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´╗┐Title: Friends and Neighbors; Or, Two Ways of Living in the World
Author: Arthur, T. S. (Timothy Shay), 1809-1885 [Editor]
Language: English
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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 "Friends and Neighbors; Or, Two Ways of Living in the World" ***

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FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS;

or, Two Ways of Living in the World.

Edited by By T. S. Arthur

PHILADELPHIA:

1856



PREFACE.



WE were about preparing a few words of introduction to this volume, the
materials for which have been culled from the highways and byways of
literature, where our eyes fell upon these fitting sentiments, the
authorship of which we are unable to give. They express clearly and
beautifully what was in our own mind:--

"If we would only bring ourselves to look at the subjects that surround
as in their true flight, we should see beauty where now appears
deformity, and listen to harmony where we hear nothing but discord. To
be sure there is a great deal of vexation and anxiety in the world; we
cannot sail upon a summer sea for ever; yet if we preserve a calm eye
and a steady hand, we can so trim our sails and manage our helm, as to
avoid the quicksands, and weather the storms that threaten shipwreck.
We are members of one great family; we are travelling the same road, and
shall arrive at the same goal. We breathe the same air, are subject
to the same bounty, and we shall, each lie down upon the bosom of
our common mother. It is not becoming, then, that brother should hate
brother; it is not proper that friend should deceive friend; it is not
right that neighbour should deceive neighbour. We pity that man who can
harbour enmity against his fellow; he loses half the enjoyment of life;
he embitters his own existence. Let us tear from our eyes the coloured
medium that invests every object with the green hue of jealousy and
suspicion; turn, a deal ear to scandal; breathe the spirit of charity
from our hearts; let the rich gushings of human kindness swell up as a
fountain, so that the golden age will become no fiction and islands of
the blessed bloom in more than Hyperian beauty."

It is thus that friends and neighbours should live. This is the right
way. To aid in the creation of such true harmony among men, has the book
now in your hand, reader, been compiled. May the truths that glisten on
its pages be clearly reflected in your mind; and the errors it points
out be shunned as the foes of yourself and humanity.



CONTENTS.


     GOOD IN ALL
     HUMAN PROGRESS
     MY WASHERWOMAN
     FORGIVE AND FORGET
     OWE NO MAN ANYTHING
     RETURNING GOOD FOR EVIL
     PUTTING YOUR HAND IN YOUR NEIGHBOUR'S POCKET
     KIND WORDS
     NEIGHBOURS' QUARRELS
     GOOD WE MIGHT DO
     THE TOWN LOT
     THE SUNBEAM AND THE RAINDROP
     A PLEA FOR SOFT WORDS
     MR. QUERY'S INVESTIGATIONS
     ROOM IN THE WORLD
     WORDS
     THE THANKLESS OFFICE.
     LOVE
     "EVERY LITTLE HELPS"
     LITTLE THINGS
     CARELESS WORDS
     HOW TO BE HAPPY
     CHARITY--ITS OBJECTS
     THE VISION OF BOATS
     REGULATION OF THE TEMPER
     MANLY GENTLENESS
     SILENT INFLUENCE
     ANTIDOTE FOR MELANCHOLY
     THE SORROWS OF A WEALTHY CITIZEN
     "WE'VE ALL OUR ANGEL SIDE"
     BLIND JAMES
     DEPENDENCE
     TWO RIDES WITH THE DOCTOR
     KEEP IN STEP
     JOHNNY COLE
     THE THIEF AND HIS BENEFACTOR
     JOHN AND MARGARET GREYLSTON
     THE WORLD WOULD BE THE BETTER FOR IT
     TWO SIDES TO A STORY
     LITTLE KINDNESSES
     LEAVING OFF CONTENTION BEFORE IT BE MEDDLED WITH
     "ALL THE DAY IDLE"
     THE BUSHEL OF CORN
     THE ACCOUNT
     CONTENTMENT BETTER THAN WEALTH
     RAINBOWS EVERYWHERE



FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS.



GOOD IN ALL.



THERE IS GOOD IN ALL. Yes! we all believe it: not a man in the depth
of his vanity but will yield assent. But do you not all, in practice,
daily, hourly deny it? A beggar passes you in the street: dirty, ragged,
importunate. "Ah! he has a _bad_ look," and your pocket is safe. He
starves--and he steals. "I thought he was _bad_." You educate him in
the State Prison. He does not improve even in this excellent school.
"He is," says the gaoler, "thoroughly _bad_." He continues his course of
crime. All that is bad in him having by this time been made apparent
to himself, his friends, and the world, he has only to confirm the
decision, and at length we hear when he has reached his last step. "Ah!
no wonder--there was never any _Good_ in him. Hang him!"

Now much, if not all this, may be checked by a word.

If you believe in Good, _always appeal to it._ Be sure whatever there is
of Good--is of God. There is never an utter want of resemblance to the
common Father. "God made man in His own image." "What! yon reeling,
blaspheming creature; yon heartless cynic; yon crafty trader; yon
false statesman?" Yes! All. In every nature there is a germ of eternal
happiness, of undying Good. In the drunkard's heart there is a memory of
something better--slight, dim: but flickering still; why should you not
by the warmth of your charity, give growth to the Good that is in him?
The cynic, the miser, is not all self. There is a note in that sullen
instrument to make all harmony yet; but it wants a patient and gentle
master to touch the strings.

You point to the words "There is _none_ good." The truths do not oppose
each other. "There is none good--_save one._" And He breathes in all.
In our earthliness, our fleshly will, our moral grasp, we are helpless,
mean, vile. But there is a lamp ever burning in the heart: a guide to
the source of Light, or an instrument of torture. We can make it either.
If it burn in an atmosphere of purity, it will warm, guide, cheer us. If
in the midst of selfishness, or under the pressure of pride, its flame
will be unsteady, and we shall soon have good reason to trim our light,
and find new oil for it.

There is Good in All--the impress of the Deity. He who believes not in
the image of God in man, is an infidel to himself and his race. There is
no difficulty about discovering it. You have only to appeal to it. Seek
in every one the _best_ features: mark, encourage, educate _them._ There
is no man to whom some circumstance will not be an argument.

And how glorious in practice, this faith! How easy, henceforth, all
the labours of our law-makers, and how delightful, how practical the
theories of our philanthropists! To educate the _Good_--the good in
_All_: to raise every man in his own opinion, and yet to stifle all
arrogance, by showing that all possess this Good. _In_ themselves, but
not _of_ themselves. Had we but faith in this truth, how soon should
we all be digging through the darkness, for this Gold of Love--this
universal Good. A Howard, and a Fry, cleansed and humanized our prisons,
to find this Good; and in the chambers of all our hearts it is to be
found, by labouring eyes and loving hands.

Why all our harsh enactments? Is it from experience of the strength of
vice in ourselves that we cage, chain, torture, and hang men? Are none
of us indebted to friendly hands, careful advisers; to the generous,
trusting guidance, solace, of some gentler being, who has loved us,
despite the evil that is in _us_--for our little Good, and has nurtured
that Good with smiles and tears and prayers? O, we know not how like we
are to those whom we despise! We know not how many memories of kith and
kin the murderer carries to the gallows--how much honesty of heart the
felon drags with him to the hulks.

There is Good in All. Dodd, the forger, was a better man than most of
us: Eugene Aram, the homicide, would turn his foot from a worm. Do
not mistake us. Society demands, requires that these madmen should be
rendered harmless. There is no nature dead to all Good. Lady Macbeth
would have slain the old king, Had he not resembled her father as he
slept.

It is a frequent thought, but a careless and worthless one, because
never acted on, that the same energies, the same will to great vices,
had given force to great virtues. Do we provide the opportunity? Do we
_believe_ in Good? If we are ourselves deceived in any one, is not all,
thenceforth, deceit? if treated with contempt, is not the whole world
clouded with scorn? if visited with meanness, are not all selfish? And
if from one of our frailer fellow-creatures we receive the blow,
we cease to believe in women. Not the breast at which we have drank
life--not the sisterly hands that have guided ours--not the one voice
that has so often soothed us in our darker hours, will save the sex: All
are massed in one common sentence: all bad. There may be Delilahs: there
are many Ruths. We should not lightly give them up. Napoleon lost France
when he lost Josephine. The one light in Rembrandt's gloomy life was his
sister.

And all are to be approached at some point. The proudest bends to some
feeling--Coriolanus conquered Rome: but the husband conquered the
hero. The money-maker has influences beyond his gold--Reynolds made an
exhibition of his carriage, but he was generous to Northcote, and had
time to think of the poor Plympton schoolmistress. The cold are not all
ice. Elizabeth slew Essex--the queen triumphed; the woman _died._

There is Good in All. Let us show our faith in it. When the lazy whine
of the mendicant jars on your ears, think of his unaided, unschooled
childhood; think that his lean cheeks never knew the baby-roundness
of content that ours have worn; that his eye knew no youth of fire--no
manhood of expectancy. Pity, help, teach him. When you see the trader,
without any pride of vocation, seeking how he can best cheat you, and
degrade himself, glance into the room behind his shop and see there his
pale wife and his thin children, and think how cheerfully he meets
that circle in the only hour he has out of the twenty-four. Pity his
narrowness of mind; his want of reliance upon the God of Good; but
remember there have been Greshams, and Heriots, and Whittingtons; and
remember, too, that in our happy land there are thousands of almshouses,
built by the men of trade alone. And when you are discontented with the
great, and murmur, repiningly, of Marvel in his garret, or Milton in his
hiding-place, turn in justice to the Good among the great. Read how John
of Lancaster loved Chaucer and sheltered Wicliff. There have been Burkes
as well as Walpoles. Russell remembered Banim's widow, and Peel forgot
not Haydn.

Once more: believe that in every class there is Good; in every man,
Good. That in the highest and most tempted, as well as in the lowest,
there is often a higher nobility than of rank. Pericles and Alexander
had great, but different virtues, and although the refinement of the
one may have resulted in effeminacy, and the hardihood of the other in
brutality, we ought to pause ere we condemn where we should all have
fallen.

Look only for the Good. It will make you welcome everywhere, and
everywhere it will make you an instrument to good. The lantern of
Diogenes is a poor guide when compared with the Light God hath set in
the heavens; a Light which shines into the solitary cottage and the
squalid alley, where the children of many vices are hourly exchanging
deeds of kindness; a Light shining into the rooms of dingy warehousemen
and thrifty clerks, whose hard labour and hoarded coins are for wife
and child and friend; shining into prison and workhouse, where sin and
sorrow glimmer with sad eyes through rusty bars into distant homes and
mourning hearths; shining through heavy curtains, and round sumptuous
tables, where the heart throbs audibly through velvet mantle and silken
vest, and where eye meets eye with affection and sympathy; shining
everywhere upon God's creatures, and with its broad beams lighting up
a virtue wherever it falls, and telling the proud, the wronged, the
merciless, or the despairing, that there is "Good in All."



HUMAN PROGRESS.



     WE are told to look through nature
       Upward unto Nature's God;
     We are told there is a scripture
       Written on the meanest sod;
     That the simplest flower created
       Is a key to hidden things;
     But, immortal over nature,
       Mind, the lord of nature, springs!

     Through _Humanity_ look upward,--
       Alter ye the olden plan,--
     Look through man to the Creator,
       Maker, Father, God of Man!
     Shall imperishable spirit
       Yield to perishable clay?
     No! sublime o'er Alpine mountains
       Soars the Mind its heavenward way!

     Deeper than the vast Atlantic
       Rolls the tide of human thought;
     Farther speeds that mental ocean
       Than the world of waves o'er sought!
     Mind, sublime in its own essence
       Its sublimity can lend
     To the rocks, and mounts, and torrents,
       And, at will, their features bend!

     Some within the humblest _floweret_
       "Thoughts too deep for tears" can see;
     Oh, the humblest man existing
       Is a sadder theme to me!
     Thus I take the mightier labour
       Of the great Almighty hand;
     And, through man to the Creator,
       Upward look, and weeping stand.

     Thus I take the mightier labour,
       --Crowning glory of _His_ will;
     And believe that in the meanest
       Lives a spark of Godhead still:
     Something that, by Truth expanded,
       Might be fostered into worth;
     Something struggling through the darkness,
       Owning an immortal birth!

     From the Genesis of being
       Unto this imperfect day,
     Hath Humanity held onward,
       Praying God to aid its way!
     And Man's progress had been swifter,
       Had he never turned aside,
     To the worship of a symbol,
       Not the spirit signified!

     And Man's progress had been higher,
       Had he owned his brother man,
     Left his narrow, selfish circle,
       For a world-embracing plan!
     There are some for ever craving,
       Ever discontent with place,
     In the eternal would find briefness,
       In the infinite want space.

     If through man unto his Maker
       We the source of truth would find,
     It must be through man enlightened,
       Educated, raised, refined:
     That which the Divine hath fashioned
       Ignorance hath oft effaced;
     Never may we see God's image
       In man darkened--man debased!

     Something yield to Recreation,
       Something to Improvement give;
     There's a Spiritual kingdom
       Where the Spirit hopes to live!
     There's a mental world of grandeur,
       Which the mind inspires to know;
     Founts of everlasting beauty
       That, for those who seek them, flow!

     Shores where Genius breathes immortal--
       Where the very winds convey
     Glorious thoughts of Education,
       Holding universal sway!
     Glorious hopes of Human Freedom,
       Freedom of the noblest kind;
     That which springs from Cultivation,
       Cheers and elevates the mind!

     Let us hope for Better Prospects,
       Strong to struggle for the night,
     We appeal to Truth, and ever
       Truth's omnipotent in might;
     Hasten, then, the People's Progress,
       Ere their last faint hope be gone;
     Teach the Nations that their interest
       And the People's good, ARE ONE.



MY WASHERWOMAN.



SOME people have a singular reluctance to part with money. If waited
on for a bill, they say, almost involuntarily, "Call to-morrow," even
though their pockets are far from being empty.

I once fell into this bad habit myself; but a little incident, which I
will relate, cured me. Not many years after I had attained my majority,
a poor widow, named Blake, did my washing and ironing. She was the
mother of two or three little children, whose sole dependence for food
and raiment was on the labour of her hands.

Punctually, every Thursday morning, Mrs. Blake appeared with my clothes,
"white as the driven snow;" but not always, as punctually, did I pay the
pittance she had earned by hard labour.

"Mrs. Blake is down stairs," said a servant, tapping at my room-door one
morning, while I was in the act of dressing myself.

"Oh, very well," I replied. "Tell her to leave my clothes. I will get
them when I come down."

The thought of paying the seventy-five cents, her due, crossed my mind.
But I said to myself,--"It's but a small matter, and will do as well
when she comes again."

There was in this a certain reluctance to part with money. My funds
were low, and I might need what change I had during the day. And so
it proved. As I went to the office in which I was engaged, some small
article of ornament caught my eye in a shop window.

"Beautiful!" said I, as I stood looking at it. Admiration quickly
changed into the desire for possession; and so I stepped in to ask the
price. It was just two dollars.

"Cheap enough," thought I. And this very cheapness was a further
temptation.

So I turned out the contents of my pockets, counted them over, and found
the amount to be two dollars and a quarter.

"I guess I'll take it," said I, laying the money on the shopkeeper's
counter.

"I'd better have paid Mrs. Blake." This thought crossed my mind, an
hour afterwards, by which time the little ornament had lost its power of
pleasing. "So much would at least have been saved."

I was leaving the table, after tea, on the evening that followed, when
the waiter said to me,

"Mrs. Blake is at the door, and wishes to see you."

I felt a little worried at hearing this; for I had no change in my
pockets, and the poor washerwoman had, of course, come for her money.

"She's in a great hurry," I muttered to myself, as I descended to the
door.

"You'll have to wait until you bring home my clothes next week, Mrs.
Blake. I haven't any change, this evening."

The expression of the poor woman's face, as she turned slowly away,
without speaking, rather softened my feelings.

"I'm sorry," said I, "but it can't be helped now. I wish you had said,
this morning, that you wanted money. I could have paid you then."

She paused, and turned partly towards me, as I said this. Then she moved
off, with something so sad in her manner, that I was touched sensibly.

"I ought to have paid her this morning, when I had the change about
me. And I wish I had done so. Why didn't she ask for her money, if she
wanted it so badly?"

I felt, of course, rather ill at ease. A little while afterwards I met
the lady with whom I was boarding.

"Do you know anything about this Mrs. Blake, who washes for me?" I
inquired.

"Not much; except that she is very poor, and has three children to feed
and clothe. And what is worst of all, she is in bad health. I think she
told me, this morning, that one of her little ones was very sick."

I was smitten with a feeling of self-condemnation, and soon after left
the room. It was too late to remedy the evil, for I had only a sixpence
in my pocket; and, moreover, did not know where to find Mrs. Blake.

Having purposed to make a call upon some young ladies that evening, I
now went up into my room to dress. Upon my bed lay the spotless linen
brought home by Mrs. Blake in the morning. The sight of it rebuked me;
and I had to conquer, with some force, an instinctive reluctance, before
I could compel myself to put on a clean shirt, and snow-white vest, too
recently from the hand of my unpaid washerwoman.

One of the young ladies upon whom I called was more to me than a mere
pleasant acquaintance. My heart had, in fact, been warming towards her
for some time; and I was particularly anxious to find favour in her
eyes. On this evening she was lovelier and more attractive than ever,
and new bonds of affection entwined themselves around my heart.

Judge, then, of the effect produced upon me by the entrance of her
mother--at the very moment when my heart was all a-glow with love, who
said, as she came in--

"Oh, dear! This is a strange world!"

"What new feature have you discovered now, mother?" asked one of her
daughters, smiling.

"No new one, child; but an old one that looks more repulsive than
ever," was replied. "Poor Mrs. Blake came to see me just now, in great
trouble."

"What about, mother?" All the young ladies at once manifested unusual
interest.

Tell-tale blushes came instantly to my countenance, upon which the eyes
of the mother turned themselves, as I felt, with a severe scrutiny.

"The old story, in cases like hers," was answered. "Can't get her money
when earned, although for daily bread she is dependent on her daily
labour. With no food in the house, or money to buy medicine for her sick
child, she was compelled to seek me to-night, and to humble her spirit,
which is an independent one, so low as to ask bread for her little ones,
and the loan of a pittance with which to get what the doctor has ordered
her feeble sufferer at home."

"Oh, what a shame!" fell from the lips of Ellen, the one in whom my
heart felt more than a passing interest; and she looked at me earnestly
as she spoke.

"She fully expected," said the mother, "to get a trifle that was due her
from a young man who boards with Mrs. Corwin; and she went to see him
this evening. But he put her off with some excuse. How strange that
any one should be so thoughtless as to withhold from the poor their
hard-earned pittance! It is but a small sum at best, that the toiling
seamstress or washerwoman can gain by her wearying labour. That, at
least, should be promptly paid. To withhold it an hour is to do, in many
cases, a great wrong."

For some minutes after this was said, there ensued a dead silence. I
felt that the thoughts of all were turned upon me as the one who had
withheld from poor Mrs. Blake the trifling sum due her for washing. What
my feelings were, it is impossible for me to describe; and difficult for
any one, never himself placed in so unpleasant a position, to imagine.

My relief was great when the conversation flowed on again, and in
another channel; for I then perceived that suspicion did not rest upon
me. You may be sure that Mrs. Blake had her money before ten o'clock on
the next day, and that I never again fell into the error of neglecting,
for a single week, my poor washerwoman.



FORGIVE AND FORGET.



     THERE'S a secret in living, if folks only knew;
     An Alchymy precious, and golden, and true,
     More precious than "gold dust," though pure and refined,
     For its mint is the heart, and its storehouse the mind;
     Do you guess what I mean--for as true as I live
     That dear little secret's--forget and forgive!

     When hearts that have loved have grown cold and estranged,
     And looks that beamed fondness are clouded and changed,
     And words hotly spoken and grieved for with tears
     Have broken the trust and the friendship of years--
     Oh! think 'mid thy pride and thy secret regret,
     The balm for the wound is--forgive and forget!

     Yes! look in thy spirit, for love may return
     And kindle the embers that still feebly burn;
     And let this true whisper breathe high in thy heart,
     _'Tis better to love than thus suffer apart_--

     Let the Past teach the Future more wisely than yet,
     For the friendship that's true can forgive and forget.

     And now, an adieu! if you list to my lay
     May each in your thoughts bear my motto away,
     'Tis a crude, simple ryhme, but its truth may impart
     A joy to the gentle and loving of heart;
     And an end I would claim far more practical yet
     In behalf of the Rhymer--_forgive and forget!_



OWE NO MAN ANYTHING.



THUS says an Apostle; and if those who are able to "owe no man anything"
would fully observe this divine obligation, many, very many, whom their
want of punctuality now compels to live in violation of this precept,
would then faithfully and promptly render to every one their just dues.

"What is the matter with you, George?" said Mrs. Allison to her husband,
as he paced the floor of their little sitting-room, with an anxious,
troubled expression of countenance.

"Oh! nothing of much consequence: only a little worry of business,"
replied Mr. Allison.

"But I know better than that, George. I know it is of consequence; you
are not apt to have such a long face for nothing. Come, tell me what it
is that troubles you. Have I not a right to share your griefs as well as
your joys?"

"Indeed, Ellen, it is nothing but business, I assure you; and as I am
not blessed with the most even temper in the world, it does not take
much you know to upset me: but you heard me speak of that job I was
building for Hillman?"

"Yes. I think you said it was to be five hundred dollars, did you not?"

"I did; and it was to have been cash as soon as done. Well, he took it
out two weeks ago; one week sooner than I promised it. I sent the bill
with it, expecting, of course, he would send me a check for the amount;
but I was disappointed. Having heard nothing from him since, I thought I
would call on him this morning, when, to my surprise, I was told he had
gone travelling with his wife and daughter, and would not be back for
six weeks or two months. I can't tell you how I felt when I was told
this."

"He is safe enough for it I suppose, isn't he, George?"

"Oh, yes; he is supposed to be worth about three hundred thousand. But
what good is that to me? I was looking over my books this afternoon,
and, including this five hundred, there is just fifteen hundred dollars
due me now, that I ought to have, but can't get it. To a man doing a
large business it would not be much; but to one with my limited means,
it is a good deal. And this is all in the hands of five individuals, any
one of whom could pay immediately, and feel not the least inconvenience
from it."

"Are you much pressed for money just now, George?"

"I have a note in bank of three hundred, which falls due to-morrow, and
one of two hundred and fifty on Saturday. Twenty-five dollars at least
will be required to pay off my hands; and besides this, our quarter's
rent is due on Monday, and my shop rent next Wednesday. Then there are
other little bills I wanted to settle, our own wants to be supplied,
&c."

"Why don't you call on those persons you spoke of; perhaps they would
pay you?"

"I have sent their bills in, but if I call on them so soon I might
perhaps affront them, and cause them to take their work away; and that
I don't want to do. However, I think I shall have to do it, let the
consequence be what it may."

"Perhaps you could borrow what you need, George, for a few days."

"I suppose I could; but see the inconvenience and trouble it puts me
to. I was so certain of getting Hillman's money to meet these two notes,
that I failed to make any other provision."

"That would not have been enough of itself."

"No, but I have a hundred on hand; the two together would have paid
them, and left enough for my workmen too."

As early as practicable the next morning Mr. Allison started forth to
raise the amount necessary to carry him safely through the week. He
thought it better to try to collect some of the amounts owing to him
than to borrow. He first called on a wealthy merchant, whose annual
income was something near five thousand.

"Good morning, Mr. Allison," said he, as that individual entered his
counting-room. "I suppose you want some money."

"I should like a little, Mr. Chapin, if you please."

"Well, I intended coming down to see you, but I have been so busy that
I have not been able. That carriage of mine which you did up a few weeks
ago does not suit me altogether."

"What is the matter with it?"

"I don't like the style of trimming, for one thing; it has a common look
to me."

"It is precisely what Mrs. Chapin ordered. You told me to suit her."

"Yes, but did she not tell you to trim it like General Spangler's?"

"I am very much mistaken, Mr. Chapin, if it is not precisely like his."

"Oh! no; his has a much richer look than mine."

"The style of trimming is just the same, Mr. Chapin; but you certainly
did not suppose that a carriage trimmed with worsted lace, would look as
well as one trimmed with silk lace?"

"No, of course not; but there are some other little things about it that
don't suit me. I will send my man down with it to-day, and he will show
you what they are. I would like to have it to-morrow afternoon, to take
my family out in. Call up on Monday, and we will have a settlement."

Mr. Allison next called at the office of a young lawyer, who had
lately come into possession of an estate valued at one hundred thousand
dollars. Mr. Allison's bill was three hundred dollars, which his young
friend assured him he would settle immediately, only that there was a
slight error in the way it was made out, and not having the bill with
him, he could not now correct it.

He would call on Mr. Allison with it, sometime during the next week, and
settle it.

A Custom-House gentleman was next sought, but his time had been so much
taken up with his official duties, that he had not yet been able to
examine the bill. He had no doubt but it was all correct; still, as he
was not accustomed to doing business in a loose way, he must claim Mr.
Allison's indulgence a few days longer.

Almost disheartened, Mr. Allison entered the store of the last
individual who was indebted to him for any considerable amount, not
daring to hope that he would be any more successful with him than with
the others he had called on. But he was successful; the bill, which
amounted to near one hundred and fifty dollars, was promptly paid, Mr.
Allison's pocket, in consequence, that much heavier, and his heart that
much lighter. Fifty dollars was yet lacking of the sum requisite for
that day. After calling on two or three individuals, this amount was
obtained, with the promise of being returned by the middle of the next
week.

"I shall have hard work to get through to-day, I know," said he to
himself, as he sat at his desk on the following morning.

"Two hundred and fifty dollars to be raised by borrowing. I don't know
where I can get it."

To many this would be a small sum, but Mr. Allison was peculiarly
situated. He was an honest, upright mechanic, but he was poor. It was
with difficulty he had raised the fifty dollars on the day previous.
Although he had never once failed in returning money at the time
promised, still, for some reason or other, everybody appeared unwilling
to lend him. It was nearly two O'clock and he was still a hundred
dollars short.

"Well," said he to himself, "I have done all I could, and if Hall won't
renew the note for the balance, it will have to be protested. I'll go
and ask him, though I have not much hope that he will do it."

As he was about leaving his shop for that purpose, a gentleman entered
who wished to buy a second-hand carriage. Mr. Allison had but one, and
that almost new, for which he asked a hundred and forty dollars.

"It is higher than I wished to go," remarked the gentleman. "I ought to
get a new one for that price."

"So you can, but not like this. I can sell you a new one for a hundred
and twenty-five dollars. But what did you expect to pay for one?"

"I was offered one at Holton's for seventy-five; but I did not like it.
I will give you a hundred for yours."

"It is too little, indeed, sir: that carriage cost three hundred dollars
when it was new. It was in use a very short time. I allowed a hundred
and forty dollars for it myself."

"Well, sir, I would not wish you to sell at a disadvantage, but if you
like to, accept of my offer I'll take it. I'm prepared to pay the cash
down."

Mr. Allison did not reply for some minutes. He was undecided as to what
was best.

"Forty dollars," said he to himself, "is a pretty heavy discount. I
am almost tempted to refuse his offer and trust to Hall's renewing the
note. But suppose he won't--then I'm done for. I think, upon the whole,
I had better accept it. I'll put it at one hundred and twenty-five, my
good friend," said he, addressing the customer.

"No, sir; one hundred is all I shall give."

"Well, I suppose you must have it, then; but indeed you have got a
bargain."

"It is too bad," muttered Allison to himself, as he left the bank after
having paid his note. "There is just forty dollars thrown away. And why?
Simply because those who are blessed with the means of discharging their
debts promptly, neglect to do so."

"How did you make out to-day, George?" asked his wife, as they sat at
the tea-table that same evening.

"I met my note, and that was all."

"Did you give your men anything?"

"Not a cent. I had but one dollar left after paying that. I was sorry
for them, but I could not help them. I am afraid Robinson's family will
suffer, for there has been sickness in his house almost constantly for
the last twelvemonth. His wife, he told me the other day, had not been
out; of her bed for six weeks. Poor fellow! He looked quite dejected
when I told him I had nothing for him."

At this moment; the door-bell rang and a minute or two afterwards, a
young girl entered the room in which Mr. and Mrs. Allison were sitting.
Before introducing her to our readers, we will conduct them to the
interior of an obscure dwelling, situated near the outskirts of the
city. The room is small, and scantily furnished, and answers at once
for parlour, dining-room, and kitchen. Its occupants, Mrs. Perry and her
daughter, have been, since the earliest dawn of day, intently occupied
with their needles, barely allowing themselves time to partake of their
frugal meal.

"Half-past three o'clock!" ejaculated the daughter, her eyes glancing,
as she spoke, at the clock on the mantelpiece. "I am afraid we shall not
get this work done in time for me to take it home before dark, mother."

"We must try hard, Laura, for you know we have not a cent in the house,
and I told Mrs. Carr to come over to-night, and I would pay her what I
owe her for washing. Poor thing! I would not like to disappoint her, for
I know she needs it."

Nothing more was said for near twenty minutes, when Laura again broke
the silence.

"Oh, dear!" she exclaimed, "what a pain I have in my side!" And for a
moment she rested from her work, and straightened herself in her chair,
to afford a slight relief from the uneasiness she experienced. "I
wonder, mother, if I shall always be obliged to sit so steady?"

"I hope not, my child; but bad as our situation is, there are hundreds
worse off than we. Take Annie Carr, for instance--how would you like to
exchange places with her?"

"Poor Annie! I was thinking of her awhile go, mother. How hard it must
be for one so young to be so afflicted as she is!"

"And yet, Laura, she never complains; although for five years she has
never left her bed, and has often suffered, I know, for want of proper
nourishment."

"I don't think she will suffer much longer, mother. I stopped in to see
her the other day, and I was astonished at the change which had taken
place in a short time. Her conversation, too, seems so heavenly, her
faith in the Lord so strong, that I could not avoid coming to the
conclusion that a few days more, at the most, would terminate her
wearisome life."

"It will be a happy release for her, indeed, my daughter. Still, it will
be a sore trial for her mother."

It was near six when Mrs. Perry and her daughter finished the work upon
which they were engaged.

"Now Laura, dear," said the mother, "get back as soon as you can, for I
don't like you to be out after night, and more than that, if Mrs. Carr
comes, she won't want to wait."

About twenty minutes after the young girl had gone, Mrs. Carr called.
"Pray, be seated, my dear friend," said Mrs. Perry, "my daughter has
just gone to Mrs. Allison's with some work, and as soon as she returns I
can pay you."

"I think I had better call over again, Mrs. Perry," answered the poor
woman; "Mary begged me not to stay long."

"Is Annie any worse, then?"

"Oh, yes, a great deal; the doctor thinks she will hardly last till
morning."

"Well, Mrs. Carr, death can be only gain to her."

"Very true; still, the idea of losing her seems dreadful to me."

"How does Mary get on at Mrs. Owring's?"

"Not very well; she has been at work for her just one month to-day; and
although she gave her to understand that her wages would be at least a
dollar and a quarter a week, yet to-night, when she settled with her,
she wouldn't give her but three dollars, and at the same time told her
that if she didn't choose to work for that she could go."

"What do you suppose was the reason for her acting so?"

"I don't know, indeed, unless it is because she does not get there quite
as early as the rest of her hands; for you see I am obliged to keep her
a little while in the morning to help me to move Annie while I make her
bed. Even that little sum, small it was, would have been some help to
us, but it had all to go for rent. My landlord would take no denial. But
I must go; you think I can depend on receiving your money to-night?"

"I do. Mrs. Allison is always prompt in paying for her work as soon
as it is done. I will not trouble you to come again for it, Mrs. Carr.
Laura shall bring it over to you."

Let us now turn to the young girl we left at Mr. Allison's, whom our
readers, no doubt, recognise as Laura Perry.

"Good evening, Laura," said Mrs. Allison, as she entered the room; "not
brought my work home already! I did not look for it till next week. You
and your mother, I am afraid, confine yourselves too closely to your
needles for your own good. But you have not had your tea? sit up, and
take some."

"No, thank you, Mrs. Allison; mother will be uneasy if I stay long."

"Well, Laura, I am sorry, but I cannot settle with you to-night. Tell
your mother Mr. Allison was disappointed in collecting to-day, or she
certainly should have had it. Did she say how much it was?"

"Two dollars, ma'am."

"Very well: I will try and let her have it next week."

The expression of Laura's countenance told too plainly the
disappointment she felt. "I am afraid Mrs. Perry is in want of that
money," remarked the husband after she had gone.

"Not the least doubt of it," replied his wife. "She would not have sent
home work at this hour if she had not been. Poor things! who can tell
the amount of suffering and wretchedness that is caused by the rich
neglecting to pay promptly."

"You come without money, Laura," said her mother, as she entered the
house.

"How do you know that, mother?" she replied, forcing a smile.

"I read it in your countenance. Is it not so?"

"It is: Mr. Allison was disappointed in collecting--what will we do,
mother?"

"The best we can, my child. We will have to do without our beef for
dinner to-morrow; but then we have plenty of bread; so we shall not
starve."

"And I shall have to do without my new shoes. My old ones are too shabby
to go to church in; so I shall have to stay at home."

"I am sorry for your disappointment, my child, but I care more for Mrs.
Carr than I do for ourselves. She has been here, and is in a great deal
of trouble. The doctor don't think Annie will live till morning, and
Mrs. Owrings hag refused to give Mary more than three dollars for her
month's work, every cent of which old Grimes took for rent. I told her
she might depend on getting what I owed her, and that I would send you
over with it when you returned. You had better go at once and tell her,
Laura; perhaps she may be able to get some elsewhere."

"How much is it, mother?"

"Half a dollar."

"It seems hard that she can't get that small sum."

With a heavy heart Laura entered Mrs. Carr's humble abode.

"Oh how glad I am that you have come, my dear!" exclaimed the poor
woman. "Annie has been craving some ice cream all day; it's the only
thing she seems to fancy. I told her she should have it as soon as you
came."

Mrs. Carr's eyes filled with tears as Laura told of her ill success. "I
care not for myself," she said "but for that poor suffering child."

"Never mind me, mother," replied Annie. "It was selfish in me to want
it, when I know how hard you and Mary are obliged to work for every cent
you get. But I feel that I shall not bother you much longer; I have a
strange feeling here now." And she placed her hand upon her left side.

"Stop!" cried Laura; "I'll try and get some ice cream for you Annie."
And off she ran to her mother's dwelling. "Mother," said she, as she
entered the house, "do you recollect that half dollar father gave me the
last time he went to sea?"

"Yes, dear."

"Well, I think I had better take it and pay Mrs. Carr. Annie is very
bad, and her mother says she has been wanting some ice cream all day."

"It is yours, Laura, do as you like about it."

"It goes hard with me to part with it, mother, for I had determined
to keep it in remembrance of my father. It is just twelve years to-day
since he went away. But poor Annie--yes, mother, I will take it."

So saying, Laura went to unlock the box which contained her treasure,
but unfortunately her key was not where she had supposed it was. After
a half hour's search she succeeded in finding it. Tears coursed down her
cheeks like rain as she removed from the corner of the little box, where
it had lain for so many years, this precious relic of a dear father, who
in all probability, was buried beneath the ocean. Dashing them hastily
away, she started again for Mrs. Carr's. The ice cream was procured on
the way, and, just as the clock struck eight, she arrived at the door.
One hour has elapsed since she left. But why does she linger on the
threshold? Why but because the sounds of weeping and mourning have
reached her ears, and she fears that all is over with her poor friend,
Her fears are indeed true, for the pure spirit of the young sufferer has
taken its flight to that blest land where hunger and thirst are known
no more. Poor Annie! thy last earthly wish, a simple glass of ice-cream,
was denied thee--and why? We need not pause to answer: ye who have an
abundance of this world's goods, think, when ye are about to turn
from your doors the poor seamstress or washerwoman, or even those less
destitute than they, without a just recompense for their labour,
whether the sufferings and privations of some poor creatures will not be
increased thereby.



RETURNING GOOD FOR EVIL.



OBADIAH LAWSON and Watt Dood were neighbours; that is, they lived within
a half mile of each other, and no person lived between their respective
farms, which would have joined, had not a little strip of prairie land
extended itself sufficiently to keep them separated. Dood was the oldest
settler, and from his youth up had entertained a singular hatred against
Quakers; therefore, when he was informed that Lawson, a regular disciple
of that class of people had purchased the next farm to his, he declared
he would make him glad to move away again. Accordingly, a system of
petty annoyances was commenced by him, and every time one of Lawson's
hogs chanced to stray upon Dood's place, he was beset by men and dogs,
and most savagely abused. Things progressed thus for nearly a year, and
the Quaker, a man of decidedly peace principles, appeared in no way to
resent the injuries received at the hands of his spiteful neighbour. But
matters were drawing to a crisis; for Dood, more enraged than ever at
the quiet of Obadiah, made oath that he would do something before long
to wake up the spunk of Lawson. Chance favoured his design. The Quaker
had a high-blooded filly, which he had been very careful in raising, and
which was just four years old. Lawson took great pride in this animal,
and had refused a large sum of money for her.

One evening, a little after sunset, as Watt Dood was passing around
his cornfield, he discovered the filly feeding in the little strip of
prairie land that separated the two farms, and he conceived the hellish
design of throwing off two or three rails of his fence, that the horse
might get into his corn during the night. He did so, and the next
morning, bright and early, he shouldered his rifle and left the house.
Not long after his absence, a hired man, whom he had recently employed,
heard the echo of his gun, and in a few minutes Dood, considerably
excited and out of breath, came hurrying to the house, where he stated
that he had shot at and wounded a buck; that the deer attacked him, and
he hardly escaped with his life.

This story was credited by all but the newly employed hand, who had
taken a dislike to Watt, and, from his manner, suspected that something
was wrong. He therefore slipped quietly away from the house, and going
through the field in the direction of the shot, he suddenly came upon
Lawson's filly, stretched upon the earth, with a bullet hole through the
head, from which the warm blood was still oozing.

The animal was warm, and could not have been killed an hour. He hastened
back to the dwelling of Dood, who met him in the yard, and demanded,
somewhat roughly, where he had been.

"I've been to see if your bullet made sure work of Mr. Lawson's filly,"
was the instant retort.

Watt paled for a moment, but collecting himself, he fiercely shouted,

"Do you dare to say I killed her?"

"How do you know she is dead?" replied the man.

Dood bit his lip, hesitated a moment, and then turning, walked into the
house.

A couple of days passed by, and the morning of the third one had broken,
as the hired man met friend Lawson, riding in search of his filly.

A few words of explanation ensued, when, with a heavy heart, the Quaker
turned his horse and rode home, where he informed the people of the fate
of his filly. No threat of recrimination escaped him; he did not even
go to law to recover damages; but calmly awaited his plan and hour of
revenge. It came at last.

Watt Dood had a Durham heifer, for which he had paid a heavy price, and
upon which he counted to make great gains.

One morning, just as Obadiah was sitting down, his eldest son came in
with the information that neighbour Dood's heifer had broken down the
fence, entered the yard, and after eating most of the cabbages, had
trampled the well-made beds and the vegetables they contained, out of
all shape--a mischief impossible to repair.

"And what did thee do with her, Jacob?" quietly asked Obadiah.

"I put her in the farm-yard."

"Did thee beat her?"

"I never struck her a blow."

"Right, Jacob, right; sit down to thy breakfast, and when done eating I
will attend to the heifer."

Shortly after he had finished his repast, Lawson mounted a horse, and
rode over to Dood's, who was sitting under the porch in front of his
house, and who, as he beheld the Quaker dismount, supposed he was coming
to demand pay for his filly, and secretly swore he would have to law for
it if he did.

"Good morning, neighbour Dood; how is thy family?" exclaimed Obadiah, as
he mounted the steps and seated himself in a chair.

"All well, I believe," was the crusty reply.

"I have a small affair to settle with you this morning, and I came
rather early."

"So I suppose," growled Watt.

"This morning, my son found thy Durham heifer in my garden, where she
has destroyed a good deal."

"And what did he do with her?" demanded Dood, his brow darkening.

"What would thee have done with her, had she been my heifer in thy
garden?" asked Obadiah.

"I'd a shot her!" retorted Watt, madly, "as I suppose you have done; but
we are only even now. Heifer for filly is only 'tit for tat.'"

"Neighbour Dood, thou knowest me not, if thou thinkest I would harm a
hair of thy heifer's back. She is in my farm-yard, and not even a blow
has been struck her, where thee can get her at any time. I know thee
shot my filly; but the evil one prompted thee to do it, and I lay no
evil in my heart against my neighbours. I came to tell thee where thy
heifer is, and now I'll go home."

Obadiah rose from his chair, and was about to descend the steps, when he
was stopped by Watt, who hastily asked,

"What was your filly worth?"

"A hundred dollars is what I asked for her," replied Obediah.

"Wait a moment!" and Dood rushed into the house, from whence he soon
returned, holding some gold in his hand. "Here's the price of your
filly; and hereafter let there be a pleasantness between us."

"Willingly, heartily," answered Lawson, grasping the proffered hand of
the other; "let there be peace between us."

Obadiah mounted his horse, and rode home with a lighter heart, and from
that day to this Dood has been as good a neighbour as one could wish to
have; being completely reformed by the RETURNING GOOD FOR EVIL.



PUTTING YOUR HAND IN YOUR NEIGHBOUR'S POCKET.



"DO you recollect Thomas, who lived with us as waiter about two years
ago, Mary?" asked Mr. Clarke, as he seated himself in his comfortable
arm-chair, and slipped his feet into the nicely-warmed, embroidered
slippers, which stood ready for his use.

"Certainly," was the reply of Mrs. Clarke. "He was a bright, active
fellow, but rather insolent."

"He has proved to be a regular pickpocket," continued her husband, "and
is now on his way to Blackwell's Island."

"A very suitable place for him. I hope he will be benefited by a few
months' residence there," returned the lady.

"Poor fellow!" exclaimed Mr. Joshua Clarke, an uncle of the young
couple, who was quietly reading a newspaper in another part of the room.
"There are many of high standing in the world, who deserve to go to
Blackwell's Island quite as much as he does."

"You are always making such queer speeches, Uncle Joshua," said his
niece. "I suppose you do not mean that there are pickpockets among
respectable people?"

"Indeed, there are, my dear niece. Your knowledge of the world must be
very limited, if you are not aware of this. Putting your hand in your
neighbour's pocket, is one of the most fashionable accomplishments of
the day."

Mrs. Clarke was too well acquainted with her uncle's peculiarities to
think of arguing with him. She therefore merely smiled, and said to her
husband:--

"Well, Henry, I am glad that neither you nor myself are acquainted with
this fashionable accomplishment."

"Not acquainted with it!" exclaimed the old gentleman. "I thought
you knew yourselves better. Why, you and Henry are both regular
pickpockets!"

"I wonder that you demean yourself by associating with us!" was the
playful reply.

"Oh, you are no worse than the rest of the world; and, besides, I hope
to do you some good, when you grow older and wiser. At present, Henry's
whole soul is absorbed in the desire to obtain wealth."

"In a fair and honourable way, uncle," interrupted Mr. Clarke, "and for
honourable purposes."

"Certainly," replied Uncle Joshua, "in the common acceptation of the
words _fair_ and _honourable_. But, do you never, in your mercantile
speculations, endeavour to convey erroneous impressions to the minds
of those with whom you are dealing? Do you not sometimes suppress
information which would prevent your obtaining a good bargain? Do you
never allow your customers to purchase goods under false ideas of
their value and demand in the market? If you saw a man, less skilled
in business than yourself, about to take a step injurious to him, but
advantageous to you, would you warn him of his danger--thus obeying the
command to love your neighbour as yourself?"

"Why, uncle, these questions are absurd. Of course, when engaged in
business, I endeavour to do what is for my own advantage--leaving others
to look out for themselves."

"Exactly so. You are perfectly willing to put your hand in your
neighbour's pocket and take all you can get, provided he is not wise
enough to know that your hand is there."

"Oh, for shame, Uncle Joshua! I shall not allow you to talk to Henry in
this manner," exclaimed Mrs. Clarke perceiving that her husband looked
somewhat irritated. "Come, prove your charge against me. In what way do
I pick my neighbour's pockets?"

"You took six shillings from the washerwoman this morning," coolly
replied Uncle Joshua.

"_Took_ six shillings from the washerwoman! Paid her six shillings, you
mean, uncle. She called for the money due for a day's work, and I gave
it to her."

"Yes, but not till you had kept her waiting nearly two hours. I heard
her say, as she left the house, 'I have lost a day's work by this delay,
for I cannot go to Mrs. Reed's at this hour; so I shall be six shillings
poorer at the end of the week.'"

"Why did she wait, then? She could have called again. I was not ready to
attend to her at so early an hour."

"Probably she needed the money to-day. You little know the value of six
shillings to the mother of a poor family, Mary; but, you should remember
that her time is valuable, and that it is as sinful to deprive her of
the use of it, as if you took money from her purse."

"Well, uncle, I will acknowledge that I did wrong to keep the poor woman
waiting, and I will endeavour to be more considerate in future. So
draw your chair to the table, and take a cup of tea and some of your
favourite cakes."

"Thank you, Mary; but I am engaged to take tea with your old friend,
Mrs. Morrison. Poor thing! she has not made out very well lately. Her
school has quite run down, owing to sickness among her scholars; and
her own family have been ill all winter; so that her expenses have been
great."

"I am sorry to hear this," replied Mrs. Clarke. "I had hoped that her
school was succeeding. Give my love to her, uncle, and tell her I will
call upon her in a day or two."

Uncle Joshua promised to remember the message, and bidding Mr. and Mrs.
Clarke good evening, he was soon seated in Mrs. Morrison's neat little
parlour, which, though it bore no comparison with the spacious and
beautifully furnished apartments he had just left, had an air of comfort
and convenience which could not fail to please.

Delighted to see her old friend, whom she also, from early habit,
addressed by the title of Uncle Joshua, although he was no relation,
Mrs. Morrison's countenance, for awhile beamed with that cheerful,
animated expression which it used to wear in her more youthful days;
but an expression of care and anxiety soon over shadowed it, and, in
the midst of her kind attentions to her visiter, and her affectionate
endearment to two sweet children, who were playing around the room, she
would often remain thoughtful and abstracted for several minutes.

Uncle Joshua was an attentive observer, and he saw that something
weighed heavily upon her mind. When tea was over, and the little ones
had gone to rest, he said, kindly,

"Come, Fanny, draw your chair close to my side, and tell me all your
troubles, as freely as you used to do when a merry-hearted school-girl.
How often have listened to the sad tale of the pet pigeon, that had
flown away, or the favourite plant killed by the untimely frost. Come, I
am ready, now as then, to assist you with my advice, and my purse, too,
if necessary."

Tears started to Mrs. Morrison's eyes, as she replied.

"You were always a kind friend to me, Uncle Joshua, and I will gladly
confide my troubles to you. You know that after my husband's death I
took this house, which, though small, may seem far above my limited
income, in the hope of obtaining a school sufficiently large to enable
me to meet the rent, and also to support myself and children. The small
sum left them by their father I determined to invest for their future
use. I unwisely intrusted it to one who betrayed the trust, and
appropriated the money to some wild speculation of his own. He says that
he did this in the hope of increasing my little property. It may be so,
but my consent should have been asked. He failed and there is little
hope of our ever recovering more, than a small part of what he owes
us. But, to return to my school. I found little difficulty in obtaining
scholars, and, for a short time, believed myself to be doing well, but I
soon found that a large number of scholars did not insure a large
income from the school. My terms were moderate, but still I found great
difficulty in obtaining what was due to me at the end of the term.

"A few paid promptly, and without expecting me to make unreasonable
deductions for unpleasant weather, slight illness, &c., &c. Others paid
after long delay, which often put me to the greatest inconvenience; and
some, after appointing day after day for me to call, and promising each
time that the bill should be settled without fail, moved away, I knew
not whither, or met me at length with a cool assurance that it was not
possible for them to pay me at present--if it was ever in their power
they would let me know."

"Downright robbery!" exclaimed Uncle Joshua. "A set of pickpockets! I
wish they were all shipped for Blackwell's Island."

"There are many reasons assigned for not paying," continued Mrs.
Morrison. "Sometimes the children had not learned as much as the parents
expected. Some found it expedient to take their children away long
before the expiration of the term, and then gazed at me in astonishment
when I declared my right to demand pay for the whole time for which they
engaged. One lady, in particular, to whose daughter I was giving music
lessons, withdrew the pupil under pretext of slight indisposition, and
sent me the amount due for a half term. I called upon her, and stated
that I considered the engagement binding for twenty-four lessons, but
would willingly wait until the young lady was quite recovered. The
mother appeared to assent with willingness to this arrangement, and took
the proffered money without comment. An hour or two after I received
a laconic epistle stating that the lady had already engaged another
teacher, whom she thought preferable--that she had offered me the amount
due for half of the term, and I had declined receiving it--therefore she
should not offer it again. I wrote a polite, but very plain, reply to
this note, and enclosed my bill for the whole term, but have never heard
from her since."

"Do you mean to say that she actually received the money which you
returned to her without reluctance, and gave you no notice of her
intention to employ another teacher?" demanded the old gentleman.

"Certainly; and, besides this, I afterwards ascertained that the young
lady was actually receiving a lesson from another teacher, when I called
at the house--therefore the plea of indisposition was entirely false.
The most perfect satisfaction had always been expressed as to the
progress of the pupil, and no cause was assigned for the change."

"I hope you have met with few cases as bad as this," remarked Uncle
Joshua. "The world must be in a worse state than even I had supposed, if
such imposition is common."

"This may be an extreme case," replied Mrs. Morrison, "but I could
relate many others which are little better. However, you will soon weary
of my experience in this way, Uncle Joshua, and I will therefore mention
but one other instance. One bitter cold day in January, I called at the
house of a lady who had owed me a small amount for nearly a year, and
after repeated delay had reluctantly fixed this day as the time when she
would pay me at least a part of what was due. I was told by the servant
who opened the door that the lady was not at home.

"What time will she be in?" I inquired.

"Not for some hours," was the reply.

Leaving word that I would call again towards evening, I retraced my
steps, feeling much disappointed at my ill success, as I had felt quite
sure of obtaining the money. About five o'clock I again presented myself
at the door, and was again informed that the lady was not at home.

"I will walk in, and wait for her return," I replied.

The servant appeared somewhat startled at this, but after a little delay
ushered me into the parlour. Two little boys, of four and six years of
age, were playing about the room. I joined in their sports, and soon
became quite familiar with them. Half an hour had passed away, when I
inquired of the oldest boy what time he expected his mother?

"Not till late," he answered, hesitatingly.

"Did she take the baby with her this cold day?" I asked.

"Yes, ma'am," promptly replied the girl, who, under pretence of
attending to the children, frequently came into the room.

The youngest child gazed earnestly in my face, and said, smilingly,

"Mother has not gone away, she is up stairs. She ran away with baby when
she saw you coming, and told us to say she had gone out. I am afraid
brother will take cold, for there is no fire up stairs."

"It is no such thing," exclaimed the girl and the eldest boy. "She is
not up stairs, ma'am, or she would see you."

But even as they spoke the loud cries of an infant were heard, and a
voice at the head of the stairs calling Jenny.

The girl obeyed, and presently returned with the child in her arms, its
face, neck, and hands purple with cold.

"Poor little thing, it has got its death in that cold room," she said.
"Mistress cannot see you, ma'am, she is sick and gone to bed."

"This last story was probably equally false with the other, but I felt
that it was useless to remain, and with feelings of deep regret for the
poor children who were so early taught an entire disregard for truth,
and of sorrow for the exposure to cold to which I had innocently
subjected the infant, I left the house. A few days after, I heard that
the little one had died with croup. Jenny, whom I accidentally met in
the street, assured me that he took the cold which caused his death from
the exposure on the afternoon of my call, as he became ill the following
day. I improved the opportunity to endeavour to impress upon the mind
of the poor girl the sin of which she had been guilty, in telling a
falsehood even in obedience to the commands of her mistress; and I hope
that what I said may be useful to her.

"The want of honesty and promptness in the parents of my pupils often
caused me great inconvenience, and I frequently found it difficult
to meet my rent when it became due. Still I have struggled through my
difficulties without contracting any debts until this winter, but the
sickness which has prevailed in my school has so materially lessened my
income, and my family expenses have, for the same reason, been so much
greater, that I fear it will be quite impossible for me to continue in
my present situation."

"Do not be discouraged," said Uncle Joshua; "I will advance whatever sum
you are in immediate need of, and you may repay me when it is convenient
to yourself. I will also take the bills which are due to you from
various persons, and endeavour to collect them. Your present term is, I
suppose, nearly ended. Commence another with this regulation:--That the
price of tuition, or at least one-half of it, shall be paid before the
entrance of the scholar. Some will complain of this rule, but many will
not hesitate to comply with it, and you will find the result beneficial.
And now I would leave you, Fanny, for I have another call to make this
evening. My young friend, William Churchill, is, I hear, quite ill, and
I feel desirous to see him. I will call upon you in a day or two, and
then we will have another talk about your affairs, and see what can be
done for you. So good night, Fanny; go to sleep and dream of your old
friend."

Closing the door after Uncle Joshua, Mrs. Morrison returned to her room
with a heart filled with thankfulness that so kind a friend had been
sent to her in the hour of need; while the old gentleman walked with
rapid steps through several streets until he stood at the door of a
small, but pleasantly situated house in the suburbs of the city. His
ring at the bell was answered by a pretty, pleasant-looking young
woman, whom he addressed as Mrs. Churchill, and kindly inquired for her
husband.

"William is very feeble to-day, but he will be rejoiced to see you, sir.
His disease is partly owing to anxiety of mind, I think, and when his
spirits are raised by a friendly visit, he feels better."

Uncle Joshua followed Mrs. Churchill to the small room which now served
the double purpose of parlour and bedroom. They were met at the door
by the invalid, who had recognised the voice of his old friend, and had
made an effort to rise and greet him. His sunken countenance, the hectic
flush which glowed upon his cheek, and the distressing cough, gave
fearful evidence that unless the disease was soon arrested in its
progress, consumption would mark him for its victim.

The friendly visiter was inwardly shocked at his appearance, but wisely
made no allusion to it, and soon engaged him in cheerful conversation.
Gradually he led him to speak openly of his own situation,--of his
health, and of the pecuniary difficulties with which he was struggling.
His story was a common one. A young family were growing up around
him, and an aged mother and invalid sister also depended upon him for
support. The small salary which he obtained as clerk in one of the most
extensive mercantile establishments in the city, was quite insufficient
to meet his necessary expenses. He had, therefore, after being
constantly employed from early morning until a late hour in the evening,
devoted two or three hours of the night to various occupations which
added a trifle to his limited income. Sometimes he procured copying
of various kinds; at others, accounts, which he could take to his own
house, were intrusted to him. This incessant application had gradually
ruined his health, and now for several weeks he had been unable to leave
the house.

"Have you had advice from an experienced physician, William?" inquired
Uncle Joshua. The young man blushed, as he replied, that he was
unwilling to send for a physician, knowing that he had no means to repay
his services.

"I will send my own doctor to see you," returned his friend. "He can
help you if any one can, and as for his fee I will attend to it, and if
you regain your health I shall be amply repaid.--No, do not thank me,"
he continued, as Mr. Churchill endeavoured to express his gratitude.
"Your father has done me many a favour, and it would be strange if I
could not extend a hand to help his son when in trouble. And now tell
me, William, is not your salary very small, considering the responsible
situation which you have so long held in the firm of Stevenson & Co.?"

"It is," was the reply; "but I see no prospect of obtaining more.
I believe I have always given perfect satisfaction to my employer,
although it is difficult to ascertain the estimation in which he holds
me, for he is a man who never praises. He has never found fault with me,
and therefore I suppose him satisfied, and indeed I have some proof of
this in his willingness to wait two or three months in the hope that I
may recover from my present illness before making a permanent engagement
with a new clerk. Notwithstanding this, he has never raised my salary,
and when I ventured to say to him about a year ago, that as his business
had nearly doubled since I had been with him, I felt that it would be
but just that I should derive some benefit from the change, he coolly
replied that my present salary was all that he had ever paid a clerk,
and he considered it a sufficient equivalent for my services. He knows
very well that it is difficult to obtain a good situation, there are so
many who stand ready to fill any vacancy, and therefore he feels quite
safe in refusing to give me, more."

"And yet," replied Uncle Joshua, "he is fully aware that the advantage
resulting from your long experience and thorough acquaintance with his
business, increases his income several hundred dollars every year, and
this money he quietly puts into his own pocket, without considering or
caring that a fair proportion of it should in common honesty go into
yours. What a queer world we live in! The poor thief who robs you of
your watch or pocket-book, is punished without delay; but these wealthy
defrauders maintain their respectability and pass for honest men, even
while withholding what they know to be the just due of another.

"But cheer up, William, I have a fine plan for you, if you can but
regain your health. I am looking for a suitable person to take charge of
a large sheep farm, which I propose establishing on the land which I own
in Virginia. You acquired some knowledge of farming in your early
days. How would you like to undertake this business? The climate is
delightful, the employment easy and pleasant; and it shall be my care
that your salary is amply sufficient for the support of your family."

Mr. Churchill could hardly command his voice sufficiently to express his
thanks, and his wife burst into tears, as she exclaimed,

"If my poor husband had confided his troubles to you before, he would
not have been reduced to this feeble state."

"He will recover," said the old gentleman. "I feel sure, that in one
month, he will look like a different man. Rest yourself, now, William,
and to-morrow I will see you again."

And, followed by the blessings and thanks of the young couple, Uncle
Joshua departed.

"Past ten o'clock," he said to himself, as he paused near a lamp-post
and looked at his watch. "I must go to my own room."

As he said this he was startled by a deep sigh from some one near,
and on looking round, saw a lad, of fourteen or fifteen years of age,
leaning against the post, and looking earnestly at him.

Uncle Joshua recognised the son of a poor widow, whom he had
occasionally befriended, and said, kindly,

"Well, John, are you on your way home from the store? This is rather a
late hour for a boy like you."

"Yes, sir, it is late. I cannot bear to return home to my poor mother,
for I have bad news for her to-night. Mr. Mackenzie does not wish to
employ me any more. My year is up to-day."

"Why, John, how is this? Not long ago your employer told me that he was
perfectly satisfied with you; indeed, he said that he never before had
so trusty and useful a boy."

"He has always appeared satisfied with me, sir, and I have endeavoured
to serve him faithfully. But he told me to-day that he had engaged
another boy."

Uncle Joshua mused for a moment, and then asked,

"What was he to give you for the first year, John?"

"Nothing, sir. He told my mother that my services would be worth nothing
the first year, but the second he would pay me fifty dollars, and so
increase my salary as I grew older. My poor mother has worked very hard
to support me this year, and I had hoped that I would be able to help
her soon. But it is all over now, and I suppose I must take a boy's
place again, and work another year for nothing."

"And then be turned off again. Another set of pickpockets," muttered his
indignant auditor.

"Pickpockets!" exclaimed the lad. "Did any one take your watch just now,
sir? I saw a man look at it as you took it out. Perhaps we can overtake
him. I think he turned into the next street."

"No, no, my boy. My watch is safe enough. I am not thinking of street
pickpockets, but of another class whom you will find out as you grow
older. But never mind losing your place, John. My nephew is in want of
a boy who has had some experience in your business, and will pay him a
fair salary--more than Mr. Mackenzie agreed to give you for the second
year. I will mention you to him, and you may call at his store to-morrow
at eleven o'clock, and we will see if you will answer his purpose."

"Thank you, Sir, I am sure I thank you; and mother will bless you for
your kindness," replied the boy, his countenance glowing with animation;
and with a grateful "good night," he darted off in the direction of his
own home.

"There goes a grateful heart," thought Uncle Joshua, as he gazed after
the boy until he turned the corner of the street and disappeared. "He
has lost his situation merely because another can be found who will do
the work for nothing for a year, in the vain hope of future recompense.
I wish Mary could have been with me this evening; I think she would have
acknowledged that there are many respectable pickpockets who deserve to
accompany poor Thomas to Blackwell's Island;" and thus soliloquizing,
Uncle Joshua reached the door of his boarding-house, and sought repose
in his own room.



KIND WORDS.



WE have more than once, in our rapidly written reflections, urged the
policy and propriety of kindness, courtesy, and good-will between man
and man. It is so easy for an individual to manifest amenity of spirit,
to avoid harshness, and thus to cheer and gladden the paths of all over
whom he may have influence or control, that it is really surprising
to find any one pursuing the very opposite course. Strange as it may
appear, there are among the children of men, hundreds who seem to take
delight in making others unhappy. They rejoice at an opportunity of
being the messengers of evil tidings. They are jealous or malignant; and
in either case they exult in inflicting a wound. The ancients, in most
nations, had a peculiar dislike to croakers, prophets of evil, and the
bearers of evil tidings. It is recorded that the messenger from the
banks of the Tigris, who first announced the defeat of the Roman army
by the Persians, and the death of the Emperor Julian, in a Roman city of
Asia Minor, was instantly buried under a heap of stones thrown upon
him by an indignant populace. And yet this messenger was innocent, and
reluctantly discharged a painful duty. But how different the spirit
and the motive of volunteers in such cases--those who exult in an
opportunity of communicating bad news, and in some degree revel over
the very agony which it produces. The sensitive, the generous, the
honourable, would ever be spared from such painful missions. A case of
more recent occurrence may be referred to as in point. We allude to the
murder of Mr. Roberts, a farmer of New Jersey, who was robbed and
shot in his own wagon, near Camden. It became necessary that the sad
intelligence should be broken to his wife and family with as much
delicacy as possible. A neighbour was selected for the task, and at
first consented. But, on consideration, his heart failed him. He could
not, he said, communicate the details of a tragedy so appalling and he
begged to be excused. Another, formed it was thought of sterner stuff,
was then fixed upon: but he too, rough and bluff as he was in his
ordinary manners, possessed the heart of a generous and sympathetic
human being, and also respectfully declined. A third made a like
objection, and at last a female friend of the family was with much
difficulty persuaded, in company with another, to undertake the mournful
task. And yet, we repeat, there are in society, individuals who delight
in contributing to the misery of others--who are eager to circulate a
slander, to chronicle a ruin, to revive a forgotten error, to wound,
sting, and annoy, whenever they may do so with impunity. How much better
the gentle, the generous, the magnanimous policy! Why not do everything
that may be done for the happiness of our fellow creatures, without
seeking out their weak points, irritating their half-healed wounds,
jarring their sensibilities, or embittering their thoughts! The magic of
kind words and a kind manner can scarcely be over-estimated. Our fellow
creatures are more sensitive than is generally imagined. We have known
cases in which a gentle courtesy has been remembered with pleasure for
years. Who indeed cannot look back into "bygone time," and discover some
smile, some look or other demonstration of regard or esteem, calculated
to bless and brighten every hour of after existence! "Kind words," says
an eminent writer, "do not cost much. It does not take long to utter
them. They never blister the tongue or lips on their passage into the
world, or occasion any other kind of bodily suffering; and we have never
heard of any mental trouble arising from this quarter. Though they do
not cost much, yet they accomplish much. 1. They help one's own good
nature and good will. One cannot be in a habit of this kind, without
thereby pecking away something of the granite roughness of his own
nature. Soft words will soften his own soul. Philosophers tell us that
the angry words a man uses in his passion are fuel to the flame of his
wrath, and make it blaze the more fiercely. Why, then, should not
words of the opposite character produce opposite results, and that most
blessed of all passions of the soul, kindness, be augmented by
kind words? People that are for ever speaking kindly, are for ever
disinclining themselves to ill-temper. 2. Kind words make other people
good-natured. Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them, and
sarcastic words irritate them, and bitter words make them bitter, and
wrathful words make them wrathful. And kind words also produce their
own image on men's souls; and a beautiful image it is. They soothe, and
quiet, and comfort the hearer. They shame him out of his sour, morose,
unkind feelings; and he has to become kind himself. There is such a rush
of all other kinds of words in our days, that it seems desirable to give
kind words a chance among them. There are vain words, idle words, hasty
words, spiteful words, silly words, and empty words. Now kind words
are better than the whole of them; and it is a pity that, among the
improvements of the present age, birds of this feather might not have
more of a chance than they have had to spread their wings."

It is indeed! Kind words should be brought into more general use. Those
in authority should employ them more frequently, when addressing
the less fortunate among mankind. Employers should use them in their
intercourse with their workmen. Parents should utter them on every
occasion to their children. The rich should never forget an opportunity
of speaking kindly to the poor. Neighbours and friends should emulate
each other in the employment of mild, gentle, frank, and kindly
language. But this cannot be done unless each endeavours to control
himself. Our passions and our prejudices must be kept in check. If we
find that we have a neighbour on the other side of the way, who has been
more fortunate in a worldly sense than we have been, and if we discover
a little jealousy or envy creeping into our opinions and feelings
concerning said neighbour--let us be careful, endeavour to put a
rein upon our tongues, and to avoid the indulgence of malevolence or
ill-will. If we, on the other hand, have been fortunate, have enough and
to spare, and there happens to be in our circle some who are dependent
upon us, some who look up to us with love and respect--let us be
generous, courteous, and kind--and thus we shall not only discharge a
duty, but prove a source of happiness to others.



NEIGHBOURS' QUARRELS.



MOST people think there are cares enough in the world, and yet many are
very industrious to increase them:--One of the readiest ways of doing
this is to quarrel with a neighbour. A bad bargain may vex a man for a
week, and a bad debt may trouble him for a month; but a quarrel with his
neighbours will keep him in hot water all the year round.

Aaron Hands delights in fowls, and his cocks and hens are always
scratching up the flowerbeds of his neighbour William Wilkes, whose
mischievous tom-cat every now and then runs off with a chicken. The
consequence is, that William Wilkins is one half the day occupied in
driving away the fowls, and threatening to screw their long ugly necks
off; while Aaron Hands, in his periodical outbreaks, invariably vows to
skin his neighbour's cat, as sure as he can lay hold of him.

Neighbours! Neighbours! Why can you not be at peace? Not all the fowls
you can rear, and the flowers you can grow, will make amends for a
life of anger, hatred, malice, and uncharitableness. Come to some
kind-hearted understanding one with another, and dwell in peace.

Upton, the refiner, has a smoky chimney, that sets him and all the
neighbourhood by the ears. The people around abuse him without mercy,
complaining that they are poisoned, and declaring that they will indict
him at the sessions. Upton fiercely sets them at defiance, on the ground
that his premises were built before theirs, that his chimney did not
come to them, but that they came to his chimney.

Neighbours! Neighbours! practise a little more forbearance. Had half a
dozen of you waited on the refiner in a kindly spirit, he would years
ago have so altered his chimney, that it would not have annoyed you.

Mrs. Tibbets is thoughtless--if it were not so she would never have had
her large dusty carpet beaten, when her neighbour, who had a wash,
was having her wet clothes hung out to dry. Mrs. Williams is hasty and
passionate, or she would never have taken it for granted that the carpet
was beaten on purpose to spite her, and give her trouble. As it is, Mrs.
Tibbets and Mrs. Williams hate one another with a perfect hatred.

Neighbours! Neighbours! bear with one another. We are none of us angels,
and should not, therefore, expect those about us to be free from faults.

They who attempt to out-wrangle a quarrelsome neighbour, go the wrong
way to work. A kind word, and still more a kind deed, will be more
likely to be successful. Two children wanted to pass by a savage dog:
the one took a stick in his hand and pointed it at him, but this only
made the enraged creature more furious than before. The other child
adopted a different plan; for by giving the dog a piece of his bread and
butter, he was allowed to pass, the subdued animal wagging his tail in
quietude. If you happen to have a quarrelsome neighbour, conquer him by
civility and kindness; try the bread and butter system, and keep your
stick out of sight. That is an excellent Christian admonition, "A soft
answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger."

Neighbours' quarrels are a mutual reproach, and yet a stick or a straw
is sufficient to promote them. One man is rich, and another poor; one
is a churchman, another a dissenter; one is a conservative, another a
liberal; one hates another because he is of the same trade, and another
is bitter with his neighbour because he is a Jew or a Roman Catholic.

Neighbours! Neighbours! live in love, and then while you make others
happy, you will be happier yourselves.

  "That happy man is surely blest,
  Who of the worst things makes the best;
  Whilst he must be of temper curst,
  Who of the best things makes the worst."

"Be ye all of one mind," says the Apostle, "having compassion one of
another; love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil
for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing. "To a rich
man I would say, bear with and try to serve those who are below you; and
to a poor one--

  "Fear God, love peace, and mind your labour;
  And never, never quarrel with your neighbour."



GOOD WE MIGHT DO.



     WE all might do good
       Where we often do ill;
     There is always the way,
       If we have but the will;
     Though it be but a word
       Kindly breathed or supprest,
     It may guard off some pain,
       Or give peace to some breast.

     We all might do good
       In a thousand small ways--
     In forbearing to flatter,
       Yet yielding _due_ praise--
     In spurning ill humour,
       Reproving wrong done,
     And treating but kindly
       Each heart we have won.

     We all might do good,
       Whether lowly or great,
     For the deed is not gauged
       By the purse or estate;
     If it be but a cup
       Of cold water that's given,
     Like "the widow's two mites,"
       It is something for Heaven.



THE TOWN LOT.



ONCE upon a time it happened that the men who governed the municipal
affairs of a certain growing town in the West, resolved, in grave
deliberation assembled, to purchase a five-acre lot at the north end
of the city--recently incorporated--and have it improved for a park or
public square. Now, it also happened, that all the saleable ground lying
north of the city was owned by a man named Smith--a shrewd, wide-awake
individual, whose motto was "Every man for himself," with an occasional
addition about a certain gentleman in black taking "the hindmost."

Smith, it may be mentioned, was secretly at the bottom of this scheme
for a public square, and had himself suggested the matter to an
influential member of the council; not that he was moved by what is
denominated public spirit--no; the spring of action in the case was
merely "private spirit," or a regard for his own good. If the council
decided upon a public square, he was the man from whom the ground
would have to be bought; and he was the man who could get his own price
therefor.

As we have said, the park was decided upon, and a committee of two
appointed whose business it was to see Smith, and arrange with him for
the purchase of a suitable lot of ground. In due form the committee
called upon the landholder, who was fully prepared for the interview.

"You are the owner of those lots at the north end?" said the spokesman
of the committee.

"I am," replied Smith, with becoming gravity.

"Will you sell a portion of ground, say five acres, to the city?"

"For what purpose?" Smith knew very well for what purpose the land was
wanted.

"We have decided to set apart about five acres of ground, and improve it
as a kind of park, or public promenade."

"Have you, indeed? Well, I like that," said Smith, with animation. "It
shows the right kind of public spirit."

"We have, moreover, decided that the best location will be at the north
end of the town."

"Decidedly my own opinion," returned Smith.

"Will you sell us the required acres?" asked one of the councilmen.

"That will depend somewhat upon where you wish to locate the park."

The particular location was named.

"The very spot," replied Smith, promptly, "upon which I have decided to
erect four rows of dwellings."

"But it is too far out for that," was naturally objected.

"O, no; not a rod. The city is rapidly growing in that direction. I have
only to put up the dwellings referred to, and dozens will, be anxious to
purchase lots, and build all around them. Won't the ground to the left
of that you speak of answer as well?"

But the committee replied in the negative. The lot they had mentioned
was the one decided upon as most suited for the purpose, and they were
not prepared to think of any other location.

All this Smith understood very well. He was not only willing, but
anxious for the city to purchase the lot they were negotiating for. All
he wanted was to get a good round price for the same--say four or five
times the real value. So he feigned indifference, and threw difficulties
in the way.

A few years previous to this time, Smith had purchased a considerable
tract of land at the north of the then flourishing village, at fifty
dollars an acre. Its present value was about three hundred dollars an
acre. After a good deal of talk on both sides, Smith finally agreed to
sell the particular lot pitched upon. The next thing was to arrange as
to price.

"At what do you hold this ground per acre?"

It was some time before Smith answered this question. His eyes were cast
upon the floor, and earnestly did he enter into debate with himself as
to the value he should place upon the lot. At first he thought of five
hundred dollars per acre. But his cupidity soon caused him to advance
on that sum, although, a month before, he would have caught at such
an offer. Then he advanced to six, to seven, and to eight hundred. And
still he felt undecided.

"I can get my own price," said he to himself. "The city has to pay, and
I might just as well get a large sum as a small one."

"For what price will you sell?" The question was repeated.

"I must have a good price."

"We are willing to pay what is fair and right."

"Of course. No doubt you have fixed a limit to which you will go."

"Not exactly that," said one of the gentlemen.

"Are you prepared to make an offer?"

"We are prepared to hear your price, and to make a report thereon," was
replied.

"That's a very valuable lot of ground," said Smith.

"Name your price," returned one of the committeemen, a little
impatiently.

Thus brought up to the point, Smith, after thinking hurriedly for a few
moments, said--

"One thousand dollars an acre."

Both the men shook their heads in a very positive way. Smith said that
it was the lowest he would take; and so the conference ended.

At the next meeting of the city councils, a report on the town lot
was made, and the extraordinary demand of Smith canvassed. It was
unanimously decided not to make the proposed purchase.

When this decision reached the landholder, he was considerably
disappointed. He wanted money badly, and would have "jumped at" two
thousand dollars for the five acre lot, if satisfied that it would bring
no more. But when the city came forward as a purchaser, his cupidity
was subjected to a very strong temptation. He believed that he could get
five thousand dollars as easily as two; and quieted his conscience by
the salvo--"An article is always worth what it will bring."

A week or two went by, and Smith was about calling upon one of the
members of the council, to say that, if the city really wanted the lot
he would sell at their price, leaving it with the council to act justly
and generously, when a friend said to him,

"I hear that the council had the subject of a public square under
consideration again this morning."

"Indeed!" Smith was visibly excited, though he tried to appear calm.

"Yes; and I also hear that they have decided to pay the extravagant
price you asked for a lot of ground at the north end of the city."

"A thousand dollars an acre?"

"Yes."

"Its real value, and not cent more," said Smith.

"People differ about that. How ever, you are lucky," the friend replied.
"The city is able to pay."

"So I think. And I mean they shall pay."

Before the committee, to whom the matter was given in charge, had time
to call upon Smith, and close with him for the lot, that gentleman had
concluded in his own mind that it would be just as easy to get twelve
hundred dollars an acre as a thousand. It was plain that the council
were bent upon having the ground, and would pay a round sum for it.
It was just the spot for a public square; and the city must become the
owner. So, when he was called upon, by the gentlemen, and they said to
him,

"We are authorized to pay you your price," he promptly answered, "The
offer is no longer open. You declined it when it was made. My price for
that property is now twelve hundred dollars an acre."

The men offered remonstrance; but it was of no avail. Smith believed
that he could get six thousand dollars for the ground as easily as five
thousand. The city must have the lot, and would pay almost any price.

"I hardly think it right, Mr. Smith," said one of his visiters, "for you
to take such an advantage. This square is for the public good."

"Let the public pay, then," was the unhesitating answer. "The public is
able enough."

"The location of this park, at the north end of the city, will greatly
improve the value of your other property."

This Smith understood very well. But he replied,

"I am not so sure of that. I have some very strong doubts on the
subject. It's my opinion, that the buildings I contemplated erecting
will be far more to my advantage. Be that as it may, however, I am
decided in selling for nothing less than six thousand dollars."

"We are only authorized to pay five thousand," replied the committee.
"If you agree to take that sum, will close the bargain on the spot."

Five thousand dollars was a large sum of money, and Smith felt strongly
tempted to close in with the liberal offer. But six thousand loomed up
before his imagination still more temptingly.

"I can get it," said he to himself; "and the property is worth what it
will bring."

So he positively declined to sell it at a thousand dollars per acre.

"At twelve hundred you will sell?" remarked one of the committee, as
they were about retiring.

"Yes. I will take twelve hundred the acre. That is the lowest rate, and
I am not anxious even at that price. I can do quite as well by keeping
it in my own possession. But, as you seem so bent on having it, I will
not stand in your way. When will the council meet again?"

"Not until next week."

"Very well. If they then accept my offer, all will be right. But,
understand me; if they do not accept, the offer no longer remains open.
It is a matter of no moment to me which way the thing goes."

It was a matter of moment to Smith, for all this assertion--a matter of
very great moment. He had several thousand dollars to pay in the
course of the next few months on land purchases, and no way to meet
the payments, except by mortgages, or sales of property; and, it may
naturally be concluded, that he suffered considerable uneasiness during
the time which passed until the next meeting of the council.

Of course, the grasping disposition shown by Smith, became the town
talk; and people said a good many hard things of him. Little, however,
did he care, so that he secured six thousand dollars for a lot not worth
more than two thousand.

Among other residents and property holders in the town, was a
simple-minded, true-hearted, honest man, named Jones. His father had
left him a large farm, a goodly portion of which, in process of time,
came to be included in the limits of the new city; and he found a much
more profitable employment in selling building lots than in tilling the
soil. The property of Mr. Jones lay at the west side of the town.

Now, when Mr. Jones heard of the exorbitant demand made by Smith for a
five acre lot, his honest heart throbbed with a feeling of indignation.

"I couldn't have believed it of him," said he. "Six thousand dollars!
Preposterous! Why, I would give the city a lot of twice the size, and do
it with pleasure."

"You would?" said a member of the council, who happened to hear this
remark.

"Certainly I would."

"You are really in earnest?"

"Undoubtedly. Go and select a public square from any of my
unappropriated land on the west side of the city, and I will pass you
the title as a free gift to-morrow, and feel pleasure in doing so."

"That is public spirit," said the councilman.

"Call it what you will. I am pleased in making the offer."

Now, let it not be supposed that Mr. Jones was shrewdly calculating the
advantage which would result to him from having a park at the west side
of the city. No such thought had yet entered his mind. He spoke from the
impulse of a generous feeling.

Time passed on, and the session day of the council came round--a day to
which Smith had looked forward with no ordinary feelings of interest,
that were touched at times by the coldness of doubt, and the agitation
of uncertainty. Several times he had more than half repented of his
refusal to accept the liberal offer of five thousand dollars, and of
having fixed so positively upon six thousand as the "lowest figure."

The morning of the day passed, and Smith began to grow uneasy. He did
not venture to seek for information as to the doings of the council,
for that would be to expose the anxiety he felt in the result of their
deliberations. Slowly the afternoon wore away, and it so happened that
Smith did not meet any one of the councilmen; nor did he even know
whether the council was still in session or not. As to making allusion
to the subject of his anxious interest to any one, that was carefully
avoided; for he knew that his exorbitant demand was the town talk--and
he wished to affect the most perfect indifference on the subject.

The day closed, and not a whisper about the town lot had come to the
ears of Mr. Smith. What could it mean? Had his offer to sell at six
thousand been rejected? The very thought caused his heart to grow heavy
in his bosom. Six, seven, eight o'clock came, and still it was all dark
with Mr. Smith. He could bear the suspense no longer, and so determined
to call upon his neighbour Wilson, who was a member of the council, and
learn from him what had been done.

So he called on Mr. Wilson.

"Ah, friend Smith," said the latter; "how are you this evening?"

"Well, I thank you," returned Smith, feeling a certain oppression of the
chest. "How are you?"

"Oh, very well."

Here there was a pause. After which Smith said, "About that ground of
mine. What did you do?"

"Nothing," replied Wilson, coldly.

"Nothing, did you say?" Smith's voice was a little husky.

"No. You declined our offer; or, rather, the high price fixed by
yourself upon the land."

"You refused to buy it at five thousand, when it was offered," said
Smith.

"I know we did, because your demand was exorbitant."

"Oh, no, not at all," returned Smith quickly.

"In that we only differ," said Wilson. "However, the council has decided
not to pay you the price you ask."

"Unanimously?"

"There was not a dissenting voice."

Smith began to feel more and more uncomfortable.

"I might take something less," he ventured to say, in a low, hesitating
voice.

"It is too late now," was Mr. Wilson's prompt reply.

"Too late! How so?"

"We have procured a lot."

"Mr. Wilson!" Poor Smith started to his feet in chagrin and
astonishment.

"Yes; we have taken one of Jones's lots on the west side of the city. A
beautiful ten acre lot."

"You have!" Smith was actually pale.

"We have; and the title deeds are now being made out."

It was some time before Smith had sufficiently recovered from the
stunning effect of this unlooked-for intelligence, to make the inquiry,

"And pray how much did Jones ask for his ten acre lot."

"He presented it to the city as a gift," replied the councilman.

"A gift! What folly!"

"No, not folly--but true worldly wisdom; though I believe Jones did not
think of advantage to himself when he generously made the offer. He is
worth twenty thousand dollars more to-day than he was yesterday, in the
simple advanced value of his land for building lots. And I know of no
man in this town whose good fortune affects me with more pleasure."

Smith stole back to his home with a mountain of disappointment on his
heart. In his cupidity he had entirely overreached himself, and he saw
that the consequences were to react upon all his future prosperity. The
public square at the west end of the town would draw improvements in
that direction, all the while increasing the wealth of Mr. Jones, while
lots at the north end would remain at present prices, or, it might be,
take a downward range.

And so it proved. In ten years, Jones was the richest man in the town,
while half of Smith's property had been sold for taxes. The five acre
lot passed from his hands, under the hammer, in the foreclosure of a
mortgage, for one thousand dollars!

Thus it is that inordinate selfishness and cupidity overreach
themselves; while the liberal man deviseth liberal things, and is
sustained thereby.



THE SUNBEAM AND THE RAINDROP.



   A SUNBEAM and a raindrop met together in the sky
   One afternoon in sunny June, when earth was parched and dry;
   Each quarrelled for the precedence ('twas so the story ran),
   And the golden sunbeam, warmly, the quarrel thus began:--

   "What were the earth without me? I come with beauty bright,
   She smiles to hail my presence, and rejoices in my light;
   I deck the hill and valley with many a lovely hue,
   I give the rose its blushes, and the violet its blue.

   "I steal within the window, and through the cottage door,
   And my presence like a blessing gilds with smiles the broad earth o'er;
   The brooks and streams flow dancing and sparkling in my ray,
   And the merry, happy children in the golden sunshine play."

   Then the tearful raindrop answered--"Give praise where praise is due,
   The earth indeed were lonely without a smile from you;
   But without my visits, also, its beauty would decay,
   The flowers droop and wither, and the streamlets dry away.

   "I give the flowers their freshness, and you their colours gay,
   My jewels would not sparkle, without your sunny ray.
   Since each upon the other so closely must depend,
   Let us seek the earth together, and our common blessings blend."

   The raindrops, and the sunbeams, came laughing down to earth,
   And it woke once more to beauty, and to myriad tones of mirth;
   The river and the streamlet went dancing on their way,
   And the raindrops brightly sparkled in the sunbeam's golden ray.

   The drooping flowers looked brighter, there was fragrance in the air,
   The earth seemed new created, there was gladness everywhere;
   And above the dark clouds, gleaming on the clear blue arch of Heaven,
   The Rainbow, in its beauty, like a smile of love was given.

   'Twas a sweet and simple lesson, which the story told, I thought,
   Not alone and single-handed our kindliest deeds are wrought;
   Like the sunbeam and the raindrop, work together, while we may,
   And the bow of Heaven's own promise shall smile upon our way.



A PLEA FOR SOFT WORDS.



STRANGE and subtle are the influences which affect the spirit and touch
the heart. Are there bodiless creatures around us, moulding our thoughts
into darkness or brightness, as they will? Whence, otherwise, come the
shadow and the sunshine, for which we can discern no mortal agency?

Oftener, As we grow older, come the shadows; less frequently the
sunshine. Ere I took up my pen, I was sitting with a pleasant company of
friends, listening to music, and speaking, with the rest, light words.

Suddenly, I knew not why, my heart was wrapt away in an atmosphere of
sorrow. A sense of weakness and unworthiness weighed me down, and I felt
the moisture gather to my eyes and my lips tremble, though they kept the
smile.

All my past life rose up before me, and all my short-comings--all, my
mistakes, and all my wilful wickedness, seemed pleading trumpet-tongued
against me.

I saw her before me whose feet trod with mine the green holts and
meadows, when the childish thought strayed not beyond the near or the
possible. I saw her through the long blue distances, clothed in the
white beauty of an angel; but, alas! she drew her golden hair across
her face to veil from her vision the sin-darkened creature whose eyes
dropped heavily to the hem of her robe!

O pure and beautiful one, taken to peace ere the weak temptation had
lifted itself up beyond thy stature, and compelled thee to listen, to
oppose thy weakness to its strength, and to fall--sometimes, at least,
let thy face shine on me from between the clouds. Fresh from the springs
of Paradise, shake from thy wings the dew against my forehead. We two
were coming up together through the sweet land of poesy and dreams,
where the senses believe what the heart hopes; our hands were full of
green boughs, and our laps of cowslips and violets, white and purple.
We were talking of that more beautiful world into which childhood was
opening out, when that spectre met us, feared and dreaded alike by the
strong man and the little child, and one was taken, and the other left.

One was caught away sinless to the bosom of the Good Shepherd, and one
was left to weep pitiless tears, to eat the bread of toil, and to think
the bitter thoughts of misery,--left "to clasp a phantom and to find it
air." For often has the adversary pressed me sore, and out of my arms
has slid ever that which my soul pronounced good: slid out of my arms
and coiled about my feet like a serpent, dragging me back and holding me
down from all that is high and great.

Pity me, dear one, if thy sweet sympathies can come out of the glory, if
the lovelight of thy beautiful life can press through the cloud and the
evil, and fold me again as a garment; pity and plead for me with the
maiden mother whose arms in human sorrow and human love cradled our
blessed Redeemer.

She hath known our mortal pain and passion--our more than mortal
triumph--she hath heard the "blessed art thou among women." My
unavailing prayers goldenly syllabled by her whose name sounds from the
manger through all the world, may find acceptance with Him who, though
our sins be as scarlet, can wash them white as wool.

Our hearts grew together as one, and along the headlands and the valleys
one shadow went before us, and one shadow followed us, till the grave
gaped hungry and terrible, and I was alone. Faltering in fear, but
lingering in love, I knelt by the deathbed--it was the middle night, and
the first moans of the autumn came down from the hills, for the frost
specks glinted on her golden robes, and the wind blew chill in her
bosom. Heaven was full of stars, and the half-moon scattered abroad her
beauty like a silver rain. Many have been the middle nights since then,
for years lie between me and that fearfulest of all watches; but a
shadow, a sound, or a thought, turns the key of the dim chamber, and the
scene is reproduced.

I see the long locks on the pillow, the smile on the ashen lips, the
thin, cold fingers faintly pressing my own, and hear the broken voice
saying, "I am going now. I am not afraid. Why weep ye? Though I were to
live the full time allotted to man, I should not be more ready, nor more
willing than now." But over this there comes a shudder and a groan that
all the mirthfulness of the careless was impotent to drown.

Three days previous to the death-night, three days previous to the
transit of the soul from the clayey tabernacle to the house not; made
with hands--from dishonour to glory--let me turn theme over as so many
leaves.

The first of the November mornings, but the summer had tarried late, and
the wood to the south of our homestead lifted itself like a painted wall
against the sky--the squirrel was leaping nimbly and chattering gayly
among the fiery tops of the oaks or the dun foliage of the hickory, that
shot up its shelving trunk and spread its forked branches far over the
smooth, moss-spotted boles of the beeches, and the limber boughs of the
elms. Lithe and blithe he was, for his harvest was come.

From the cracked beech-burs was dropping the sweet, angular fruit,
and down from the hickory boughs with every gust fell a shower of
nuts--shelling clean and silvery from their thick black hulls.

Now and then, across the stubble-field, with long cars erect, leaped the
gray hare, but for the most part he kept close in his burrow, for rude
huntsmen were on the hills with their dogs, and only when the sharp
report of a rifle rung through the forest, or the hungry yelping of some
trailing hound startled his harmless slumber, might you see at the mouth
of his burrow the quivering lip and great timid eyes.

Along the margin of the creek, shrunken now away from the blue and gray
and yellowish stones that made its cool pavement, and projected in thick
layers from the shelving banks, the white columns of gigantic sycamores
leaped earthward, their bases driven, as it seemed, deep into the
ground--all their convolutions of roots buried out, of view. Dropping
into the stagnant waters below, came one by one the broad, rose-tinted
leaves, breaking the shadows of the silver limbs.

Ruffling and widening to the edges of the pools went the circles, as the
pale, yellow walnuts plashed into their midst; for here, too, grew the
parent trees, their black bark cut and jagged and broken into rough
diamond work.

That beautiful season was come when

"Rustic girls in hoods Go gleaning through the woods."

Two days after this, we said, my dear mate and I, we shall have a
holiday, and from sunrise till sunset, with our laps full of ripe nuts
and orchard fruits, we shall make pleasant pastime.

Rosalie, for so I may call her, was older than I, with a face of beauty
and a spirit that never flagged. But to-day there was heaviness in her
eyes, and a flushing in her cheek that was deeper than had been there
before.

Still she spoke gayly, and smiled the old smile, for the gaunt form of
sickness had never been among us children, and we knew not how his touch
made the head sick and the heart faint.

The day looked forward to so anxiously dawned at last; but in the dim
chamber of Rosalie the light fell sad. I must go alone.

We had always been together before, at work and in play, asleep and
awake, and I lingered long ere I would be persuaded to leave her; but
when she smiled and said the fresh-gathered nuts and shining apples
would make her glad, I wiped her forehead, and turning quickly away that
she might not see my tears, was speedily wading through winrows of dead
leaves.

The sensations of that day I shall never forget; a vague and trembling
fear of some coming evil, I knew not what, made me often start as the
shadows drifted past me, or a bough crackled beneath my feet.

From the low, shrubby hawthorns, I gathered the small red apples, and
from beneath the maples, picked by their slim golden stems the notched
and gorgeous leaves. The wind fingered playfully my hair, and clouds of
birds went whirring through the tree-tops; but no sight nor sound could
divide my thoughts from her whose voice had so often filled with music
these solitary places.

I remember when first the fear distinctly defined itself. I was seated
on a mossy log, counting the treasures which I had been gathering, when
the clatter of hoof-strokes on the clayey and hard-beaten road arrested
my attention, and, looking up--for the wood thinned off in the direction
of the highway, and left it distinctly in view--I saw Doctor H----,
the physician, in attendance upon my sick companion. The visit was an
unseasonable one. She, whom I loved so, might never come with me to the
woods any more.

Where the hill sloped to the roadside, and the trees, as I said, were
but few, was the village graveyard. No friend of mine, no one whom I had
ever known or loved, was buried there--yet with a child's instinctive
dread of death, I had ever passed its shaggy solitude (for shrubs and
trees grew there wild and unattended) with a hurried step and averted
face.

Now, for the first time in my life, I walked voluntarily thitherward,
and climbing on a log by the fence-side, gazed long and earnestly
within. I stood beneath a tall locust-tree, and the small, round leaves;
yellow now as the long cloud-bar across the sunset, kept dropping, and
dropping at my feet, till all the faded grass was covered up. There
the mattock had never been struck; but in fancy I saw the small Heaves
falling and drifting about a new and smooth-shaped mound--and,
choking with the turbulent outcry in my heart, I glided stealthily
homeward--alas! to find the boding shape I had seen through mists and,
shadows awfully palpable. I did not ask about Rosalie. I was afraid; but
with my rural gleanings in my lap, opened the door of her chamber. The
physician had preceded me but a moment, and, standing by the bedside,
was turning toward the lessening light the little wasted hand, the
one on which I had noticed in the morning a small purple spot.
"Mortification!" he said, abruptly, and moved away, as though his work
were done.

There was a groan expressive of the sudden and terrible consciousness
which had in it the agony of agonies--the giving up of all. The gift
I had brought fell from my relaxed grasp, and, hiding my face in the
pillow, I gave way to the passionate sorrow of an undisciplined nature.

When at last I looked up, there was a smile on her lips that no faintest
moan ever displaced again.

A good man and a skilful physician was Dr. H----, but his infirmity was
a love of strong drink; and, therefore, was it that he softened not the
terrible blow which must soon have fallen. I link with his memory no
reproaches now, for all this is away down in the past; and that foe that
sooner or later biteth like a serpent, soon did his work; but then my
breaking heart judged him, hardly. Often yet, for in all that is saddest
memory is faithfulest, I wake suddenly out of sleep, and live over that
first and bitterest sorrow of my life; and there is no house of gladness
in the world that with a whisper will not echo the moan of lips pale
with the kisses of death.

Sometimes, when life is gayest about me, an unseen hand leads me apart,
and opening the door of that still chambers I go in--the yellow leaves
are at my feet again, and that white band between me and the light.

I see the blue flames quivering and curling close and the smouldering
embers on the hearth. I hear soft footsteps and sobbing voices and see
the clasped hands and placid smile of her who, alone among us all, was
untroubled; and over the darkness and the pain I hear voice, saying,
"She is not dead, but sleepeth." Would, dear reader, that you might
remember, and I too all ways, the importance of soft and careful words.
One harsh or even thoughtlessly chosen epithet, may bear with it a
weight which shall weigh down some heart through all life. There are
for us all nights of sorrow, in which we feel their value. Help us, our
Father, to remember it!



MR. QUERY'S INVESTIGATION.



"HE is a good man, suppose, and an excellent doctor," said Mrs. Salina
Simmons, with a dubious shake of her head but----"

"But what, Mrs. Simmons?"

"They say he _drinks!_"

"No, impossible!" exclaimed Mr. Josiah Query, with emphasis.

"Impossible? I hope so," said Mrs. Simmons. "And--mind you, I don't say
he _drinks_, but that such is the report. And I have it upon tolerably
good authority, too, Mr. Query."

"What authority?"

"Oh, I couldn't tell that: for you know I never like to make mischief. I
can only say that the _report_ is--he drinks."

Mr. Josiah Query scratched his head.

"Can it be that Dr. Harvey drinks?" he murmured. "I thought him pure Son
of Temperance. And his my family physician, too! I must look into this
matter forthwith. Mrs. Simmons, you still decline slating who is your
authority for this report?"

Mrs. Simmons was firm; her companion could gain no satisfaction. She
soon compelled him to promise that he would not mention her name, if he
spoke of the affair elsewhere, repeating her remark that she never liked
to make mischief.

Dr. Harvey was a physician residing in a small village, where he shared
the profits of practice with another doctor, named Jones. Dr. Harvey was
generally liked and among his friends was Mr. Josiah Query, whom Mrs.
Simmons shocked with the bit of gossip respecting the doctor's habits
of intemperance. Mr. Query was a good-hearted man, and he deemed it his
duty to inquire into the nature of the report, and learn if it had
any foundation in truth. Accordingly, he went to Mr. Green, who also
employed the doctor in his family.

"Mr. Green," said he, "have you heard anything about this report of Dr.
Harvey's intemperance?"

"Dr. Harvey's intemperance?" cried Mr. Green, astonished.

"Yes--a flying report."

"No, I'm sure I haven't."

"Of course, then, you don't know whether it is true or not?"

"What?"

"That he drinks."

"I never heard of it before. Dr. Harvey is my family physician, and I
certainly would not employ a man addicted to the use of ardent spirits."

"Nor I," said Mr. Query "and for this reason, and for the doctor's sake,
too, I want to know the truth of the matter. I don't really credit it
myself; but I thought it would do no harm to inquire."

Mr. Query next applied to Squire Worthy for information.

"Dear me!" exclaimed the squire, who was a nervous man; "does Dr. Harvey
drink?"

"Such is the rumour; how true it is, I can't say."

"And what if he should give one of my family a dose of arsenic instead
of the tincture of rhubarb, some time, when he is intoxicated? My mind
is made up now. I shall send for Dr. Jones in future."

"But, dear sir," remonstrated Mr. Query. "I don't say the report is
true."

"Oh, no; you wouldn't wish to commit yourself. You like to know the safe
side, and so do I. I shall employ Dr. Jones."

Mr. Query turned sorrowfully away.

"Squire Worthy must have bad suspicions of the doctor's intemperance
before I came to him," thought he; "I really begin to fear that there is
some foundation for the report. I'll go to Mrs. Mason; she will know."

Mr. Query found Mrs. Mason ready to listen to and believe any scandal.
She gave her head a significant toss, as if she knew more about the
report than she chose to confess.

Mr. Query begged of her to explain herself.

"Oh, _I_ sha'n't say anything," exclaimed Mrs. Mason; "I've no ill will
against Dr. Harvey, and I'd rather cut off my right hand than injure
him."

"But is the report true?"

"True, Mr. Query? Do you suppose _I_ ever saw Dr. Harvey drunk? Then how
can you expect me to know? Oh, I don't wish to say anything against the
man, and I won't."

After visiting Mrs. Mason, Mr. Query went to half a dozen others to
learn the truth respecting Dr. Harvey's habits. Nobody would confess
that they knew anything, about his drinking; but Mr. Smith "was not as
much surprised as others might be;" Mr. Brown "was sorry if the report
was true," adding, that the best of men had their faults. Miss Single
had frequently remarked the doctor's florid complexion, and wondered if
his colour was natural; Mr. Clark remembered that the doctor appeared
unusually gay, on the occasion of his last visit to his family; Mrs.
Rogers declared that, when she came to reflect, she believed she had
once or twice smelt the man's breath; and Mr. Impulse had often seen him
riding at an extraordinary rate for a sober Gentleman. Still Mr. Query
was unable to ascertain any definite facts respecting the unfavourable
report.

Meanwhile, with his usual industry, Dr. Harvey went about his business,
little suspecting the scandalous gossip that was circulating to his
discredit. But he soon perceived he was very coldly received by some
of his old friends, and that others employed Dr. Jones. Nobody sent for
him, and he might have begun to think that the health of the town was
entirely re-established, had he not observed that his rival appeared
driven with business, and that he rode night and day.

One evening Dr. Harvey sat in his office, wondering what could have
occasioned the sudden and surprising change in his affairs, when,
contrary to his expectations, he received a call to visit a sick child
of one of his old friends, who had lately employed his rival. After
some hesitation, and a struggle between pride and a sense of duty,
he resolved to respond to the call, and at the same time learn, if
possible, why he had been preferred to Dr. Jones, and why Dr. Jones had
on other occasions been preferred to him.

"The truth is, Dr. Harvey," said Mr. Miles, "we thought the child
dangerously ill, and as Dr. Jones could not come immediately, we
concluded to send for you."

"I admire your frankness," responded Dr. Harvey, smiling; "and shall
admire it still more, if you will inform me why you have lately
preferred Dr. Jones to me. Formerly I had the honour of enjoying your
friendship and esteem, and you have frequently told me yourself, that
you would trust no other physician."

"Well," replied Mr. Miles, "I am a plain man, and never hesitate to tell
people what they wish to know. I sent for Dr. Jones instead of you, I
confess not that I doubted your skill--"

"What then?"

"It is a delicate subject, but I will, nevertheless, speak out. Although
I had the utmost confidence in your skill and faithfulness--I--you know,
I--in short, I don't like to trust a physician who drinks."

"Sir!" cried the astonished doctor.

"Yes--drinks," pursued Mr. Miles. "It is plain language, but I am a
plain man. I heard of your intemperance, and thought it unsafe--that is,
dangerous--to employ you."

"My intemperance!" ejaculated Dr. Harvey.

"Yes, sir! and I am sorry to know it. But the fact that you sometimes
drink a trifle too much is now a well known fact, and is generally
talked of in the village."

"Mr. Miles," cried the indignant doctor, "this is scandalous--it is
false! Who is your authority for this report?"

"Oh, I have heard it from several mouths but I can't say exactly who is
responsible for the rumour."

And Mr. Miles went on to mention several names, as connected with the
rumour, and among which was that of Mr. Query.

The indignant doctor immediately set out on a pilgrimage of
investigation, going from one house to another, in search of the author
of the scandal.

Nobody, however, could state where it originated, but it was universally
admitted that the man from whose lips it was first heard, was Mr. Query.

Accordingly Dr. Harvey hastened to Mr. Query's house, and demanded of
that gentleman what he meant by circulating such scandal.

"My dear doctor," cried Mr. Query, his face beaming with conscious
innocence, "_I_ haven't been guilty of any mis-statement about you, I
can take my oath. I heard that there was a report of your drinking,
and all I did was to tell people I didn't believe it, nor know anything
about it, and to inquire were it originated. Oh, I assure you, doctor, I
haven't slandered you in any manner."

"You are a poor fool!" exclaimed Dr. Harvey, perplexed and angry. "If
you had gone about town telling everybody that you saw me drunk, daily,
you couldn't have slandered me more effectually than you have."

"Oh, I beg your pardon," cried Mr. Query, very sad; "but I thought I was
doing you a service!"

"Save me from my friends!" exclaimed the doctor, bitterly. "An _enemy_
could not have done me as much injury as you have done. But I now insist
on knowing who first mentioned the report to you."

"Oh, I am not at liberty to say that."

"Then I shall hold you responsible for the scandal--for the base lies
you have circulated. But if you are really an honest man, and my friend,
you will not hesitate to tell me where this report originated."

After some reflection, Mr. Query, who stood in mortal fear of the
indignant doctor, resolved to reveal the secret, and mentioned the name
of his informant, Mrs. Simmons. As Dr. Harvey had not heard her spoken
of before, as connected with the report of his intemperance, he knew
very well that Mr. Query's "friendly investigations" had been the sole
cause of his loss of practice. However, to go to the roots of this Upas
tree of scandal, he resolved to pay an immediate visit to Mrs. Simmons.

This lady could deny nothing; but she declared that she had not given
the rumour as a fact, and that she had never spoken of it except to Mr.
Query. Anxious to throw the responsibility of the slander upon others,
she eagerly confessed that, on a certain occasion upon entering a room
in which were Mrs. Guild and Mrs. Harmless, she overheard one of these
ladies remark that "Dr. Harvey drank more than ever," and the other
reply, that "she had heard him say he could not break himself, although
he knew his health suffered in consequence."

Thus set upon the right track, Dr. Harvey visited Mrs. Guild and Mrs.
Harmless without delay.

"Mercy on us!" exclaimed those ladies, when questioned respecting the
matter, "we perfectly remember talking about your _drinking coffee_,
and making such remarks as you have heard through Mrs. Simmons. But with
regard to your _drinking liquor_, we never heard the report until a week
ago, and never believed it at all."

As what these ladies had said of his _coffee-drinking_ propensities was
perfectly true, Dr. Harvey readily acquitted them of any designs against
his character for sobriety, and well satisfied with having at last
discovered the origin of the rumour, returned to the friendly Mr. Query.

The humiliation of this gentleman was so deep, that Dr. Harvey
avoided reproaches, and confined himself to a simple narrative of his
discoveries.

"I see, it is all my fault," said Mr. Query. "And I will do anything
to remedy it. I never could believe you drank--and now I'll go and tell
everybody that the report _was_ false."

"Oh! bless you," cried the doctor, "I wouldn't have you do so for the
world. All I ask of you, is to say nothing whatever on the subject, and
if you ever again hear a report of the kind, don't make it a subject of
friendly investigation."

Mr. Query promised; and, after the truth was known, and, Dr. Harvey
had regained the good-will of the community, together with his share of
medical practice, he never had reason again to exclaim--"Save me from
my friends!" And Mr. Query was in future exceedingly careful how he
attempted to make friendly investigations.



ROOM IN THE WORLD.



     THERE is room in the world for the wealthy and great,
     For princes to reign in magnificent state;
     For the courtier to bend, for the noble to sue,
     If the hearts of all these are but honest and true.

     And there's room in the world for the lowly and meek,
     For the hard horny hand, and the toil-furrow'd cheek;
     For the scholar to think, for the merchant to trade,
     So these are found upright and just in their grade.

     But room there is none for the wicked; and nought
     For the souls that with teeming corruption are fraught.
     The world would be small, were its oceans all land,
     To harbour and feed such a pestilent band.

     Root out from among ye, by teaching the mind,
     By training the heart, this chief curse of mankind!
     'Tis a duty you owe to the forthcoming race--
     Confess it in time, and discharge it with grace!



WORDS.



"THE foolish thing!" said my Aunt Rachel, speaking warmly, "to get hurt
at a mere word. It's a little hard that people can't open their lips but
somebody is offended."

"Words are things!" said I, smiling.

"Very light things! A person must be tender indeed, that is hurt by a
word."

"The very lightest thing may hurt, if it falls on a tender place."

"I don't like people who have these tender places," said Aunt Rachel. "I
never get hurt at what is said to me. No--never! To be ever picking
and mincing, and chopping off your words--to be afraid to say this or
that--for fear somebody will be offended! I can't abide it."

"People who have these tender places can't help it, I suppose. This
being so, ought we not to regard their weakness?" said I. "Pain,
either of body or mind, is hard to bear, and we should not inflict it
causelessly."

"People who are so wonderfully sensitive," replied Aunt Rachel, growing
warmer, "ought to shut themselves up at home, and not come among
sensible, good-tempered persons. As far as I am concerned, I can tell
them, one and all, that I am not going to pick out every hard word from
a sentence as carefully as I would seeds from a raisin. Let them crack
them with their teeth, if they are afraid to swallow them whole."

Now, for all that Aunt Rachel went on after this strain, she was a kind,
good soul, in the main, and, I could see, was sorry for having hurt the
feelings of Mary Lane. But she didn't like to acknowledge that she was
in the wrong; that would detract too much from the self-complacency with
which she regarded herself. Knowing her character very well, I thought
it best not to continue the little argument about the importance of
words, and so changed the subject. But, every now and then, Aunt Rachel
would return to it, each time softening a little towards Mary. At last
she said,

"I'm sure it was a little thing. A very little thing. She might have
known that nothing unkind was intended on my part."

"There are some subjects, aunt," I replied, "to which we cannot bear the
slightest allusion. And a sudden reference to them is very apt to throw
us off of our guard. What you said to Mary has, in all probability
touched some weakness of character, or probed some wound that time
has not been able to heal. I have always thought her a sensible,
good-natured girl."

"And so have I. But I really cannot think that she has showed her good
sense or good nature in the present case. It is a very bad failing this,
of being over sensitive; and exceedingly annoying to one's friends."

"It is, I know; but still, all of, us have a weak point, and to her that
is assailed, we are very apt to betray our feelings."

"Well, I say now, as I have always said--I don't like to have anything
to do with people who have these weak points. This being hurt by a word,
as if words were blows, is something that does not come within the range
of my sympathies."

"And yet, aunt," said I, "all have weak points. Even you are not
entirely free from them."

"Me!" Aunt Rachel bridled.

"Yes; and if even as light a thing as a word were to fall upon them, you
would suffer pain."

"Pray, sir," said Aunt Rachel, with much dignity of manner; she
was chafed by my words, light as they were, "inform me where these
weaknesses, of which you are pleased to speak, lie."

"Oh, no; you must excuse me. That would be very much out of place. But I
only stated a general fact that appertains to all of us."

Aunt Rachel looked very grave. I had laid the weight of words upon a
weakness of her character, and it had given her pain. That weakness was
a peculiarly good opinion of herself. I had made no allegation against
her; and there was none in my mind. My words simply expressed the
general truth that we all have weaknesses, and included her in their
application. But she imagined that I referred to some particular defect
or fault, and mail-proof as she was against words, they had wounded her.

For a day or two Aunt Rachel remained more sober than was her wont.
I knew the cause, but did not attempt to remove from her mind any
impression my words had made. One day, about a week after, I said to
her,

"Aunt Rachel, I saw Mary Lane's mother this morning."

"Ah?" The old lady looked up at me inquiringly.

"I don't wonder your words hurt the poor girl," I added.

"Why? What did I say?" quickly asked Aunt Rachel.

"You said that she was a jilt."

"But I was only jest, and she knew it. I did not really mean anything.
I'm surprised that Mary should be so foolish."

"You will not be surprised when you know all," was my answer.

"All? What all? I'm sure I wasn't in earnest. I didn't mean to hurt the
poor girl's feelings." My aunt looked very much troubled.

"No one blames you, Aunt Rachel," said I. "Mary knows you didn't intend
wounding her."

"But why should she take a little word go much to heart? It must have
had more truth in it than I supposed."

"Did you know that Mary refused an offer of marriage from Walter Green
last week?"

"Why no! It can't be possible! Refused Walter Green?"

"They've been intimate for a long time."

"I know."

"She certainly encouraged him."

"I think it more than probable."

"Is it possible, then, that she did really jilt the young man?"
exclaimed Aunt Rachel.

"This has been said of her," I replied. "But so far as I can learn, she
was really attached to him, and suffered great pain in rejecting his
offer. Wisely she regarded marriage as the most important event of
her life, and refused to make so solemn a contract with one in whose
principles she had not the fullest confidence."

"But she ought not to have encouraged Walter, if she did not intend
marrying him," said Aunt Rachel, with some warmth.

"She encouraged him so long as she thought well of him. A closer view
revealed points of character hidden by distance. When she saw these
her feelings were already deeply involved. But, like a true woman, she
turned from the proffered hand, even though while in doing so her heart
palpitated with pain. There is nothing false about Mary Lane. She could
no more trifle with a lover than she could commit a crime. Think, then,
how almost impossible it would be for her to hear herself called, under
existing circumstances, even in sport, a jilt, without being hurt. Words
sometimes have power to hurt more than blows. Do you not see this, now,
Aunt Rachel?"

"Oh, yes, yes. I see it; and I saw it before," said the old lady. "And
in future I will be more careful of my words. It is pretty late in life
to learn this lesson--but we are never too late to learn. Poor Mary! It
grieves me to think that I should have hurt her so much."

Yes, words often have in them a smarting force, and we cannot be too
guarded how we use them. "Think twice before you speak once," is a trite
but wise saying. We teach it to our children very carefully, but are too
apt to forget that it has not lost its application to ourselves.



THE THANKLESS OFFICE.



"AN object of real charity," said Andrew Lyon to his wife, as a poor
woman withdrew from the room in which they were seated.

"If ever there was a worthy object she is one," returned Mrs. Lyon. "A
widow, with health so feeble that even ordinary exertion is too much for
her; yet obliged to support, with the labour of her own hands, not only
herself, but three young children. I do not wonder that she is behind
with her rent."

"Nor I," said Mr. Lyon, in a voice of sympathy. "How much, did she say,
was due to her landlord?"

"Ten dollars."

"She will not be able to pay it."

"I fear not. How can she? I give her all my extra sewing, and have
obtained work for her from several ladies; but with her best efforts she
can barely obtain food and decent clothing for herself and babes."

"Does it not seem hard," remarked Mr. Lyon, "that one like Mrs. Arnold,
who is so earnest in her efforts to take care of herself and family,
should not receive a helping hand from some one of the many who could
help her without feeling the effort? If I didn't find it so hard to make
both ends meet, I would pay off her arrears of rent for her, and feel
happy in so doing."

"Ah!" exclaimed the kind-hearted wife, "how much I wish that we were
able to do this! But we are not."

"I'll tell you what we can do," said Mr. Lyon, in a cheerful voice;
"or rather what _I_ can do. It will be a very light matter for say ten
persons to give a dollar apiece, in order to relieve Mrs. Arnold from
her present trouble. There are plenty who would cheerfully contribute,
for this good purpose; all that is wanted is some one to take upon
himself the business of making the collections. That task shall be
mine."

"How glad I am, James, to hear you say so!" smilingly replied Mrs. Lyon.
"Oh, what a relief it will be to poor Mrs. Arnold. It will make her
heart as light as a feather. That rent has troubled her sadly. Old
Links, her landlord, has been worrying her about it a good deal, and,
only a week ago, threatened to put her things in the street, if she
didn't pay up."

"I should have thought of this before," remarked Andrew Lyon. "There
are hundreds of people who are willing enough to give if they were only
certain in regard to the object. Here is one worthy enough in every way.
Be it my business to present her claims to benevolent consideration. Let
me see. To whom shall I go? There are Jones, and Green, and Tompkins. I
can get a dollar from each of them. That will be three dollars,--and one
from myself, will make four. Who else is there? Oh, Malcolm! I'm sure of
a dollar from him; and also from Smith, Todd, and Perry."

Confident in the success of his benevolent scheme, Mr. Lyon started
forth, early on the very next day, for the purpose of obtaining, by
subscription, the poor widow's rent. The first person he called on was
Malcolm.

"Ah, friend Lyon!" said Malcolm, smiling blandly, "Good morning! What
can I do for you, to-day?"

"Nothing for me, but something for a poor widow, who is behind with her
rent," replied Andrew Lyon. "I want just one dollar from you, and as
much more from some eight or nine as benevolent as yourself."

At the word poor widow the countenance of Malcolm fell, and when his
visiter ceased, he replied, in a changed and husky voice, clearing his
throat two or three times as he spoke.

"Are you sure she is deserving, Mr. Lyon?" The man's manner had become
exceedingly grave.

"None more so," was the prompt answer. "She is in poor health, and has
three children to support with the product of her needle. If any one
needs assistance, it is Mrs. Arnold."

"Oh! Ah! The widow of Jacob Arnold?"

"The same," replied Andrew Lyon.

Malcolm's face did not brighten with a feeling of heart-warm
benevolence. But he turned slowly away, and opening his money-drawer,
_very slowly_ toyed with his fingers amid its contents. At length
he took therefrom a dollar bill, and said, as he presented it to
Lyon,--signing involuntarily as he did so,--

"I suppose I must do my part. But we are called upon so often."

The ardour of Andrew Lyon's benevolent feelings suddenly cooled at this
unexpected reception. He had entered upon his work under the glow of a
pure enthusiasm; anticipating a hearty response the moment his errand
was made known.

"I thank you in the widow's name," said he, as he took the dollar.
When he turned from Mr. Malcolm's store, it was with a pressure on his
feelings, as if he had asked the coldly-given favour for himself.

It was not without an effort that Lyon compelled himself to call upon
Mr. Green, considered the "next best man" on his list. But he entered
his place of business with far less confidence than he had felt when
calling upon Malcolm. His story told, Green, without a word or smile,
drew two half dollars from his pocket and presented them.

"Thank you," said Lyon.

"Welcome," returned Green.

Oppressed with a feeling of embarrassment, Lyon stood for a few moments.
Then bowing, he said,

"Good morning."

"Good morning," was coldly and formally responded.

And thus the alms-seeker and alms-giver parted.

"Better be at his shop, attending to his work," muttered Green to
himself, as his visiter retired. "Men ain't very apt to get along too
well in the world who spend their time in begging for every object of
charity that happens to turn up. And there are plenty of such, dear
knows. He's got a dollar out of me; may it do him, or the poor widow he
talked so glibly about, much good."

Cold water had been poured upon the feelings of Andrew Lyon. He had
raised two dollars for the poor widow, but, at what a sacrifice for
one so sensitive as himself! Instead of keeping on in his work of
benevolence, he went to his shop, and entered upon the day's employment.
How disappointed he felt;--and this disappointment was mingled with a
certain sense of humiliation, as if he had been asking alms for himself.

"Catch me at this work again!" he said half aloud, as his thoughts dwelt
upon what had so recently occurred. "But this is not right," he added,
quickly. "It is a weakness in me to feel so. Poor Mrs. Arnold must
be relieved; and it is my duty to see that she gets relief. I had no
thought of a reception like this. People can talk of benevolence; but
putting the hand in the pocket is another affair altogether. I never
dreamed that such men as Malcolm and Green could be insensible to an
appeal like the one I made."

"I've got two dollars towards paying Mrs. Arnold's rent," he said to
himself, in a more cheerful tone, some time afterwards; "and it will go
hard if I don't raise the whole amount for her. All are not like Green
and Malcolm. Jones is a kind-hearted man, and will instantly respond to
the call of humanity. I'll go and see him."

So, off Andrew Lyon started to see this individual.

"I've come begging, Mr. Jones," said he, on meeting him. And he spoke in
a frank, pleasant manner,

"Then you've come to the wrong shop; that's all I have to say," was the
blunt answer.

"Don't say that, Mr. Jones. Hear my story first."

"I do say it, and I'm in earnest," returned Jones. "I feel as poor as
Job's turkey to-day."

"I only want a dollar to help a poor widow pay her rent," said Lyon.

"Oh, hang all the poor widows! If that's your game, you'll get nothing
here. I've got my hands full to pay my own rent. A nice time I'd have in
handing out a dollar to every poor widow in town to help pay her rent!
No, no, my friend, you can't get anything here."

"Just as you feel about it," said Andrew Lyon. "There's no compulsion in
the matter."

"No, I presume not," was rather coldly replied.

Lyon returned to his shop, still more disheartened than before. He had
undertaken a thankless office.

Nearly two hours elapsed before his resolution to persevere in the good
work he had begun came back with sufficient force to prompt to another
effort. Then he dropped in upon his neighbour Tompkins, to whom he made
known his errand.

"Why, yes, I suppose I must do something in a case like this," said
Tompkins, with the tone and air of a man who was cornered. "But there
are so many calls for charity, that we are naturally enough led to hold
on pretty tightly to our purse strings. Poor woman! I feel sorry for
her. How much do you want?"

"I am trying to get ten persons, including myself, to give a dollar
each."

"Well, here's my dollar." And Tompkins forced a smile to his face as
he handed over his contribution,--but the smile did not conceal an
expression which said very plainly--

"I hope you will not trouble me again in this way."

"You may be sure I will not," muttered Lyon, as he went away. He fully
understood the meaning of the expression.

Only one more application did the kind-hearted man make. It was
successful; but there was something in the manner of the individual who
gave his dollar, that Lyon felt as a rebuke.

"And so poor Mrs. Arnold did not get the whole of her arrears of rent
paid off," says some one who has felt an interest in her favour.

Oh, yes she did. Mr. Lyon begged five dollars, and added five more from
his own slender purse. But, he cannot be induced again to undertake
the thankless office of seeking relief from the benevolent for a fellow
creature in need. He has learned that a great many who refuse alms on
the plea that the object presented is not worthy, are but little more
inclined to charitable deeds, when on this point there is no question.

How many who read this can sympathize with Andrew Lyon! Few men who have
hearts to feel for others but have been impelled, at some time in their
lives, to seek aid for a fellow creature in need. That their office
was a thankless one, they have too soon become aware. Even those who
responded to their call most liberally, in too many instances gave in a
way that left an unpleasant impression behind. How quickly has the first
glow of generous feeling, that sought to extend itself to others, that
they might share the pleasure of humanity, been chilled; and, instead of
finding the task an easy one, it has proved to be hard, and, too often,
humiliating! Alas that this should be! That men should shut their hearts
so instinctively at the voice of charity!

We have not written this to discourage active efforts in the benevolent;
but to hold up a mirror in which another class may see themselves.
At best, the office of him who seeks of his fellow men aid for the
suffering and indigent, is an unpleasant one. It is all sacrifice on
his part, and the least that can be done is to honour his disinterested
regard for others in distress, and treat him with delicacy and
consideration.



LOVE.



     OH! if there is one law above the rest,
     Written in Wisdom--if there is a word
     That I would trace as with a pen of fire
     Upon the unsullied temper of a child--
     If there is anything that keeps the mind
     Open to angel visits, and repels
     The ministry of ill--_'tis Human Love!_
     God has made nothing worthy of contempt;
     The smallest pebble in the well of Truth
     Has its peculiar meanings, and will stand
     When man's best monuments wear fast away.
     The law of Heaven is _Love_--and though its name
     Has been usurped by passion, and profaned
     To its unholy uses through all time,
     Still, the external principle is pure;
     And in these deep affections that we feel
     Omnipotent within us, can we see
     The lavish measure in which love is given.
     And in the yearning tenderness of a child
     For every bird that sings above its head,
     And every creature feeding on the hills,
     And every tree and flower, and running brook,
     We see how everything was made to love,
     And how they err, who, in a world like this,
     Find anything to hate but human pride.



"EVERY LITTLE HELPS."



     WHAT if a drop of rain should plead--
       "So small a drop as I
     Can ne'er refresh the thirsty mead;
       I'll tarry in the sky?"

     What, if the shining beam of noon
       Should in its fountain stay;
     Because its feeble light alone
       Cannot create a day?

     Does not each rain-drop help to form
       The cool refreshing shower?
     And every ray of light, to warm
       And beautify the flower?



LITTLE THINGS.



     SCORN not the slightest word or deed,
       Nor deem it void of power;
     There's fruit in each wind-wafted seed,
       Waiting its natal hour.
     A whispered word may touch the heart,
       And call it back to life;
     A look of love bid sin depart,
       And still unholy strife.

     No act falls fruitless; none can tell
       How vast its power may be,
     Nor what results enfolded dwell
       Within it silently.
     Work and despair not; give thy mite,
       Nor care how small it be;
     God is with all that serve the right,
       The holy, true, and free!



CARELESS WORDS.



FIVE years ago, this fair November day,--five years? it seems but
yesterday, so fresh is that scene in my memory; and, I doubt not, were
the period ten times multiplied, it would be as vivid still to us--the
surviving actors in that drama! The touch of time, which blunts the
piercing thorn, as well as steals from the rose its lovely tints, is
powerless here, unless to give darker shades to that picture engraven on
our souls; and tears--ah, they only make it more imperishable!

We do not speak of her now; her name has not passed our lips in each
other's presence, since we followed her--grief-stricken mourners-to the
grave, to which--alas, alas! but why should not the truth be spoken?
the grave to which our careless words consigned her. But on every
anniversary of that day we can never forget, uninvited by me, and
without any previous arrangement between themselves, those two friends
have come to my house, and together we have sat, almost silently, save
when Ada's sweet voice has poured forth a low, plaintive strain to the
mournful chords Mary has made the harp to breathe. Four years ago, that
cousin came too; and since then, though he has been thousands of miles
distant from us, when, that anniversary has returned, he has written to
me: he cannot look into my face when that letter is penned; he but looks
into his own heart, and he cannot withhold the words of remorse and
agony.

Ada and Mary have sat with me to-day, and we knew that Rowland, in
thought, was here too; ah, if we could have known another had been among
us,--if we could have felt that an eye was upon us, which will never
more dim with tears, a heart was near us which carelessness can never
wound again;--could we have known she had been here--that pure,
bright angel, with the smile of forgiveness and love on that beautiful
face--the dark veil of sorrow might have been lifted from our souls! but
we saw only with mortal vision; our faith was feeble, and we have only
drawn that sombre mantle more and more closely about us. The forgiveness
we have so many tim es prayed for, we have not yet dared to receive,
though we know it is our own.

That November day was just what this has been fair, mild, and sweet; and
how much did that dear one enjoy it! The earth was dry, and as we looked
from the window we saw no verdure but a small line of green on the south
side of the garden enclosure, and around the trunk of the old pear-tree,
and here and there a little oasis from which the strong wind of the
previous day, had lifted the thick covering of dry leaves, and one or
two shrubs, whose foliage feared not the cold breath of winter. The
gaudy hues, too, which nature had lately worn, were all faded; there was
a pale, yellow-leafed vine clambering over the verdureless lilac, and
far down in the garden might be seen a shrub covered with bright scarlet
berries. But the warm south wind was sweet and fragrant, as if it
had strayed through bowers of roses and eglantines. Deep-leaden and
snow-white clouds blended together, floated lazily through the sky, and
the sun coquetted all day with the earth, though his glance was not, for
once, more than half averted, while his smile was bright and loving, as
it bad been months before, when her face was fair and blooming.

But how sadly has this day passed, and how unlike is this calm, sweet
evening to the one which closed that November day! Nature is the same.
The moonbeams look as bright and silvery through the brown, naked arms
of the tall oaks, and the dark evergreen forest lifts up its head to the
sky, striving, but in vain, to shut out the soft light from the little
stream, whose murmurings, seem more sad and complaining than at another
season of the year, perhaps because it feels how soon the icy bands of
winter will stay its free course, and hush its low whisperings. The soft
breeze sighs as sadly through the vines which still wreath themselves
around the window; though seemingly conscious they have ceased to adorn
it, they are striving to loosen their hold, and bow themselves to the
earth; and the chirping of a cricket in the chimney is as sad and
mournful as it was then. But the low moan of the sufferer, the but
half-smothered, agonized sobs of those fair girls, the deep groan
which all my proud cousin's firmness could not hush, and the words of
reproach, which, though I was so guilty myself, and though I saw them so
repentant, I could not withhold, are all stilled now.

Ada and Mary have just left me, and I am sitting alone in my apartment.
Not a sound reaches me but the whisperings of the wind, the murmuring of
the stream, and the chirping of that solitary cricket. The family know
my heart is heavy to-night, and the voices are hushed, and the footsteps
fall lightly. Lily, dear Lily, art thou near me?

Five years and some months ago--it was in early June--there came to our
home from far away in the sunny South, a fair young creature, a relative
of ours, though we had never seen her before. She had been motherless
rather less than a year, but her father had already found another
partner, and feeling that she would not so soon see the place of
the dearly-loved parent filled by a stranger, she had obtained his
permission to spend a few months with those who could sympathize with
her in her griefs.

Lily White! She was rightly named; I have never seen such a fair,
delicate face and figure, nor watched the revealings of a nature so pure
and gentle as was hers. She would have been too fair and delicate to
be beautiful, but for the brilliancy of those deep blue eyes, the dark
shade of that glossy hair, and the litheness of that fragile form;
but when months had passed away, and, though the brow was still marble
white, and the lip colourless, the cheek wore that deep rose tint, how
surpassingly beautiful she was! We did not dream what had planted that
rose-tint there--we thought her to be throwing off the grief which
alone, we believed, had paled her cheek; and we did not observe that
her form was becoming more delicate, and that her step was losing its
lightness and elasticity. We loved the sweet Lily dearly at first sight,
and she had been with us but a short time before we began to wonder how
our home had ever seemed perfect to us previous to her coming. And our
affection was returned by the dear girl. We knew how much she loved
us, when, as the warm season had passed, and her father sent for her to
return home, we saw the expression of deep sorrow in every feature, and
the silent entreaty that we would persuade him to allow her to remain
with us still.

She did not thank me when a letter reached me from her father, in reply
to one which, unknown to her, I had sent him, saying, if I thought
Lily's health would not be injured by a winter's residence in our cold
climate, he would comply with my urgent request, and allow her to remain
with us until the following spring--the dear girl could not speak. She
came to me almost totteringly, and wound her arms about my neck, resting
her head on mine, and tears from those sweet eyes fell fast over my
face; and all the remainder of that afternoon she lay on her couch. Oh,
why did I not think wherefore she was so much overcome?

Ada L----and Mary R----, two friends whom I had loved from childhood,
I had selected as companions for our dear Lily on her arrival among us,
and the young ladies, from their first introduction to her, had vied
with me in my endeavours to dispel the gloom from that fair face, and to
make her happy; and they shared, almost equally with her relatives, dear
Lily's affections.

Ada--she is changed now--was a gay, brilliant, daring girl; Mary, witty
and playful, though frank and warm-hearted; but it made me love them
more than ever. The gaiety and audacity of the one was forgotten in the
presence of the thoughtful, timid Lily: and the other checked the merry
jest which trembled on her lips, and sobered that roguish eye beside the
earnest, sensitive girl; so that, though we were together almost daily,
dear Lily did not understand the character of the young ladies.

The warm season had passed away, and October brought an addition to our
household--Cousin Rowland--as handsome, kind-hearted, and good-natured
a fellow as ever lived, but a little cowardly, if the dread of the
raillery of a beautiful woman may be called cowardice.

Cousin Rowland and dear Lily were mutually pleased with each other, it
was very evident to me, though Ada and Mary failed to see it; for, in
the presence of the young ladies, Rowland did not show her those little
delicate attentions which, alone with me, who was very unobservant, he
took no pains to conceal; and Lily did not hide from me her blushing
face--her eyes only thanked me for the expression which met her gaze.

That November day--I dread to approach it! Lily and I were sitting
beside each other, looking down the street, and watching the return of
the carriage which Rowland had gone out with to bring Ada and Mary to
our house; or, rather, Lily was looking for its coming--my eyes were
resting on her face. It had never looked so beautiful to me before. Her
brow was so purely white, her cheek was so deeply red, and that dark
eye was so lustrous; but her face was very thin, and her breathing, I
observed, was faint and difficult. A pang shot through my heart.

"Lily, are you well?" I exclaimed, suddenly.

She fixed her eyes on mine. I was too much excited by my sudden fear
to read their expression, but when our friends came in, the dear girl
seemed so cheerful and happy--I remembered, afterwards, I had never seen
her so gay as on that afternoon--that my suspicions gradually left me.

The hours were passing pleasantly away, when a letter was brought in for
Lily. It was from her father, and the young lady retired to peruse it.
The eye of Rowland followed her as she passed out of the room, and I
observed a shadow flit across his brow. I afterwards learned that at the
moment a thought was passing through his mind similar to that which
had so terrified me an hour before. Our visiters remarked it, too, but
little suspected its cause; and Mary's eye met, with a most roguish
look, Ada's rather inquiring gaze.

"When does Lily intend to return home, S----?" she inquired, as she
bent, very demurely, over her embroidery. "I thought she was making
preparations to go before Rowland came here!" and she raised her eyes so
cunningly to my face, that I could not forbear answering,

"I hear nothing of her return, now. Perhaps she will remain with us
during the winter."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Ada, and her voice expressed much surprise. "I
wonder if I could make such a prolonged visit interesting to a friend!"

"Why, Lily considers herself conferring a great favour by remaining
here," replied Mary.

"On whom?" asked Rowland, quickly.

"On all of use of course;" and to Mary's great delight she perceived
that her meaning words had the effect she desired on the young man.

"I hope she will not neglect the duty she owes her family, for the
sake of showing us this great kindness," said Rowland, with affected
carelessness, though he walked across the apartment with a very
impatient step.

"Lily has not again been guilty of the error she so frequently commits,
has she, S----?" asked Ada, in a lower but still far too distinct tone;
"that of supposing herself loved and admired where she is only pitied
and endured?" and the merry creature fairly exulted in the annoyance
which his deepened colour told her she was causing the young man.

A slight sound from the apartment adjoining the parlour attracted my
attention. Had Lily stopped there to read her letter instead of going to
her chamber? and had she, consequently, overheard our foolish remarks?
The door was slightly ajar, and I pushed it open. There was a slight
rustling, but I thought it only the waving of the window curtain.

A half-hour passed away, and Lily had not returned to us. I began to be
alarmed, and my companions partook of my fears. Had she overheard us?
and, if so, what must that sensitive heart be suffering?

I went out to call her; but half way up the flight of stairs I saw the
letter from her father lying on the carpet, unopened, though it had been
torn from its envelope. I know not how I found my way up stairs, but I
stood by Lily's bed.

Merciful Heaven! what a sight was presented to my gaze. The white
covering was stained with blood, and from those cold, pale lips the
red drops were fast falling. Her eyes turned slowly till they rested on
mine. What a look was that! I see it now; so full of grief; so full
of reproach; and then they closed. I thought her dead, and my frantic
shrieks called my companions to her bedside. They aroused her, too, from
that swoon, but they did not awaken her to consciousness. She never more
turned a look of recognition on us, or seemed to be aware that we were
near her. Through all that night, so long and so full of agony to us,
she was murmuring, incoherently, to herself,

"They did not know I was dying," she would say; "that I have been dying
ever since I have been here! They have not dreamed of my sufferings
through these long months; I could not tell them, for I believed they
loved me, and I would not grieve them. But no one loves me--not one in
the wide world cares for me! My mother, you will not have forgotten your
child when you meet me in the spirit-land! Their loved tones made
me deaf to the voice which was calling to me from the grave, and the
sunshine of _his_ smile broke through the dark cloud which death was
drawing around me. Oh, I would have lived, but death, I thought, would
lose half its bitterness, could I breathe my last in their arms! But,
now, I must die alone! Oh, how shall I reach my home--how shall I ever
reach my home?"

Dear Lily! The passage was short; when morning dawned, she was _there._



HOW TO BE HAPPY.



A BOON of inestimable worth is a calm, thankful heart--a treasure that
few, very few, possess. We once met an old man, whose face was a
mixture of smiles and sunshine. Wherever he went, he succeeded in making
everybody about him as pleasant as himself.

Said we, one day,--for he was one of that delightful class whom
everybody feels privileged to be related to,--"Uncle, uncle, how _is_ it
that you contrive to be so happy? Why is your face so cheerful, when so
many thousands are craped over with a most uncomfortable gloominess?"

"My dear young friend," he answered, with his placid smile, "I am
even as others, afflicted with infirmities; I have had my share of
sorrow--some would say more--but I have found out the secret of being
happy, and it is this:

"_Forget self_."

"Until you do that, you can lay but little claim to a cheerful spirit.
'Forget what manner of man you are,' and think more with, rejoice more
for, your neighbours. If I am poor, let me look upon my richer friend,
and in estimating his blessings, forget my privations.

"If my neighbour is building a house, let me watch with him its
progress, and think, 'Well, what a comfortable place it will be, to be
sure; how much he may enjoy it with his family.' Thus I have a double
pleasure--that of delight in noting the structure as it expands into
beauty, and making my neighbour's weal mine. If he has planted a fine
garden, I feast my eyes on the flowers, smell their fragrance: could I
do more if it was my own?

"Another has a family of fine children; they bless him and are blessed
by him; mine are all gone before me; I have none that bear my name;
shall I, therefore, envy my neighbour his lovely children? No; let me
enjoy their innocent smiles with him; let me _forget myself_--my tears
when they were put away in darkness; or if I weep, may it be for joy
that God took them untainted to dwell with His holy angels for ever.

"Believe an old man when he says there is great pleasure in living for
others. The heart of the selfish man is like a city full of crooked
lanes. If a generous thought from some glorious temple strays in
there, wo to it--it is lost. It wanders about, and wanders about, until
enveloped in darkness; as the mist of selfishness gathers around, it
lies down upon some cold thought to die, and is shrouded in oblivion.

"So, if you would be happy, shun selfishness; do a kindly deed for
this one, speak a kindly word for another. He who is constantly giving
pleasure, is constantly receiving it. The little river gives to the
great ocean, and the more it gives the faster it runs. Stop its flowing,
and the hot sun would dry it up, till it would be but filthy mud,
sending forth bad odours, and corrupting the fresh air of Heaven. Keep
your heart constantly travelling on errands of mercy--it has feet that
never tire, hands that cannot be overburdened, eyes that never sleep;
freight its hands with blessings, direct its eyes--no matter how narrow
your sphere--to the nearest object of suffering, and relieve it.

"I say, my dear young friend, take the word of an old man for it, who
has tried every known panacea, and found all to fail, except this golden
rule,

     "_Forget self, and keep the heart busy for others._"



CHARITY.--ITS OBJECTS.



THE great Teacher, on being asked "Who is my neighbour?" replied "A man
went down from Jerusalem to Jericho," and the parable which followed
is the most beautiful which language has ever recorded. Story-telling,
though often abused, is the medium by which truth can be most
irresistibly conveyed to the majority of minds, and in the present
instance we have a desire to portray in some slight degree the
importance of Charity in every-day life.

A great deal has been said and written on the subject of indiscriminate
giving, and many who have little sympathy with the needy or distressed,
make the supposed unworthiness of the object an excuse for withholding
their alms; while others, who really possess a large proportion of the
milk of human kindness, in awaiting _great_ opportunities to do good,
overlook all in their immediate pathway, as beneath their notice. And
yet it was the "widow's mite" which, amid the many rich gifts cast into
the treasury, won the approval of the Searcher of Hearts; and we have
His assurance that a cup of cold water given in a proper spirit shall
not lose its reward.

Our design in the present sketch is to call the attention of the
softer sex to a subject which has in too many instances escaped their
attention; for our ideas of Charity embrace a wide field, and we hold
that it should at all times be united with justice, when those less
favoured than themselves are concerned.

"I do not intend hereafter to have washing done more than once in two
weeks," said the rich Mrs. Percy, in reply to an observation of her
husband, who was standing at the window, looking at a woman who was
up to her knees in the snow, hanging clothes on a line in the yard.
"I declare it is too bad, to be paying that poking old thing a
half-a-dollar a week for our wash, and only six in the family. There she
has been at it since seven o'clock this morning, and now it is almost
four. It will require but two or three hours longer if I get her once a
fortnight, and I shall save twenty-five cents a week by it."

"When your own sex are concerned, you women are the _closest_ beings,"
said Mr. P., laughing. "Do just as you please, however," he continued,
as he observed a brown gather on the brow of his wife; "for my part I
should be glad if washing-days were blotted entirely from the calendar."

At this moment the washerwoman passed the window with her stiffened
skirts and almost frozen hands and arms. Some emotions of pity stirring
in his breast at the sight, he again asked, "Do you think it will be
exactly right, my dear, to make old Phoebe do the same amount of labour
for half the wages?"

"Of course it will," replied Mrs. Percy, decidedly; "we are bound to do
the best we can for ourselves. If she objects, she can say so. There
are plenty of poor I can get who will be glad to come, and by this
arrangement I shall save thirteen dollars a year."

"So much," returned Mr. P., carelessly; "how these things do run up!"
Here the matter ended as far as they were concerned. Not so with "old
Phoebe," as she was called. In reality, however, Phoebe was not yet
forty; it was care and hardship which had seamed her once blooming face,
and brought on prematurely the appearance of age. On going to Mrs. Percy
in the evening after she had finished her wash, for the meagre sum she
had earned, that lady had spoken somewhat harshly about her being so
slow, and mentioned the new arrangement she intended to carry into
effect, leaving it optional with the poor woman to accept or decline.
After a moment's hesitation, Phoebe, whose necessities allowed her no
choice, agreed to her proposal, and the lady, who had been fumbling in
her purse, remarked:--

"I have no change, nothing less than this three-dollar bill. Suppose I
pay you by the month hereafter; it will save me a great deal of trouble,
and I will try to give you your dollar a month regularly."

Phoebe's pale cheek waxed still more ghastly as Mrs. Percy spoke, but
it was not within that lady's province to notice the colour of a
washerwoman's face. She did, however, observe her lingering, weary
steps as she proceeded through the yard, and conscience whispered some
reproaches, which were so unpleasant and unwelcome, that she endeavoured
to dispel them by turning to the luxurious supper which was spread
before her. And here I would pause to observe, that whatever method may
be adopted to reconcile the conscience to withholding money so justly
due, so hardly earned, she disobeyed the positive injunction of that God
who has not left the time of payment optional with ourselves, but who
has said--"The wages of him that is hired, shall not abide with thee all
night until the morning."--Lev. 19 chap. 13th verse.

The husband of Phoebe was a day labourer; when not intoxicated he was
kind; but this was of rare occurrence, for most of his earnings went for
ardent spirits, and the labour of the poor wife and mother was the
main support of herself and four children--the eldest nine years, the
youngest only eighteen months old. As she neared the wretched hovel she
had left early in the morning, she saw the faces of her four little ones
pressed close against the window.

"Mother's coming, mother's coming!" they shouted, as they watched her
approaching through the gloom, and as she unlocked the door, which she
had been obliged to fasten to keep them from straying away, they all
sprang to her arms at once.

"God bless you, my babes!" she exclaimed, gathering them to her heart,
"you have not been a minute absent from my mind this day. And what
have _you_ suffered," she added, clasping the youngest, a sickly,
attenuated-looking object, to her breast. "Oh! it is hard, my little
Mary, to leave you to the tender mercies of children hardly able to
take care of themselves." And as the baby nestled its head closer to
her side, and lifted its pale, imploring face, the anguished mother's
fortitude gave way, and she burst into an agony of tears and sobbings.
By-the-by, do some mothers, as they sit by the softly-lined cradles of
their own beloved babes, ever think upon the sufferings of those hapless
little ones, many times left with a scanty supply of food, and no fire,
on a cold winter day, while the parent is earning the pittance which is
to preserve them from starvation? And lest some may suppose that we are
drawing largely upon our imagination, we will mention, in this
place, that we knew of a child left under such circumstances, and
half-perishing with cold, who was nearly burned to death by some hops
(for there was no fuel to be found), which it scraped together in its
ragged apron, and set on fire with a coal found in the ashes.

Phoebe did not indulge long in grief, however she forgot her weary
limbs, and bustling about, soon made up a fire, and boiled some
potatoes, which constituted their supper--after which she nursed the
children, two at a time, for a while, and then put them tenderly to bed.
Her husband had not come home, and as he was nearly always intoxicated,
and sometimes ill-treated her sadly, she felt his absence a relief.
Sitting over a handful of coals, she attempted to dry her wet feet;
every bone in her body ached, for she was not naturally strong, and
leaning her head on her hand, she allowed the big tears to course slowly
down her cheeks, without making any attempt to wipe them away, while she
murmured:

"Thirteen dollars a year gone! What is to become of us? I cannot get
help from those authorized by law to assist the poor, unless I agree
to put out my children, and I cannot live and see them abused and
over-worked at their tender age. And people think their father might
support us; but how can I help it that he spends all his earnings in
drink? And rich as Mrs. Percy is, she did not pay me my wages to-night,
and now I cannot get the yarn for my baby's stockings, and her little
limbs must remain cold awhile longer; and I must do without the flour,
too, that I was going to make into bread, and the potatoes are almost
gone."

Here Phoebe's emotions overcame her, and she ceased speaking. After a
while, she continued--

"Mrs. Percy also blamed me for being so slow; she did not know that I
was up half the night, and that my head has ached ready to split all
day. Oh! dear, oh! dear, oh! dear, if it were not for my babes, I should
yearn for the quiet of the grave!"

And with a long, quivering sigh, such as one might heave at the rending
of soul and body, Phoebe was silent.

Daughters of luxury! did it ever occur to you that we are all the
children of one common Parent? Oh, look hereafter with pity on those
faces where the records of suffering are deeply graven, and remember
"_Be ye warmed and filled_," will not suffice, unless the hand executes
the promptings of the heart. After awhile, as the fire died out, Phoebe
crept to her miserable pallet, crushed with the prospect of the days of
toil which were still before her, and haunted by the idea of sickness
and death, brought on by over-taxation of her bodily powers, while in
case of such an event, she was tortured by the reflection--"what is to
become of my children?"

Ah, this anxiety is the true bitterness of death, to the friendless and
poverty-stricken parent. In this way she passed the night, to renew,
with the dawn, the toils and cares which were fast closing their work on
her. We will not say what Phoebe, under other circumstances, might
have been. She possessed every noble attribute common to woman, without
education, or training, but she was not prepossessing in her appearance;
and Mrs. Percy, who never studied character, or sympathized with
menials, or strangers, would have laughed at the idea of dwelling with
compassion on the lot of her washerwoman with a drunken husband. Yet her
feelings sometimes became interested for the poor she heard of abroad,
the poor she read of, and she would now and then descant largely on the
few cases of actual distress which had chanced to come under her notice,
and the little opportunity she enjoyed of bestowing alms. Superficial in
her mode of thinking and observation, her ideas of charity were limited,
forgetful that to be true it must be a pervading principle of life,
and can be exercised even in the bestowal of a gracious word or smile,
which, under peculiar circumstances, may raise a brother from the
dust--and thus win the approval of Him, who, although the Lord
of angels, was pleased to say of her who brought but the "box of
spikenard"--with tears of love--"_She hath done what she could._"



THE VISION OF BOATS.



     ONE morn, when the Day-god, yet hidden
       By the mist that the mountain enshrouds,
     Was hoarding up hyacinth blossoms,
       And roses, to fling at the clouds;
     I saw from the casement, that northward
       Looks out on the Valley of Pines,
     (The casement, where all day in summer,
       You hear the drew drop from the vines),

     White shapes 'mid the purple wreaths glancing,
       Like the banners of hosts at strife;
     But I knew they were silvery pennons
       Of boats on the River of Life.
     And I watched, as the, mist cleared upward,
       Half hoping, yet fearing to see
     On that rapid and rock-sown River,
       What the fate of the boats might be.

     There were some that sped cheerily onward,
       With white sails gallantly spread
     Yet ever there sat at the look-out,
       One, watching for danger ahead.
     No fragrant and song-haunted island,
       No golden and gem-studded coast
     Could win, with its ravishing beauty,
       The watcher away from his post.

     When the tempest crouched low on the waters,
       And fiercely the hurricane swept,
     With furled sails, cautiously wearing,
       Still onward in safety they kept.
     And many sailed well for a season,
       When river and sky were serene,
     And leisurely swung the light rudder,
       'Twixt borders of blossoming green.

     But the Storm-King came out from his caverns,
       With whirlwind, and lightning, and rain;
     And my eyes, that grew dim for a moment,
       Saw but the rent canvas again.
     Then sorely I wept the ill-fated!
       Yea, bitterly wept, for I knew
     They had learned but the fair-weather wisdom,
       That a moment of trial o'erthrew.

     And one in its swift sinking, parted
       A placid and sun-bright wave;
     Oh, deftly the rock was hidden,
       That keepeth that voyager's grave!
     And I sorrowed to think how little
       Of aid from, a kindly hand,
     Might have guided the beautiful vessel
       Away from the treacherous strand.

     And I watched with a murmur of, blessing,
       The few that on either shore
     Were setting up signals of warning,
       Where many had perished before.
     But now, as the sunlight came creeping
       Through the half-opened lids of the morn,
     Fast faded that wonderful pageant,
       Of shadows and drowsiness born.

     And no sound could I hear but the sighing
       Of winds, in the Valley of Pines;
     And the heavy, monotonous dropping
       Of dew from the shivering vines.
     But all day, 'mid the clashing of Labour,
       And the city's unmusical notes,
     With thoughts that went seeking the hidden,
       I pondered that Vision of Boats.



REGULATION OF THE TEMPER.



THERE is considerable ground for thinking that the opinion very
generally prevails that the temper is something beyond the power of
regulation, control, or government. A good temper, too, if we may judge
from the usual excuses for the want of it, is hardly regarded in the
light of an attainable quality. To be slow in taking offence, and
moderate in the expression of resentment, in which things good temper
consists, seems to be generally reckoned rather among the gifts of
nature, the privileges of a happy constitution, than among the possible
results of careful self-discipline. When we have been fretted by some
petty grievance, or, hurried by some reasonable cause of offence into
a degree of anger far beyond what the occasion required, our subsequent
regret is seldom of a kind for which we are likely to be much better. We
bewail ourselves for a misfortune, rather than condemn ourselves for
a fault. We speak of our unhappy temper as if it were something that
entirely removed the blame from us, and threw it all upon the peculiar
and unavoidable sensitiveness of our frame. A peevish and irritable
temper is, indeed, an _unhappy_ one; a source of misery to ourselves and
to others; but it is not, in _all_ cases, so valid an excuse for being
easily provoked, as it is usually supposed to be.

A good temper is too important a source of happiness, and an ill temper
too important a source of misery, to be treated with indifference or
hopelessness. The false excuses or modes of regarding this matter, to
which we have referred, should be exposed; for until their invalidity
and incorrectness are exposed, no efforts, or but feeble ones, will be
put forth to regulate an ill temper, or to cultivate a good one.

We allow that there are great differences of natural constitution. One
who is endowed with a poetical temperament, or a keen sense of beauty,
or a great love of order, or very large ideality, will be pained by the
want or the opposites of these qualities, where one less amply endowed
would suffer no provocation whatever. What would grate most harshly on
the ear of an eminent musician, might not be noticed at all by one whose
musical faculties were unusually small. The same holds true in regard
to some other, besides musical deficiencies or discords. A delicate and
sickly frame will feel annoyed by what would not at all disturb the same
frame in a state of vigorous health. Particular circumstances, also, may
expose some to greater trials and vexations than others. But, after all
this is granted, the only reasonable conclusion seems to be, that the
attempt to govern the temper is more difficult in some cases than
in others; not that it is, in any case, impossible. It is, at least,
certain that an opinion of its impossibility is an effectual bar against
entering upon it. On the other hand, "believe that you will succeed,
and you will succeed," is a maxim which has nowhere been more frequently
verified than in the moral world. It should be among the first maxims
admitted, and the last abandoned, by every earnest seeker of his own
moral improvement.

Then, too, facts demonstrate that much has been done and can be done in
regulating the worst of tempers. The most irritable or peevish temper
has been restrained by company; has been subdued by interest; has been
awed by fear; has been softened by grief; has been soothed by kindness.
A bad temper has shown itself, in the same individuals, capable of
increase, liable to change, accessible to motives. Such facts are enough
to encourage, in every case, an attempt to govern the temper. All the
miseries of a bad temper, and all the blessings of a good one, may be
attained by an habitual tolerance, concern, and kindness for others--by
an habitual restraint of considerations and feelings entirely selfish.

To those of our readers who feel moved or resolved by the considerations
we have named to attempt to regulate their temper, or to cultivate one
of a higher order of excellence, we would submit a few suggestions which
may assist them in their somewhat difficult undertaking.

See, first of all, that you set as high a value on the comfort of those
with whom you have to do as you do on your own. If you regard your own
comfort _exclusively_, you will not make the allowances which a _proper_
regard to the happiness of others would lead you to do.

Avoid, particularly in your intercourse with those to whom it is of
most consequence that your temper should be gentle and forbearing--avoid
raising into undue importance the little failings which you may perceive
in them, or the trifling disappointments which they may occasion you.
If we make it a subject of vexation, that the beings among whom we tire
destined to live, are not perfect, we must give up all hope of attaining
a temper not easily provoked. A habit of trying everything by the
standard of perfection vitiates the temper more than it improves the
understanding, and disposes the mind to discern faults with an unhappy
penetration. I would not have you shut your eyes to the errors or
follies, or thoughtlessnesses of your friends, but only not to magnify
them or view them microscopically. Regard them in others as you
would have them regard the same things in you, in an exchange of
circumstances.

Do not forget to make due allowances for the original constitution and
the manner of education or bringing up, which has been the lot of
those with whom you have to do. Make such excuses for Others as the
circumstances of their constitution, rearing, and youthful associations,
do fairly demand.

Always put the best construction on the motives of others, when their
conduct admits of more than one way of understanding it. In many cases,
where neglect or ill intention seems evident at first sight, it may
prove true that "second thoughts are best." Indeed, this common slaying
is never more likely to prove true than in cases in which the _first_
thoughts were the dictates of anger And even when the first thoughts
are confirmed by further evidence, yet the habit of always waiting for
complete evidence before we condemn, must have a calming; and moderating
effect upon the temper, while it will take nothing from the authority of
our just censures.

It will further, be a great help to our efforts, as well as our
desires, for the government of the temper, if we consider frequently and
seriously the natural consequences of hasty resentments, angry replies,
rebukes impatiently given or impatiently received, muttered discontents,
sullen looks, and harsh words. It may safely be asserted that the
consequences of these and other ways in which ill-temper may show
itself, are _entirely_ evil. The feelings, which accompany them in
ourselves, and those which they excite in others, are unprofitable as
well as painful. They lessen our own comfort, and tend often rather
to prevent than to promote the improvement of those with whom we find
fault. If we give even friendly and judicious counsels in a harsh and
pettish tone, we excite against _them_ the repugnance naturally felt to
_our manner_. The consequence is, that the advice is slighted, and the
peevish adviser pitied, despised, or hated.

When we cannot succeed in putting a restraint on our _feelings_ of anger
or dissatisfaction, we can at least check the _expression_ of those
feelings. If our thoughts are not always in our power, our words and
actions and looks may be brought under our command; and a command over
these expressions of our thoughts and feelings will be found no mean
help towards obtaining an increase of power over our thoughts and
feelings themselves. At least, one great good will be effected: time
will be gained; time for reflection; time for charitable allowances and
excuses.

Lastly, seek the help of religion. Consider how you may most certainly
secure the approbation of God. For a good temper, or a well-regulated
temper, _may be_ the constant homage of a truly religious man to that
God, whose love and long-suffering forbearance surpass all human love
and forbearance.



MANLY GENTLENESS.



WHO is the most wretched man living? This question might constitute a
very fair puzzle to those of our readers whose kind hearts have given
them, in their own experience, no clue to the true answer. It is a
species of happiness to be rich; to have at one's command an abundance
of the elegancies and luxuries of life. Then he, perhaps, is the most
miserable of men who is the poorest. It is a species of happiness to be
the possessor of learning, fame, or power; and therefore, perhaps, he is
the most miserable man who is the most ignorant, despised, and helpless.
No; there is a man more wretched than these. We know not where he may be
found; but find him where you will, in a prison or on a throne, steeped
in poverty or surrounded with princely affluence; execrated, as he
deserves to be, or crowned with world-wide applause; that man is the
most miserable whose heart contains the least love for others.

It is a pleasure to be beloved. Who has not felt this? Human affection
is priceless. A fond heart is more valuable than the Indies. But it is
a still greater pleasure to love than to be loved; the emotion itself
is of a higher kind; it calls forth our own powers into more agreeable
exercise, and is independent of the caprice of others. Generally
speaking, if we deserve to be loved, others will love us, but this is
not always the case. The love of others towards us, is not always
in proportion to our real merits; and it would be unjust to make our
highest happiness dependent on it. But our love for others will always
be in proportion to our real goodness; the more amiable, the more
excellent we become, the more shall we love others; it is right,
therefore, that this love should be made capable of bestowing upon
us the largest amount of happiness. This is the arrangement which the
Creator has fixed upon. By virtue of our moral constitution, to love is
to be happy; to hate is to be wretched.

Hatred is a strong word, and the idea it conveys is very repulsive. We
would hope that few of our readers know by experience what it is in its
full extent. To be a very demon, to combine in ourselves the highest
possible degree of wickedness and misery, nothing more is needful than
to hate with sufficient intensity. But though, happily, comparatively
few persons are fully under the influence of this baneful passion, how
many are under it more frequently and powerfully than they ought to be?
How often do we indulge in resentful, revengeful feelings, with all
of which hatred more or less mixes itself? Have we not sometimes
entertained sentiments positively malignant towards those who have
wounded our vanity or injured our interests, secretly wishing them ill,
or not heartily wishing them happiness? If so, we need only consult
our own experience to ascertain that such feelings are both sinful and
foolish; they offend our Maker, and render us wretched.

We know a happy man; one who in the midst of the vexations and crosses
of this changing world, is always happy. Meet him anywhere, and at any
time, his features beam with pleasure. Children run to meet him, and
contend for the honour of touching his hand, or laying hold of the skirt
of his coat, as he passes by, so cheerful and benevolent does he always
look. In his own house he seems to reign absolute, and yet he never uses
any weapon more powerful than a kind word. Everybody who knows him is
aware, that, in point of intelligence, ay, and in physical prowess,
too--for we know few men who can boast a more athletic frame--he is
strong as a lion, yet in his demeanour he is gentle as a lamb. His wife
is not of the most amiable temper, his children are not the most docile,
his business brings him into contact with men of various dispositions;
but he conquers all with the same weapons. What a contrast have we often
thought he presents to some whose physiognomy looks like a piece of
harsh handwriting, in which we can decipher nothing but _self, self,
self_; who seem, both at home and abroad, to be always on the watch
against any infringement of their dignity. Poor men! their dignity
can be of little value if it requires so much care in order to be
maintained. True manliness need take but little pains to procure
respectful recognition. If it is genuine, others will see it, and
respect it. The lion will always be acknowledged as the king of the
beasts; but the ass, though clothed in the lion's skin, may bray loudly
and perseveringly indeed, but he will never keep the forest in awe.

From some experience in the homes of working-men, and other homes too,
we are led to think that much of the harsh and discordant feeling which
too often prevails there may be ascribed to a false conception of what
is truly great. It is a very erroneous impression that despotism is
manly. For our part we believe that despotism is inhuman, satanic, and
that wherever it is found--as much in the bosom of a family, as on
the throne of a kingdom. We cannot bring ourselves to tolerate the
inconsistency with which some men will inveigh against some absolute
sovereign, and straight-way enact the pettiest airs of absolutism in
their little empire at home. We have no private intimacy with "the
autocrat of all the Russias," and may, with all humility, avow that
we do not desire to have any; but this we believe, that out of the
thousands who call him a tyrant, it would be no difficult matter to pick
scores who are as bad, if not worse. Let us remember that it is not a
great empire which constitutes a great tyrant. Tyranny must be measured
by the strength of those imperious and malignant passions from which it
flows, and carrying this rule along with us, it would not surprise us,
if we found the greatest tyrant in the world in some small cottage, with
none to oppress but a few unoffending children, and a helpless woman.
O! when shall we, be just!--when shall we cease to prate about wrongs
inflicted by others, and magnified by being beheld through the haze of
distance, and seek to redress those which lie at our own doors, and to
redress which we shall only have to prevail upon ourselves to be just
and gentle! Arbitrary power is always associated either with cruelty, or
conscious weakness. True greatness is above the petty arts of tyranny.
Sometimes much domestic suffering may arise from a cause which is easily
confounded with a tyrannical disposition--we refer to an exaggerated
sense of justice. This is the abuse of a right feeling, and requires
to be kept in vigilant check. Nothing is easier than to be one-sided in
judging of the actions of others. How agreeable the task of applying
the line and plummet! How quiet and complete the assumption of our own
superior excellence which we make in doing it! But if the task is in
some respects easy, it is most difficult if we take into account the
necessity of being just in our decisions. In domestic life especially,
in which so much depends on circumstances, and the highest questions
often relate to mere matters of expediency, how easy it is to be
"always finding fault," if we neglect to take notice of explanatory and
extenuating circumstances! Anybody with a tongue and a most moderate
complement of brains can call a thing stupid, foolish, ill-advised, and
so forth; though it might require a larger amount of wisdom than the
judges possessed to have done the thing better. But what do we want with
captious judges in the bosom of a family? The scales of household polity
are the scales of love, and he who holds them should be a sympathizing
friend; ever ready to make allowance for failures, ingenious in
contriving apologies, more lavish of counsels than rebukes, and less
anxious to overwhelm a person with a sense of deficiency than to awaken
in the bosom, a conscious power of doing better. One thing is certain:
if any member of a family conceives it his duty to sit continually in
the censor's chair, and weigh in the scales of justice all that happens
in the domestic commonwealth, domestic happiness is out of the question.
It is manly to extenuate and forgive, but a crabbed and censorious
spirit is contemptible.

There is much more misery thrown into the cup of life by domestic
unkindness than we might at first suppose. In thinking of the evils
endured by society from malevolent passions of individuals, we are apt
to enumerate only the more dreadful instances of crime: but what are
the few murders which unhappily pollute the soil of this Christian
land--what, we ask, is the suffering they occasion, what their
demoralizing tendency--when compared with the daily effusions of
ill-humour which sadden, may we not fear, many thousand homes? We
believe that an incalculably greater number are hurried to the grave
by habitual unkindness than by sudden violence; the slow poison of
churlishness and neglect, is of all poisons the most destructive. If
this is true, we want a new definition for the most flagrant of all
crimes: a definition which shall leave out the element of time, and call
these actions the same--equally hateful, equally diabolical, equally
censured by the righteous government of Heaven--which proceed from the
same motives, and lead to the same result, whether they be done in a
moment, or spread out through a series of years. Habitual unkindness is
demoralizing as well as cruel. Whenever it fails to break the heart,
it hardens it. To take a familiar illustration: a wife who is never
addressed by her husband in tones of kindness, must cease to love him
if she wishes to be happy. It is her only alternative. Thanks to the
nobility of our nature, she does not always take it. No; for years she
battles with cruelty, and still presses with affection the hand which
smites her, but it is fearfully at her own expense. Such endurance preys
upon her health, and hastens her exit to the asylum of the grave. If
this is to be avoided, she must learn to forget, what woman should never
be tempted to forget, the vows, the self-renunciating devotedness of
impassioned youth; she must learn to oppose indifference, to neglect
and repel him with a heart as cold as his own. But what a tragedy lies
involved in a career like this! We gaze on something infinitely more
terrible than murder; we see our nature abandoned to the mercy of
malignant passions, and the sacred susceptibilities which were intended
to fertilize with the waters of charity the pathway of life, sending
forth streams of bitterest gall. A catalogue of such cases, faithfully
compiled, would eclipse, in turpitude and horror, all the calendars of
crime that have ever sickened the attention of the world.

The obligations of gentleness and kindness are extensive as the claims
to manliness; these three qualities must go together. There are some
cases, however, in which such obligations are of special force. Perhaps
a precept here will be presented most appropriately under the guise of
an example. We have now before our mind's eye a couple, whose marriage
tie was, a few months since, severed by death. The husband was a strong,
hale, robust sort of a man, who probably never knew a day's illness
in the course of his life, and whose sympathy on behalf of weakness or
suffering in others it was exceedingly difficult to evoke; while his
partner was the very reverse, by constitution weak and ailing, but
withal a woman of whom any man might and ought to have been proud. Her
elegant form, her fair transparent skin, the classical contour of her
refined and expressive face, might have led a Canova to have selected
her as a model of feminine beauty. But alas! she was weak; she could not
work like other women; her husband could not _boast_ among his shopmates
how much she contributed to the maintenance of the family, and how
largely she could afford to dispense with the fruit of his labours.
Indeed, with a noble infant in her bosom, and the cares of a household
resting entirely upon her, she required help herself, and at least
she needed, what no wife can dispense with, but she least of
all--_sympathy_, forbearance, and all those tranquilizing virtues which
flow from a heart of kindness. She least of all could bear a harsh
look; to be treated daily with cold, disapproving reserve, a petulant
dissatisfaction could not but be death to her. We will not say it
_was_--enough that she is dead. The lily bent before the storm, and at
last was crushed by it. We ask but one question, in order to point
the moral:--In the circumstances we have delineated, what course
of treatment was most consonant with a manly spirit; that which was
actually pursued, or some other which the reader can suggest?

Yes, to love is to be happy and to make happy, and to love is the very
spirit of true manliness. We speak not of exaggerated passion and false
sentiment; we speak not of those bewildering, indescribable feelings,
which under that name, often monopolize for a time the guidance of the
youthful heart; but we speak of that pure emotion which is benevolence
intensified, and which, when blended with intelligence, can throw the
light of joyousness around the manifold relations of life. Coarseness,
rudeness, tyranny, are so many forms of brute power; so many
manifestations of what it is man's peculiar glory not to be; but
kindness and gentleness can never cease to be MANLY.

     Count not the days that have lightly flown,
       The years that were vainly spent;
     Nor speak of the hours thou must blush to own,
     When thy spirit stands before the Throne,
       To account for the talents lent.

     But number the hours redeemed from sin,
       The moments employed for Heaven;--
     Oh few and evil thy days have been,
     Thy life, a toilsome but worthless scene,
       For a nobler purpose given.

     Will the shade go back on the dial plate?
       Will thy sun stand still on his way?
     Both hasten on; and thy spirit's fate
     Rests on the point of life's little date:--
       Then live while 'tis called to-day.

     Life's waning hours, like the Sibyl's page,
       As they lessen, in value rise;
     Oh rouse thee and live! nor deem that man's age
     Stands on the length of his pilgrimage,
       But in days that are truly wise.



SILENT INFLUENCE.



"HOW finely she looks!" said Margaret Winne, as a lady swept by them in
the crowd; "I do not see that time wears upon her beauty at all."

"What, Bell Walters!" exclaimed her companion. "Are you one of those who
think her such a beauty?"

"I think her a very fine-looking woman, certainly," returned Mrs. Winne;
"and, what is more, I think her a very fine woman."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Mrs. Hall; "I thought you were no friends?"

"No," replied the first speaker; "but that does not make us enemies."

"But I tell you she positively dislikes you, Margaret," said Mrs. Hall.
"It is only a few days since I knew of her saying that you were a bold,
impudent woman, and she did not like you at all."

"That is bad," said Margaret, with a smile; "for I must confess that I
like her."

"Well," said her companion, "I am sure I could never like any one who
made such unkind speeches about me."

"I presume she said no more than she thought," said Margaret, quietly.

"Well, so much the worse!" exclaimed Mrs. Hall, in surprise. "I hope you
do not think that excuses the matter at all?"

"Certainly, I do. I presume she has some reason for thinking as she
does; and, if so, it was very natural she should express her opinion."

"Well, you are very cool and candid about it, I must say. What reason
have you given her, pray, for thinking you were bold and impudent?"

"None, that I am aware of," replied Mrs. Winne, "but I presume she
thinks I have. I always claim her acquaintance, when we meet, and I have
no doubt she would much rather I would let it drop."

"Why don't you, then? I never knew her, and never had any desire for
her acquaintance. She was no better than you when you were girls, and I
don't think her present good fortune need make her so very scornful."

"I do not think she exhibits any more haughtiness than most people would
under the same circumstances. Some would have dropped the acquaintance
at once, without waiting for me to do it. Her social position is higher
than mine, and it annoys her to have me meet her as an equal, just I
used to do."

"You do it to annoy her, then?"

"Not by any means. I would much rather she would feel, as I do, that
the difference between us is merely conventional, and might bear to be
forgotten on the few occasions when accident throws us together. But she
does not, and I presume it is natural. I do not know how my head might
be turned, if I had climbed up in the world as rapidly as she has done.
As it is, however, I admire her too much to drop her acquaintance just
yet, as long as she leaves it to me."

"Really, Margaret, I should have supposed you had too much spirit to
intrude yourself upon a person that you knew wished to shake you off;
and I do not see how you can admire one that you know to be so proud."

"I do not admire her on account of her pride, certainly, though it is
a quality that sits very gracefully upon her," said Margaret Winne; and
she introduced another topic of conversation, for she did not hope to
make her companion understand the motives that influenced her.

"Bold and impudent!" said Margaret, to herself, as she sat alone, in her
own apartment. "I knew she thought it, for I have seen it in her looks;
but she always treats me well externally, and I hardly thought she would
say it. I know she was vexed with herself for speaking to me, one day,
when she was in the midst of a circle of her fashionable acquaintances.
I was particularly ill-dressed, and I noticed that they stared at me;
but I had no intention, then, of throwing myself in her way. Well," she
continued, musingly, "I am not to be foiled with one rebuff. I know her
better than she knows me, for the busy world has canvassed her life,
while they have never meddled with my own: and I think there are points
of contact enough between us for us to understand each other, if we
once found an opportunity. She stands in a position which I shall never
occupy, and she has more power and strength than I; else she had never
stood where she does, for she has shaped her fortunes by her own unaided
will. Her face was not her fortune, as most people suppose, but her
mind. She has accomplished whatever she has undertaken, and she can
accomplish much more, for her resources are far from being developed.
Those around her may remember yet that she was not always on a footing
with them; but they will not do so long. She will be their leader, for
she was born to rule. Yes; and she queens it most proudly among them. It
were a pity to lose sight of her stately, graceful dignity. I regard
her very much as I would some beautiful exotic, and her opinion of me
affects me about as much as if she were the flower, and not the mortal.
And yet I can never see her without wishing that the influence she
exerts might be turned into a better channel. She has much of good about
her, and I think that it needs but a few hints to make life and its
responsibilities appear to her as they do to me. I have a message for
her ear, but she must not know that it was intended for her. She has too
much pride of place to receive it from me, and too much self-confidence
to listen knowingly to the suggestions of any other mind than her own.
Therefore, I will seek the society of Isabel Walters whenever I can,
without appearing intrusive, until she thinks me worthy her notice, or
drops me altogether. My talent lies in thinking, but she has all the
life and energy I lack, and would make an excellent actor to my thought,
and would need no mentor when her attention was once aroused. My
usefulness must lie in an humble sphere, but hers--she can carry it
wherever she will. It will be enough for my single life to accomplish,
if, beyond the careful training of my own family, I can incite her to a
development of her powers of usefulness. People will listen to her who
will pay no attention to me; and, besides, she has the time and means to
spare, which I have not."

"Everywhere, in Europe, they were talking of you, Mrs. Walters," said
a lady, who had spent many years abroad, "and adopting your plans for
vagrant and industrial schools, and for the management of hospitals and
asylums. I have seen your name in the memorials laid before government
in various foreign countries. You have certainly achieved a world-wide
reputation. Do tell me how your attention came first to be turned to
that sort of thing? I supposed you were one of our fashionable women,
who sought simply to know how much care and responsibility they could
lawfully avoid, and how high a social station it was possible to
attain. I am sure something must have happened to turn your life into so
different a channel."

"Nothing in particular, I assure you," returned Mrs. Walters. "I came
gradually to perceive the necessity there was that some one should take
personal and decisive action in those things that it was so customary
to neglect. Fond as men are of money, it was far easier to reach their
purses than their minds. Our public charities were quite well endowed,
but no one gave them that attention that they needed, and thus evils had
crept in that were of the highest importance. My attention was attracted
to it in my own vicinity at first; and others saw it as well as I, but
it was so much of everybody's business that everybody let it alone. I
followed the example for awhile, but it seemed as much my duty to act as
that of any other person; and though it is little I have done, I
think that, in that little, I have filled the place designed for me by
Providence."

"Well, really, Mrs. Walters, you were one of the last persons I should
have imagined to be nicely balancing a point of duty, or searching out
the place designed for them by Providence. I must confess myself at
fault in my judgment of character for once."

"Indeed, madam," replied Mrs. Walters, "I have no doubt you judged me
very correctly at the time you knew me. My first ideas of the duties and
responsibilities of life were aroused by Margaret Winne; and I recollect
that my intimacy with her commenced after you left the country."

"Margaret Winne? Who was she? Not the wife of that little Dr. Winne we
used to hear of occasionally? They attended the same church with us, I
believe?"

"Yes; she was the one. We grew up together, and were familiar with each
other's faces from childhood; but this was about all. She was always in
humble circumstances, as I had myself been in early life; and, after my
marriage, I used positively to dislike her, and to dread meeting her,
for she was the only one of my former acquaintances who met me on the
same terms as she had always done. I thought she wished to remind me
that we were once equals in station; but I learned, when I came to know
her well, how far she was above so mean a thought. I hardly know how
I came first to appreciate her, but we were occasionally thrown in
contact, and her sentiments were so beautiful--so much above the common
stamp--that I could not fail to be attracted by her. She was a noble
woman. The world knows few like her. So modest and retiring--with an
earnest desire to do all the good in the world of which she was capable,
but with no ambition to shine. Well fitted as she was, to be an ornament
in any station of society, she seemed perfectly content to be the idol
of her own family, and known to few besides. There were few subjects on
which she had not thought, and her clear perceptions went at once to the
bottom of a subject, so that she solved simply many a question on which
astute philosophers had found themselves at fault. I came at last to
regard her opinion almost as an oracle. I have often thought, since her
death, that it was her object to turn my life into that channel to which
it has since been devoted, but I do not know. I had never thought of the
work that has since occupied me at the time of her death, but I can see
now how cautiously and gradually she led me among the poor, and taught
me to sympathize with their sufferings, and gave me, little by little,
a clue to the evils that had sprung up in the management of our public
charities. She was called from her family in the prime of life, but they
who come after her do assuredly rise up and call her blessed. She has
left a fine family, who will not soon forget, the instructions of their
mother."

"Ah! yes, there it is, Mrs. Walters. A woman's sphere, after all, is at
home. One may do a great deal of good in public, no doubt, as you have
done; but don't you think that, while you have devoted yourself so
untiringly to other affairs, you have been obliged to neglect your own
family in order to gain time for this? One cannot live two lives at
once, you know."

"No, madam, certainly we cannot live two lives at once, but we can glean
a much larger harvest from the one which is, bestowed upon us than we
are accustomed to think. I do not, by any means, think that I have ever
neglected my own family in the performance of other duties, and I trust
my children are proving, by their hearty co-operation with me, that I am
not mistaken. Our first duty, certainly is at home, and I determined,
at the outset, that nothing should call me from the performance of this
first charge. I do not think anything can excuse a mother from devoting
a large portion of her life in personal attention to the children God
has given her. But I can assure you that, to those things which I have
done of which the world could take cognisance, I have given far less
time than I used once to devote to dress and amusement, I found, by
systematizing everything, that my time was more than doubled; and,
certainly, I was far better fitted to attend properly to my own family,
when my eyes, were opened to the responsibilities of life, than when my
thoughts were wholly occupied by fashion and display."



ANTIDOTE FOR MELANCHOLY.



"AH, friend K----, good-morning to you; I'm really happy to see you
looking so cheerful. Pray, to what unusual circumstance may we be
indebted for this happy, smiling face of yours, this morning?" (Our
friend K----had been, unfortunately, of a very desponding and somewhat
of a choleric turn of mind, previously.)

"Really, is the change so perceptible, then? Well, my dear sir, you
shall have the secret; for, happy as I appear--and be assured, my
appearances are by no means deceptive, for I never felt more happy in my
life--it will still give me pleasure to inform you, and won't take long,
either. It is simply this; I have made a whole family happy!"

"Indeed! Why, you have discovered a truly valuable: recipe for blues,
then, which may be used _ad libitum_, eh, K----?"

"You may well say that. But, really, my friend, I feel no little
mortification at not making so simple and valuable a discovery at an
earlier period of my life, Heaven knows," continued K----, "I have
looked for contentment everywhere else. First, I sought for wealthy in
the gold mines of California, thinking that was the true source of
all earthly joys; but after obtaining it, I found myself with such a
multiplicity of cares and anxieties, that I was really more unhappy than
ever. I then sought for pleasure in travelling. This answered somewhat
the purpose of dissipating cares, &c., so long as it lasted; but, dear
me, it gave no permanent satisfaction. After seeing the whole world, I
was as badly off as Alexander the Great. He cried for another world to
_conquer_, and I cried for another world to _see_."

The case of our friend, I imagine, differs not materially from that of
a host of other seekers of contentment in this productive world. Like
"blind leaders of the blind," our invariable fate is to go astray in the
universal race for happiness. How common is it, after seeking for it
in every place but the right one, for the selfish man to lay the whole
blame upon this fine world--as if anybody was to blame but himself. Even
some professors of religion are too apt to libel the world. "Well, this
is a troublesome world, to make the best of it," is not an uncommon
expression; neither is it a truthful one. "Troubles, disappointments,
losses, crosses, sickness, and death, make up the sum and substance of
our existence here," add they, with tremendous emphasis, as if they had
no hand in producing the sad catalogue. The trouble is, we set too
high a value on our own merits; we imagine ourselves deserving of great
favours and privileges, while we are doing nothing to merit them. In
this respect, we are not altogether unlike the young man in the parable,
who, by-the-by, was also a professor--he professed very loudly of having
done all those good things "from his youth up." But when the command
came, "go sell all thou hast, and give to the poor," &c., it soon took
the conceit out of him.

In this connexion, there are two or three seemingly important
considerations, which I feel some delicacy in touching upon here.
However, in the kindest possible spirit, I would merely remark, that
there is a very large amount of wealth in the Church--by this I include
its wealthy members, of course; and refer to no particular denomination;
by Church, I mean all Christian denominations. Now, in connexion with
this fact, such a question as this arises in my mind--and I put it, not,
for the purpose of fault-finding, for I don't know that I have a right
view of the matter, but merely for the consideration of those who are
fond of hoarding up their earthly gains, viz.: Suppose the modern Church
was composed of such professors as the self-denying disciples of our
Saviour,--with their piety, simplicity, and this wealth; what, think
you, would be the consequence? Now I do not intend to throw out any
such flings as, "comparisons are odious"--"this is the modern Christian
age"--"the age of Christian privileges," and all that sort of nonsense.
Still, I am rather inclined to the opinion, that if we were all--in
and out of the Church--disposed to live up to, or carry out what we
professedly know to be right, it would be almost as difficult to find
real trouble, as it is now to find real happiness.

The sources of contentment and discontentment are discoverable,
therefore, without going into a metaphysical examination of the subject.
Just in proportion as we happen to discharge, or neglect known duties,
are we, according to my view, happy or miserable on earth. Philosophy
tells us that our happiness and well-being depends upon a conformity to
certain unalterable laws--moral, physical, and organic--which act upon
the intellectual, moral, and material universe, of which man is a part,
and which determine, or regulate the growth, happiness, and well-being
of all organic beings. These views, when reduced to their simple
meaning, amount to the same thing, call it by what name we will. Duties,
of course, imply legal or moral obligations, which we are certainly
legally or morally bound to pay, perform, or discharge. And certain it
is, there is no getting over them--they are as irresistible as
Divine power, as universal as Divine presence, as permanent as Divine
existence, and no art nor cunning of man can disconnect unhappiness from
transgressing them. How necessary to our happiness, then, is it, not
only to know, but to perform our whole duty?

One of the great duties of man in this life, and, perhaps, the most
neglected, is that of doing good, or benefiting one another. That doing
good is clearly a duty devolving upon man, there can be no question. The
benevolent Creator, in placing man in the world, endowed him with mental
and physical energies, which clearly denote that he is to be active in
his day and generation.

Active in what? Certainly not in mischief, for that would not be
consistent with Divine goodness. Neither should we suppose that we are
here for our own sakes simply. Such an idea would be presumptuous. For
what purpose, then, was man endowed with all these facilities of mind
and body, but to do good and glorify his Maker? True philosophy teaches
that benevolence was not only the design of the Creator in all His
works, but the fruits to be expected from them. The whole infinite
contrivances of everything above, around, and within us, are directed
to certain benevolent issues, and all the laws of nature are in perfect
harmony with this idea.

That such is the design of man may also be inferred from the happiness
which attends every good action, and the misery of discontentment which
attends those who not only do wrong, but are useless to themselves and
to society. Friend K----'s case, above quoted, is a fair illustration of
this truth.

Now, then, if it is our duty to do all the good we can, and I think this
will be admitted, particularly by the Christian, and this be measured
by our means and opportunity, then there are many whom Providence has
blessed with the means and opportunity of doing a very great amount of
good. And if it be true, as it manifestly is, that "it is more blessed
to give than receive," then has Providence also blessed them with very
great privileges. The privilege of giving liberally, and thus obtaining
for themselves the greater blessing, which is the result of every
benevolent action, the simple satisfaction with ourselves which follows
a good act, or consciousness of having done our duty in relieving
a fellow-creature, are blessings indeed, which none but the good or
benevolent can realize. Such kind spirits are never cast down. Their
hearts always light and cheerful--rendered so by their many kind
offices,--they can always enjoy their neighbours, rich or poor, high or
low, and love them too; and with a flow of spirits which bespeak a heart
all right within, they make all glad and happy around them.

Doing good is an infallible antidote for melancholy. When the heart
seems heavy, and our minds can light upon nothing but little naughty
perplexities, everything going wrong, no bright spot or relief anywhere
for our crazy thoughts, and we are finally wound up in a web of
melancholy, depend upon it there is nothing, nothing which can dispel
this angry, ponderous, and unnatural cloud from our _rheumatic minds_
and _consciences_ like a charity visit--to give liberally to those in
need of succour, the poor widow, the suffering, sick, and poor, the
aged invalid, the lame, the blind, &c., &c.; all have a claim upon your
bounty, and how they will bless you and love you for it--anyhow, they
will thank kind Providence for your mission of love. He that makes one
such visit will make another and another; he can't very well get weary
in such well-doing, for his is the greater blessing. It is a blessing
indeed: how the heart is lightened, the soul enlarged, the mind
improved, and even health; for the mind being liberated from
perplexities, the body is at rest, the nerves in repose, and the blood,
equalized, courses freely through the system, giving strength, vigour,
and equilibrium to the whole complicated machinery. Thus we can think
clearer, love better, enjoy life, and be thankful for it.

What a beautiful arrangement it is that we can, by doing good to others,
do so much good to ourselves! The wealthy classes, who "rise above
society like clouds above the earth, to diffuse an abundant dew," should
not forget this fact. The season has now about arrived, when the good
people of all classes will be most busily engaged in these delightful
duties. The experiment is certainly worth trying by all. If all
those desponding individuals, whose chief comfort is to growl at this
"troublesome world," will but take the hint, look trouble full in the
face, and relieve it, they will, like friend K----, feel much better.

It may be set down as a generally correct axiom, (with some few
exceptions, perhaps, such as accidents, and the deceptions and cruelties
of those whom we injudiciously select for friends and confidants, from
our want of discernment), that life is much what we make it, and so is
the world.



THE SORROWS OF A WEALTHY CITIZEN.



AH me! Am I really a rich man, or am I not? That is the question. I
am sure I don't feel rich; and yet, here I am written down among the
"wealthy citizens" as being worth seventy thousand dollars! How the
estimate was made, or who furnished the data, is all a mystery to me. I
am sure I wasn't aware of the fact before. "Seventy thousand dollars!"
That sounds comfortable, doesn't it? Seventy thousand dollars!--But
where is it? Ah! There is the rub! How true it is that people always
know more about you than you do yourself.

Before this unfortunate book came out ("The Wealthy Citizens of
Philadelphia"), I was jogging on very quietly. Nobody seemed to be aware
of the fact that I was a rich man, and I had no suspicion of the thing
myself. But, strange to tell, I awoke one morning and found myself worth
seventy thousand dollars! I shall never forget that day. Men who had
passed me in the street with a quiet, familiar nod, now bowed with a low
salaam, or lifted their hats deferentially, as I encountered them on the
_pave_.

"What's the meaning of all this?" thought I. "I haven't stood up to
be shot at, nor sinned against innocence and virtue. I haven't been to
Paris. I don't wear moustaches. What has given me this importance?"

And, musing thus, I pursued my way in quest of money to help me out
with some pretty heavy payments. After succeeding, though with some
difficulty in obtaining what I wanted, I returned to my store about
twelve o'clock. I found a mercantile acquaintance awaiting me, who,
without many preliminaries, thus stated his business:

"I want," said he, with great coolness, "to get a loan of six or seven
thousand dollars; and I don't know of any one to whom I can apply with
more freedom and hope of success than yourself. I think I can satisfy
you, fully, in regard to security.

"My dear sir," replied I, "if you only wanted six or seven hundred
dollars, instead of six or seven thousand dollars, I could not
accommodate you. I have just come in from a borrowing expedition
myself."

I was struck with the sudden change in the man's countenance. He was not
only disappointed, but offended. He did not believe my statement. In
his eyes, I had merely resorted to a subterfuge, or, rather, told a
lie, because I did not wish to let him have my money. Bowing with cold
formality, he turned away and left my place of business. His manner to
me has been reserved ever since.

On the afternoon of that day, I was sitting in the back part of my store
musing on some, matter of business, when I saw a couple of ladies enter.
They spoke to one of my clerks, and he directed them back to where I was
taking things comfortably in an old arm-chair.

"Mr. G----, I believe?" said the elder of the two ladies, with a bland
smile.

I had already arisen, and to this question, or rather affirmation, I
bowed assent.

"Mr. G----," resumed the lady, producing a small book as she spoke, "we
are a committee, appointed to make collections in this district for
the purpose of setting up a fair in aid of the funds of the Esquimaux
Missionary Society. It is the design of the ladies who have taken this
matter in hand to have a very large collection of articles, as the funds
of the society are entirely exhausted. To the gentlemen of our district,
and especially to those who leave been liberally _blessed with this
world's goods_"--this was particularly emphasized--"we look for
important aid. Upon you, sir, we have called first, in order that you
may head the subscription, and thus set an example of liberality to
others."

And the lady handed me the book in the most "of course" manner in the
world, and with the evident expectation that I would put down at least
fifty-dollars.

Of course I was cornered, and must do something, I tried to be bland
and polite; but am inclined to think that I failed in the effort. As for
fairs, I never did approve of them. But that was nothing. The enemy had
boarded me so suddenly and so completely, that nothing, was left for
me but to surrender at discretion, and I did so with as good grace as
possible. Opening my desk, I took out a five dollar bill and presented
it; to the elder of the two ladies, thinking that I was doing very well
indeed. She took the money, but was evidently disappointed; and did not
even ask me to head the list with my name.

"How money does harden the heart!" I overheard one of my fair
visiters say to the other, in a low voices but plainly intended for my
edification, as they walked off with their five dollar bill.

"Confound your impudence!" I said to myself, thus taking my revenge out
of them. "Do you think I've got nothing else to do with my money but
scatter it to the four winds?"

And I stuck my thumbs firmly in the armholes of my waistcoat, and took a
dozen turns up and down my store, in order to cool off.

"Confound your impudence!" I then repeated, and quietly sat down again
in the old arm-chair.

On the next day I had any number of calls from money-hunters. Business
men, who had never thought of asking me for loans, finding that I
was worth seventy thousand dollars, crowded in upon me for temporary
favours, and, when disappointed in their expectations, couldn't seem to
understand it. When I spoke of being "hard up" myself, they looked as if
they didn't clearly comprehend what I meant.

A few days after the story of my wealth had gone abroad, I was sitting,
one evening, with my family, when I was informed that a lady was in the
parlour, and wished to see me.

"A lady!" said I.

"Yes, sir," replied the servant.

"Is she alone?"

"Yes, sir."

"What does she want?"

"She did not say, sir."

"Very well. Tell her I'll be down in a few moments."

When I entered the parlour, I found a woman, dressed in mourning, with
her veil closely drawn.

"Mr. G----?" she said, in a low, sad voice.

I bowed, and took a place upon the sofa where she was sitting, and from
which she had not risen upon my entrance.

"Pardon the great liberty I have taken," she began, after a pause of
embarrassment, and in an unsteady voice. "But, I believe I have not
mistaken your character for sympathy and benevolence, nor erred in
believing that your hand is ever ready to respond to the generous
impulses of our heart."

I bowed again, and my visiter went on.

"My object in calling upon you I will briefly state. A year ago my
husband died. Up to that time I had never known the want of anything
that money could buy. He was a merchant of this city, and supposed to
be in good circumstances. But he left an insolvent estate; and now, with
five little ones to care for, educate, and support, I have parted with
nearly my last dollar, and have not a single friend to whom I can look
for aid."

There was a deep earnestness and moving pathos in the tones of the
woman's voice, that went to my heart. She paused for a few moments,
overcome with her feelings, and then resumed:--

"One in an extremity like mine, sir, will do many things from which,
under other circumstances she should shrink. This is my only excuse for
troubling you at the present time. But I cannot see my little family in
want without an effort to sustain them; and, with a little aid, I see
my way clear to do so. I was well educated, and feel not only competent,
but willing to undertake a school. There is one, the teacher of which
being in bad health, wishes to give it up, and if I can get the means to
buy out her establishment, will secure an ample and permanent income for
my family. To aid me, sir, in doing this, I now make an appeal to you. I
know you are able, and I believe you are willing to put forth your hand
and save my children from want, and, it may be, separation."

The woman still remained closely veiled; I could not, therefore, see her
face. But I could perceive that she was waiting with trembling suspense
for my answer. Heaven knows my heart responded freely to her appeal.

"How much will it take to purchase this establishment?" I inquired.

"Only a thousand dollars," she replied.

I was silent. A thousand dollars!

"I do not wish it, sir, as a gift," she said "only as a loan. In a year
or two I will be able to repay it."

"My dear madam," was my reply, "had I the ability most gladly would I
meet your wishes. But, I assure you I have not. A thousand dollars taken
from my business would destroy it."

A deep sigh, that was almost a groan, came up from the breast of the
stranger, and her head dropped low upon her bosom. She seemed to have
fully expected the relief for which she applied; and to be stricken to
the earth by my words! We were both unhappy.

"May I presume to ask your name, madam?" said I, after a pause.

"It would do no good to mention it," she replied, mournfully. "It
has cost me a painful effort to come to you; and now that my hope has
proved, alas! in vain, I must beg the privilege of still remaining a
stranger."

She arose, as she said this. Her figure was tall and dignified. Dropping
me a slight courtesy, she was turning to go away, when I said,

"But, madam, even if I have not the ability to grant your request, I may
still have it in my power to aid you in this matter. I am ready to do
all I can; and, without doubt, among the friends of your husband will be
found numbers to step forward and join in affording you the assistance
so much desired, when they are made aware of your present extremity."

The lady made an impatient gesture, as if my words were felt as a
mockery or an insult, and turning from me, again walked from the room
with a firm step. Before I could recover myself, she had passed into the
street, and I was left standing alone. To this day I have remained in
ignorance of her identity. Cheerfully would I have aided her to the
extent of my ability to do so. Her story touched my feelings and
awakened my liveliest sympathies, and if, on learning her name and
making proper inquiries into her circumstances, I had found all to be
as she had stated, I would have felt it a duty to interest myself in her
behalf, and have contributed in aid of the desired end to the extent of
my ability. But she came to me under the false idea that I had but to
put my hand in my pocket, or write a check upon the bank, and lo! a
thousand dollars were forthcoming. And because I did not do this,
she believed me unfeeling, selfish, and turned from me mortified,
disappointed, and despairing.

I felt sad for weeks after this painful interview. On the very next
morning I received a letter from an artist, in which he spoke of the
extremity of his circumstances, and begged me to purchase a couple of
pictures. I called at his rooms, for I could not resist his appeal. The
pictures did not strike me as possessing much artistic value.

"What do you ask for them?" I inquired.

"I refused a hundred dollars for the pair. But I am compelled to part
with them now, and you shall have them for eighty."

I had many other uses for eighty dollars, and therefore shook my head.
But, as he looked disappointed, I offered to take one of the pictures at
forty dollars. To this he agreed. I paid the money, and the picture was
sent home. Some days afterward, I was showing it to a friend.

"What did you pay for it?" he asked.

"Forty dollars," I replied.

The friend smiled strangely.

"What's the matter?" said I.

"He offered it to me for twenty-five."

"That picture?"

"Yes."

"He asked me eighty for this and another, and said he had refused a
hundred for the pair."

"He lied though. He thought, as you were well off, that he must ask you
a good stiff price, or you wouldn't buy."

"The scoundrel!"

"He got ahead of you, certainly."

"But it's the last time," said I, angrily.

And so things went on. Scarcely a day passed in which my fame as a
wealthy citizen did not subject me to some kind of experiment from
people in want of money. If I employed a porter for any service and
asked what was to pay, after the work was done, ten chances to one that
he didn't touch his hat and reply,

"Anything that you please, sir," in the hope that I, being a rich man,
would be ashamed to offer him less than about four times his regular
price. Poor people in abundance called upon me for aid; and all sorts of
applications to give or lend money met me at every turn. And when I, in
self-defence, begged off as politely as possible, hints gentle or broad,
according to the characters or feelings of those who came, touching the
hardening and perverting influence of wealth, were thrown out for my
especial edification.

And still the annoyance continues. Nobody but myself doubts the fact
that I am worth from seventy to a hundred thousand dollars, and I
am, therefore, considered allowable game for all who are too idle or
prodigal to succeed in the world; or as Nature's almoner to all who are
suffering from misfortunes.

Soon after the publication to which I have alluded was foisted upon our
community as a veritable document, I found myself a secular dignitary
in the church militant. Previously I had been only a pew-holder, and an
unambitious attendant upon the Sabbath ministrations of the Rev. Mr----.
But a new field suddenly opened before me; I was a man of weight and
influence, and must be used for what I was worth. It is no joke, I can
assure the reader, when I tell them that the way my pocket suffered was
truly alarming. I don't know, but I have seriously thought, sometimes,
that if I hadn't kicked loose from my dignity, I would have been
gazetted as a bankrupt long before this time.

Soon after sending in my resignation as vestryman or deacon, I will not
say which, I met the Rev. Mr----, and the way he talked to me about the
earth being the "Lord's and the fullness thereof;" about our having the
poor always with us; about the duties of charity, and the laying up of
treasure in heaven, made me ashamed to go to church for a month to come.
I really began to fear that I was a doomed man and that the reputation
of being a "wealthy citizen" was going to sink me into everlasting
perdition. But I am getting over that feeling now. My cash-book, ledger,
and bill-book set me right again; and I can button up my coat and
draw my purse-strings, when guided by the dictates of my own judgment,
without a fear of the threatened final consequences before my eyes.
Still, I am the subject of perpetual annoyance from all sorts of people,
who will persist in believing that I am made of money; and many of these
approach me in, such a way as to put it almost entirely out of my
power to say "no." They come with appeals for small amounts, as loans,
donations to particular charities, or as the price of articles that I do
not want, but which I cannot well refuse to take. I am sure that, since
I have obtained my present unenviable reputation, it hasn't cost me a
cent less than two thousand, in money given away, loaned never to be
returned, and in the purchase of things that I never would have thought
of buying.

And, with all this, I have made more enemies than I ever before had in
my life, and estranged half of my friends and acquaintances.

Seriously, I have it in contemplation to "break" one of these days,
in order to satisfy the world that I am not a rich man. I see no other
effectual remedy for present grievances.



"WE'VE ALL OUR ANGEL SIDE."



     DESPAIR not of the better part
       That lies in human kind--
     A gleam of light still flickereth
       In e'en the darkest mind;
     The savage with his club of war,
       The sage so mild and good,
     Are linked in firm, eternal bonds
       Of common brotherhood.
     Despair not! Oh despair not, then,
       For through this world so wide,
     No nature is so demon-like,
       But there's an angel side.

     The huge rough stones from out the mine,
       Unsightly and unfair,
     Have veins of purest metal hid
       Beneath the surface there;
     Few rocks so bare but to their heights
       Some tiny moss-plant clings,
     And round the peaks, so desolate,
       The sea-bird sits and sings.
     Believe me, too, that rugged souls,
       Beneath their rudeness hide
     Much that is beautiful and good--
       We've all our angel side.

     In all there is an inner depth--
       A far off, secret way,
     Where, through dim windows of the soul,
       God sends His smiling ray;
     In every human heart there is
       A faithful sounding chord,
     That may be struck, unknown to us,
       By some sweet loving word;
     The wayward heart in vain may try
       Its softer thoughts to hide,
     Some unexpected tone reveals
       It has its angel side.

     Despised, and low, and trodden down,
       Dark with the shade of sin:
     Deciphering not those halo lights
       Which God hath lit within;
     Groping about in utmost night,
       Poor prisoned souls there are,
     Who guess not what life's meaning is,
       Nor dream of heaven afar;
     Oh! that some gentle hand of love
       Their stumbling steps would guide,
     And show them that, amidst it all,
       Life has its angel side.

     Brutal, and mean, and dark enough,
       God knows, some natures are,
     But He, compassionate, comes near--
       And shall we stand afar?
     Our cruse of oil will not grow less,
       If shared with hearty hand,
     And words of peace and looks of love
       Few natures can withstand.
     Love is the mighty conqueror--
       Love is the beauteous guide--
     Love, with her beaming eye, can see
       We've all our angel side.



BLIND JAMES.



IN the month of December, in the neighbourhood of Paris, two men, one
young, the other rather advanced in years, were descending the village
street, which was made uneven and almost impassable by stones and
puddles.

Opposite to them, and ascending this same street, a labourer, fastened
to a sort of dray laden with a cask, was slowly advancing, and beside
him a little girl, of about eight years old, who was holding the end of
the barrow. Suddenly the wheel went over an enormous stone, which lay
in the middle of the street, and the car leaned towards the side of the
child.

"The man must be intoxicated," cried the young man, stepping forward to
prevent the overturn of the dray. When he reached the spot, he perceived
that the man was blind.

"Blind!" said he, turning towards his old friend. But the latter, making
him a sign to be silent, placed his hand, without speaking, on that of
the labourer, while the little girl smiled. The blind man immediately
raised his head, his sightless eyes were turned towards the two
gentlemen, his face shone with an intelligent and natural pleasure, and,
pressing closely the hand which held his own, he said, with an accent of
tenderness,

"Mr. Desgranges!"

"How!" said the young man, moved and surprised; "he knew you by the
touch of your hand."

"I do not need even that," said the blind man; "when he passes me in the
street, I say to myself, 'That is his step.'" And, seizing the hand
of Mr. Desgranges, he kissed it with ardour. "It was indeed you, Mr.
Desgranges, who prevented my falling--always you."

"Why," said the young man, "do you expose yourself to such accidents, by
dragging this cask?"

"One must attend to his business, sir," replied he, gayly.

"Your business?"

"Undoubtedly," added Mr. Desgranges. "James is our water-carrier. But I
shall scold him for going out without his wife to guide him."

"My wife was gone away. I took the little girl. One must be a little
energetic, must he not? And, you see, I have done very well since I last
saw you, my dear Mr. Desgranges; and you have assisted me."

"Come, James, now finish serving your customers, and then you can call
and see me. I am going home."

"Thank you, sir. Good-by, sir; good-by, sir."

And he started again, dragging his cask, while the child turned towards
the gentlemen her rosy and smiling face.

"Blind, and a water-carrier!" repeated the young man, as they walked
along.

"Ah! our James astonishes you, my young friend. Yes, it is one of those
miracles like that of a paralytic who walks. Should you like to know his
story?"

"Tell it to me."

"I will do so. It does not abound in facts or dramatic incidents, but
it will interest you, I think, for it is the history of a soul, and of
a good soul it is--a man struggling against the night. You will see the
unfortunate man going step by step out of a bottomless abyss to begin
his life again--to create his soul anew. You will see how a blind man,
with a noble heart for a stay, makes his way even in this world."

While they were conversing, they reached the house of Mr. Desgranges,
who began in this manner:--

"One morning, three years since, I was walking on a large dry plain,
which separates our village from that of Noiesemont, and which is all
covered with mill-stones just taken from the quarry. The process of
blowing the rocks was still going on. Suddenly a violent explosion was
heard. I looked. At a distance of four or five hundred paces, a gray
smoke, which seemed to come from a hole, rose from the ground. Stones
were then thrown up in the air, horrible cries were heard, and springing
from this hole appeared a man, who began to run across the plain as if
mad. He shook his arms, screamed, fell down, got up again, disappeared
in the great crevices of the plain, and appeared again. The distance and
the irregularity of his path prevented me from distinguishing anything
clearly; but, at the height of his head, in the place of his face, I saw
a great, red mark. In alarm, I approached him, while from the other side
of the plain, from Noiesemont, a troop of men and women were advancing,
crying aloud. I was the first to reach the poor creature. His face was
all one wound, and torrents of blood were streaming over his garments,
which were all in rags.

"Scarcely had I taken hold of him, when a woman, followed by twenty
peasants, approached, and threw herself before him.

"'James, James, is it you? I did not know you, James.'

"The poor man, without answering, struggled furiously in our hands.

"'Ah!' cried the woman, suddenly, and with a heart-rending voice, 'it is
he!'

"She had recognised a large silver pin, which fastened his shirt, which
was covered with blood.

"It was indeed he, her husband, the father of three children, a
poor labourer, who, in blasting a rock with powder, had received the
explosion in his face, and was blind, mutilated, perhaps mortally
wounded.

"He was carried home. I was obliged to go away the same day, on a
journey, and was absent a month. Before my departure, I sent him our
doctor, a man devoted to his profession as a country physician, and as
learned as a city physician. On my return--

"'Ah! well, doctor,' said I, 'the blind man?'

"'It is all over with him. His wounds are healed, his head is doing
well, he is only blind; but he will die; despair has seized him, and he
will kill himself. I can do nothing more for him, This is all,' he said;
'an internal inflammation is taking place. He must die.'

"I hastened to the poor man. I arrived. I shall never forget the sight.
He was seated on a wooden stool, beside a hearth on which there was no
fire, his eyes covered with a white bandage. On the floor an infant of
three months was sleeping; a little girl of four years old was playing
in the ashes; one, still older, was shivering opposite to her; and, in
front of the fireplace, seated on the disordered bed, her arms hanging
down, was the wife. What was left to be imagined in this spectacle was
more than met the eye. One felt that for several hours, perhaps, no word
had been spoken in this room. The wife was doing nothing, and seemed
to have no care to do anything. They were not merely unfortunate, they
seemed like condemned persons. At the sound of my footsteps they arose,
but without speaking.

"'You are the blind man of the quarry?"

"'Yes, sir.'

"'I have come to see you.'

"'Thank you, sir.'

"'You met with a sad misfortune there.'

"'Yes, sir.'

"His voice was cold, short, without any emotion. He expected nothing
from any one. I pronounced the words 'assistance,' 'public compassion.'

"'Assistance!' cried his wife, suddenly, with a tone of despair; 'they
ought to give it to us; they must help us; we have done nothing to bring
upon us this misfortune; they will not let my children die with hunger.'

"She asked for nothing--begged for nothing. She claimed help. This
imperative beggary touched me more than the common lamentations of
poverty, for it was the voice of despair; and I felt in my purse for
some pieces of silver.

"The man then, who had till now been silent, said, with a hollow tone,

"'Your children must die, since I can no longer see.'

"There is a strange power in the human voice. My money fell back into my
purse. I was ashamed of the precarious assistance. I felt that here was
a call for something more than mere almsgiving--the charity of a day. I
soon formed my resolution."

"But what could you do?" said the young man, to Mr. Desgranges.

"What could I do?" replied he, with animation. "Fifteen days after,
James was saved. A year after, he gained his own living, and might be
heard singing at his work."

"Saved! working! singing! but how?"

"How! by very natural means. But wait, I think I hear him. I will make
him tell you his simple story. It will touch you more from his lips. It
will embarrass me less, and his cordial and ardent face will complete
the work."

In fact, the noise of some one taking off his wooden shoes was heard at
the door, and then a little tap.

"Come in, James;" and he entered with his wife,

"I have brought Juliana, my dear Mr. Desgranges, the poor woman--she
must see you sometimes, must she not?"

"You did right, James. Sit down."

He came forward, pushing his stick before him, that he might not knock
against a chair. He found one, and seated himself. He was young, small,
vigorous, with black hair, a high and open forehead, a singularly
expansive face for a blind man, and, as Rabelais says, a magnificent
smile of thirty-two teeth. His wife remained standing behind him.

"James," said Mr. Desgranges to him, "here is one of my good friends,
who is very desirous to see you."

"He is a good man, then, since he is your friend."

"Yes. Talk with him; I am going to see my geraniums. But do not be sad,
you know I forbid you that."

"No, no, my dear friend, no!"

This tender and simple appellation seemed to charm the young man; and
after the departure of his friend, approaching the blind man, he said,

"You are very fond of Mr. Desgranges?"

"Fond of him!" cried the blind man, with impetuosity; "he saved me from
ruin, sir. It was all over with me; the thought of my children consumed
me; I was dying because I could not see. He saved me."

"With assistance--with money?"

"Money! what is money? Everybody can give that. Yes, he clothed us, he
fed us, he obtained a subscription of five hundred francs (about one
hundred dollars) for me; but all this was as nothing; he did more--he
cured my heart!"

"But how?"

"By his kind words, sir. Yes, he, a person of so much consequence in the
world, he came every day into my poor house, he sat on my poor stool, he
talked with me an hour, two hours, till I became quiet and easy."

"What did he say to you?"

"I do not know; I am but a foolish fellow, and he must tell you all he
said to me; but they were things I had never heard before. He spoke to
me of the good God better than a minister; and he brought sleep back to
me."

"How was that?"

"It was two months since I had slept soundly. I would just doze, and
then start up, saying,

"'James, you are blind,' and then my head would go round--round, like
a madman; and this was killing me. One morning he came in, this dear
friend, and said to me,

"'James, do you believe in God?'

"'Why do you ask that, Mr. Desgranges?'

"'Well, this night, when you wake, and the thought of your misfortune
comes upon you, say aloud a prayer--then two--then three--and you will
go to sleep.'"

"Yes," said the wife, with her calm voice, "the good God, He gives
sleep."

"This is not all, sir. In my despair I would have killed myself. I said
to myself, 'You are useless to your family, you are the woman of the
house, and others support you.' But he was displeased--'Is it not you
who support your family? If you had not been blind, would any one have
given you the five hundred francs?'

"'That is true, Mr. Desgranges.'

"'If you were not blind, would any one provide for your children?'

"'That is true, Mr. Desgranges.'

"'If you were not blind, would every one love you, as we love you?'

"'It is true, Mr. Desgranges, it is true.'

"'You see, James, there are misfortunes in all families. Misfortune is
like rain; it must fall a little on everybody. If you were not blind,
your wife would, perhaps, be sick; one of your children might have
died. Instead of that, you have all the misfortune, my poor man; but
they--they have none.'

"'True, true.' And I began to feel less sad. I was even happy to suffer
for them. And then he added,

"'Dear James, misfortune is either the greatest enemy or the greatest
friend of men. There are people whom it makes wicked; there are others
made better by it. For you, it must make you beloved by everybody; you
must become so grateful, so affectionate, that when they wish to speak
of any one who is good, they will say, good as the blind man of the
Noiesemont. That will serve for a dowry to your daughter.' This is the
way he talked to me, sir: and it gave me heart to be unfortunate."

"Yes; but when he was not here?"

"Ah, when he was not here, I had, to be sure, some heavy moments. I
thought of my eyes--the light is so beautiful! Oh, God! cried I, in
anguish, if ever I should see clearly again, I would get up at three
o'clock in the morning, and I would, not go to bed till ten at night,
that I might gather up more light."

"James, James!" said his wife.

"You are right, Juliana; he has forbidden me to be sad. He would
perceive it, sir. Do you think that when my head had gone wrong in the
night, and he came in the morning, and merely looked at me, he would
say--'James, you have been thinking that;' and then he would scold me,
this dear friend. Yes," added he, with an expression of joy--"he would
scold me, and that would give me pleasure, because he tried to make his
words cross, but he could not do it."

"And what gave you the idea of becoming a water-carrier?"

"He gave me that, also. Do you suppose I have ideas? I began to lose my
grief, but my time hung heavy on my hands. At thirty-two years old, to
be sitting all day in a chair! He then began to instruct me, as he said,
and he told me beautiful stories. The Bible--the history of an old
man, blind like me, named Tobias; the history of Joseph; the history
of David; the history of Jesus Christ. And then he made me repeat them
after him. But my head, it was hard--it was hard; it was not used to
learning, and I was always getting tired in my arms and my legs."

"And he tormented us to death," said his wife, laughing.

"True, true," replied he, laughing also; "I became cross. He came again,
and said,

"'James, you must go to work.'

"I showed him my poor, burned hands.

"'It is no matter; I have bought you a capital in trade.'

"'Me, Mr. Desgranges?'

"'Yes, James, a capital into which they never put goods, and where they
always find them.'

"'It must have cost you a great deal, sir.'

"'Nothing at all, my lad.'

"'What is then this fund?'

"'The river.'

"'The river? Do you wish me to become a fisherman?'

"'Not all; a water-carrier.'

"'Water-carrier! but eyes?'

"'Eyes; of what use are they? do the dray-horses have eyes? If they do,
they make use of them; if they do not, they do without them. Come, you
must be a water-carrier.'

"'But a cask?'

"'I will give you one.'

"'A cart?'

"'I have ordered one at the cart-maker's.'

"'But customers?'

"I will give you my custom, to begin with, eighteen francs a month; (my
dear friend pays for water as dearly as for wine.) Moreover, you have
nothing to say, either yes or no. I have dismissed my water-carrier,
and you would not let my wife and me die with thirst. This dear Madame
Desgranges, just think of it. And so, my boy, in three days--work. And
you, Madam James, come here;' and he carried off Juliana."

"Yes, sir," continued the wife, "he carried me off, ordered leather
straps, made me buy the wheels, harnessed me; we were all astonishment,
James and I; but stop, if you can, when Mr. Desgranges drives you.
At the end of three days, here we are with the cask, he harnessed and
drawing it, I behind, pushing; we were ashamed at crossing the village,
as if we were doing something wrong; it seemed as if everybody would
laugh at us. But Mr. Desgranges was there in the street.

"'Come on, James,' said he, 'courage.'

"We came along, and in the evening he put into our hands a piece of
money, saying," continued the blind man, with emotion--

"'James, here are twenty sous you have earned to-day.'

"Earned, sir, think of that! earned, it was fifteen months that I had
only eaten what had been given to me. It is good to receive from good
people, it is true; but the bread that one earns, it is as we say, half
corn, half barley; it nourishes better, and then it was done, I was
no longer the woman, I was a labourer--a labourer--James earned his
living."

A sort of pride shone from his face.

"How!" said the young man, "was your cask sufficient to support you?"

"Not alone, sir; but I have still another profession."

"Another profession!"

"Ha, ha, yes, sir; the river always runs, except when it is frozen, and,
as Mr. Desgranges says, 'water-carriers do not make their fortune with
ice,' so he gave me a Winter trade and Summer trade."

"Winter trade!"

Mr. Desgranges returned at this moment--James heard him--"Is it
not true, Mr. Desgranges, that I have another trade besides that of
water-carrier?"

"Undoubtedly."

"What is it then?"

"Wood-sawyer."

"Wood-sawyer? impossible; how could you measure the length of the
sticks? how could you cut wood without cutting yourself?"

"Cut myself, sir," replied the blind man, with a pleasant shade of
confidence; "I formerly was a woodsawyer, and the saw knows me well; and
then one learns everything--I go to school, indeed. They put a pile of
wood at my left side, my saw and saw horse before me, a stick that is
to be sawed in three; I take a thread, I cut it the size of the third of
the stick--this is the measure. Every place I saw, I try it, and so it
goes on till now there is nothing burned or drunk in the village without
calling upon me."

"Without mentioning," added Mr. Desgranges, "that he is a commissioner."

"A commissioner!" said the young man, still more surprised.

"Yes, sir, when there is an errand to be done at Melun, I put my little
girl on my back, and then off I go. She sees for me, I walk for her;
those who meet me, say, 'Here is a gentleman who carries his eyes very
high;' to which I answer, 'that is so I may see the farther.' And then
at night I have twenty sous more to bring home."

"But are you not afraid of stumbling against the stones?"

"I lift my feet pretty high; and then I am used to it; I come from
Noiesemont here all alone."

"All alone! how do you find your way?"

"I find the course of the wind as I leave home, and this takes the place
of the sun with me."

"But the holes?"

"I know them all."

"And the walls?"

"I feel them. When I approach anything thick, sir, the air comes with
less force upon my face; it is but now and then that I get a hard knock,
as by example, if sometimes a little handcart is left on the road, I do
not suspect it--whack! bad for you, poor five-and-thirty, but this
is soon over. It is only when I get bewildered, as I did day before
yesterday. O then---"

"You have not told me of that, James," said Mr. Desgranges.

"I was, however, somewhat embarrassed, my dear friend. While I was here
the wind changed, I did not perceive it; but at the end of a quarter of
an hour, when I had reached the plain of Noiesemont, I had lost my way,
and I felt so bewildered that I did not dare to stir a step. You know
the plain, not a house, no passersby. I sat down on the ground, I
listened; after a moment I heard at, as I supposed, about two hundred
paces distant, a noise of running water. I said, 'If this should be the
stream which is at the bottom of the plain?' I went feeling along on the
side from which the noise came--I reached the stream; then I reasoned in
this way: the water comes down from the side of Noiesemont and crosses
it. I put in my hand to feel the current."

"Bravo, James."

"Yes, but the water was so low and the current so small, that my hand
felt nothing. I put in the end of my stick, it was not moved. I rubbed
my head finally, I said, 'I am a fool, here is my handkerchief;' I
took it, I fastened it to the end of my cane. Soon I felt that it moved
gently to the right, very gently. Noiesemont is on the right. I started
again and I get home to Juliana, who began to be uneasy."

"O," cried the young man, "this is admir----"

But Mr. Desgranges stopped him, and leading him to the other end of the
room,

"Silence!" said he to him in a low voice. "Not admirable--do not corrupt
by pride the simplicity of this man. Look at him, see how tranquil his
face is, how calm after this recital which has moved you so much. He is
ignorant of himself, do not spoil him."

"It is so touching," said the young man, in a low tone.

"Undoubtedly, and still his superiority does not lie there. A thousand
blind men have found out these ingenious resources, a thousand will find
them again; but this moral perfection--this heart, which opens itself
so readily to elevated consolations--this heart which so willingly takes
upon it the part of a victim--this heart which has restored him to
life. For do not be deceived, it is not I who have saved him, it is his
affection for me; his ardent gratitude has filled his whole soul, and
has sustained--he has lived because he has loved!"

At that moment, James, who had remained at the other end of the room,
and who perceived that we were speaking low, got up softly, and with a
delicate discretion, said to his wife,

"We will go away without making any noise."

"Are you going, James?"

"I am in the way, my dear Mr. Desgranges."

"No, pray stay longer."

His benefactor retained him, reaching out to him cordially his hand. The
blind man seized the hand in his turn, and pressed it warmly against his
heart.

"My dear friend, my dear good friend, you permit me to stay a little
longer. How glad I am to find myself near you. When I am sad I
say--'James, the good God will, perhaps, of His mercy, put you in the
same paradise with Mr. Desgranges,' and that does me good."

The young man smiled at this simple tenderness, which believed in a
hierarchy in Heaven. James heard him.

"You smile, sir. But this good man has re-created James. I dream of it
every night--I have never seen him, but I shall know him then. Oh my
God, if I recover my sight I will look at him for ever--for ever, like
the light, till he shall say to me, James, go away. But he will not
say so, he is too good. If I had known him four years ago, I would have
served him, and never have left him."

"James, James!" said Mr. Desgranges; but the poor man could not be
silenced.

"It is enough to know he is in the village; this makes my heart easy. I
do not always wish to come in, but I pass before his house, it is always
there; and when he is gone a journey I make Juliana lead me into the
plain of Noiesemont, and I say--'turn me towards the place where he is
gone, that I may breathe the same air with him.'"

Mr. Desgranges put his hand before his mouth. James stopped.

"You are right, Mr. Desgranges, my mouth is rude, it is only my heart
which is right. Come, wife," said he, gayly, and drying his great tears
which rolled from his eyes, "Come, we must give our children their
supper. Good-by, my dear friend, good-by, sir."

He went away, moving his staff before him. Just as he laid his hand upon
the door, Mr. Desgranges called him back.

"I want to tell you a piece of news which will give you pleasure. I was
going to leave the village this year; but I have just taken a new lease
of five years of my landlady."

"Do you see, Juliana," said James to his wife, turning round, "I was
right when I said he was going away."

"How," replied Mr. Desgranges, "I had told them not to tell you of it."

"Yes; but here," putting his hand on his heart, "everything is plain
here. I heard about a month since, some little words, which had begun to
make my head turn round; when, last Sunday, your landlady called me to
her, and showed me more kindness than usual, promising me that she would
take care of me, and that she would never abandon me. When I came home,
I said to Juliana, 'Wife, Mr. Desgranges is going to quit the village;
but that lady has consoled me.'"

In a few moments the blind man had returned to his home.



DEPENDENCE.



"WELL, Mary," said Aunt Frances, "how do you propose to spend the
summer? It is so long since the failure and death of your guardian, that
I suppose you are now familiar with your position, and prepared to mark
out some course for the future."

"True, aunt; I have had many painful thoughts with regard to the loss
of my fortune, and I was for a time in great uncertainty about my future
course, but a kind offer, which I received, yesterday, has removed that
burden. I now know where to find a respectable and pleasant home."

"Is the offer you speak of one of marriage?" asked Aunt Frances,
smiling.

"Oh! dear, no; I am too young for that yet. But Cousin Kate is happily
married, and lives a few miles out of the city, in just the cosiest
little spot, only a little too retired; and she has persuaded me that I
shall do her a great kindness to accept a home with her."

"Let me see. Kate's husband is not wealthy, I believe?"

"No: Charles Howard is not wealthy, but his business is very good, and
improving every year; and both he and Kate are too whole-souled and
generous to regret giving an asylum to an unfortunate girl like me. They
feel that 'it is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

"A very noble feeling, Mary; but one in which I am sorry to perceive
that you are a little wanting."

"Oh! no, Aunt Frances, I do feel it deeply; but it is the curse of
poverty that one must give up, in some measure, the power of benefiting
others. And, then, I mean to beguile Kate of so many lonely hours, and
perform so many friendly offices for her husband, that they will think
me not a burden but a treasure."

"And you really think you can give them as much comfort as the expense
of your maintenance could procure them in any other way?"

"Yes, aunt; it may sound conceited, perhaps, but I do really think I
can. I am sure, if I thought otherwise, I would never consent to become
a burden to them."

"Well, my dear, then your own interest is all that remains to be
considered. There are few blessings in life that can compensate for the
loss of self-reliance. She who derives her support from persons upon
whom she has no natural claim, finds the effect upon herself to
be decidedly narrowing. Perpetually in debt, without the means of
reimbursement, barred from any generous action which does not seem like
'robbing Peter to pay Paul,' she sinks too often into the character of
a sponge, whose only business is absorption. But I see you do not like
what I am saying, and I will tell you something which I am sure you
_will_ like--my own veritable history.

"I was left an orphan in childhood, like yourself, and when my father's
affairs were settled, not a dollar remained for my support. I was only
six years of age, but I had attracted the notice of a distant relative,
who was a man of considerable wealth. Without any effort of my own, I
became an inmate of his family, and his only son, a few years my elder,
was taught to consider me as a sister.

"George Somers was a generous, kind-hearted boy, and I believe he was
none the less fond of me, because I was likely to rob him of half his
fortune. Mr. Somers often spoke of making a will, in which I was to
share equally with his son in the division of his property, but a
natural reluctance to so grave a task led him to defer it from one year
to another. Meantime, I was sent to expensive schools, and was as idle
and superficial as any heiress in the land.

"I was just sixteen when my kind benefactor suddenly perished on board
the ill-fated Lexington, and, as he died without a will, I had no legal
claim to any farther favours. But George Somers was known as a very
open-handed youth, upright and honourable, and, as he was perfectly well
acquainted with the wishes of his father, I felt no fears with regard to
my pecuniary condition. While yet overwhelmed with grief at the loss of
one whom my heart called father, I received a very kind and sympathizing
letter from George, in which he said he thought I had better remain at
school for another year, as had been originally intended.

"'Of course,' he added, 'the death of my father does not alter our
relation in the least; you are still my dear and only sister.'

"And, in compliance with his wishes, I passed another year at a very
fashionable school--a year of girlish frivolity, in which my last chance
of acquiring knowledge as a means of future independence was wholly
thrown away. Before the close of this year I received another letter
from George, which somewhat surprised, but did not at all dishearten me.
It was, in substance, as follows:--

"'_MY own dear Sister_:--I wrote you, some months ago, from Savannah, in
Georgia told you how much I was delighted with the place and people; how
charmed with Southern frankness and hospitality. But I did not tell you
that I had there met with positively the most bewitching creature in the
world--for I was but a timid lover, and feared that, as the song says,
the course of true love never would run smooth. My charming Laura was a
considerable heiress, and, although no sordid considerations ever had a
feather's weight upon her own preferences, of course, yet her father
was naturally and very properly anxious that the guardian of so fair
a flower should be able to shield it from the biting winds of poverty.
Indeed, I had some difficulty in satisfying his wishes on this point,
and in order to do so, I will frankly own that I assumed to myself the
unencumbered possession of my father's estate, of which so large a share
belongs of right to you. I am confident that when you know my Laura you
will forgive me this merely nominal injustice. Of course, this connexion
can make no sort of difference in your rights and expectations. You will
always have a home at my house. Laura is delighted, with the idea of
such a companion, and says she would on no account dispense with that
arrangement. And whenever, you marry as girls do and will, I shall hold
myself bound to satisfy any reasonable wishes on the part of the
happy youth that wins you. Circumstances hastened my marriage somewhat
unexpectedly, or I should certainly have informed you previously, and
requested your presence at the nuptial ceremony. We have secured a
beautiful house in Brooklyn, and shall expect you to join us as soon
as your present year expires, Laura sends her kindest regards, and
I remain, as always, your sincere and affectionate brother, GEORGE
SOMERS.'

"Not long after the receipt of this letter, one of the instructresses,
in the institution where I resided requested the favour of a private
interview. She then said she knew something generally of my position
and prospects, and, as she had always felt an instinctive interest in
my fortunes, she could not see me leave the place without seeking
my confidence, and rendering me aid, if aid was in her power. Though
surprised and, to say the truth, indignant, I simply inquired what
views, had occurred to her with regard to my future life.

"She said, then, very kindly, that although I was not very thorough
in, any branch of study, yet she thought I had a decided taste for the
lighter and more ornamental parts of female education. That a few months
earnest attention to these would fit me for a position independent of my
connexions, and one of which none of my friends would have cause to be
ashamed.

"I am deeply pained to own to you how I answered her. Drawing myself up,
I said, coldly,

"'I am obliged to you, madam, for your quite unsolicited interest in
my affairs. When I leave this place, it will be to join my brother and
sister in Brooklyn, and, as we are all reasonably wealthy, I must try to
make gold varnish over any defects in my neglected education.'

"I looked to see my kind adviser entirely annihilated by these imposing
words, but she answered with perfect calmness,

"'I know Laura Wentworth, now Mrs. Somers. She was educated at the
North, and was a pupil of my own for a year. She is wealthy and
beautiful, and I hope you will never have cause to regret assuming a
position with regard to her that might be mistaken for dependence.'

"With these words, my well-meaning, but perhaps injudicious friend, took
leave, and I burst into a mocking laugh, that I hoped she might linger
long enough to hear. 'This is too good!' I repeated to myself--but I
could not feel perfectly at ease. However, I soon forgot all thoughts
of the future, in the present duties of scribbling in fifty albums, and
exchanging keepsakes, tears, and kisses, with a like number of _very_
intimate friends.

"It was not until I had finally left school, and was fairly on the way
to the home of my brother, that I found a moment's leisure to think
seriously of the life that was before me. I confess that I felt some
secret misgivings, as I stood at last upon the steps of the very elegant
house that was to be my future home. The servant who obeyed my summons,
inquired if I was Miss Rankin, a name I had never borne since childhood.

"I was about to reply in the negative, when she added, 'If you are the
young lady that Mr. Somers is expecting from the seminary, I will show
you to your room.'

"I followed mechanically, and was left in a very pretty chamber, with
the information that Mrs. Somers was a little indisposed, but would meet
me at dinner. The maid added that Mr. Somers was out of town, and would
not return till evening. After a very uncomfortable hour, during which
I resolutely suspended my opinion with regard to my position, the
dinner-bell rang, and the domestic again appeared to show me to the
dining-room.

"Mrs. Somers met me with extended hand. 'My dear Miss Rankin!' she
exclaimed, 'I am most happy to see you. I have heard George speak of
you so often and so warmly that I consider you quite as a relative. Come
directly to the table. I am sure you must be famished after your long
ride. I hope you will make yourself one of us, at once, and let me call
you Fanny. May I call you Cousin Fanny?' she pursued, with an air of
sweet condescension that was meant to be irresistible.

"'As you please,' I replied coldly.

"To which she quickly responded, 'Oh, that will be delightful.'

"She then turned to superintend the carving of a fowl, and I had time
to look at her undisturbed. She was tall and finely formed, with small
delicate features, and an exquisite grace in every movement; a haughty
sweetness that was perfectly indescribable. She had very beautiful
teeth, which she showed liberally when she smiled, and in her graver
moments her slight features wore an imperturbable serenity, as if the
round world contained nothing that was really worth her attention. An
animated statue, cold, polished, and pitiless! was my inward thought, as
I bent over my dinner.

"When the meal was over, Mrs. Somers said to me, in a tone of playful
authority,

"'Now, Cousin Fanny, I want you to go to your room and rest, and not do
an earthly thing until teatime. After that I have a thousand things to
show you.'

"At night I was accordingly shown a great part of the house; a costly
residence, and exquisitely furnished, but, alas! I already wearied of
this icy splendour. Every smile of my beautiful hostess (I could not now
call her sister), every tone of her soft voice, every movement of her
superb form, half queen-like dignity, half fawn-like grace--seemed to
place an insurmountable barrier between herself and me. It was not that
I thought more humbly of myself--not that I did not even consider myself
her equal--but her dainty blandishments were a delicate frost-work, that
almost made me shiver and when, she touched her cool lips to mine, and
said 'Good-night, dear,' I felt as if even then separated from her real,
living self, by a wall of freezing marble.

"'Poor George!' I said, as I retired to rest--'You have wedded this
soulless woman, and she will wind you round her finger.'

"I did not sit up for him, for he was detained till a late hour, but
I obeyed the breakfast-bell with unfashionable eagerness, as I was
becoming nervous about our meeting, and really anxious to have it over.
After a delay of some minutes, I heard the wedded pair coming leisurely
down the stairs, in, very amicable chatter.

"'I am glad you like her, Laura,' said a voice which I knew in a moment
as that of George. How I shivered as I caught the smooth reply, 'A nice
little thing. I am very glad of the connexion. It will be such a relief
not to rely entirely upon servants. There should be a middle class in
every family.'

"With these words she glided through the door, looked with perfect
calmness in my flashing eyes, and said,

"'Ah, Fanny! I, was just telling George here how much I shall like you.'

"The husband came forward with an embarrassed air; I strove to meet him
with dignity, but my heart failed me, and I burst into tears.

"'Forgive me, madam,' I said, on regaining my composure--'This is our
first meeting since the death of _our father_.'

"'I understand your feelings perfectly,' she quietly replied. 'My father
knew the late Mr. Somers well, and thought very highly of him, He was
charitable to a fault, and yet remarkable for discernment. His bounty
was seldom unworthily bestowed.'

"His bounty! I had never been thought easy to intimidate, but I quailed
before this unapproachable ice-berg. It made no attempt from that moment
to vindicate what I was pleased to call my rights, but awaited passively
the progress of events.

"After breakfast, Mrs. Somers said to the maid in attendance,

"'Dorothy, bring some hot water and towels for Miss Rankin.'

"She then turned to me and continued, 'I shall feel the china perfectly
safe in your hands, cousin. These servants are so very unreliable.'

"And she followed George to the parlour above, where their lively tones
and light laughter made agreeable music.

"In the same easy way, I was invested with a variety of domestic cares,
most of them such as I would willingly have accepted, had she waited for
me to manifest such a willingness. But a few days after my arrival, we
received a visit from little Ella Grey, a cousin of Laura's, who was
taken seriously ill on the first evening of her stay. A physician was
promptly summoned, and, after a conference with him, Mrs. Somers came to
me, inquiring earnestly,

"'Cousin Fanny, have you ever had the measles?'

"I replied in the affirmative.

"'Oh, I am very glad!' was her response; 'for little Ella is attacked
with them, and very severely; but, if you will take charge of her,
I shall feel no anxiety. It is dreadful in sickness to be obliged to
depend upon hirelings.'

"So I was duly installed as little Ella's nurse, and, as she was a
spoiled child, my task was neither easy nor agreeable.

"No sooner was the whining little creature sufficiently improved to
be taken to her own home, than the house was thrown into confusion by
preparations for a brilliant party. Laura took me with her on a shopping
excursion, and bade me select whatever I wished, and send the bill with
hers to Mr. Somers. I purchased a few indispensable articles, but I felt
embarrassed by her calm, scrutinizing gaze, and by the consciousness
that every item of my expenditures would be scanned by, perhaps,
censorious eyes.

"What with my previous fatigue while acting as Ella's nurse, and the
laborious preparations for the approaching festival, I felt, as the time
drew near, completely exhausted. Yet I was determined not to so far give
way to the depressing influences that surrounded me, as to absent myself
from the party. So, after snatching an interval of rest, to relieve my
aching head, I dressed myself with unusual care, and repaired to the
brilliantly lighted rooms. They were already filled, and murmuring like
a swarm of bees, although, as one of the guests remarked, there were
more drones than workers in the hive. I was now no drone, certainly, and
that was some consolation. When I entered, Laura was conversing with a
group of dashing young men, who were blundering over a book of charades.
Seeing me enter, she came towards me immediately.

"'Cousin Fanny, you who help everybody, I want you to come to the aid
of these stupid young men. Gentlemen, this is our Cousin Fanny, the very
best creature in the world.' And with this introduction she left me, and
turned to greet some new arrivals. After discussing the charades till my
ears were weary of empty and aimless chatter, I was very glad to find my
group of young men gradually dispersing, and myself at liberty to look
about me, undisturbed. George soon came to me, gave me his arm, and took
me to a room where were several ladies, friends of his father, and who
had known me very well as a child.

"'You remember Fanny,' he said to them; and then left me, and devoted
himself to the courteous duties of the hour. While I was indulging in
a quiet chat with a very kind old friend, she proposed to go with me
to look at the dancers, as the music was remarkably fine, and it was
thought the collected beauty and fashion of the evening would make
a very brilliant show. We left our seats, accordingly, but were soon
engaged in the crowd, and while waiting for an opportunity to move on, I
heard one of my young men ask another,

"'How do you like _la cousine_?'

"I lost a part of the answer, but heard the closing words
distinctly--'_et un peu passee._' '_Oui, decidement!_' was the prompt
response, and a light laugh followed, while, shrinking close to my kind
friend, I rejoiced that my short stature concealed me from observation.
I was not very well taught, but, like most school-girls, I had a
smattering of French, and I knew the meaning of the very ordinary
phrases that had been used with regard to me. Before the supper-hour, my
headache became so severe that I was glad to take refuge in my own room.
There I consulted my mirror, and felt disposed to forgive, the young
critics for their disparaging remarks. _Passee!_ I looked twenty-five at
least, and yet I was not eighteen, and six months before I had fancied
myself a beauty and an heiress!

"But I will not weary you with details. Suffice it to say; that I
spent only three months of this kind of life, and then relinquished
the protection of Mr. and Mrs. Somers, and removed to a second-rate
boarding-house, where I attempted to maintain myself by giving lessons
in music. Every day, however, convinced me of my unfitness for this
task, and, as I soon felt an interest in the sweet little girls who
looked up to me for instruction, my position with regard to them became
truly embarrassing. One day I had been wearying myself by attempting
the impossible task of making clear to another mind, ideas that lay
confusedly in my own, and at last I said to my pupil,

"'You may go home now, Clara, dear, and practise the lesson of
yesterday. I am really ill to-day, but to-morrow I shall feel better,
and I hope I shall then be able to make you understand me.'

"The child glided out, but a shadow still fell across the carpet. I
looked up, and saw in the doorway a young man, whose eccentricities
sometimes excited a smile among his fellow-boarders, but who was much
respected for his sense and independence.

"'To make yourself understood by others, you must first learn to
understand yourself,' said he, as he came forward. Then, taking my hand,
he continued,--'What if you should give up all this abortive labour,
take a new pupil, and, instead of imparting to others what you have not
very firmly grasped yourself, try if you can make a human being of me?'

"I looked into his large gray eyes, and saw the truth and earnestness
shining in their depths, like pebbles at the bottom of a pellucid
spring. I never once thought of giving him a conventional reply. On the
contrary, I stammered out,

"'I am full, of faults and errors; I could never do you any good.'

"'I have studied your character attentively,' returned he, 'and I know
you have faults, but they are unlike mine; and I think that you might be
of great service to me; or, if the expression suits you better, that we
might be of great aid to each other. Become my wife, and I will promise
to improve more rapidly than any pupil in your class.'

"And I did become his wife, but not until a much longer acquaintance
had convinced me, that in so doing, I should not exchange one form of
dependence for another, more galling and more hopeless."

"Then this eccentric young man was Uncle Robert?"

"Precisely. But you see he has made great improvement, since."

"Well, Aunt Frances, I thank you for your story; and now for the moral.
What do you think I had better do?"

"I will tell you what you can do, if you choose. Your uncle has just
returned from a visit to his mother. He finds her a mere child, gentle
and amiable, but wholly unfit to take charge of herself. Her clothes
have taken fire repeatedly, from her want of judgment with regard to
fuel and lights, and she needs a companion for every moment of the day.
This, with their present family, is impossible, and they are desirous to
secure some one who will devote herself to your grandmother during the
hours when your aunt and the domestics are necessarily engaged. You were
always a favourite there, and I know they would be very much relieved
if you would take this office for a time, but they feel a delicacy
in making any such proposal. You can have all your favourites about
you--books, flowers, and piano; for the dear old lady delights to hear
reading or music, and will sit for hours with a vacant smile upon her
pale, faded face. Then your afternoons will be entirely your own, and
Robert is empowered to pay any reliable person a salary of a fixed and
ample amount, which will make you independent for the time."

"But, aunt, you will laugh at me, I know, yet I do really fear that Kate
will feel this arrangement as a disappointment."

"Suppose I send her a note, stating that you have given me some
encouragement of assuming this important duty, but that you could not
think of deciding without showing a grateful deference to her wishes?"

"That will be just the thing. We shall get a reply to-morrow." With
to-morrow came the following note:--

"_My Dear Aunt Frances_:--Your favour of yesterday took us a little by
surprise, I must own I had promised myself a great deal of pleasure in
the society of our Mary; but since she is inclined (and I think it is
very noble in her) to foster with the dew of her youth the graceful but
fallen stem that lent beauty to us all, I cannot say a word to prevent
it. Indeed, it has occurred to me, since the receipt of your note, that
we shall need the room we had reserved for Mary, to accommodate little
Willie, Mr. Howard's pet nephew, who has the misfortune to be lame. His
physicians insist upon country air, and a room upon the first floor. So
tell Mary I love her a thousand times better for her self-sacrifice,
and will try to imitate it by doing all in my power for the poor little
invalid that is coming.

"With the kindest regards, I remain

"Your affectionate niece,

"KATE HOWARD."


"Are you now decided, Mary?" asked Aunt Frances, after their joint
perusal of the letter.

"Not only decided, but grateful. I have lost my fortune, it is true; but
while youth and health remain, I shall hardly feel tempted to taste the
luxuries of dependence."



TWO RIDES WITH THE DOCTOR.



JUMP in, if you would ride with the doctor. You have no time to lose,
for the patient horse, thankful for the unusual blessing which he has
enjoyed in obtaining a good night's rest, stands early at the door this
rainy morning, and the worthy doctor himself is already in his seat, and
is hastily gathering up the reins, for there have been no less than six
rings at his bell within as many minutes, and immediate attendance is
requested in several different places.

It is not exactly the day one might select for a ride, for the storm is
a regular north-easter, and your hands and feet are benumbed with the
piercing cold wind, while you are drenched with the driving rain.

But the doctor is used to all this, and, unmindful of wind and rain, he
urges his faithful horse to his utmost speed, eager to reach the spot
where the most pressing duty calls. He has at least the satisfaction of
being welcome. Anxious eyes are watching for his well-known vehicle from
the window; the door is opened ere he puts his hand upon the lock, and
the heartfelt exclamation,

"Oh, doctor, I am so thankful you have come!" greets him as he enters.

Hastily the anxious father leads the way to the room where his
half-distracted wife is bending in agony over their first-born, a lovely
infant of some ten months, who is now in strong convulsions. The mother
clasps her hands, and raises her eyes in gratitude to heaven, as
the doctor enters,-he is her only earthly hope. Prompt and efficient
remedies are resorted to, and in an hour the restored little one is
sleeping tranquilly in his mother's arms.

The doctor departs amid a shower of blessings, and again urging his
horse to speed, reaches his second place of destination. It is a stately
mansion. A spruce waiter hastens to answer his ring, but the lady
herself meets him as he enters the hall.

"We have been expecting you anxiously, doctor. Mr. Palmer is quite ill,
this morning. Walk up, if you please."

The doctor obeys, and is eagerly welcomed by his patient.

"Do exert your utmost skill to save me from a fever, doctor. The
symptoms are much the same which I experienced last year, previous to
that long siege with the typhoid. It distracts me to think of it. At
this particular juncture I should lose thousands by absence from my
business."

The doctor's feelings are enlisted,--his feelings of humanity and
his feelings of self-interest, for doctors must live as well as other
people; and the thought of the round sum which would find its way to his
own purse, if he could but succeed in preventing the loss of thousands
to his patient, was by no means unpleasing.

The most careful examination of the symptoms is made, and well-chosen
prescriptions given. He is requested to call as often as possible
through the day, which he readily promises to do, although press of
business and a pouring rain render it somewhat difficult.

The result, however, will be favourable to his wishes. His second and
third call give him great encouragement, and on the second day after the
attack, the merchant returns to his counting-room exulting in the skill
of his physician.

But we must resume our ride. On, on goes the doctor; rain pouring, wind
blowing, mud splashing. Ever and anon he checks his horse's speed, at
his various posts of duty. High and low, rich and poor anxiously await
his coming. He may not shrink from the ghastly spectacle of human
suffering and death. Humanity, in its most loathsome forms, is presented
to him.

The nearest and dearest may turn away in grief and horror, but the
doctor blenches not.

Again we are digressing. The doctor's well-known tap is heard at
the door of a sick-room, where for many days he has been in constant
attendance. Noiselessly he is admitted. The young husband kneels at the
side of the bed where lies his dearest earthly treasure. The calm but
deeply-afflicted mother advances to the doctor, and whispers fearfully
low,

"There is a change. She sleeps. Is it--oh! can it be the sleep of
death?"

Quickly the physician is at the bedside, and anxiously bending over his
patient.

Another moment and he grasps the husband's hand, while the glad words
"She will live," burst from his lips.

We may not picture forth their joy. On, on, we are riding with the
doctor. Once more we are at his own door. Hastily he enters, and takes
up the slate containing the list of calls during his absence. At half a
dozen places his presence is requested without delay.

A quick step is heard on the stairs, and his gentle wife hastens to
welcome him.

"I am so glad you have come; how wet you must be!"

The parlour door is thrown open. What a cheerful fire, and how inviting
look the dressing-gown and the nicely warmed slippers!

"Take off your wet clothes, dear; dinner will soon be ready," urges the
wife.

"It is impossible, Mary. There are several places to visit yet. Nay,
never look so sad. Have not six years taught you what a doctor's wife
must expect?"

"I shall never feel easy when you are working so hard, Henry; but surely
you will take a cup of hot coffee; I have it all ready. It will delay
you but a moment."

The doctor consents; and while the coffee is preparing, childish voices
are heard, and little feet come quickly through the hall.

"Papa has come home!" shouts a manly little fellow of four years, as
he almost drags his younger sister to the spot where he has heard his
father's voice.

The father's heart is gladdened by their innocent joy, as they cling
around him; but there is no time for delay. A kiss to each, one good
jump for the baby, the cup of coffee is hastily swallowed, the wife
receives her embrace with tearful eyes, and as the doctor springs
quickly into his chaise, and wheels around the corner, she sighs deeply
as she looks at the dressing-gown and slippers, and thinks of the
favourite dish which she had prepared for dinner; and now it may be
night before he comes again. But she becomes more cheerful as she
remembers that a less busy season will come, and then they will enjoy
the recompense of this hard labour.

The day wears away, and at length comes the happy hour when gown and
slippers may be brought into requisition. The storm still rages without,
but there is quiet happiness within. The babies are sleeping, and father
and mother are in that snug little parlour, with its bright light and
cheerful fire. The husband is not too weary to read aloud, and the wife
listens, while her hands are busied with woman's never-ending work.

But their happiness is of short duration. A loud ring at the bell.

"Patient in the office, sir," announces the attendant.

The doctor utters a half-impatient exclamation; but the wife expresses
only thankfulness that it is an office patient.

"Fine night for a sick person to come out!" muttered the doctor, as he
unwillingly lays down his book, and rises from the comfortable lounge.

But he is himself again by the time his hand is on the door of the
office, and it is with real interest that he greets his patient.

"Tooth to be extracted? Sit down, sir. Here, Biddy, bring water and a
brighter lamp. Have courage, sir; one moment will end it."

The hall door closes on the relieved sufferer, and the doctor throws
himself again on the lounge, and smilingly puts the bright half dollar
in his pocket.

"That was not so bad, after all, Mary. I like to make fifty cents in
that way."

"Cruel creature! Do not mention it."

"Cruel! The poor man blessed me in his heart. Did I not relieve him from
the most intense suffering?"

"Well, never mind. I hope there will be no more calls to-night."

"So do I. Where is the book? I will read again." No more interruptions.
Another hour, and all, are sleeping quietly.

Midnight has passed, when the sound of the bell falls on the doctor's
wakeful ear. As quickly as possible he answers it in person, but another
peal is heard ere he reaches the door.

A gentleman to whose family he has frequently been called, appears.

"Oh! doctor, lose not a moment; my little Willie is dying with the
croup!"

There is no resisting this appeal. The still wet overcoat and boots
are drawn on; medicine case hastily seized, and the doctor rushes forth
again into the storm.

Pity for his faithful horse induces him to traverse the distance on
foot, and a rapid walk of half a mile brings him to the house.

It was no needless alarm. The attack was a severe one, and all his skill
was required to save the life of the little one. It was daylight ere he
could leave him with safety. Then, as he was about departing for his own
home, an express messenger arrived to entreat him to go immediately to
another place nearly a mile in an opposite direction.

Breakfast was over ere he reached his own house. His thoughtful wife
suggested a nap; but a glance at the already well-filled slate showed
this to be out of the question. A hasty toilet, and still hastier
breakfast, and the doctor is again seated in his chaise, going on his
accustomed rounds; but we will not now accompany him.

Let us pass over two or three months, and invite ourselves to another
ride. One pleasant morning, when less pressed with business, he walks
leisurely from the house to the chaise, and gathering up the reins with
a remarkably thoughtful air, rides slowly down the street.

But few patients are on his list, and these are first attended to.

The doctor then pauses for consideration. He has set apart this day
for _collecting_. Past experience has taught him that the task is by no
means an agreeable one. It is necessary, however--absolutely so--for,
as we have said before, doctors must live as well as other people; their
house-rent must be paid, food and clothing must be supplied.

A moment only pauses the doctor, and then we are again moving onward.
A short ride brings us to the door of a pleasantly-situated house. We
remember it well. It is where the little one lay in fits when we last
rode out with the doctor. We recall the scene: the convulsed countenance
of the child; the despair of the parents, and the happiness which
succeeded when their beloved one was restored to them.

Surely they will now welcome the doctor. Thankfully will they pay the
paltry sum he claims as a recompense for his services. We are more
confident than the doctor. Experience is a sure teacher. The door does
not now fly open at his approach. He gives his name to the girl who
answers the bell, and in due time the lady of the house appears.

"Ah! doctor, how do you do? You are quite a stranger! Delightful
weather," &c.

The doctor replies politely, and inquires if her husband is in.

"Yes, he is in; but I regret to say he is exceedingly engaged this
morning. His business is frequently of a nature which cannot suffer
interruption. He would have been pleased to have seen you."

The doctor's pocket-book is produced, and the neatly drawn bill is
presented.

"If convenient to Mr. Lawton, the amount would be acceptable."

"I will hand it to him when he is at leisure. He will attend to it, no
doubt."

The doctor sighs involuntarily as he recalls similar indefinite
promises; but it is impossible to insist upon interrupting important
business. He ventures another remark, implying that prompt payment would
oblige him; bows, and retires.

On, on goes the faithful horse. Where is to be our next stopping-place?
At the wealthy merchant's, who owed so much to the doctor's skill some
two months since. Even the doctor feels confidence here. Thousands saved
by the prevention of that fever. Thirty dollars is not to be thought of
in comparison.

All is favourable. Mr. Palmer is at home, and receives his visiter in a
cordial manner. Compliments are passed. Now for the bill.

"Our little account, Mr. Palmer."

"Ah! I recollect; I am a trifle in your debt. Let us see: thirty
dollars! So much? I had forgotten that we had needed medical advice,
excepting in my slight indisposition a few weeks since."

Slight indisposition! What a memory some people are blessed with!

The doctor smothers his rising indignation.

"Eight visits, Mr. Palmer, and at such a distance. You will find the
charge a moderate one."

"Oh! very well; I dare say it is all right. I am sorry I have not the
money for you to-day, doctor. Very tight just at present; you know how
it is with men of business."

"It would be a great accommodation if I could have it at once."

"Impossible, doctor! I wish I could oblige you. In a week, or fortnight,
at the farthest, I will call at your office."

A week or fortnight! The disappointed doctor once more seats himself in
his chaise, and urges his horse to speed. He is growing desperate now,
and is eager to reach his next place of destination. Suddenly he checks
the horse. A gentleman is passing whom he recognises as the young
husband whose idolized wife has so lately been snatched from the borders
of the grave.

"Glad to see you, Mr. Wilton; I was about calling at your house."

"Pray, do so, doctor; Mrs. Wilton will be pleased to see you."

"Thank you; but my call was on business, to-day. I believe I must
trouble you with my bill for attendance during your wife's illness."

"Ah! yes; I recollect. Have you it with you? Fifty dollars! Impossible!
Why, she was not ill above three weeks."

"Very true; but think of the urgency of the case. Three or four calls
during twenty-four hours were necessary, and two whole nights I passed
at her bedside."

"And yet the charge appears to me enormous. Call it forty, and I will
hand you the amount at once."

The doctor hesitates. "I cannot afford to lose ten dollars, which is
justly my due, Mr. Wilton."

"Suit yourself, doctor. Take forty, and receipt the bill, or stick to
your first charge, and wait till I am ready to pay it. Fifty dollars is
no trifle, I can tell you."

And this is the man whose life might have been a blank but for the
doctor's skill!

Again we are travelling onward. The unpaid bill is left in Mr. Wilton's
hand, and yet the doctor half regrets that he had not submitted to the
imposition. Money is greatly needed just now, and there seems little
prospect of getting any.

Again and again the horse is stopped at some well-known post. A poor
welcome has the doctor to-day. Some bills are collected, but their
amount is discouragingly small. Everybody appears to feel astonishingly
healthy, and have almost forgotten that they ever had occasion for a
physician. There is one consolation, however: sickness will come again,
and then, perhaps, the unpaid bill may be recollected. Homeward goes
the doctor. He is naturally of a cheerful disposition; but now he is
seriously threatened with a fit of the blues. A list of calls upon his
slate has little effect to raise his spirits. "All work and no pay," he
mutters to himself, as he puts on his dressing-gown and slippers; and,
throwing himself upon the lounge, turns a deaf ear to the little ones,
while he indulges in a revery as to the best mode of paying the doctor.



KEEP IN STEP.

     Those who would walk together must keep in step.

     --OLD PROVERB.



     AY, the world keeps moving forward,
       Like an army marching by;
     Hear you not its heavy footfall,
       That resoundeth to the sky?
     Some bold spirits bear the banner--
       Souls of sweetness chant the song,--
     Lips of energy and fervour
       Make the timid-hearted strong!
     Like brave soldiers we march forward;
       If you linger or turn back,
     You must look to get a jostling
       While you stand upon our track.
         Keep in step.

     My good neighbour, Master Standstill,
       Gazes on it as it goes;
     Not quite sure but he is dreaming,
       In his afternoon's repose!
     "Nothing good," he says, "can issue
       From this endless moving on;
     Ancient laws and institutions
       Are decaying, or are gone.
     We are rushing on to ruin,
       With our mad, new-fangled ways."
     While he speaks a thousand voices,
       As the heart of one man, says--
         "Keep in step!"

     Gentle neighbour, will you join us,
       Or return to "_good old ways?_"
     Take again the fig-leaf apron
       Of Old Adam's ancient days;--
     Or become a hardy Briton--
       Beard the lion in his lair,
     And lie down in dainty slumber
       Wrapped in skins of shaggy bear,--
     Rear the hut amid the forest,
       Skim the wave in light canoe?
     Ah, I see! you do not like it.
       Then if these "old ways" won't do,
         Keep in step.

     Be assured, good Master Standstill,
       All-wise Providence designed
     Aspiration and progression
       For the yearning human mind.
     Generations left their blessings,
       In the relies of their skill,
     Generations yet are longing
       For a greater glory still;
     And the shades of our forefathers
       Are not jealous of our deed--
     We but follow where they beckon,
       We but go where they do lead!
         Keep in step.

     One detachment of our army
       May encamp upon the hill,
     While another in the valley
       May enjoy its own sweet will;
     This, may answer to one watchword,
       That, may echo to another;
     But in unity and concord,
       They discern that each is brother!
     Breast to breast they're marching onward,
       In a good now peaceful way;
     You'll be jostled if you hinder,
       So don't offer let or stay--
         Keep in step.



JOHNNY COLE.



"I GUESS we will have to put out our Johnny," said Mrs. Cole, with
a sigh, as she drew closer to the fire, one cold day in autumn. This
remark was addressed to her husband, a sleepy, lazy-looking man, who
was stretched on a bench, with his eyes half closed. The wife, with two
little girls of eight and ten, were knitting as fast as their fingers
could fly; the baby was sound asleep in the cradle; while Johnny, a
boy of thirteen, and a brother of four, were seated on the wide
hearth making a snare for rabbits. The room they occupied was cold and
cheerless; the warmth of the scanty fire being scarcely felt; yet
the floor, and every article of furniture, mean as they were, were
scrupulously neat and clean.

The appearance of this family indicated that they were very poor.
They were all thin and pale, really for want of proper food, and their
clothes had been patched until it was difficult to decide what the
original fabric had been; yet this very circumstance spoke volume in
favour of the mother. She was, a woman of great energy of character,
unfortunately united to a man whose habits were such, that, for the
greater part of the time, he was a dead weight upon her hands; although
not habitually intemperate, he was indolent and good-for-nothing to a
degree, lying in the sun half his time, when the weather was warm, and
never doing a stroke of work until driven to it by the pangs of hunger.

As for the wife, by taking in sewing, knitting, and spinning for the
farmers' families in the neighbourhood, she managed to pay a rent of
twenty dollars for the cabin in which they lived; while she and Johnny,
with what assistance they could occasionally get from Jerry, her
husband, tilled the half acre of ground attached; and the vegetables
thus obtained, were their main dependance during the long winter just at
hand. Having thus introduced the Coles to our reader, we will continue
the conversation.

"I guess we will have to put out Johnny, and you will try and help us a
little more, Jerry, dear."

"Why, what's got into the woman now?" muttered Jerry, stretching his
arms, and yawning to the utmost capacity of his mouth. The children
laughed at their father's uncouth gestures, and even Mrs. Cole's serious
face relaxed into a smile, as she answered,

"Don't swallow us all, and I will tell you. The winter is beginning
early, and promises to be cold. Our potatoes didn't turn out as well
as I expected, and the truth is, we cannot get along so. We won't have
victuals to last us half the time; and, manage as I will, I can't much
more than pay the rent, I get so little for the kind of work I do. Now,
if Johnny gets a place, it will make one less to provide for; and he
will be learning to do something for himself."

"Yes, but mother," said the boy, moving close to her side, and laying
his head on her knee, "yes, but who'll help you when I am gone? Who'll
dig the lot, and hoe, and cut the wood, and carry the water? You can't
go away down to the spring in the deep snow. And who'll make the fire in
the cold mornings?"

The mother looked sorry enough, as her darling boy--for he was the
object around which the fondest affections of her heart had entwined
themselves--she looked sorry enough, as he enumerated the turns he was
in the habit of doing for her; but, woman-like, she could suffer and be
still; so she answered cheerfully,

"May be father will, dear; and when you grow bigger, and learn how to do
everything, you'll be such a help to us all."

"Don't depend on me," said Jerry, now arousing himself and sauntering to
the fire; "I hardly ever feel well,"--complaining was Jerry's especial
forte, an excuse for all his laziness; yet his appetite never failed;
and when, as was sometimes the case, one of the neighbours sent a small
piece of meat, or any little article of food to his wife, under the plea
of ill health he managed to appropriate nearly the whole of it. He was
selfishness embodied, and a serious injury to his family, as few cared
to keep him up in his laziness.

One evening, a few days later, Mrs. Cole, who had been absent several
hours, came in looking very tired, and after laying aside her old bonnet
and shawl, informed them that she had obtained a place for Johnny. It
was four miles distant, and the farmer's man would stop for him on his
way from town, the next afternoon. What a beautiful object was farmer
Watkins's homestead, lying as it did on the sunny slope of a hill;
its gray stone walls, peeping out from between the giant trees that
overshadowed it, while everything around and about gave evidence of
abundance and comfort. The thrifty orchard; the huge barn with its
overflowing granaries; the sleek, well-fed cattle; even the low-roofed
spring-house, with its superabundance of shining pails and pans, formed
an item which could hardly be dispensed with, in the _tout ensemble_ of
this pleasant home.

Farmer Watkins was an honest, hard-working man, somewhat past middle
age, with a heart not naturally devoid of kindness, but, where his
hirelings were concerned, so strongly encrusted with a layer of habits,
that they acted as an effectual check upon his better feelings. His
family consisted of a wife, said to be a notable manager, and five or
six children, the eldest, a son, at college. In this household, work,
work, was the order of the day; the farmer himself, with his great
brown fists, set the example, and the others, willing or unwilling, were
obliged to follow his lead. He had agreed to take John Cole, as he said,
more to get rid of his mother's importunities, than for any benefit he
expected to derive from him; and when remonstrated with by his wife
for his folly in giving her the trouble of another brat, he answered
shortly: "Never fear, I'll get the worth of his victuals and clothes out
of him." Johnny was to have his boarding, clothes, and a dollar a month,
for two years. This dollar a month was the great item in Mrs. Cole's
calculations; twelve dollars a year, she argued, would almost pay her
rent, and when the tears stood in Johnny's great brown eyes (for he was
a pretty, gentle-hearted boy), as he was bidding them all good-bye, and
kissing the baby over and over again, she told him about the money
he would earn, and nerved his little heart with her glowing
representations, until he was able to choke back the tears, and leave
home almost cheerfully.

_Home_--yes, it was home; for they had much to redeem the miseries of
want within those bare cabin walls, for gentle hearts and kindly smiles
were there. There

     "The mother sang at the twilight fall,
     To the babe half slumbering on her knee."

There his brother and sisters played; there his associations, his hopes,
his wishes, were all centered. When he arrived at farmer Watkins's, and
was sent into the large carpeted kitchen, everything was so unlike this
home, that his fortitude almost gave way, and it was as much as he could
do, as he told his mother afterwards, "to keep from bursting right out."
Mrs. Watkins looked very cross, nor did she notice him, except to order
him to stand out of the way of the red-armed girl who was preparing
supper and placing it on a table in the ample apartment. Johnny looked
with amazement at the great dishes of meat, and plates of hot biscuit,
but the odour of the steaming coffee, and the heat, were almost too much
for him, as he had eaten nothing since morning, for he was too sorry to
leave home to care about dinner. The girl, noticing that his pale face
grew paler, laughingly drew her mistress's attention to "master's new
boy."

"Go out and bring in some wood for the stove," said Mrs. Watkins,
sharply; "the air will do you good."

Johnny went out, and, in a few minutes, felt revived. Looking about, he
soon found the wood-shed; there was plenty of wood, but none cut of a
suitable length; it was all in cord sticks. Taking an axe, he chopped an
armful, and on taking it into the house, found the family, had finished
their suppers; the biscuits and meat were all eaten.

"Come on here to your supper," said the maid-servant, angrily. "What
have you been doing?" and, without waiting for an answer, she filled a
tin basin with mush and skimmed milk, and set it before him. The little
boy did not attempt to speak, but sat down and ate what was given
him. Immediately after, he was sent into a loft to bed, where he cried
himself to sleep. Ah! when we count the thousand pulsations that yield
pain or pleasure to the human mind, what a power to do good or evil
is possessed by every one; and how often would a kind word, or one
sympathizing glance, gladden the hearts of those thus prematurely forced
upon the anxieties of the world! But how few there are who care to
bestow them! The next morning, long before dawn, the farmer's family,
with the exception of the younger children were astir. The cattle were
to be fed and attended to, the horses harnessed, the oxen yoked, and
great was the bustle until all hands were fairly at work. As for Johnny,
he was taken into the field to assist in husking corn. The wind was
keen, and the stalks, from recent rain, were wet, and filled with ice.
His scanty clothing scarcely afforded any protection from the cold, and
his hands soon became so numb that he could scarcely use them; but, if
he stopped one moment to rap them, or breathe upon them, in the hope of
imparting some warmth, the farmer who was close at hand, in warm woollen
clothes and thick husking gloves, would call out,

"Hurry up, hurry up, my boy! no idle bread must be eaten here!"

And bravely did Johnny struggle not to mind the cold and pain, but it
would not do; he began to cry, when the master, who never thought of
exercising anything but severity towards those who laboured for him,
told him sternly that if he did not stop his bawling in a moment, he
would send him home. This was enough for Johnny; anything was better
than to go back and be a burden on his mother; he worked to the best
of his ability until noon. At noon, he managed to get thoroughly warm,
behind the stove, while eating his dinner. Still, the sufferings of
the child, with his insufficient clothing, were very great; but nobody
seemed to think of the _hired boy_ being an object of sympathy, and thus
it continued. The rule seemed to be to get all that was possible out of
him, and his little frame was so weary at night, that he had hardly
time to feel rested, until called with the dawn to renew his labour. A
monthly Sunday however, was the golden period looked forward to in his
day-dreams, for it had been stipulated by his parent, that on Saturday
evening every four weeks, he was to come home, and stay all the next
day. And when the time arrived, how nimbly did he get over the ground
that stretched between him and the goal of his wishes! How much he
had to tell! But as soon as he began to complain, his mother would say
cheerfully, although her heart bled for the hardships of her child,

"Never mind, you will get used to work, and after awhile, when you grow
up, you can rent a farm, and take me to keep house for you."

This was the impulse that prompted to action. No one can be utterly
miserable who has a hope, even a remote one, of bettering his condition;
and with a motive such as this to cheer him, Johnny persevered; young
as he was, he understood the necessity. But how often, during the four
weary weeks that succeeded, did the memory of the Saturday night he had
spent at home come up before his mental vision! The fresh loaf of rye
bread, baked in honour of his arrival, and eaten for supper, with maple
molasses--the very molasses he had helped to boil on shares with Farmer
Thrifty's boys in the spring. What a feast they had! Then the long
evening afterwards, when the blaze of the hickory fires righted up
the timbers of the old cabin with a mellow glow, and mother looked so
cheerful and smiled so kindly as she sat spinning in its warmth and
light. And how even father had helped to pop corn in the iron pot.

Ah! that was a time long to be remembered; and he had ample opportunity
to draw comparisons, for he often thought his master cared more for his
cattle than he did for him, and it is quite probable he did; for while
they were warmly housed he was needlessly exposed, and his comfort
utterly disregarded. If there was brush to cut, or fence to make, or
any out-door labour to perform, a wet, cold, or windy day was sure to be
selected, while in _fine weather_ the wood was required to be chopped,
and, generally speaking, all the work that could be done under shelter.
Yet we dare say Farmer Watkins never thought of the inhumanity of this,
or the advantage he would himself derive by arranging it otherwise.

John Cole had been living out perhaps a year. He had not grown much in
this period; his frame had always been slight, and his sunken cheeks
and wasted limbs spoke of the hard usage and suffering of his present
situation. The family had many delicacies for themselves, but the _work
boy_ they knew never was used to such things, and they were indifferent,
as to what his fare chanced to be. He generally managed to satisfy the
cravings of hunger on the coarse food given him, but that was all. About
this time it happened that the farmer was digging a ditch, and as he was
afraid winter would set in before it was completed, Johnny and himself
were at work upon it early and late, notwithstanding the wind whistled,
and it was so cold they could hardly handle the tools. While thus
employed, it chanced that they got wet to the skin with a drizzling
rain, and on returning to the house the farmer changed his clothes,
drank some hot mulled cider, and spent the remainder of the evening in
his high-backed chair before a comfortable fire; while the boy was
sent to grease a wagon in an open shed, and at night crept to his straw
pallet, shaking as though in an ague fit. The next morning he was in
a high fever, and with many a "wonder of what had got into him," but
without one word of sympathy, or any other manifestation of good-will,
he was sent home to his mother. Late in the evening of the same day a
compassionate physician was surprised to see a woman enter his office;
her garments wet and travel-stained, and, with streaming eyes, she
besought him to come and see her son.

"My Johnny, my Johnny, sir!" she cried, "he has been raving wild all
day, and we are afraid he will die."

Mistaking the cause of the good man's hesitation, she added, with a
fresh burst of grief, "Oh! I will work my fingers to the bone to pay
you, sir, if you will only come. We live in the Gap."

A few inquiries were all that was necessary to learn the state of
the case. The benevolent doctor took the woman in his vehicle, and
proceeded, over a mountainous road of six miles, to see his patient. But
vain was the help of man! Johnny continued delirious; it was work, work,
always at work; and pitiful was it to hear his complaints of being
cold and tired, while his heart-broken parent hung over him, and denied
herself the necessaries of life to minister to his wants. After being
ill about a fortnight, he awoke one evening apparently free from fever.
His expression was natural, but he seemed so weak he could not speak.
His mother, with a heart overflowing with joy at the change she imagined
favourable, bent over him. With a great effort he placed his arms about
her neck; she kissed his pale lips; a smile of strange meaning passed
over his face, and ere she could unwind that loving clasp her little
Johnny was no more. He had gone where the wicked cease from troubling,
and the weary are at rest; but her hopes were blasted; her house was
left unto her desolate; and as she watched, through the long hours of
night, beside the dead body, it was to our Father who art in Heaven her
anguished heart poured itself out in prayer. Think of this, ye rich! who
morning and evening breathe the same petition by your own hearthstones.
Think of it, ye who have authority to oppress! Do not deprive the
poor man or woman of the "ewe lamb" that is their sole possession; and
remember that He whose ear is ever open to the cry of the distressed,
has power to avenge their cause.



THE THIEF AND HIS BENEFACTOR.



"CIRCUMSTANCES made me what I am," said a condemned criminal to a
benevolent man who visited him in prison. "I was driven by necessity to
steal."

"Not so," replied the keeper, who was standing by. "Rather say, that
your own character made the circumstances by which you were surrounded.
God never places upon any creature the necessity of breaking his
commandments. You stole, because, in heart, you were a thief."

The benevolent man reproved the keeper for what he called harsh words.
He believed that, alone, by the force of external circumstances, men
were made criminals. That, if society were differently arranged, there
would be little or no crime in the world. And so he made interest for
the criminal, and, in the end, secured his release from prison. Nor
did his benevolence stop here. He took the man into his service, and
intrusted to him his money and his goods.

"I will remove from him all temptation to steal," said he, "by a liberal
supply of his wants."

"Have you a wife?" he asked of the man, when he took him from prison.

"No," was replied.

"Nor any one but yourself to support?"

"I am alone in the world."

"You have received a good education; and can serve me as a clerk. I
therefore take you into my employment, at a fair salary. Will five
hundred dollars be enough?"

"It will be an abundance," said the man, with evident surprise at an
offer so unexpectedly liberal.

"Very well. That will place you above temptation."

"And I will be innocent and happy. You are my benefactor. You have saved
me."

"I believe it," said the man of benevolence.

And so he intrusted his goods and his money to the man he had reformed
by placing him in different circumstances.

But it is in the heart of man that evil lies; and from the heart's
impulses spring all our actions. That must cease to be a bitter fountain
before it can send forth sweet water. The thief was a thief still. Not
a month elapsed ere he was devising the means to enable him to get from
his kind, but mistaken friend, more than the liberal sum for which he
had agreed to serve him. He coveted his neighbour's goods whenever his
eyes fell upon them; and restlessly sought to acquire their possession.
In order to make more sure the attainment of his ends, he affected
sentiments of morality, and even went so far as to cover his purposes
by a show of religion. And thus he was able to deceive and rob his kind
friend.

Time went on; and the thief, apparently reformed by a change of relation
to society, continued in his post of responsibility. How it was, the
benefactor could not make out; but his affairs gradually became less
prosperous. He made investigations into his business, but was unable to
find anything wrong.

"Are you aware that your clerk is a purchaser of property to a
considerable extent?" said a mercantile friend to him one day.

"My clerk! It cannot be. His income is only five hundred dollars a
year."

"He bought a piece of property for five thousand last week."

"Impossible!"

"I know it to be true. Are you aware that he was once a convict in the
State's Prison?"

"Oh yes. I took him from prison myself, and gave him a chance for his
life. I do not believe in hunting men down for a single crime, the
result of circumstances rather than a bad heart."

"A truly honest man, let me tell you," replied the merchant, "will be
honest in any and all circumstances. And a rogue will be a rogue, place
him where you will. The evil is radical, and must be cured radically.
Your reformed thief has robbed you, without doubt."

"I have reason to fear that he has been most ungrateful," replied the
kind-hearted man, who, with the harmlessness of the dove, did not unite
the wisdom of the serpent.

And so it proved. His clerk had robbed him of over twenty thousand
dollars in less than five years, and so sapped the foundations of his
prosperity, that he recovered with great difficulty.

"You told me, when in prison," said the wronged merchant to his clerk,
"that circumstances made you what you were. This you cannot say now."

"I can," was the reply. "Circumstances made me poor, and I desired to be
rich. The means of attaining wealth were placed in my hands, and I
used them. Is it strange that I should have done so? It is this social
inequality that makes crime. Your own doctrine, and I subscribe to it
fully."

"Ungrateful wretch!" said the merchant, indignantly, "it is the evil of
your own heart that prompts to crime. You would be a thief and a robber
if you possessed millions."

And he again handed him over to the law, and let the prison walls
protect society from his depredations.

No, it is not true that in external circumstances lie the origins of
evil. God tempts no man by these. In the very extremes of poverty we
see examples of honesty; and among the wealthiest, find those who
covet their neighbour's goods, and gain dishonest possession thereof.
Reformers must seek to elevate the personal character, if they would
regenerate society. To accomplish the desired good by a different
external arrangement, is hopeless; for in the heart of man lies the
evil,--there is the fountain from which flow forth the bitter and
blighting waters of crime.



JOHN AND MARGARET GREYLSTON.



"AND you will really send Reuben to cut down that clump of pines?"

"Yes, Margaret. Well, now, it is necessary, for more reasons than"----

"Don't tell me so, John," impetuously interrupted Margaret Greylston.
"I am sure there is no necessity in the case, and I am sorry to the very
heart that you have no more feeling than to order _those_ trees to be
cut down."

"Feeling! well, maybe I have more than you think; yet I don't choose to
let it make a fool of me, for all that. But I wish you would say no more
about those trees, Margaret; they really must come down; I have reasoned
with you on this matter till I am sick of it."

Miss Greylston got up from her chair, and walked out on the shaded
porch; then she turned and called her brother.

"Will you come here, John?"

"And what have you to say?"

"Nothing, just now; I only want you to stand here and look at the old
pines."

And so John Greylston did; and he saw the distant woods grave and fading
beneath the autumn wind--while the old pines upreared their stately
heads against the blue sky, unchanged in beauty, fresh and green as
ever.

"You see those trees, John, and so do I; and standing here, with them
full in view, let me plead for them; they are very old, those pines,
older than either of us; we played beneath them when we were children;
but there is still a stronger tie: our mother loved them--our dear,
sainted mother. Thirty years it has been since she died, but I can never
forget or cease to love anything she loved. Oh! John, you remember just
as well as I do, how often she would sit beneath those trees and read
or talk sweetly to us; and of the dear band who gathered there with her,
only we are left, and the old pines. Let them stand, John; time enough
to cut them down when I have gone to sit with those dear ones beneath
the trees of heaven;" and somewhat breathless from long talking, Miss
Margaret paused.

John Greylston was really touched, and he laid his hand kindly on his
sister's shoulder.

"Come, come, Madge, don't talk so sadly. I remember and love those
things as well as you do, but then you see I cannot afford to neglect my
interests for weak sentiment. Now the road must be made, and that clump
of trees stand directly in its course, and they must come down, or the
road will have to take a curve nearly half a mile round, striking into
one of my best meadows, and a good deal more expense this will be, too.
No, no," he continued, eagerly, "I can't oblige you in this thing. This
place is mine, and I will improve it as I please. I have kept back from
making many a change for your sake, but just here I am determined to go
on." And all this was said with a raised voice and a flushed face.

"You never spoke so harshly to me in your life before, John, and, after
all, what have I done? Call my feelings on this matter weak sentiment,
if you choose, but it is hard to hear such words from your lips;" and,
with a reproachful sigh, Miss Margaret walked into the house.

They had been a large family, those Greylstons, in their day, but now
all were gone; all but John and Margaret, the two eldest--the twin
brother and sister. They lived alone in their beautiful country
home; neither had ever been married. John had once loved a fair young
creature, with eyes like heaven's stars, and rose-tinged cheeks and
lips, but she fell asleep just one month before her wedding-day, and
John Greylston was left to mourn over her early grave, and his shivered
happiness. Dearly Margaret loved her twin brother, and tenderly she
nursed him through the long and fearful illness which came upon him
after Ellen Day's death. Margaret Greylston was radiant in the bloom of
young womanhood when this great grief first smote her brother, but from
that very hour she put away from her the gayeties of life, and sat down
by his side, to be to him a sweet, unselfish controller for evermore,
and no lover could ever tempt her from her post.

"John Greylston will soon get over his sorrow; in a year or two Ellen
will be forgotten for a new face."

So said the world; Margaret knew better. Her brother's heart lay before
her like an open book, and she saw indelible lines of grief and
anguish there. The old homestead, with its wide lands, belonged to
John Greylston. He had bought it years before from the other heirs; and
Margaret, the only remaining one, possessed neither claim nor right in
it. She had a handsome annuity, however, and nearly all the rich plate
and linen with which the house was stocked, together with some valuable
pieces of furniture, belonged to her. And John and Margaret Greylston
lived on in their quiet and beautiful home, in peace and happiness;
their solitude being but now and then invaded by a flock of nieces
and nephews, from the neighbouring city--their only and well-beloved
relatives.

It was long after sunset. For two full hours the moon and stars had
watched John Greylston, sitting so moodily alone upon the porch. Now
he got up from his chair, and tossing his cigar away in the long grass,
walked slowly into the house. Miss Margaret did not raise her head; her
eyes, as well as her fingers, seemed intent upon the knitting she held.
So her brother, after a hurried "Good-night," took a candle and went up
to his own room, never speaking one gentle word; for he said to himself,
"I am not going to worry and coax with Margaret any longer about the
old pines. She is really troublesome with her sentimental notions." Yet,
after all, John Greylston's heart reproached him, and he felt restless
and ill at ease.

Miss Margaret sat very quietly by the low table, knitting steadily on,
but she was not thinking of her work, neither did she delight in the
beauty of that still autumn evening; the tears came into her eyes, but
she hastily brushed them away; just as though she feared John might
unawares come back and find her crying.

Ah! these _way-side_ thorns are little, but sometimes they pierce as
sharply as the gleaming sword.

"Good-morning, John!"

At the sound of that voice, Mr. Greylston turned suddenly from the
book-case, and his sister was standing near him, her face lit up with a
sweet, yet somewhat anxious smile. He threw down in a hurry the papers
he had been tying together, and the bit of red tape, and holding out his
hand, said fervently,

"I was very harsh last night. I am really sorry for it; will you not
forgive me, Margaret?"

"To be sure I will; for indeed, John, I was quite as much to blame as
you."

"No, Madge, you were not," he quickly answered; "but let it pass,
now. We will think and say no more about it;" and, as though he
were perfectly satisfied, and really wished the matter dropped, John
Greylston turned to his papers again.

So Miss Margaret was silent. She was delighted to have peace again, even
though she felt anxious about the pines, and when her brother took his
seat at the breakfast table, looking and speaking so kindly, she felt
comforted to think the cloud had passed away; and John Greylston himself
was very glad. So the two went on eating their breakfast quite happily.
But alas! the storm is not always over when the sky grows light. Reuben
crossed the lawn, followed by the gardener, and Miss Margaret's quick
eye caught the gleaming of the axes swung over their shoulders. She
hurriedly set down the coffee-pot.

"Where are those men going? Reuben and Tom I mean."

"Only to the woods," was the careless answer.

"But what woods, John? Oh! I can tell by your face; you are determined
to have the pines cut down."

"I am." And John Greylston folded his arms, and looked fixedly at his
sister, but she did not heed him. She talked on eagerly--

"I love the old trees; I will do anything to save them. John, you spoke
last night of additional expense, should the road take that curve. I
will make it up to you; I can afford to do this very well. Now listen to
reason, and let the trees stand."

"Listen to reason, yourself," he answered more gently. "I will not
take a cent from you. Margaret, you are a perfect enthusiast about some
things. Now, I love my parents and old times, I am sure, as well as you
do, and that love is not one bit the colder, because I do not let it
stand in the way of interest. Don't say anything more. My mind is made
up in this matter. The place is mine, and I cannot see that you have any
right to interfere in the improvements I choose to make on it."

A deep flush stole over Miss Greylston's face.

"I have indeed no legal right to counsel or plead with you about these
things," she answered sadly, "but I have a sister's right, that of
affection--you cannot deny this, John. Once again, I beg of you to let
the old pines alone."

"And once again, I tell you I will do as I please in this matter," and
this was said sharply and decidedly.

Margaret Greylston said not another word, but pushing back her chair,
she arose from the breakfast-table and went quickly from the room, even
before her brother could call to her. Reuben and his companion had just
got in the last meadow when Miss Greylston overtook them.

"You, will let the pines alone to-day," she calmly said, "go to any
other work you choose, but remember those trees are not to be touched."

"Very well, Miss Margaret," and Reuben touched his hat respectfully,

"Mr. John is very changeable in his notions," burst in Tom; "not an hour
ago he was in such a hurry to get us at the pine."

"Never mind," authoritatively said Miss Greylston; "do just as you are
bid, without any remarks;" and she turned away, and went down the meadow
path, even as she came, within quick step, without a bonnet, shading her
eyes from the morning sun with her handkerchief.

John Greylston still sat at the breakfast-table, half dreamily balancing
the spoon across the saucer's edge. When his sister came in again, he
raised his head, and mutely-inquiringly looked at her, and she spoke,--

"I left this room just to go after Reuben and Tom; I overtook them
before they had crossed the last meadow, and I told them not to touch
the pine trees, but to go, instead, to any other work they choose. I am
sure you will be angry with me for all this; but, John, I cannot help it
if you are."

"Don't say so, Margaret," Mr. Greylston sharply answered, getting up at
the same time from his chair, "don't tell me you could not help it. I
have talked and reasoned with you about those trees, until my patience
is completely worn out; there is no necessity for you to be such an
obstinate fool."

"Oh! John, hush, hush!"

"I will not," he thundered. "I am master here, and I will speak and act
in this house as I see fit. Now, who gave you liberty to countermand my
orders; to send my servants back from the Work I had set for them to do?
Margaret, I warn you; for, any more such freaks, you and I, brother and
sister though we be, will live no longer under the same roof."

"Be still, John Greylston! Remember _her_ patient, self-sacrificing
love. Remember the past--be still."

But he would not; relentlessly, stubbornly, the waves of passion raged
on in his soul.

"Now, you hear all this; do not forget it; and have done with your silly
obstinacy as soon as possible, for I will be worried no longer with it;"
and roughly pushing away the slight hand which was laid upon his arm,
Mr. Greylston stalked out of the house.

For a moment, Margaret stood where her brother had left her, just in the
centre of the floor. Her cheeks were very white, but quickly a crimson
flush came over them, and her eyes filled with tears; then she sat
down upon the white chintz-covered settle, and hiding her face in the
pillows, wept violently for a long time.

"I have consulted Margaret's will always; in many things I have given
up to it, but here, where reason is so fully on my side, I will go on.
I have no patience with her weak stubbornness, no patience with her
presumption in forbidding my servants to do as I have told them; such
measures I will never allow in my house;" and John Greylston, in his
angry musings, struck his cane smartly against a tall crimson dahlia,
which grew in the grass-plat. It fell quivering across his path, but he
walked on, never heeding what he had done. There was a faint sense of
shame rising in his heart, a feeble conviction of having been himself
to blame; but just then they seemed only to fan and increase his keen
indignation. Yet in the midst of his anger, John Greylston had the
delicate consideration for his sister and himself to repeat to the men
the command she had given them.

"Do as Miss Greylston bade you; let the trees stand until further
orders." But pride prompted this, for he said to himself, "If Margaret
and I keep at this childish work of unsaying each other's commands, that
sharp old fellow, Reuben, will suspect that we have quarrelled."

Mr. Greylston's wrath did not abate; and when he came home at
dinner-time, and found the table so nicely set, and no one but the
little servant to wait upon him, Margaret away, shut up with a bad
headache, in her own room, he somehow felt relieved,--just then he did
not want to see her. But when eventide came, and he sat down to supper,
and missed again his sister's calm and pleasant face, a half-regretful
feeling stole over him, and he grew lonely, for John Greylston's heart
was the home of every kindly affection. He loved Margaret dearly. Still,
pride and anger kept him aloof from her; still his soul was full of
harsh, unforgiving thoughts. And Margaret Greylston, as she lay with a
throbbing head and an aching heart upon her snowy pillow, thought the
hours of that bright afternoon and evening very long and very weary. And
yet those hours were full of light, and melody, and fragrance, for the
sun shone, and the sky was blue, the birds sang, and the waters rippled;
even the autumn flowers were giving their sweet, last kisses to the
air. Earth was fair,--why, then, should not human hearts rejoice? Ah!
_Nature's_ loveliness _alone_ cannot cheer the soul. There was once
a day when the beauty even of _Eden_ ceased to gladden two guilty
tremblers who hid in its bowers.

"A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger."
When Margaret Greylston came across that verse, she closed her Bible,
and sat down beside the window to muse. "Ah," she thought, "how true
is that saying of the wise man! If I had only from the first given
John soft answers, instead of grievous words, we might now have been at
peace. I knew his quick temper so well; I should have been more gentle
with him." Then she recalled all John's constant and tender attention
to her wishes; the many instances in which he had gone back from his own
pleasure to gratify her; but whilst she remembered these things, never
once did her noble, unselfish heart dwell upon the sacrifices, great and
numerous, which she had made for his sake. Miss Margaret began to think
she had indeed acted very weakly and unjustly towards her brother. She
had half a mind just then to go to him, and make this confession. But
she looked out and saw the dear old trees, so stately and beautiful,
and then the memory of all John's harsh and cruel words rushed back upon
her. She struggled vainly to banish them from her mind, she strove to
quell the angry feelings which arose with those memories. At last she
knelt and prayed. When she got up from her knees traces of tears were on
her face, but her heart was calm. Margaret Greylston had been enabled,
in the strength of "that grace which cometh from above," to forgive
her brother freely, yet she scarcely hoped that he would give her the
opportunity to tell him this.

"Good-morning," John Greylston said, curtly and chillingly enough to
his sister. Somehow she was disappointed, even though she knew his
proud temper so well, yet she had prayed that there would have been some
kindly relentings towards her; but there seemed none. So she answered
him sadly, and the two sat down to their gloomy, silent breakfast. And
thus it was all that day. Mr. Greylston still mute and ungracious; his
sister shrank away from him. In that mood she scarcely knew him; and her
face was grave, and her voice so sad, even the servants wondered
what was the matter. Margaret Greylston had fully overcome all angry,
reproachful feelings against her brother. So far her soul had peace, yet
she mourned for his love, his kind words, and pleasant smiles; and she
longed to tell him this, but his coldness held her back. Mr. Greylston
found his comfort in every way consulted; favourite dishes were silently
placed before him; sweet flowers, as of old, laid upon his table. He
knew the hand which wrought these loving acts. But did this knowledge
melt his heart? In a little while we shall see.

And the third morning dawned. Yet the cloud seemed in no wise lifted.
John Greylston's portrait hung in the parlour; it was painted in his
young days, when he was very handsome. His sister could not weary of
looking at it; to her this picture seemed the very embodiment of beauty.
Dear, unconscious soul, she never thought how much it was like herself,
or even the portrait of her which hung in the opposite recess--for
brother and sister strikingly resembled each other. Both had the same
high brows, the same deep blue eyes and finely chiselled features,
the same sweet and pleasant smiles; there was but one difference: Miss
Margaret's hair was of a pale golden colour, and yet unchanged; she wore
it now put back very smoothly and plainly from her face. When John was
young, his curls were of so dark a brown as to look almost black in the
shade. They were bleached a good deal by time, but yet they clustered
round his brow in the same careless, boyish fashion as of old.

Just now Miss Margaret could only look at her brother's picture with
tears. On that very morning she stood before it, her spirit so full of
tender memories, so crowded with sad yearnings, she felt as though they
would crush her to the earth. Oh, weary heart! endure yet "a little
while" longer. Even now the angel of reconciliation is on the wing.

Whilst John Greylston sat alone upon the foot of the porch at the front
of the house, and his sister stood so sadly in the parlour, the city
stage came whirling along the dusty turnpike. It stopped for a few
minutes opposite the lane which led to John Greylston's place. The door
was opened, and a grave-looking young man sprang out. He was followed by
a fairy little creature, who clapped her hands, and danced for joy
when she saw the white chimneys and vine-covered porches of "Greylston
Cottage."

"Annie! Annie!" but she only laughed, and gathering up the folds of
her travelling dress, managed to get so quickly and skilfully over the
fence, that her brother, who was unfastening the gate, looked at her in
perfect amazement.

"What in the world," he asked, with a smile on his grave face,
"possessed you to get over the fence in that monkey fashion? All those
people looking at you, too. For shame, Annie! Will you never be done
with those childish capers?"

"Yes, maybe when I am a gray-haired old woman; not before. Don't scold
now, Richard; you know very well you, and the passengers beside, would
give your ears to climb a fence as gracefully as I did just now. There,
won't you hand me my basket, please?"

He did so, and then, with a gentle smile, took the white, ungloved
fingers in his.

"My darling Annie, remember"--

"Stage waits," cried the driver.

So Richard Bermon's lecture was cut short; he had only time to bid his
merry young sister good-bye. Soon he was lost to sight.

Annie Bermon hurried down the lane, swinging her light willow basket
carelessly on her arm, and humming a joyous air all the way. Just as she
opened the outer lawn gate, the great Newfoundland dog came towards her
with a low growl; it changed directly though into a glad bark.

"I was sure you would know me, you dear old fellow; but I can't stop to
talk to you just now." And Annie patted his silken ears, and then went
on to the house, the dog bounding on before her, as though he had found
an old playmate.

John Greylston rubbed his eyes. No, it was not a dream. His darling
niece was really by his side, her soft curls touching his cheek; he
flung his arms tightly around her.

"Dear child, I was just dreaming about you; how glad I am to see your
sweet face again."

"I was sure you would be, Uncle John," she answered gayly, "and so I
started off from home this morning just, in a hurry. I took a sudden
fancy that I would come, and they could not keep me. But where is dear
Aunt Margaret? Oh, I know what I will do. I'll just run in and take her
by surprise. How well you look, uncle--so noble and grand too; by the
way, I always think King Robert Bruce must just have been such a man
like you."

"No laughing at your old uncle, you little rogue," said John Greylston
pleasantly, "but run and find your aunt. She is somewhere in the house."
And he looked after her with a loving smile as she flitted by him. Annie
Bermon passed quickly through the shaded sitting-room into the cool and
matted hall, catching glimpses as she went of the pretty parlour and
wide library; but her aunt was in neither of these rooms; so she hurried
up stairs, and stealing on tiptoe, with gentle fingers she pushed open
the door. Margaret Greylston was sitting by the table, sewing; her face
was flushed, and her eyes red and swollen as with weeping. Annie stood
still in wonder. But Miss Margaret suddenly looked up, and her niece
sprang, with a glad cry, into her arms.

"You are not well, Aunt Margaret? Oh! how sorry I am to hear that, but
it seems to me I could never get sick in this sweet place; everything
looks so bright and lovely here. And I _would_ come this morning, Aunt
Margaret, in spite of everything Sophy and all of them could say. They
told me I had been here once before this summer, and stayed a long time,
and if I would, come again, my welcome would be worn out, just as if I
was going to believe _such_ nonsense;" and Annie tossed her head. "But
I persevered, and you see, aunty dear, I am here, we will trust for some
good purpose, as Richard would say."

A silent Amen to this rose up in Miss Margaret's heart, and with it
came a hope dim and shadowy, yet beautiful withal; she hardly dared to
cherish it. Annie went on talking,--

"I can only stay two weeks with you--school commences then, and I must
hurry back to it; but I am always so glad to get here, away from the
noise and dust of the city; this is the best place in the world. Do you
know when we were travelling this summer, I was pining all the time to
get here. I was so tired of Newport and Saratoga, and all the crowds we
met."

"You are singular in your tastes, some would think, Annie," said Miss
Greylston, smiling fondly on her darling.

"So Madge and Sophy were always saying; even Clare laughed at me, and
my brothers, too,--only Richard,--Oh! by the way, I did torment him
this morning, he is so grave and good, and he was just beginning a nice
lecture at the gate, when the driver called, and poor Richard had only
time to send his love to you. Wasn't it droll, though, that lecture
being cut so short?" and Annie threw herself down in the great cushioned
chair, and laughed heartily.

Annie Bermond was the youngest of John and Margaret Greylston's nieces
and nephews. Her beauty, her sweet and sunny temper made her a favourite
at home and abroad. John Greylston loved her dearly; he always thought
she looked like his chosen bride, Ellen Day. Perhaps there was some
likeness, for Annie had the same bright eyes, and the same pouting,
rose-bud lips--but Margaret thought she was more like their own family.
She loved to trace a resemblance in the smiling face, rich golden curls,
and slight figure of Annie to her young sister Edith, who died when
Annie was a little baby. Just sixteen years old was Annie, and wild and
active as any deer, as her city-bred sisters sometimes declared half
mournfully.

Somehow, Annie Bermond thought it uncommonly grave and dull at the
dinner-table, yet why should it be so? Her uncle and aunt, as kind
and dear as ever, were there; she, herself, a blithe fairy, sat in her
accustomed seat; the day was bright, birds were singing, flowers were
gleaming, but there was a change. What could it be? Annie knew not, yet
her quick perception warned her of the presence of some trouble--some
cloud. In her haste to talk and cheer her uncle and aunt, the poor child
said what would have been best left unsaid.

"How beautiful those trees are; I mean those pines on the hill; don't
you admire them very much, Uncle John?"

"Tolerably," was the rather short answer. "I am too well used to trees
to go into the raptures of my little city niece about them;" and all
this time Margaret looked fixedly down upon the floor.

"Don't you frown so, uncle, or I will run right home to-morrow," said
Annie, with the assurance of a privileged pet; "but I was going to ask
you about the rock just back of those pines. Do you and Aunt Margaret
still go there to see the sunset? I was thinking about you these two
past evenings, when the sunsets were so grand, and wishing I was with
you on the rock; and you were both there, weren't you?"

This time John Greylston gave no answer, but his sister said briefly,

"No, Annie, we have not been at the rock for several evenings;" and then
a rather painful silence followed.

Annie at last spoke:

"You both, somehow, seem so changed and dull; I would just like to
know the reason. May be aunty is going to be married. Is that it, Uncle
John?"

Miss Margaret smiled, but the colour came brightly to her face.

"If this is really so, I don't wonder you are sad and grave; you,
especially, Uncle John; how lonely and wretched you would be! Oh! would
you not be very sorry if Aunt Madge should leave you, never to come back
again? Would not your heart almost break?"

John Greylston threw down his knife and fork violently upon the table,
and pushing back his chair, went from the room.

Annie Bermond looked in perfect bewilderment at her aunt, but Miss
Margaret was silent and tearful.

"Aunt! darling aunt! don't look so distressed;" and Annie put her arms
around her neck; "but tell me what have I done; what is the matter?"

Miss Greylston shook her head.

"You will not speak now, Aunt Margaret; you might tell me; I am sure
something has happened to distress you. Just as soon as I came here, I
saw a change, but I could not understand it. I cannot yet. Tell me, dear
aunt!" and she knelt beside her.

So Miss Greylston told her niece the whole story, softening, as far as
truth would permit, many of John's harsh speeches; but she was, not
slow to blame herself. Annie listened attentively. Young as she was,
her heart took in with the deepest sympathy the sorrow which shaded her
beloved friends.

"Oh! I am so very sorry for all this," she said half crying; "but aunty,
dear, I do not think uncle will have those nice old trees cut down. He
loves you too much to do it; I am sure he is sorry now for all those
sharp things he said; but his pride keeps him back from telling you
this, and maybe he thinks you are angry with him still. Aunt Margaret,
let me go and say to him that your love is as warm as ever, and that you
forgive him freely. Oh! it may do so much good. May I not go?"

But Miss Greylston tightened her grasp on the young girl's hand.

"Annie, you do not know your uncle as well as I do. Such a step can do
no good,--love, you cannot help us."

"Only let me try," she returned, earnestly; "Uncle John loves me so
much, and on the first day of my visit, he will not refuse to hear me.
I will tell him all the sweet things you said about him. I will tell him
there is not one bit of anger in your heart, and that you forgive and
love him dearly. I am sure when he hears this he will be glad. Any way,
it will not make matters worse. Now, do have some confidence in me.
Indeed I am not so childish as I seem. I am turned of sixteen now, and
Richard and Sophy often say I have the heart of a woman, even if I have
the ways of a child. Let me go now, dear Aunt Margaret; I will soon come
back to you with such good news."

Miss Greylston stooped down and kissed Annie's brow solemnly, tenderly.
"Go, my darling, and may God be with you." Then she turned away.

And with willing feet Annie Bermond went forth upon her blessed errand.
She soon found her uncle. He was sitting beneath the shade of the old
pines, and he seemed to be in very deep thought. Annie got down on the
grass beside him, and laid her soft cheek upon his sunburnt hand. How
gently he spoke--

"What did you come here for, sweet bird?"

"Because I love you so much, Uncle John; that is the reason; but won't
you tell me why you look so very sad and grave? I wish I knew your
thoughts just now."

"And if you did, fairy, they would not make you any prettier or better
than you are."

"I wonder if they do you any good, uncle?" she quickly replied; but her
companion made no answer; he only smiled.

Let me write here what John Greylston's tongue refused to say. Those
thoughts, indeed, had done him good; they were tender, self-upbraiding,
loving thoughts, mingled, all the while, with touching memories,
mournful glimpses of the past--the days of his sore bereavement, when
the coffin-lid was first shut down over Ellen Day's sweet face, and
he was smitten to the earth with anguish. Then Margaret's sympathy and
love, so beautiful in its strength, and unselfishness, so unwearying and
sublime in its sacrifices, became to him a stay and comfort. And had she
not, for his sake, uncomplainingly given up the best years of her life,
as it seemed? Had her love ever faltered? Had it ever wavered in its
sweet endeavours to make him happy? These memories, these thoughts,
closed round John Greylston like a circle of rebuking angels. Not for
the first time were they with him when Annie found him beneath the old
pines. Ever since that morning of violent and unjust anger they had
been struggling in his heart, growing stronger, it seemed, every hour
in their reproachful tenderness. Those loving, silent attentions to his
wishes John Greylston had noted, and they rankled like sharp thorns
in his soul. He was not worthy of them; this he knew. How he loathed
himself for his sharp and angry words! He had it in his heart to tell
his sister this, but an overpowering shame held him back.

"If I only knew how Madge felt towards me," he said many times to
himself, "then I could speak; but I have been such a brute. She can
do nothing else but repulse me;" and this threw around him that
chill reserve which kept Margaret's generous and forgiving heart at a
distance.

Even every-day life has its wonders, and perhaps not one of the least
was that this brother and sister, so long fellow-pilgrims, so long
readers of each other's hearts, should for a little while be kept
asunder by mutual blindness. Yet the hand which is to chase the mists
from their darkened eyes, even now is raised, what though it be but
small? God in his wisdom and mercy will cause its strength to be
sufficient.

When John Greylston gave his niece no answer, she looked intently in his
face and said,

"You will not tell me what you have been thinking about; but I can
guess, Uncle John. I know the reason you did not take Aunt Margaret to
the rock to see the sunset."

"Do you?" he asked, startled from his composure, his face flushing
deeply.

"Yes; for I would not rest until aunty told me the whole story, and I
just came out to talk to you about it. Now, Uncle John, don't frown,
and draw away your hand; just listen to me a little while; I am sure you
will be glad." Then she repeated, in her pretty, girlish way, touching
in its earnestness, all Miss Greylston had told her. "Oh, if you had
only heard her say those sweet things, I know you would not keep vexed
one minute longer! Aunt Margaret told me that she did not blame you
at all, only herself; that she loved you dearly, and she is so sorry
because you seem cold and angry yet, for she wants so very, very much
to beg your forgiveness, and tell you all this, dear Uncle John, if you
would only--"

"Annie," he suddenly interrupted, drawing her closely to his bosom;
"Annie, you precious child, in telling me all this you have taken a
great weight off of my heart. You have done your old uncle a world of
good. God bless you a thousand times! If I had known this at once; if
I had been sure, from the first, of Margaret's forgiveness for my cruel
words, how quickly I would have sought it. My dear, noble sister!"
The tears filled John Greylston's dark blue eyes, but his smile was so
exceedingly tender and beautiful, that Annie drew closer to his side.

"Oh, that lovely smile!" she cried, "how it lights your face; and now
you look so good and forgiving, dearer and better even than a king.
Uncle John, kiss me again; my heart is so glad! shall I run now and tell
Aunt Margaret all this sweet news?"

"No, no, darling little peace-maker, stay here; I will go to her
myself;" and he hurried away.

Annie Bermond sat alone upon the hill, musingly platting the long grass
together, but she heeded not the work of her fingers. Her face was
bright with joy, her heart full of happiness. Dear child! in one brief
hour she had learned the blessedness of that birthright which is for
all God's sons and daughters, if they will but claim it. I mean _the
privilege of doing good, of being useful_.

Miss Greylston sat by the parlour window, just where she could see who
crossed the lawn. She was waiting with a kind of nervous impatience for
Annie. She heard a footstep, but it was only Liddy going down to the
dairy. Then Reuben went by on his way to the meadow, and all was silent
again. Where was Annie?--but now quick feet sounded upon the crisp
and faded leaves. Miss Margaret looked out, and saw her brother
coming,--then she was sure Annie had in some way missed him, and
she drew back from the window keenly disappointed, not even a faint
suspicion of the blessed truth crossing her mind. As John Greylston
entered the hall, a sudden and irresistible desire prompted Margaret to
go and tell him all the loving and forgiving thoughts of her heart, no
matter what his mood should be. So she threw down her work, and went
quickly towards the parlour door. And the brother and sister met, just
on the threshold.

"John--John," she said, falteringly, "I must speak to you; I cannot bear
this any longer."

"Nor can I, Margaret."

Miss Greylston looked up in her brother's face; it was beaming with love
and tenderness. Then she knew the hour of reconciliation had come, and
with a quick, glad cry, she sprang into his arms and laid her head down
upon his shoulder.

"Can you ever forgive me, Madge?"

She made no reply--words had melted into tears, but they were eloquent,
and for a little while it was quite still in the parlour.

"You shall blame yourself no longer, Margaret. All along you have
behaved like a sweet Christian woman as you are, but I have been an old
fool, unreasonable and cross from the very beginning. Can you really
forgive me all those harsh words, for which I hated myself not ten hours
after they were said? Can you, indeed, forgive and forget these? Tell me
so again."

"John," she said, raising her tearful face from his shoulder, "I do
forgive you most completely, with my whole heart, and, O! I wanted so to
tell you this two days ago, but your coldness kept me back. I was afraid
your anger was not over, and that you would repel me."

"Ah, that coldness was but shame--deep and painful shame. I was
needlessly harsh with you, and moments of reflection only served to
fasten on me the belief that I had lost all claim to your love, that you
could not forgive me. Yes! I did misjudge you, Madge, I know, but when I
looked back upon the past, and all your faithful love for me, I saw you
as I had ever seen you, the best of sisters, and then my shameful
and ungrateful conduct rose up clearly before me. I felt so utterly
unworthy."

Miss Greylston laid her finger upon her brother's lips. "Nor will I
listen to you blaming yourself so heavily any longer. John, you had
cause to be angry with me; I was unreasonably urgent about the trees,"
and she sighed; "I forgot to be gentle and patient; so you see I am to
blame as well as yourself."

"But I forgot even common kindness and courtesy;" he said gravely. "What
demon was in my heart, Margaret, I do not know. Avarice, I am afraid,
was at the bottom of all this, for rich as I am, I somehow felt very
obstinate about running into any more expense or trouble about the road;
and then, you remember, I never could love inanimate things as you do.
But from this time forth I will try--and the pines"--

"Let the pines go down, my dear brother, I see now how unreasonable I
have been," suddenly interrupted Miss Greylston; "and indeed these few
days past I could not look at them with any pleasure; they only reminded
me of our separation. Cut them down: I will not say one word."

"Now, what a very woman you are, Madge! Just when you have gained your
will, you want to turn about; but, love, the trees shall not come down.
I will give them to you; and you cannot refuse my peace-offering; and
never, whilst John Greylston lives, shall an axe touch those pines,
unless you say so, Margaret."

He laughed when he said this, but her tears were falling fast.

"Next month will be November; then comes our birth-day; we will be fifty
years old, Margaret. Time is hurrying on with us; he has given me gray
locks, and laid some wrinkles on your dear face; but that is nothing if
our hearts are untouched. O, for so many long years, ever since my Ellen
was snatched from me,"--and here John Greylston paused a moment--"you
have been to me a sweet, faithful comforter. Madge, dear twin sister,
your love has always been a treasure to me; but you well know for many
years past it has been my _only_ earthly treasure. Henceforth, God
helping me, I will seek to restrain my evil temper. I will be more
watchful; if sometimes I fail, Margaret, will you not love me, and bear
with me?"

Was there any need for that question? Miss Margaret only answered by
clasping her brother's hand more closely in her own. As they stood there
in the autumn sunlight, united so lovingly, hand in hand, each silently
prayed that thus it might be with them always; not only through life's
autumn, but in that winter so surely for them approaching, and which
would give place to the fair and beautiful spring of the better land.

Annie Bermond's bright face looked in timidly at the open door.

"Come here, darling, come and stand right beside your old uncle and
aunt, and let us thank you with all our hearts for the good you have
done us. Don't cry any more, Margaret. Why, fairy, what is the matter
with you?" for Annie's tears were falling fast upon his hand.

"I hardly know, Uncle John; I never felt so glad in my life before, but
I cannot help crying. Oh, it is so sweet to think the cloud has gone."

"And whose dear hand, under God's blessing, drove the cloud away, but
yours, my child?"

Annie was silent; she only clung the tighter to her uncle's arm, and
Miss Greylston said, with a beaming smile,

"Now, Annie, we see the good purpose God had in sending you here to-day.
You have done for us the blessed work of a peace-maker."

Annie had always been dear to her uncle and aunt, but from that
golden autumn day, she became, if such a thing could be, dearer than
ever--bound to them by an exceedingly sweet tie.

Years went by. One snowy evening, a merry Christmas party was gathered
together in the wide parlour at Greylston Cottage,--nearly all the
nephews and nieces were there. Mrs. Lennox, the "Sophy" of earlier
days, with her husband; Richard Bermond and his pretty little wife were
amongst the number; and Annie, dear, bright Annie--her fair face only
the fairer and sweeter for time--sat, talking in a corner with young
Walter Selwyn. John Greylston went slowly to the window, and pushed
aside the curtains, and as he stood there looking out somewhat gravely
in the bleak and wintry night, he felt a soft hand touch him, and he
turned and found Annie Bermond by his side.

"You looked so lonely, my dear uncle."

"And that is the reason you deserted Walter?" he said, laughing. "Well,
I will soon send you back to him. But, look out here first, Annie, and
tell me what you see;" and she laid her face close to the window-pane,
and, after a minute's silence, said,

"I see the ground white with snow, the sky gleaming with stars, and the
dear old pines, tall and stately as ever."

"Yes, the pines; that is what I meant, my child. Ah, they have been my
silent monitors ever since that day; you remember it, Annie! Bless you,
child! how much good you did us then."

But Annie was silently crying beside him. John Greylton wiped his eyes,
and then he called his sister Margaret to the window.

"Annie and I have been looking at the old pines, and you can guess what
we were thinking about. As for myself," he added, "I never see those
trees without feeling saddened and rebuked. I never recall that season
of error, without the deepest shame and grief. And still the old pines
stand. Well, Madge, one day they will shade our graves; and of late I
have thought that day would dawn very soon."

Annie Bermond let the curtain fall very slowly forward, and buried
her face in her hands; but the two old pilgrims by her side, John and
Margaret Greylston, looked at each other with a smile of hope and joy.
They had long been "good and faithful servants," and now they awaited
the coming of "the Master," with a calm, sweet patience, knowing it
would be well with them, when He would call them hence.

The pines creaked mournfully in the winter wind, and the stars looked
down upon bleak wastes, and snow-shrouded meadows; yet the red blaze
heaped blithely on the hearth, taking in, in its fair light, the merry
circle sitting side by side, and the thoughtful little group standing so
quietly by the window. And even now the picture fades, and is gone. The
curtain falls--the story of John and Margaret Greylston is ended.



THE WORLD WOULD BE THE BETTER FOR IT.



     IF men cared less for wealth and fame,
       And less for battle-fields and glory;
     If, writ in human hearts, a name
       Seemed better than in song and story;
     If men, instead of nursing pride,
       Would learn to hate and to abhor it--
         If more relied
         On Love to guide,
     The world would be the better for it.

     If men dealt less in stocks and lands,
       And more in bonds and deeds fraternal;
     If Love's work had more willing hands
       To link this world to the supernal;
     If men stored up Love's oil and wine,
       And on bruised human hearts would pour it;
         If "yours" and "mine"
         Would once combine,
     The world would be the better for it.

     If more would act the play of Life,
       And fewer spoil it in rehearsal;
     If Bigotry would sheathe its knife
       Till Good became more universal;
     If Custom, gray with ages grown,
       Had fewer blind men to adore it--
         If talent shone
         In truth alone,
     The world would be the better for it.

     If men were wise in little things--
       Affecting less in all their dealings--
     If hearts had fewer rusted strings
       To isolate their kindly feelings;
     If men, when Wrong beats down the Right,
       Would strike together and restore it--
         If Right made Might
         In every fight,
     The world would be the better for it.



TWO SIDES TO A STORY.



"HAVE you seen much of your new neighbours, yet?" asked Mrs. Morris, as
she stepped in to have an hour's social chat with her old friend, Mrs.
Freeman.

"Very little," was the reply. "Occasionally I have seen the lady walking
in her garden, and have sometimes watched the sports of the children on
the side-walk, but this is all. It is not like the country, you
know. One may live here for years, and not become acquainted with the
next-door neighbours."

"Some may do so," replied Mrs. Morris, "but, for my part, I always like
to know something of those around me. It is not always desirable to make
the acquaintance of near neighbours, but by a little observation it
is very easy to gain an insight into their characters and position in
society. The family which has moved into the house next to yours, for
instance, lived near to me for nearly two years, and although I never
spoke to one of them, I can tell you of some strange transactions which
took place in their house."

"Indeed!" replied Mrs. Freeman, with little manifestation of interest or
curiosity; but Mrs. Morris was too eager to communicate her information
to notice her friend's manner, and lowering her voice to a confidential
tone, continued:--

"There is an old lady in their family whom they abuse in the most
shocking manner. She is very rich, and they by threats and ill-treatment
extort large sums of money from her."

"A singular way of inducing any one to bestow favours," replied Mrs.
Freeman, dryly. "Why does not the old lady leave there?"

"Bless your heart, my dear friend, she cannot get an opportunity! They
never suffer her to leave the house unattended. Once or twice, indeed,
she succeeded in getting into the street, but they discovered her in a
moment, and actually forced her into the house. You smile incredulously,
but if you had been an eye-witness of their proceedings, as I have, or
had heard the screams of the poor creature, and the heavy blows which
they inflict, you would be convinced of the truth of what I tell you."

"I do not doubt the truth of your story in the least, my dear Mrs.
Morris. I only think that in this case, as in most others, there must
be two sides to the story. It is almost incredible that such barbarous
treatment could continue for any great length of time without discovery
and exposure."

"Oh, as to that, people are not fond of getting themselves into trouble
by meddling with their neighbours' affairs. I am very cautious about
it myself. I would not have mentioned this matter to any one but an old
friend like yourself. It seemed best to put you on your guard."

"Thank you," was the smiling reply. "It is hardly probable that I shall
be called upon to make any acquaintance with my new neighbours but if I
am, I certainly shall not forget your caution."

Satisfied that she had succeeded, at least partially, in awakening the
suspicions of her friend, Mrs. Morris took her departure, while Mrs.
Freeman, quite undisturbed by her communications, continued her usual
quiet round of domestic duties, thinking less of the affairs of her
neighbours than of those of her own household.

Occasionally she saw the old lady whom Mrs. Morris had mentioned walking
in the adjoining garden, sometimes alone, and sometimes accompanied
by the lady of the house, or one of the children. There was nothing
striking in her appearance. She looked cheerful and contented, and
showed no signs of confinement or abuse. Once, when Mrs. Freeman was in
her garden, she had looked over the fence, and praised the beauty of her
flowers, and when a bunch was presented to her, had received them with
that almost childish delight which aged people often manifest.

Weeks passed on, and the remarks of Mrs. Morris were almost forgotten,
when Mrs. Freeman was aroused one night by loud cries, apparently
proceeding from the adjoining house; and on listening intently could
plainly distinguish the sound of heavy blows, and also the voice of the
old lady in question, as if in earnest expostulation and entreaty.

Mrs. Freeman aroused her husband, and together they listened in anxiety
and alarm. For nearly an hour the sounds continued, but at length
all was again quiet. It was long, however, before they could compose
themselves to rest. It was certainly strange and unaccountable, and
there was something so inhuman in the thought of abusing an aged woman
that their hearts revolted at the idea.

Still Mrs. Freeman maintained, as was her wont, that there must be two
sides to the story; and after vainly endeavouring to imagine what the
other side could be, she fell asleep, and was undisturbed until morning.

All seemed quiet the next day, and Mrs. Freeman had somewhat recovered
from the alarm of the previous night, when she was again visited by her
friend, Mrs. Morris. As usual, she had confidential communications to
make, and particularly wished the advice of Mrs. Freeman in a matter
which she declared weighed heavily upon her mind; and being assured that
they should be undisturbed, began at once to impart the weighty secret.

"You remember Mrs. Dawson, who went with her husband to Europe, a year
or two ago?"

"Certainly I do," was the reply. "I was well acquainted with her."

"Do you recollect a girl who had lived with her for several years? I
think her name was Mary Berkly."

"Quite well. Mrs. Dawson placed great confidence in her, and wished to
take her abroad, but Mary was engaged to an honest carpenter, in good
business, and wisely preferred a comfortable house in her own country."

"She had other reasons, I suspect," replied Mrs. Morris, mysteriously,
"but you will hear. This Mary Berkly, or as she is now called,
Mary White, lives not far from my present residence. Her husband is
comfortably off, and his wife is not obliged to work, excepting in her
own family, but still she will occasionally, as a favour, do up a few
muslins for particular persons. You know she was famous for her skill
in those things. The other day, having a few pieces which I was
particularly anxious to have look nice, I called upon her to see if she
would wash them for me. She was not at home, but her little niece, who
lives with her, a child of four years old, said that Aunt Mary would be
in directly, and asked me to walk into the parlour. I did so, and the
little thing stood by my side chattering away like a magpie. In reply
to my questions as to whether she liked to live with her aunt, what she
amused herself with, &c., &c., she entered into a long account of
her various playthings, and ended by saying that she would show me a
beautiful new doll which her good uncle had given her, if I would please
to unlock the door of a closet near where I was sitting, as she could
not turn the key.

"To please the child I unlocked the door. She threw it wide open, and
to my astonishment I saw that it was filled with valuable silver plate,
china, and other articles of similar kind, some of which I particularly
remembered having seen at Mrs. Dawson's."

"Perhaps she gave them to Mary," suggested Mrs. Freeman. "She was quite
attached to her."

"Impossible!" exclaimed Mrs. Morris. "Valuable silver plate is not often
given to servants. But I have not yet finished. Just as the child had
found the doll Mrs. White entered, and on seeing the closet-door open,
said sternly to the child,

"'Rosy, you did very wrong to open that door without my leave. I shall
not let you take your doll again for a week;' and looking very red and
confused, she hastily closed it, and turned the key. Now, to my mind,
these are suspicious circumstances, particularly as I recollect that Mr.
and Mrs. Dawson were robbed of silver plate shortly before they went to
Europe, and no trace could be found of the thieves."

"True," replied Mrs. Freeman, thoughtfully; "I recollect the robbery
very well. Still I cannot believe that Mary had anything to do with it.
I was always pleased with her modest manner, and thought her an honest,
capable girl."

"She is very smooth-faced, I know," answered Mrs. Morris, "but
appearances are certainly against her. I am confident that the articles
I saw belonged to Mrs. Dawson."

"There may be another side to the story, however," remarked her friend;
"but why not mention your suspicions to Mrs. Dawson? You know she has
returned, and is boarding in the upper part of the city. I have her
address, somewhere."

"I know where she lives; but would you really advise me to meddle with
the affair? I shall make enemies of Mr. and Mrs. White, if they hear of
it, and I like to have the good-will of all, both, rich and poor."

"I do not believe that Mary would take anything wrongfully," replied
Mrs. Freeman; "but if my suspicions were as fully aroused as yours seem
to be, I presume I should mention what I saw to Mrs. Dawson, if it
were only for the sake of hearing the other side of the story, and thus
removing such unpleasant doubts from my mind. And, indeed, if you really
think that the articles which you saw were stolen, it becomes your duty
to inform the owners thereof, or you become, in a measure, a partaker of
the theft."

"That is true," said Mrs. Morris, rising, "and in that way I might
ultimately gain the ill-will of Mrs. Dawson; therefore I think I will go
at once and tell her my suspicions."

"Which, I am convinced, you will find erroneous," replied Mrs. Freeman.

"We shall see," was the answer of her friend, accompanied by an ominous
shake of the head; and promising to call upon Mrs. Freeman on her
return, she took leave.

During her absence, the alarming cries from the next house were again
heard; and presently the old lady appeared on the side-walk, apparently
in great agitation and alarm, and gazing wildly about her, as if seeking
a place of refuge; but she was instantly seized in the forcible manner
Mrs. Morris had described, and carried into the house.

"This is dreadful!" exclaimed Mrs. Freeman. "What excuse can there
be for such treatment?" and for a moment her heart was filled with
indignation toward her supposed barbarous neighbours; but a little
reflection caused her still to suspend her judgment, and endeavour to
learn both sides of the story.

As she sat ruminating on this singular occurrence, and considering what
was her duty in regard to it, she was aroused by the entrance of Mrs.
Morris, who, with an air of vexation and disappointment, threw herself
upon the nearest chair, exclaiming,

"A pretty piece of work I have been about! It is all owing to your
advice, Mrs. Freeman. If it had not been for you I should not have made
such a fool of myself."

"Why, what has happened to you?" asked Mrs. Freeman, anxiously. "What
advice have I given you which has caused trouble?"

"You recommended my calling upon Mrs. Dawson, did you not?"

"Certainly: I thought it the easiest way to relieve your mind from
painful suspicions. What did she say?"

"Say! I wish you could have seen the look she gave me when I told her
what I saw at Mrs. White's. You know her haughty manner? She thanked me
for the trouble I had taken on her account, and begged leave to assure
me that she had perfect confidence in the honesty of Mrs. White. The
articles which had caused me so much unnecessary anxiety were intrusted
to her care when they went to Europe, and it had not yet been convenient
to reclaim them. I cannot tell you how contemptuously she spoke. I never
felt so mortified in my life."

"There is no occasion for feeling so, if your intentions were good,"
answered Mrs. Freeman; "and certainly it must be a relief to you to hear
the other side of the story. Nothing less would have convinced you of
Mrs. White's honesty."

Mrs. Morris was prevented from replying by the sudden and violent
ringing of the bell, and an instant after the door was thrown open, and
the old lady, whose supposed unhappy condition had called forth their
sympathies, rushed into the room.

"Oh, save me! save me!" she exclaimed, frantically. "I am
pursued,--protect me, for the love of Heaven!"

"Poor creature!" said Mrs. Morris. "You see that I was not mistaken in
this story, at least. There can be no two sides to this."

"Depend upon it there is," replied Mrs. Freeman; but she courteously
invited her visiter to be seated, and begged to know what had occasioned
her so much alarm.

The poor lady told a plausible and piteous tale of ill-treatment, and,
indeed, actual abuse. Mrs. Morris listened with a ready ear, and loudly
expressed her horror and indignation. Mrs. Freeman was more guarded.
There was something in the old lady's appearance and manners that
excited an undefinable feeling of fear and aversion. Mrs. Freeman
felt much perplexed as to the course she ought to pursue, and looked
anxiously at the clock to see if the time for her husband's return was
near.

It still wanted nearly two hours, and after a little more consideration
she decided to go herself into the next door, ask for an interview with
the lady of the house, frankly state what had taken place, and demand
an explanation. This resolution she communicated in a low voice to Mrs.
Morris, who opposed it as imprudent and ill-judged.

"Of course they will deny the charge," she argued, "and by letting them
know where the poor creature has taken shelter, you will again expose
her to their cruelty. Besides, you will get yourself into trouble. My
advice to you is to keep quiet until your husband returns, and then to
assist the poor lady secretly to go to her friends in the country, who
she says will gladly receive her."

"But I am anxious to hear both sides of the story before I decide to
assist her," replied Mrs. Freeman.

"Nonsense!" exclaimed her friend. "Even you must see that there cannot
be two sides to this story. There is no possible excuse for cruelty, and
to an inoffensive, aged woman."

While they were thus consulting together, their visiter regarded them
with a troubled look, and a fierce gleaming eye, which did not, escape
Mrs. Freeman's observation; and just as Mrs. Morris finished speaking,
the maniac sprang upon her, like a tiger on his prey, and, seizing her
by the throat, demanded what new mischief was plotting against her.

The screams of the terrified women drew the attention of the son of
the old lady, who had just discovered her absence, and was hastening in
search of her. At once suspecting the truth, he rushed without ceremony
into his neighbour's house, and speedily rescued Mrs. Morris from her
unpleasant and somewhat dangerous situation. After conveying his mother
to her own room, and consigning her to strict custody, he returned, and
respectfully apologized to Mrs. Freeman for what had taken place.

"His poor mother," he said, "had for several years been subject to
occasional fits of insanity. Generally she had appeared harmless,
excepting as regarded herself. Unless prevented by force, she would
sometimes beat her own flesh in a shocking manner, uttering at the same
time loud cries and complaints of the abuse of those whom she supposed
to be tormenting her.

"In her lucid intervals she had so earnestly besought them not to place
her in the asylum for the insane, but to continue to bear with her under
their own roof, that they had found it impossible to refuse their solemn
promise to comply with her wishes.

"For themselves, their love for her rendered them willing to bear
with her infirmities, but it should be their earnest care that their
neighbours should not again be disturbed."

Mrs. Freeman kindly expressed her sympathy and forgiveness for the alarm
which she had experienced, and the gentleman took leave.

Poor Mrs. Morris had remained perfectly silent since her release; but
as the door closed on their visiter, and her friend kindly turned to
inquire how she found herself, she recovered her speech, and exclaimed,
energetically,

"I will never, never say again that there are not two sides to a story.
If I am ever tempted to believe one side without waiting to hear the
other, I shall surely feel again the hands of that old witch upon my
throat."

"Old witch!" repeated Mrs. Freeman. "Surely she demands our sympathy as
much as when we thought her suffering under ill-treatment. It is indeed
a sad thing to be bereft of reason. But this will be a useful lesson to
both of us: for I will readily acknowledge that in this instance I
was sometimes tempted to forget that there are always 'two sides to a
story.'"



LITTLE KINDNESSES.



NOT long since, it was announced that a large fortune had been left to a
citizen of the United States by a foreigner, who, some years before, had
"become ill" while travelling in this country, and whose sick-bed was
watched with the utmost care and kindness by the citizen referred to.
The stranger recovered, continued his journey, and finally returned to
his own country. The conduct of the American at a moment so critical,
and when, without relatives or friends, the invalid was languishing in a
strange land, was not forgotten. He remembered it in his thoughtful and
meditative moments, and when about to prepare for another world, his
gratitude was manifested in a truly signal manner. A year or two ago, an
individual in this city was labouring under great pecuniary difficulty.
He was unexpectedly called upon for a considerable sum of money; and,
although his means were abundant, they were not at that time immediately
available. Puzzled and perplexed, he hesitated as to his best course,
when, by the merest chance, he met an old acquaintance, and incidentally
mentioned the facts of the case. The other referred to an act of
kindness that he had experienced years before, said that he had never
forgotten it, and that nothing would afford him more pleasure than
to extend the relief that was required, and thus show, his grateful
appreciation of the courtesy of former years! The kindness alluded to
was a mere trifle, comparatively speaking, and its recollection had
passed entirely from the memory of the individual who had performed it.
Not so, however, with the obliged. He had never forgotten it, and
the result proved, in the most conclusive manner, that he was deeply
grateful.

We have mentioned the two incidents with the object of inculcating the
general policy of courtesy and kindness, of sympathy and assistance, in
our daily intercourse with our fellow-creatures. It is the true
course under all circumstances. "Little kindnesses" sometimes make an
impression that "lingers and lasts" for years. This is especially the
case with the sensitive, the generous, and the high-minded. And how much
may be accomplished by this duty of courtesy and humanity! How the paths
of life may be smoothed and softened! How the present may be cheered,
and the future rendered bright and beautiful!

There are, it is true, some selfish spirits, who can neither
appreciate nor reciprocate a courteous or a generous act. They are for
themselves--"now and for ever"--if we may employ such a phrase--and
appear never to be satisfied. You can never do enough for them. Nay,
the deeper the obligation, the colder the heart. They grow jealous,
distrustful, and finally begin to hate their benefactors. But these, we
trust, are "the exceptions," not "the rule." Many a heart has been won,
many a friendship has been secured, many a position has been acquired,
through the exercise of such little kindnesses and courtesies as are
natural to the generous in spirit and the noble of soul--to all,
indeed, who delight, not only in promoting their own prosperity, but
in contributing to the welfare of every member of the human family. Who
cannot remember some incident of his own life, in which an individual,
then and perhaps now a stranger--one who has not been seen for years,
and never may be seen again on this side the grave, manifested the true,
the genuine, the gentle spirit of a gentleman and a Christian, in
some mere trifle--some little but impulsive and spontaneous act,
which nevertheless developed the whole heart, and displayed the
real character! Distance and time may separate, and our pursuits and
vocations may be in paths distinct, dissimilar, and far apart. Yet,
there are moments--quiet, calm, and contemplative, when memory will
wander back to the incidents referred to, and we will feel a secret bond
of affinity, friendship, and brotherhood. The name will be mentioned
with respect if not affection, and a desire will be experienced to
repay, in some way or on some occasion, the generous courtesy of the
by-gone time. It is so easy to be civil and obliging, to be kindly and
humane! We not only thus assist the comfort of others, but we promote
our own mental enjoyment. Life, moreover, is full of chance's and
changes. A few years, sometimes, produce extraordinary revolutions
in the fortunes of men. The haughty of to-day may be the humble of
to-morrow; the feeble may be the powerful; the rich may be the poor,
But, if elevated by affluence or by position, the greater the necessity,
the stronger the duty to be kindly, courteous, and conciliatory to those
less fortunate. We can afford to be so; and a proper appreciation of our
position, a due sympathy for the misfortunes of others, and a grateful
acknowledge to Divine Providence, require that we should be so. Life is
short at best. We are here a few years--we sink into the grave--and even
our memory is phantom-like and evanescent. How plain, then, is our
duty! It is to be true to our position, to our conscience, and to the
obligations imposed upon us by society, by circumstances, and by our
responsibility to the Author of all that is beneficent and good.



LEAVING OFF CONTENTION BEFORE IT BE MEDDLED WITH.



WE are advised to leave off contention before it be meddled with, by
one usually accounted a very wise man. Had he never given the world any
other evidence of superior wisdom, this admonition alone would have been
sufficient to have established his claims thereto. It shows that he had
power to penetrate to the very root of a large share of human
misery. For what is the great evil in our condition here? Is it not
misunderstanding, disagreement, alienation, contention, and the passions
and results flowing from these? Are not contempt, and hatred, and
strife, and alteration, and slander, and evil-speaking, the things
hardest to bear, and most prolific of suffering, in the lot of human
life? The worst woes of life are such as spring from, these sources.

Is there any cure for these maladies? Is there anything to prevent or
abate these exquisite sufferings? The wise man directs our attention to
a remedial preventive in the advice above referred to. His counsel to
those whose lot unites them in the same local habitations and name
to those who are leagued in friendship or business, in the changes
of sympathy and the chances of collision, is, to suppress anger or
dissatisfaction, to be candid and charitable in judging, and, by all
means, to leave off contention before it be meddled with. His counsel to
all is to endure injury meekly, not to give expression to the sense of
wrong, even when we might seem justified in resistance or complaint. His
counsel is to yield something we might fairly claim, to pardon when we
might punish, to sacrifice somewhat of our rights for the sake of peace
and friendly affection. His counsel is not to fire at every provocation,
not to return evil for evil, not to cherish any fires of revenge,
burning to be even with the injurious person. His counsel is to curb
our imperiousness, to repress our impatience, to pause in the burst of
another's feeling, to pour water upon the kindling flames, or, at the
very least, to abstain from adding any fresh fuel thereto.

One proof of the superior wisdom of this counsel is, that few seem to
appreciate or perceive it. To many it seems no great virtue or wisdom,
no great and splendid thing, in some small issue of feeling or opinion,
in the family or among friends, to withhold a little, to tighten
the rein upon some headlong propensity, and await a calm for fair
adjustment. Such a course is not usually held to be a proof of wisdom
or virtue; and men are much more ready to praise and think well of
smartness, and spirit, and readiness for an encounter. To leave off
contention before it is meddled with does not command any very general
admiration; it is too quiet a virtue, with no striking attitudes, and
with lips which answer nothing. This is too often mistaken for dullness,
and want of proper spirit. It requires discernment and superior wisdom
to see a beauty in such repose and self-control, beyond the explosions
of anger and retaliation. With the multitude, self-restraining meekness
under provocation is a virtue which stands quite low in the catalogue.
It is very frequently set down as pusillanimity and cravenness
of spirit. But it is not so; for there is a self-restraint under
provocation which is far from being cowardice, or want of feeling, or
shrinking from consequences; there is a victory over passionate impulses
which is more difficult and more meritorious than a victory on the
bloody battle-field. It requires more power, more self-command, often,
to leave off contention, when provocation and passion are causing the
blood to boil, than to rush into it.

Were this virtue more duly appreciated, and the admonition of the Wise
Man more extensively heeded, what a change would be effected in human
life! How many of its keenest sufferings would be annihilated! The spark
which kindles many great fires would be withheld; and, great as are the
evils and sufferings caused by war, they are not as great, probably, as
those originating in impatience and want of temper. The fretfulness
of human life, it seems not hard to believe, is a greater evil,
and destroys more happiness, than all the bloody scenes of the
battle-field. The evils of war have generally something to lighten the
burden of them in a sense of necessity, or of rights or honour invaded;
but there is nothing of like importance to alleviate the sufferings
caused by fretfulness, impatience, want of temper. The excitable
peevishness which kindles at trifles, that roughens the daily experience
of a million families, that scatters its little stings at the table and
by the hearth-stone, what does this but unmixed harm? What ingredient
does it furnish but of gall? Its fine wounding may be of petty
consequence in any given case, and its tiny darts easily extracted; but,
when habitually carried into the whole texture of life, it destroys more
peace than plague and famine and the sword. It is a deeper anguish
than grief; it is a sharper pang than the afflicted moan with; it is
a heavier pressure from human hands than when affliction lays her hand
upon you. All this deduction from human comfort, all this addition to
human suffering, may be saved, by heeding the admonition of wisdom given
by one of her sons. When provoked by the follies or the passions,
the offences or neglects, the angry words or evil-speaking of others,
restrain your propensity to complain or contend; leave off contention
before you take the first step towards it. You will then be greater than
he that taketh a city. You will be a genial companion in your family and
among your neighbours. You will be loved at home and blessed abroad.
You will be a source of comfort to others, and carry a consciousness
of praiseworthiness in your own bosom. On the contrary, an acrid
disposition, a readiness to enter into contention, is like vinegar to
the teeth, like caustic to an open sore. It eats out all the beauty,
tenderness, and affection of domestic and social life. For all this the
remedy is simple. Put a restraint upon your feelings; give up a little;
take less than belongs to you; endure more than should be put upon you;
make allowance for another's judgment or educational defects; consider
circumstances and constitution; leave off contention before it
be meddled with. If you do otherwise, quick resentment and stiff
maintenance of your position will breed endless disputes and bitterness.
But happy will be the results of the opposite course, accomplished every
day and every hour in the family, with friends, with companions, with
all with whom you have any dealings or any commerce in life.

Let any one set himself to the cultivation of this virtue of meekness
and self-restraint, and he will find that it cannot be secured by one or
a few efforts, however resolute; by a few struggles, however severe. It
requires industrious culture; it requires that he improve every little
occasion to quench strife and fan concord, till a constant sweetness
smooths the face of domestic life, and kindness and tenderness become
the very expression of the countenance. This virtue of self-control
must grow by degrees. It must grow by a succession of abstinences from
returning evil for evil, by a succession of leaving off contention
before the first angry word escapes.

It may help to cultivate this virtue, to practise some forethought. When
tempted to irritable, censorious speech, one might with advantage call
to recollection the times, perhaps frequent, when words uttered in haste
have caused sorrow or repentance. Then, again, the fact might be called
to mind, that when we lose a friend, every harsh word we may have spoken
rises to condemn us. There is a resurrection, not for the dead only, but
for the injuries we have fixed in their hearts--in hearts, it may be,
bound to our own, and to which we owed gentleness instead of harshness.
The shafts of reproach, which come from the graves of those who have
been wounded by our fretfulness and irritability, are often hard to
bear. Let meek forbearance and self-control prevent such suffering, and
guard us against the condemnations of the tribunal within.

There is another tribunal, also, which it were wise to think of. The
rule of that tribunal is, that if we forgive not those who trespass
against us, we ourselves shall not be forgiven. "He shall have judgment
without mercy that hath showed no mercy." Only, then, if we do not
need, and expect never to beg the mercy of the Lord to ourselves, may we
withhold our mercy from our fellow-men.



"ALL THE DAY IDLE."



     WHEREFORE idle?--when the harvest beckoning,
       Nods its ripe tassels to the brightening sky?
     Arise and labour ere the time of reckoning,
       Ere the long shadows and the night draw night.

     Wherefore idle?--Swing the sickle stoutly!
       Bind thy rich sheaves exultingly and fast!
     Nothing dismayed, do thy great task devoutly--
       Patient and strong, and hopeful to the last!

     Wherefore idle?--Labour, not inaction,
       Is the soul's birthright, and its truest rest;
     Up to thy work!--It is Nature's fit exaction--
       He who toils humblest, bravest, toils the best.

     Wherefore idle?--God himself is working;
       His great thought wearieth not, nor standeth still,
     In every throb of his vast heart is lurking
       Some mighty purpose of his mightier will.

     Wherefore idle?--Not a leaf's slight rustle
       But chides thee in thy vain, inglorious rest;
     Be a strong actor in the great world,--bustle,--
       Not a, weak minion or a pampered guest!

     Wherefore idle?--Oh I _my_ faint soul, wherefore?
       Shake first from thine own powers dull sloth's control;
     Then lift thy voice with an exulting "Therefore
       Thou, too, shalt conquer, oh, thou striving soul!"



THE BUSHEL OF CORN.



FARMER GRAY had a neighbour who was not the best-tempered man in the
world though mainly kind and obliging. He was shoemaker. His name was
Barton. One day, in harvest-time, when every man on the farm was as busy
as a bee, this man came over to Farmer Gray's, and said, in rather a
petulant tone of voice,

"Mr. Gray, I wish you would send over, and drive your geese home."

"Why so, Mr. Barton; what have my geese been doing?" said the farmer, in
a mild, quiet-tone.

"They pick my pigs' ears when they are eating, and go into my garden,
and I will not have it!" the neighbour replied, in a still more petulant
voice.

"I am really sorry it, Neighbour Barton, but what can I do?"

"Why, yoke them, and thus keep them on your own premises. It's no kind
of a way to let your geese run all over every farm and garden in the
neighborhood."

"But I cannot see to it, now. It is harvest-time, Friend Barton, and
every man, woman, and child on the farm has as much as he or she can do.
Try and bear it for a week or so, and then I will see if I can possibly
remedy the evil."

"I can't bear it, and I won't bear it any longer!" said the shoemaker.
"So if you do not take care of them, Friend Gray, I shall have to take
care of them for you."

"Well, Neighbour Barton, you can do as you please," Farmer Gray replied,
in his usual quiet tone. "I am sorry that they trouble you, but I cannot
attend to them now."

"I'll attend to them for you, see if I don't," said the shoemaker, still
more angrily than when he first called upon Farmer Gray; and then turned
upon his heel, and strode off hastily towards his own house, which was
quite near to the old farmer's.

"What upon earth can be the matter with them geese?" said Mrs. Gray,
about fifteen minutes afterwards.

"I really cannot tell, unless Neighbour Barton is taking care of them.
He threatened to do so, if I didn't yoke them right off."

"Taking care of them! How taking care of them?"

"As to that, I am quite in the dark. Killing them, perhaps. He said they
picked at his pigs' ears, and drove them away when they were eating, and
that he wouldn't have it. He wanted me to yoke them right off, but that
I could not do, now, as all the hands are busy. So, I suppose, he is
engaged in the neighbourly business of taking care of our geese."

"John! William! run over and see what Mr. Barton is doing with my
geese," said Mrs. Gray, in a quick and anxious tone, to two little boys
who were playing near.

The urchins scampered off, well pleased to perform any errand.

"Oh, if he has dared to do anything to my geese, I will never forgive
him!" the good wife said, angrily.

"H-u-s-h, Sally! make no rash speeches. It is more than probable that he
has killed some two or three of them. But never mind, if he has. He will
get over this pet, and be sorry for it."

"Yes; but what good will his being sorry do me? Will it bring my geese
to life?"

"Ah, well, Sally, never mind. Let us wait until we learn what all this
disturbance is about."

In about ten minutes the children came home, bearing the bodies of three
geese, each without a head.

"Oh, is not that too much for human endurance?" cried Mrs. Gray. "Where
did you find them?"

"We found them lying out in the road," said the oldest of the two
children, "and when we picked them up, Mr. Barton said, 'Tell your
father that I have yoked his geese for him, to save him the trouble, as
his hands are all too busy to do it.'"

"I'd sue him for it!" said Mrs. Gray, in an indignant tone.

"And what good would that do, Sally?"

"Why, it would do a great deal of good. It would teach him better
manners. It would punish him; and he deserves punishment."

"And punish us into the bargain. We have lost three geese, now, but we
still have their good fat bodies to eat. A lawsuit would cost us many
geese, and not leave us even so much as the feathers, besides giving us
a world of trouble and vexation. No, no, Sally; just let it rest, and he
will be sorry for it, I know."

"Sorry for it, indeed! And what good will his being sorry for it do
us, I should like to know? Next he will kill a cow, and then we must be
satisfied with his being sorry for it! Now, I can tell you, that I don't
believe in that doctrine. Nor do I believe anything about his being
sorry--the crabbed, ill-natured wretch!"

"Don't call hard names, Sally," said Farmer Gray, in a mild, soothing
tone. "Neighbour Barton was not himself when he killed the geese. Like
every other angry person, he was a little insane, and did what he would
not have done had he been perfectly in his right mind. When you are a
little excited, you know, Sally, that even you do and say unreasonable
things."

"Me do and say unreasonable things!" exclaimed Mrs. Gray, with a look
and tone of indignant astonishment; "me do and say unreasonable things,
when I am angry! I don't understand you, Mr. Gray."

"May-be I can help you a little. Don't you remember how angry you were
when Mr. Mellon's old brindle got into our garden, and trampled over
your lettuce-bed, and how you struck her with the oven-pole, and knocked
off one of her horns?"

"But I didn't mean to do that, though."

"No; but then you were angry, and struck old Brindle with a right good
will. And if Mr. Mellon had felt disposed, he might have prosecuted for
damages."

"But she had no business there."

"Of course not. Neither had our geese any business in Neighbour Barton's
yard. But, perhaps, I can help you to another instance, that will be
more conclusive, in regard to your doing and saying unreasonable things,
when you are angry. You remember the patent churn?"

"Yes; but never mind about that."

"So you have not forgotten how unreasonable you was about the churn. It
wasn't good for anything--you knew it wasn't; and you'd never put a jar
of cream into it as long as you lived--that you wouldn't. And yet, on
trial, you found that churn the best you had ever used, and you wouldn't
part with it on any consideration. So you see, Sally, thai even you can
say and do unreasonable things, when you are angry, just as well as Mr.
Barton can. Let us then consider him a little, and give him time to get
over his angry fit. It will be much better to do so."

Mrs. Gray saw that her husband was right, but still she felt indignant
at the outrage committed on her geese. She did not, however, say
anything about suing the shoemaker--for old Brindle's head, from which
the horn had been knocked off, was not yet entirely well, and one
prosecution very naturally suggested the idea of another. So she took
her three fat geese, and after stripping off their feathers, had them
prepared for the table.

On the next morning, as Farmer Gray was going along the road, he met the
shoemaker, and as they had to pass very near to each other, the farmer
smiled, and bowed, and spoke kindly. Mr. Barton looked and felt very
uneasy, but Farmer Gray did not seem to remember the unpleasant incident
of the day before.

It was about eleven o'clock of the same day that one of Farmer Gray's
little boys came running to him, and crying,

"Oh, father! father! Mr. Barton's hogs are in our cornfield."

"Then I must go and drive them out," said Mr. Gray, in a quiet tone.

"Drive them out!" ejaculated Mrs. Gray; "drive 'em out, indeed! I'd
shoot them, that's what I'd do! I'd serve them as he served my geese
yesterday."

"But that wouldn't bring the geese to life again, Sally."

"I don't care if it wouldn't. It would be paying him in his own coin,
and that's all he deserves."

"You know what the Bible says, Sally, about grievous words, and they
apply with stronger force to grievous actions. No, no, I will return
Neighbour Barton good for evil. That is the best way. He has done wrong,
and I am sure is sorry for it. And as I wish him still to remain sorry
for so unkind and unneighbourly an action, I intend making use of the
best means for keeping him sorry."

"Then you will be revenged on him, anyhow."

"No, Sally--not revenged. I hope I have no such feeling. For I am not
angry with Neighbour Barton, who has done himself a much greater wrong
than he has done me. But I wish him to see clearly how wrong he acted,
that he may do so no more. And then we shall not have any cause to
complain of him, nor he any to be grieved, as I am sure he is, at his
own hasty conduct. But while I am talking here, his hogs are destroying
my corn."

And so saying, Farmer Gray hurried off, towards his cornfield. When he
arrived there, he found four large hogs tearing down the stalks, and
pulling off and eating the ripe ears of corn. They had already destroyed
a good deal. But he drove them out very calmly, and put up the bars
through which they had entered, and then commenced gathering up the
half-eaten ears of corn, and throwing them out into the lane for the
hogs, that had been so suddenly disturbed in the process of obtaining a
liberal meal. As he was thus engaged, Mr. Barton, who had from his own
house seen the farmer turn the hogs out of his cornfield, came hurriedly
up, and said,

"I am very sorry, Mr. Gray, indeed I am, that my hogs have done this! I
will most cheerfully pay you for what they have destroyed."

"Oh, never mind, Friend Barton--never mind. Such things will happen,
occasionally. My geese, you know, annoy you very much, sometimes."

"Don't speak of it, Mr. Gray. They didn't annoy me half as much as
I imagined they did. But how much corn do you think my hogs have
destroyed? One bushel, or two bushels? or how much? Let it be estimated,
and I will pay for it most cheerfully."

"Oh, no. Not for the world, Friend Barton. Such things will happen
sometimes. And, besides, some of my men must have left the bars down, or
your hogs could never have got in. So don't think any more about it.
It would be dreadful if one neighbour could not bear a little with
another."

All this cut poor Mr. Barton to the heart. His own ill-natured language
and conduct, at a much smaller trespass on his rights, presented itself
to his mind, and deeply mortified him. After a few moments' silence, he
said,

"The fact is, Mr. Gray, I shall feel better if you will let me pay for
this corn. My hogs should not be fattened at your expense, and I will
not consent to its being done. So I shall insist on paying you for at
least one bushel of corn, for I am sure they have destroyed that much,
if not more."

But Mr. Gray shook his head and smiled pleasantly, as he replied,

"Don't think anything more about it, Neighbour Barton. It is a matter
deserving no consideration. No doubt my cattle have often trespassed on
you and will trespass on you again. Let us then bear and forbear."

All this cut the shoemaker still deeper, and he felt still less at ease
in mind after he parted from the farmer than he did before. But on one
thing he resolved, and that was, to pay Mr. Gray for the corn which his
hogs had eaten.

"You told him your mind pretty plainly, I hope," said Mrs. Gray, as her
husband came in.

"I certainly did," was the quiet reply.

"And I am glad you had spirit enough to do it! I reckon he will think
twice before he kills any more of my geese!"

"I expect you are right, Sally. I don't think we shall be troubled
again."

"And what did you say to him? And what did he say for himself?"

"Why he wanted very much to pay me for the corn his pigs had eaten,
but I wouldn't hear to it. I told him that it made no difference in the
world; that such accidents would happen sometimes."

"You did?"

"Certainly, I did."

"And that's the way you spoke your mind to him?"

"Precisely. And it had the desired effect. It made him feel ten times
worse than if I had spoken angrily to him. He is exceedingly pained at
what he has done, and says he will never rest until he has paid for that
corn. But I am resolved never to take a cent for it. It will be the
best possible guarantee I can have for his kind and neighbourly conduct
hereafter."

"Well, perhaps you are right," said Mrs. Gray, after a few moments of
thoughtful silence. "I like Mrs. Barton very much--and now I come
to think of it, I should not wish to have any difference between our
families."

"And so do I like Mr. Barton. He has read a good deal, and I find it
very pleasant to sit with him, occasionally, during the long winter
evenings. His only fault is his quick temper--but I am sure it is much
better for us to bear with and soothe that, than to oppose rand excite
it and thus keep both his family and our own in hot water."

"You are certainly right," replied Mrs. Gray; "and I only wish that I
could always think and feel as you do. But I am little quick, as they
say."

"And so is Mr. Barton. Now just the same consideration that you would
desire others to have for you, should you exercise towards Mr. Barton,
or any one else whose hasty temper leads him into words or actions that,
in calmer and more thoughtful moments, are subjects of regret."

On the next day, while Mr. Gray stood in his own door, from which he
could see over the two or three acres of ground that the shoemaker
cultivated, he observed two of his cows in his neighbour's cornfield,
browsing away in quite a contented manner. As he was going to call one
of the farm hands to go over and drive them out, he perceived that
Mr. Barton had become aware of the mischief that was going on, and had
already started for the field of corn.

"Now we will see the effect of yesterday's lesson," said the farmer to
himself; and then paused to observe the manner of the shoemaker towards
his cattle in driving them out of the field. In a few minutes Mr.
Barton came up to the cows, but, instead of throwing stones at them, or
striking them with a stick, he merely drove them out in a quiet way, and
put up the bars through which they had entered.

"Admirable!" ejaculated Farmer Gray.

"What is admirable?" asked his wife, who came within hearing distance at
the moment.

"Why the lesson I gave our friend Barton yesterday. It works admirably."

"How so?"

"Two of our cows were in his cornfield a few minutes ago, destroying the
corn at a rapid rate."

"Well! what did he do to them?" in a quick, anxious tone.

"He drove them out."

"Did he stone them, or beat them?"

"Oh no. He was gentle as a child towards them."

"You are certainly jesting."

"Not I. Friend Barton has not forgotten that his pigs were in my
cornfield yesterday, and that I turned them out without hurting a hair
of one of them. Now, suppose I had got angry and beaten his pigs, what
do you think the result would have been? Why, it is much more than
probable that one or both of our fine cows would have been at this
moment in the condition of Mr. Mellon's old Brindle."

"I wish you wouldn't say anything more about old Brindle," said Mrs.
Gray, trying to laugh, while her face grew red in spite of her efforts
to keep down her feelings.

"Well, I won't, Sally, if it worries you. But it is such a good
illustration that I can't help using it sometimes."

"I am glad he didn't hurt the cows," said Mrs. Gray, after a pause.

"And so am I, Sally. Glad on more than one account. It shows that he has
made an effort to keep down his hasty, irritable temper--and if he can
do that, it will be a favour conferred on the whole neighbourhood, for
almost every one complains, at times, of this fault in his character."

"It is certainly the best policy, to keep fair weather with him," Mrs.
Gray remarked, "for a man of his temper could annoy us a good deal."

"That word policy, Sally, is not a good word," replied her husband. "It
conveys a thoroughly selfish idea. Now, we ought to look for some higher
motives of action than mere policy--motives grounded in correct and
unselfish principles."

"But what other motive but policy could we possibly have for putting up
with Mr. Barton's outrageous conduct?"

"Other, and far higher motives, it seems to me. We should reflect that
Mr. Barton has naturally a hasty temper, and that when excited he does
things for which he is sorry afterwards--and that, in nine cases out of
ten, he is a greater sufferer from those outbreaks than any one else. In
our actions towards him, then, it is a much higher and better motive for
us to be governed by a desire to aid him in the correction of this evil,
than to look merely to the protection of ourselves from its effects. Do
you not think so?"

"Yes. It does seem so."

"When thus moved to action, we are, in a degree, regarding the whole
neighbourhood, for the evil of which we speak affects all. And in
thus suffering ourselves to be governed by such elevated and unselfish
motives, we gain all that we possibly could have gained under the mere
instigation of policy--and a great deal more. But to bring the matter
into a still narrower compass. In all our actions towards him and every
one else, we should be governed by the simple consideration--is it
right? If a spirit of retaliation be not right, then it cannot be
indulged without a mutual injury. Of course, then, it should never
prompt us to action. If cows or hogs get into my field or garden, and
destroy my property, who is to blame most? Of course, myself. I should
have kept my fences in better repair, or my gate closed. The animals,
certainly, are not to blame, for they follow only the promptings of
nature; and their owners should not be censured, for they know nothing
about it. It would then be very wrong for me to injure both the animals
and their owners for my own neglect, would it not?"

"Yes,--I suppose it would."

"So, at least, it seems to me. Then, of course, I ought not to injure
Neighbour Barton's cows or hogs, even if they do break into my cornfield
or garden, simply because it would be wrong to do so. This is the
principle upon which we should act, and not from any selfish policy."

After this there was no trouble about Farmer Gray's geese or cattle.
Sometimes the geese would get among Mr. Barton's hogs, and annoy them
while eating, but it did not worry him as it did formerly. If they
became too troublesome he would drive them away, but not by throwing
sticks and stones at them as he once did.

Late in the fall the shoemaker brought in his bill for work. It was a
pretty large bill, with sundry credits.

"Pay-day has come at last," said Farmer Gray, good-humouredly, as the
shoemaker presented his account.

"Well, let us see!" and he took the bill to examine it item after item.

"What is this?" he asked, reading aloud.

"'Cr. By one bushel of corn, fifty cents.'"

"It's some corn I had from you."

"I reckon you must be mistaken. You never got any corn from me."

"Oh, yes I did. I remember it perfectly. It is all right."

"But when did you get it, Friend Barton? I am sure that I haven't the
most distant recollection of it."

"My hogs got it," the shoemaker said, in rather a low and hesitating
tone.

"Your hogs!"

"Yes. Don't you remember when my hogs broke into your field, and
destroyed your corn?"

"Oh, dear! is that it? Oh, no, no, Friend Barton! Ii cannot allow that
item in the bill."

"Yes, but you must. It is perfectly just, and I shall never rest until
it is paid."

"I can't, indeed. You couldn't help the hogs getting into my field; and
then you know, Friend Barton (lowering his tone), my geese were very
troublesome!"

The shoemaker blushed and looked confused; but Farmer Gray slapped him
familiarly on the shoulder, and said, in a lively, cheerful way,

"Don't think any more about it, Friend Barton! And hereafter let us
endeavour to 'do as we would be done by,' and then everything will go on
as smooth as clock-work."

"But you will allow that item in the bill?" the shoemaker urged
perseveringly.

"Oh, no, I couldn't do that. I should think it wrong to make you pay for
my own or some of my men's negligence in leaving the bars down."

"But then (hesitatingly), those geese--I killed three. Let it go for
them."

"If you did kill them, we ate them. So that is even. No, no, let the
past be forgotten, and if it makes better neighbours and friends of us,
we never need regret what has happened."

Farmer Gray remained firm, and the bill was settled, omitting the item
of "corn." From that time forth he never had a better neighbour than
the shoemaker. The cows, hogs, and geese of both would occasionally
trespass, but the trespassers were always kindly removed. The lesson
was not lost on either of them--for even Farmer Gray used to feel,
sometimes, a little annoyed when his neighbour's cattle broke into his
field. But in teaching the shoemaker a lesson, he had taken a little of
it himself.



THE ACCOUNT.



     THE clock from the city hall struck one;
     The merchant's task was not yet done;
     He knew the old year was passing away,
     And his accounts must all be settled that day;
     He must know for a truth how much he should win,
     So fast the money was rolling in.

     He took the last cash-book, from the pile,
     And he summed it up with a happy smile;
     For a just and upright man was he,
     Dealing with all most righteously,
     And now he was sure how much he should win,
     How fast the money was rolling in.

     He heard not the soft touch on the door--
     He heard not the tread on the carpeted floor--
     So still was her coming, he thought him alone,
     Till she spake in a sweet and silvery tone:
     "Thou knowest not yet how much thou shalt win--
     How fast the money is rolling in."

     Then from 'neath her white, fair arm, she took
     A golden-clasped, and, beautiful book--
     "'Tis my account thou hast to pay,
     In the coming of the New Year's day--
     Read--ere thou knowest how much thou shalt win,
     How fast the money is rolling in."

     He open'd the clasps with a trembling hand--
     Therein was Charity's firm demand:
     "To the widow, the orphan, the needy, the poor,
     Much owest thou of thy yearly store;
     Give, ere thou knowest how much thou shalt win--
     While fast the money is rolling in."

     The merchant took from his box of gold
     A goodly sum for the lady bold;
     His heart was richer than e'er before,
     As she bore the prize from the chamber door.
     Ye who would know how much ye can win,
     Give, when the money is rolling in.



CONTENTMENT BETTER THAN WEALTH.



"IT is vain, to urge, Brother Robert. Out into the world I must go. The
impulse is on me. I should die of inaction here."

"You need not be inactive. There is work to do. I shall never be idle."

"And such work! Delving in, and grovelling close to the ground. And for
what? Oh no Robert. My ambition soars beyond your 'quiet cottage in a
sheltered vale.' My appetite craves something more than simple herbs,
and water from the brook. I have set my heart on attaining wealth; and
where there is a will there is always a way."

"Contentment is better than wealth."

"A proverb for drones."

"No, William, it is a proverb for the wise."

"Be it for the wise or simple, as commonly, understood, it is no proverb
for me. As poor plodder along the way of life, it were impossible for
me to know content. So urge no farther, Robert. I am going out into the
world a wealth-seeker, and not until wealth is gained do I purpose to
return."

"What of Ellen, Robert?"

The young man turned quickly towards his brother, visibly disturbed, and
fixed his eyes upon him with an earnest expression.

"I love her as my life," he said, with a strong emphasis on his words.

"Do you love wealth more than life, William?"

"Robert!"

"If you love Ellen as your life, and leave her for the sake of getting
riches, then you must love money more than life."

"Don't talk to me after this fashion. I love her tenderly and truly. I
am going forth as well for her sake as my own. In all the good fortune
that comes as a meed of effort, she will be the sharer."

"You will see her before you leave us?"

"No; I will neither pain her nor myself by a parting interview. Send her
this letter and this ring."

A few hours later, and there brothers stood with tightly-grasped hands,
gazing into each other's faces.

"Farewell, Robert."

"Farewell, William. Think of the old homestead as still your home.
Though it is mine, in the division of our patrimony, let your heart come
back to it as yours. Think of it as home; and, should Fortune cheat you
with the apples of Sodom, return to it again. Its doors will ever be
open, and its hearth-fire bright for you as of old. Farewell!"

And they turned from each other, one going out into the restless world,
an eager seeker for its wealth and honours; the other to linger among
the pleasant places dear to him by every association of childhood, there
to fill up the measure of his days--not idly, for he was no drone in the
social hive.

On the evening of that day two maidens sat alone, each in the sanctuary
of her own chamber. There was a warm glow on the cheeks of one, and a
glad light in her eyes. Pale was the other's face, and wet her drooping
lashes. And she that sorrowed held an open letter in her hand. It was
full of tender words; but the writer loved wealth more than the maiden,
and had gone forth to seek the mistress of his soul. He would "come
back," but when? Ah, what a veil of uncertainty was upon the future!
Poor, stricken heart! The other maiden--she of the glowing cheeks and
dancing eyes--held also a letter in her hand. It was from the brother
of the wealth-seeker; and it was also full of loving words; and it
said that, on the morrow, he would come to bear her as his bride to his
pleasant home. Happy maiden!

Ten years have passed. And what of the wealth-seeker? Has he won the
glittering prize? What of the pale-faced maiden he left in tears? Has he
returned to her? Does she share now his wealth and honour? Not since
the day he went forth from the home of his childhood has a word of
intelligence from the wanderer been received; and to those he left
behind him he is as one who has passed the final bourne. Yet he still
dwells among the living.

In a far-away, sunny clime stands a stately mansion. We will not
linger to describe the elegant interior, to hold up before the reader's
imagination a picture of rural beauty, exquisitely heightened by art,
but enter its spacious hall, and pass up to one of its most luxurious
chambers. How hushed and solemn the pervading atmosphere! The inmates,
few in number, are grouped around one on whose white forehead Time's
trembling finger has written the word "Death!" Over her bends a
manly form. There--his face is towards you. Ah! you recognise the
wanderer--the wealth-seeker. What does he here? What to him is the dying
one? His wife! And has he, then, forgotten the maiden whose dark lashes
lay wet on her pale cheeks for many hours after she read his parting
words? He has not forgotten, but been false to her. Eagerly sought he
the prize, to contend for which he went forth. Years came and departed;
yet still hope mocked him with ever-attractive and ever-fading
illusions. To-day he stood with his hand just ready to seize the object
of his wishes, to-morrow a shadow mocked him. At last, in an evil hour,
he bowed down his manhood prostrate even to the dust in woman worship,
and took to himself a bride, rich in golden, attractions, but poorer as
a woman than ever the beggar at her father's gate. What a thorn in his
side she proved! A thorn ever sharp and ever piercing. The closer he
attempted to draw her to his bosom, the deeper went the points into his
own, until, in the anguish of his soul, again and again he flung her
passionately from him.

Five years of such a life! Oh, what is there of earthly good to
compensate therefor? But in this last desperate throw did the worldling
gain the wealth, station, and honour he coveted? He had wedded the only
child of a man whose treasure might be counted by hundreds of thousands;
but, in doing so, he had failed to secure the father's approval or
confidence. The stern old man regarded him as a mercenary interloper,
and ever treated him as such. For five years, therefore, he fretted and
chafed in the narrow prison whose gilded bars his own hands had forged.
How often, during that time, had his heart wandered back to the dear old
home, and the beloved ones with whom he had passed his early years!
And, ah! how many, many times came between him and the almost hated
countenance of his wife the gentle, the loving face of that one to whom
he had been false! How often her soft blue eyes rested on his own How
often he started and looked up suddenly, as if her sweet voice came
floating on the air!

And so the years moved on, the chain galling more deeply, and a bitter
sense of humiliation as well as bondage robbing him of all pleasure in
his life.

Thus it is with him when, after ten years, we find him waiting, in the
chamber of death, for the stroke that is to break the fetters that so
long have bound him. It has fallen. He is free again. In dying, the
sufferer made no sign. Suddenly she plunged into the dark profound, so
impenetrable to mortal eyes, and as the turbid waves closed, sighing
over her, he who had called her wife turned from the couch on which her
frail body remained, with an inward "Thank God! I am a man again!"

One more bitter dreg yet remained for his cup. Not a week had gone by
ere the father of his dead wife spoke to him these cutting words:--

"You were nothing to me while my daughter lived--you are less than
nothing to me now. It was my wealth, not my child you loved. She has
passed away. What affection would have given to her, dislike will never
bestow on you. Henceforth we are strangers."

When the next sun went down on that stately mansion, which the
wealth-seeker had coveted, he was a wanderer again--poor, humiliated,
broken in spirit.

How bitter had been the mockery of all his early hopes! How terrible the
punishment he had suffered!

One more eager, almost fierce struggle with alluring fortune, with which
the worldling came near steeping his soul in crime, and then fruitless
ambition died in his bosom.

"My brother said well," he murmured, as a ray of light fell suddenly on
the darkness of his spirit; "'contentment is better than wealth.' Dear
brother! Dear old home! Sweet Ellen! Ah, why did I leave you? Too late!
too late! A cup, full of the wine of life, was at my lips; but, I turned
my head away, asking for a more fiery and exciting draught. How vividly
comes before me now that parting scene! I am looking into my brother's
face. I feel the tight grasp of his hand. His voice is in my ears. Dear
brother! And his parting words, I hear them now, even more earnestly
than when they were first spoken. 'Should fortune cheat you with the
apples of Sodom, return to your home again. Its doors will ever be open,
and its hearth-fires bright for you as of old.' Ah, do the fires still
burn? How many years have passed since I went forth! And Ellen? Even
if she be living and unchanged in her affections, I can never lay this
false heart at her feet. Her look of love would smite me as with a whip
of scorpions."

The step of time has fallen so lightly on the flowery path of those to
whom contentment was a higher boon than wealth, but few footmarks were
visible. Yet there had been changes in the old homestead. As the smiling
years went by, each, as it looked in at the cottage window, saw the
home circle widening, or new beauty crowning the angel brows of happy
children. No thorn to his side had Robert's gentle wife proved. As time
passed on, closer and closer was she drawn to his bosom; yet never a
point had pierced him. Their home was a type of Paradise.

It is near the close of a summer day. The evening meal is spread, and
they are about gathering round the table, when a stranger enters.
His words are vague and brief, his manner singular, his air slightly
mysterious. Furtive, yet eager glances go from face to face.

"Are these all your children?" he asks, surprise and admiration mingling
in his tones.

"All ours, and, thank God, the little flock is yet unbroken."

The stranger averts his face. He is disturbed by emotions that it is
impossible to conceal.

"Contentment is better than wealth," he murmurs. "Oh that I had
comprehended the truth."

The words were not meant for others; but the utterance had been too
distinct. They have reached the ears of Robert, who instantly recognises
in the stranger his long-wandering, long-mourned brother.

"William!"

The stranger is on his feet. A moment or two the brothers stand gazing
at each other, then tenderly embrace.

"William!"

How the stranger starts and trembles! He had not seen, in the quiet
maiden, moving among and ministering to the children so unobtrusively,
the one he had parted from years before--the one to whom he had been so
false. But her voice has startled his ears with the familiar tones of
yesterday.

"Ellen!" Here is an instant oblivion of all the intervening years. He
has leaped back over the gulf, and stands now as he stood ere ambition
and lust for gold lured him away from the side of his first and only
love. It is well both for him and the faithful maiden that he cannot so
forget the past as to take her in his arms and clasp her almost wildly
to his heart. But for this, conscious shame would have betrayed his
deeply-repented perfidy.

And here we leave them, reader. "Contentment is better than wealth."
So the worldling proved, after a bitter experience, which may you be
spared! It is far better to realize a truth perceptibly, and thence make
it a rule of action, than to prove its verity in a life of sharp agony.
But how few are able to rise into such a realization!



RAINBOWS EVERYWHERE.



BENDING over a steamer's side, a face looked down into the clear, green
depths of Lake Erie, where the early moonbeams were showering rainbows
through the dancing spray, and chasing the white-crusted waves with
serpents of gold. The face was clouded with thought, a shade too sombre,
yet there glowed over it something like a reflection from the iris-hues
beneath. A voice of using was borne away into the purple and vermilion
haze that twilight began to fold over the bosom of the lake.

"Rainbows! Ye follow me everywhere! Gloriously your arches arose from
the horizon of the prairies, when the storm-king and the god of day met
within them to proclaim a treaty and an alliance. You spanned the Father
of Waters with a bridge that put to the laugh man's clumsy structures of
chain, and timber, and wire. You floated in a softening veil before the
awful grandeur of Niagara; and here you gleam out from the light foam in
the steamboat's wake.

"Grateful am I for you, oh rainbows! for the clouds, the drops, and the
sunshine of which you are wrought, and for the gift of vision through
which my spirit quaffs the wine of your beauty.

"Grateful also for faith, which hangs an ethereal halo over the
fountains of earthly joy, and wraps grief in robes so resplendent that,
like Iris of the olden time, she is at once recognised as a messenger
from Heaven.

"Blessings on sorrow, whether past or to come! for in the clear
shining of heavenly love, every tear-drop becomes a pearl. The storm
of affliction crushes weak human nature to the dust; the glory of the
eternal light overpowers it; but, in the softened union of both, the
stricken spirit beholds the bow of promise, and knows that it shall
not utterly be destroyed. When we say that for us there is nothing
but darkness and tears, it is because we are weakly brooding over the
shadows within us. If we dared look up, and face our sorrow, we should
see upon it the seal of God's love, and be calm.

"Grant me, Father of Light, whenever my eyes droop heavily with the
rain of grief, at least to see the reflection of thy signet-bow upon the
waves over which I am sailing unto thee. And through the steady toiling
of the voyage, through the smiles and tears of every day's progress, let
the iris-flash appear, even as now it brightens the spray that rebounds
from the labouring wheels."

The voice died away into darkness which returned no answer to its
murmurings. The face vanished from the boat's side, but a flood of light
was pouring into the serene depths of a trusting soul.


THE END.





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