-spread fields of
corn and grain; but looking down a gentle slope of the hill she saw a
delightful place--it was a bend of the little brook gliding through the
meadow-ground of Appledale. The pines had cast their spiral leaves
there, so that the hill-side and the borders of the rill looked as
though covered with sunlight, though there was in fact nothing but
shade, for the trees clustered together, and locked their green arms,
as if to shut the brook from day-light; yet close upon the borders of
that brook Emma saw a large flat rock, around which the waters played,
looking so cool and inviting that she longed to be there. She put her
hand into her pocket, and found, to her joy, that the dear companion of
her rambles was there: it was her Bible. Happy for Emma, she had
learned to prize its gentle converse above that of human tongues; and
now, sitting down upon her feet, she smiled to see how glassy the pine
leaves had made the hill-slope, for she could slide along with but
little exertion, and soon found herself upon the broad flat rock.
Taking her little Bible, she was just turning to some passages Dora had
marked, when she heard a deep sigh, and saw, to her surprise, Susan
Sliver seated upon a moss-turf, crying bitterly.

"I am close to Sliver Crook," thought Emma, now for the first time
noticing the house not far beyond the trees. "This may be Miss Susan's
place of retirement, and I have no right here; but I cannot get away
now without being seen; and then she seems unhappy. I should be glad to
comfort her, if I could without----"

Just at that moment Susan looked up, and saw Emma, who sprang from the
rock, and running toward her, said: "I was not aware of a trespass upon
your grounds, Miss Sliver. You will pardon me. It looked so inviting
here, that I was constrained to come down from the hill."

Susan, however, did not appear at all embarrassed at being caught in
tears.

She wiped her face with her apron, and then Emma saw an open book upon
her knee. "My dear Miss Lindsay," said Susan, "it is no intrusion. I am
glad to find a congenial spirit anywhere. My joy at this meeting is
inexpressible; for now I know that there is one in this cold-hearted
place, one beside my sister Margaret, who can appreciate my feelings."

Emma was silent; for she did not understand what those feelings were,
or whether she appreciated them or not.

"Prom my childhood," continued Susan, "I have been among the people of
my race, but not of them. I have stood alone, in a shroud of thoughts,
which were not their thoughts; but few understand me, my dear, for I
live in an ideal world, and whatever calls me back to this gross
creation, makes me perfectly miserable: say, my dear Miss Lindsay, are
these your feelings?"

"Alas, no," replied Emma; "I love the world too well, and have spent
many wretched, sleepless nights because I was unwilling to leave it:
but that time is passed. If I have any fear now, it is that my work on
earth will not be well done before I am called away."

Susan turned a wondering eye upon the pale, weary-looking girl, and for
a moment forgot her intense sympathy for herself. "You are sick," said
she, with an expression of real interest and concern.

"Yes," replied Emma, "that is evident. My friends have tried to hide it
from me, and from themselves. They have sent me from place to place,
but death is following me everywhere. _I_ never felt it so surely as I
do this morning:" and Emma laid her head upon the moss-turf beside
Susan. She looked like a faded lily, as she lay there; her white dress
scarcely more white than the forehead and cheek upon which her dark
damp hair rested heavily. Susan took a handkerchief from her pocket,
and wrung it in the clear, cool waters of the brook, and kneeling upon
the ground beside Emma, wiped her pale face, and tucking up her
sleeves, chafed her poor withered arms, until Emma revived.

"Thank you," said she; "I was a little faint. Mamma is so desirous for
me to exercise in the open air, that I go every day to the farthest
limit of my strength. I was not able to climb that hill this morning."

Susan made no reply, but sat looking mournfully into her face. All the
morning she had been weeping over the sorrows of an imaginary being
whom she had found in a novel wandering about, and falling at every
step into the most superlative misery. It was hard for Susan to read,
and not identify herself with this beautiful suffering shadow; but now
she had come from her ideal world, and was forced, for a time, to
forget both the shadow and herself. Close to her father's old
farm-house, and in the woods of Sliver-Crook, she saw what, described
in a romance, would have been pathetic enough, but which, seen in
reality, called out from her heart the good rational sympathy which,
though buried in sentimental rubbish, was not dead.

"Do you really think," said she, bending over Emma, "that you must----"

Emma smiled, as she replied, "What difficulty we find in pronouncing
that word! One would think that there was a sting in the very _name_ of
death: and so there is, Miss Sliver, until God gives us the victory,
through Jesus Christ."

"Jesus was a beautiful character," said Susan, taking up Emma's Bible,
beside which the red-covered novel lay blushing as if in an agony of
shame. "I have often felt," she continued, "a strong desire to visit
the places hallowed by his personal ministry; the garden where he kept
his sad night-watch, Miss Lindsay; the Mount of Olives, and the
clear-gliding Kedron. O," continued Susan, enthusiastically, "I should
like to stand where the Marys stood, on the dreadful day of his
crucifixion, and visit the tomb where they went, bearing sweet spices.
O, wouldn't it be delightful?"

"Yes," replied Emma, languidly; "but we should not find him there
now,--upon Calvary, or the Mount of Olives; by the sweet-gliding
Kedron, or in the Garden of Gethsemane,--unless we were like him, meek
and lowly, and such can find him anywhere, Miss Sliver. The spirit of
Jesus would hallow _this_ book, making it blessed and holy like the
waters of Kedron; and this high hill might be to us what the Mount of
Olives was to the disciples--for that was sacred only because Jesus
talked with them there. Dora told me last night that the Holy Spirit
could make any place holy."

Susan was silent. Emma had spoken words to which something within bore
witness as truth, and she knew not what to say. Emma, too, lay musing
for some time; and then raising her head, and resting it upon her hand,
she said: "How wonderfully self-denying Jesus was, Miss Sliver. Nobody
appreciated the Saviour when he was upon earth, not even the disciples;
yet this was nothing to him, for he did not seek his own glory. He went
cheerfully about his Father's work, never thinking of himself, and
never feeling himself degraded by the presence of a poor, sick, sinful
multitude."

"I know it," said Susan, thoughtfully; "but the world will never see
another Jesus, Miss Lindsay."

"O, it will, it will," replied Emma, with animation. "When human hearts
are willing to let his Spirit dwell in them, human hands will do the
work which Jesus did; and so his kingdom will come, and the world will
see and acknowledge their King."

A shrill blast from a horn, at the farm-house across the brook, now
interrupted their conversation.

"It is time for me to go home," said Susan; "but I shall not consent to
leave you to climb that hill again today--you must go to our house, and
stay until you are rested."

This kind decision of manner, so unlike anything she had before seen in
Susan Sliver, quite interested Emma. She did not feel averse to a
further acquaintance, and taking her arm they crossed the rustic
bridge, and were soon at the farm-house. An elderly man, wearing a
Quaker hat, had just entered, and Emma heard him talking to a
good-looking old lady, who, both warm and tired, was vehemently beating
a minute pudding. "Thee looks tired, Sarah; where are the girls?"

"Can't say where Susan is," was the reply. "Margaret is up stairs,
sewing."

"Well, there is a time for everything, and the girls are old enough to
know it; but here comes Susan. Come, Susan, thee ought to be helping
thy mother these hot days; but who is this friend?"

"Mrs. Lindsay's daughter," said Susan.

Emma might have saved her graceful courtesy this time; for the old
gentleman did not return it by taking off his broad-brimmed hat: yet
she felt the sincere politeness of his manner, as, offering his hand,
he said, "I am glad to see thee, child; how is thy mother?"

"Very well, thank you," said Emma, taking a seat upon the cushioned
chair, which Susan brought and placed near the open door.

The old lady was not less cordial in her manner toward their visitor;
but she seemed in a great hurry to get dinner upon the table, for the
men were coming from the field, and the sun had crossed the noon-mark.

Emma was glad to see Susan taking hold to help her mother; and
presently Margaret came down stairs, dressed a little too much, and a
little too girlish, but appearing very kind and good-natured.

"What shall I call thy name?" asked the old gentleman.

"Emma, if you please," was the reply.

"Well, then, Emma," he continued, "thee is welcome to our table; take
thy chair along, and eat dinner with us."

Emma felt but little appetite for a farmer's dinner; but she saw that
the family would feel more comfortable if she was at the table with
them, and prompted, not by appetite, but by true courtesy, she did as
she was desired. The farmer folded his hands, and the whole family sat
for a moment in rigid silence. Emma was not accustomed to any form of
thanksgiving before meat; but she understood this silent expression,
and sympathized therein.

"Thee looks delicate," said the old man; "what shall I give thee to
eat, Emma?"

"Anything, sir," answered Emma, with habitual politeness, though she
did feel a preference for the milk which came up to the very rim of a
large pitcher upon a corner of the table.

Margaret began to apologize for the coarseness of their meal: but her
father interposed, saying, "It is good enough for well people, and as
good as we generally have; but if thee has anything a little nice for a
poor appetite, bring it to thy friend."

"Now," thought Emma, "Christian politeness bids me put them at ease in
this respect." So she said frankly, "I would rather have a glass of
your nice milk than anything else."

"Thy wants are easily supplied then," replied the good man, as he
filled her tumbler, and laid a slice of bread upon her plate.

Again Emma thought of the "sincere milk of the word," and looking at
the plain old farmer, she wondered if he had not grown to the stature
of a Christian, by means of this simple charity.

"Has thee been long out of health?" asked the farmer.

Emma was not startled by this question, though her mother and sister,
had they been present, would have considered it a rudeness.

"I was very healthy when a little child," replied Emma. "This
feebleness came on me by degrees,--I can scarcely tell when it
commenced."

"Very likely," replied the farmer. "I lost two sisters by consumption;
they appeared much as thee does."

"Father!" exclaimed Margaret; and the old gentleman recollected
himself. "I don't conclude from this," said he, "that thy case is one
of consumption:" and he looked kindly into Emma's face, as though
desiring to be both considerate and sincere.

"It would not alarm me to hear you call it by that name," replied Emma.
"I am in the habit of regarding death as at the door; and wish so to
do, because I am thus constantly reminded that what my hands find to do
must be done with my might."

"I am glad to hear such a testimony from thee," said the old man,
earnestly. "It is a pity that any of us should forget the work to be
done in this world, and the shortness of time."

The dinner was now over, and Emma, greatly refreshed, shook hands with
the farmer and his family, promising to call again; and then took the
short way of the main road to her own home. The old man looked after
her, as her white dress glanced through the green trees by the
roadside, until she descended the hill, and was out of sight.

"What does thee think of that child, Sarah?" he asked, turning to his
wife.

"Well, Enoch," was the reply; "_I_ think that she is ripening for
glory."

The good woman was not of the same religious persuasion with her
husband; but this small matter never interrupted the most cordial
interchange of religious sympathy between them; and now his eyes filled
with tears, and he felt as he had often done before, that "the Spirit"
moved Sarah to give this testimony.

"Margaret," said he, turning to his daughter, "thee can learn a great
deal from that child, though she is much younger than thyself."

Margaret felt the slight pettishness which always attended a reference
to her age, and was about to ask her father how he knew her to be much
older than Emma Lindsay; but a more rational feeling had been roused in
her heart, and for once it predominated over this folly.

Margaret was not like her sister in the matter of romance and
abstraction from every-day scenes and pursuits, though she loved to
regard Susan as something wonderful, and show off her literary
productions. Margaret's foible, on the contrary, was too great a love
for the present world. Unfortunately, she had fixed her heart upon what
is too evanescent for the love of an immortal. Youth, beauty, and the
graces of fashion were the shadows at whose shrine she worshiped,
though the substance was gone. Thus precious time was spent in seeking
to repair its own breaches, and she saw not that they widened day by
day--saw not how the cunning device by which she sought to hide the
footprint of years, only left that foot-print more visible. God had
given both Margaret and Susan better food for the immortal mind, but
they, like many others, chose to feed upon the wind. No wonder that
they were ever unsatisfied. The plain people of that region, who
boasted of nothing superior to _common_ sense, regarded the Sliver
girls as curiosities. Some called them _soft_, and thought there was a
lack of head wisdom; many laughed about them; but no one, save Fanny
Brighton, laughed _at_ them. Their parents were highly esteemed; and it
may be a matter of wonder how they came to be what they were. The cast
of human character is usually taken in childhood--an important fact to
those charged with so responsible a trust; and it was during Margaret
and Susan's childhood, that a vain and sentimental lady sojourned for
two summers at their father's house. The unsuspecting farmer and his
wife never thought of examining the stock of books with which she
loaded the old case in the "fore-room." Having no time for reading
except Sundays, uncle Enoch never expected to get through "Barclay's
Apology," without neglecting his Bible, and this he had no intention of
doing. It was not, therefore, to be expected, that he would spend time
to read even the titles of Mrs. Coolbroth's books. But Margaret and
Susan, bright, sensible children then, were beginning to feel the
thirst often felt in childhood--the restless craving of the spirit for
something new: no wonder, then, that they seized the fruit so "pleasant
to the eye," and as it seemed to them "desirable to make one wise."
Thus the poor girls were lured from the plain homely path, which, plain
and homely as it is, always proves at last the way of pleasantness and
the path of peace. They knew that people called them odd, and in this
they gloried. Fanny Brighton they regarded as a rude girl, who, though
she vexed them, never put them out of humor with themselves. But now,
strange as it may appear, the quiet Christian words and manner of Emma
Lindsay had done this, and they could not tell why. Those words and
that manner, so courteous and kind, were not calculated to wound, yet
they felt wounded. Emma had not done it--it was the _truth_ dwelling in
her heart, and showing itself in its most appropriate dress, which is
Christian courtesy of manner.

Margaret sat down that afternoon, with a desire to redeem some of the
time which, when she thought of Emma, seemed indeed to be passing away;
and Susan, when she meditated on what Emma had said of Him who never
scorned the humble paths of usefulness, and through his life-long went
about doing good, felt that it was time to examine the spirit that
would worship, without _bearing_ the Saviour's cross.



CHAPTER III.

THE POOR WOMAN OF THE PLAIN--THE NOTE--MOURNFUL MUSINGS--THE CUP OF
TEA--THE STRUGGLE--CHARITY AND SELF--EMMA'S HISTORY.


Seated upon her low door-stone was Mrs. Graffam, the poor woman of the
plain. It was almost night; the sun had gone down, leaving a long red
line upon the western horizon, which cast a lurid ray upon the
gathering twilight. The poor children of that log-house were fast
asleep: for all that day they had been out upon the plain, where the
sun, from a cloudless sky, glared down upon them; and now the evening
shade was beautiful, and so soothing too, that neither the hard pallet
of straw, nor the hungry musquitoes could drive sleep from eyes so
weary. The sick babe was asleep too: all day it had moaned in its
comfortless little cradle, for the mother had work to do--hard work,
and abundant--for a family so large and poor. Heavily sat poor Mrs.
Graffam upon the door-stone, waiting, she could not tell for what. Many
years before she had waited at twilight for her husband's return, and
listened, as the wind rustled the leaves, because she loved to go out
and meet him as he neared their home. But those years were gone, and
with them the lovelight and beauty of both heart and home. The contrast
between that barren, desolate plain and her former home, was not
greater than the contrast between the glad heart of other years, and
the one sinking despairingly as she sat upon the door-stone that night.

At last she heard a heavy step along the path leading from the narrow
road to that lone hut; but the sound of that step only deepened the
shadow that gloomed around her. She sat motionless; and there was
something in her manner like the resignation of a stricken, but
trusting heart: but it was not that; it was only the sullen gloom of
despair. Nearer and nearer drew the footstep, and she rose from her
seat, that her poor besotted husband might pass to his bed of straw;
but he did not pass in,--he only looked at her for a moment, and then
averted his eye, for very shame because she had perceived that he was
not drunk. The bag which he had carried week after week to the mills
and brought home every night empty, because he deemed rum more
necessary for himself than food for his family, was now filled with
flour; but he said nothing, and she too was silent, as she followed him
into the hut, and took the large basket which he offered her. Opening
this basket, she found a note, and returning to the door, read as
follows:--

"MRS. GRAFFAM:--_Dear Madam_,--I was not able to come and fetch our
good Dora to see you to-day; but your husband has kindly promised to
call this evening, and take the little matters which I have put up for
the dear sick baby; and to-morrow, if it please God, we will see you at
your own house.

"Your friend, EMMA LINDSAY."

Graffam looked at his wife as she came in with the note, and,
notwithstanding she had lately spoken very harsh words to him, he
pitied her, and somehow felt as though she was not greatly to blame for
calling him an "unfeeling brute." On the other hand, as Mrs. Graffam
took the things from the basket, she glanced toward her husband, and
thought to herself, "He is sober to-night, and it is all owing to the
kind politeness of that dear girl. His self-respect is not entirely
gone, for he would not appear drunk before Emma. If I could command
patience to treat him with civility, there might be some hope in that;"
so turning toward him she asked, "Have you taken supper, Mr. Graffam?"

The poor man hesitated. He was really hungry; for that which had proved
to him both victuals and drink, was now wanting; but he feared to speak
of his hunger, lest his wife should say, "The children have no rum to
drink, and it takes all the food _I_ can supply, to keep them from
starving."

"Here is a nice loaf of bread," continued Mrs. Graffam, cheerfully, as
she took the things from the basket, "and a paper of tea; Miss Emma
could not have intended these for poor little Sammy: so, if you please,
Mr. Graffam, just light a fire under the kettle, and I will make you a
cup of tea."

"And a cup for yourself," said Graffam, as he lighted the dry sticks in
the large stone chimney, and then peered into the corners of the room
in search of his children.

"They are all asleep," said his wife; and the poor man turned quickly
toward the fire again, for he feared that she would add, "The poor
creatures have been out upon the plains all day: Heaven knows what we
shall do when the berries are gone." But Mrs. Graffam said nothing
more. She set out the pine table, and going to an old chest brought a
white cloth; it was of bird's-eye diaper. Graffam remembered well who
wove it; and a pleasant vision came along with that white table-cloth.
He saw his mother, as in olden times, weaving; while he stood by her
side, wondering at the skill with which she sent the shuttle through
its wiry arch, and noticing how the little matter of adding thread to
thread filled the "cloth beam" little by little, until the long "web"
was done. "Such is life," thought Graffam; "the little by little of
human action goes to fill up the warp of time, and decides the worth of
what we manufacture for eternity." Then he looked sadly over his own
work, and could but say to himself, "It is all loose ends, loose ends.
What a web for eternity!"

"Supper is ready," said Mrs. Graffam, and the poor man turned toward
the table. The white loaf was there, and a basin of the berries his
little ones had picked from the plain. In a solitary cup (for it was
the only one saved from their wreck of crockery) Graffam saw his tea,
and offered to exchange with his wife for the broken mug, into which
was poured a scanty portion for herself.

"No, thank you," said she, "this is very well;" and they were seated at
the table.

It was upon the whole a cheerful meal. It seemed as though each one had
been a long journey, and had just returned; they were pleased with each
other, and talked of old acquaintances, and other days, themes upon
which they had held no converse for a long, long time past.

As their supper was finished, the little one in the cradle moaned
again, and Mrs. Graffam brought from the basket a long flannel dress,
and put it upon "wee bit," gently rubbing its blue limbs; then, with
something of the freedom and confidence of other days, she laid poor
baby upon its father's knee, and going again to the friendly basket,
brought thence a bottle, from which she dropped a little fine-flavored
cordial into warm water. The babe opened its large eyes upon its
mother, as though wondering what it could be that was so good upon its
poor little tongue and lip; then rubbing its tiny hands up and down the
flannel dress, it looked smilingly into the father's face, and uttered
an expressive "goo!" The parent was not quite dead in that father's
heart, though long buried beneath the waves of selfish indulgence. He
looked upon that poor little creature, and wondered that he could ever
forget one so suffering and dependent. "The baby feels better," said
Graffam to his wife; and he thought to himself, "I too should feel
better, could I break my chains and be a man."

Through most of that night Graffam thought the same thing, and wondered
if it could be done. "I have dug my own grave," thought he, "and
officious hands have helped me in; they have cast over me the dirt of
scorn and ridicule, until I am well-nigh buried alive. O, if there was
left in others one particle of respect, I might come forth from this
grave! I know that I might, from the little of kindness and civility
shown me this day. I was once respected, and so was my wife; but I have
dragged her down, down with me. It is a shame, for she is worthy a
better fate." Thus thought poor Graffam through many hours of that
night, and in the morning he turned from his hut again, with but little
hope of seeing it as he did then, with open eyes, from which his soul
looked forth; thinking, hoping, fearing, yet ready to struggle once
more for life.

It was a beautiful morning, and Emma sat beside the open window, less
languid than she had been the day before. Dora was putting things in
order, when Emma asked this question:--"Through what medium do we see
people, Dora, when we discover nothing but their faults?"

"Through the medium of self," was the ready reply. "If there is
anything offensive in a person, self is nettled on its own account, and
in its excitement sees nothing but the offense."

"How would charity act toward a person whose manners are extremely
rude?" asked Emma.

"Charity is always giving," replied Dora, "while it exacts nothing. It
is never jealous of its own dignity. It never behaveth itself unseemly;
but beareth, hopeth, and endureth all things, even from those who know
nothing of its own sweet expression--courtesy."

"I must see Fanny Brighton again," thought Emma, "and ask Charity to
lend me her eyes, that I may see if there is nothing good in her; or if
I can manage to put out the eyes of self, by seeing nothing through
this medium, perhaps charity will become eyes to the blind."

It was by the blessing of God upon the humble efforts of that pious old
lady called Dora, that Emma had become what she was. Mrs. Lindsay was a
worldly woman, and the time had been when she had no higher hopes for
her children than to see them richly gifted with worldly
accomplishments. Her two eldest daughters, Helen and Amanda, had been
models in this respect; and for a season the mother rejoiced in this
pride of her eyes. But there is a strange intruder often found where he
is least desired, and never retiring simply because his presence is
deprecated--that is death. Who has not entertained this uninvited
guest?

When Helen and Amanda began to droop, as Emma now did, Dora was the
oldest servant in Mrs. Lindsay's family, and highly esteemed, both on
account of her fidelity and her pleasing manners. "There is something
peculiar about Dora," Mrs. Lindsay would say, "she is never untruthful
and never impolite; two ideas which, in the eyes of fashionable
etiquette, seem antagonistic. It was not, however, until her daughters
began to show symptoms of decline, that Mrs. Lindsay understood this
peculiarity in Dora.

"You must turn that religious woman out of your house," said the
physician, "or I cannot save your daughters." And Dora was severely
reprimanded by her mistress for the extreme discourtesy of offering to
read to the young ladies from the Bible.

"What can she think?" asked Helen, with concern. "The doctor says that
I shall be well in a few days; but Dora looks serious, and offers to
read to me from the Bible. You will not have me deceived, mamma?"

"No, love," said her mother, trying to persuade her own heart that
there was no cause for alarm. "Dora is religious, and such people
always have fits of being disobliging."

"She is extremely kind to me in everything else," said the poor girl;
"it is only in this thing that she makes me unhappy."

"She shall make you unhappy no more; I will forbid her to approach your
room." And so she did. Dora was accused of impertinence, and felt most
keenly that truth and the world's etiquette were at war.

Days passed on, and there were serious faces, more than one, in that
house where it was impertinent to speak of death and eternity. It is
true, that for a time gay visitors were admitted to Helen's chamber,
and there was hollow laughter there, as they talked of balls, parties,
and new fashions, and told the poor girl that she was looking better
every day: but Dora saw them whisper, and shake their heads to each
other as they passed out; and she saw that every day the mother grew
more fearful as it regarded the daughter, and kinder toward herself.

At last she was told that Helen wanted her; but she was charged to be
careful, as the poor girl was extremely weak.

"Dora, Dora," said Helen, "_you_ will tell me the truth. Mother said
that I should not be deceived; but I have been, O, I have been cruelly
deceived."

Dora talked soothingly of Him who is the resurrection and the life: but
the poor girl had opened her eyes all too suddenly upon the startling
picture of death; and now shrinking from his cold embrace, she could
not hear of hope and comfort. Her dying words were to the mother
fraught with keenest anguish, for she spoke of this cruel deceit unto
the last. Amanda soon followed her young sister to the tomb; but the
mother was spared the self-accusation and bitter sorrow attendant upon
Helen's death. Early in her sickness Amanda was consigned to the care
of Dora. It was in vain that the physician expostulated; Mrs. Lindsay
feared nothing so much as again to hear words of reproof from a dying
child for having deceived her. Dora kept her post with Christian
fidelity, and Amanda entered the dark valley and shadow of death
fearing no evil.

Emma was at that time five years of age, and Martha ten. "My dear
madam," said Dora, "fashion has robbed you of a great treasure. Your
daughters, predisposed to consumption, cannot safely obey its whimsical
demands."

"Nonsense, Dora!" replied Mrs. Lindsay. But when alone, she thought
seriously upon what the good woman had said. Memory brought before her
mind pictures from which she could not turn. The thin-soled shoes, and
silken hose, in which fashion had required her delicate daughters to
promenade the damp walks of the city; the flimsy ball-dress, the
prolonged dance, and joined with these, the sudden exposure to a wintry
air, were shades upon the bright picture of pleasures past,--dark
shades indeed, but awfully true.

"Perhaps Martha and Emma may be spared to me," said the mother to her
fashionable friends; "but how can I think of the conditions!" and her
friends talked over the matter among themselves, and concluded that,
after all, a person's life was of but little value, if they must live
secluded from the world; and they gave Mrs. Lindsay a remote hint, that
it was best to let her daughters live _while_ they lived.

Mrs. Lindsay, however, had more than once stood upon the threshold of
another life, having followed a husband and two daughters to the silent
tomb: and in her secret heart she suspected the small value of what she
had purchased at so great a cost. It seemed hard indeed to deprive her
beautiful children of a fashionable education, and the struggle was
very severe; but the mother triumphed over worldly vanity, and Monsieur
de la Beaumont was told that his services in the family as
dancing-master were no longer desired.

"One strange ting!" said monsieur; and the world at large thought the
same.

Mrs. Lindsay considered herself as having made a great sacrifice to
affection, and sometimes feared that she might live to see the day when
she should wish her little novices out of sight, somewhere. One thing
she determined on, however; and that was to take as much of the world
as she could get herself, and thus solace herself for what she was to
lose in her daughters. It cannot be supposed, that with this resolution
the mother would reserve time for the care and culture of these little
ones, who were given over to Dora with but one hope--the forlorn
one--that she would save them alive. This the old lady could not
promise to do; for she understood that having the sentence of death in
ourselves, we are not to trust human means and precautions, but only
Him who raiseth the dead. She, however, cheerfully undertook the
precious charge committed to her trust; glad from her heart that the
poor lambs had been saved from the slaughter, and praying most
earnestly that they might be claimed by the Great Shepherd, and
gathered to his fold.

Martha was a very quiet, thoughtful child, with speech and manner much
beyond her years; she was not, therefore, strictly confined to the
nursery, but allowed to mingle freely with her mother's guests. Emma,
on the contrary, was much younger, and full of wayward humors. She
greatly needed a mother; but the sacred writer has declared, "She that
liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." How many little hearts
have proved the bitterness of that truth! God in mercy saved little
Emma from this sad experience, by raising up for her infancy and
childhood such a friend as was the pious, faithful Dora.

"It is a promising bud," thought the good woman, "but it may wither
even without the blight of fashion; so I will try to secure for it an
immortal bloom."

Thus in the morning Dora sowed her seed, the "good seed" for an
immortal harvest; and soon the tender blade began to appear--a most
ungainly thing in the eyes of her mother; for the first fruit of Dora's
good seed, as shown by little Emma, was a great love of truth--a love
which as yet she knew not how to regulate or apply. She was a beautiful
child; and for a time her mother's vanity was gratified by having her
brought from the nursery to her drawing-rooms, to be caressed, admired,
and praised for her smart speeches; but after a time her truth-telling
propensity became too evident. The polite occupants of the drawing-room
began to whisper among themselves that Miss Emma was a spoiled child,
and had better be kept in the nursery.

Mrs. Lindsay was soon of the same opinion; for scarcely a day passed
when Emma's truthfulness did not prove a nettle to her own vanity.

"The child is rude," she would say to Dora,--"insufferably so. She told
Madame A. that she looked like an apple-tree; which might have been
taken for a compliment, had not the saucy little sprite explained
herself by pointing to that old tree in the garden which the flowering
shrubbery has decked with every variety of blossom: Mrs. A. is
extremely fond of fancy colors. And when I took her to Bowker's the
other day, that sick Miss Ellenwood was examining his new French goods,
and called my attention to a splendid piece of muslin, and asked if it
was not of beautiful texture. 'Dear Miss Ellen-wood,' interposed Emma;
'you will not want a _figured_ muslin for a _coffin_ dress.' Think of
that, Dora."

"Well, my dear madam," replied Dora; "the child heard some of your
friends say that this vain sick girl, who is spending all her slender
income in dress, would want money soon to pay for a shroud."

"Certainly, Dora, that has frequently been said; but the child should
know better than give such a hint to the young lady herself! Several
ladies were in the store, and I felt extremely mortified and shocked."

Such complaints were frequent; and at last the good Dora answered all,
by begging the mother to have patience both with herself and with the
child. "This truthfulness," said she, "is of excellent quality, but it
is now rough from the quarry. By-and-by charity will make its rough
places smooth; for love not only refines and purifies, but it
_polishes_ the hewn stone after the similitude of a palace."

Mrs. Lindsay did not understand these words, and derived but little
comfort therefrom. She could not see how Emma's bluntness was to be
refined, save by putting her into fashion's crucible; and this she more
than once resolved to do, at any risk. With this resolution, however,
there always came a fearfulness, which seemed a warning voice from the
tomb, bidding her "beware;" and to this voice of warning she took
reluctant heed.

Pursuing a quiet course of study under private tutors, Emma was still
left morally and physically to the care of her pious friend. Dora
planted in hope, and now the precious shoot was caused to spring forth
by Him who giveth the increase. This precious shoot of moral strength,
ungainly, and without form or comeliness to the world, she watered,
tended, and watched, with earnest faith for the Husbandman, whose
pruning knife should convert it into a goodly tree. Emma sometimes came
to her friend with puzzling questions; among those most frequently
asked were the following:--

"How mamma could be 'not at home,' when she was in her chamber?"

"How she could be extremely glad to see people who, she said, were
'bores, and not to be endured?'"

"Why it was more impolite to tell people what was foolish in their
appearance, than to laugh about this appearance in their absence?"

It was difficult to answer these questions, without casting a shade
over those whom Dora wished the child to love and respect. Sometimes
she told the little girl that it would often hurt people's feelings and
make them very miserable, to know just what others thought of them. And
yet the child would reply: "You say that if we would listen to God's
little voice in our hearts, it would tell us all that is wrong. Why
does he want to hurt folks' feelings? You had me read in the Bible
about the truth, how, if we come to love it, it would make us free; but
mamma says it is often impolite to speak the truth."

Dora felt, as many under similar circumstances have felt, the earnest
question pressing upon her heart: "Who is sufficient for these things?"
and with greater trembling was it asked, as Emma grew in stature and
increased in knowledge; for she saw that with the good seeds thorns had
sprung up. Emma began to pride herself upon independent thought and
action, and to show symptoms of haughty disdain toward those who
stooped to the deceit of fashionable etiquette. Dora was often pained
to hear her speak of things done and said, not for truth's sake, but
because it _plagued_ others. It was evident that she was beginning to
exult in the embarrassment which she often occasioned, but saw not the
wicked self hiding beneath her garb of truth. Dora tried hard to point
out this inward foe, but, with the blindness of a natural heart, Emma,
having eyes, saw not; and the good woman knew well, that the child
could not see, unless He that openeth the eyes of the blind should say
unto her, "Receive thy sight." She told her of that charity which
hopeth, believeth, and endureth all things; which, giving no place to
falsehood, still never behaveth itself unseemly. She warned Emma of the
heart's Ishmaelite--that truth which, incased in the armor of human
pride, ever turns its hand against its fellow: but Emma did not fear
this "strong man armed;" so she was led captive by him at his will.

Thus she was growing up like a beautiful flower thickly set with
thorns. There were, however, some among her mother's fashionable
friends who professed themselves charmed with her wit and originality.

Martha had passed the age at which her young sisters began to decline,
and gave evidence of established health. She was now allowed to attend
evening parties, and was found very tolerably, though not what the
world calls "highly accomplished." There were those, however, who
thought that Martha's solid education, good judgment, good sense, and
good taste, were accomplishments enough. Mrs. Lindsay could not help
feeling very well satisfied with her discreet, amiable daughter, though
she was not eligible to a place in the ball-room, having never learned
to dance.

But it was not until people began to call Emma a comical little beauty,
and beg her mother to fetch her to their select evening parties, that
Mrs. Lindsay ceased to feel chagrined at the sacrifice made to
affection. Emma was not long in learning by what pretty names she was
called; and with this knowledge came the strong desire to sustain a
reputation for wit and beauty. Dora saw the canker-worm at the root of
that precious plant for whose perfection she had waited with long
patience.

Emma sometimes came home and repeated her triumphs and comicalities to
this faithful friend, but receiving no answering smile, but, on the
contrary, a solemn word of reproof or warning, she would often burst
into a flood of peevish tears, saying that Dora was getting cross, and
did not love her as formerly. In this the good woman saw signs less
fearful than those of moral disease, but no less true; saw that this
exposure and excitement were rapidly wearing away the frail foundations
of health; and all that she feared was frankly expressed to the mother:
but Mrs. Lindsay having once more allowed the film of vanity to blind
the maternal eye, saw not the danger. The question, however, came to a
speedy issue; for, attending a party one evening where the rooms were
newly papered, and where, notwithstanding she felt chilly, her mother
would not allow of her being wrapped in a shawl, Emma took a violent
cold, which was immediately followed by a cough, and many other
symptoms of rapid decline. Greatly alarmed, Mrs. Lindsay consulted her
former physicians, and was again flattered with the hope that change of
air, change of scene, and other changes, would speedily produce a
change of health.

Emma knew the history of her family, and understood well why she was
hurried from land to sea, and from thence to other places remote from
her home. Dora was not allowed to accompany her, because the physician
said that her "long face" would be an incalculable injury; but that
face, always beaming with the soul's deep interest and affection, was
ever present to the sick girl. Through many a night-watch of suffering
and feverish anxiety, those loving, earnest eyes seemed looking into
her own; and Emma would say to her sister Martha, "Dear Dora! how I
long to see her! she loves me, and prays for me; it seems to me that
with Dora near I should not be afraid to die."

Thus Emma talked; and the sensible, affectionate Martha saw that change
of air and change of scene could not benefit her young sister, while
her mind was so fevered and tossed; she therefore entreated her mother
to return home, and after a time succeeded in making her understand
this to be the best course.

"O my dear Dora," said the poor weary child, as she found herself once
more in her own room at home, with the good woman at her side, "I am so
glad--_so_ glad to see you. And now I want you to stay with me, and
talk as you used to when I was a little child. O, it makes me miserable
to think how my heart wandered away from you, and from the Saviour,
Dora; for I used to feel when a little girl that he loved me."

"And he loves you still, dearest," replied the old lady, her heart
swelling with gratitude to God. "He loves you, Emma, and will receive
you freely, dear, without one word of reproach, if you will only come
back."

"I think so," said Emma, while the tears ran freely down her pale
cheeks. "I did not spend those long dreadful nights, Dora, without
thinking of him; and though ashamed of myself, I ventured to ask him,
over and over again, to pity my wretchedness, and love me still. One
night--it was not long ago--he seemed to come to me, and say the very
same things which you have just said,--that he would not cast me off;
that he loved me, even then."

What a moment of joy to the faithful Christian, who had sowed in hope,
but whose faith had been so severely tried.

The tranquillity of mind which followed Emma's return home, operated
favorably upon her health, and in a few weeks she was able to mingle
with the family as formerly. Her mother did not propose her going
abroad for company; but Emma seemed to take pleasure in being one of
their small parties at home. Very different, however, was this pleasure
from that which she had formerly sought and experienced.

"What a change in Emma Lindsay!" was an exclamation frequent among her
mother's friends. "Her pertness, repartee, and saucy witticisms are all
gone. What have they been doing for her? This winning softness and
grace of manner seems foreign to her nature."

"I never thought," said another, "that I should come to love Emma
Lindsay; but I do, and cannot help it--she is so lovely, so polite, and
yet so _sincere_." A mystery, indeed, to the worldly wise, how
politeness and sincerity could be made to embrace each other.

The solemn subjects of death and eternity were matters of frequent and
free conversation between Emma and her pious friend; and now, though
there seemed some respite from the speedy execution of the sentence,
"Thou shalt die, and not live," neither thought of the matter in any
other light than that of a _little_ time given for work important to be
done. Happy for Emma that she took this view of the subject, since it
saved her from that remissness too common among the followers of
Christ.

"The Lord seems to have need of me," Emma would say to the good Dora;
while she would answer, "Yes, dear, but be ready for him at his coming;
be sure that you are able to say, 'I have _finished_ the work thou
gavest me to do.'"

Notwithstanding these favorable indications, as it regarded the health
of her daughter, Mrs. Lindsay was sometimes roused from her security by
symptoms less favorable, and at last resolved to follow the advice of
Emma's physician, and take up a permanent residence in the country.

Hence their removal to Appledale.



CHAPTER IV.

THE LITTLE TIME--HOW IMPROVED--FITNESS FOR REFINED SOCIETY--MORNING
REFLECTIONS--RUTH AND BOAZ--CHARITY AND COURTESY--THE VISIT.


The little time allotted Emma seemed important, not only as it regarded
her duty to others, but also in respect to herself. She desired a
complete fitness for the refined society which she was about to enter.
She wished, above all things, to become meet for an inheritance with
the saints in light; and for this fitness she strove, using with
diligence every means relative to this end which God had placed within
her reach; and, as a valuable means, she availed herself of the
spiritual perception and Christian fidelity of good Dora, who was
always ready to aid her.

"Tell me," she would say, "all that you see or _fear_ that is wrong in
me; help me to examine my motives, emotions, and affections:" and Dora
covenanted with Emma to this effect,--a sacred covenant, and one that
should be oftener made among those who would be made perfect.

It was in accordance with this covenant that Emma had spoken fully of
her feelings and impressions respecting Fanny Brighton; and we have
seen how faithfully this good woman kept her part of this covenant, by
pointing out to Emma the judgment of charity and the judgment of self.

Emma still sat by the open window, upon that fine morning, thinking and
feeling, as she long had done, of the heart's great depth of
deceitfulness, which no man could know, and no human power could reach,
when she saw Mr. Graffam coming along the road.

Poor Graffam, though in his sober senses, had been longer crossing the
plain that morning than usual. Far down in the depths of his beclouded
soul there was a love of the beautiful, and that love on this morning
had been stirred within him. His eyes had been open to see the
glittering dewdrops upon the tall wild flowers and green herbage of the
plain, to see the giant trees stretch their green arms toward the sky;
and his ears had been open to hear a sweet concert upon their topmost
branches. Poor buried soul!--how it struggled for a resurrection; now
leaping with joy at the thought of its own affinity for the pure and
beautiful, and now sinking, sinking, sinking with the one blighting
thought of human scorn richly merited.

Night after night had poor Graffam reeled from side to side of that
grass-tufted road, while the plain seemed to him an interminable lake
of fire, amid whose scalding waves there rolled and tossed poor
wretches like himself; and morning after morning he had returned by the
same road, feeling as though a frost-breath had passed over the lake of
fire, leaving it rough and leaden like a lava-deluged plain. But now,
whence came the wonderful beauty of the widespread landscape? He knew
in part, and brushed his old jacket sleeve across his swollen eyes. He
feared that the vision was fated to pass away, "For my character is
gone," said he; "nobody respects me; they call me 'old Pete,' and I am
doomed." But a new feeling now came over him. He was nearing
Snag-Orchard. The old chimneys were seen among the tree-tops, and
strange to himself, (for years had passed since he had cared for his
personal appearance,) he found his right hand tucking up its brother's
dirty wristband, and adroitly turning the torn part of his old hat-rim
to the side opposite Appledale.

"Good-morning, good-morning, Mr. Graffam," was the cheerful greeting
coming to him from a chamber window.

But lo! he has forgotten the torn rim, and now it is flapping most
gracefully, as the hat descends from the head, and is waved toward the
window.

"Stop, if you please," said Emma; and she ran down the stairway, and
along the garden-walk, toward the gate.

"Why, who is Emma flying to see?" asked Martha, as she saw her sister's
white dress flitting past the window.

One of the visitors looked toward the road, and, unable to speak for
laughter, pointed out poor Graffam, who, standing with his crazy hat in
his hand, and his long shaggy hair falling in tangled masses over his
neck and forehead, was now examining his great red hand, to see if it
was clean enough to shake the delicate little hand cordially offered
him.

"How is your babe this morning?" asked Emma.

"Better, thank you," replied Graffam; and growing warm-hearted in her
sunlight, he told her how the little thing had smiled, and crowed at
him; or _began_ to tell, and then stopped short, fearing that he should
forfeit her respect.

"It is a dear child," said Emma; "and perhaps, Mr. Graffam, it may
please God to restore him to health, and he may grow up to bless the
world."

Graffam started. The idea that a child of his should grow up to bless
the world seemed too marvelous; "and yet," thought he, "I was not made
for a curse."

"I hope that he may live," said the poor man sincerely; and wondered
how that hope came, for formerly the child's life had been a matter of
utter indifference to him.

"If it please God," added Emma.

"It has pleased God," said Graffam, "to lay three of my children
beneath the sod, and perhaps it were better if they were all there, for
we are----"

"Are what, sir?"

"Poor and despised, miss."

"God does not despise the poor," said Emma. "When his Son came to live
among men, the poor of this world were his chosen friends and
companions."

"Perhaps so," the poor man said, and turned his head mournfully away:
"if poverty were all----"

"He does not despise the _sinner_ either," said Emma, softly; "so far
from that, he delivered his only Son unto death for their sake."

Graffam lifted his eyes from the ground, and looked seriously into her
face.

"There was a time, miss," said he, "when that was a precious thought to
me. Then to know that God was my friend, was enough, and I was happy;
but that time is passed. I parted with his friendship to gain that of
the world, and now I have lost, hopelessly lost all--all!"

This was said in a tone of deep despair: so deep and sad, that it
called tears of pity to Emma's eyes, as she earnestly replied,--

"O do not say that _his_ friendship is hopelessly lost, Mr. Graffam;
for you know, sir, that he does not hate what the world hates. He hates
nothing but sin, and even from that his great mercy separates the
sinner, and makes him an object of love. Jesus, Mr. Graffam, is the
_sinner's friend_."

"Yes, miss," replied the poor man; though Emma saw that the faith of
this great truth did not enter his heart. There was no room as yet for
so pure a faith. The soul's great idol, whatever it be,--the "man of
sin" sitting in the place of God,--must be dethroned before the Holy
will enter in. Yet Emma's words stirred still more those powers of the
soul which Graffam had felt that morning struggling franticly with
their chains. There was a strange mixture of hope and despair in the
expression of his countenance, as he turned away, bidding her a sad
"good-morning."

"O," thought Emma, as she looked after him, "is there none to help?
Poor Mr. Graffam might become a good and useful man: his family might
live out among people, and be happy. I pity them from my very heart;"
and thinking over the matter, Emma walked out into the road, wandering
down the hill, across the bridge, beneath which the bright waters
glided very soberly that morning. Here she paused awhile, looking over
the wooden railing at the reflection of her own thin figure and pale
face. "O Emma," she said, "what thou doest, do quickly; for there is
neither work, knowledge, nor device in the grave, to which thou art
hastening."

Slowly, and somewhat wearily, she ascended the opposite bank, and then
away in his field, working busily, she saw friend Sliver. She knew him
by the broad-brimmed hat, which now and then bobbed up above the wall
as the old man picked up the stones, and then resumed his hoe.

Intent upon his work, he hoed long with his eyes upon the ground: but
at last he paused, and holding the hoe in one hand, drew a checkered
handkerchief from his pocket, and wiped the perspiration from his face;
in doing this, he glanced toward the road, and saw Emma leaning over
the wall, apparently inspecting his work.

"Good-morning, Mr. Sliver," said Emma.

[Illustration: EMMA AND THE QUAKER.]

"Ah, how does thee do?" replied the good man, with evident pleasure. "I
was not looking for thee in the potato field."

"I suppose not," replied Emma, smiling. "I am like Ruth, the Moabitess,
who went to glean in the fields of Boaz: only she wanted grain, and I
want counsel."

Friend Sliver laid down his hoe, and coming up to the wall, asked,
"What is it, child?"

"You know Mr. Graffam, sir?"

"Thee means Peter, who lives upon the plains?"

"Yes, sir."

"O yes, I have known him some years; given to drink, Emma."

"I know it," replied Emma; "but need he be lost, sir? He has a wife and
four pretty children; can't he be saved?"

"I see but one way," replied the old gentleman; "and that is to get him
employment away from the mills. Motley keeps spirit for his hands. I
have tried to help Peter by employing him myself, but he is very sullen
when not in drink."

"I will tell you the reason of that," said Emma; "the poor man has
naturally great self-esteem, and people irritate and crush him by
showing him no respect."

"People can't show what they have not," replied friend Sliver, with a
slight twinkle in his bright gray eye. "Can thee respect a drunkard,
Emma?"

"I can respect a _soul_, sir," replied Emma, warmly,--"a soul made in
the image of God, though it were sunk in the very depths of pollution
and wretchedness; and so can the 'Great and Holy One,' Mr. Sliver, or
he never would have sent his Son to redeem the world."

The sly twinkle vanished from the good Quaker's eye, and he looked
seriously, earnestly, into the face of that dear girl. "Emma," said he,
"what would thee do for Peter and his family? Can I aid thee in any
way?"

"You have done so already," said she, "by speaking of the temptations
to which he is exposed. I think that I can persuade mother to employ
him; and Mr. Sliver, as you are acquainted with the people here, you
may do Mr. Graffam a good service, by persuading your neighbors to feel
and to manifest some interest in himself and his family; ask them not
to allow their children to call him 'Old Pete,' 'Old toper,' &c., and
twit him of riding a high horse."

"I will," replied friend Sliver, "and I will do anything else in my
power to help thee."

"Thank you," said Emma, smiling, and sliding from the fence; "I am
greatly obliged to you; good-by, Mr. Sliver."

"Farewell!" replied the old man, as he once more watched her descending
the hill, and thought of what Sarah had said about her "ripening for
glory."

It was on the afternoon of that day that Dora and Emma set out for a
visit to the plains. "I think," said the former, "that we had better
ride around by 'Snow-Hill,' and inquire at Mr. Cotting's respecting
this family." Mr. Cotting was the minister, and his wife was considered
a very active woman, and such in truth she was. Sewing circles,
Sunday-school exhibitions, donation parties, &c., had been quite
unknown to that community until Mrs. Cotting came. It was said, too,
that she had visited all the poor families around, and fitted out their
children for Sabbath school.

"If," said Dora, "we succeed in getting this poor family of the plains
to mingle with their fellows, Mrs. Cotting's help will be needed; she
is directress of the sewing circle, and from that can obtain clothing
for the children."

"Dear Dora," replied Emma, "don't propose any such thing, either to Mr.
Graffam or his wife, now. It won't do--not yet. We will call and see
Mrs. Cotting, if you please. She may know this family, and may be able
to tell us how to manage. Here is the road which goes around by
Snow-Hill: but stop a moment; there is Willie Graffam and his little
sister, just coming from the plain.

"How do you do, Willie?" continued Emma, as the children, each carrying
a basket of berries, drew nearer.

"Very well, thank you," said Willie, taking off his hat; and the little
girl courtesied, without lifting her eyes from the ground.

"We are going over to see your mother," said Emma.

"Mother will be very glad to see _you_," replied the little boy; at the
same time looking inquiringly at the horse's head which was turned
toward Snow-Hill.

Dora smiled at the emphasis bestowed upon _you_, and asked Willie "if
his mother would not be glad to see her."

"I guess so," was the reply; "but----"

"But what, Willie?" asked Emma.

The little fellow hung his head, and answered in a lower tone, "Mother
don't want to see the minister's wife, for she has been at our house
once."

"I am afraid," said Dora, as they passed on, "that this family is one
whom it will be difficult to benefit."

"You will excuse me for keeping you in waiting so long," said Mrs.
Cotting, as she entered the room where Dora and Emma had been seated
for nearly an hour; "I understood the maid that it was Mrs. Lindsay
herself, and I was in _dishabille_. My duties are so numerous and so
pressing," continued Mrs. Cotting. "One might think that the cares of a
family were sufficient for a wife and mother; but added to this, to
have a whole parish upon one's hands." Here she paused and sighed.

"Your situation," replied Dora, "is indeed one of earnest duty and
responsibility; but the abundant grace provided for our utmost need is
found, I trust, sufficient for you."

Mrs. Cotting bowed, and Dora continued: "We will not take your time,
madam, which must be fully occupied. We called to inquire respecting a
family called Graffam, living upon the plain."

"I know them," said Mrs. Cotting, "as indeed I do every other poor
family in town. These Graffams are very strange people. I called there
with Mrs. Jefferson Motley, the wealthiest lady at the mills. Graffam
had a child at that time lying at the point of death. He was at home,
and, what is a rare thing, was sober; but neither he nor his wife
seemed at all grateful for this attention from myself and Mrs. Motley.
We were at that time hunting up children for the Sabbath school; and in
our charitable work were not unwilling to visit the most degraded. We
told Graffam and his wife so; and told them, moreover, that we were
desirous to rescue their children from ignorance and infamy. I had a
bundle of clothes for the children, which I offered to Mrs. Graffam, on
condition that she would keep them clean; never allowing them to be
worn in their own dirty hut, but saved expressly for the Sabbath
school. Then I talked to her faithfully of her own evil ways, (for I
had heard that she picked berries upon the Sabbath;) and what do you
suppose the poor wretch did? Why she turned from the dying bed of her
child, and looked Mrs. Motley and myself in the face, as though we were
common acquaintances. 'Madam,' said she, 'your religion is not to my
taste. I prefer our present ignorance, and even infamy, to what you
have offered this morning. As for picking berries upon the Sabbath, I
must refer that to Him of whom, I must confess, I know too little; but
my parents taught me that God is just, and I believe that he will
justly judge between the rich who pay their laborers in that which is
neither money nor bread, and the mother who, for lack of bread, must
break the Sabbath.' Think what an impudent thrust at Mrs. Motley!--her
husband allows Graffam to take up the most of his wages in rum, I
suppose. It was evident that this Mrs. Graffam was no subject for
charity--she was too ungrateful and too insolent; so we came away,
bringing the things with us. The child died, and they would not have
Mr. Cotting to attend the funeral. Graffam went for old Mr. Sliver, who
sat in silence with the family for about half an hour, and then was
'moved upon' to pray. The sexton said that Graffam and his wife sobbed
aloud; but I have never ventured there again."

Dora and Emma now rose to depart, and in going away met Mr. Cotting at
the door. Emma felt herself indebted to her minister, and, with the
cordiality of true Christian friendship, returned his greeting.

"We are going to visit the family upon the plain," said she, as Mr.
Cotting unfastened their horse, and was about to turn him the other
way.

"Are you?" inquired he, "that is what I have not done myself, as yet;
Mrs. Cotting received so ungracious a reception, that it rather
discouraged me; if you are upon a visit of charity I hope that you will
be better received."

"_Charity_ ought to be kindly received everywhere," replied Emma,
"since she is long-suffering and kind herself, not easily provoked, and
certainly not provoking, because she never behaves herself unseemly."

"No," replied the minister, thoughtfully; "it is strange that true
charity should be distasteful to any one." Then offering his hand, as
he bade them good-by, he said to Emma, "I hope, my dear, that this
charity abounds in you."

"O no," she replied, "it does not _abound_--although, I trust, it has a
home in my poor heart."

Emma found the door of poor Graffam's hut open, and the mother sitting
beside the cradle where lay the sick babe asleep.

"Walk in," said Mrs. Graffam, smiling as she advanced toward the door.

Dora was surprised at the ease of her manner, and the pleasant
expression of her countenance, as she handed them chairs, and seemed
really glad to see them.

"The babe is better," said she, as Emma advanced toward the cradle; and
at that moment the little one awoke.

The good motherly Dora took the "wee bit" into her arms, and talked
with Mrs. Graffam about the best course to be pursued with a feeble
child like that, while Emma unpacked the stores which they brought,
among which were many things not intended for baby, but which she
delicately classed with the rest, calling the whole "medicine."

Mrs. Graffam was at first somewhat reserved; but as Dora talked to her
as a friend and sister, the frost of her spirit melted away, and she
spoke of her mother now dead, of brothers and sisters, some dead and
some far away: and as she grew thus communicative, and the tears of
fond recollection trembled in her eyes, Dora talked of Him, the dear
unfailing friend, who sticketh closer than a brother; who, in all the
afflictions of his people, is afflicted, and the angel of whose
presence is with them to comfort and to bless.

Then poor Mrs. Graffam wept much, saying that she needed just such a
friend. And when they went away, she wrapped the babe in a shawl, and,
taking it in her arms, went with them to the road where they had left
their horse.

"You will come and see me again, won't you?" she asked.

And Emma replied, "Yes, Mrs. Graffam; _I_ will come as long as I am
able, and when I am not, you must come and see me."

"I will," was the warm reply; "I would walk miles to see you, if you
were sick."



CHAPTER V.

THE OLD PEDDLER--BITTER WORDS--THE MEEK REPLY--THE EFFECT--ACTING A
PART--SOFTER FEELINGS--THE DEATH-SCENE--THE DAY OF SMALL
THINGS--SIMPLE CHRISTIAN COURTESY.


"I know," said Fanny Brighton, "that there is not a word of truth in
what you say. Peddlers are always liars. This ring is nothing but
brass, and would turn black with a week's wearing."

"I bought it for gold," meekly replied the old man, as he placed his
heavy box upon the ground, and wiped the large drops of sweat from his
wrinkled face.

"What else have you?" inquired Alice, as she turned over a box of
thimbles, and pulled out a large handkerchief. "What a splendid thing!"
said Alice; but at the same time she winked at Fanny, and laughed.

[Illustration: THE GIRLS AND THE PEDDLER.]

"Half cotton," said Fanny; "and now pray tell me when you take time to
split your skeins of silk."

"I never do such a thing!" said the old man, with some spirit.

"Perhaps not," was the reply; "I suppose your profits are enough to
hire it done; but here is a shawl,--what is the price of it?"

"Five dollars, miss; and a good bargain at that." "Five dollars! O
what a cheat!" and Fanny laid the shawl, all unfolded, upon the grass,
where scissors, needles, buttons, tape, pins, &c., lay strewed in wild
confusion. Once more the poor man wiped his forehead, and kept his
patience. It is bad policy for the poor to lose their patience.

"There comes Mary Palmer, and the missionary of Appledale," said Fanny.
"Mr. Cotting will have to give up his office, or take Miss Lindsay as
colleague."

Fanny knew that Emma was near enough to hear these remarks, but she did
not know for what intent the feeble girl had taxed her strength in
walking so far to see her.

The old peddler was now sadly putting his things back into his box; and
Fanny, looking at him a moment, felt the injustice of causing him so
much trouble for nothing: so she said to him, "Wait a moment--I will
take some of your knickknacks, though they are not worth buying;" and
she put into his hand a bill to pay for some articles which she hastily
selected.

The old man thanked her, and his hand trembled as he gave her the
change. Then he took up his heavy box, and Emma handed him the straps
which fastened it upon his shoulders.

"Is it very heavy?" she asked.

"Yes," was the reply, "it is; but I am used to heavy burdens."

"Well, the burden and heat of your life's day is almost over," said
Emma, as, assisted by Mary, she drew the strap firmly into the buckle.
"Then, sir, if you are a Christian, you will _rest_."

"I know it," said the old man; "I know it, child:" and he looked at
Emma, as though she had given him something better than silver or gold.

"Call at the large house, among the apple-trees," said Emma, "and tell
the lady that her daughter sent you."

All this time Fanny stood as if counting her money, while the old
peddler went along.

"He has cheated himself in making change," said she; "I owe him a
quarter more."

"Never mind," said Alice; "you paid enough for the things, and that is
clear gain."

Fanny paid no attention to Alice, but ran after the old man, and gave
him all his due.

Emma saw this; and the charity in her heart which "rejoiceth not in
iniquity, but in the truth," exulted as one that findeth great spoil.
She forgot the bitter remark which Fanny had made respecting herself;
forgot all, except the one joyful thing that Fanny was not wholly
selfish.

"We walked over to see you for a little while," said Mary, as Fanny
came back; and Emma was far from feeling it a rudeness, though Fanny
did not say, "I am glad to see you." She, however, invited them into
the house where her grandfather and grandmother lived--for Fanny was an
orphan.

Emma was very tired, and Fanny brought a pillow, which she placed upon
the old-fashioned lounge, and asked her if she would like to lie down.
She saw that Emma was pale, and this little act of kindness was
prompted by a momentary feeling of pity: yet Fanny was ashamed of this
kindness, and afraid that Mary and Alice would think her anxious to
show Miss Lindsay particular attention; so putting on her old
"care-for-nobody airs," she said, "Don't _you_ undertake to faint, Mary
Palmer. We country girls are neither genteel nor sentimental enough for
that."

"And not feeble enough, I hope," replied Emma. "You have much to be
thankful for, and so have I; for if it please God to deprive us of
health, he will not leave us comfortless--not if we trust in him."

Fanny was not naturally a hardhearted girl. Her aged grandparents had
done much toward making her what she was. Left to them when she was but
two years of age, Fanny found herself left also to the full sway of
every selfish passion and desire. The old people believed from their
hearts that such another child never lived--so bright, so witty, so
smart, and fearless. They talked and laughed over her sayings in her
presence, and, in the blindness of their fond affection, saw not that
the child was impudent, even to themselves; yet there was a fountain of
purer water in that young heart, though self-love was rapidly drying it
up. Emma, however, had that day discovered a bright drop from that
better fountain, and she believed that the wasted streams of affection
might be unsealed, even in Fanny's heart; and the rude girl herself
wondered at the feelings which came over her, as Emma replied so meekly
to her unkind remark. "I did not know that you were out of health,"
said Fanny; and both Mary and Alice were surprised at the tone of her
voice and the expression of her countenance. She arose too, propped the
pillow under Emma's head, and begged to know if she could do anything
for her.

"Nothing," said Emma; "only love me: if you can do that, Fanny, I shall
feel better."

Fanny tried to laugh, though she felt more like crying. "I am not much
like other people," said she; "and those who want to have anything to
do with me, must take me as I am."

"O yes," replied Emma; "if the Saviour does not refuse to take us just
as we are, I am sure we ought to receive others in the same way, and
love them too, even as he has loved us."

Very pleasantly did that summer afternoon pass away. Emma, after she
had rested awhile, thought of going home; but Fanny entreated her to
stay. She wanted to show her the bee-house, her grandfather's new
beehive, the flower-garden, and many other things. Mary dearly loved to
be near Emma; but this good little girl possessed the very best kind of
courtesy, because it was the fruit of a pure loving heart--that kind of
heart always forgetting its own wishes, in gratifying the wishes of
another. Mary was always happy, but it was a sweet reflex happiness.
She loved Emma, and dearly loved to hear her talk; but she did not
claim the right of keeping close to her side. She sometimes lingered
far behind, as Fanny and Emma walked arm-in-arm; but there was neither
envy nor jealousy in this. She knew that Fanny was ashamed of being
kind and affectionate, and she thought it best that they should be left
to themselves; so she kept with Alice, and tried to do her good.

That night, as the sun went down, Fanny might have been seen standing
at the door, where she had bid Mary and Emma good-night. Alice was
preparing to go, but Fanny seemed quite forgetful of her. She was still
looking far down the road, where Mary and Emma, with an arm around each
other's waist, were walking slowly along. Alice prided herself on being
more genteel in her manners than was Fanny Brighton; but she had not
Mary Palmer's self-forgetting courtesy. All the afternoon she had felt
vexed, because she imagined that but little notice had been taken of
herself; and now, as Fanny stood so absent-minded, picking a rose to
pieces, as her eyes wandered far away, Alice hurriedly put on her
bonnet, and said, in a tone of pique, "Good-night, Miss Brighton; I
suppose you would like now to cut acquaintance with me."

"Nonsense," said Fanny. "Wait a moment, I am going a little way with
you;" and as they walked along, Fanny tried to be herself again.

"There comes Graffam," said she: "now I hope that he is drunk; if so,
we will make him tell about the times when he was major."

But in this Fanny was disappointed. Soberly, but sadly, the poor man of
the plain came along, and shrunk from the gaze of those merry girls.

"O," said Fanny, "Uncle Pete is not tipsy; so we shall not hear from
the major to-night."

Poor Graffam passed them quickly, for he heard this remark; and a
deeper shade of gloom came over him. "What is the use of this dreadful
struggle?" thought he. "What suffering this self-denial has cost me!
and yet what is gained? Nothing, but to know that I am ridiculed and
despised."

"It is the first time," said Fanny to herself, as she parted with Alice
that night--"the first time that I have ever acted a part: but I would
not have her suspect my feelings; and why do I feel so?"

Thus thought Fanny, as she sat down upon a rock by the roadside, and
could not keep back the tears which came from a heart never so sad
before. And why so sad? Fanny had been, for a few hours, in close
converse with one who every day was becoming more and more meet for an
inheritance with the saints in light. She had ridiculed and set at
defiance the most common rules of politeness; but what was she to do
with the self-forgetting, affectionate courtesy which she had seen, not
forced nor constrained, but beaming forth so sweetly, so naturally,
from those young disciples of Christ? Fanny felt that, however
deceitful the world's polite intercourse might be, _this_ was
holy:--and how can sin approach purity without fear and trembling? She
felt this mysterious fear. The reckless girl, whose highest boast had
always been that she feared nothing, now trembled, as in imagination
she changed places with Emma, and stood where she saw her
standing,--upon the brink of the tomb.

It was on this evening that Emma was summoned to her mother's room. She
found her mother sitting alone with Martha. There was no light there
save moonlight, and Emma was glad, for she knew that her own
countenance was deathly; and she had known that for weeks her mother
had watched her narrowly.

"Emma, my dear," said Mrs. Lindsay, "you understand the reason of my
coming to this place--that it was solely on your account."

"Yes, mamma," said Emma.

"I have invited some of the gayest of our young friends," continued
Mrs. Lindsay, "to keep us company; and all this because I wanted you to
make the most of being in the country. I have them here, my love, to
talk, to ride, to run, and walk with you. This was the advice of your
physician. He said that you would soon become healthy and happy,
provided his directions were faithfully followed: but they are not; and
how can we expect these favorable results? You neither ride nor walk
with suitable company; not that I care much about your present
associations. If they are conducive to health, that is sufficient: but
I have reason to think, dear, that you spend a great part of your time
alone--that you go into the woods, not with your gay young friends (as
the doctor requires) to run and have a good frolic, but to sit down and
read. Is it not so?"

"Yes, mamma," said Emma, "it is so. I cannot run now, and I get very
tired in walking only a short distance; but it _rests_ me, dear mother,
to read the Bible."

"But how can I have you go away alone to read your Bible, and think
sadly of--being so weak?" asked her mother.

"Not sadly," replied Emma; "I do not think sadly, mother, for all the
sadness is gone; and if I have not become healthy, I certainly have
become happy, very happy, since we came to Appledale. It is true that I
see a great deal to be done now, and wish sometimes that those who have
the prospect of years before them would undertake this work."

"I am glad that you mentioned this," said Mrs. Lindsay; "you have
imbibed some of Dora's strange notions, my dear, about living for
others. You may be assured, Emma, that I have not sacrificed so much
for any object save that of your health. I did not leave the society of
the refined and intelligent for the sake of benefiting the rude and
ignorant; and I would have you remember what _was_ my object. You have
nothing to do with this community only with a view to your health. If
such society amuses you, mingle with it freely, but waste no thoughts
upon the people here. They have always taken care of themselves, and
can do this still without any help from little Emma Lindsay."

This the mother said playfully, as she kissed her cheek, and added: "I
did not give you a fashionable education, my dear; but it was not
because I intended you for a missionary."

"My heavenly Father may have intended this," replied Emma; "and you
would not oppose Him, mother, for he has purchased me with a great
price. We may be unwilling to make the smallest sacrifice for our
fellow-creatures, yet God gave his only Son a sacrifice for us."

"How that child talks," said Mrs. Lindsay, bursting into tears as Emma
left the room.

"And yet," replied Martha, "if we cannot save her, mother, you would
rather that she should be as she is."

The mother made no reply, for she knew not what to say.

Emma's first summer and winter at Appledale had passed away. It was a
beautiful morning in May; Martha Lindsay was sitting beside a low couch
where her young sister was sleeping so sweetly, so gently, that she had
more than once placed her cheek close to those parted lips fearing that
the breath was gone. Dora was in her little room adjoining Emma's, and
with hands uplifted in prayer, was asking this one thing of the Lord,
that as in life so in death, Emma might glorify him. Mrs. Lindsay was
pacing the floor in her own chamber, now weeping as if her heart would
break, and now striving in this hour of deep distress, to do as Emma
had long entreated her to do, namely, to come weary and heavy laden to
Him who in no wise will cast us out. Mr. Graffam was at work in the
garden; but his eye, now clear and intelligent, often rested on the
chamber windows where the curtains were folded so close and solemnly.

Susan Sliver had watched with Emma many a night, and now she had
retired for a few moments while Emma slept. Susan no longer sighed for
Olivet and Kedron, for in a Christian's earnest daily work she had
found places equally sacred.

"I have come to hear thy dying testimony, Emma," said friend Sliver, as
drawing his broad-brimmed hat more closely over his eyes, the old man
took his seat beside the bed.

Emma smiled feebly. "Are any more of my friends here?" she asked.

"Fanny Brighton is in the keeping-room," said Martha.

"Call her," whispered Emma; and in a few moments Fanny was kneeling
beside the bed sobbing violently, while Emma pressed her hand, but
could not speak. But there was a bright triumphant smile upon her face
as Mary Palmer came in; and Mary smiled too through her tears. She had
spent many a day with Emma since that first summer at Appledale; and
now, though a little girl, and a young Christian, she felt somewhat as
did Elisha when he awaited the horsemen and chariot which were coming
for Elijah.

Emma looked around the room and stretched her hand toward her mother,
who had just entered with Dora. Mrs. Lindsay took that cold hand into
her own, and then Emma repeated I Cor. xiii, 13, "And now abideth
faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is
charity."

Emma's breath grew shorter, but she was able to add a verse which she
had often read in Dora's hymn book:--

"This is the grace must live and sing
  When faith and hope shall cease,
And sound from every joyful string
  Through all the realms of bliss."

These were the last audible words uttered by Emma. When another morning
came it found her cold and silent, dressed for the grave. The spring
blossoms breathed their sweet fragrance into her open window, but Emma
was gone--gone to the land of unfading bloom; yet her life, short and
beautiful as the spring, had left in passing a more enduring fragrance
than that of early blossom and flower.

Little by little does the husbandman cast the precious seed into the
earth, and drop by drop comes the genial shower upon the green herb,
yet who does not despise the day of small things? Young, feeble
Christian, the world will never do thee justice, for in the great war
of mighty deeds thy meek, noiseless charity is unheard and forgotten;
but fear not, God keeps his own jewels. Do what thou canst, and thus
provide for thyself "a treasure in the heavens that faileth not."

There are some things spoken of in the town where Emma died, things not
wholly forgotten, but far back in the distance of years. It is said
that Mr. Graffam, who is now a Church-member and a town officer, was
once a complete sot, living in a log-hut upon the plain. So much for
the temperance reform. It is said, too, that the pious, charitable old
lady, Mrs. Lindsay, and her good daughter Martha, now living at
Appledale, were once very thoughtless, fashionable people; that the
gentle, amiable Mrs. Boyd was, when a girl and living with her
grandparents, one of the rudest and most reckless creatures living;
that Susan and Margaret Sliver, now earnest, efficient co-operaters in
every good cause, were once vain, frivolous, and almost hopelessly
sentimental. Many such things are said; but there are but few who trace
the changes that have taken place in those characters to their proper
cause. We think, however, that if these persons could express what
their secret hearts feel, they would ascribe the changes they have
experienced to the grace of God first influencing them through the
medium of simple Christian courtesy.





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