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´╗┐Title: Words of Cheer for the Tempted, the Toiling, and the Sorrowing
Author: Arthur, T. S. (Timothy Shay), 1809-1885
Language: English
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WORDS OF CHEER FOR The Tempted, the Toiling, and the Sorrowing.


EDITED BY T. S. ARTHUR.



PHILADELPHIA



1856.



PREFACE.


AS we pass on our way through the world, we find our paths now
smooth and flowery, and now rugged and difficult to travel. The sky,
bathed in golden sunshine to-day, is black with storms to-morrow!
This is the history of every one. And it is also the life-experience
of all, that when the way is rough and the sky dark, the poor heart
sinks and trembles, and the eye of faith cannot see the bright sun
smiling in the heavens beyond the veil of clouds. But, for all this
fear and doubt, the rugged path winds steadily upwards, and the
broad sky is glittering in light.

Let the toiling, the tempted, and the sorrowing ever keep this in
mind. Let them have faith in Him who feedeth the young lions, and
clothes the fields with verdure--who bindeth up the broken heart,
and giveth joy to the mourners. There are Words of Cheer in the air!
Listen! and their melody will bring peace to the spirit, and their
truths strength to the heart.



CONTENTS.


  AUNT MARY
  THE DEAD
  DO YOU SUFFER MORE THAN YOUR NEIGHBOUR?
  WE ARE LED BY A WAY THAT WE KNOW NOT
  THE IVY IN THE DUNGEON
  THE GARDEN OF EDEN
  HAVE A FLOWER IN YOUR ROOM
  WEALTH
  HOW TO BE HAPPY
  REBECCA
  LIFE A TREADMILL
  ARTHUR LELAND
  THE SCARLET POPPY
  NUMBER TWELVE
  TO AN ABSENTEE
  THE WHITE DOVE
  HESTER
  THISTLE-DOWN
  THE LITTLE CHILDREN
  WHAT IS NOBLE?
  THE ANEMONE HEPATICA
  THE FAMILY OF MICHAEL AROUT
  BABY IS DEAD
  THE TREASURED RINGLET
  HUMAN LONGINGS FOR PEACE AND REST
  "BE STRONG"
  THE NEGLECTED ONE
  THE HOURS OF LIFE
  MINISTERING ANGELS
  OURS, LOVED, AND "GONE BEFORE"
  OUTWARD MINISTERINGS
  BODILY DEFORMITY, SPIRITUAL BEAUTY
  THE DEAD CHILD
  WATER
  BEAUTIFUL, HAPPY, AND BELOVED
  "EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING"
  AN ANGEL OF PATIENCE
  THE GRANDFATHER'S ADVICE
  A HYMN OF PRAISE
  AN ANGEL IN EVERY HOUSE
  ANNIE
  MOTHER
  GREAT PRINCIPLES AND SMALL DUTIES
  "OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"
  THE OLD VILLAGE CHURCH
  "THE WORD IS NIGH THEE"
  AUNT RACHEL
  COMETH A BLESSING DOWN
  THE DARKENED PATHWAY
  LOOK ON THIS PICTURE
  THE POWER OF KINDNESS
  SPEAK KINDLY
  HAVE PATIENCE
  DO THEY MISS ME?



WORDS OF CHEER.



AUNT MARY.


A LADY sat alone in her own apartment one clear evening, when the
silver stars were out, and the moon shone pure as the spirit of
peace upon the rebellious earth. How lovely was every outward thing!
How beautiful is God's creation! The window curtains were drawn
close, and the only light in the cheerful room, was given by a
night-lamp that was burning on the mantel-piece. The occupant, who
perhaps had numbered about thirty-five years, was sitting by a small
table in the centre of the room, her head leaning upon one slender
hand; the other lay upon the open page of a book in which she had
endeavoured to interest herself. But the effort had been vain; other
and stronger feelings had overpowered her; there was an expression
of suffering upon the gentle face, over which the tears rained
heavily. For a brief moment she raised her soft blue eyes upward
with an appealing look, then sunk her head upon the table before
her, murmuring,

"Father! forgive me! it is good for me. Give me strength to bear
everything. Pour thy love into my heart, for I am desolate--if I
could but be useful to one human being--if I could make one person
happier, I should be content. But no! I am desolate--desolate. Whose
heart clings to mine with the strong tendrils of affection? Who ever
turns to me for a smile? Oh! this world is so cold--so cold!"

And that sensitive being wept passionately, and pressed her hand
upon her bosom as if to still its own yearnings.

Mary Clinton had met with many sorrows; she was the youngest of a
large family; she had been the caressed darling in her early days,
for her sweetness won every heart to love. She had dwelt in the warm
breath of affection, it was her usual sunshine, and she gave it no
thought while it blessed her; a cold word or look was an unfamiliar
thing. A most glad-hearted being she was once! But death came in a
terrible form, folded her loved ones in his icy arms and bore them
to another world. A kind father, a tender mother, a brother and
sister, were laid in the grave, in one short month, by the cholera.
One brother was yet left, and she was taken to his home, for he was
a wealthy merchant. But there seemed a coldness in his splendid
house, a coldness in his wife's heart. Sick in body and in mind, the
bereft one resolved to travel South, and visit among her relations,
hoping to awaken her interest in life, which had lain dormant
through grief. She went to that sunny region, and while there,
became acquainted with a man of fine intellect and fascinating
manners, who won her affections, and afterwards proved unworthy of
her. Again the beauty of her life was darkened, and with a weary
heart she wore out the tedious years of her joyless existence. She
was an angel of charity to the poor and suffering. She grew lovelier
through sorrow. A desire to see her brother, her nearest and dearest
relative, called her North again, and when our story opens she was
in the bosom of his home, a member of his family. He loved her
deeply, yet she felt like an alien--his wife had not welcomed her as
a sister should. Mary Clinton's heart went out toward's Alice, her
eldest niece, a beautiful and loving creature just springing into
womanhood. But the fair girl was gay and thoughtless, flattered and
caressed by everybody. She knew sadness only by the name. She had no
dream that she could impart a deep joy, by giving forth her young
heart's love to the desolate stranger.

The hour had grown late, very late, and Mary Clinton still leaned
her head upon the table buried in thoughts, when the bounding step
of Alice outside the door aroused her from her revery. She listened,
almost hoping to see her friendly face peeping in, but wearied with
the enjoyment of the evening, the fair young belle hastened on to
her chamber, and her aunt heard the door close. Rising from her seat
at the table, Miss Clinton approached a window, and threw back the
curtains that the midnight air might steal coolingly over her brow.
Her eye fell upon the rich bracelet that clasped her arm, a gift of
her brother, and then with a sad smile, she surveyed the pure dress
of delicate white she wore. "Ah!" she sighed, "I am robed for a
scene of gayety, but how sad the heart that beats beneath this
boddice! How glad I was to escape from the company; loneliness in
the crowd is so sad a feeling." At that moment the door of her room
opened, and Alice came laughing in, her glowing face all bright and
careless.

"Oh! Aunt Mary," she exclaimed, "do help me! I cannot unclasp my
necklace, and my patience has all oozed out at the tips of my
fingers. There! you have unfastened it already. Well! I believe I
never will be good for anything!" And Alice laughed as heartily, as
if the idea was charming. "When did you leave the parlours, Aunt
Mary? I never missed you at all. Father said you left early, when I
met him just now on the stairs."

"I did leave early," replied Miss Clinton. "I chanced to feel like
being entirely alone, so I sought my own apartment."

"Have you been reading, aunt? I should think you would feel lonely!"

"I read very little," was the reply, in a sad tone. No remark was
made on her loneliness.

"It seems so strange to me, Aunt Mary, that you are so fond of being
alone. I like company so much," said Alice, looking in her quiet
face. "But I must go," she added; she paused a moment, then pressed
an affectionate kiss upon her aunt's cheek, and whispered a soft
"good night." Miss Clinton cast both arms around her, and drew her
to her heart, with an eagerness that surprised Alice. Twice she
kissed her, then hastily released her as if her feeling had gone
forth before she was aware of it. Alice stood still before her a
moment, and her careless eyes took a deeply searching expression as
they dwelt upon the countenance before her. Something like sadness
passed over her face, and her voice was deeper in its tone, as she
repeated, "Good night, dear Aunt Mary!" With a slow step she left
the apartment, mentally contrasting her own position with that of
her aunt. Circumstances around her and the society with which she
mingled, tended to drown reflection, and call into play only the
brighter and gayer feelings, that flutter on the surface of our
being. She had never known the luxury of devoting an hour to genuine
meditation on the world within--or the great world without. The
earth was to her a garden of joy; she lived upon it only to enjoy
herself. Like many selfish people, Alice's mother made an idol of
her beautiful child, because she was a part of herself; and Mrs.
Clinton was not one to perform a mother's duty faithfully in
instilling right views of life into her daughter's mind. Thus, with
a depth of feeling, and rich gifts of mind, Alice fluttered on her
way like a light-winged butterfly, her soul's pure wells of tender
thought unknown to her. How many millions pass through a whole long
life, with the deepest and holiest secrets of their being still
unlocked by their heedless hands! How few see aught to live for, but
the outward sunshine of prosperity, which is an idle sunshine,
compared with the ever-strengthening light that may grow in the
spirit! How strong, how great, how beautiful may life be, when
smiled upon by our Creator! how weak, how abject, how trampled upon,
when turned away from his face!

With better and more quiet emotions, Mary Clinton retired to rest.
"I can love others, if I am not beloved," she murmured, and the dove
of peace fluttered its white wing over her. Her resigned prayer was,
"Lord, into thy hands I commit my spirit." Tears of earnest humility
had washed away all bitterness from the wrung heart of that lovely
being. How beautiful was the angel smile that played over her face,
in her pure dreams!

A few weeks after, Alice entered her aunt's apartment one drizzling,
damp, foggy, uncomfortable day. "Such miserable weather!" she
exclaimed, throwing herself idly into an arm-chair; "I believe I
have got the _blues_ for once in my life. I don't know what to do
with myself; it makes me perfectly melancholy to look out of the
window, and nothing in the house wears a cheerful aspect. Mother has
a headache; when I proposed reading to her, she very politely asked
me if I would not let her remain alone. She says I always want to
sing, read, or talk incessantly if she wishes to be quiet. I can't
ding on the piano, for it is heard from attic to basement. I don't
want to read alone, for I have such a desire to be sociable--now,
Aunt Mary, you have a catalogue of my troubles, can't you relieve
me, for I am really miserable, if I don't look so!" Alice broke into
a laugh, although it did not bubble right up from her merry heart as
usual.

"If your attention was fully engaged, you would not mind the weather
so much," remarked Aunt Mary, with a quiet smile. "You are not in a
mood to enjoy a book just now, so what _will_ you do, my dear?"

"Mend stockings, or turn my room upside down, and then arrange it
neatly," said Alice in a speculative tone. "There is nothing in the
house to interest me; there is Patty in the kitchen, I have just
been paying her a visit. She is as busy as a bee, and as happy as a
queen. I believe poor people are happier than the rich, in such
weather as this, at least."

"Because they are useful, Alice; go busy yourself about some
physical labour for an hour or two, then come back to me, and I
predict your face will be as sunshiny as ever. I am in earnest--you
need not look so incredulous!"

"What shall I do?" asked the young girl laughing. "I don't know how
to do a single thing in domestic matters. Mother says I shall never
work. It would spoil my fairy fingers, I presume, a terrible
consequence!"

"But seriously Alice, you are not so entirely incapable of doing
anything, are you?"

"I am positively, but I can learn if I choose. I believe I will
sweep my room and put it in order, as a beginning. That will be
something new: now I will try my best!" Alice sprang from her chair,
and tripped from the apartment quite pleased with the idea. A smile
broke over Miss Clinton's features, after her niece had left her
alone. "How easily Alice might be trained to better things, by love
and gentleness," she said half aloud. "Oh! if she would only love
me, and turn to me fondly. How I would delight to breathe a genial
prayer over the buds of promise in her youthful heart, and fan them
to warmer life." More than an hour flew by, as Mary Clinton sat in
thought, devising plans to awaken her favourite to a true sense of
her duties--to a knowledge of her capabilities for happiness and
usefulness. We may be useful with a heart full of sadness; but we
can rarely taste of happiness, unless we are desirous to benefit
some one besides ourselves. A quietness came over the lonely one as
she mused--a spirit of beautiful repose; for she forgot all thoughts
of her own enjoyment, in caring for another.

"You are quite a physician, Aunt Mary, to a mind diseased,"
exclaimed Alice, breaking her revery as she came in with a smiling
face, after the performance of her unaccustomed labour. "I am quite
in tune again now. I believe there is a little philosophy in being
busy occasionally, after all."

"There is really," replied Miss Clinton, raising her deep blue eyes
to Alice's face, with their pleasant expression; "and there is also
philosophy in recreation--in abandoning yourself for a time to
innocent gayety. An hour of enjoyment is refreshing and beneficial."

"Why, Aunt Mary!" said Alice in some surprise, "I had no idea that
you thought so. You are always so industrious and quiet, I imagined
you disapproved of the merriment of ordinary people. When we have a
large company you almost always retire early. Why do you do so,
aunt, may I ask you?"

Mary Clinton was silent a moment, then she said gently, "When I
think I can add to the ease or enjoyment of any person present, I
take pleasure in staying; but when I feel that I am rather a
restraint than otherwise, I retire--to weep. You are yet young and
beautiful, my child, for you have never known such feelings. I am
too selfish, or I would not be sad so often; it is right that I
should pass through such a school of discipline. I hope it has
already made me better." The look of resignation that beamed from
Miss Clinton's tearful eyes, caused a chord in Alice's heart to
tremble with a strange blending of love, sweetness, and sorrow.

"_You_ should be happy, if any one should, dear aunt," she said in a
low voice, and she partly averted her head, to conceal the tears
that started down her cheek. "I am happy so often," she resumed,
turning around and seating herself upon an ottoman at her aunt's
feet. "You deserve so much more than I--to be as good as you are,
Aunt Mary, I would almost change situations, for then I should be
sure of going to heaven."

"You can be just as sure in your own position, as in that of any
other person. But, dear child, the more deeply we scan our hearts,
the more we see there to conquer, in order that we may become fit
companions for the angels."

Alice remained thoughtful for some moments, then she folded her
hands over Aunt Mary's lap, and lifted her eyes to the loving face
that bent over her. "Be my guardian angel," she prayed tearfully,
"your love is so pure; a gentleness comes over me, when I am with
you. All tumultuous feelings sink down to repose. I have not known
you, Aunt Mary; you have shown me to-day how lovely goodness is. I
can feel it in your presence. Oh! to possess it! I fear it will be
long years before I grow so gentle in my spirit--so unselfish--so
like a child of Heaven!"

"Hush, hush!" was Mary Clinton's gentle interruption. "You do not
know me yet, Alice. Perhaps I appear far better than I am."

Alice smiled, and laying her arm around Aunt Mary's neck, drew down
her face, and kissed her affectionately, whispering, "You will be my
guide, I ask no better."

"Thank you, thank you," broke from Aunt Mary's lips; she pressed
Alice's cheek with the ardent haste of love and gratitude; then
yielding to the emotions that thrilled her heart, she burst into
tears, and wept with a joy she had long been a stranger to. She felt
that her life would no longer be useless, if she could live for
Alice, and lift up to God her heart. How beautiful in its freshness,
is the early day when the light of a good resolve breaks like a halo
over the soul, and by its power, seeks to win it from its selfish
idols! Earnest and strong is the hopefulness that bids us labour
trustingly to become all we yearn to be--all we may be. How
tremblingly Mary Clinton leaned upon her Saviour! experience had
taught her the weakness of her fluttering heart; sorrow was
familiar, yet she prayed not to shrink from it. How clear and
vigorous was the mind of Alice--how shadowless was her unerring path
to be--how all weakness departed before the sudden thought that rose
up in her soul! How rich was the light that beamed from her steady
eye--how calm and trusting the slight smile that parted her lips!
How meek and confiding she was, and yet how full of strength! She
was a young seeker after truth, and she realized not yet, that that
same truth was the power to which she must bow every rebellious
thing within her. Months rolled on, and the quiet gladness in her
heart made it a delight to her to do anything and everything it
seemed her duty to do. The unexplored world within opened to her
gaze, and threw a glory upon creation. Infinitely priceless in her
eyes, were the thousand hearts around her, in which the Lord had
kindled the undying lamp of life.

One evening, at rather a late hour, Alice Clinton sought the chamber
of her aunt and seated herself quietly beside her, saying in a
subdued voice as she took her hand, "I am inexpressibly sad
to-night, Aunt Mary. There is no very particular reason why I should
feel so; no one can soothe me but you. Put your arms around me, Aunt
Mary, and talk to me--give me some strength to go forward in the way
I have chosen. I almost despair--I have no good influence, no moral
courage. Perhaps, after all, my efforts have been in vain to become
better, and I shall sink back into my former state. If all who are
my friends were like you, it would be an easy thing to glide on with
the stream. But I am in the midst of peril--I never knew until
to-night that it was hard to speak with a cold rigour to our friends
when they merit it. If I were despised, or neglected, I could more
easily fix my thoughts on heaven. I dread so to hurt the feelings of
any one."

"What do you refer to, dear?" inquired Aunt Mary, tenderly.

"My friend Eleanor Temple, and her brother Theodore, have been
spending the evening with me. You know how gay and witty they are.
In answer to a remark of mine, Theodore gravely quoted a passage of
Scripture, which applied to my observation in an irresistibly
ludicrous manner. I yielded to a hearty laugh which I could not
restrain; it came so suddenly I had no time for thought. But in a
moment after my conscience smote me, and I felt that my respect for
Theodore had lessened. I had no right to rebuke him, even if I had
the moral courage, for my laughter was encouragement. I turned away
from him and spoke to Eleanor; I was displeased with myself, and I
felt a sort of inward repugnance to him. But that was not the end;
several times afterwards Theodore did the same thing.

"'There are subjects which are not fit food for merriment;' I said
once in an embarrassed manner. 'If I do wrong, it is not
deliberately done.' Theodore was silent a moment, and he looked at
me as if he hardly knew how to understand me--then smiling, he
turned the conversation, and was as gay as ever. When they had taken
their leave, I entered the parlour again, and threw myself in a seat
by the open window. I turned the blind, and looked out after them.
Eleanor had caught the fringe of her mantilla in the railing of the
area. I was about to speak with her on the little accident, when
Theodore laughed, and said to his sister, 'Alice is as fond of
taking characters, as an actress. She attempted to reprove me, for
the very thing she had laughed at a little while before. Rather
inconsistent in our favourite, Nelly, don't you think so?' Eleanor
laughed, and said good-naturedly, 'Alice is impulsive, she don't
measure what she says, before it comes out.'

"I rose, and left the window. I felt sad, and peculiarly discomposed
and dissatisfied with myself. I knew that I had tried to do right in
some degree, and it grated on my feelings that my effort should be
called 'a taking of character.' Oh! if I could only live with good
people altogether, who would bear with me, and trust my motives! You
have my story, Aunt Mary, it amounts to nothing, but I am so sad."

"Life is made up of trifles," said Miss Clinton. "Few circumstances
are so trivial that we may not draw a lesson from them. Do not feel
sad, Alice, because you are misunderstood. Do not repine on account
of your position; no one could fill it but yourself, or you would
not be placed in it. Be resigned to meet those who call out
unpleasant feelings; they teach you better your own nature than ever
the angels could. They bring forth what is evil in you, that it may
be conquered. Do not understand me to mean that you should ever seek
those who may harm you. But a day can hardly pass over our heads,
that we do not meet with persons who ruffle that harmony of soul we
so labour after. It is keenly felt when one is as young in a better
life as you are. You need strength, and then you will be calm and
even. Time, patience, combating, prayer, good-will to man, must
bring your soul to order, then you will bear upon the spirits of
others with a still, purifying power which will soothe and soften
like far-off music. You have it in your power to do much good; your
Creator has blessed you with that inexpressible sympathy which may
glide gently into another human heart and open its secret springs
almost unconsciously to the possessor. I have watched you, child of
my love, and perhaps I know you better than you know yourself. There
are many latent germs within your being; Oh! Alice, pray God to
expand them to heavenly life. Bear on--and live for something worthy
a creature God has made." Mary Clinton paused in an unusual emotion;
her cheek glowed deeply, and the burning softness of her eyes
chained Alice's look as with a spell, to their angel expression. The
heart of the young girl throbbed almost to bursting, with the world
of undeveloped feeling that rushed over her. It was a moment which
many have experienced--a moment which breaks over the young for the
first time with such a thrill--she realized that God had gifted her
with power--with a soul that might and _must_ have its influence.
Bowing her head upon Aunt Mary's knee, she wept; and a flood of joy,
humility, and thanksgiving came over her, as she more deeply
dedicated herself to the holy Lord, and laid her gifts upon His
altar. Aunt Mary's words sunk peacefully into her soul, and a clear
light irradiated it and filled it with a calmness that made all
things right. With a look of irrepressible tenderness, and a voice
full of low music, Alice said to Aunt Mary, as she rose to retire,
"You have charmed away every discordant note that was touched
to-night, dear aunt. How unaccountable are our sudden changes of
mood! You have now thrown over me your own spirit of peaceful repose
and contentment. Good-night, and think you!"

"Well, I am content, entirely content," soliloquized Mary Clinton,
when the loved form of the child of her heart had disappeared. "To
try to bless another, how richly does the blessing fall back upon my
own soul! Yes! I have my joys. Why am I ever so ungrateful as to
murmur at aught that befalls me? I am blest--a sunshine is breaking
over the tender earth for me; all clouds are gone." With feelings
much changed from what they were a few months previous, Mary Clinton
sought the window, and with loving and devoted eyes dwelt upon the
night and stillness of the heavens--so boundless and so pure. The
moon was full; near it was one bright cloud of silver drapery, upon
the edge of which rested a single star. "So shall it be with me,"
she murmured, "be the clouds that float over the heavens of my soul
bright or dark, the star of holy trust shall linger near, ever
bringing to my bosom--peace."

About two years after, on a winter evening, there was a large
company assembled at Mr. Clinton's dwelling. It was in compliment to
Alice, for that day completed her twentieth year. As she moved from
one spot to another, her sweet face radiant with happiness, Aunt
Mary's eyes followed her with a devoted expression, which betrayed
that the lovely being was her dearest earthly treasure. The merry
girl was now a glad-hearted, but thoughtful woman. An innocent
mirthfulness lingered around her, which time itself would never
subdue, except for a brief season, when her sweet laugh broke out
with a natural, rich suddenness; there was a catching joy in it,
that could not be withstood. She was the gentle hostess to
perfection; with tact enough to discover congenial spirits, and
bring them together, finding her own pleasure in the cheerful home
thus made. She possessed the rare but happy art of making every body
feel perfectly at home, one knew not why. For a moment, Alice stood
alone with her little hand resting upon the centre-table. Behind
her, two rather fashionable young men were talking and laughing
somewhat too loud, and jesting upon sacred things. A look of pain
passed over the face of the fair listener as she slowly turned
round, and said in a low but earnest tone, "Don't, Theodore! Excuse
me, but _such_ trifling pains me." The young gentlemen both appeared
mortified. "Pardon me! Alice," exclaimed Theodore Temple, "I will
try to break that habit for your sake. I was not aware that it
pained you so much--a lady's word is law!" and he bowed gallantly.

"No, no! Base your giving up of the habit upon principle, then it
will be permanent. Much obliged for the compliment"--Alice bowed
with assumed dignity, and her sweet face dimpled into a playful
smile, "but I have no faith in these pretty speeches. Remember, now,
I have your promise to try to break the habit; you will forfeit your
word if you do not; so you see your position, don't you?" Thus
saying, and without waiting for a reply, the young lady left them.

"I believe Miss Clinton is right, after all," remarked Temple's
companion. "What is the use of jesting on such subjects? We never
feel any better after it, and we subject ourselves to the
displeasure of those who respect these things. I pass my word to
give it up, if you will, Temple."

"Agreed!" was Theodore's brief answer. Without saying how mingled
the motive might have been, which induced the young men to forsake
the habit, they _did_ forsake it permanently. Aunt Mary's lonely
life was at last smiled upon by a sunbeam--and that sunbeam was the
soul of Alice, which she had turned to the light. For that cherished
being Mary Clinton could have offered up her life, and there would
have been a joy in the sacrifice. Strongly and nobly were their
hearts knit together--beautiful is the devotedness of holy,
unselfish love! Blest are two frank hearts, which may be opened to
each other, pouring out like lava the tide of feeling hoarded in the
inward soul--such revelations are for moments when the yearning
heart will not be hushed to calmness. But "there is a moonlight in
human life," and there is also a blessing in that subdued hour which
whispers wearily to the loving one, of weaknesses and sins, with a
prayer for consoling strength to triumph yet, leaving them in the
dust. Thus was it with Mary and Alice Clinton; their souls were open
as the day to each other. They travelled along life's pathway with
earnest purpose, fulfilling the many and changing duties that fell
upon them, ever catching rich gleams of joy from above. And sorrows
came too! but they purified, and taught the slumbering soul its
rarest wealth--its deepest sympathies with all things good and
heavenly. It seemed a slight thing that took away the desolation
from the heart of Mary Clinton--she turned away from _self_, and
devoted her efforts to the eternal happiness of another. Is there
one human being in the wide world so desolate, that he may not do
likewise? Only a mite may be cast in, but God has made none of his
children so poor, as to be without an influence. The humblest
effort, if it is all that _can_ be made, is as full of greatness at
the core, as the most ostentatious display.



THE DEAD.


IT is strange what a change is wrought in one hour by death. The
moment our friend is gone from us for ever, what sacredness invests
him! Everything he ever said or did seems to return to us clothed in
new significance. A thousand yearnings rise, of things we would fain
say to him--of questions unanswered, and now unanswerable. All he
wore or touched, or looked upon familiarly, becomes sacred as
relics. Yesterday these were homely articles, to be tossed to and
fro, handled lightly, given away thoughtlessly--to-day we touch them
softly, our tears drop on them; death has laid his hand on them, and
they have become holy in our eyes. Those are sad hours when one has
passed from our doors never to return, and we go back to set the
place in order. There the room, so familiar, the homely belongings
of their daily life, each one seems to say to us in its turn,
"Neither shall their place know them any more." Clear the shelf now
of vials and cups, and prescriptions; open the windows; step no more
carefully; there is no one now to be cared for--no one to be
nursed--no one to be awakened.

Ah! why does this bring a secret pang with it when we know that they
are where none shall any more say, "I am sick!" Could only one
flutter of their immortal garments be visible in such moments; could
their face, glorious with the light of heaven, once smile on the
deserted room, it might be better. One needs to lose friends to
understand one's self truly. The death of a friend teaches things
within that we never knew before. We may have expected it, prepared
for it, it may have been hourly expected for weeks; yet when it
comes, it falls on us suddenly, and reveals in us emotions we could
not dream. The opening of those heavenly gate for them startles and
flutters our souls with strange mysterious thrills, unfelt before.
The glimpse of glories, the sweep of voices, all startle and dazzle
us, and the soul for many a day aches and longs with untold
longings.

We divide among ourselves the possessions of our lost ones. Each
well-known thing comes to us with an almost supernatural power. The
book we once read with them, the old Bible, the familiar hymn; then
perhaps little pet articles of fancy, made dear to them by some
peculiar taste, the picture, the vase!--how costly are they now in
our eyes.

We value them not for their beauty or worth, but for the frequency
with which we have seen them touched or used by them; and our eye
runs over the collection, and perhaps lights most lovingly on the
homeliest thing which may have been oftenest touched or worn by
them.

It is a touching ceremony to divide among a circle of friends the
memorials of the lost. Each one comes inscribed--"_no more_;" and
yet each one, too, is a pledge of reunion. But there are invisible
relics of our lost ones more precious than the book, the pictures,
or the vase. Let us treasure them in our hearts. Let us bind to our
hearts the patience which they will never need again; the fortitude
in suffering which belonged only to this suffering state. Let us
take from their dying hand that submission under affliction which
they shall need no more in a world where affliction is unknown. Let
us collect in our thoughts all those cheerful and hopeful sayings
which they threw out from time to time as they walked with us, and
string them as a rosary to be daily counted over. Let us test our
own daily life by what must be their now perfected estimate; and as
they once walked with us on earth, let us walk with them in heaven.

We may learn at the grave of our lost ones how to live with the
living. It is a fearful thing to live so carelessly as we often do
with those dearest to us, who may at any moment be gone for ever.
The life we are living, the words we are now saying, will all be
lived over in memory over some future grave. One remarks that the
death of a child often makes parents tender and indulgent! Ah, it is
a lesson learned of bitter sorrow! If we would know how to measure
our work to living friends, let us see how we feel towards the dead.
If we have been neglectful, if we have spoken hasty and unkind
words, on which death has put his inevitable seal, what an anguish
is that! But our living friends may, ere we know, pass from us; we
may be to-day talking with those whose names to-morrow are to be
written among the dead; the familiar household object of to-day may
become sacred relics to-morrow. Let us walk softly; let us forbear
and love; none ever repented of too much love to a departed friend;
none ever regretted too much tenderness and indulgence, but many a
tear has been shed for too much harshness and severity. Let our
friends in heaven then teach us how to treat our friends on earth.
Thus by no vain fruitless sorrow, but by a deeper self-knowledge, a
tenderer and more sacred estimate of life, may our heavenly friends
prove to us ministering spirits.

The triumphant apostle says to the Christian, "All things are
yours--Life and Death." Let us not lose either; let us make _Death_
our own; in a richer, deeper, and more solemn earnestness of life.
So those souls which have gone from our ark, and seemed lost over
the gloomy ocean of the unknown, shall return to us, bearing the
olive-leaves of Paradise.



DO YOU SUFFER MORE THAN YOUR NEIGHBOUR?


"WHOSE sorrow is like unto my sorrow?"

Such is the language of the stricken soul, such the outbreak of
feeling, when affliction darkens the horizon of man's sunny hopes,
and dashes the full cup of blessings suddenly from the expectant
lips.

"Console me not; you have not felt this pang," cries the spirit in
agony, to the kind friend who is striving to pour the balm of
consolation in the wounded heart.

"But I have known worse," is the reply.

"Worse! never, never; no one could suffer more keenly than I now do,
and live."

In vain the friend reasons; sorrow is always more or less selfish;
it absorbs all other passions; it consecrates itself to tears and
lamentations, and the bereaved one feels alone; utterly alone in the
world, and of all mankind the most forsaken. Every heart knoweth its
own bitterness, and there is a canker spot on every human plant in
God's garden. Some are blighted and withered, ready to fall from the
stalk; others are blooming while a blight is at the root.

What right have you to say, because you droop and languish, that
your neighbour, with a fair exterior and upright mien, is all that
his appearance indicates? What evidence have you that because you
suffer from want, and your neighbour rides in his carriage, that he
is, therefore, more abundantly blessed, more contentedly happy than
you?

As you walk through the streets of costly and beautiful mansions,
you feel vaguely, that, associated with so much of beauty, of
magnificence and ease, there must be absolute content, enviable
freedom, unmixed pleasure, and constant happiness. How deplorably
mistaken. Here, where gold and crimson drape the windows, is mortal
sickness; there, where the heavy shutters fold over the rich plate
glass, lies shrouded death. Here, is blasted reputation, there, is
an untold and hideous grief. Here, is blighted love, striving to
look and be brave, but with a bosom corroded and full of bitterness;
there the sad conduct of a wayward child. Here is the terrible
neglect of an unkind and perhaps idolized husband; there the wilful
and repeated faults of an unfaithful wife. Here is dread of
bankruptcy, there dread of dishonour or exposure. Here is bitter
hatred, lacking only the nerve to prove another Cain. There silent
and hidden disease, working its skilful fangs about the heart, while
it paints the cheek with the very hue of health. Here is undying
remorse in the breast of one who has wronged the widow and the
fatherless; there the suffering being the victim of foul slander;
here is imbecility, there smothered revenge. The bride and the
belle, both so seemingly blessed, have each their sacred but
poignant sorrow.

Have you a worse grief than your neighbour? You think you have; you
have buried your only child--he has laid seven in the tomb. Seven
times has his heart been rent open; and the wounds are yet fresh; he
has no hope to sustain him; he is a miserable man, and you are a
Christian.

Have you more trouble than your neighbour? You have lost your
all--no, no, say not so; your neighbour has lost houses and lands,
but his health has gone also; and while you are robust, he lies on
the uneasy pillow of sickness, and watches some faithful menial
prepare his scanty meal, and then waits till a trusty hand bears the
food to his parched lips.

Do you suffer more than your neighbour? True; Saturday night tests
your poverty; you have but money enough for the bare necessaries of
life; your children dress meagerly, and your house is scantily
furnished; you do not know whether or not work will be forthcoming
the following week. Your neighbour sees not, nor did he ever see,
want. House, wife and children are sumptuously provided for; his
barn is a palace to your kitchen. Step into his parlour and look at
him for a moment; papers surround him, blazing Lehigh floods the
grate, velvet carpets yield to the step; luxurious chairs invite to
rest--check the sigh of envy; there is a ring at the bell--hurrying
footsteps on the stairs--a jarring sound against the polished door,
and in bursts the rich man's son, his brow haggard, his eyes fierce
and red. He is a notorious profligate; gambling is his food and
drink, debauchery his glory and his ruin. Would you be that father?
Go back to your honest sons and look in their faces; throw the
bright locks from their brows, and bless God that there the angel
triumphs over the brute; be even thankful that you are not burdened
with corrupt gold, for their sakes; say not again that you suffer
more than your neighbour.

Do you toil, young girl, from daylight to midnight, while the little
sums eked out with frowns and reluctant fingers, hardly suffice to
provide for you food and raiment? And the wife of your rich
employer, who passes stranger-like by you, may sit at her marble
toilet-table for hours, and retouch the faded brow of beauty before
a gilded mirror; may lounge at her palace window till she is weary
of gazing, and being gazed at; do you envy your wealthier neighbour,
young sewing-girl? Go to her boudoir, where pictures and statuary,
silken hangings and perfumes delight every sense, and where costly
robes are flung around with a profusion that betokens lavish
expenditure; ask her which she deems happiest, and she will point
her jewelled finger towards you, and--if she speaks with
candour--tell you that for your single soul and free spirits, she
would barter all her riches. The opera, where night after night the
wealth of glorious voices is flung upon the air till its every
vibration is melody, and the spirit drinks it in as it would the
incense of rare flowers, is to her not so exquisite a luxury as the
choice songs, warbled in a concert room, to which you may listen but
few times in the year; such pleasure palls in repetition, on the
common mind, for nature's favourites are among the poor, and gold,
with all its magical power, can never attune the ear to music, nor
the taste to an appreciation of that which is truly beautiful in
nature or art. Keep then your integrity, and you never need envy the
wife of your employer. A round of heartless dissipation has sickened
her of humanity; and if it were not for the excitement of outshining
her compeers in the ranks of fashion, she would lay down her useless
life to-morrow.

Mothers, worn out and enfeebled with work, labouring for those who,
however good they may be, are at the best unable to pay you for you
unceasing toil, unable to realize your great sacrifices, do you look
upon your neighbour who has more means and a few petted children,
and wish that your lot was like hers? You pause often over your
task, and think it greater than you can bear.

"Tell mothers," said a lady to us a short time since, "who have
their little ones around them, that they are living their happiest
days; and the time will come when they will realize it. Tell them to
bend in thankfulness over the midnight lamp, to smile at their
ceaseless work and call it pleasure. I can but kneel in fancy by the
distant graves of my children; they are all gone. Could I but have
them beside me now, I would delve like a slave for them; I would
think no burden too hard, no denial beyond my strength, if I might
but labour for their good and be rewarded by their smiles and their
love."

Then in whatever situation we are, we should remember that even but
a door from our own dwelling there may be anguish, compared with
which ours is but as the whisper of a breath to the roll of the
thunder. We do not say then, let us _console_ ourselves by the
reflection that there are always those in the world who suffer
keener afflictions than ourselves, "but let us feel that though our
cup of sorrow may be almost full, there might be added many a drop
of bitterness;" and never, never should we breathe the expression,
"there is no sorrow like unto mine."



WE ARE LED BY A WAY THAT WE KNOW NOT.


WE are to consider the facts and circumstances which confirm the
doctrine that the Lord's providence is at once universal and
particular; and indeed that he leads us by a way unknown to
ourselves.

And who that has reflected upon his own life, or upon the life of
others, or upon the current events of the day, will not bear witness
to the universal application of this principle?

Look to the affairs of the world, to the nations and governments of
all the earth, and tell me, where is anything turning out according
to the forethought and prudence of man?

Look to the movements of our own country, and say whether human
prudence ever devised what we behold? What party or what individuals
have ever, in the long run, brought things about as they expected?
And how is it in our own city, and under our own eyes?

In the societies of the church, and in organizations for church
extension, the same rule applies. And I might ask, where does it not
apply? I might give examples. But this is unnecessary, when they are
so numerous, and so fresh in the memory of every one.

But when we turn to the experience of individuals, we meet with the
most unlimited application of our subject. The life of every one is
a standing memento of its truth. For who is there, that has come to
his present stand-point in life, by the route that he had marked out
for himself? I will imagine that ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago
each one of you fixed on your plan of life, for a longer or shorter
period. It matters not what the original plan was. It matters not
what prudence, sagacity, and forethought were employed in making it.
It matters not how much money and power have come to the support of
it. Still its parts have never been filled up as you originally
sketched them.

Many particulars were altered and amended, from day to day, as you
went along. Some things were abandoned as useless; some as hopeless;
some as impossible; some as injurious; some things were neglected,
and others forgotten. An unknown hand now and then interposed,
turning the tables entirely. An unaccountable influence was found
operating on certain individuals, changing their tone, and modifying
their conduct. An unknown individual has come alongside of you, and
has become your friend. He has mingled his emotions and his plans
with yours. You have modified your plans. He has changed his.
Business and commerce have taken an unexpected turn. You are the
gainer or the loser, it matters not; your plans are changed by the
event. An intimate friend has left you and become your open enemy;
an open enemy has been reconciled and has returned to the affection
and confidence of your heart. Your plans in life have to be changed
to suit such events as these. Several friends and relatives, that
were near to you, have been removed into the spiritual world. It may
be that by such providences, your feelings, thoughts, and actions
have been changed--changed utterly and for ever. Darkness of mind,
gloominess of life, and anguish of spirit may have come upon you, by
some such unexpected providence, and thus your plans may have been
changed, or even utterly abandoned.

But beyond matters of this description, which are somewhat external,
and as we say accidental, and certainly incidental, to a life in
this world, and in all of which we are led in a way that we know
not; there are unexpected changes of another kind, that we all have
experienced. I now refer to changes in the inner man, and in the
inner life.

For there is a Divinity within us that shapes our ends, and while
the things of the outward life remain much the same, we experience
changes of the inner life, that are at times amazing and terrible.
They come like the swelling of the tide, and like the beating of the
waves rolling on from a distant ocean; the deep emotions of the soul
arise and swell and sweep away; the fire of thought is kindled; the
imagination paints the canvas; the tongue stands ready to utter the
influx of love and wisdom; and the hand to illustrate it.

As these internal states of the soul change, by conjunction with the
Lord and communion with Heaven, on the one hand; or by opposition to
God and alliance with Hell, on the other, we see all things of the
outward world in a different light.

The changes of our internal man are, to appearance, much more
directly of the Lord's Divine Providence, than the events of the
outward life. Nevertheless, the two are so related by the
constitution of the mind, that each individual determines, in
rationality and freedom, which of the emotions and thoughts of the
_inner life_, he will bring forth into _ultimate acts_; and it is
here that the man may ally himself with the good and the true on one
hand, or with the evil and the false on the other; and in this
manner determine his destiny for heaven or hell.

The practical bearings of our subjects hinge chiefly on this; we are
to confide in the Lord; lean upon his great arm; and look to Him,
with the assurance that although He leads us by a way that we know
not, nevertheless He is leading us aright; and if we trust to Him,
and do His will, He will finally bring us to heaven.

Casting our eyes from one extreme of the Lord's vast dominions to
the other, we find the same Divine Providence everywhere operating
and operative. The angels of heaven, from the highest to the lowest,
are continually led by the Lord in paths that they have not known;
darkness is made light before them, and crooked things straight.
Nevertheless they are not led into infinite good nor infinite
delight. For this would be impossible. But constantly they are led
into a higher degree of good than they would naturally choose; and
they are defended from evil into which they would naturally subside.
So also it is with us.

Hence we may rest assured, that however meagre may be the good we
experience, it is vaster by far than we should inherit, if we had
been permitted to carry out our own plans and to have our own way in
those numerous particulars in which we have been frustrated in our
plans and disappointed in our hopes.



THE IVY IN THE DUNGEON.


  THE ivy in a dungeon grew,
  Unfed by rain, uncheered by dew;
  Its pallid leaflets only drank
  Cave-moistures foul, and odours dank.

  But through the dungeon-grating high
  There fell a sunbeam from the sky;
  It slept upon the grateful floor
  In silent gladness evermore.

  The ivy felt a tremor shoot
  Through all its fibres to the root;
  It felt the light, it saw the ray,
  It strove to blossom into day.

  It grew, it crept, it pushed, it clomb--
  Long had the darkness been its home;
  But well it knew, though veiled in night,
  The goodness and the joy of light.

  Its clinging roots grew deep and strong;
  Its stem expanded firm and long;
  And in the currents of the air
  Its tender branches flourished fair.

  It reached the beam--it thrilled--it curled--
  It blessed the warmth that cheers the world;
  It rose towards the dungeon bars--
  It looked upon the sun and stars.

  It felt the life of bursting Spring,
  It heard the happy sky-lark sing.
  It caught the breath of morns and eves,
  And wooed the swallow to its leaves.

  By rains, and dews, and sunshine fed,
  Over the outer wall it spread;
  And in the day-beam waving free,
  It grew into a steadfast tree.

  Upon that solitary place,
  Its verdure threw adorning grace.
  The mating birds became its guests,
  And sang its praises from their nests.

  Wouldst know the moral of the rhyme?
  Behold the heavenly light! and climb.
  To every dungeon comes a ray
  Of God's interminable day.



THE GARDEN OF EDEN.


ONE day little Alice hung about her mother's neck covering her
cheeks with kisses, and saying in her pretty, childish way,

"I love you, you nice, sweet mother! You are good--so good!" But her
mother answered earnestly,

"Dear child, God is good; if I have any good it is from Him; He has
given it to me; it is not mine."

Then the little one unclasped her caressing arms, and putting back
her hair with both hands gazed with a look of surprise into her
mother's face.

Presently she said--"But if He has given it to you, it is yours."

"No, darling," replied the lady, "you do not quite understand.
Listen. Suppose your dear father had a great garden full of all most
beautiful things that ever grew in gardens, and he should say to
you--'Come and live in my garden; you shall have as much ground as
you are able to cultivate, and I will give you seeds of all fruits
and flowers you love best, as many as you want. Here no evil thing
can ever come to harm you, but every day you will grow happier and
stronger, and then I will give you more ground and more seeds, and
you shall live with me for ever!' Suppose you were so glad to hear
this that you lost no time, but went in, at once, and began to plant
the seeds in your little plot, close by the gate--you know it would
be a tiny little plot at first, because you are small and weak; and
soon your flowers were to grow up and bloom, so tall, and so
beautiful, and your trees hang heavy with such delightful fruit that
every one passing by would exclaim,

"'Oh, what a beautiful garden! Are these flowers and fruit trees
yours?'

"Would you not say--

"Oh, no! they are not mine; they are all my father's. This is his
beautiful garden, but he said if I were willing I might stay here
always, and I have come to live with him because he is good. Nothing
at all here belongs to me, though my father likes me to give away
the fruits and flowers that grow in my plot to all who ask for them.
I am a great deal happier, all the time, when I think that even the
wild flowers in this grass, and the small berries, and the little
birds that eat them, belong to him, than I could be if they were
mine, and I had no one to love for them.'

"Should you not feel, dearest, as though you were telling a wicked
story, and almost as though you were stealing something, if you
said, 'Yes, they are all mine,' so that the people would not even
know you had a father?"

"Oh, yes! that would be very naughty indeed. I would give the people
some of the fruit and flowers, and say they grew on my father's
trees, and then they would love him too; but tell me more about the
garden."

"I will tell you all I think you can understand, and you must be
attentive, for I want you to remember it all your life. Did you ever
hear of the Garden of Eden?"

"Yes; that is where Adam and Eve lived."

"Well, that's the beautiful garden I've been telling you about, and
God is your good father. You can begin your journey there this very
day if you like."

"Is it a very long journey?--and will you go with me? Is there
really, _really_ such a garden? Oh, tell me where it is!"

"I desire nothing in the world so much as to lead you there, but the
path is rough and steep; I cannot carry you in my arms along that
road; you must walk on your own little feet, and I am afraid they
will sometimes get--very tired."

"You know, mother, I never do get tired when I am going to a
pleasant place; but, oh, dear! I do believe now it is all a
dream-story; you smiled and kissed me just as if it were."

"No, you need not look so disappointed, little one, for though it is
something like a 'dream-story,' there is nothing in the world half
so true and real. Think in that little head of yours, and tell me
what seems to you most like this beautiful garden."

"I cannot think of anything at all like it, except heaven.--Oh,
yes!--that is it! Heaven, is it not?"

"And what is heaven?"

"The place where good people go when they die."

"Think again. What is heaven?"

"I have thought again, and I cannot think of anything but the place
where God and the angels are. I do not know how you want me to
think."

"I want you to think why it is heaven, and why the angels are happy.
Do you understand?"

"Yes. Being beautiful and so pleasant makes it heaven; and the
angels are happy because they are in heaven."

"Then, of course, if you put even such wicked people into a
beautiful and pleasant place they would be angels, and happy?"

"Oh, now I see! You mean the angels are happy because they are
good."

"Why should that make them happy?"

"I don't know why, but I know the Bible says so. I suppose just the
same as when you promise me, in the morning, that if I say my
lessons all nicely you will tell me a beautiful fairy-tale after
tea."

"No, my little Alice, not exactly in that way, though at first
thought it does seem to be so. I want you very much indeed, to
understand the truth about it, but I am afraid you will not find it
easy. You know that God is good, and wise, and happy--ah, dearest!
better, wiser, happier than the purest angels will ever know, though
they go on learning it to eternity. When I say to you God is
infinitely good, and wise, and happy, you cannot understand that,
and neither can I; but one thing about it I can understand, and this
I will tell you. Just as every joyous ray of light and heat comes to
us from the sun, so all wisdom, all goodness, all beauty, all joy,
flow forth from God, and are His, alone. Our very souls would go out
of existence like the flames of a lamp when the oil is spent, if,
for the least fraction of a second, He ceased to give us life. This
truth that I am teaching you now is not mine, nor yours; it is only
a tiny stream flowing from the fountains of His infinite wisdom, and
would be the truth, all the same, if we had never been born, or
never learned to see it. The good and joyous feelings in your heart,
too, are also from God, just as the truth is, though they seem to
you more as if they were your own. You must never think of them as
your own, never; but thank God for them very gratefully and humbly,
for they are His fruits that grow in the garden of your father, the
Garden of Eden."

"Why do you call it the Garden of Eden?"

"Because, by the Garden of Eden, is signified the state of those who
live in obedience to God; and by the beauty and pleasantness of the
garden we are taught that, when we receive goodness and truth from
God, we, at the same time, receive happiness from Him, because He is
infinitely happy, as well as infinitely good, and when His spirit
fills our hearts, we are happy too. Happiness comes with goodness,
just as the flowers and songs of birds come with summer."

"Then are all good people happy? I thought not."

"It is true, there are many trials in this world, but do you not see
that if we were good we should acknowledge that God sent them as
blessings, and should be willing to accept them from him, and
should, therefore, not be made very unhappy by them. You may be sure
that people are really, in their heart of hearts, happy exactly in
proportion as they are good. I have known persons who had suffered a
great deal in many ways, and who yet said that nothing had been so
bitter to them as the consciousness of their own sins. Good people
see a thousand things to love and enjoy which the wicked world find
no pleasure in; they are sure to make friends, and, what is far
better, sure to love and do good to all about them. They take
delight in everything beautiful that God has created. They think of
Him, and all His goodness, and, in the midst of sorrow, their hearts
are comforted, and filled with heavenly peace."

"Why did you say the road was rough and long to that beautiful
garden?--is it so very, very hard to be good?--and does it take so
very long?"

"You must not feel sad because it is not easy to be good; you must
think of it bravely, and joyfully. Why, my Alice! did you not say
you never felt tired when you were going to a pleasant place? It is
not always easy to do right; sometimes we are sorely tempted, and
then it seems very difficult; but what of that? It is possible,
always, for God never requires of us what we cannot do. When you
feel discouraged, remember that angels in heaven were little
children once, and that some of them found it as hard as you do to
be good and true, but they tried over and over again, and are
blessed angels now. They love to acknowledge that it was not by
their own strength they overcame evil, but that all the good and
truth and happiness they have are from God. He does not love you
less than He did them, for His love is infinite to all His children,
and if you are willing He will lead you also into His Garden of
Eden."



HAVE A FLOWER IN YOUR ROOM.


A FIRE in winter, a flower in summer! If you can have a fine print
or picture all the year round, so much the better; you will thus
always have a bit of sunshine in your room, whether the sky be clear
or not. But, above all, a flower in summer!

Most people have yet to learn the true enjoyment of life; it is not
fine dresses, or large houses, or elegant furniture, or rich wines,
or gay parties, that make homes happy. Really, wealth cannot
purchase pleasures of the higher sort; these depend not on money, or
money's worth; it is the heart, and taste, and intellect, which
determine the happiness of men; which give the seeing eye and the
sentient nature, and without which, man is little better than a kind
of walking clothes-horse.

A snug and a clean home, no matter how tiny it be, so that it be
wholesome; windows, into which the sun can shine cheerily; a few
good books (and who need be without a few good books in these days
of universal cheapness?)--no duns at the door, and the cupboard well
supplied, and with a flower in your room!--and there is none so poor
as not to have about him the elements of pleasure.

Hark! there is a child passing our window calling "wallflowers!" We
must have a bunch forthwith: it is only a penny! A shower has just
fallen, the pearly drops are still hanging upon the petals, and they
sparkle in the sun which has again come out in his beauty.

How deliciously the flower smells of country and nature! It is like
summer coming into our room to greet us. The wallflowers are from
Kent, and only last night were looking up to the stars from their
native stems; they are full of buds yet, with their promise of fresh
beauty. "Betty! bring a glass of clear water to put these flowers
in!" and so we set to, arranging and displaying our pennyworth to
the best advantage.

But what do you say to a nosegay of roses? Here you have a specimen
of the most beautiful of the smiles of Nature! Who, that looks on
one of these bright full-blown beauties, will say that she is sad,
or sour, or puritanical! Nature tells us to be happy, to be glad,
for she decks herself with roses, and the fields, the skies, the
hedgerows, the thickets, the green lanes, the dells, the mountains,
the morning and evening sky, are robed in loveliness. The "laughing
flowers," exclaims the poet! but there is more than gayety in the
blooming flower, though it takes a wise man to see its full
significance--there is the beauty, the love, and the adaptation, of
which it is full. Few of us, however, see any more deeply in this
respect than did Peter Bell:--

  "A primrose by a river's brim,
  A yellow primrose was to him,
  And it was nothing more."

What would we think or say of one who had invented
flowers--supposing, that before him, flowers were things unknown;
would it not be the paradise of a new delight? should we not hail
the inventor as a genius as a god? And yet these lovely offsprings
of the earth have been speaking to man from the first dawn of his
existence till now, telling him of the goodness and wisdom of the
Creating Power, which bade the earth bring forth, not only that
which was useful as food, but also flowers, the bright consummate
flowers, to clothe it in beauty and joy!

See that graceful fuchsia, its blood-red petals, and calyx of
bluish-purple, more exquisite in colour and form than any hand or
eyes, no matter how well skilled and trained, can imitate! We can
manufacture no colours to equal those of our flowers in their bright
brilliancy--such, for instance, as the Scarlet Lychnis, the
Browallia, or even the Common Poppy. Then see the exquisite blue of
the humble Speedwell, and the dazzling white of the Star of
Bethlehem, that shines even in the dark. Bring one of even our
common field-flowers into a room, place it on your table or chimney
piece, and you seem to have brought a ray of sunshine into the
place. There is ever cheerfulness about flowers; what a delight are
they to the drooping invalid! the very sight of them is cheering;
they are like a sweet draught of fresh bliss, coming as messengers
from the country without, and seeming to say:--"Come and see the
place where we grow, and let thy heart be glad in our presence."

What can be more innocent than flowers! Are they not like children
undimmed by sin? They are emblems of purity and truth, always a new
source of delight to the pure and the innocent. The heart that does
not love flowers, or the voice of a playful child, is one that we
should not like to consort with. It was a beautiful conceit that
invented a language of flowers, by which lovers were enabled to
express the feelings that they dared not openly speak. But flowers
have a voice to all,--to old and young, to rich and poor, if they
would but listen, and try to interpret their meaning. "To me," says
Wordsworth,

  The meanest flower that blows can give
  Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

Have a flower in your room then, by all means! It will cost you only
a penny, if your ambition is moderate; and the gratification it will
give you will be beyond all price. If you can have a flower for your
window, so much the better. What can be more delicious than the
sun's light streaming through flowers--through the midst of crimson
fuchsias or scarlet geraniums? Then to look out into the light
through flowers--is not that poetry? And to break the force of the
sunbeams by the tender resistance of green leaves? If you can train
a nasturtium round the window, or some sweet-peas, then you have the
most beautiful frame you can invent for the picture without, whether
it be the busy crowd, or a distant landscape, or trees with their
lights and shades, or the changes of the passing clouds. Any one may
thus look through flowers for the price of an old song. And what a
pure taste and refinement does it not indicate on the part of the
cultivator!

A flower in your window sweetens the air, makes your room look
graceful, gives the sun's light a new charm, rejoices your eye, and
links you to nature and beauty. You really cannot be altogether
alone, if you have a sweet flower to look upon, and it is a
companion which will never utter a cross thing to anybody, but
always look beautiful and smiling. Do not despise it because it is
cheap, and everybody may have the luxury as well as you. Common
things are cheap, and common things are invariably the most
valuable. Could we only have a fresh air or sunshine by purchase,
what luxuries these would be; but they are free to all, and we think
not of their blessings.

There is, indeed, much in nature that we do not yet half enjoy,
because we shut our avenues of sensation and of feeling. We are
satisfied with the matter of fact, and look not for the spirit of
fact, which is above all. If we would open our minds to enjoyment,
we should find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side. We
might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit
with the fairies who wait on every flower. We want some loving
knowledge to enable us truly to enjoy life, and we require to
cultivate a little more than we do the art of making the most of the
common means and appliances for enjoyment, which lie about us on
every side. There are, we doubt not, many who may read these pages,
who can enter into and appreciate the spirit of all that we have now
said; and, to those who may still hesitate, we would say--begin and
experiment forthwith; and first of all, when the next flower-girl
comes along your street, at once hail her, and "Have a flower for
your room!"



WEALTH.


THE error of life into which man most readily falls, is the pursuit
of wealth as the highest good of existence. While riches command
respect, win position, and secure comfort, it is expected that they
will be regarded by all classes only with a strong and unsatisfied
desire. But the undue reverence which is everywhere manifested for
wealth, the rank which is conceded it, the homage which is paid it,
the perpetual worship which is offered it, all tend to magnify its
desirableness, and awaken longings for its possession in the minds
of those born without inheritance. In society, as at present
observed, the acquisition of money would seem to be the height of
human aim--the great object of living, to which all other purposes
are made subordinate. Money, which exalts the lowly, and sheds
honour upon the exalted--money, which makes sin appear goodness, and
gives to viciousness the seeming of chastity--money, which silences
evil report, and opens wide the mouth of praise--money, which
constitutes its possessor an oracle, to whom men listen with
deference--money, which makes deformity beautiful, and sanctifies
crime--money, which lets the guilty go unpunished, and wins
forgiveness for wrong--money, which makes manhood and age
respectable, and is commendation, surety, and good name for the
young,--how shall it be gained? by what schemes gathered in? by what
sacrifice secured? These are the questions which absorb the mind,
the practical answerings of which engross the life of men. The
schemes are too often those of fraud, and outrage upon the sacred
obligations of being; the sacrifice, loss of the highest moral
sense, the destruction of the purest susceptibilities of nature, the
neglect of internal life and development, the utter and sad
perversion of the true purposes of existence. Money is valued beyond
its worth--it has gained a power vastly above its deserving. Wealth
is courted so obsequiously, is flattered so servilely, is so
influential in moulding opinions and judgment, has such a weight in
the estimation of character, that men regard its acquisition as the
most prudent aim of their endeavours, and its possession as absolute
enjoyment and honour, rather than the means of honourable, useful,
and happy life. While riches are thus over-estimated, and hold such
power in the community, men will forego ease and endure toil,
sacrifice social pleasures and abandon principle, for the speedy and
unlimited acquirement of property. Money will not be regarded as the
means of living, but as the object of life. All nobler ends will be
neglected in the eager haste to be rich. No higher pursuit will be
recognised than the pursuit of gold--no attainment deemed so
desirable as the attainment of wealth. While the great man of every
circle is the rich man, in the common mind wealth becomes the
synonyme of greatness. No condition is discernable superior to that
which money confers; no loftier idea of manhood is entertained than
that which embraces the extent of one's possessions.

There is a wealth of heart better than gold, and an interior
decoration fairer than outward ornament.--

There is a splendour in upright life, beside which gems are
lustreless; and a fineness of spirit whose beauty outvies the
glitter of diamonds. Man's true riches are hidden in his nature, and
in their development and increase will he find his surest happiness.



HOW TO BE HAPPY.


OLD Mr. Cleveland sat by his comfortable fireside one cold winter's
night. He was a widower, and lived alone on his plantation; that is
to say, he was the only white person there; for of negroes, both
field hands and house servants, he had enough and to spare. He was a
queer old man, this Mr. Cleveland; a man of kind, good feelings, but
of eccentric impulses, and blunt and startling manners. You must
always let him do everything in his own odd way; just attempt to
dictate to him, or even to suggest a certain course, and you would
be sure to defeat your wisest designs. He seemed at times possessed
by a spirit of opposition, and would often turn right round and
oppose a course he had just been vehemently advocating, only because
some one else had ventured openly and warmly to approve it.

The night, as I have said, was bitter cold, and would have done
honour to a northern latitude, and in addition to this, a violent
storm was coming on. The wind blew in fitful gusts, howling and
sighing among the huge trees with which the house was surrounded,
and then dying away with a melancholy, dirge-like moan. The old tree
rubbed their leafless branches against the window panes, and the
fowls which had roosted there for the night, were fain to clap their
wings, and make prodigious efforts to preserve their equilibrium.
Mr. Cleveland grew moody and restless, threw down the book in which
he had been reading, kicked one of the andirons till he made the
whole blazing fabric tumble down, and finally called, in an
impatient tone, his boy Tom.

Tom soon popped his head in at the door, and said, "Yer's me, sir."

"Yer's me, indeed!" exclaimed Mr. Cleveland, "what sort of a way is
this to build a fire?"

"I rispec you is bin kick um, sir," said Tom.

"Hey? What? Well! suppose I did bin kick um, if it had been properly
made, it would not have tumbled down. Fix it this minute, sir!"

"I is gwine to fix um now, sir," said Tom, fumbling at the fire.

"Well! fix it, sir, without having so much to say about it; you had
better do more, and say less," said Mr. Cleveland.

"Yes, sir," answered Tom.

"You _will_ keep answering me when there is no occasion!" exclaimed
Mr. Cleveland; "I just wish I had my stick here, I'd crack the side
of your head with it."

"Yer's de stick, sir," said Tom, handing the walking cane out of the
corner.

"Put it down, this instant, sir," said Mr. Cleveland; "how dare you
touch my stick without my leave?"

"I bin tink you bin say you bin want um, sir," said Tom.

"You had better tink about your work, sir, and stop answering me,
sir, or I'll find a way to make you," said Mr. Cleveland. "Bring in
some more light wood, and make the fire, and shut in the window
shutters. Do you hear me, sir?"

"Yes, sir," replied Tom.

"Well, why don't you answer, if you hear, then? How am I to know
when you hear me, if you don't answer?" said Mr. Cleveland.

"I bin tink you bin tell me for no answer you, sir," said Tom.

"I said when there was no occasion, boy; that's what I said,"
exclaimed Mr. Cleveland, reaching for his stick.

"Yes, sir," said Tom, as he went grinning out of the room.

Mr. Cleveland was, in the main, a very kind master, though somewhat
hasty and impatient. Tom and he were for ever sparring, yet neither
could have done without the other; and there was something comical
about Tom's disposition which well suited his master's eccentric and
changeable moods. Tom evidently served as a kind of safety valve for
his master's nervous system, and many an explosion of superfluous
excitability he had to bear.

On the night in question, Mr. Cleveland was particularly out of
sorts. The truth is, he was naturally a generous, warm-hearted man,
but in consequence of early disappointment, had lived a solitary
life, and was really suffering for the want of objects of affection.
His feelings, unsatisfied, unemployed, yet morbidly sensitive, were
becoming soured, and his untenanted heart often ached for want of
sympathy.

He rose and took several diagonal turns across the room. At length
he opened a window, and looked out upon the stormy night. "What
confounded weather!" he muttered to himself, "it makes a man feel
like blowing his brains out! There are no two ways about it, I'm
tired of life. What have I to live for? If I were to die to-morrow,
who would shed a tear?"

Then whispered conscience, "It is thine own fault. A man need not
feel alone because there are none in the world who bear his name, or
share his blood. All men are thy brethren. Thou art one of the great
human family, and what hast thou done to relieve the poor and
suffering around thee? Will not thy Master say to thee at the last
day, 'I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and
you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in;
naked, and you clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and you visited
me not. Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these my
brethren, _you did it not to me._'"

This was a strong and direct appeal, and it was not without its
effect. Then muttered Mr. Cleveland to himself again, "Well, how can
I help it? It has not been for want of inclination. Heaven knows I
am always ready to put my hand in my pocket whenever people call on
me for charity. How can I help it if the poor and suffering do not
make their wants known to me?"

Then again spake Conscience: "Thou art trying to deceive thyself,
but thou canst not deceive nor silence _me_. Thou hast known of the
existence of suffering, and thine indolence has prevented thee from
going abroad to relieve it. Did thy Master thus? Did he not _go
about_ to do good? Did he not sit down to meat with publicans and
sinners? Can you stand here, and look out upon such a night as this,
and not think of those who are exposed to its bitterness? Can thy
human heart beat only for itself when thou thinkest of the thousand
miseries crying to Heaven for relief? Resolve, now, before thy head
touches its comfortable pillow, that with the morning's dawn thou
wilt resolutely set about thy work; or, rather, thy Master's work."

"It is very hard," still muttered Mr. Cleveland to himself, "that
these thoughts will continually intrude themselves upon me. They
give me no peace of my life. Stifle them as I may, they come with
tenfold force. People have no business to be poor. I was poor once,
and nobody gave charity to me. I had to help myself up in the world
as well as I could. I hate poor people; I hate unfortunate people;
in fact, confound it! I hate the world and everybody in it."

Then answered once again the still, small voice: "For shame, Mr.
Cleveland, for shame! You will ruin your soul if you thus darken the
light within. You know better than all this, and you are sinning
against yourself. You want to be happy; well, you may be so. There
is a wide field of duty open before you; enter, in God's name, and
go to work like a man. What you say about having helped yourself, is
perfectly true, and you deserve all credit for it. But remember that
the majority of the poor are entirely destitute of your advantages.
You had the foundation rightly laid. A thousand circumstances in
your early life conspired to render you energetic and self-relying.
You had the right sort of education, and Providence also helped to
train you. Besides, once more I ask you, did your Master stop to
inquire how human misery was brought about before he relieved it?
Away with this unmanly, selfish policy! Follow thy generous
impulses, follow out the yearnings of thy heart, without which you
never can have peace; above, all, follow Christ."

Mr. Cleveland shut the window, heaved a deep sigh, and took several
more turns across the room. "I believe it is all true," at length he
said, "and I have been a confounded fool. I'll turn about, and lead
a different life, so help me Heaven! I have wealth, and not a chick
nor a child to spend it on, nor to leave it to when I die, and so
I'll spend it in doing good, if I can only find out the best way;
that's the trouble. But never mind, I'll be my own executor." He now
rang the bell for Tom.

Tom immediately appeared, with his usual "Yer's me, sir."

"Tom," said Mr. Cleveland, "put me in mind in the morning, to send a
load of wood to old Mrs. Peters."

"Yes, sir," said Tom, "an' you better sen' some bacon, 'cause I bin
yerry (hear) little Mas Jack Peter say him ain't bin hab no meat for
eat sence I do' know de day when. I rispec dey drudder hab de meat
sted o' de wood, 'cause dey can pick up wood nuf all about."

"You mind your own business, sir," said Mr. Cleveland, "I'll send
just what I please. How long is it since I came to you for advice?
Confound the fellow!" he muttered aside, "I meant to send the woman
some meat, and now if I do it, that impudent fellow will think I do
it because he advised it. Any how, I'll not send bacon, I'll send
beef or mutton."

Just at this moment, there was a knock at the door, and Tom, going
to open it, admitted Dick, the coachman.

"What do you want, Dick, at this time of night?" inquired his
master.

"Dere's a man down stays, sir," replied Dick, "and he seem to be in
great 'fliction. He says dey is campin' out 'bout half a mile below,
sir, and de trees is fallin' so bad he is 'fraid dey will all be
killed. He ask you if you kin let dem stay in one of de out-houses
tell to-morrow."

"Camping out such a night as this?" exclaimed Mr. Cleveland, "the
Lord have pity on them! How many are there of them, Dick?"

"He, an' his wife, and six little children, sir," answered Dick.

"No negroes?" inquired his master.

"Not a nigger, sir," said Dick. "I ain't like poor buckrah, no how,
sir, but I 'spect you best take dese people in, lest dey might die
right in our woods."

Tom, knowing his master's dislike of advice, and fearing that Dick
had taken the surest method to shut them out, now chimed in, and
said, "Massa, ef I bin you, I no would tek dem in none 't all."

"What do you mean, sir?" exclaimed Mr. Cleveland; "you surely must
be taking leave of your senses. Dick, you'll have to give that boy
of yours a thrashing. I'll not stand his insolence much longer.
Don't stand there, grinning at me, sir."

"No, sir," snickered Tom, skulking behind Dick, who was his father.

"Let the man come up here, Dick," said Mr. Cleveland.

When the traveller made his appearance, Mr. Cleveland was startled
at his wan and wo-begone appearance. "Sit down, my man," said he.

"I thank you, sir," replied the stranger, "but I must be back as
soon as possible to my family. Can you grant us a night's lodging,
sir?"

"Certainly, sir," replied Mr. Cleveland; "have you any means of
getting your family hither? I am told you have six little ones."

"They must walk, sir," replied the stranger, "for our only horse has
been killed by a falling tree; but I have not a word to say. It
might have been my wife or one of my little ones, and, poor as I am,
I can spare none of them."

Mr. Cleveland, whose feelings were at this time in an usually
softened state, got up, and walked rapidly to the book-case to
conceal his emotion, dashed away a tear, and muttered to himself, as
was his wont, "'Tis confoundedly affecting, that's a fact." Then
turning to the stranger, who was in the act of leaving the room, he
said, "If you will wait a few moments I will have my carriage got;
your wife and little ones must not walk on such a night as this."

"God bless you, sir!" said the stranger, in a trembling voice; "but
I am too uneasy to stay a moment longer."

"Well, go on," said Mr. Cleveland, "and the carriage shall come
after you, and I will go in it myself." The stranger brushed his
hand across his eyes, and left the room without speaking a word;
while Dick and Tom exchanged glances of surprise at their master's
uncommon fit of philanthropy; Tom feeling fully assured that the
"poor buckrahs," as he termed them, owed their good fortune to his
seasonable interference.

The carriage was soon in readiness, and Mr. Cleveland rode in it to
the spot. He found the family all gathered around the dead horse,
and lamenting over it; while the father, having just arrived, was
expatiating upon his kind reception by Mr. Cleveland. It took them
some little time to stow themselves away in the carriage, and Mr.
Cleveland actually carried two sturdy children on his knees. Yes,
there he was, riding through the dreadful storm, in danger every
moment from the trees which were falling all around him, with an
infant in its mother's arms squalling with all its might, and a
heavy boy on each knee, and squeezed almost to death into the
bargain--for there were nine in the carriage--and yet feeling so
happy! ay, far happier than he had felt for many a long day. Truly,
charity brings its own reward.

When they arrived at Mr. Cleveland's house, instead of being stowed
away in an out-building, as the poor man had modestly requested,
they were comfortably provided for beneath his own roof. That night,
as he laid his head upon his pillow, he could not help feeling
surprised at his sudden accession of happiness. "Well, I will go
on," he soliloquized; "I will pursue the path I have this night
taken, and if I always feel as I do now, I am a new man, and will
never again talk about blowing my brains out." He slept that night
the sleep of peace, and rose in the morning with a light heart and
buoyant spirits.

His first care was to take the father of the family aside, and
gather from him the story of his misfortunes. It was a long and
mournful tale, and Mr. Cleveland was obliged, more than once, to
pretend a sudden call out of the room, that he might hide his
emotion. And the tale was by no means told in vain. True to his new
resolutions, Mr. Cleveland thankfully accepted the work which
Providence had given him to do, and the family of emigrants, to this
day, mention the name of Cleveland with tears of gratitude and love,
and, when they implore God's mercy for themselves, never forget to
invoke, for their kind benefactor, Heaven's choicest blessings. Nor
is that the only family whose hearts glow at the mention of Mr.
Cleveland's name. Far and wide his name is known, and honoured, and
beloved.

And Mr. Cleveland has found out the real secret of happiness. It is
true that he and Tom still have their squabbles, for Tom is really a
provoking fellow, and Mr. Cleveland is, and always will be, an
eccentric, impulsive man, but his heart, which, when we first
introduced him to our readers, was far from being right with God, or
with his fellow-men, is now the dwelling-place of love and kindness,
and the experience of every day contributes to strengthen the new
principles he has imbibed, and to confirm him in the right.

Reader! art thou sad or solitary? I can offer thee a certain cure
for all thy woes. Contemplate the life of Him who spake as never man
spake. Follow him through all those years of toil and suffering. See
him wherever called by the sorrows of his human brethren, and
witness his deeds of mercy and his offices of love, and then--"go
thou and do likewise."



REBECCA.


  HER words were few, without pretence
  To tricks of courtly eloquence,
  But full of pure and simple thought,
  And with a guileless feeling fraught,
  And said in accents which conferred
  Poetic charm on household word.

  She needed not to speak, to be
  The best loved of the company--
  She did her hands together press
  With such a child-like gracefulness;
  And such a sweet tranquillity
  Upon her silent lips did lie,
  And such unsullied purity
  In the blue heaven of her eye.

  She moved among us like to one
  Who had not lived on earth alone;
  But felt a dim, mysterious sense
  Of a more stately residence,
  And seemed to have a consciousness
  Of an anterior happiness--
  To hear, at times, the echoes sent
  From some unearthly instrument
  With half-remembered voices blent--
  And yet to hold the friendships dear,
  And prize the blessings of our sphere--
  In sweet perplexity to know
  Which of the two was dreamy show,
  The dark green earth, the deep blue skies,
  The love which shone in mortal eyes,
  Or those faint recollections, telling
  Of a more bright and tranquil dwelling.

  We could not weep upon the day
  When her pure spirit passed away;
  We thought we read the mystery
  Which in her life there seemed to be--
  That she was not our own, but lent
  To us little while, and sent
  An angel child, what others preach
  Of heavenly purity, to teach,
  In ways more eloquent than speech--
  And chiefly by that raptured eye
  Which seemed to look beyond the sky,
  And that abstraction, listening
  To hear the choir of seraphs sing.

  We thought that death did seem to her
  Of long-lost joy the harbinger--
  Like an old household servant, come
  To take the willing scholar home;
  The school-house, it was very dear,
  But then the holidays were near;
  And why should she be lingering here?
  Softly the servant bore the child
  Who at her parting turned and smiled,
  And looked back to us, till the night
  For ever hid her from our sight.



LIFE A TREADMILL.


WHO says that life is a treadmill?

You, merchant, when, after a weary day of measuring cotton-cloth or
numbering flower barrels, bowing to customers or taking account of
stock, you stumble homeward, thinking to yourself that the moon is a
tolerable substitute for gas light, to prevent people from running
against the posts--and then, by chance, recall the time when, a
school-boy, you read about "chaste Dian" in your Latin books, and
discovered a striking resemblance to moonbeams in certain blue eyes
that beamed upon you from the opposite side of the school-room.

Ah! those were the days when brick side-walks were as elastic as
India rubber beneath your feet; shop windows were an exhibition of
transparencies to amuse children and young people, and the world in
prospect was one long pleasure excursion. Then you drank the bright
effervescence in your glass of soda-water, and now you must swallow
the cold, flat settlings, or not get your money's worth. Long ago
you found out that the moon is the origin of moonshine, that blue
eyes are not quite as fascinating under gray hair and behind
spectacles, and that "money answereth all things."

You say so, clerk or bank-teller, when you look up from your books
at the new-fallen snow glistening in the morning light, and feel
something like the prancing of horses' hoofs in the soles of your
boots, and hear the jingling of sleigh bells in your mind's ear,
long after the sound of them has passed from your veritable
auriculars.

You say so, teacher, while going through the daily drill of your A B
C regiments, your multiplication table platoons, and your
chirographical battalions.

You say so, factory girl, passing backward and forward from the
noise and whirl of wheels in the mills, to the whirl and noise of
wheels in your dreams.

You say so, milliner's apprentice, as you sit down to sew gay
ribbons on gay bonnets, and stand up to try gay bonnets on gay
heads.

You say so, housemaid or housekeeper, when the song of the early
bird reminds you of crying children, whose faces are to be washed;
when the rustling of fallen leaves in the wind makes you wonder how
the new broom is going to sweep; when the aroma of roses suggests
the inquiry whether the box of burnt coffee is empty; and when the
rising sun, encircled by vapoury clouds, brings up the similitude of
a huge fire-proof platter, and the smoke of hot potatoes.

There is a principle in human nature which rebels against
repetitions. Who likes to fall asleep, thinking that to-morrow
morning he must get up and do exactly the same things that he did
to-day, the next day ditto, and so forth, until the chapter of
earthly existence is finished!

It is very irksome for these soaring thoughts winged to "wander
through eternity," to come down and work out the terms of a tedious
apprenticeship to the senses. And yet, what were thoughts
unlocalized and unembodied? Mere comets or vague nebulosities in the
firmament, without a form, and without a home.

All things have their orbit, and are held in it by the power of two
great opposing forces.

Outward circumstances form the centripetal force, which keeps us in
ours. Let the eccentric will fly off at ever so wide a tangent for a
time, back it must come to a regular diurnal path, or wander away
into the "blackness of darkness." And if these daily duties and
cares come to us robed in the shining livery of Law, should we not
accept them as bearers of a sublime mission?

"What?" you say, "anything sublime in yardstick tactics or ledger
columns? Anything sublime in washing dishes or trimming bonnets? The
idea is simply ridiculous!"

No, not ridiculous; only a simple idea, and great in its simplicity.
For the manner of performing even menial duties, gives you the gauge
and dimensions of the doer's inward strength. The power of the soul
asserts itself, not so much in shaping favourable circumstances to
desired ends, as in resisting the pressure of crushing circumstances,
and triumphing over them.

Manufactures, trades, and all the subordinate arts and occupations
that keep the car of civilization in motion, may be to you machines
moving with a monotonous and unmeaning buzz, or they may be like
Ezekiel's vision of wheels involved in wheels, that were lifted up
from the earth by the power of the living creature that was in them.

Grumbling man or woman, life _is_ a treadmill to you, because you
look doggedly down and see nothing but the dull steps you take. If
you would cease grumbling, and look up, your life would be
transformed into a Jacob's ladder, and every step onward would be a
step upward too. And even if it were a treadmill, to which you and
other mortals were condemned for past offences, a kindly sympathy
for your fellow-prisoners could carpet the way with velvet, and you
might move on smilingly together, as through the mazes of an easy
dance.

It is of no use to preach the old sermon of contentment with one
condition, whatever it may be, a sermon framed for lands where
aristocracies are fixtures, in this generation and on this
continent. Discontent is a necessity of republicanism, until the
millennium comes.

Yet it is not sensible to complain of the present, until we have
gleaned its harvests and drained its sap, and it has become capital
for us to draw upon in the future. Most of the dissatisfied
grumblers of our day are like children from whom the prospect of a
Christmas pie, intended for the climax of a supper, takes away all
relish for the more solid and wholesome introductory exercises of
bread and butter.

What is it we would have our life? Not princely pop and equipments,
nor to "marry the prince's own," which used to form the denouement
of every fairy tale, will suffice us now; for every ingenious Yankee
school-boy or girl has learned to dissect the puppet show of
royalty, and knows that its personages move in a routine the most
hampered and helpless of all.

The honour of being four years in stepping from one door of the
"White House" to the other, ceases to be the meed of a dignified
ambition when it results from a skilful shuffling of political
cards, rather than from strength and steadiness of head and an
upright gait.

If we ask for freedom from care, and leisure to enjoy life--until we
have learned, through the discipline of labour and care, how to
appreciate and use leisure--we might as well petition from
government a grant of prairie land for Egyptian mummies to run races
upon.

If one might get himself appointed to the general overseership of
the solar system, still, what would his occupation be but a regular
pacing to and fro from the sun to the outermost limits of Le
Verrier's calculations, and perhaps a little farther? A succession
of rather longish strides he would have to take, to be sure; now
burning his soles in the fires of Mercury; now hitting his corns
against some of the pebbly Asteroids, and now slipping upon the icy
rim of Neptune. Still, if he made drudgery of his work by keeping
his soul out of it, he would only have his treadmill life over
again, on a large scale.

The monotony of our three-score years and ten is wearisome to us;
what can we think then of the poor planets, doomed to the same
diurnal spinning, the same annual path, for six thousand years, to
our certain knowledge? And, if telescopes tell us the truth, the
universe is an ever-widening series of similar monotonies.

Yet space is ample enough to give all systems variety of place.
While each planet moves steadily along on the edge of its plane, the
whole solar equipage is going forward to open a new track on the
vast highway of the heavens.

We too, moving in our several spheres with honest endeavours and
aspirations, are, by the stability of our motions, lifting and being
lifted, with the whole compact human brotherhood, into a higher
elevation, a brighter revelation of the Infinite, the Universe of
Wisdom and Love.

And in this view, though our efforts be humble and our toil hard,
life can never be a treadmill.



ARTHUR LELAND.


ARTHUR LELAND was a young lawyer of some twenty-seven years of age.
His office stood a stone's throw from the court-house, in a thriving
town in the West. Arthur had taken a full course in a Northern
college, both in the collegiate and law department, and with some
honour. During his course he had managed to read an amazing amount
of English literature, and no man was readier or had a keener taste
in such things than he. He had a pleasing personal appearance, a
fluent and persuasive manner, an unblemished character. Every
morning he came to his office from one of the most pleasant little
cottage homes in the world; and if you had opened the little front
gate, and gone up through the shrubbery to the house, you would have
seen a Mrs. Leland, somewhere in-doors, and she as intelligent and
pleasant a lady as you ever saw. You would have seen, moreover,
tumbling about the grass, or up to the eyes in some mischief, as
noble-looking a little fellow of some three years old as you could
well have wished for your own son.

This all looks well enough, but there is something wrong. Not in the
house. No; it is as pleasant a cottage as you could wish--plenty of
garden, peas and honeysuckles climbing up everywhere, green grass,
white paint, Venetian blinds, comfortable furniture.

Not in Willie, the little scamp. No; rosy, healthy, good head,
intelligent eyes, a fine specimen he was of an only son. Full of
mischief, of course, he was. Overflowing with uproar and questions
and mischief. Mustachios of egg or butter-milk or molasses after
each meal, as a matter of course. Cut fingers, bumped forehead, torn
clothes, all day long. Yet a more affectionate, easily-managed child
never was.

The mischief was not in Lucy, the Mrs. Leland. I assure you it was
not. Leland knew, to his heart's core, that a lovelier, more
prudent, sensible, intelligent wife it was impossible to exist.
Thrifty, loving, lady-like, right and true throughout.

Where was this mischief? Look at Leland. He is in perpetual motion.
Reading, writing, walking the streets, he is always fast, in dead
earnest. Somewhat _too_ fast. There is a certain slowness about your
strong man. You never associate the idea of mental depth and power
with your quick-stepping man. You cannot conceive of a Roman emperor
or a Daniel Webster as a slight, swift man. The bearing of a man's
body is the outward emblem of the bearing of his soul. Leland is
rather slight, rather swift. He meets you in his rapid walk. He
stops, grasps your hand, asks cordially after your health. There is
an open, warm feeling in the man. No hypocrisy whatever. Yet he
talks too fast. He don't give you half a chance to answer one of his
rapid questions, before he is asking another totally different. He
is not at ease. He keeps you from being at ease. You feel it
specially in his house. He is too cordial, too full of effort to
make your visit pleasant to you. You like him, yet you don't feel
altogether at home with him. You are glad when he leaves you to his
more composed wife. You never knew or heard of his saying or doing
anything wrong or even unbecoming. You look upon him as a peculiar
sort of man--well, somehow--but! He is at the bar defending that
woman, who sits by him, dressed in mourning--some chancery case. Or
it is a criminal case, and it is the widow's only son that Leland is
defending. If you had been in his office for the last week, you
would have acknowledged that he has studied the case, has prepared
himself on it as thoroughly as a man can. He is an ambitious man. He
intensely desires to make for himself a fortune and a position. His
address to the judge, or to the jury, as the case may be, is a good
one. Yet, somehow, he does not convince. He himself is carried away
by his own earnestness, but he does not carry away with him his
hearers. His remarks are interesting. People listen to him from
first to last closely. Yet his arguing does not, somehow, convince.
His pathos does not, somehow, melt. He is the sort of man that
people think of for the Legislature. No man ever thinks of him in
connexion with the Supreme Bench or Senate.

Wherein lies the defect? Arthur Leland is well read, a gentleman of
spotless character, of earnest application, of popular manners. Why
is not this man a man of more weight, power, standing? Why, you
answer, the man is just what he is. He fills just the position up to
which his force of mind raises him. Did he have more talent, he
would be more. No, sir. Every acquaintance he has known, he himself
knows, that he is capable of being much more than he is--somehow,
somehow he does not attain to it! It is this singular impression
Leland makes upon you. It is this singular, uneasy, unsatisfied
feeling he himself is preyed upon by. "He might be, but he is not,"
say his neighbours. "I am not, yet I might be," worries him as an
incessant and eternal truth.

It broke upon him like a revelation.

He was at work one fine morning in his garden, in a square in which
young watermelon plants of a choice kind were just springing. Willie
was there with him, just emerged fresh for fun from the waters of
sleep. Very anxious to be as near as possible to his father, who was
always his only playmate, Willie had strayed from the walk in which
his father had seated him, and stood beside his father. With a
quick, passionate motion, Leland seized his child, and placed him
violently back in the walk, with a harsh threat. The child whimpered
for a while, and soon forgetting himself, came to his father again
over the tender plants. This time Leland seized him still more
violently, seated him roughly in the walk, and, with harsh threats,
struck him upon his plump red cheek. Willie burst into tears, and
wept in passion. His father was in a miserable, uneasy frame of
mind. He ceased his work, bared his brow to the delicious morning
air. He leaned upon his hoe, and gazed upon his child. He felt there
was something wrong. He always knew, and acknowledged, that he was
of a rash, irritable disposition. He now remembered that ever since
his child's birth he had been exceedingly impatient with it. He
remembered how harshly he had spoken to it, how rudely he had tossed
it on his knee when it awoke him with its crying at night. He
remembered that the little one had been daily with him for now three
years, and that not a day had passed in which he had not spoken
loudly, fiercely to the child.

Yes, he remembered the heavy blows he had given it in bursts of
passion, blows deeply regretted the instant after, yet repeated on
the first temptation. He thought of it all; that his boy was but a
little child, and that he had spoken to it, and expected from it, as
if it were grown. All his passionate, cruel words and blows rushed
upon his memory; his rough replies to childish questions; his
unmanly anger at childish offences. He thought, too, how the little
boy had still followed him, because its father was all on earth to
him; how the little thing had said, he "was sorry," and had offered
a kiss even after some bitter word or blow altogether undeserved.
Leland remembered, too, as the morning air blew aside his hair, how
often he had shown the same miserable, nervous irritability to his
dog, his horse, his servants; even the branch of the tree that
struck him as he walked; yea, even to his own wife. He remembered
how the same black, unhappy feelings had clouded his brow, had burst
from his lips at every little domestic annoyance that had happened.
He could not but remember how it had only made matters worse--had
made himself and his family wretched for the time. He felt how
undignified, how unmanly all this was. He pictured himself before
his own eyes as a peevish, uneasy, irritable, unhappy man--so
weak-minded!

He glanced at the house; he knew his wife was in it, engaged in her
morning duties; gentle, lady-like, loving him so dearly. He glanced
at his sobbing child, and saw how healthful and intelligent he was.
He glanced over his garden, and orchard, and lawn, and saw how
pleasant was his home. He thought of his circle of friends, his
position in business, his own education and health. He saw how much
he had to make him happy; and all jarred and marred, and cursed by
his miserable fits of irritation; the fever, the plague increasing
daily; becoming his nature, breathing the pestilent atmosphere of
hell over himself and all connected with him.

As he thus thought, his little boy again forgot himself, and strayed
with heedless feet toward his father. Leland dropped his hoe,
reached toward his child. The little fellow threw up his hands, and
writhed his body as if expecting a blow.

"Willie," said the father, in a low, gentle voice. Willie looked up
with half fright, half amazement. "Willie, boy," said the father in
a new tone, which had never passed his lips before, and he felt the
deep, calm power of his own words. "Willie, boy, don't walk on pa's
plants. Go back, and stay there till pa is done."

The child turned as by the irresistible power of the slow-spoken,
gentle words, and walked back and resumed his seat, evidently not
intending to transgress again.

As Leland stood with the words dying on his lips, and his hand
extended, a sudden and singular idea struck him. He felt that he had
just said the most impressive and eloquent thing he had ever said in
his life! He felt that there was a power in his tone and manner
which he had never used before; a power which would affect a judge
or a jury, as it had affected Willie. The curse cursed here too! It
was that hasty, nervous disposition, which gave manner and tone to
his very public speaking; which made his arguments unconvincing, his
pathos unaffecting. It was just that calm, deep, serene feeling and
manner, which was needed at the bar as well as with Willie. Arguing
with that feeling and manner, he felt, would convince irresistibly.
Pleading with that quiet, gentle spirit, he felt would melt, would
affect the hearts as with the very emotion of tears.

Unless you catch the idea, there is no describing it, reader. Leland
was a Christian. All that day he thought upon the whole matter. That
night in the privacy of his office he knelt and repeated the whole
matter before God. For his boy's sake, for his wife's sake, for his
own sake, for his usefulness' sake at the bar, he implored steady
aid to overcome the deadly, besetting sin. He pleaded that,
indulging in that disposition, he was alienating from himself his
boy and his wife; yea, that he was alienating his own better self
from himself, for he was losing his own self-respect. And here his
voice sank from a murmur into silence; he remembered that he was
thus alienating from his bosom and his side--God!

And then he remembered that just such a daily disposition as he
lacked was exactly that disposition which characterized God when God
became man. The excellence of such a disposition rose serenely
before him, embodied in the person of Jesus Christ; the young lawyer
fell forward on his face and wept in the agony of his desire and his
prayer.

From that sweet spring morning was Arthur Leland another man; a
wiser, abler, more successful man in every sense. Not all at once;
steadily, undoubtedly advanced the change. The wife saw and felt,
and rejoiced in it. Willie felt it, and was restrained by it every
drop of his merry blood; the household felt it, as a ship does an
even wind; and sailed on over smooth seas constrained by it. You saw
the change in the man's very gait and bearing and conversation.
Judge and jury felt it. It was the ceasing of a fever in the frame
of a strong man; and Leland went about easily, naturally, the strong
man he was. The old, uneasy, self-harassing feeling was forgotten,
and an ease and grace of tone and manner succeeded. It was a higher
development of the father, the husband, the orator, the gentleman,
the Christian. Surely love is the fountain of patience and peace.
Surely it is the absence of passion which makes angels to be the
beings they are.

Men can become very nearly angels or devils, even before they have
left the world.



THE SCARLET POPPY.


ONE warm morning in June, just as the sun returned from his long but
rapid journey to the distant east, and sailed majestically up
through the clear blue sky, the many bright flowers of one of the
prettiest little parterres in the world, who had opened their
eyes--those bright flowers--to smile at the sunbeams which came to
kiss away the tears night had shed over them, were very much
surprised, and not a little offended to find in their very midst an
individual who, though most of them knew her, one might have
supposed, from their appearance, was a perfect stranger to them all.

The parterre, I have said, was small, for it was in the very heart
of a great city, where land would bring almost any price; but the
gentleman and lady who lived in the noble mansion which fronted it,
would not, for the highest price which might have been offered them,
have had those sweet flowers torn up, and a brick pile reared in the
place--their only child, the dear little Carie, loved the garden so
dearly, and spent so much of her time there.

Oh, it was a sweet little place, though it was in the midst of a
great city where the air was full of dust and coal smoke; for the
fountain which played in the garden kept the atmosphere pure and
cool, and every day the gardener showered all the plants so that
their leaves were green and fresh as though they were blooming far
away in their native woods and dells. There were sweet roses of
every hue, from the pure Alba to the dark Damascus; and pinks, some
of the most spicy odour, some almost scentless, but all so beautiful
and so nicely trimmed. The changeless amaranth was there, the pale,
sweet-scented heliotrope, always looking towards the sun; the pure
lily; and the blue violet, which, though it had been taught to bloom
far away from the mossy bed where it had first opened its meek eye
to the light, had not yet forgotten its gentleness and modesty; and
not far from them were the fickle hydrangea, the cardinal flower
with its rich, showy petals, and the proud, vain, and ostentatious,
but beautiful crimson and white peonias. The dahlias had yet put
forth but very few blossoms, but they were elegant, and the swelling
buds promised that ere long there would be a rich display of
brilliant colours. Honeysuckles, the bright-hued and fragrant, the
white jasmine, and many other climbing plants, were latticing the
little arbour beside the clear fountain, half hiding their
jewel-like pensile blossoms and bright red berries among the smooth
green leaves which clustered so closely together as to shut out
completely the hot sun from the little gay-plumaged and sweet-voiced
songsters whose gilt cage hung within the bower. But I cannot speak
of the flowers, there were so many of them, and they were all so
beautiful and so sweet-scented.

Well, this June morning, as I was saying, when the flowers, as they
were waked from their sleep by the sunbeams which came to kiss away
the tears night had shed over them, opened their eyes and looked
about them, they were surprised and offended to see a stranger in
their company.

There had been, through all the season, some little rivalries and
jealousies among the flowers; but from the glances which they turned
on each other, this morning, it was evident that their feelings
towards the stranger were exactly alike. However, as might be
expected from their different dispositions, they expressed their
dislike and contempt for her in different ways; but at first all
hesitated to address her, for no one seemed to find language strong
enough to express the scorn they felt for her; until the balsam, who
never could keep silent long, inquired of the stranger, in a very
impatient tone, what was her name, and how she came there.

The poor thing hesitated an instant, and her face grew very red; she
must have known that her presence in that company was very much
undesired, and when she spoke, it was in a low and embarrassed tone.

"My name is Papaver, and--"

But the Marygold laughed aloud. "Papaver!" she repeated in her most
scornful tone; "she is nothing more nor less than a Poppy--a great
offensive Poppy, whose breath fairly makes me sick. Long ago,
when--"

But here the Marygold stopped short, it would not do, to confess to
her genteel friends, that she had formerly been acquainted with the
disreputable stranger. They did not heed her embarrassment, however,
for every one, now that the silence was broken, was anxious to
speak; all but the Mimosa, who could not utter a word, for she had
fainted quite away--the red Rose who was very diffident, and the
Dahlia who was too dignified to meddle with such trifling affairs.

"You great, red-faced thing!" said the Carnation, "how came you here
in your ragged dress? Do you know what kind of company you are in?
Who first saw her here?"

"I saw her," said the Morning Glory, who usually waked quite early,
"I saw her before she had got her eyes open; and what do you suppose
she had on her head? Why a little green cap which she has just
pulled off and thrown away. There it lies on the ground now. Only
look at it! no wonder she was ashamed of it. Can you think what she
wore it for?"

"Why, yes!" said the Ladies' Slipper. "She is so handsome and so
delicate that she was fearful the early hours might injure her
health and destroy her charms!"

"No, no!" interrupted another; "she was afraid the morning breeze
might steal away her sweet breath!"

"You had better gather up your sweet leaves, and put on your cap
again," said the London Pride. "I see a golden-winged butterfly in
Calla's cup; your spicy breath will soon bring him here to drink of
your nectar!"

The most of the flowers laughed, but the Carnation still called
out--"How came she here?"

The Amaranth, however, who never slept a wink through the whole
night, would not answer the question, though the flowers were
certain that she could, were she so inclined.

"I do not see how you who are in her immediate neighbourhood, can
breathe!" said the Syringa, who was farthest removed from the poor
Poppy.

"I do feel as if I should faint!" said the Verbena.

"And I feel a cold chill creeping over me!" said the Ice Plant.

"That is not strange!" remarked the Nightshade, who had sprung up in
the shadow of the hedge, "she carries with her, everywhere she goes,
the atmosphere of the place whence she comes. Do you know where that
is?"

Some of the flowers shuddered, but the Nightshade went on:--

"The Poppy is indigenous now only on the verdureless banks of the
Styx. When Proserpine, who was gathering flowers, was carried away
to the dark Avernus, all the other blossoms which she had woven in
her garland withered and died, but the Poppy; and that the goddess
planted in the land of darkness and gloom, and called it the flower
of Death. She flourishes there in great luxuriance; Nox and Somnus
make her bed their couch. The aching head, which is bound with a
garland of her blossoms, ceases to throb; the agonized soul which
drinks in her deep breath, wakes no more to sorrow. Death follows
wherever she comes!"

"We will not talk of such gloomy things!" said the Coreopsis, with
difficulty preserving her cheerfulness.

But the other plants were silent and dejected; all but the Amaranth,
who knew herself gifted with immortality, and the Box, who was very
stoical. But another trial awaited the poor Poppy.

The Nightshade had hardly ceased speaking, when soft, gentle human
voices were heard in the garden, and a child of three summers, with
rosy cheeks, deep blue eyes, and flowing, golden hair, came bounding
down the gravelled walks, followed by a fair lady. The child had
come to bid good morning to her flowers and birds, and as she
carolled to the latter, and paused now and then to inhale the breath
of some fragrant blossom, and examine the elegant form and rich and
varied tints of another, the little songsters sang more loudly and
cheerily; and the flowers, it seemed, became more sweet and
beautiful.

The Poppy, who was as ignorant as was any one else how she had found
her way into the garden, now began to reason with herself.

"Some one must have planted me here," she said; "and though I am not
as sweet as that proud Carnation, nor so elegant as that dignified
Dahlia, I may have as much right to remain here as they!" and she
raised her head erect, and spread out her broad, scarlet petals,
with their deep, ragged fringe, hoping to attract the notice of the
little girl.

And so indeed she did; for as the child paused before pale
sweet-scented Verbena, the flaunting Poppy caught her eye, and she
extended her hand toward the strange blossom.

"Carie, Carie, don't touch that vile thing!" said her mother, "it is
poisonous. The smell of it will make you sick. I do not see how it
came here. John must bring his spade and take it up. We will have
nothing in the garden but what is beautiful or sweet, and this is
neither!"

The poor Poppy! She had begun to love the little girl, the child had
smiled on her so sweetly, and the other flowers had seemed so
envious when that little white hand was stretched out towards her;
and when she drew back, at her Mother's call, reluctantly, but with
look of surprise and aversion, the Poppy did not care how soon she
was banished from a place where she had been treated so unjustly.

However, she was suffered to remain; whether the lady neglected
giving instructions to the gardener respecting her, or whether he
forgot her commands, I am not sure; but there she remained, day
after day, striving every morning to wake up early and pull off her
little green cap before the other flowers had opened their eyes, but
never succeeding in so doing.

It was no enviable position that she occupied, laughed at, despised,
and scorned by all the other flowers in the garden, and in hourly
expectation of being torn up by the roots and thrown into the
street--the poor Poppy!

One day when the lady and her Carie were walking in the garden, the
little girl, who had looked rather pale, put her hands suddenly to
her head, and cried aloud. Her mother was very much frightened. She
caught up the little girl in her arms, and tried to ascertain what
was the matter; but the child only pressed her hands more tightly to
her head, and cried more piteously. The lady carried her into the
house, and the family were soon all in an uproar. The servants were
all running hither and thither; no one seemed to know what was the
matter; for the lady had fainted from terror at her child's pale
face and agonized cries, and the little girl could tell nothing.

"It is that odious Poppy who is the cause of all this!" said the
flowers one to another (little Carie was indeed playing in her
immediate vicinity when she was seized with that dreadful distress),
"she has poisoned her." And their suspicions were confirmed when one
of the servants came running into the garden, and seizing hold of
the Poppy, stripped off every one of her bright scarlet petals, and
gathering them up, returned quickly to the house.

"You poor thing!" said the Elder, as the Poppy, so rudely handled,
bent down her dishonoured head to the ground; but not one of the
other flowers addressed to her a single word.

Through the long day she lay there--the Poppy--on the earth, trying
to forget what had happened; for she did not know but their words
were true, and she was the cause of the little girl's suffering--she
would so gladly have soothed her pain. The other flowers thought she
was dead, and the Poppy herself believed that she should never see
the light of another morning; but just before the day was gone, the
lady walked again into the garden accompanied by her husband;
and--what do you suppose the other flowers thought?--without
noticing one of them, the lady walked directly to the Poppy, lifted
her head from the ground, and leaned it against the frame which
supported the proud Carnation, and then, with her white hands,
replaced the loosened earth about her half uptorn roots.

"Oh, I hope it will not die!" she said to her husband, "I should
rather lose anything else in the garden, for I don't know but it
saved dear little Carie's life! She had a dreadful headache, and
nothing afforded her the least relief, till we bruised the leaves of
the Poppy, and bound them on her temples, and then she became quiet,
and fell into a gentle sleep. Oh, I hope it will live!"

Don't you think the Poppy did live, and was proud and happy enough?
Do you think she was ever afterwards ashamed of her little green
cap, or her ragged scarlet leaves? And do you think the other
flowers ever laughed at her again, or were ashamed of her
acquaintance?

When the summer had passed away, and the bright blossoms one by one
withered and died before the autumn's cool breath, the Poppy
cheerfully scattered her little seeds on the earth, and laid herself
down to die; for she knew that when another spring should come, and
her children should shoot up from the ground, they would be nurtured
as tenderly, and prized as highly as those of the sweeter and far
more beautiful flowers.



NUMBER TWELVE.


WHEN I was a young man, working at my trade as a mason, I met with a
severe injury by falling from a scaffolding placed at a height of
forty feet from the ground. There I remained, stunned and bleeding,
on the rubbish, until my companions, by attempting to remove me,
restored me to consciousness. I felt as if the ground on which I was
lying formed a part of myself; that I could not be lifted from it
without being torn asunder; and, with the most piercing cries, I
entreated my well-meaning assistants to leave me alone to die. They
desisted for the moment, one running for the doctor, another for a
litter, others surrounding me with pitying gaze; but amidst my
increasing sense of suffering, the conviction began to dawn upon my
mind, that the injuries were not mortal; and so, by the time the
doctor and the litter arrived, I resigned myself to their aid, and
allowed myself, without further objection, to be carried to the
hospital.

There I remained for more than three months, gradually recovering
from my bodily injuries, but devoured with an impatience at my
condition, and the slowness of my cure, which effectually retarded
it. I felt all the restlessness and anxiety of a labourer suddenly
thrown out of employment difficult enough to procure, knowing that
there were scores of others ready to step into my place; that the
job was going on, and that, ten chances to one, I should never set
my foot on that scaffolding again. The visiting surgeon vainly
warned me against the indulgence of such passionate regrets--vainly
inculcated the opposite feeling of gratitude demanded by my escape;
all in vain. I tossed on my fevered bed, murmured at the slowness of
his remedies, and might have thus rendered them altogether
ineffectual, had not a sudden change been effected in my disposition
by another, at first unwelcome, addition to our patients. He was
placed in the same ward with me, and insensibly I found my
impatience rebuked, my repinings hushed for very shame, in the
presence of his meek resignation to far greater privations and
sufferings. Fresh courage sprang from his example, and soon, thanks
to my involuntary physician, I was in a fair road to recovery.

And he who had worked the charm, what was he? A poor, helpless old
man, utterly deformed by suffering, his very name unnoticed, or at
least never spoken in the place where he now was; he went only by
the appellation of No. 12--the number of his bed, which was next to
my own. This bed had already been his refuge during three long and
trying illnesses, and had at last become a sort of property for the
poor fellow in the eyes of doctors, students, nurse-tenders, in
fact, the whole hospital staff. Never did a gentler creature walk on
God's earth; walk--alas! for him the word was but an old memory.
Many years before he had totally lost the use of his legs; but, to
use his own expression, "this misfortune did not upset him;" he
still retained the power of earning his livelihood, which he derived
from copying deeds for a lawyer at so much per sheet; and if the
legs were no longer a support, the hands worked at the stamped
parchments as diligently as ever. But some months passed by, and
then the paralysis attacked his right arm; still undaunted, he
taught himself to write with the left; but hardly had the brave
heart and hand conquered the difficulty, when the enemy crept on,
and disabling this second ally, no more remained for him than to be
conveyed once more, though this time as a last resource, to the
hospital. There he had the gratification to find his former quarters
vacant, and he took possession of his old familiar bed with a
satisfaction that seemed to obliterate all regret at being obliged
to occupy it again. His first grateful accents smote almost
reproachfully on my ear: "Misfortune must have its turn, but _every
day has a tomorrow!_"

It was indeed a lesson to witness the gratitude of this excellent
creature. The hospital, so dreary a sojourn to most of its inmates,
was a scene of enjoyment to him; everything pleased him; and the
poor fellow's admiration of even the most trifling conveniences
proved how severe must have been his privations. He never wearied of
praising the neatness of the linen, the whiteness of the bread, the
quality of the food; and my surprise gave place to the truest pity,
when I learned that, for the last twenty years, this respectable old
man could only afford himself, out of the profits of his persevering
industry, the coarsest bread, diversified with white cheese, or
vegetable porridge; and yet, instead of reverting to his privations
in the language of complaint, he converted them into a fund of
gratitude, and made the generosity of the nation, which had provided
such a retreat for the suffering poor, his continual theme. Nor did
his thankful spirit confine itself to this. To listen to him, you
would have believed him an especial object of divine as well as
human benevolence--all things working for his good. The doctor used
to say that No. 12 had a "mania for happiness;" but it was a mania,
that, in creating esteem for its victim, infused fresh courage into
all that came within its range.

I think I still see him seated on the side of his bed, with his
little black silk cap, his spectacles and the well-worn volume,
which he never ceased perusing. Every morning, the first rays of the
sun rested on his bed, always to him a fresh subject of rejoicing
and thankfulness to God. To witness his gratitude, one might suppose
that the sun was rising for him alone. I need hardly say, that he
soon interested himself in my cure, and regularly made inquiry
respecting its progress. He always found something cheering to
say--something to inspire patience and hope, himself a living
commentary on his words. When I looked at this poor motionless
figure, those distorted limbs, and, crowning all, that smiling
countenance, I had not courage to be angry, or even to complain. At
each painful crisis, he would exclaim: "One minute, and it will be
over. Relief will soon follow. _Every day has its to-morrow!_"

I had one good and true friend--a fellow-workman, who used sometimes
to spare an hour to visit me, and he took great delight in
cultivating an acquaintance with No. 12. As if attracted by a
kindred spirit, he never passed his bed without pausing to offer his
cordial salutation; and then he would whisper to me: "He is a saint
on earth; and not content with gaining Paradise himself, must win it
for others also. Such people should have monuments erected to them,
known and read of all men. In observing such a character, we feel
ashamed of our own happiness--we feel how comparatively little we
deserve it. Is there anything I can do to prove my regard for this
good, poor No. 12?"

"Just try among the bookstalls," I replied, "and find the second
volume of that book you see him reading. It is now more than six
years since he lost it, and ever since he has been obliged to
content himself with the first."

Now, I must premise that my worthy friend had a perfect horror of
literature, even in its simplest stages. He regarded the art of
printing as a Satanic invention, filling men's brains with idleness
and conceit; and as to writing--in his opinion a man was never
thoroughly committed until he had recorded his sentiments in black
and white for the inspection of his neighbours. His own success in
life, which had been tolerable, thanks to his industry and
integrity, he attributed altogether to his ignorance of those
dangerous arts; and now a cloud swept across his lately beaming face
as he exclaimed, "What! the good creature is a lover of books? Well,
we must admit that even the best have their failings. No matter.
Write down the name of this odd volume on a slip of paper; and it
shall go hard with me, but I give him that gratification."

He did actually return the following week with a well-worn volume,
which he presented in triumph to the old invalid. He looked somewhat
surprised as he opened it; but our friend proceeding to explain that
it was at my suggestion he had procured it in place of the lost one,
the old grateful expression at once beamed up in the eyes of No. 12,
and with a voice trembling with emotion, he thanked the hearty
giver.

I had my misgivings, however, and the moment our visiter turned his
back, I asked to see the book. My old neighbour reddened, stammered,
and tried to change the conversation; but, forced behind his last
entrenchments, he handed me the little volume. It was an old Royal
Almanac. The bookseller, taking advantage of his customer's
ignorance, had substituted it for the book he had demanded. I burst
into an immoderate fit of laughter; but No. 12 checked me with the
only impatient word I ever heard from his lips: "Do you wish our
friend to hear you? I would rather never recover the power of this
lost arm, than deprive his kind heart of the pleasure of his gift.
And what of it? Yesterday I did not care a straw for an almanac; but
in a little time it is perhaps the very book I should have desired.
_Every day has its to-morrow_. Besides, I assure you it is a very
improving study; even already I perceive the names of a crowd of
princes never mentioned in history, and of whom, up to this moment,
I have never heard any one speak."

And so the old almanac was carefully preserved beside the volume of
poetry it had been intended to match; and the old invalid never
failed to be seen turning over the leaves whenever our friend
happened to enter the room. As to him, he was quite proud of its
success, and would say to me at each time: "It appears I have made
him a famous present." And thus the two guileless natures were
content.

Towards the close of my sojourn in the hospital, the strength of
poor No. 12 diminished rapidly. At first, he lost the slight powers
of motion he had retained; then his speech became inarticulate; at
last, no part obeyed his will, except the eyes, which continued to
smile on us still. But one morning, at last, it seemed to me as if
his very glance had become dim. I arose hastily, and approaching his
bed, inquired if he wished for a drink; he made a slight movement of
his eyelids, as if to thank me, and at that instant the first ray of
the rising sun shone in on his bed. Then the eyes lighted up, like a
taper that flashes into brightness before it is extinguished--he
looked as if saluting this last gift of his Creator; and even as I
watched him for a moment, his head fell gently on the side, his
kindly heart ceased to beat. He had thrown off the burden of To-day;
he had entered on his eternal To-morrow.



TO AN ABSENTEE.


  O'ER hill and dale, and distant sea,
    Through all the miles that stretch between,
  My thought must fly to rest on thee,
    And would, though worlds should intervene.

  Nay, thou art now so dear, methinks,
    The farther we are forced apart,
  Affection's firm elastic links
    But bind thee closer round the heart.

  For now we sever each from each,
    I learn what I have lost in thee;
  Alas! that nothing less could teach
    How great, indeed, my love should be!

  Farewell! I did not know thy worth;
    But thou art gone, and now 'tis prized:
  So angels walked unknown on earth,
    But when they flew were recognised.



THE WHITE DOVE.


THE little Lina opened her eyes upon this world in the arms of her
father, the good Gotleib. He kissed the child with a holy joy:
"For," said he, "now is a thought of God fixed in an eternal form;"
and he felt that a Divine love flowed into this work of the great
God--this also thrilled his warm, manly heart with a wondrous love.
He felt the inmost of his being vibrating as with an electric touch,
to the inmost of the little new-born innocent. But the rapture of
the young father was altogether imperfect, until he had sealed his
lips in a love-kiss upon those of the fraulein Anna, who lay there
so white and beautiful in the new joy of a young mother. Like an
innocent maiden, she twined her arms around Gotleib's neck, and grew
strong in the influx of warm life that flowed into her responsive
cares of the husband of her heart. Then Gotleib held up the
newly-born Lina, and the mother's lips touched the soft cheek of the
tiny little one with a living rapture, as if all of Heaven were
embraced in this heart-possession.

And Gotleib knelt by the bedside, and thanked God for the beautiful
gift of love with a pious awe and holy joy--large tears stood in the
eyes of Anna. As he rose from his reverent posture, he kissed off
the bright tears even as the sun exhales dew-drops from a pure
flower, and said,

"Dost thou weep for joy, sweet one?"

And Anna said,

"Once--not long since--I had a dream--a beautiful dream--that this
day has been realized. I dreamed that I was in a quite heavenly
place--yet the place was as nothing--it was the _state_--for I sat
with an infant in my arms--a bright innocent little one--and, thou,
dearest Gotleib, knelt beside me; and an angel-woman stood near us,
in a soft heavenly glory, and said, in low musical,
spirit-words--'Behold the fruit of the union of good and truth.' And
then, methought, thou didst embrace me with a new joy of love, and
whispered, 'an angel of God is born of us.' This little one is the
dream-child, dear Gotleib."

Thus beautiful was the birth of the little Lina, who grew, daily, in
a pure innocent loveliness. While she is expanding in the first days
of her new, breathing, sensitive life, we will go back to the former
life of Gotleib and Anna.

Gotleib Von Arnheim had first seen the light in this same small
cottage, on the confines of the Black Forest of Germany. He was born
with a large, loving heart. But the father and mother, and the dear
God, were the only beings on whom his affections were fixed; for his
sensitive nature shrank from the contact of the honest-hearted, but
rough peasant neighbours, that made the little world of their simple
life. But soon death came, and the good father left the earth for
the beautiful Heaven-world. The little Gotleib missed his kind
father; but his mother told him of the bright inner life, and how
his father yet lived and loved him; and the heart of the boy was
comforted: he felt a sense of elevation in having his father, whom
he had known so familiarly here upon earth, now the companion of
angels, and living in such a bright and beautiful world.

Ah, life had to him such an inner beauty; and, when still, dreamy
moments of leisure intervened between his work and play, he revelled
in such dreams of fancy, as lent light and life and joy to his whole
being. But the death of the kind father had not only carried the
boy's fancy to the other world; it was also drawing the mother's
heart away to the fair spirit-land. Gotleib saw his mother's face
growing thin and pale; he knew that she was weak--for oftentimes, in
the long winter evenings, as he read to her from the holy word of
God, her hand would drop wearily with the raised spindle, and she,
who was never before idle, would fold her hands in a quiet, meek
resignation. At such times a tremour would seize the boy's heart.
The mother saw it; and, one night, when his fixed tender gaze rested
on her, she raised her spiritual eyes to his, and said,

"Dear Gotleib! thou wilt yet have the good God to love."

"Ah, mother! mother!" cried the boy, "wilt thou, too, leave me?"

His head was bowed upon her knees in bitter grief, the desolation of
earth was spread like an impenetrable pall over his whole future.
Suddenly he looked up, full of a strange, bright hope, and said,

"Mother, I too may die."

Then the mother put off her weakness, and long and loving was the
talk she held with her dear boy. She told him that from a little one
he had ever loved God; that the first word he had ever pronounced
was the name of the Holy One. She had taught him to clasp his tiny
baby hands and look up and say "God," ere any other word had passed
his lips. She had named him Gotleib, because he was the love of God
to her, and he was to be a lover of God. As she talked, the boy grew
strong and calm, and said,

"Yet, oh, my mother! God is so great for the heart of a small child.
God is so high and lifted up in the far heavens, that I feel myself
but as a tiny blade of grass that looks up to the far sun--dear
mother! the earth will be too lonely; ah, there is no hope but in
death."

"No, my son," said the mother, "there is a beautiful hope for the
earth also. I will tell you what will make you love God more truly
than ever."

The boy was fixed attention.

"Thou didst not know, dear Gotleib, that when God created thee a
strong, brave boy, He also created a tender, gentle little maiden,
like unto thee in all things, save thou wert a boy and she a maiden.
Thou wert strong and able to work, and she gentle and born to love
thee."

"Where is she?" inquired the excited Gotleib.

"I know not," replied the mother. "But God knows, and He will watch
over the two whom He has created, the one for the other; and, on
earth, or in heaven, the two will meet. Is it not better, then, not
to wish to die, but to leave all things to the will of God? For what
if thy little maiden is left alone upon the earth, and there is no
strong, manly heart upon which she may lean, and no vigorous arm to
labour for her, how will her spirit droop with a weary, lonely
sadness? No, my son, live! and the joy of a most beautiful, loving
companionship, may yet be thine. The earth will not be desolate ever
to thy orphan heart, with this beautiful hope before thee."

Thus, in the cold wintry night of a dark sorrow, did the good mother
plant a living seed of truth, that afterwards sprang up into a
vernal flowery Eden, that bloomed in the boy's heart with an eternal
beauty.

When the early spring came, Gotleib looked calmly and lovingly on
the beloved mother, who was leaving for the inner world. Death was
beautiful to him now; it was simply the new birthtime of a mature,
living soul.

The spirit of the mother's love seemed to linger over the home of
his childhood, and it was a great sorrow to leave the cherished
spot; but, his mother told him he was to seek a brother of hers in
the distant town of Heidelberg. As Gotleib turned from the now
voiceless home of his parents, a fervent desire arose in his heart
that he might again be permitted to dwell beneath this sheltering
roof and amidst its living associations.

The boy went forth into the unknown world, with a living trust in
his heart in the great God. His was a simple, childish faith, born
of his love--to him God was not a mystery. It was a Divine
personality he loved. Jesus had walked the earth, and his father and
mother also--all were now spirits, none the less to be loved and
trusted than when upon earth; but now they were to him in
transcendent states of glory. The Lord Jesus, as being infinitely
great and glorious, was the alone One to whom he now looked for
help--though ever as he knelt to pray to GOD, he felt that his
angel-mother bowed with his spirit, and by her prompting beautiful
words of humiliation and praise came to him, that he himself could
never have thought of; hence the affections of his heart all grew up
into the inner spirit-world.

And years passed in the good town of Heidelberg, years that brought
blessings to the orphan boy as they flew. The God in whom he trusted
had provided for him--had awakened a friendly kindness in many warm
hearts. And Gotleib, who was at first designed by his relatives to
spend his days over the shoemaker's awl and last, at length found
himself, by his own ardent exertions and the helpful kindness of
others, a student in the University. This was to him a most pure
gratification--not because of a love of learning, not because of
ambition, to attain a position before his fellow-men. Oh! it was
quite otherwise with the good youth--he had one object in life. The
hope that his dying mother had awakened in his heart was the guiding
star of all his efforts. That little maiden created for him, and to
be supported by him! The image was ever before him. Yes, he was a
student for a high and noble use. Science was to be to him the
instrument of a life of love and blessedness. To do good to others,
and thus to provide for the maiden, was what led him to the arduous
study of medicine.

It mattered not that cold and hunger and toil all bound him in an
earthly coil. The warm, hopeful heart has a wonderful endurance. The
delicate, attenuated form of the young student seemed barely
sufficient to hold the bright and glowing spirit that looked out
from his soft eyes, when he received his degrees. The desire of his
life was growing into a fruition; and when he returned to his poor
lodgings, a sense of freedom, of gratitude, and of delight, crowned
his yet barren life. To work! to work! seemed now the one call of
his being; but, whither was he to go? There was the childhood's
home, to which his heart instinctively turned; but, alone and
desolate, he could not dwell there. Gotleib had not forgotten his
mother's lessons; he knelt and prayed to God for guidance. Even as
he kneels, and feels his spirit in the sunshine of God's presence,
there is a knock at the door, and the good Professor Eberhard
enters. He has marked the student in his poverty and toil, and feels
that he will now hold out a helping hand to the young beginner. As
professor of anatomy, he needs the quick eye and delicate hand of an
expert assistant.

Gotleib looked upon the Herr professor as Heaven-sent, and in a few
days was installed in all the luxury of a life of active use.

Years passed away, and (sic) Gotlieb Von Arnheim sighed with a man's
full heart for a woman's sympathy and responsive affection. He had
seen bright eyes gleam and soft cheeks flush at his approach, and he
had looked wonderingly into many a sweet face. But he had not yet
seen the little maiden of whom his mother spoke--who was to be the
reflex of himself. All these German maidens were altogether
different from--and his heart remained unsatisfied in their
presence. He felt no visions of eternity as he looked into their
friendly faces.

Sometimes hope almost died out. But his trust in God seemed to
forbid the death of this sweet hope. Often he said, "the good God
would not have created this intense desire in one so wholly
dependent upon Him, were he not intending to satisfy it." At all
events, he thought--"If the maiden is not upon earth, she is in
heaven." So he worked and waited patiently.

The wintry winds were howling, as it were, a wild requiem over the
lordly ruins of the crime-stained castle of Heidelberg. Cold, and
bitter, and clear was the starry night, when the weary Gotleib
issued out of the Herr professor's warm house to answer the late
call of a sick woman. Gotleib looked up into those illimitable
depths where earths and suns hang suspended, to appeal to the
material perceptions of man that this is not the alone world--the
alone existence. The silent bright stars comforted the earth-wearied
heart in which the day's toil had dimmed the spirit's perception.
Gotleib stepped on bravely through the frosty darkness, and said
hopefully to himself,

"There is yet another world--another life than this."

And now he stood before the house in which his services were needed.
He entered a chamber, whose bare poverty reminded him of his student
days. But far sadder was cold poverty here, for a lady lay on a hard
couch before the scantily furnished grate, and her hollow cough, and
the oozing blood that saturated her white handkerchief, rendered all
words unnecessary.

A young girl, with blanched cheek and tearless eye of agony, knelt
by the wan sufferer. Gotleib felt himself in the sphere of his
life's use; cold and fatigue were alike gone. The sick and almost
dying woman seemed to revive under his touch--it was as if strength
flowed from the physician into the patient. His very presence
diffused an air of hope and comfort through the desolate apartment,
and the kind serving-girl, Bettina, who had guided him to the humble
lodging, seconded all his active efforts to produce warmth and
comfort, and soon returned with one of his prescriptions--an
abundance of fuel for the almost exhausted grate. The cheerful blaze
threw its strong light upon the young girl, who at first knelt in
hopeless grief beside her dying mother.

What was it that thrilled the heart of Gotleib, as he looked upon
this young maiden? Was it her beauty? No! he had seen others more
beautiful. Was it her sorrow? No! he had seen others quite as sad.
But, whatever it was, Gotleib felt he had met his destiny; the
fulness of his being was developed to him; and, all unconsciously,
the maiden turned to him as the Providence of God to her. She seemed
to rest her troubled heart upon his strong understanding. He said
her mother would not die immediately, and she grew calm.

It was very late that night when Gotleib retired; and very fervent
were the prayers that arose from his heart before he slept. He felt
a sense of gratitude for the uses he was permitted to perform to his
fellow beings, and, in his prayers, he felt that light shone from
the Divine sun upon that sorrowing maiden, and it was as if she
knelt by his side, and his strong spirit-arms upheld her in the
sunshine of God's love.

When the morning came, Gotleib awakened with a delicious sense of
enjoyment in life--with a looking forth into the events of the day,
that he had never before experienced. He hastened through his
morning duties with an elasticity of spirit and hope that was
altogether new to him. Though, as yet, his feeling was not defined
into a thought, it was a faint perception, a dim consciousness that
the elective affinities of his heart had all awakened. And while he
thought he was in an excessive anxiety to see after his feeble
patient, he was borne on rather by the attractions of his heart's
love. He paused in a thrilling excitement of hope and doubt before
the door of the poor chamber--he dreaded to have the agreeable
impressions of the last evening dissipated. But, when he knocked, a
light tread was heard; the door was gently opened, and the pale Anna
stood before him, with such a gentle grace, and so earnest a look of
gratified expectation, that, as she said in subdued tones,

"I hoped it was you," his heart bounded with exultation, to think
that the young girl had him in her thoughts. But, as he approached
the sick bed, his reason told him what was more natural than her
wishing for the arrival of her mother's physician.

A careful glance, by daylight, around the humble apartment, revealed
to Gotleib that Anna worked with her delicate, white, lady-looking
hands, for the support of her dying mother. A table, placed by the
window, was covered with artificial flowers of exquisite
workmanship, and, while he yet lingered in the chamber, Bettina, the
maid, entered from the street door, with a basket filled with the
same flowers--looked at Anna, and shook her head mournfully. The
young girl's lips quivered, and she pressed the tears back when she
saw no purchaser had been found for her labour. Gotleib saw and felt
with the most intense sympathy all that was passing. He lingered yet
longer--he made encouraging remarks to the sick mother, and, at
length, ventured to approach the table, and gazed with admiration on
the beautiful flowers, while his brain was busy in devising how he
was to make them the medium of conveying aid to the suffering mother
and daughter. He turned to the faithful Bettina, who clung to those
whom she served in their hard poverty--he told her that if she would
follow him he would find a purchaser for the pretty flowers. Anna
cast upon him a look of tearful smiling gratitude, and her simple,
"I thank you," as she held out her hand to him, bound him as with a
magnetic chain to her being. Bettina thought the Herr Doctor was a
most generous man, for he more than doubled the paltry sum she asked
for the flowers; though she did not consider it necessary to mention
the fact to Anna, she merely stated to her that she had found a
purchaser for as many flowers as she chose to make.

But Gotleib! what an Eden those flowers made of his chamber! with
what a joy he returned to it after hours of absence; it seemed as if
they brought him into contact with the sphere of a beloved
existence. He examined them with delight, and could not avoid
covering them with kisses. Never was patient visited or watched over
more attentively than was Madame Hendrickson; and, as the mother
revived, the daughter seemed to feel new life. Light beamed from her
soft eyes, and oftentimes Gotleib thought that the roses that
bloomed in her delicate face were far more beautiful and bright than
those that grew under her light and skilful touch.

For him she seemed to feel an earnest trustful gratitude. She never
concealed her glad recognition of his coming; she was too pure, and
innocent, and good, to think it necessary to conceal anything. And
Gotleib's visits were so pleasant, they grew longer and longer--for
he and Madame Hendrickson were of the same religious faith--and he
had a peculiar faculty for consoling her. Gotleib spoke of the other
world with such a definite perception of its existences and modes of
being, that the dying woman never wearied of listening to him. The
high and true faith of the good Gotleib opened to him a world of
beauty, which he poured forth in his earnest enthusiasm, more like a
gifted poet than a being of mere prose. Oftentimes, as he talked,
the light of his intelligence seemed to gleam back from the
answering eye of Anna, until his whole being was filled with
delight. While she felt that her hitherto dim and indistinct faith
was growing into form and fixedness, and her intellect awakened to a
sphere of ideas, to a world of perceptions, that endowed her all at
once with a charmed existence, and flooded her with the light of a
graceful beauty that made her appear to the admiring Gotleib like an
angelic spirit.

Thus were the spirit links being woven through the cold bright days
of winter. Madame Hendrickson was no longer confined to her bed; and
on the Sabbath days Anna could attend the public worship of God, of
whom, now, only she seemed truly to learn. It was to the Holy Supper
she went on that first solemn Sabbath day, after months of
confinement and sorrow. Oh! how blessed it was to listen to the
Divine Word, through which God seemed to her awakened perception to
shine, in a veiled beauty! and when she tasted the wine of spiritual
truth, flowing from the wisdom of the Divine One, and ate of the
bread of the celestial good of His love, Heaven seemed to open to
her receptive heart and mind--and, as her heart's prayers went up
with those of the shining angels round the throne of God, it was not
for herself that she prayed, but for him that had spoken living
truth to her virgin heart. Oh, the good child! In that holy moment
she rejoiced to reveal her heart's love to the Divine Father; she
knew that her love was born of her knowledge of God, and thus she
knew that it was blessed from above.

As she passed out of the church, she encountered the earnest glance
of surprised and delighted recognition from Gotleib. Very soon he
was at her side. In the fullness and stillness of her beautiful
thoughts and satisfied affections they walked on. Oh, how happy the
dear mother looked, when she saw the two enter her lonely chamber!
The heavenly light and warmth of love seemed to be within and around
them; and she saw that two beings so exactly created the one for the
other, could not but find an eternal happiness in each other.
Gotleib was truly in one of his genial, sunny moods; he seemed to
soar into worlds of light; his expanding heart was filling with the
glory of Heaven. The teachings of his childhood were all brought
forth; he talked of his beloved mother--now an angel of God--told of
the beautiful hope she awakened in his heart concerning the little
maiden created by God for him, when his heart shrunk in such pain
from the isolation her death would leave him in. Then he turned to
the blushing Anna, and said he thought the maiden was now found. She
lifted her love-lighted eyes to his--he clasped her hand and said
softly,

"Thou art mine!"

"I am thine," fell responsive from the maiden's lips; and an
infinite blessedness flowed into the loving, satisfied heart of
Gotleib.

The next day brought with it a new and beautiful joy,--a letter from
the beloved one, conveyed into his hand as he tenderly pressed hers,
at parting. For this his thirsty soul had yearned--for some
expression of the maiden's heart-love that had as yet gleamed upon
him but momentarily from her modest eyes. But alone in his chamber,
with the dear letter before him! Ah, now indeed he was to lift the
veil that hid his life's treasure. To have revealed to him the heart
and mind of the beloved one. And his whole being went forth to her
as he read the tender revealings. She wrote:

"Gotleib! my heart would fain speak to thine. It longs to say
gratefully, 'I love thee, thou heaven-sent one.' And I would tell
thee of a dream that came to me last night in my heart's beautiful
happiness.

"I was reading aloud to my mother in the book you lent me. I read of
how the angels ever have their faces turned to the Divine Sun. Of
how their shining brows are ever attracted to this central point, in
whatever position they may be--even as our feet are attracted to the
central point of the earth. I was happy in this beautiful truth, and
felt that through my love for thee, my thought was lifted upward,
and my face, too, was turned to the Lord; and when sleep came, it
seemed as if my happy spirit was conscious of a new and beautiful
existence. I found myself in a large place, and a company of angelic
spirits surrounded me; and we were seated at a table, adorned with
an exceeding elegance, and having many varieties of food, of which
we partook, but without a consciousness of taste--only there was a
genial delight of mind arising from the mutual love of all those
bright ones. An angel-woman spoke to me and said, 'This is the
Lord's Supper; appropriate to thyself the goods and truths of His
heavenly kingdom.' While she thus spoke, I saw thee, dear Gotleib,
approach, with such a smiling and beautiful grace, and thou saidst
to me, holding my hand--'Sweet one! how bright thou art! Hast thou
learnt some new truth! for thou art ever bright, when thou dost
perceive a new truth!' Then I answered, 'Ah, yes, indeed! I have
learned a beautiful new truth;' and I led thee to an east window and
pointed upward to the great Sun, that shone in such a Divine
effulgence--then I told thee how the angels were held by the
attraction of love in this centre of being--even as the children of
the world are held by the attraction of gravitation to the
earth--and as we talked, the light shone around thee, dear Gotleib!
with so heavenly a glory, that my heart was filled with a new love
for thee. For I saw, truly, that thou wert a child of God, and in
loving thee I loved Him who shone in such a radiant glory upon thee.
Oh! was not this a pleasant dream? Gotleib! what worlds of beauty
thou hast opened to me! Once my thought was so narrow, so bound down
to the earth; but thou hast lifted me above the earth. A woman's
heart is so weak--it is like a trailing vine, that cannot lift
itself up until its curling tendrils are wound round the lofty
tree-tops of a man's ascending thought. Gotleib, thus dost thou bear
me up into the serene, bright heavens, and like some blooming
flowery vine will my love ever seek to adorn thy noble thoughts."

Gotleib was charmed with the maiden's thoughts. Oh, yes--her flowers
were already flying over his highest branches. She soared above him,
and through her heavenly truths were growing clearer to him. How
grateful he was to his Heavenly Father, that from his own bosom, as
it were, was born his spirit's companion. But her life was from
God--and how holy was her whole being to him! She was enthroned in
his inmost heart, to be for ever treasured as the highest and best
gift of God.

It was evening when he next stood beside her. The mother slept, and
Anna and Gotleib stood in the moonlit window. Few, and softly
whispered, were his loving words to her. But she smiled in a oneness
of thought, when he said,

"In heaven, the sun shone upon us; upon earth the cold moonbeams
unite us; but the sunshine will soon come again."

Anna felt that her letter had made Gotleib very happy; and she bent
her head lovingly on his manly breast. Oh! to him, the desolate
forlorn one, how thrilling was the first caress of the maiden! His
lips touched her soft white brows with a delicious new joy. But
brow, eyes, cheeks, and lips, were soon covered with rapturous
kisses.

Ah! happy youth and maiden, thus bedewed with life's nectar of
blessedness! What are earth's sorrows to you? Heaven is in you, and
eternity only can satisfy the infinite desires of such hearts.

But as the days passed, the material body of the mother wasted away,
and her spirit was growing bright in its coming glory. She wished
much to see her beloved Anna in a holy marriage union before she
left this world. So a few weeks after the betrothal, Gotleib led his
bride to the marriage altar. It was a festive scene of the heart's
happiness even beside the bed of death. Madame Hendrickson felt that
she, too, was adorning for a beautiful bridal--and earthly care
being thus removed from her heart, she was altogether happy.

And the good, true-hearted Anna, in white bridal garments and virgin
innocence, looked to the loving mother and happy Gotleib like an
angel of God. Even the Professor Eberhard thought thus, and quite
certain it is, that the good minister spoke as if a heavenly
inspiration flowed into him, as he bound the two into an eternal
_oneness_ of being. "Little children!" said he, "love one another!
was the teaching of the great God, as he walked upon the earth.
Hence love is the holy of the holies. And it flows from God even as
heat flows from the material sun--and as the sun is in its own heat
and light, so God is in love."

And taking the marriage ring, he placed it on the soft, white,
rose-tipped finger of the bride, and said,

"How beautiful and expressive is this symbol of union, showing the
conjunction of good and truth, which conjunction first exists in the
Lord, for His love is the inmost, and His wisdom is like the golden
bond of truth encasing and protecting love. And this love of the
Lord flowing into man is received, protected, and guarded by woman's
truth, until, in her fitness and perfect adaptation to him, she
becomes the love of the wisdom of the man's love, and the twain are
no longer two, but one."

The fresh spring days were now coming--Madame Hendrickson went to an
eternal spring. But the heart of the loving Anna rose above the
earthly sorrow of separation, as if upheld by her husband's strong
faith; her imagination delighted itself in following the beloved
mother into her new and beautiful state of being.

Gotleib felt that now it was good for him to return to the home of
his childhood, for it was more delightful to live apart from the
strife and toil of men. In the simple country life much good might
be done, and yet there would be less of life's sorrow to look upon.
It was weary to live in a crowded haunt, where a perception of vice
and misery so mingled itself with the blessedness of his heart's
love. Anna was charmed and delighted with the pure country life, and
as business increased on the Herr Doctor's hands, it was so great a
happiness to her to minister to his comfort. After the long winter
rides, how she chafed his cold hands and warmed his frozen feet, and
how lovingly she helped him to the warm suppers of the good Bettina,
no homeless and desolate wanderer of earth can know. But to Gotleib,
what an inexpressible blessedness was all this; and how often he
left off to eat, that he might clasp Anna to his heart and cover her
with kisses! Thus went the blessed married life until another spring
brought with it the sweet "dream-child," as Anna called the little
one, whom the angel said, was "the fruit of the union of good and
truth."

The little Lina thus born into the very sphere of love, seemed ever
a living joy. The father's wisdom guided the mother's tender love,
and the little one was good and unselfish--and so gay in the
infantile innocence and grace of her being, that oftentimes the
young mother, leaning on the father's bosom, would whisper,

"Gotleib, she is indeed an angel of God."

One dark and wintry day, as the child thus sported in the inner glad
light and joy of her heart, and Gotleib and Anna as usual were
watching the light of her radiance, a beautiful White Dove flew
fluttering against the friendly window. The child grew still in her
wondrous joy. But the father quickly opened the window, and the
half-frozen bird flew in, and nestled itself in Anna's bosom. It was
fed and warmed and loved as bird never was before. For the little
one thought it was the spirit of God come down upon the house, and
Gotleib loved it because to him it was a living symbol of the peace
and purity of his married life, and Anna received it as a heavenly
gift for the loving child. Thus both literally and spiritually the
White Dove of innocence and peace dwelt in their midst.



HESTER.


  WHILE Hester lived, the day was bright
  With something more than common light--
  'Twas the moon's difference to the night.

  As summer sun and summer shower
  Revive the tree, the herb, and flower,
  Hers was the gift of warmth and power.

  She was not what the world calls wise;
  Yet, the mute language of her eyes
  Was worth a thousand homilies.

  She was so crystal pure a thing,
  That sin to her could no more cling
  Than water to a sea-bird's wing.

  Like memory-tones heard long ago,
  Her gentle voice was soft and low,
  But plaintive in its underflow.

  Her life so slowly loosed its springs,
  Long ere she passed from earthly things,
  We saw the budding of her wings.

  She lingered so in taking leave--
  Heaven granted us a long reprieve--
  That when she went we could not grieve.

  The very night that Hester died,
  There came and stood my couch beside,
  A gentle spirit glorified.

  And often in my darker mood,
  When evil thoughts subdue the good,
  I see her clasp the holy Rood.

  But when my better hopes illume
  The narrow pathway to the tomb,
  My Hester's presence fills the room.



THISTLE-DOWN.


THERE is no time like these clear September nights, after sunset,
for a revery. If it is a calm evening, and an intense light fills
the sky, and glorifies it, and you sit where you can see the new
moon, with the magnificent evening star beneath it, you must be a
stupid affair, indeed, if you cannot then dream the most _heavenly_
dreams!

But Rosalie Sherwood, poor young creature, is in no dreaming mood
this lovely Sabbath night. Her heart is crushed in such an utter
helplessness, as leaves no room in it for hope: her brain is too
acutely sensitive, just now, for visions. The thistle-down, in
beautiful fairy-like procession, floats on and up before her eyes,
and as she watches the frail things, they assume a new interest to
her; she feels a human sympathy with them. Like the viewless winds
they come, from whence she knows not; and go, whither? none can
tell. They are homeless, and she is like them; but she is not as
they, purposeless.

If you could look into her mind, you would see how she has nerved it
to a great determination; how that, mustering visions and hopes once
cherished, she had gone forward to a bleak and barren path, and
stands there very resolute, yet, in the first moment of her resolve,
miserable; no, she had not yet grown strong in the suffering; she
cannot _this_ night stand up and bear her burden with a smile of
triumph.

Rosalie Sherwood was an only child, the daughter of an humble friend
Mrs. Melville had known from girlhood. _She_, poor creature, had
neither lived nor died innocent.

On her death-bed, Cecily Sherwood gave her unrecognised child to the
care of one who promised, in the sincerity of her passion, to be a
mother to the unfortunate infant. And during the eighteen years of
that girl's life, from the hour of her mother's death to the day
when she was left without hope in the world, Rosalie _had_ found a
parent in the rigid but always kind and just Mary Melville.

This widow lady had one son; he was four years old when her husband
died, which was the very year that the little Rosalie was brought to
Melville House. The boy's father had been considered a man of great
wealth, but when his affairs were settled, after his decease, it was
found that the debts of the estate being paid, little more than a
competency remained for the widow. But the lady was fitted, by a
life of self-discipline, even in her luxurious home, to calmly meet
this emergency. With the remnant of an imagined fortune, she retired
to an humbler residence, where, in quiet retirement, she gave her
time to managing household affairs, and superintending the home
education of the children.

Her son Duncan, and the young Rosalie, had grown up together, until
the girl's twelfth birth-day, constant playmates and pupils in the
same school. No one, not even the busiest busy-body, had ever been
able to detect the slightest partiality in Mrs. Melville's treatment
of her children; and, indeed, it had been quite impossible that she
should ever regard a child so winningly beautiful as Rosalie, with
other than the tenderest affection. Under a light and careless rein,
the girl had been a difficult one to manage, for there was a light
little fire in her eyes, that told of strong will and deep passions;
and besides, her striking appearance had won sufficient admiration
to have completely spoiled her, if a guardian the most vigilant as
well as most discerning, had not been ever at hand to speak the
right word to and do the right thing with her.

Mrs. Melville was a thoroughly religious woman, and seriously
conscious of the responsibility she incurred in adopting the infant.
She could not quiet her conscience with the reflection that she had
done a wonderfully good thing in giving Rosalie a home and
education; the chief pity she felt for the unfortunate orphan, led
her to exercise an uncommon care, that all tendency to evil should
be eradicated from the heart of the brilliant girl while she was yet
young; that a sense of right, such as should prove abiding, might be
impressed on her tender mind. And her labour of love met with a
return which might well have made the mother proud.

There had been no officious voice to whisper to Rosalie Sherwood the
story of the doubtful position which she occupied in the world. She
was an orphan, the adopted child of the lady whom she devoutly loved
with all a daughter's tenderness; this she knew, and it was all she
knew; and Mrs. Melville was resolved that she should never know
more.

The son of the widow had been educated for the ministry. He was now
twenty-two years old, and was soon to be admitted to the priesthood.
In this he was following out his own wish, and the most cherished
hope of his mother, and it seemed to all who knew him, as though the
Head of the Church had set his seal upon Duncan from his boyhood. He
was so mild and forbearing, so discreet and generous, so earnest and
so honest; meek, and holy of heart, was the thought of any one who
looked upon his placid, youthful face. Yet, he had, besides his
gentleness, that without which his character might have subsided
into a mere puerile weakness; a firmness of purpose; a reverence for
duty; a strict sense of right, equal to that which marked his mother
among women. Duncan Melville's abilities were of a high order;
perhaps not of the very highest, though, if his ambition were only
equal to his powers, they would surely seem so to the world.

His voice had a sweet persuasive tone, that was fitted to _win_
souls, yet it could ring like a clarion, when the grandeur of his
themes fired his soul. With the warmest hopes and the deepest
interest, they, who knew the difficulties and trials attending the
profession he had chosen, looked on this young man.

Duncan and Rosalie had long known the nature of the tie which bound
them together--members of one family--and they never called
themselves brother and sister, after the youth came home a graduate
from college. For, from the time when absence empowered him to look
as a stranger would look on Rosalie, from that time he saw her
elegant and accomplished, and bewitching, as she was, and other than
fraternal affection was in his heart for her.

And Rosalie, too, loved him, just as Duncan, had he spoken his
passion, would have prayed her to love him. She had long ago made
him the standard of all manly excellence; and when he came back,
after three years of absence, she was not inclined to revoke her
early decision; therefore was she prepared to read the language of
Duncan's eyes, and she consecrated her heart to him.

During the years which followed his return from college, till he was
prepared for ordination, as a priest, he did not once _speak_ to her
of his love, which was growing all the while stronger and deeper, as
the river course that, flowing to the ocean, receives every day
fresh impetus and force from the many tiny springs that commingle
with it. Duncan Melville never _thought_ of wedding another than
Rosalie Sherwood.

It was, as I said, near the time appointed for his ordination, when
he felt, for the first time, as though he had a _right_ to speak
openly with her of all his hopes. He asked her, then, what, in soul
language, he had long before asked, a question which she had as
emphatically, in like language, answered--to be his partner for
life, in weal or woe.

He had tried to calmly consider Rosalie's character as a Christian
minister should consider the character of her whom he would make the
sharer of his peculiar lot; and setting every preference aside,
Duncan felt that she was fitted to assist, and to bear with him. She
was truthful as the day, strong-minded and generous; humane and
charitable: and though no professor of religion, a woman full of
reverence and veneration.

He knew that it was only a fear that she should not _adorn_ the
Christian name, that kept her back from the altar of the church, and
he loved her for that spirit of humility, knowing that she was "on
the Lord's side," and that grace, ere long, would be given to her,
to proclaim it in doing _all_ His commandments.

It was certainly with a joyful and confident heart that, after he
had spoken with Rosalie, Duncan sought his mother, to tell her of
the whole of that bright future which opened now before him.

How then was he overcome with amazement and grief when Mrs. Melville
told him it was a union to which she could never consent! Then, for
the first time in his life, the astonished young man heard of that
stain which was on the name poor Rosalie bore.

He heard the story to the end, and, with a decision and energy that
would have settled the matter with almost any other than his mother,
he declared,

"Yet for all that, I will not give her up."

"It would not be expected that you would fulfil the engagement.
Rosalie herself would not allow it, if she knew the truth of the
matter."

"But she need not know it. There is no existing necessity. Is it not
enough that she is good and precious _to me_? She is a noble woman,
whose life has been, thanks to your guidance, beautiful and lofty."

"God knows, I _have_ striven to do my duty by her, but I know what I
should have done if I had ever thought you would wish to change your
relations with her, Duncan."

"The world has not her equal! It is cruel--it is sinful--in you,
mother, to oppose our union."

"She _is_ a lovely woman; but, my son, there are myriads like her."

"No _not one_! Tell me you will never breathe a word of what you
have told me _to her_!"

"Never."

"Oh! thank you! thank you, mother! you could not wish another
daughter."

"But for that I have told you, I could not wish another."

"Then I say you must not work this great injustice on us. Rosalie
loves me. She has promised to be mine. You will break my heart."

"You are deluded and strongly excited, my son, or you would never
speak so to me," said the mother, with that persisting firmness with
which the physician resorts to a desperate remedy for a desperate
disease. Then she spoke to him of all the relations in life he might
yet be called upon to assume; of the misery which very possibly
might follow this union in after days. Hours passed on, and the
conference was not ended, until, with a crushed heart, and a
trembling voice, Duncan arose, abruptly, while his mother yet spoke,
and he said,

"If the conclusion to which you have urged me, in God's sight, is
just, He will give me--He will give Rosalie, too--strength to abide
by it. But I can never speak to her of this, and I must find another
home than yours and hers. You must speak _for me_, mother; and let
me charge you, do it gently. Do not tell her _all_. Let her think
what she will, believe, as she must, that I am a wretch, past
pardon; but do not blight her peace by telling _all_."

"I promise you, Duncan," was the answer, spoken through many tears,
and in the deepest sorrow.

An hour after, he was on the way from the village that he might
spend the coming Sabbath in another town.

And, after he was gone, the mother sought her younger, her dearly
loved child. Rosalie heard that familiar step on the stairway; she
had seen Duncan hurrying away from the house, and she knew the
conference was over; but she had no fear for the result. So she
hushed the glad tumultuous beating of her heart, and tried to veil
the brightness of her eyes as she heard the gentle tapping at her
door that announced the mother coming.

As for Mrs. Melville, her heart quite failed her when she went into
the pleasant room, and sat down close by Rosalie. In spite of all
the strengthening thoughts of duty which she had taken with her as a
support in that interview, she was now at a sore loss, for it had
been a bitter grief to her kind heart when, of old, for duty's sake,
she made her children unhappy. How then could sh endure to take away
their life's best joy, their richest hope? It was a hard thing; and
many moments passed before she could nerve her strong spirit to
utter the first word. Rosalie, anxious and impatient, too, but
unsuspecting, at last exclaimed,

"What can it be that so much troubles you, mother?"

Then Mary Melville spoke, but with a voice so soft and sad, so faint
with emotion, that it seemed not at all her voice. She said,

"I want you to consider that what I say to you, dear child, has
given me more pain even to think of than I have ever felt before.
Duncan has told me of your engagement to marry with him; and it has
been my duty, my most sorrowful duty, oh! believe me, to tell him
that such a tie must never unite you. He can never be your husband;
you can never be his wife."

She paused, exhausted by her emotion; she could not utter another
syllable. Rosalie, who had watched her with fixed astonishment as
she listened to the words, was the first to speak again, and she
tried to say, calmly,

"Of course, you have a reason for saying so. It is but just that I
should know it."

"It cannot _be_ known. If I had ever in my life deceived you,
Rosalie, you might doubt me now, when I assure you that an
impediment, which cannot be named, exists to the marriage. Have I
not been a mother to you always?" she asked, appealingly,
imploringly: "I love you as I love Duncan, and it cuts me to the
heart to grieve you."

"Has Duncan given you an answer?"

"Yes, Rosalie."

"And it--?"

"He has trusted to his mother!" she said, almost proudly.

"Rather than me," quickly interrupted Rosalie.

"Rather than do that which is wrong; which might hereafter prove the
misery of you both, my child."

"Where is he? Why does he not come himself to tell me this? If the
thing is really true, _his_ lips should have spoken it, and not
another's."

"Oh! Rosalie, he could not do it. I believe his heart is broken. Do
not look so upon me. Is it not enough that I bitterly regret, that I
shall always deplore, having not foreseen the result of your
companionship? Say only that you do believe I have striven to do the
best for you always, as far as I knew how. I implore you, _say it_."

"Heaven knows I believe it, mother. When will Duncan come home
again?"

"Monday; not before."

When Monday morning came, on the desk in Rosalie's room this letter
was found:--

"I cannot leave you for ever, Duncan; I cannot go from your
protecting care, mother, without saying all that is in my heart. I
have no courage to look on you, my brother, again. Mother! our
union, which we had thought life-lasting, is broken. I cannot any
longer live in the world's sight as your daughter by adoption. I
would have done so. I would have remained in any capacity, as a
slave, even, for I was bound by gratitude for all that you have done
for me, to be with you always--at least so long as you could wish.
If you had unveiled the mystery, and suffered me to stand before
you, recognising myself as _you_ know me, I would have stayed. I
would have been to you, Duncan, only as in childhood--a proud yet
humble sister, rejoicing in your triumphs, and sharing by _sympathy_
in your griefs. I would have put forth fetters on my heart; the
in-dwelling spirit should henceforth have been a stranger to you. I
_know_ I could have borne even to see another made your wife; but in
a mistaken kindness you put this utterly beyond my power. Too much
has been required, and I am found--wanting! If even the most
miserable fate that can befall an innocent woman; if the curse of
illegitimacy were upon me, I could bear that thought even, and
acknowledge the justice and wisdom that did not consider me a fit
associate for one whose birth is recognized by a parent's pride and
fondness.

"But, dear Mrs. Melville, I must be cognisant of the relation,
whatever it is, that I bear you. I cannot, I will not, consent to
appear nominally your daughter, when you scorn to receive me as
such.

"_Mother_--in my dear mother's name, I thank you for the generous
love you have ever shown me: for the generous care with which you
have attended to the development of the talents God gave me. For I
am now fitted to labour for myself. I thank you for the watchful
guardianship that has made me what I am, a woman--self-reliant and
strong. I thank you for it, from a heart that has learned only to
love and honour you in the past eighteen years. And I call down the
blessings of the infinite God upon you, as I depart. Hereafter,
always, it will be my endeavour to live worthily of you--to be _all_
that you have, in your more than charity, capacitated me to be.
Duncan, you will not forget me?

"I do not ask it. But pray for me, and live up to the fullness of
your being--of your heart and of your intellect. There is a happy
future for you. I have no word of counsel, no feeble utterance of
encouragement to leave you--you will not need such from _me_. God
bless and strengthen you in every good word and work--it shall be
the constant hope of the sister who _loves_ you. Mother, farewell!"

This letter was written on the Sabbath eve on which our story
opens--written in a perfect passion--yes, of grief, and of despair.
The anger that Rosalie may at first have felt, gave way to the
wildest sorrow now, but her resolution was taken, and her heart was
really strong to bear the resolution out.

After the sudden and most unlooked-for disappearance, the mother and
son sought long, and I need not say how anxiously, for Rosalie. But
their search was vain, and, at last, as time passed on, she became
to the villagers as one who had never been. But never by the widow
was she forgotten; and oh! there was in the world one heart that
sorrowed with a constant sorrow, that hoped with a constant hope for
her.

He had lost her, and Duncan sought for no other love among women.
When all his searching for Rosalie proved unavailing, the minister
applied himself with industry to the work of his calling, and verily
he met here with his reward; for as he was a blessing to the people
of his parish, in time they almost adored him. He was a spiritual
physician whom God empowered to heal many a wounded and stricken
heart; but there was a cross of suffering that he bore himself,
which could not be removed. It was his glory that he bore it with
martyr-like patience--that he never uttered a reproachful word to
her through whom he bore it.

As years passed away, the gifted preacher's impassioned eloquence,
and stirring words, bowed many a proud and impenitent soul with
another love than that he wished to inspire, still he sought not
among any of them companionship, or close friendship. They said, at
last, considering his life spent in the most rigid performance of
duty, that "_he was too high-church to marry_,"--that he did not
believe such union consonant with the duties of the cloth! But the
mother knew better than this--_she_ knew a name that was never
spoken now in Rosalie's old home, that was dearer than life to the
heart of her son; and desolate and lonely as he oft-times was, she
never _dared_ ask him to give to her a daughter--to take unto
himself a wife.

In a splendid old cathedral a solemn ceremonial was going forward,
on the morning of a holy festival. A bishop was to be consecrated.

A mighty crowd assembled to witness the ceremony, and the mother of
Duncan Melville was there, the happiest soul in all that company,
for it was on _her_ son that the high honour was to be laid.

How beautiful was the pale, holy countenance of the minister, who,
in the early strength of his manhood, was accounted worthy to fill
that great office for which he was about to be set apart! He was a
man "acquainted with grief,"--you had known it by the resigned,
submissive expression of his face; you had known that the passions
of mortals had been all but chilled in him, by the holy light in his
tranquil eyes. Duncan _had_ toiled--he _had_ born a burden!

A thousand felt it, looking on the noble front where religion
undefiled, and peace, and holy love, and charity, had left for
themselves unmistakable evidences: and, more than all, one being
felt it who had not looked upon that man for years--not since the
lines of grief and care had marked the face and form of Duncan
Melville. There was reason for the passionate sobs of one heart,
crushed anew in that solemn hour; there was pathos such as no other
voice could give to the prayers which went up to God from one
woman's heart, in the great congregation, for him. Poor, loving,
still-beloved Rosalie! She was there, her proud, magnificent figure
bent humbly from the very commencement to the close of the
ceremonial; there, her beautiful eyes filled with tears of love, and
grief, and despair, and pride; there, crushed as the humblest
flower--the glorious beauty!

And the good man at the altar, for whom the prayers and the praise
ascended, thought of her in that hour! Yes, in that very hour he
remembered how _one_ would have looked on him that day, could she
have come, his wife, to witness how his brethren and the people
loved and honoured him. He thought of her, and as he knelt at the
altar, even there he prayed for her; but not as numbers thought upon
the name of Rosalie Sherwood that day; for she also was soon to
appear before a throng, and there was a myriad hearts that throbbed
with expectancy, and waited impatiently for the hour when they
should look upon her.

Bishop Melville had retired at noonday to his study, that he might
be for a few moments alone. He was glancing over the sermon (sic)
the was to deliver that afternoon, when his mother, his proud and
happy mother, came quickly into the room, laid a sealed note on the
table and instantly withdrew, for she saw how he was occupied. When
he had finished his manuscript, the bishop opened the note and
read--could it have been with careless eyes?


"Duncan, I have knelt in the house of the Lord, to-day, and
witnessed your triumph. Ten years ago, when I went desolate and
wretched from your house, I might have prophesied your destiny.
Come, to-night, and behold _my_ triumph--at--the opera-house!

"Your sister,

ROSALIE."


Do you think that, as he read that summons, he hesitated as to
whether he should obey it? If his bishopric had been sacrificed by
it, he would have gone; if disgrace and danger had attended his
footsteps, he would have obeyed her bidding! The love which had been
strengthening in ten long years of loneliness and bereavement, was
not now to stop, to question or to fear.

"Accompany me, dear mother, this evening; I have made an engagement
for you," he said, as he went, she hanging on his arm, to the
cathedral for afternoon service.

"Willingly, my son," was the instant answer, and Duncan kept her to
her word.

But it was with wondering, with surprise that she did not attempt to
conceal, and with questions which were satisfied with no definite
reply, that Mrs. Melville found herself standing with her son in an
obscure corner of the opera-house that night. Soon all her
expressions of astonishment were hushed, but by another cause than
the mysterious inattention of her son: a queenly woman appeared upon
the stage; she lifted her voice, and sobbed the mournful wail which
opens the first scene in----.

For years there had not been such a sensation created among the
frequenters of that place, as now, by the appearance of this
stranger. The wild, singular style of her beauty made an impression
that was heightened by every movement of her graceful figure, every
tone of her rich melodious voice. She seemed for the time the very
embodiment of the sorrow to which she gave an expression, and the
effect was a complete triumph.

Mary Melville and her son gazed on the _debutante_--they had no
word, no look for each other: for they recognised in her voice the
tones of a grief of which long ago they heard the prelude--and every
note found its echo in the bishop's inmost heart.

"Come away! let us go home! Duncan, this is no place for us--for
_you_. It is disgrace to be here," was the mother's passionate plea,
when at last Rosalie disappeared, and other forms stood in her
place.

"We will stay and save her," was the answer, spoken with tears and
trembling, by the man for whom, in many a quiet home, prayers in
that very hour ascended. "She is mine _now_, and no earthly
consideration or power shall divide us."

And looking for a moment in her son's face steadfastly, the lady
turned away sighing and tearful, for she knew that she must yield
then, and she had fears for the future.

A half-hour passed and the star of the night reappeared, resplendent
in beauty, triumphing in hope;--again her marvellous voice was
raised, not with the bitter cry of despair that was hopeless, but
glad and gay, angelic in its joy.

Again the mother's eyes were turned on him beside her--and a light
was on that pale forehead--a smile on that calm face--a gladness in
those eyes--such as she had not seen there in long, long years; but
though she looked with a mother's love upon the one who stood the
admiration of all eyes, crowned with the glory-crown of perfection
in her art, she could not with Duncan hope. For, alas! her
woman-heart knew too well the ordeal through which the daughter of
her care and love must have passed before she came into _that_
presence where she stood now, who could tell if still the mistress
of herself and her destiny? who could tell if pure and undefiled?

That night and the following day, there were many who sought
admittance to the parlours of Rosalie Sherwood; they would lay the
homage of their trifling hearts at her feet. But all these sought in
vain; and why was this? Because such admiring tribute was not what
the noble woman sought; _and_ because, ere she had risen in the
morning, a letter, written in the solitude of night, was handed to
her, which barred and bolted her doors against the curious world.

"Rosalie! Rosalie! look back through the ten years that are gone; I
am answering your letter of long ago with words; I have a thousand
times answered them with my heart, till the thoughts which have
crowded there, filled it almost to breaking. We have met--met at
last--you and I! But did you call that a triumph when you stood in
God's house, and saw them lay their consecrating hands upon me?
Heaven forgive me! I was thinking of you then--and thinking, too,
that if this honor was in any way to be considered a _reward_, the
needful part was wanting--you were not there! Yet you _were_ there,
you have written me; ah! but not _Rosalie, my wife_, the woman I
loved better than _all_ on earth--the _acknowledged_ woman, her
whose memory I have borne about with me till it was a needful part
of my existence. You were by when the people came to see me
consecrated--and I obeyed your call; I saw _you_ when the people
anointed you with the tears of their admiration and praise. If you
read my heart at all, to-day, you _knew_ how I had suffered--you
_saw_ that I had grown old in sorrow. Was I mistaken to-night in the
thought that you, too, had not been unmindful of _our_ past; that
you were not satisfied with the popular applause; that you, also,
have been lonely, that you have wept; that you have trodden in the
path of duty with weariness?

"There is but one barrier now in the wide world that shall interpose
between us--Rosalie, it is your own will. If I was ever anything to
you, I beseech you think calmly before you answer, and do not let
your triumph, to-night, blind you to the fact which you once
recognised, which can make us happy _yet_. I trust you as in our
younger days; nothing, nothing but your own words could convince me
that you are not worthy to take the highest place among the ladies
of this land. Oh, let the remembrance that I have been faithful to
you through all the past, plead for me, if your pride should rise
up, to condemn me. Let me come and plead _with_ you, for I know not
what I write."

The answer returned to this letter was as follows:--

"I learned long ago, the bar that prevented our union; it is in
existence still, Duncan. Your mother only shall decide if it be
insurmountable. I have never, even for a moment, doubted your
faithfulness; and it has been to me an unspeakable comfort to _know_
that none had supplanted me in your affections. In the temptations,
and struggles, and hardships, I have known, it has kept me above and
beyond the world, and if the last night's triumph proves to be but
the opening of a new life for me on earth, the recollection of what
you are, and that you care for me, will prove a rock of defence, and
a stronghold of hope always. Severed from, or united with you, I am
yours for ever."

Seven days after there was a marriage in the little church of that
remote village, where Duncan Melville and Rosalie Sherwood passed
their childhood. Side by side they stood now, once again, where the
baptismal service had long since been read for them, and the mother
of the bishop gave the bride away!



THE LITTLE CHILDREN.


IT was Sabbath morning. Soft and silvery, like stray notes from the
quivering chords of an archangel's harp, floated the clear, sweet
voice of the church-bells through the hushed heart of the great
metropolis, while old men and little children--youth in its hope,
and manhood in its pride--came forth at their summons, setting a
mighty human tide in the direction of the sanctuaries, beneath whose
sacred droppings they should hear again the tidings which come to us
over the waves of nearly two thousand years, fresh and full of
exceeding melody, as when the Day-Star from on high first poured its
blessed beams over the mountain heights of Judea, and the song,
pealing over the hills of jasper, rolled down to the shepherds who
kept their night-watches on her plains; "Peace on earth and
good-will to men."

A child came forth with his ragged garments, unwashed face and
uncombed hair, from one of those haunts of darkness and misery which
fill the city with crime and suffering. He was a little child, and
yet there was none of its peace on his brow, or its light in his
eye, as he looked up with a strange, wistful earnestness at the
strip of blue sky that looked down with its serene heaven-smile
between the frowning and dilapidated pile of buildings which rose on
either side of the alley. The sunshine flitted like the
soft-caressing fingers of a spirit over his forehead, and the voice
of the bells fell upon his spirit with a strange, subduing
influence; and the child kept on his way until the alley terminated
in a broad, pleasant street, with its crowd of church-goers, and
still the boy kept on, unmindful of dainty robe and silken vesture
that waved and rustled by him.

He stood at last within the broad shadow of the sanctuary, while far
above him rose the tall spire, with the sunbeams coiling like a
heaven-halo around it, pointing to the golden battlements of the
far-off city, within whose blessed precincts nothing "which defileth
shall ever enter." The massive church doors swung slowly open as one
and another entered, and the child looked eagerly up the long,
mysterious mid-aisle, but the silken garments rustled past--there
was no hand outstretched to lead the ragged and wretched little one
within its walls, and no one paused to tell him of the Great Father,
within whose sight the rich and poor are alike. But while he stood
there, an angel with golden hair and gleaming wings bent over him,
holding precious heart-seed, gathered from the white plains of the
spirit-land, and as the child drew nearer the church steps, the
angel followed.

Suddenly the little dapper sexton, with his broad smile and bustling
gait, came out of the church. His eyes rested a moment upon the
young wistful face and on the ragged garments, and then he beckoned
to the child.

"Shall I take you in here, my boy?" asked a voice kinder and
pleasanter than any which the child had ever heard; and as he
timidly bowed his head, the sexton took the little soiled hand in
his own, and they passed in, and the angel followed them.

Seated in one corner of the church, the child's eyes wandered over
the frescoed walls, with the sunshine flitting like the fringe of a
spirit's robe across it, and up the dim aisle to the great marble
pulpit, with a kind of bewildered awe, for he had seen nothing of
the like before, unless it might be in some dim, half-forgotten
dream; but when the heavy doors swung together and the Sabbath hush
gathered over the church, and the hallelujahs of the organ filled
the house of the Lord and thrilled the heart of the child; he bowed
his head and wept sweet tears--he could not tell whence was their
coming. Then the solemn prayer from the pulpit--"O, Thou who lovest
all men, who art the Father of the old and the young, the rich and
the poor, and in whose sight they are alike precious, grant us Thy
blessing," came to the ears of the child, and a new cry awoke in his
soul. _Where_ was this Father? It did not seem true that He could
love him, a poor little, hungry, ragged beggar; that such a one
could be his child. But, oh! it was just what his heart longed for,
and if all others were _precious_ to this Great Father, he did not
believe He would leave him out. If he could only find Him--no matter
how long the road was, nor how cold and hungry he might be, he would
keep straight on the way, until he reached Him, and then he would go
right in and say, "Father, I am cold and hungry, and very wretched.
There is no one to love me, none to care for me. May I be your
child, Father?" And perhaps He would look kindly upon him, and
whisper softly, as no human being had ever whispered to him, "My
child!" and stronger and wilder from his heart came up that cry,
"Oh, if I could only find Him!"

Again the tones of the deep-toned organ and the sweet-voiced choir
floated on the Sabbath air, and crept, a strange, soft tide, into
the silent places of the boy's heart, softening and subduing it;
while during the long sermon, of which he heard little, and
comprehended less, that spirit cry rolled continually up from the
depths of his soul--"_Where_ is the Father?"

The benediction had been pronounced, and the house was disgorged of
most of its vast crowd of worshippers, and yet the boy lingered--he
could not bear to return to his dark and dismal dwelling, to the
harsh words and harsher usage of those who loved him not, without
having that question, which his soul was so eagerly asking,
answered. But that little timid heart lacked courage, and he knew
the words would die in his throat if he attempted to speak them, and
so he must go away without knowing the way to the Father--but his
feet dragged unwillingly along, and his eyes searched earnestly the
figures that, unwitting of his want, passed swiftly before him.

"What is it you want to know, little boy?" The voice was very
musical, and the smile on the lips of the child-questioner very
winning. The chestnut-brown curls floated over her silken robe, and
the soft blue eyes that looked into the boy's, wore that unearthly
purity of expression which is not the portion of the children of
this world.

The boy looked into that fair, childish face, and his heart took
courage, while very eagerly from his lips came the words, "Where is
the Great Father?"

"God is in heaven!" answered the little girl in solemn tones, while
a sudden gravity gathered over her features.

From lips that burned with blasphemies, amid oaths from the vile,
and revilings from the scoffer, had the boy first learned that name,
and never before had it possessed aught of import for him. But now
he knew it was the name of the Great Father that loved him, and
again he asked very earnestly, "Where is the way to God in heaven? I
am going to Him now."

The child shook her head as she looked on the boy with a sort of
pitying wonder at his ignorance, and again she answered, "You cannot
go to Him, but He will come to you if you will call upon Him, and He
will hear, though you whisper very low, for God is everywhere."

"Come, come, Miss Ellen, you must not stay here any longer," called
the servant, who had been very intent at ranging the cushions in the
pew, and who now hurried her little charge through the aisle,
apprehensive that some evil might accrue from her contiguity with a
"street-beggar."

But the words of the little girl had brought a new and precious
light into the boy's heart. That "cardinal explication of the
reason," the wondrous idea of the Deity, had found a voice in his
soul, and the child went forth from the church, while the
golden-winged angel followed him to the dark alley, and the darker
home; and that night, before he laid himself on his miserable pallet
in the corner, he bowed his head, and clasped his hands, and
whispered so that none might hear him, "My Father, will you take
care of me, and come and take me to yourself? for I love you." And
the angel folded his bright wings above that scanty pallet, and bent
in the silent watches of the night over the boy, and filled his
heart with peace, and his dreams with brightness.

Six months had rolled their mighty burden of life-records into the
pulseless ocean of the past. The pale stars of mid-winter were
looking down with meek, seraph glances over the mighty metropolis
along whose thousand thoroughfares lay the white carpet of the
snow-king; and Boreas, loosed from his ice caverns on the frozen
floor of the Arctic, was holding mad revels, and howling with
demoniac glee along the streets, wrapped in the pall shadows of
midnight.

Twelve o'clock pealed from the mighty tongue of the time-recorder,
and then the white-robed angel of death knocked at the door of two
young human hearts, in the great city.

The tide of golden hair flowed over the white pillows of
crimson-draperied couch. Shaded lamps poured their dim, silvery
glances upon bright flowers and circling vines, the cunning
workmanship of fingers in far-off lands, which lay among the soft
groundwork of the rich carpet, while small white fingers glided
caressingly among the golden hair; and white faces, wild with
sorrow, bent over the rigid features of the dying child, and tears,
such only as flow from the heart's deepest and bitterest fountains,
fell upon the cold forehead and paling lips, as the lids swept back
for a moment from her blue eyes, and the light from her spirit broke
for the last time into them; the lips upon which the death-seal was
ready to be laid, opened; and clear and joyous through the hushed
room rang the words, "I am coming! I am coming!" and the next moment
the cold, beautiful clay was all which was left to the mourners.

The other, at whose heart the death-angel knocked, lay in one corner
of an old and dilapidated room, on a pallet of straw. No soft hand
wandered caressingly among his dark locks, or cooled with its cold
touch the fever of his forehead. The dim, flickering rays of the
tallow candle wandered over the features now grown stark and rigid
with the death-chill. No grief-printed face bent in anguish above
him; no eye watched for the latest breath; no ear for the dying
word; but through the half-open door, came to the ear of the dying
boy the coarse laugh of the inebriate--the jest of the vile, and the
frightful blasphemies of those whose way is the way of death.

None saw the last life-light, as it broke into the dark, spiritual
eyes of the boy. None saw the smile that played like the light
around the lips of a seraph, about his blue and cold lips, as they
spoke exceeding joyfully, "Father! Father, I have called and you
have heard me; I am coming to you, coming now; for the angels beckon
me;" and the pale clay on that sunken pallet was all that remained
of the boy.

Together they met, those two children who had stood together in the
earthly courts of the Most High, and whom the angel had
simultaneously called from the earth, beneath the shining
battlements of "the city of God." The white wings of the
warden-angels, who stood on its watch-towers, were slowly folded
together, and back rolled the massive gates from the walls of
jasper; and with the great "Godlight" streaming outward, and amid
the sound of archangel's harp and seraph's lyre, the ministering
angels came forth. They did not ask the child-spirits there, if
their earthly homes had been among the high and the honourable; they
did not ask them if broad lands had been their heritage, and
sparkling coffers their portion; if their paths had lain by pleasant
waters, and animals followed their biddings; but alike they led
them--she, the daughter of wealth and earthly splendour, whose
forehead the breezes might not visit too roughly, and whose pathway
had been bordered with flowers and gilded with sunshine; and he, the
heir of poverty, whose portion had been want, and his inalienable
heritage, suffering; whose path had known no pleasant places; whose
life had had no brightness within that glorious city. They placed
bright crowns, alike woven from the fragrant branches of the
far-spreading "Tree of Life," around their spirit-brows; they decked
them alike in white robes, whose lustre many ages shall not dim;
alike they placed in their hands the harps whose music shall roll
for ever over (sic) the the hills of jasper; and alike they pointed
them to the gleaming battlements, to the still skies over whose
surface the shadow of a cloud hath never floated; to the "many
mansions" which throw the shadow of their shining portals on the
rippling waters of the "River of Life," and to far more of glory
"which it hath never entered into the heart of man to conceive of,"
and told them they should "go no more out for ever."



WHAT IS NOBLE?


  WHAT is noble? to inherit
    Wealth, estate, and proud degree?
  There must be some other merit,
    Higher yet than these for me.
  Something greater far must enter
    Into life's majestic span;
  Fitted to create and centre
    True nobility in man!

  What is noble? 'tis the finer
    Portion of our mind and heart:
  Linked to something still diviner
    Than mere language can impart;
  Ever prompting--ever seeing
    Some improvement yet to plan;
  To uplift our fellow-being--
    And like man to feel for man!

  What is noble? is the sabre
    Nobler than the humble spade?
  There's a dignity in labour
    Truer than e'er Pomp arrayed!
  He who seeks the mind's improvement
    Aids the world--in aiding mind!
  Every great, commanding movement
    Serves not one--but all mankind.

  O'er the Forge's heat and ashes--
    O'er the Engine's iron head--
  Where the rapid Shuttle flashes,
    And the Spindle whirls its thread;
  There is Labour lowly tending
    Each requirement of the hour;
  There is genius still extending
    Science--and its world of power!



THE ANEMONE HEPATICA.


TWO friends were walking together beside a picturesque mill-stream.
While they walked, they talked of mortal life, its meaning and its
end; and, as is almost inevitable with such themes, the current of
their thoughts gradually lost its cheerful flow.

"This is a miserable world," said one; "the black shroud of sorrow
overhangs everything here."

"Not so," replied the other; "Sorrow is not a shroud. It is only the
covering Hope wraps about her when she sleeps."

Just then they entered an oak-grove. It was early spring, and the
trees were bare, but last year's leaves lay thick as snow-drifts
upon the ground.

"The Liverwort grows here, one of our earliest flowers, I think,"
said the last speaker. "There, push away the leaves, and you will
find it. How beautiful, with its delicate shades of pink, and
purple, and green, lying against the bare roots of the oak-trees!
But look deeper, or you will not find the flowers; they are under
the dead leaves."

"Now I have learned a lesson that I shall not forget," said her
friend. "This seems to me a bad world, and there is no denying that
there are bad things in it. To a sweeping glance, it will sometimes
seem barren and desolate; but not one buried germ of life and beauty
is lost to the All-seeing Eye. I, having the weakness of human
vision, must believe where I cannot see. Henceforth, when I am
tempted to complainings and despair on account of the evil around
me, I will say to myself, 'Look deeper, look under the dead leaves,
and you will find flowers.'"



THE FAMILY OF MICHAEL AROUT.


_September 15th, eight o'clock._--This morning, while I was
arranging my books, Mother Genevieve came in, and brought me the
basket of fruit I buy of her every Sunday. For nearly twenty years
that I have lived in this quarter, I have dealt in her little
fruit-shop. Perhaps I should be better served elsewhere, but Mother
Genevieve has but little custom; to leave her would do her harm, and
cause her unnecessary pain. It seems to me that the length of our
acquaintance has made me incur a sort of tacit obligation to her; my
patronage has become her property.

She has put the basket upon my table, and as I wanted her husband,
who is a joiner, to add some shelves to my bookcase, she has gone
down stairs again immediately to send him to me.

At first I did not notice either her looks or the sound of her
voice; but now, that I recall them, it seems to me that she was not
as jovial as usual. Can Mother Genevieve be in trouble about
anything?

Poor woman! All her best years were subject to such bitter trials,
that she might think she had received her full share already. Were I
to live a hundred years, I should never forget the circumstances
which first made her known to me, and which obtained her my respect.

It was at the time of my first settling in the faubourg. I had
noticed her empty fruit-shop, which nobody came into, and being
attracted by its forsaken appearance, made my little purchases in
it. I have always instinctively preferred the poor shops; there is
less choice in them, but it seems to me that my purchase is a sign
of sympathy with a brother in poverty. These little dealings are
almost always an anchor of hope to those whose very existence is in
peril--the only means by which some orphan gains a livelihood. There
the aim of the tradesman is not to enrich himself, but to live! The
purchase you make of him is more than exchange--it is a good action.

Mother Genevieve at that time was still young, but had already lost
that fresh bloom of youth, which suffering causes to wither so soon
among the poor. Her husband, a clever joiner, gradually left off
working to become, according to the picturesque expression of the
workshops, _a worshipper of Saint Monday_. The wages of the week,
which was always reduced to two or three working days, were
completely dedicated by him to the worship of this god of the
Barriers,

The cheap wine-shops are outside the Barriers, to avoid the
_octroi_, or municipal excise.

and Genevieve was obliged herself to provide for all the wants of
the household.

One evening, when I went to make some trifling purchases of her, I
heard a sound of quarrelling in the back shop. There were the voices
of several women, among which I distinguished that of Genevieve,
broken by sobs. On looking further in, I perceived the fruit-woman,
with a child in her arms, and kissing it, while a country nurse
seemed to be claiming her wages from her. The poor woman, who
without doubt had exhausted every explanation and every excuse, was
crying in silence, and one of her neighbours was trying in vain to
appease the countrywoman. Excited by that love of money which the
evils of a hard peasant life but too well excuse, and disappointed
by the refusal of her expected wages, the nurse was launching forth
in recriminations, threats, and abuse. In spite of myself, I
listened to the quarrel, not daring to interfere, and not thinking
of going away, when Michael Arout appeared at the shop-door.

The joiner had just come from the Barrier, where he had passed part
of the day at the public-house. His blouse, without a belt, and
untied at the throat, showed none of the noble stains of work: in
his hand he held his cap, which he had just picked out of the mud;
his hair was in disorder, his eye fixed, and the pallor of
drunkenness in his face. He came reeling in, looked wildly around
him, and called for Genevieve.

She heard his voice, gave a start, and rushed into the shop; but at
the sight of the miserable man, who was trying in vain to steady
himself, she pressed the child in her arms, and bent over it with
tears.

The countrywoman and the neighbour had followed her.

"Come! come! Do you intend to pay me, after all?" cried the former,
in a rage.

"Ask the master for the money," ironically answered the woman from
next door, pointing to the joiner, who had just fallen against the
counter.

The countrywoman looked at him.

"Ah! he is the father," resumed she; "well, what idle beggars! not
to have a penny to pay honest people, and get tipsy with wine in
that way."

The drunkard raised his head.

"What! what!" stammered he; "who is it that talks of wine? I've had
nothing but brandy. But I am going back again to get some wine.
Wife, give me your money; there are some friends waiting for me at
the _Pere la Tuille_."

Genevieve did not answer: he went round the counter, opened the
till, and began to rummage in it.

"You see where the money of the house goes!" observed the neighbour
to the countrywoman; "how can the poor unhappy woman pay you when he
takes all?"

"Is that my fault, then?" replied the nurse angrily; "they owe it
me, and somehow or other they must pay me."

And letting loose her tongue, as those women out of the country do,
she began relating at length all the care she had taken of the
child, and all the expense it had been to her. In proportion as she
recalled all she had done, her words seemed to convince her more
than ever of her rights, and to increase her anger. The poor mother,
who no doubt feared that her violence would frighten the child,
returned into the back shop, and put it into its cradle.

Whether it was that the countrywoman saw in this act a determination
to escape her claims, or that she was blinded by passion, I cannot
say; but she rushed into the next room, where I heard the sounds of
quarrelling, with which the cries of the child were soon mingled.
The joiner, who was still rummaging in the till, was startled, and
raised his head.

At the same moment Genevieve appeared at the door, holding in her
arms the baby that the countrywoman was trying to tear from her. She
ran towards the counter, and, throwing herself behind her husband,
cried,

"Michael, defend your son!"

The drunken man quickly stood up erect, like one who awakes with a
start.

"My son!" stammered he; "what son?"

His looks fell upon the child; a vague ray of intelligence passed
over his features.

"Robert," resumed he; "is it Robert?"

He tried to steady himself on his feet, that he might take the baby,
but he tottered. The nurse approached him in a rage.

"My money, or I shall take the child away!" cried she; "it is I who
have fed and brought it up; if you don't pay for what has made it
live, it ought to be the same to you as if it were dead. I shall not
go till I have my due or the baby."

"And what would you do with him?" murmured Genevieve, pressing
Robert against her bosom.

"Take it to the Foundling!" replied the countrywoman, harshly; "the
hospital is a better mother than you are, for it pays for the food
of its little ones."

At the word "Foundling," Genevieve had exclaimed aloud in horror.
With her arms wound round her son, whose head she hid in her bosom,
and her two hands spread over him, she had retreated to the wall,
and remained with her back against it, like a lioness defending her
young ones.

The neighbour and I contemplated this scene, without knowing how we
could interfere. As for Michael, he looked at us by turns, making a
visible effort to comprehend it all. When his eye rested upon
Genevieve and the child, it lit up with a gleam of pleasure; but
when he turned towards us, he again became stupid and hesitating.

At last, apparently making a prodigious effort, he cried
out--"Wait!"

And going to a tub full of water, he plunged his face into it
several times.

Every eye was turned upon him; the countrywoman herself seemed
astonished. At length he raised his dripping head. This ablution had
partly dispelled his drunkenness; he looked at us for a moment, then
he turned to Genevieve, and his face brightened up.

"Robert!" cried he, going up to the child, and taking him in his
arms. "Ah! give him me, wife; I must look at him."

The mother seemed to give up his son to him with reluctance, and
stayed before him with her arms extended, as if she feared the child
would have a fall. The nurse began again in her turn to speak, and
renewed her claims, this time threatening to appeal to law.

At first Michael listened to her attentively, and when he
comprehended her meaning, he gave the child back to its mother.

"How much do we owe you?" asked he.

The countrywoman began to reckon up the different expenses, which
amounted to nearly thirty francs. The joiner felt to the bottom of
his pockets, but could find nothing. His forehead became contracted
by frowns; low curses began to escape him; all of a sudden he
rummaged in his breast, drew forth a large watch, and holding it up
above his head--

"Here it is--here's your money!" cried he, with a joyful laugh; "a
watch, number one! I always said it would keep for a drink on a dry
day; but it is not I who will drink it, but the young one. Ah! ah!
ah! go and sell it for me, neighbour; and if that is not enough,
have my ear-rings. Eh! Genevieve, take them off for me, the
ear-rings will square all. They shall not say you have been
disgraced on account of the child. No, not even if I must pledge a
bit of my flesh! My watch, my ear-rings, and my ring, get rid of all
of them for me at the goldsmith's; pay the woman, and let the little
fool go to sleep. Give him me, Genevieve, I will put him to bed."

And, taking the baby from the arms of his mother, he carried him
with a firm step to his cradle.

It was easy to perceive the change which took place in Michael from
this day. He cut all his old drinking acquaintances. He went early
every morning to his work, and returned regularly in the evening to
finish the day with Genevieve and Robert. Very soon he would not
leave them at all, and he hired a place near the fruitshop, and
worked in it on his own account.

They would soon have been able to live in comfort, had it not been
for the expenses which the child required. Everything was given up
to his education. He had gone through the regular school training,
had studied mathematics, drawing, and the carpenter's trade, and had
only begun to work a few months ago. Till now, they had been
exhausting every resource which their laborious industry could
provide to push him forward in his business; but, happily, all these
exertions had not proved useless; the seed had brought forth its
fruits, and the days of harvest were close by.

While I was thus recalling these remembrances to my mind, Michael
had come in, and was occupied in fixing shelves where they were
wanted.

During the time I was writing the notes of my journal, I was also
scrutinizing the joiner.

The excesses of his youth and the labour of his manhood have deeply
marked his face; his hair is thin and gray, his shoulders stooping,
his legs shrunken and slightly bent. There seems a sort of weight in
his whole being. His very features have an expression of sorrow and
despondency. He answered my questions by monosyllables, and like a
man who wishes to avoid conversation. From whence is this dejection,
when one would think he had all he could wish for? I should like to
know!

_Ten o'clock_.--Michael is just gone down stairs to look for a tool
he has forgotten. I have at last succeeded in drawing from him the
secret of his and Genevieve's sorrow. Their son Robert is the cause
of it.

Not that he has turned out ill after all their care--not that he is
idle or dissipated; but both were in hopes he would never leave them
any more. The presence of the young man was to have renewed and made
glad their lives once more; his mother counted the days, his father
prepared everything to receive their dear associate in their toils,
and at the moment when they were thus about to be repaid for all
their sacrifices, Robert had suddenly informed them that he had just
engaged himself to a contractor at Versailles.

Every remonstrance and every prayer were useless; he brought forward
the necessity of initiating himself into all the details of an
important contract, the facilities he should have, in his new
position, of improving himself in his trade, and the hopes he had of
turning his knowledge to advantage. At last, when his mother, having
come to the end of her arguments, began to cry, he hastily kissed
her, and went away, that he might avoid any further remonstrances.

He had been absent a year, and there was nothing to give them hopes
of his return. His parents hardly saw him once a month, and then he
only stayed a few moments with them.

"I have been punished where I had hoped to be rewarded," Michael
said to me just now; "I had wished for a saving and industrious son,
and God has given me an ambitious and avaricious one. I had always
said to myself, that, when once he was grown up, we should have him
always with us, to recall our youth and to enliven our hearts; his
mother was always thinking of getting him married, and having
children again to care for. You know women always will busy
themselves about others. As for me, I thought of him working near my
bench, and singing his new songs--for he has learnt music, and is
one of the best singers at the Orpheon. A dream, sir, truly!
Directly the bird was fledged, he took to flight, and remembers
neither father nor mother. Yesterday, for instance, was the day we
expected him; he should have come to supper with us. No Robert
to-day, either! He has had some plan to finish, or some bargain to
arrange, and his old parents are put down last in the accounts,
after the customers and the joiner's work. Ah! if I could have
guessed how it would have turned out! Fool! to have sacrificed my
likings and my money, for nearly twenty years, to the education of a
thankless son! Was it for this I took the trouble to cure myself of
drinking, to break with my friends, to become an example to the
neighbourhood? The jovial good fellow has made a goose of himself.
Oh! if I had to begin again! No, no! you see women and children are
our bane. They soften our hearts; they lead us a life of hope and
affection; we pass a quarter of our lives in fostering the growth of
a grain of corn which is to be everything to us in our old age, and
when the harvest-time comes--good-night, the ear is empty!"

Whilt he was speaking, Michael's voice became hoarse, his eye
fierce, and his lips quivered. I wished to answer him, but I could
only think of commonplace consolations, and I remained silent. The
joiner pretended he wanted a tool, and left me.

Poor father! Ah! I know those moments of temptation when virtue has
failed to reward us, and we regret having obeyed her! Who has not
felt this weakness in hours of trial, and who has not uttered, at
least once, the mournful exclamation of "Brutus?"

But if _virtue is only a word_, what is there then in life which is
true and real? No, I will not believe that goodness is in vain! It
does not always give the happiness we had hoped for, but it brings
some other. In the world everything is ruled by order, and has its
proper and necessary consequences, and virtue cannot be the sole
exception to the general law. If it had been prejudicial to those
who practise it, experience would have avenged them; but experience
has, on the contrary, (sic) mader it more universal and more holy.
We only accuse it of being a faithless debtor, because we demand an
immediate payment, and one apparent to our senses. We always
consider life as a fairy tale, in which every good action must be
rewarded by a visible wonder. We do not accept as payment a peaceful
conscience, self-content, or a good name among men, treasures that
are more precious than any other, but the value of which we do not
feel till after we have lost them!

Michael is come back, and returned to his work. His son had not yet
arrived.

By telling me of his hopes and his grievous disappointments, he
became excited; he unceasingly went over again the same subject,
always adding something to his griefs. He has just wound up his
confidential discourse by speaking to me of a joiner's business,
which he had hoped to buy, and work to good account with Robert's
help. The present owner had made a fortune by it, and after thirty
years of business, he was thinking of retiring to one of the
ornamental cottages in the outskirts of the city, a usual retreat
for the frugal and successful working man. Michael had not indeed
the two thousand francs which must be paid down; but perhaps he
could have persuaded Master Benoit to wait. Robert's presence would
have been a security for him; for the young man could not fail to
insure the prosperity of a workshop; besides science and skill, he
had the power of invention and bringing to perfection. His father
had discovered among his drawings a new plan for a staircase, which
had occupied his thoughts for a long time; and he even suspected him
of having engaged himself to the Versailles contractor for the very
purpose of executing it. The youth was tormented by this spirit of
invention, which took possession of all his thoughts, and, while
devoting his mind to study, he had no time to listen to his
feelings.

Michael told me all this with a mixed feeling of pride and vexation.
I saw he was proud of the son he was abusing, and that his very
pride made him more sensible of that son's neglect.

_Six o'clock, P. M._--I have just finished a happy day. How many
events have happened within a few hours, and what a change for
Genevieve and Michael!

He had just finished fixing the shelves, and telling me of his son,
whilst I laid the cloth for my breakfast.

Suddenly we heard hurried steps in the passage, the door opened, and
Genevieve entered with Robert.

The joiner gave a start of joyful surprise, but he repressed it
immediately, as if he wished to keep up the appearance of
displeasure.

The young man did not appear to notice it, but threw himself into
his arms in an open-hearted manner, which surprised me. Genevieve,
whose face shone with happiness, seemed to wish to speak, and to
restrain herself with difficulty.

I told Robert I was glad to see him, and he answered me with ease
and civility.

"I expected you yesterday," said Michael Arout, rather dryly.

"Forgive me, father," replied the young workman, "but I had business
at St. Germains. I was not able to come back till it was very late,
and then the master kept me."

The joiner looked at his son sideways, and then took up his hammer
again.

"It is right," muttered he, in a grumbling tone; "when we are with
other people we must do as they wish; but there are some who would
like better to eat brown bread with their own knife, than partridges
with the silver fork of a master."

"And I am one of those, father," replied Robert, merrily; "but, as
the proverb says, _you must shell the peas before you can eat them._
It was necessary that I should first work in a great workshop"--

"To go on with your plan of the staircase," interrupted Michael,
ironically.

"You must now say M. Raymond's plan, father," replied Robert,
smiling.

"Why?"

"Because I have sold it to him."

The joiner, who was planing a board, turned round quickly.

"Sold it!" cried he, with sparkling eyes.

"For the reason that I was not rich enough to give it him."

Michael threw down the board and tool.

"There he is again!" resumed he, angrily; "his good genius puts an
idea into his head which would have made him known, and he goes and
sells it to a rich man, who will take the honour of it himself."

"Well, what harm is there done?" asked Genevieve.

"What harm!" cried the joiner, in a passion; "you understand nothing
about it--you are a woman; but he--he knows well that a true workman
never gives up his own inventions for money, no more than a soldier
would give up his cross. That is his glory; he is bound to keep it
for the honour it does him! Ah! thunder! if I had ever made a
discovery, rather than put it up at auction I would have sold one of
my eyes! Don't you see, that a new invention is like a child to a
workman! he takes care of it, he brings it up, he makes a way for it
in the world, and it is only poor creatures who sell it."

Robert coloured a little.

"You will think differently, father," said he, "when you know why I
sold my plan."

"Yes, and you will thank him for it," added Genevieve, who could no
longer keep silence.

"Never!" replied Michael.

"But, wretched man!" cried she, "he only sold it for our sakes!"

The joiner looked at his wife and son with astonishment. It was
necessary to come to an explanation. The latter related how he had
entered into a negotiation with Master Benoit, who had positively
refused to sell his business unless one-half of the two thousand
francs was first paid down. It was in the hopes of obtaining this
sum that he had gone to work with the contractor at Versailles; he
had an opportunity of trying his invention, and of finding a
purchaser. Thanks to the money he received for it, he had just
concluded the bargain with Benoit, and had brought his father the
key of the new work-yard.

This explanation was given by the young workman with so much modesty
and simplicity, that I was quite affected by it. Genevieve cried;
Michael pressed his son to his heart, and in a long embrace he
seemed to ask his pardon for having unjustly accused him.

All was now explained with honour to Robert. The conduct which his
parents had ascribed to indifference, really sprang from affection;
he had neither obeyed the voice of ambition nor of avarice, nor even
the nobler inspiration of inventive genius; his whole motive and
single aim had been the happiness of Genevieve and Michael. The day
for proving his gratitude had come, and he had returned them
sacrifice for sacrifice!

After the explanations and exclamations of joy, were over, all three
were about to leave me; but the cloth being laid, I added three more
places, and kept them to breakfast.

The meal was prolonged; the fare was only tolerable; but the
overflowings of affection made it delicious.

Never had I better understood the unspeakable charm of family love.
What calm enjoyment in that happiness which is always shared with
others; in that community of interests which unites such various
feelings; in that association of existences which forms one single
being of so many! What is man without those home affections, which,
like so many roots, fix him firmly in the earth, and permit him to
imbibe all the juices of life? Energy, happiness, does it not all
come from them? Without family life, where would man learn to love,
to associate, to deny himself? A community in little, is not it
which teaches us how to live in the great one? Such is the holiness
of home, that to express our relation with God, we have been obliged
to borrow the words invented for our family life. Men have named
themselves the _sons_ of a heavenly _Father_.

Ah! let us carefully preserve these chains of domestic union; do not
let us unbind the human sheaf, and scatter its ears to all the
caprices of chance, and of the winds; but let us rather enlarge this
holy law; let us carry the principles and the habits of home beyond
its bounds; and, if it may be, let us realize the prayer of the
Apostle of the Gentiles when he exclaimed to the newborn children of
Christ:--"Be ye like-minded, having the same love, being of one
accord, of one mind."



BABY IS DEAD.


"BABY is dead!" How many hearts have throbbed with anguish, and eyes
overflowed with tears at the utterance of these thrilling words! A
tender bud is intrusted to a rejoicing family. Very precious does it
become to them. With what ecstatic joy do they note the first dawn
of intelligence as it beams from the starry eyes! How merry their
own hearts now, as they listen to the shouts of childish glee as
they burst from the coral lips! Ay, very, very dear is this little
one, and their cup of bliss seems full without alloy; when suddenly
the relentless destroyer enters their happy home, and sets his seal
on that snowy brow, so like a lily's leaf, in its pure beauty.
Disease fastens itself upon the loved one, and, like a tender bud
nipped by the untimely frost, it withers, droops, and dies. Then
come the fearful words, "Baby is dead!" With what a crushing weight
do they fall on the ears of that mourning family! How reluctantly do
their bruised hearts acknowledge the sad truth! But stern reality
avers it so, and the spectre Grief claims them for its own, as they
gaze upon the pale face of the little sleeper.

Ah! the light of those bright eyes is for ever quenched, and the
lids are closed tranquilly over them; the rose tint has fled from
the round cheeks; the ruby lips are colourless, and the youthful
heart has ceased its throbbings.

Yes, "Baby is dead," and silently they prepare it for the cheerless
tomb. The golden tresses they so oft have wound lovingly over their
fingers, are gently smoothed for the last time, while one fairy curl
is severed and placed next the mother's heart; oft will she gaze
upon it, as the months of her sorrow come and go, and weep over the
memory of her departed treasure.

Sadly the little form is robed in the tiny shroud, and the dimpled
hands crossed sweetly over the pulseless bosom. Gently he is placed
in the coffin--it is a harder bed than he was wont to rest on, but
he will feel it not. With unutterable anguish they follow him to the
dark, cold grave; strange hands lower him into its gloomy depths,
and the clods fall heavily upon the coffin. Each one seems to sink
with laden weight into their hearts. It is filled up now, and the
green turf covers the late smiling cherub, and the mourners turn
sadly away. Oh! how dark the world seems now, which was so full of
sunshine a little while ago! How desolate their once joyous house!

"Baby is dead--our idol is gone," is the language of their hearts.
Yes, stricken ones, your sunbeam is gone; but where? You have buried
the beauteous casket beneath the green sods of the valley; but the
precious jewel it contained is beaming brightly in the coronal of
God.

Your treasure is taken from your love-encircling arms, but it is
sweetly pillowed on the bosom of that kind Saviour who said, "Suffer
little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is
the kingdom of heaven."

The bud is nipped from its parent stem in the springtime of its
existence; but it hath been transplanted to a milder clime, where
the rough blasts and chilling storms of mortality cannot harm, and
where, watered by the soft dew of Divine love, its tiny leaves will
expand and bloom with unfading lustre!

Had this bud of life, over whom your souls yearned with such
unutterable fondness, been spared to you, you know not how your
bright anticipations might have been darkened. When it came to
thread life's strange, wild paths, mildew and blight might have
settled on the pure spirit, and guilty, desolating passions scathed
the guileless heart.

Then weep not, mourning ones, but rather rejoice that He, who doeth
all things well, hath summoned it, in its pristine purity, to a
haven of innocence, where contamination nor decay cannot defile or
enter. And when you miss the childish prattle or silvery laugh which
fell so sweetly on your ears, think of the baby that is dead to you,
as a rejoicing angel among angelic hosts that throng the "land of
the blest." Baby is dead to earth, but is living in Paradise!

  "Then mourn not, though the loved one go
  Early from this world of woe;
  Upon yon bright and blissful shore
  You soon shall meet to part no more,
  'Mid amaranthine flowers to roam,
  Where sin and death can never come."



THE TREASURED RINGLET.


  I AM thinking how, one April eve,
    Upon the old arm-chair
  I sat, and how I fondly played
    With this brown lock of hair;
  Your head was pillowed on my breast,
    Your eyes were fixed on mine,
  I knew your heart was all my own,
    I know my own was thine.

  The balmy breath of violets
    Came floating in the room,
  And mingling with the rose's sigh,
    Spread round a rich perfume;
  Yet sweeter was the warm breath which
    I felt upon my cheek,
  Than fragrance from the blushing rose,
    Or from the violet meek.

  Upon the oak the mocking-bird
    Was singing loud and clear,
  But notes more musical to me
    Were falling on my ear;
  For from your noble heart you poured
    Love's low, yet thrilling tone,
  And every word your pure soul breathed
    Was answered by my own.

  How like a glorious rainbow, then,
    The future all appeared?
  No care or sorrow then we knew,
    No disappointment feared.
  The world's rude waves had not begun
    Across our path to sweep,
  We never--save from happiness--
    Had cause to sigh or weep.

  But many weary years have passed
    Since that bright April eve,
  And you have learned since then to weep,
    And I have learned to grieve;
  And on thy brow, unfurrowed then,
    Time, and his sister, Care,
  Have set their wrinkled seal, and strewed
    Their silver in thy hair.

  Nor Time, nor Care, nor world's rude waves,
    Have had the power to chill
  The holy love which then we vowed,
    That is unclouded still;
  And until Death--the reaper--comes,
    It ne'er shall flow away--
  Our tide of love which first began
    Upon that April day.



HUMAN LONGINGS FOR PEACE AND REST.


THERE are few whose idea of happiness does not include peace as
essential. Most men have been so tempest-tossed, and not comforted,
that they long for a closing of all excitements at last in peace.
Hence the images of the haven receiving the shattered bark, of the
rural vale remote from the noise of towns, have always been dear to
human fancy. Hence, too, the decline of life away from severe toil,
rapid motion, and passionate action, has often a charm even beyond
the kindling enterprise of youth. The cold grave itself repels not
altogether, but somewhat allures the imagination.

"How still and peaceful is the grave!"

Especially has heaven risen to the religious mind in this complexion
of tranquillity. It is generally conceived as free from all
disturbance, broken by not a sound save of harmonious anthems,
which, like murmuring water, give deeper peace than could be found
in silence.

But man so longs for rest and peace, that he not only soothes
himself with these images from afar, but hopes to foretaste their
substance. And what are his views to this end? He means to retire
from business to some spot where he can calmly enjoy what he has in
vain panted for in the race of life. Perhaps he tries the
experiment, but finds himself restless still, and learns the great
lesson at last, that peace is not in the landscape, but only in the
soul; and the calm sky, the horizon's circle, the steady stars, are
only its language, not itself.

Perhaps he seeks peace in his home. Everything there is made soft to
the feet; each chair and couch receives him softly; agreeable
sounds, odours, viands, regale every sense: and illuminated chambers
replace for him at night the splendour of the sun. But here again he
is at fault. Peace comes not to him thus, though all the apparatus
seems at hand to produce it. Still he may be outshone by a
neighbour; or high estate may draw down upon him envy and ill-will;
or his senses themselves may refuse the proffered bliss, and ache
with disease. Peace is not in outward comforts, which the
constitution sharply limits; which pass with time, or pall upon the
taste. The human mind is too great a thing to be pleased with mere
blandishments.

Man has a soul of vast desires; and the solemn truth will come home
irresistibly at times, even to the easy epicure. Something is
wanting still. There is more of pain than peace in the remnants of
feasting and the exhausted rounds of pleasure.

Man has sometimes sought peace in yet another way. Abjuring all
sensual delights, he has gone into the desert to scourge the body,
to live on roots and water, and be absorbed in pious raptures; and
often has he thus succeeded, better than do the vulgar hunters of
pleasure. But unrest mingles even with the tranquillity thus
obtained. His innocent, active powers resist this crucifixion. The
distant world rolls to his ear the voices of suffering fellow-men;
and even his devotions, all lonely, become selfish and unsatisfying.

All men are seeking, in a way better or worse, this same peace and
rest. Some seek it objectively in mere outward activity. They are
not unfrequently frivolous and ill-furnished within, seeking rest by
travelling, by running from place to place, from company to company,
changing ever their sky but never themselves. Such persons, deeply
to be pitied, seek by dress to hide the nakedness of their souls, or
by the gayety of their own prattle to chill the fire which burns
away their hearts. The merriest faces may be sometimes seen in
mourning coaches; and so, the most melancholy souls, pinched and
pining, sometimes stare at you out of the midst of superficial
smiles and light laughter.

Others seek rest in more adventurous action. Such are mariners,
soldiers, merchants, speculators, politicians, travellers, impelled
to adventurous life to relieve the aching void in their hearts. The
hazards of trade, the changes of political life, cause them to
forget themselves, and so they are rocked into oblivion of internal
disquiet by the toss of the ocean waves. They forget the hollowness
of their own hearts, and cheat themselves into the belief that they
are on their way to peace.

Is peace, is rest, so longed for, then, never to be found? Yes! it
has been found, though perhaps but seldom, and somewhat imperfectly.
That is a state of rest for the soul when all man's powers work
harmoniously together, none conflicting with another, none hindering
another. This rest is complete when every special power in man's
nature is active, and works towards some noble end, free to act, yet
acting entirely in harmony, each with all, and all with each. That
is what may be called self-command, self-possession, tranquillity,
peace, rest for the soul. It is not indifference, it is not
sluggishness; it is not sleep: it is activity in its perfect
character and highest mode.

Some few men seem born for this. Their powers are well-balanced. But
to most it comes only by labour and life-struggle. Most men, and
above all, most strong men, are so born and organized, that they
feel the riddle of the world, and they have to struggle with
themselves. At first they are not well-balanced. One part of their
nature preponderates over another, and they are not in equilibrium.
Like the troubled sea, they cannot rest. The lower powers and
propensities must be brought into subjection to the higher. All the
powers must be brought into harmony. This requires correct views of
life, knowledge of the truth, a strong will, a resolute purpose, a
high idea, a mind that learns by experience to correct its wrongs.
Thus he acquires the mastery over himself, and his passions become
his servants, which were formerly masters. Reason prevails over
feeling, and duty over impulse. If he has lost a friend, he does not
mourn inconsolably, nor seek to forget that friend. He turns his
thoughts more frequently to where that friend has gone, and so he
goes on until it becomes to him a loss no longer, but rather a
gain--a son, daughter, brother, or wife, immortal in the kingdom of
God, rather than mortal and perishing on earth. Gradually he
acquires a perfect command of himself, an equilibrium of all his
active powers, and so is at rest.

What is more beautiful in the earthly life of Jesus, than this manly
harmony, equipoise, and rest? He enjoyed peace, and promised it to
His friends. And this peace of His, He did not for others postpone
to a distant day, or shut up altogether in a future Heaven, but left
it to His disciples on earth. What, then, was His peace?

His peace was not inactivity. They must mistake who give a material
sense to the images of Heaven as a state of rest. If Christ's life
represented Heaven, its peace is not slothful ease, but intense
exertion. How He laboured in word and deed of virtue! He walked in
coarse raiment from town to town, from city to city, from the
dessert to the waves of the sea. His ministry was toil from the day
of His baptism to the scene upon Calvary. And yet His life was
peace. He expressed no wish to retire to an unoccupied ease. His
absorption in duty was His joy. He was so peaceful because so
engaged. His labours were the elements of His divine tranquillity.

And so active and earnest must we be, if we would have calmness and
peace. An appeal may here be made to every one's experience. Every
one will confess that when he had least to do, when mornings came
and went, and suns circled, and seasons rolled, and brought no
serious business, then time was a burthen; existence a weariness;
and the hungry soul, which craves some outward satisfaction, was
found fallen back upon itself and preying upon its own vitality. Are
not the idlest of men proverbially the most miserable? And is not
the young woman often to be seen passing restless from place to
place, because exempt from the necessity of industry, till vanity
and envy, growing rank in her vacant mind, makes her far more an
object of compassion than those who work hardest for a living? The
unemployed, then, are not the most peaceful. The labourer has a
deeper peace than any idler ever knew. His toils make his short
pauses refreshing. Were those pauses prolonged they would be invaded
by a miserable ennui. Perfect peace will be found here or hereafter,
not when we sink down into torpor, but only when the soul is wrought
into high action for high ends.

Another element of the peace of Jesus was His sinlessness. And all
human experience testifies that nothing has so much disturbed
tranquillity as conscious guilt, or the memory of wrong-doing. Peace
is forfeited by every transgression. Angry words, envious looks,
unkind and selfish deeds, will all prevent peace from visiting our
hearts.

We have noticed already another element of peace--mental and moral
harmony. There is a spiritual proportion when every power does its
work, every feeling fills its measure, and all make a common current
to bear the soul along to ever new peace and joy. Our inward
discords are the woes of life. The peaceful heart is quiet, not
because inactive, but through intense harmonious working.

The cravings of the human heart for peace and rest must seek
satisfaction in the ways indicated, or fail of satisfaction. There
must be activity, abstinence from guilt, and moral harmony. Thus
alone can we receive the peace which Jesus said He would leave to
His true followers.



"BE STRONG."


  IN the flush, and the rush, and the crush of Life's battle,
    When the stern blow of Right dashes loud on steeled Wrong,
  Half-drowning the voice of the babe's holy prattle,
    Remember the watchword--the motto--"Be strong!"

  When the clouds of the past gather brooding above thee,
    And gloam o'er thy pillow the aching night long,
  Remember who never for once failed to love thee,
    And in deepest of loneliness thou wilt _be strong_!

  When the rays of the morning seem slow in their beaming,
    Overpowered the firm Right--most tremendous bold Wrong,
  Let not thy Thought's eye grow the dimmer for streaming,
    Pour thy tears in Faith's bosom--thou yet wilt BE STRONG.



THE NEGLECTED ONE.


  "I never was a favourite;
    My mother never smiled
  On me with half the tenderness
    That blessed her fairer child."

"CHRISTINE, do be obliging for once, and sew this button on my
glove, won't you?" cried Ann Lambert, impatiently, throwing a white
kid glove in her sister's lap. "I am in such a flurry! I won't be
ready to go to the concert in two or three hours. Mr. Darcet has
been waiting in the parlour an age. I don't know what the reason is,
but I never can find anything I want, when I look for it; whenever I
don't want a thing, it is always in the way. Have you sewed it on
yet?" she asked, looking around from the bureau, where she was
turning everything topsy turvy, in the most vigorous manner.
Christine was quietly looking out of the window, yawning and gazing
listlessly up at the moon and stars.

"O no matter if you have no button on," was her reply; "I really
don't feel like moving my fingers just now. You must wait on
yourself. I always do."

"I shouldn't have expected anything but your usual idle selfishness,
even when I most need your assistance," replied Ann, in a cool,
bitter tone; the curve of her beautiful lip, and the calm scorn of
the look she bent on Christine, betrayed her haughty, passionate
character, and it also told that she was conscious of a certain
power and strength of mind, which when roused, could and would bend
others to her will. A slight, contemptuous smile was on her lip, as
she picked up the glove which had fallen on the floor.

"I'll sew the button on, Ann," said Christine, taking it from her,
and looking up seriously, but with a compressed expression about her
face. Her cheeks burned; there was a reproof in her steady gaze,
before which Ann's scornful smile vanished. "No, Christine, I will
wait on myself," she answered in a rigid tone.

"Very well," and Christine turned to the window again. She had not
quailed before her sister's look, but its bitter contempt rankled in
her heart, and poisoned the current of her thoughts. Not a word was
spoken, when Ann with her bonnet on, left their apartment. The front
door closed; Christine listened to the sound of her sister's voice
in the street a moment, then rose from her chair, and threw herself
upon the bed, sobbing violently.

"Oh! why has God made me as I am?" she murmured. "No one loves me.
They do not know me; they know how bad I am--but, oh! they never
dream how often I weep, and pray for the affection that is denied
me. How Ann is caressed by everybody, and how indifferently am I
greeted! There is no one in the wide world who takes a deep interest
in me. I am only secondary with father and mother; they are so proud
of Ann's beauty and talent, they do not think to see whether I am
possessed of talent or not. They think I am cold and heartless,
because they have taught me to restrain my warmest feelings; they
have turned me back upon myself, they have forced me to shut up in
my own heart, its bitterness, its prayers for affection, its pride,
its sorrow. They have made me selfish, disobliging, and
disagreeable, because I am too proud to act as if I would beg the
love they are so careless of bestowing. And yet, why am I so proud
and so bitter? I was not so at school; then I was gentle and gay;
then I too was a favourite; they called me amiable. I am not so now.
Then I dwelt in an atmosphere of love, only the best impulses of my
nature were called out. Now--oh! I did not know I could so change; I
did not know that there was room in my heart for envy and jealousy.
I did not know myself!"

Christine wept, until her head ached, and her forehead felt as if it
was swelled almost to bursting. "After a storm, there comes a calm,"
is a truism well known. In about half an hour, she was sleeping
profoundly, from mere exhaustion of feeling. But her face was pale,
and sad to look upon, even in her sleep.

When Ann returned home, at a late hour, she glanced hastily at the
bed, to see if she had retired, and was sleeping. More than once
during the evening her heart had reproached her for the part she had
acted. With a noiseless step she approached Christine, and bent over
her. The tear-drop upon her pale cheek, revealed the unconscious
girl to her in a new character. How her conscience smote her, for
the grief upon that countenance, now so subdued by the spirit of
sleep! Its meek sadness and tenderness stirred in her bosom feelings
she had seldom experienced. She felt and understood better than ever
before, her sister's proud reserve with herself, as well as every
one else. She kissed away the tear, and knelt at the bedside in
prayer, a thing she had not done for years. A flood of tender and
self-reproachful feelings came over her; the spring was touched, and
she wept aloud. Christine started up, and murmured a few broken
sentences, before she was fully conscious of the meaning of the
scene.

"What is the matter, Ann, are you crying?" she at length asked, as
her sister lifted up her face. Ann arose from her knees; she
hesitated, she felt as if she could throw herself into Christine's
arms, and weep freely as she asked forgiveness for her conduct. She
felt that she would be affectionately pardoned. And yet she stood
silent; her heart brimming with tenderness all the while--something
held her back; a something that too often chills a pure impulse, a
gush of holy feeling. It was pride. She could not bring herself to
speak words of penitence and humility. But she did not turn away
from the anxious gaze riveted upon her; she drooped her eyes, and
the tears rolled slowly down her face.

"Oh, Ann, dear Ann, this does not seem like you!" said Christine,
tenderly approaching her. "I am your sister; if you have any sorrow,
why may I not sympathize with you? How can _you_ be sorrowful? you
never meet with neglect, and--" the young girl paused hastily, with
a suddenly flushed face; she had inadvertently betrayed what she had
previously so carefully concealed under the mask of callous
indifference--she had shown that she felt keenly her own position,
and that of her sister as a favourite. Ann was proud of her
intellect and fascinating beauty; she was selfishly fond of
admiration. She knew that her sister was really as gifted as
herself, if not more so; she had heard her converse at times, when
her cheek glowed, and her eye kindled with enthusiasm. She had seen
her, very rarely, but still she had seen her, when _expression_ had
lit up her face with a positive beauty--when the soul, the life of
beauty beamed forth, and went to the heart with a thrill that
acknowledged its power. She knew that she would have been brilliant
and fascinating, if she had not been repressed; with all her faults,
there was a more feminine yieldingness about her, than about
herself. There was an affectionate pathos in her voice, a tender
grace in her air, when she asked to sympathize in her sorrow. Ann
felt for the first time fully, that she was one to love, and be
beloved in the social circle. She felt that she had been most
ungenerous to absorb all the attention of her friends, instead of
bringing forward the reserved, sensitive Christine. The sisters had
never been much together; they had never made confidants of each
other;--Ann was the eldest, and all in all with her parents, while
Christine was a sort of appendage. Ann felt the unintentional
reproach conveyed in her last words; she marked how quickly she
stopped, and seemed to retire within herself again; she scanned her
face closely, and generous feelings triumphed.

"Dear Christine!" she said in a low voice, passing her arm around
her. "We have never been to each other what sisters ought to be. I
have been too thoughtless and careless; I have not remembered as I
should have done, that you returned from school, a stranger to the
majority of our friends and acquaintances. You are so reserved, even
here at home; you never talk and laugh with father and mother as I
do."

"Do you know why I appear cold, Ann? I am not so by nature. They do
not seem to care when I speak, and I am not yet humble enough to
have what I say treated with perfect indifference."

"Why, Christine, you are too sensitive," said Ann, half impatiently.
"Be as noisy and lively as I am; entertain father, and say what will
please mother; then you will be as great a pet as I."

"Even if I should value love, based upon my powers of pleasing,
instead of the intrinsic worth of my character, I could not gain it,
Ann. I came home, after my long absence, as merry and light-hearted,
as full of hope, of love towards you all, as ever a happy schoolgirl
did. Then I was seventeen; it seems as if long years had elapsed
since the day I sprang into your arms so joyfully--since father and
mother kissed me. Home, sweet home, how musical those words were to
me! how often I had dreamed of nestling at father's side, your hand
locked in mine, and mother's smile upon us both. It was not long
before I was awakened from the dream I had cherished so long. I
thought my heart would break when the reality that I was unloved,
came upon me. Then I learned how deep were the fountains of
tenderness within me. My heart overflowed with an intense desire for
affection, when I saw that I did not possess it. Oh! how often I
looked upon mother's face, unobserved, and felt that my love for her
was but a wasted shower. At that time of bitterness, how sad was the
revelation that came up from the very depths of my soul, teaching me
a truth fraught with suffering--that affection is life itself! I
felt that it was my destiny never to be cheered by its blessed light
and warmth. Months passed away, and I closed up my heart; a
coldness, a stoic apathy came over me, which was sometimes broken by
a slight thing; the flood-gates of feeling gave way, and I wept with
a passionate sorrow--over my own sinfulness--over my own lonely
heart, without one joy to shed a glow on its rude desolation. Oh!
then, when I was softened, when I could pray, and feel that the Lord
listened to me, I would have been a different being, if mother's
hand had been laid fondly upon my head, if her eyes had filled with
tears, and I could have leaned upon her bosom and wept. But I was
unloved, and my heart grew hard again."

"Don't say that you are unloved," interrupted Ann, pressing
Christine to her heart, and sobbing with an abandonment of feeling.
"Forgive me, dear, dear sister! my heart shall be your home--we will
love each other always; I will never again be as I have been. Don't
weep so, Christine, can't you believe me? I am selfish, I am
heartless sometimes, but a change has come over me to-night; to
_you_ I can never be heartless again!"

At that moment, few would have recognised the haughty Miss Lambert
in the tearful girl, whose head drooped on Christine's shoulder,
while her white hand was clasped and held in meek affection to her
lips. If we could read the private history of many an apparently
cold, heartless being, we would be more charitable in our opinions
of others. We would see that there are times when the better
feelings, which God has given as a pure inheritance, are touched. We
would see the inner life from Him, flowing down from its home in the
hidden recesses of the soul, breaking and scattering the clouds of
evil, which had impeded its descent--we would see the hard heart
melted, though perhaps briefly, beneath angel influences. We would
see that all alike are the beloved creations of the Almighty's hand,
and we would weep over ourselves, as well as others, to feel how
seldom we yield to the voice that would ever lead us aright. Ann
Lambert, as her heart overflowed with pure affection, thought
sincerely that no selfish action of hers should ever sadden
Christine. She felt that she was unworthy, that she had been cruel
and selfish, but she imagined her strong emotions of repentance had
uprooted the evils, which had only been shaken.

Christine dried her tears, and looked earnestly and inquiringly in
her sister's face, as if she suspected there was some hidden sorrow
with which she was unacquainted. Ann answered her look by saying,

"You wonder what I was weeping for, when you awoke, Christine. I had
met with no sorrow; but when I looked at you, the course of conduct
I had pursued towards you came up before me vividly: I felt how
unsisterly I had been--"

"Say nothing about it," interrupted Christine, with delicate
generosity, "let the past be forgotten, the future shall be all
brightness, dearest Ann. We will pour out our hearts to each other,
and each will strengthen the other in better purposes. I am no
longer alone, you love me and I am happy."

That night, the dreams of the sisters were pure and peaceful. One
happy week passed away with Christine; Ann was affectionate and
gentle, and only went out when accompanied by her. They were
inseparable; they read, wrote, studied, and sewed together. For the
time, Ann seemed to have laid aside her usual character; she yielded
to her purest feelings; no incident had yet occurred to mar her
tranquillity. One evening, when she was reading aloud to Christine
in their own apartment, a servant girl threw open the door and
exclaimed,

"Miss Ann, there are two gentlemen waiting in the parlour to see
you; Mr. Darcet and Mr. Burns!"

"Very well," replied Ann, rising, and giving the book to Christine;
but she took it away in the instant, and said,

"Come, Crissy, go down with me!"

"Oh, no matter," replied her sister, "I am not acquainted with them,
and I would rather stay up here, and read. Mother will be in the
parlour."

"Suit yourself," returned Ann, half carelessly, as she smoothed her
hair. "When you get tired of reading, come down."

"I'll see about it," said Christine, as the door closed.

Ann looked beautiful indeed, as she entered the parlour, her
features lit up with a smile of graceful welcome. After a little
easy trifling, the conversation turned upon subjects which she knew
Christine would be interested in. Under a kind impulse, she left the
room, and hastened to her.

"Come down into the parlour, Christine," she exclaimed, laying her
hand affectionately upon her shoulder, as she approached. "Mr.
Darcet is telling about his travels in Europe, and I am sure you
will be interested. There (sic) isn o need of your being so
unsociable. Come, dear!"

Christine raised her face with an eloquent smile; she went with Ann
without speaking, but her heart was filled with a sweet happiness,
from this proof of thoughtful affection. When she was introduced to
Ann's friends, there was a most lovely expression on her face,
breathing forth from a pure joyfulness within.

"I was not aware that you had a sister, Miss Lambert," said Mr.
Darcet, turning to Ann, when they were quietly seated after a brief
admiring gaze at Christine.

"Perhaps I have been too much of a recluse," replied Christine
quickly, in order to relieve the embarrassment of Ann, which was
manifested by a deep blush. "I have yielded to sister Ann's
persuasions this time to be a little sociable, and I think I shall
make this a beginning of sociabilities."

"I hope so," returned Darcet; "do you think being much secluded, has
a beneficial effect upon the mind and feelings?"

"I do not," was the young girl's brief answer. The colour came to
her cheek, and a painful expression crossed her brow, an instant.
"But sometimes--" the sentence was left unfinished. Darcet's
curiosity was awakened by the sudden quiver of Christine's lip, and
forgetful of what he was about, he perused her countenance longer,
and more eagerly, than was perfectly polite or delicate. She felt
his scrutiny, and was vexed with her tell-tale face. There was a
silence which Mrs. Lambert interrupted by saying, with a smile,

"We should like to hear more of your adventures, Mr. Darcet, if it
is agreeable to you."

"Oh! certainly!" he replied. And he whiled an hour quickly away. Ann
was then urged to play and sing, which she did, but there was a
little haughtiness mingled with her usual grace.

"Don't you sing, Miss Christine?" asked Darcet, leaving the piano,
and approaching the window where she sat, listening attentively to
Ann.

"I do sometimes," answered Christine, smiling, "but Ann sings far
better."

"Let others judge of that. Isn't that fair?"

"We often err in thinking we do better than other people, but I
think we generally hit the truth, when we discover that in some
things, at least, we are not quite as perfect as others."

"Certainly, but it is the custom to speak of ourselves, as if we
were inferior to those whom we really regard as beneath us in many
respects. There is no true humility in that; we depart from the
truth."

"Custom sanctions many falsehoods; to speak the truth always, would
make us many enemies. But we might better have them, than to
contradict the truth; what do you think?" Christine looked up with
an earnest seriousness.

"Truth, and truth alone, should govern us in every situation, let
the consequences be what they may," said Darcet, in a tone that
sounded almost stern; then more gently he added, "Before all things
I prize a frank spirit; for heaven may be reflected there. With all,
this upright candour must in a measure be acquired. Yet, I think
frankness to our own souls is acquired with far more labour. We
shrink from a severe scrutiny into our tangled motives."

"And when these motives are forced upon our notice, we endeavour to
palliate and excuse them. I am sure it is so," exclaimed Christine
earnestly, for her own young heart's history came up before her, and
she remembered that she had excused herself for acting and feeling
wrong, on the plea that others had not done right, by her.
"But"--she continued after a pause, "you cannot think it is well
always to express the sentiments which circumstances may give rise
to. Such a course might prevent us from doing a great deal of good."

"Certainly it might. The end in view should be regarded. Good sense,
and a pure heart, will show us the best way in most cases."

There is a power deep and silent, exerted by good persons; the
folded blossoms of the heart slowly open in their presence, and are
refreshed. A new impulse, a pure aspiration for a higher life, a
yearning after the perfecting of our nature, may be sown as a seed
in hearts that are young in the work of self-conquest. Thus it was
with Christine. The influence of Darcet strengthened all that was
good within her; and as they remained long engaged in deep and
earnest conversation, the elevation and purity of his sentiments
gave clearness and strength to ideas that had been obscure to her
before, because unexpressed. Her peculiar situation had made her far
more thoughtful than many of her years. She thought she had lost the
gay buoyancy of her childhood, but she was mistaken. She was one to
profit by lessons that pressed down the bounding lightness of her
spirit; she was yet to learn that she could grow young in glad
feelings, as years rolled over her head. There was a subdued joy in
her heart, that was new to her, and gave a sweetness to her manner,
as she poured forth the guileless thoughts that first rose to her
lips. It seemed strange to meet with the ardent sympathy which
Darcet manifested by every look of his intelligent face; she could
scarcely realize that it was herself, that anybody really felt
interested in the thoughts and imaginings that had clustered around
her solitary hours. At parting, he said with warm interest, as he
slightly pressed her hand, "I hope, Miss Christine, we may have many
conversations on the subjects we have touched upon to-night."

"Oh! I hope so," replied Christine, with a frank, bright smile.
After the gentlemen had gone, Christine threw her arm around her
sister, and said gayly, "Hav'n't we had a pleasant evening, Ann, my
dear?"

"Pleasant enough," said Ann, trying to yawn, "but I felt rather
stupid, as I often do."

"Stupid! Is it possible?" exclaimed the astonished girl. "You were
talking with Mr. Burns; well, he didn't look as if he would ever set
the North River afire with his energies, it is true."

Ann smiled very slightly, then rather pettishly disengaged herself
from the detaining hand of Christine, and taking a light, retired
without saying anything, but a brief good-night to her mother.
Christine soon followed, wondering what made Ann so mute and sharp
in her actions. "Why, Ann, are you angry with me?" she asked, going
up to her, as soon as she entered the apartment.

"I don't know what I should be angry for," was the impatient reply.
"Can't a person be a little short when sleepy, without being
tormented with questions about it?"

"Oh, yes, I won't trouble you any more." And making due allowance
for Ann's quick temper, Christine occupied herself good-humouredly
with her own thoughts. The secret of Ann's shortness and sleepiness
lay here. Her vanity was wounded to think, that Christine was more
interesting than her own beautiful self.

"Well, he is a sort of a puritan, and now I begin to understand
Christine, better, I think she is too," thought Ann, after she had
mused her irritation away a little. "He is very polite and
agreeable, and it was very pleasant to have him always ready to take
me out when I wanted to go, but I never felt perfectly easy in his
company; I was always afraid I might say something dreadful;
something that would shock his wonderful goodness. But Christine
seemed perfectly at home. How bright and lovely she looked! I will
not allow evil thoughts to triumph over me. I will not be vexed
simply because she eclipsed me, where no one ever did before. She is
a dear, affectionate girl, and I made a vow before God to love her
always, never to be to her as I was once."

A fervent prayer brought back to Ann all her former tranquillity,
and she pressed a kiss upon Christine's forehead, full of repentant
affection. Just before she went to sleep, she thought to herself,

"Well, if I may trust my woman's perception, Darcet will be
exclaiming, after he has seen Christine a few times more,

"Oh! love, young love, bound in thy rosy bands."

Ann's perception proved correct. About a year after these
cogitations, Christine became Mrs. Darcet. The sisters were much
changed, but Christine the most so. There was a child-like
simplicity and sweetness beaming from her young face, which Ann
needed. Yet had much haughtiness faded from the brow of that
beautiful girl; she had grown better; but as yet her heart had not
been schooled in suffering as Christine's had. There was deep
affection in the warm tears that fell upon the bride's cheek, as
poor Ann felt that she had indeed gone to bless another with her
tender goodness. Christine's warm heart grew yet more sunny in her
own happy little home, and her feelings more open and expansive,
beneath the genial influence of friendly eyes.



THE HOURS OF LIFE.


TWILIGHT.--The dewy morning of childhood has passed, and the noon of
youth has gone, and the gloom of twilight is gathering over my
spirit. Alas! alas! how my heart sinks in a wan despair! One by one
my hopes have died out, have faded like the gleams of sunshine that
have just vanished beneath the grove of trees. Hopes! Ah, such warm,
bright, beautiful, loving hopes! But, methinks, than lived upon the
earth, unlike the gleaming rays of sunshine that are fed from
heaven. The earth's darkness dims not their glory; pure and radiant
they shine behind the black shadow. But human hopes are earth-born;
they spring from the earth, like the flitting light of night, and
lead us into bogs and quagmires.

Yet it is beautiful to realize that we have had hopes; they are the
past light of the soul, and their glow yet lingers in this gloomy
twilight, reminding one that there has been a sunny day, and
memories of things pleasant and joyous mingle with the present
loneliness and cheerless desolation.

Words, that excited hopes, that awoke thrilling emotions, linger on
the listening ear. But, ah! the heart grows very sad, when the ear
listens in vain, and the yearning, unsatisfied spirit realizes that
the words, so loved, so fondly dwelt upon, were but words, empty,
vain words. But, to have believed them, was a fleeting blindness.
They served for food to the yearning heart, when they were given,
and shall the traveller through the desolate wilderness look back
with scorn upon the bread and water that once satisfied his hunger
and thirst, even though it is now withheld? No--let him be thankful
for the past; otherwise, the keen biting hunger, the thirsty anguish
of the soul, will have a bitterness and a gall in it, that will
corrode his whole being. Ah! what is this being? if one could but
understand one's own existence, what a relief it would be; but to
understand nothing--alas!

Life is a weary burden. I feel weighed down with it, and I do not
know what is in the pack that bows me so wearily to the earth. I do
know that in it are agonized feelings, bitter disappointments, and a
desolation of the heart. But there is a something else in it; for,
now and then, come vague, vast perceptions of a dim future; but I
shut my eyes. I cannot look beyond the earth. I could have been
satisfied here with a very little; a little of human love would have
made me so happy. Yes, I would never have dreamed of an unknown
heaven. Heaven! What is heaven? I remember when I was a little
child, lying on my bed in the early morning twilight (ah! that was a
twilight, unlike this, which is sinking into a black night, for that
was ushering in the beautiful golden day), but it was twilight when
I looked through the uncurtained window; and through the
intertwining branches of a noble tree I saw the far, dim, misty
sky--and I wondered, in my childish way, "if heaven is like that;"
and all at once it seemed to me that the dim, distant sky opened,
and my dead mother's face looked out upon me so beautifully, I did
not know her, for she died when I was an unconscious infant, and yet
I did know her. Yes, that beautiful face was my mother's, and my
heart was full of delight. That my mother could see me, and love me,
from the far heavens, was like a revelation to me. And often, on
other mornings, I awakened and looked through the very same branches
of the tree, out into the far sky, and thought to see my mother's
face shining through the window and watching over her lonely,
sleeping child. But my fancy never again conjured up the vision.
Fancy! What is fancy? If one could but understand, could grasp the
phantom and mystery of life! And above all, if one could but
understand what heaven is!

When I was a child, heaven was to me a peopled place, a wonderful
reality; and I remember a dream that I had--what a strange dream it
was! For I went to heaven, and I saw a shining One, sitting on a
throne, and many beautiful ones were standing and seated around the
throne, and my father and mother were there; and they had crowns on
their heads, and held each other by the hand, and looked down upon
me so lovingly. I knew that it was my father, because my mother held
him by the hand, though my father died the day I was born, and I
stood before them in the great light of a Heavenly Presence, as such
a poor little earth-child, but I was happy, inexpressibly happy,
only they did not touch me; but I was not fit to be touched by such
soft, shining hands. And what was yet a greater joy than ever to see
my unknown father and mother on the other side of the throne, I saw
my brother, my dear, gentle, beautiful little brother, who, seven
years older than I, had loved and played with me on the earth. He
was clothed in white garments, and was grown from a child to a
youth, and was so full of a noble and beautiful grace. He smiled
upon me; he did not speak; none spoke. All was so still, and serene,
and bright, and beautiful. Next morning I awoke as if yet in my
dream, so vivid was the whole scene before me. I could have danced
and sung all day, "I have seen my father and mother and brother in
the heavenly courts." But what are dreams?

Yet, it is wonderful to go back to the dreams and thoughts of
childhood; they are so distinct; such living realities. I often
remember a speech I made in those far childish days. I was lying in
bed with a friend in the early gray morning. All at once I started
up and said--"Oh, how I wish I had lived in the days when Jesus
lived upon the earth!"

I was asked why? And I replied, "Because I could have loved Him; I
would have followed as those women followed Him; I would have kissed
the hem of His garment."

A laugh checked the further flow of my talk; but I lay down again,
and then my thoughts wandered off to the mountains of Judea, and I
saw a Divine Man walking over the hills and valleys, and women
following Him. In those days I knew two passages in the Bible, and
that was all that I knew of it, for I never read it. But I learned
at Sunday school, Christ's Sermon on the Mount, and the first five
verses of the first chapter of John. And I remember how confused I
always was over the WORD, for some told me it meant "_Logos_."

What was "_Logos_?" I could never fathom it. Now I know what
"_Logos_" means. And yet the mystery is not fathomed. Well, let that
go. I could never understand the Bible. However, in those days it
was something holy and sacred to me; because the Bible that I owned
belonged to my dear father, and I often kissed it, and loved the
Book dearly, but I could not read it by myself. But I did read
occasionally in the Bible, to an old woman; she lived on the way to
the village school, in a dilapidated, deserted country store; she
occupied the little back room, in which was a fire-place, and I was
permitted to take a flask of milk to her every day, as I passed to
school; and with what a glad heart I always hurried off in the
morning, that I might gather broken brush-wood and dried sticks, for
her to kindle her fire with. Charitable people sent her wood, but it
was wet and hard to kindle, and the poor old woman, with her bent
back, would go out and painfully gather the dried sticks that lay
around her desolate home; but when I came, she would take my book
and dinner-basket into her house, and leave me the delight of
gathering the sticks. Ah! I was happy then--when I knelt on the rude
hearth and blew with my mouth instead of a bellows, the smoking,
smouldering wood into a blaze, and heard the loving words that the
good old woman lavished upon me. She loved me--but not as much as I
loved her. She was my peculiar treasure--something for me to live
for, and think of. I always left my dinner with her, and at noon
returned to eat it with her; though I would feel almost ashamed to
spread out the cold meat and bread before her, she looked so much
like a lady.

But she always asked a blessing; that was what I never did, and it
gave me an awe-stricken feeling, and my meal would have something of
a solemn and tender interest--what with the blessing, and the old
woman's love for me, and mine for her--and we ate it in a solemn and
gloomy room, for there was no table in the little back room, so we
used the counter of the old store; and the empty shelves and the
closed doors and shutters, with only the light from the back-door,
made me often look around shudderingly into the gloom and obscurity
of dark corners--for I abounded in superstitious terrors, and I
pitied the poor, lonely old woman for living in such a home more
than I ever pitied the cold and hunger she endured.

Often when our dinner was over, I read aloud to her in the Bible.
She could read it herself. But perhaps she liked to hear the sound
of a childish voice, and perhaps she thought that she was doing me
good. Did she do me good? heigho!--at all events, she left a
beautiful memory to gild this dark twilight that grows upon my soul.

But the loving, trusting childhood is gone, and why do I dwell upon
it? Why does its sensitive life yet move and stir in my memory? Has
it aught to do with the cold, dark present? The Present! Alas! what
a contrast it is to that childish faith! I almost wish that I could
now believe as I did then. But no. _Reason_ has dissipated the
visions and dreams and superstitions of childhood. It has made
unreal to me that which was most real. In its cold, chilling light,
I have looked into the world of tangible facts and possible
realities.

Ah! this cold, cold light, how much of beauty and love it has
congealed! It has fallen like a mantle of snow over the warm, living
life of the earth; and blooming flowers, that sent up odours on the
soft air, have crumbled to dust, and bright summer waters that
reflected the heavens in their blue depths, and glittered in the
light of stars and moon and sun, have now been congealed into solid,
dull opaque masses, which yield not to the tread of man. Alas! no
bird of beauty dips its wing in these dead waters, and plumes itself
for an aerial flight of love and joy. But the cold contraction
chains down all the freer, beautiful life, into a hopeless, chilling
inanity.

MIDNIGHT.--The gloom has gathered into a darkness that may be felt;
and seeing nothing, I would stretch forth my hands to feel if there
is anything within my mind to stay my soul upon. But, alas! in a
deep sorrow, how little do mental acquisitions avail! All the
beautiful systems and theories that delighted my intelligence, and
filled my thought in my noon of hope and life, have sunk into
darkness. How is this? Sometimes I think that all light comes
through the heart into the mind; and when love is quenched, behold,
there is only darkness; the beauty and life and joy are gone. Ah,
woe is me! Have I nothing left?--no internal resources--no wealth of
knowledge, with which to minister to this poverty of hope and life?
It cannot be that all past efforts, all struggles and self-sacrifices,
to attain this coveted and natural knowledge, were useless, vain
mockeries. I thought I should live by this knowledge; that when the
outer life palled upon me, I could then retire within my own being
to boundless stores of riches and beauty. Well--this time has come,
and what do I find? Truly it is no Aladdin-palace, glittering with
gold and gems. It is more like a cavernous depth, stored with
rubbish, and from its dark deeps comes up an earthy odour, that almost
suffocates my spirit. But this is my all, and I must descend from the
life of the heart to the life of the mind, and scan my unsatisfactory
possessions.

Well, here is a world of childish, school-day lumber. Once it was a
great delight to me to learn that the world was round, and not
square; but I cannot see that a knowledge of that fact affords me
any great satisfaction now, for it has shaped itself to me as an
acute angle. And the earth's surface! how I used to glow with the
excitement of the bare thought of Rome! and Athens! and
Constantinople! and their thrilling histories and wonders of art,
and beauties of nature, seemed to me an indefinite world of
unattainable delight and ecstasy. But now, I have lived in all these
places, and the light and glory have gone. They have fallen within
the freezing light of reason. They are no longer like beautiful
dreams to me. They are squared down into fixed, unalterable facts. I
cannot gild them with any light of fancy; and I cannot extract from
them anything like the delight of my childhood. So I will turn from
these fixed facts and look out for those philosophical theories,
that gave me a later delight, as more interior mental pleasure.

Well, when I first broke through the shackles of the old childish
faith, Percy Bysshe Shelley was my high-priest. Through him I
thought I had come into a beautiful light of nature, vague, shadowy,
and grand, filling vast conceptions of the indefinite. He discarded
the God of the Hebrews, who was fashioned after their own narrow,
revengeful passions; a Being of wrath and war. And a brooding
spirit, an indefinite indwelling life of nature, was a new
revelation to me. I grew mystical and sublime and sentimental, in
this new mental perception. But I wearied of that. I could not walk
on stilts always, and I descended to the earth and read Voltaire,
and laughed and sneered at all the old forms and superstitions of
man. But this does not afford me any enjoyment now--the unhappy do
not feel like laughing at a ribald wit; but, alas! this rubbish is
stored here, and here I must live with it. It blackened and blurred
the pictures of the angels, that adorned my childish memories. It
wiped out all heavenly visions, and left only the earthly life.

But the human heart cannot live without a God; and I tried hard to
make one, for myself, through German pantheism. But I turn this
rubbish over disconsolately, for it is a material God, and does not
respond to one spiritual nature. It seems rather to react against
it. Alas! alas! I sink down into a Cimmerian darkness here; it seems
as if the Stygian pools of blackness had closed over me, and a cry
of anguish goes forth from my inmost soul, piercing the dark depths
to learn what is spirit? and what is God? What manner of existence
or unity of Being is He? Who is He? Where is He? And how can I
attain to a knowledge of Him? But through the echoing halls of my
dark mind, there is only a wailing sound of woe, of misery, of
disappointment, of a yearning anguish of spirit for a something
higher and better than I have ever yet conceived of or known.

But there is yet more of this mental rubbish. Ah! here is a whole
chapter of stuff--and I once thought it was so wise. I called it the
"progressive chain of being," and wove it out of the Pythagorean
philosophy. I said man's nature begins from the lowest, and ascends
to the highest. _Nature_ gives the impulse to life; and the flower
that blooms in South America may die, and its inner spirit may
clothe itself in a donkey born in Greece! and so it goes on
transfusing itself from clime to clime, in ever new and higher
forms, until man is developed. Well, was there ever such stuff
concocted before? I almost hear the bray of that donkey, who
originated in a flower. And pray, most sapient self! what is nature?
It seems _now_, to me, a _form_, a mere dead incubus of matter. And
could this inert tangible matter, sublimate in its hard, dead bosom,
an essence so subtle, as to be freer of the bonds of time and space?
At such a preposterous suggestion even a donkey might bow his ears
with shame. So I will hand this "progressive chain of being" over to
a deeper darkness, and pass on.

Lo! here lie the statues of broken gods, headless divinities. I
tried to believe in Greek mythology; to fancy that the world had
gone backwards, and that there were spirits of the earth and air,
that took part in the life of man. But these were poetic visions
that shifted and waved with every fleeting fancy. But _now_ this
would be a pleasant faith. What if I _could_ appeal to an invisible,
higher spiritual being, who sympathized with my nature, to lead me
out of this darkness of ignorance into a true world of light, of
truth, of definite knowledge, concerning life and its origin;
concerning God and His nature? If I were only an old Greek, how I
would pray to Minerva for help, and call upon Hercules to remove
this Augean dirt, that pollutes and lumbers all the chambers of my
mind! But when the old Greeks called, were they answered? Ah, there
is nothing to hope for!

Yet Socrates believed in these spiritual existences; he ordered a
cock to be sacrificed to Esculapius as he was drinking the hemlock.
To him, they were not mere poetic creations; he believed to the last
that he was guided and guarded by his demon. What if we all are?
What if even now, in this midnight darkness, stands a beautiful
being, veiled by my ignorance, who loves me, from a world of light;
sees the tangled web of my thoughts, and would draw it out into
form, and order, and beauty? If such there be, oh, bright and
beautiful one! pity me, love me, and enlighten me. Alas, no!--all is
yet dark. What would a being revelling in light and beauty, have to
do with this poor, faded life of mine? Alas! that was a fleeting
hope, that, like a pale, flickering ray, gilded the darkness for a
moment.

But, here is a something which gives somewhat of joy and life to the
mind. It is a beautiful thought of Plato, that there is a great
central sun in the universe, around which all other suns revolve.
What if this be an inner sun, which is the fountain of spiritual
life? That is something to believe. Yet the thought sinks appalled
from it. The heart desires a God that it may love, and trust in,
that it may speak to and be heard; and if the fountain of life be
only a sun, what is there to love in it? True, we rejoice in the
light and beauty of the sun that upholds _this_ world in its place;
but what is this enjoyment compared to the bliss of human love? A
man--a living, breathing, loving man--is the perfection of
existence; and one could be happy with a perfect man, if all the
suns in the universe were blotted out. A MAN! what is he, in his
essential attributes? What is it that gives a delight in him? Ah! I
am full of ideal visions--for in all history I find not one man that
altogether fills my vision of what a man should be. From the
Alexanders and Caesars I turn with loathing--their fierce, rude,
outre life, their selfish, grasping ambition, suggest to me the
vision of snarling wild beasts, battling over the torn and
palpitating limbs of nations. These men could never have touched my
soul; they could never have dispelled the darkness of my mind; they
could not be friends. But was there ever a man that could have
answered the questions for the solution of which my spirit yearns?
Plato was beautiful; around him was a pure, intellectual light. But,
after all, he _knew_ very little; his writings are mostly
suggestive. But suppose here was a man who could reveal all the
hidden things of life? How sudden would be the delight of learning
of him, of communing with his spirit? And what if he knew, not only
everything relating to this world, and my own intellectual being,
but could tell me of all the universe, of all the after life? Oh!
what a joy such a man would be to me! How would this midnight
darkness melt into the clearest and most beautiful day!

But did such an one ever exist? Why is it that now comes over me the
vision of my childhood, of the Divine Man walking over the hills of
Judea? Oh, Christ! who wert Thou? My thought goes forth to Thee;
beautiful was Thy life upon the earth. It had in it a heavenly
sanctity, a purity, a grace and mercy, a gentleness and forbearance,
that seems to me God-like and Divine. Yes--what if God descended and
walked on the earth? I could love Him, that He had lowered Himself
to my comprehension. But God! the Infinite and Eternal! in the
finite human form, undergoing death! I cannot comprehend this. But
what is infinity? When I look within myself and realize my
ever-changing and fleeting feelings, now glancing in expansive
ranges of thought from star to star, I realize an infinity in mind,
that is not of the body. What if it were thus with the Holy Man,
Christ? What if He were God as to the spirit, and man as to the
flesh? If this were so, well may I have wished "to live when Jesus
walked the earth," for He alone could have revealed all things to
me. How wonderful must have been His wisdom! And if His indwelling
spirit were God, then Christ yet lives--lives in some inner world of
love and beauty. Ah, beautiful hope! for, if immortality is my
portion, I may yet see Him, and learn of Him in another existence.
Methinks the night of my soul is passing away; upon the rayless
darkness a star has risen; a fixed star of love and hope; what if
like other fixed stars it prove a sun?

Oh, Christ! holy and beautiful Man! if Thou yet livest in far-away
realms of light and blessedness--grant that I may see Thee, and
learn of Thy wondrous wisdom. Enlighten my darkness, and suffer me
to love Thee as the Divinest type of man that my thought has yet
imagined.

THE DAWN OF THE MORNING.--I have gone back to my Bible with the old
childish love and reverence. I read it with an object now. I know
that in it, the beautiful Christ-nature was portrayed; and I read
with infinite longings to find Him the "unknown God;" and bright
revealings come to me through this Book. I feel that it is Divine,
and the light grows upon me; and sometimes like the Apostles, who
awakened in the night, and saw Christ transfigured before them, I
also saw a transfiguration. I lose sight of the mere material man,
and I perceive an inner glory of being, a radiance of wisdom, and
purity, and love, that clothe Him in a Divine light, and make His
countenance brilliant with a spiritual glory.

This transfiguration, what was it? My thought dwells upon it so--it
was a wonderful thing. I know that the scoffing philosophers
ridicule the idea of there being any reality in it; they regard it
either as a fiction on the part of the writers, or as a dream or a
delusion of the senses. But I believe that it all happened just as
it was narrated. For it is beautiful to believe it. If it did not
happen, I am none the worse for believing it, even if the whole life
was a fiction, which all history proves to have been true; and had
no Christ lived upon the earth, yet, as a work of art, this fiction
would have been the highest and most beautiful dream of the human
thought. But if it is all literally true; if Christ was "God
manifest in the flesh," how much do I gain by believing in him! I
have attained the highest and best of all knowledge--I know GOD!

And this transfiguration becomes a wonderful revelation! It was the
Spirit of God shining through the Man. And this spirit was a
substance and a form. And what was its form?--that of a man, with a
face radiant as the sun. Now know I how to think of God. He is no
longer a vague, incomprehensible existence; an ether floating in
space. But He is a living, breathing human form, a Man! in whose
image and likeness we were created. Oh, how I thank God that He has
revealed this to me! Now, I know what manner of Being I pray to; and
like as the apostles saw Him, in His Divine spiritual human form,
will I now always think of Him. I will look through His veil of
flesh, I will love Him as the only God-man that ever existed.

When I think thus of the inner Divine nature, clothed in a material
body, how wonderfully do the scenes of this drama of the life of
Christ strike me! Imagine Him, the God of the universe, standing
before the Jewish sanhedrim, condemned, buffeted, and spit upon. How
at that moment in His inmost Divine soul, He must have glanced over
the vast creation, that He had called into being; and felt that an
Infinite power dwelt in Him. One blazing look of wrathful
indignation would have annihilated that rude rabble. But He had
clothed himself in flesh, to subdue all of its evil and vile
passions; to show to an ignorant and sensual race, the grace and
beauty of a self-abnegation--a Divine pity and forgiveness. And thus
did the outer material Man die with that beautiful and touching
appeal to the Infinite-loving soul, from which the body was born:
"Father! forgive them, they know not what they do." Oh, Thou! Divine
Jesus! make me like unto Thee in this heavenly and loving spirit.

How clear many things grow to me now! I smile when I think of the
old childish trouble over the word "_Logos_," for this _Logos_, i.
e. truth, has been revealed to me. In the knowledge that Christ was
the Infinite God--the Creator of the universe, I see Him as the
central _truth_. Thus Christ was the _Logos_,--the _Word_; the
Divine Truth, and now I read, that "In the beginning was Christ, and
Christ was with God, and Christ was God." And I am happy in this
knowledge--my thought has something to rest upon out of myself; and
my affections grow up from the earth to that wonderful Divine Man,
who, after the death of the body, was seen as a man, a living man!
Immortality is no longer the dream of a Plato. It is a demonstrated
fact.

In my mind is the stirring of a new life, as in the light of an
early morning-glory; the voice of singing birds is in my heart, and
an odour of blooming flowers expands itself in the delight of my new
day. I see the morning sun in a fixed form, yet flooding worlds with
the radiations of its light and heat, and shining in its glory on
the dew-bespangled blade of grass. Oh Christ!--thou art my Sun--and
I, the tiny blade of grass, rejoice in Thy Divine wisdom and love.
Look down upon me, oh, Thou holy One! from the "throne of Thy glory,
and the habitation of Thy Holiness," and exhale from me, through the
dew of my sorrow, the incense of my love. Draw me up from the earth,
even as the sun draws up the bowed plants, and let me drink in the
beautiful life of free heavenly airs.

NOON-DAY.--How the light grows! In the warm love of my soul a
summer's day glows--so serene and bright, so full of ceaseless
activities, that the fruits ripen in a smiling, rosy beauty.

The living Christ hath heard my soul's prayer; and books, which I
never before heard of, have revealed to me all those wonderful
truths after which my spirit yearned.

First of all, the mystery of the Bible has been made clear to me. I
see it now as a beautiful whole. The Infinite knew from the
beginning that He was going to descend upon the earth, and take upon
Himself a human nature, weak and ignorant and vicious; and that He
was to purify and enlighten, and make Divine this fallen nature,
that man might know God in a material form, and love Him. All this
is written out in the Bible.

I stand on the threshold of a wonderful science. There are
innumerable things that I do not comprehend in the Bible; but what I
see and understand awakens in me a thrilling delight, and I can
never exhaust this book; for it is full of the nerves of life; and I
can no more number them than I can count the sensitive fibres that
spread themselves from my brain, to the innumerable cellular tissues
of my skin. But as the body is full of a sentient life, so is every
word of the Bible full of an indwelling life.

And now do I recognise the good that my patient, suffering old
friend did me in my childhood; would that I had read the Holy Bible
to her many other days. Doubtless she is now a beautiful angel in
Heaven.

The angels! and Heaven! now too do I understand the inner existence;
and the dreams and visions of my childhood were, after all, blessed
realities; and the dead father and the dead mother, after whom my
childish heart yearned so lovingly, were revealed to me as a living
father and a living mother, in a wondrously beautiful life. Thus was
a warm inner love kept alive in my soul; and now I know that death
is but a new birth. As a glove is drawn from the hand, so is the
body drawn from the spirit; and, I too, will thus be born again.
Life is again crowned with a beautiful hope.

Life!--and this mystery too is solved. God is the alone life, and
finite human spirits are forms receptive of life from God. God is
the soul and creation is His body--and from this infinite Divine
soul, life flows forth into every atom of the body. Beautiful
thought! The Lord sits throned in the inmost, and is cognisant of
every nerve that thrills through His boundless universe of being.
Every thought and feeling that passes through my heart and mind is
as clearly perceived by Him, as are the sensations of my body
perceived by my soul. Thus are we in God, and God in us.

And how vast is the thought that suns, and their peopled worlds, are
to the body of God but as the drops of blood to the finite human
body; and who can count these drops? for as they flow forth, and
back to the heart, they ever grow and change, and increase--and who
can measure the Infinite! and this Being, sentient of all things in
the universe, providing for all things; seeing all things;
maintaining order, down to the minutest particle, in a system which
the finite thought of man can never grasp--and loving his creatures
in myriads of worlds, of which man never dreamed. How inconceivable
must be His boundless wisdom, His infinite love! Can we wonder that
a Soul so glowing with love, so radiant in intelligence, should
shine as the sun? Yes--this is the Central Sun, whose spiritual
beams, pouring forth their Divine influences, creating as they go
angelic and spiritual intelligences, finally ultimate themselves in
material suns, and material human bodies. Thus the garment of dull,
opaque matter is woven by the Divine Soul, through the condensations
of His emanations. Thus, were "all things made by Him; and without
Him was not anything made that was made;" and "in Him was life, and
the life was the light of men."

The thought sinks after this far flight--we worship and adore the
Infinite. But the Lord must for ever remain apart from our weak
natures, as far as the sun is above the earth. He lives, in His
incomprehensible self-existence, at an immeasurable distance from
us. This the Divine Man sees, and in His tender compassion and
loving mercy for every human soul He creates, a twin-soul is made,
that the finite may find the fullness of delight in another finite
existence.

Oh, blessed and beautiful providence of God! that two human hearts
and minds may intertwine in mutual support, and look up to the
Infinite. And in the glorious sunshine of life, grow ever young and
beautiful, in an immortal youth.

Oh, ye suffering, sorrowing children of earth! turn your affections
and hopes from the fleeting things of time; from the outside-world,
to the beautiful inner spirit-life, where eternity develops ever new
and varying joys. Then only can the day dawn upon the human soul,
and the midnight darkness be dissipated by boundless effulgence of
light.



MINISTERING ANGELS.


  TIME and Patience! These are Angels
    By our Heavenly Father sent;
  Whispering to our restless spirits,
    "Cease to murmur--be content;
  God, who is thy truest friend,
  Doth our aid in trials send.

  When thy weary spirit faileth,
    'Neath the weary cross it bears,
  God is not unmindful of thee--
    He is listening to thy prayers;
  From His children's tearful pleading
  He will _never_ turn unheeding!"

  Heart of mine! Trust thou these Angels;
    Lean on Patience, and be calm;
  Trust in Time, who is preparing
    For thy grief a spirit-balm;
  God is merciful, and He
  Gave them charge concerning thee.



OURS, LOVED, AND "GONE BEFORE."


  The light of her young life went out,
    As sinks behind the hill
  The glory of a setting star;
    Clear, suddenly, and still.

  --WHITTIER.

YOU ask me to tell you of her, the sweet friend we have loved and
lost. You impose on me a difficult task; I find it so harrowing to
my feelings, and I also find that my pen is inadequate to the
tribute my heart would pay.

I would that the privilege of knowing and loving her had been yours,
for to know her was to love her.

In former letters I told you something of her; how she came to us a
lovely bride of just nineteen summers; how anxiously we looked for
her first appearance in church, for they arrived late Saturday
evening, and no one had seen her. I told you how my heart went out
to her as I looked on her sweet, bright, yet somewhat timid face;
there was a perfect witchery in her eyes. I felt that I could gaze
into them for ever; there was about them a spell, a fascination that
I have never seen in others; they laughed as they looked at you, and
yet they were not merely laughing eyes; perhaps the long, drooping
lashes somewhat modified the expression, and helped to give the
peculiarity so strikingly their own.

Her dress and whole appearance were captivating; the simple light
straw hat, with the little illusion veil, and the pure white dress
fitting so prettily the slender form. I could hardly wait for the
next day, so anxious was I to see and speak with her, for I loved
her already.

I had been prepared to love her, for our young pastor had told us
much of his future bride. You know our house was one of his homes,
and to us he had spoken often and enthusiastically of his Mary. It
seemed to me that first Sabbath, that his prayers were particularly
impressive, and his thanks to the Author and Giver of every perfect
gift unusually appropriate; he seemed overpowered by a weight of
gratitude and love.

How I admired the two as I glanced from one to the other! And I know
that many prayers went up from that assembled congregation for long
life and blessings on them.

It was a beautiful home that had been prepared for her. Her
furniture had been sent on previous to their marriage, and our
little band had vied with each other in arranging with a view both
to taste and comfort. How we did wish for a peep into her own home,
to get a hint with regard to arranging her things, so as to be
_home-like_!

You know there is often so much in association, and we would have
loved the new strange place to have a familiar look to her at first
sight. Oh! what visions we conjured up as we arranged the room which
was to serve both as parlour and dining-room; for the house was
small, and Mr. B.'s study must be on the first floor. _There_ was
the best place for the piano between the windows, which looked into
the garden; we heard in anticipation the sweet voice which was to
fill the little room with melody, as the roses and flowers of June
now filled the garden with fragrance. The pretty fire-screen must
stand in a conspicuous corner, for that spoke particularly of home,
and of the hours delightfully passed in the dear family circle while
tracing it stitch by stitch; and I fancied that into each bright
flower which stood out so life-like from the canvas some emotion of
her heart had been indelibly wrought. How many lovely home
associations will the pretty fire-screen bring up!

How we arranged, and disarranged, and re-arranged, before all was to
our minds; and how we hoped, when all was finished, that it would
look as charming to her as it did to us! And we were not
disappointed; for, on the following Monday, when we called to see
her, nothing could exceed the enthusiasm of her expression and
gratitude; everything was lovely, perfect; she saw all _en couleur
de rose_.

She had left indulgent parents, and a home of refinement and luxury,
and we feared for her the untried duties of her new position; but an
intimate acquaintance proved her eminently qualified for the
responsibility she had assumed. She adapted herself with charming
grace and readiness to her present circumstances. She was a most
delightful acquisition to our limited circle; a favourite with all;
and she blended so beautifully the graces of religion with those of
her natural temperament that she became our idol.

The "parsonage" seemed to me a paradise, surrounded by none but
bright and holy influences. There the poor always found a welcome, a
willing heart, a ready hand, and listening ear; however sad and
desponding on entering, they invariably came out cheerful and
hopeful. There seemed a magic spell cast around every one who sought
the presence of our dearly loved pastor and his wife.

With what pleasure I used to watch for their steps as they took
their morning walks together that bright first year of their married
life! They seemed to have the life and vivacity of children. She
always accompanied him in his walks, in his visits to the poor, in
relief to the sick, by the bedside of the dying; she was like his
shadow, and always haunted him for good. It might be said most
emphatically of both, "When the ear heard them it blessed them, and
when the eye saw them it gave witness to them, because they
delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had
none to help him; the blessing of him that was ready to perish came
upon them, and they caused the widow's heart to sing for joy."

Thus several years passed away; new cares and new duties devolved on
them; but all were cheerfully met and delightfully performed; and
they basked in the sunshine of God's love. Beautiful children sprang
up around them, and we felt that "earth never owned a happier nest"
than that which was placed in our midst.

How proud Mr. B. was of his family, and with what reason, too, for
we all felt it with him; his wife so beautiful, so good, so in all
respects fitted to make home happy, with her never-failing sunshine
and light-heartedness; his two little girls, our impersonation of
cherubs; and the youngest a noble boy, so dear to his mother's
heart. Oh! how many attractions within that charmed circle!

I shall never forget an evening I passed in the nursery with that
dear one surrounded by her happy little band. Willie, "the baby," as
she called him, although more than two years old, was sitting in her
lap, twirling one of her long, beautiful ringlets round his tiny
fingers.

"Sing, mamma!" he said.

"Oh, do!" joined in Effie and Minnie, putting their bright innocent
faces and soft brown curls close to hers; "sing The Dove, mamma,
please."

She laughingly asked me to excuse her, saying, she always devoted
the twilight hour to amusing and instructing the little ones. I
begged her to allow my presence to be no restraint upon her usual
custom. She then commenced, and I thought no seraph's voice could be
sweeter, as she sang one of Mary Howitt's beautiful translations:--

  "There sitteth a dove so white and fair
    All on the lily spray,
  And she listeneth how to Jesus Christ
    The little children pray;
  Lightly she spreads her friendly wings,
    And to Heaven's gate hath fled,
  And to the Father in Heaven she bears
    The prayers which the children have said.

  And back she comes from Heaven's gate,
    And brings, that dove so mild,
  From the Father in Heaven, who hears her speak,
    A blessing for every child.
  The children lift up a pious prayer--
    It hears whatever you say,
  That heavenly dove, so white and fair,
    All on the lily spray."

I joined heartily in the thanks and admiration the children
expressed when she had finished.

As she laid them in their little beds, and kissed their rosy lips
and dimpled cheeks, she said, "I can never thank God enough for
these sweet children." She then added, "Oh! what an affliction it
must be to lose a child; I think if one of mine should die, I should
die too; but," she added, "I should not say so; could I not trust
them with Him who doeth all things well?" She little realized how
soon she was to be put to the test. I called there a few days after.
She was in the garden raising and tying up some drooping carnations
which the rain of the preceding day had injured.

"Willie is not well," said she. "I have just sung him to sleep, and
Mr. B. said I must take a little fresh air, for I was fatigued with
holding him, and I thought I would confine myself to the garden, to
be near, if he should wake."

Soon a cry from the nursery was heard; she sprang up the steps in
nervous haste, while I quite chided her anxiety. I followed her into
the room, and was surprised and shocked to find the dear boy in a
high fever; his little arms tossing restlessly, and his lips dry and
parched. Mr. B. sent immediately for the physician; we waited
anxiously his arrival, hoping secretly that we were unnecessarily
alarmed; but his coming did not reassure us; he saw dangerous
symptoms; but still, he said, he hoped for the best. I went home, as
Mr. and Mrs. B. both declined my services for the night, saying they
would rather attend him alone. The next day I was pained to hear
that his symptoms were more unfavourable; that the medicine had had
no effect, and the physician was becoming discouraged. I flew over
to the "parsonage;" the wildly anxious look of the mother distressed
me. I begged her to lie down a little while, and allow me to take
her place by the baby.

"Oh, no," she said, "I cannot leave him; who but his mother should
be by his side?"

It seemed to me that I had never seen greater distress on any
countenance. Mr. B. endeavoured to soothe her, though his anguish
was apparently as keen as her own.

"If our Saviour would remove this little flower to his own garden,
shall we refuse to give it up? Shall we not rather bless and thank
him for allowing us to keep it so long?"

"Oh, yes!" she said, "He doeth all things well; I know that he does
not willingly afflict nor grieve the children of men. I know that
whom He loveth he chasteneth, and I can say, 'Thy will be done.'
Nature is powerful, but my Saviour feels for me, and will forgive
the inward struggle."

All that night they watched his little life fast ebbing away.
Towards morning his sufferings seemed to cease; he smiled upon his
parents. Hope for a moment revived in their hearts, but soon to be
displaced by bitter anguish. Daylight showed the marked change in
his features and complexion that told too plainly the messenger was
very near.

"Speak to me, Willie," she exclaimed, bending over him in an agony
of grief.

"Mamma," he said, and, with the effort, his little spirit took its
flight.

Much has been said and written upon the death of infants, but when
we see so much of wickedness in the world, so much of sin to blight,
so much sorrow to fade, can we wonder that the Lord of Paradise
loves to transplant to a fairer clime these frail buds of earth,
there to have a beautiful and unfading development!

We saw no more of our precious friends till the day of the funeral.
This was their first affliction, and none liked to intrude on the
sanctity of their grief, though many tears were shed, and hearts
went out to them; but we felt that they knew whom they had trusted,
and that under the shadow of His wings they could rest securely till
the storm was past.

A neighbouring clergyman was to perform the last sad office for the
dead. Most lovely did little Willie look in his coffin. The
child-like, beautiful expression still lingered. Rare flowers, the
smallest and whitest, had been placed in the tiny hand, and shed
their fragrance throughout the room.

Oh! how sad and sick appeared the mother, as she bent to take the
last look at the little form she had loved and cherished so
tenderly! Her nights of anxiety and watching had left their traces
upon her face; her usually light and elastic step was feeble and
slow, and she rested heavily upon the arm of her husband. His form
also was bowed, and his countenance bore traces of the deepest
grief.

One of those sudden changes which we so often experience in this our
most changeful climate, took place that day. At noon it was very
warm and bright, but before we returned from the funeral it was
cloudy and cold.

The next day Mrs. B. was quite sick with severe cold, and the
effects of the past excitement and grief. We flattered ourselves
that rest and quiet, with good nursing, would soon restore her; and
you may judge of our dismay upon learning, the day after, that she
was dangerously ill.

"Oh no," we thought and said a hundred times, "it cannot be so; she
will surely be better to-morrow."

We could not have it otherwise. We could not for an instant admit
the idea that she would not recover. The bare supposition was agony.
Oh! how harrowing to me is the remembrance of those long summer
days, and those wakeful moonlight nights, in which, prostrated by
disease, lay that young and lovely being so idolized by us all, but
whom, indeed, we were destined to see no more on earth.

The Divine fiat had gone forth, and hearts were agonized, and looks
grew sadder and sadder, as day after day sounded like a knell in our
ears the fearful words, "Not materially better." But we could not
give her up; hope would linger. No one was permitted to see her but
the family and nurses, for the doctor said all excitement must be
carefully avoided. We said, "She will not die; God will raise her
up." In our weakness and blindness, we could see no mercy nor wisdom
in this terrible bereavement, this scorching desolation of the
already heavily-stricken servant of the Most High. He was naturally
of a most hopeful disposition, and this, notwithstanding the
discouraging words of the physician, buoyed up his soul, and he with
us hoped against hope. They could not persuade him to leave her for
a moment. Whole nights he watched by the side of her he loved best
on earth, anticipating every word and look, and administering to her
comfort.

How you would have felt for us, dear Anna, had you been here! We
would walk by the house, and look up at the windows or door, not
daring to knock for fear of disturbing her, but hoping to see one of
the physicians or some one of the family, of whom to make inquiries.
Oh, the nervousness of those days! the restless, weary nights we
passed, till our fears and apprehensions became a racking torment,
and we felt almost that we must die (sic) ourselves ourselves or be
out of suspense; but when, on the evening of the tenth day after her
illness, a messenger came with pallid face and almost wild look to
say that she was _dead_, we were stunned. I really think we were
almost as much shocked as though we had not heard of her illness;
for we felt that, at the eleventh hour, some favourable turn _must_
take place. I think we expected a miracle to be performed, so
certain were we, or wished and tried to be, that she would recover.

But God's ways are not as our ways; truly, they are past finding
out. We felt like putting our hands on our mouths, for fear of
rebelling against _His_ most righteous decrees. "Be still, and know
that I am God," was all that we could say. It was hard to realize
that the sun was still shining behind the cloud, for this was a
darkness that might be felt. There seemed a pall over the earth and
sky. Oh, how unsatisfactory seemed all on earth! how dark and
strange! how mysterious and unreal! We could not weep, we were
stunned, and it seemed at the time that we could never come back to
earth without her. But when the touching relation of her last hours
was made to us, the fountains of grief were unsealed, and we wept,
as it were, rivers of tears.

I can give you no idea on paper of the beauty and sublimity of that
death-scene as it was painted to me. We imagined that the heart must
shrink, or at least draw back before the entrance into the dark
valley. But all was peace; it flowed in upon her like a river, and
she felt that underneath were the everlasting arms. Her husband and
two remaining children stood by the bed. Oh, the bitterness of the
cup he was called upon to drink! He shrank from it. As he bent over
her, she said,

"Do not weep, love. How good God has been to give us so many bright,
happy years together! Surely the lines have fallen to us in pleasant
places, and I"--raising her beautiful eyes to heaven--"have a goodly
heritage. I go to my Saviour. How should I feel at this moment had I
not a hope in him? Oh, I am going home! I see Willie beckoning me to
hasten. I will bear him in my arms to the Saviour's feet, and
together we shall sing the 'new song.' I do not love you nor these
sweet darlings less; but I love the Saviour more. I wish you could
look in my heart and see the love I bear you. Thank you for all your
indulgence, for all your kindness in bearing with my many
infirmities. If I am permitted, I will be ever your guardian angel.
Remember me with much and undying love to all the dear friends who
have been so kind to me."

She appeared buoyed up with unnatural strength, though her end was
so near. She broke into a sweet hymn; and it was, they said, as
though the angel's voice had anticipated the few short moments
before she should sing the "new song." She lay quiet for a little
time, holding the hand of her husband in her own; then, opening her
eyes and seeing the last rays of the departing sun, "I shall never
look upon that bright orb again; but there is no need of the sun
there. I draw near to heavenly habitations, and I would not retreat
for what the world can give. Dearest, be faithful to your trust."
And, imprinting a kiss upon his lips, her pure spirit went
peacefully home.

We draw a veil upon the feelings of that bereaved one; too sacred
are they to be looked upon; his house was left unto him desolate.
That form, which had been to his eye like the well in the desert or
the bow in the sky, was now cold in death.

Oh! thought we, why needed this affliction to be sent upon one so
near _perfection_? Surely, _he_, of all others, needed not this
discipline; and then came to our minds, soft, sweet, and soothing,
the words, "Every branch in me that beareth fruit, he purgeth it
that it may bring forth more fruit."

We felt that it was hard to lay in the grave the form of our dear
friend; it was hard to part with the casket which had enshrined the
precious jewel. Beautiful in life, she was so in death. The
departing spirit had left a ray of brightness on its earthly house,
and, in looking at the calm brow and peaceful smile, death seemed
divested of its terror. We had twined the pure white flowers she
loved around and amongst the rich dark masses of wavy hair, and she
looked like a beautiful bride more than a tenant for the grave. The
memory of that day will live ever in our minds. It was the last day
of summer, and there seemed a beautiful appropriateness in the
season; it seemed to us that the summer of our hearts had gone with
her.

A sad and mournful procession, we followed her remains to the church
so dear to her in life. It was but a few days since she entered it
in her loveliness and bloom, and for the last time on earth
commemorated a Saviour's dying love. She will partake with us here
no more. May we be counted worthy to sit down with her at our
Father's board in heaven! Mournful was the sight of the black pall
which covered the coffin; mournful the drapery which shrouded her
accustomed seat and enveloped the chancel; mournful the badges which
all, as by consent, had adopted as expressive of their feelings on
the occasion; but, oh! most mournful and heart-rending was the sight
of that husband and father leading by the hand on either side all
that remained to him of his beautiful family. It was difficult to
recognise in him the man of two short weeks before; twenty years
seemed added to his life; the eyes, usually beaming with light, now
cast down and swollen with weeping--the countenance, index of a
heart full of peace and joy, now so sorrow-stricken. Truly, he
seemed "smitten of God and afflicted." We turned our eyes away as he
stood by the grave which contained almost his earthly all.

It was a beautiful spot where they laid her to rest by the side of
her baby. The sun was just going down in a golden flood of light,
betokening a glorious morrow (beautiful emblem of the resurrection,
when this perishing body should be raised in glory), and the shadows
of the trees were lengthening on the grass. Every sound was in sweet
accordance with the scene; the soft twittering of the birds as they
sought their resting-places for the night, the quiet hum of the
insects, and the sweet murmuring of the brook which flowed at a
little distance.

A holy calm pervaded our minds as we wended our way between the
trees and down the slope which bounded this lovely spot; and, as we
left the gate, we involuntarily paused and looked back long and
earnestly on the sweet view. Every object was bathed in that golden
haze so peculiar to the last days of summer and the beginning of
autumn; but at this time it seemed to us that the flood of soft
light had escaped from the gate of heaven which we imagined had
opened to receive the form lost to our sight.

Oh, we miss her more and more, everywhere! in our walks and visits;
in the missionary circle, of which she was so ready and active a
member; in the Sunday school; in her accustomed seat in church; and
we miss the soft tones of her voice in prayer, and the rich
outpourings of her melody in praise.

The poor of the parish have, indeed, lost a friend, as their tears
and remembrance amply testify when they recount her kindnesses, her
gentle words, her deeds of charity and love. "Flowers grew under the
feet of her," said one wretchedly poor, yet, I thought, quite
poetical old woman, whose declining days she had lightened of much
of their weariness. A track of glory seems that which she has left
behind; and there was so much that was beautiful and consoling in
her last hours that it were selfishness to wish her back. She is
with the Saviour she loved; she folds again to her heart the little
one whose loss she had not time to realize on earth; together they
have entered on their "long age of bliss in heaven."

Does not that death-scene speak volumes in attestation of the
religion she professed, of the Saviour she adored? That young fair
being, surrounded by all that makes life happy; friends who loved, a
husband who idolized, children who clung to her; with a heart full
of love and sympathy for all, rejoicing with those who rejoiced, and
weeping with those who wept; of rare beauty and rarer accomplishments,
a sunbeam on the face of the earth; yet she willingly left all when
her Father called her. Is not her faith worth striving after?

We have reason (blessed be God!) to see already some good effects
from the contemplation of her life and death. The young have
received a warning, thoughtlessness a check. We have realized that
neither youth nor beauty is a security against the ravages of the
spoiler.

God grant that our dear pastor may experience the truth of the words
of the Psalmist: "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy." He
feels that his treasure is laid up in heaven, and we know that his
heart is there. To see his dear one happy had ever been his chief
desire, and he would not call her back, for he knows that she is now
in the enjoyment of a bliss that the world cannot give.

Though cast down, he is not destroyed; he has come unscathed from
this furnace of affliction because one like the Son of God was with
him. With eyes turned heavenward, he waits his appointed time. The
religion of the cross glistens like a gem on his dark-robed
fortunes, and points him to fairer worlds, where the love that grew
here amidst clouds will be made perfect in a light that knows no
shadow, where he and his departed ones will again have one home, one
altar, and one resting place.

Like his Divine Master, he goes about doing good. Oftener than ever
is he found amongst the sons and daughters of affliction; more than
ever are they objects of his special care; his precept is blessed by
his example, and thus many a prodigal son has he recalled from his
wanderings, many an outcast gathered into the fold, many a wayworn
pilgrim pointed to his true rest, many a mourner comforted. They saw
that the resignation he preached to others he practised himself;
they saw that the hand of the Lord was heavy upon him, but that yet
he turned not backward; they saw that he went his way as a pilgrim
pressing forward to a better country. Most brilliant will be the
diadem which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give him in the
last day, for are not these words of Holy Writ, "They who turn many
to righteousness shall shine like the stars for ever and ever?"



OUTWARD MINISTERINGS.


  EACH owns some secret law;--the flowers that flourish
    Bloom in their season, in their season die;
  Dews flow beneath, their feeble strength to nourish,
    The wind, Earth's angels, life's sweet breath supply.

  As in the wondrous world of faultless Nature,
    So in the moral universe of man,
  Given for the spirit's every form and feature,
    Are powers fulfilling its immortal plan.

  Whether its aim be fixed on seeking Pleasure,
    Whilst draining deep her falsely-sparkling bowl,
  Or in the light of Love be sought the treasure
    Whose worth may satisfy the craving soul;

  Whether it court the applause of listening nations,
    And toil, with earnest energy, for fame,
  Or seek with nobler hopes those elevations,
    Whence from its God with spotless robes it came:

  All help to lead it on; to Truth or Error,
    Darkness or Light, as its own pathway lies;
  Here, seeming seraphs, hidden shapes of terror,
    There, darksome shadows, angels in disguise.

  Behold yon miser bend, with palsied fingers,
    O'er the rich gold around him glittering piled,
  How, with a father's care, he tireless lingers
    By life's all-precious hope, his darling--child.

  Fond wretch! his aim to narrow life is bounded,
    Yet, true to Nature, all for him hath proved;
  The glorious gifts that once his path surrounded,
    Have served to strengthen feelings basely loved!

  By glittering lights, behold yon splendid palace,
    See squalid youth and beauty enter there,
  Eager to drown within the brimming chalice,
    All pangs of grief--all thoughts of woe or care.

  Alas! for them, that such a sad fruition
    Should burst from seeds bright with the hues of Time;
  These specious splendours fail not in their mission,
    But spur their spirits on the road to crime!

  In yonder room, behold a beauteous maiden,
    Who bright the standard of her hope unrolls;
  But, oh! that smiling bark, with evil laden,
    Leads on to fatal depths, or treacherous shoals!

  Gaze on the gambler, pale with care and sorrow,
    And mark the dismal shades he long hath trod,
  Who lives to witness each returning morrow,
    Sin-burdened, roll before an outraged God!

  Seest thou the light from yonder casement streaming?
    Seest thou the shadow on the window cast?
  There, lost in thought and poesy's wild dreaming,
    Waits one to hear Fame's loud but fickle blast.

  This is his life's great aim; but what beyond it?
    Of Truth's bright treasure though he love to tell,
  In barren mines of lore he hath not found it,
    Bowing beneath his idol's deadly spell.

  But gaze on One, who seeks in all around him,
    Lessons of good to cheer him on his way,
  As every golden year through life hath found him
    Nearer the realms of Heaven's eternal day.

  With him events of earth are sweet evangels,
    All meaner things but step-stones hurled beneath;
  Whilst nobler lead to Eden-realms of angels,
    With shining robes, and crown, and amaranth wreath.

  Oh! fellow-pilgrims through this desert dreary,
    In all the scenes of life God's mercy trace,
  Then though with grief cast down, with watching weary,
    Strong shall ye stand in His sufficient grace!

  Thus sweet, melodious tones and forms of beauty,
    All glorious sights and sounds may ever prove
  Angels to lure us on the path of duty,
    Echoes of symphonies that float above!



BODILY DEFORMITY, SPIRITUAL BEAUTY.


WHO has not observed in passing through the crowded streets of our
city, how great, comparatively, is the number of those, who are more
or less deformed? My heart aches for these poor unfortunates, who
are deprived of some of the legitimate avenues of enjoyment which
God has so bounteously vouchsafed to me.

Here is one (and it would seem to me the most unmitigated of all the
catalogue) who is groping his way along in darkness, holding fast by
the hand of a little girl. There is another who has lost a limb, and
makes his way along with the utmost difficulty. Yonder is one so
extremely deformed, that his sensitiveness forbids him often to
appear in the crowded streets. And there is another still, who is
quite helpless, sitting in a little wagon drawn about by a faithful
dog.

In the minds of different individuals, these various aspects of
deformity produce pity, disgust, and horror; but I have often
thought, could we but look, as God looks--down into the audience
chamber of the spirit--the heart--how differently our minds would be
affected at the sight of these bodily deformities. Perhaps yon poor
blind man, grinding away upon his hand-organ, whose natural eyes for
long, weary years, have been closed against the profusion of beauty
around him, has had the eyes of his understanding opened, and the
pure light from the eternal throne illumes the depth of his soul.
Perhaps he, who hobbles slowly and sadly along upon his crutches,
treads with care and unknown joy, the _narrow way_,--and when,
life's journey's over, he walks through the valley of the shadow of
death, he will fear no evil; for a rod and a staff unknown to his
earthly pilgrimage, _they will comfort him_. Who shall say but he,
whose deformity drives him from the public way, walks continually
before God and Angels--a perfect man? It may be, that yon helpless
one--_so_ helpless that his mother feeds him--has power to move the
arm that moves the world; for God hears prayer.

It is a most solemn truth that He who is the judge of quick and
dead, looks not upon the _outer_ man; but upon his inner, spiritual
nature. With His judgment, it matters not, that a man be deformed;
that his eyes be blind or his tongue be tied: is the heart all
right?--has it become a sanctuary, meet for the spirit's residence
and lighted by the Sun of Righteousness, where every word, thought,
and deed, becomes an acceptable sacrifice to God? is it not
disturbed by sin or blinded by passion? These are the things which
have to do in the estimate which God puts upon every intelligent
creature. Take good care then, my brother pilgrim, that the heart is
all right--though the body which covers it for a little season is
distorted and maimed.



THE DEAD CHILD.


  "Though our tears fell fast and faster,
    Yet we would not call her back;
  We are glad her feet no longer
    Tread life's rough and thorny track.
  We are glad our Heavenly Father
    Took her while her heart was pure;
  We are glad He did not leave her,
    All life's troubles to endure.
  We are glad--and yet the tear-drop
    Falleth, for, alas! we know
  That our fireside will be lonely,
    We shall miss our darling so!"

HOW beautiful a young child in its shroud! Calm and heavenly looks
the white face on which the blighting breath of sin never rested.

The silken curls parted from the marble brow--the once bright eyes
closed--once red lips pale--little hands that have ofttimes been
clasped as the lips repeated "Our Father," now meekly folded over
the throbless heart, tell us that Death, cruel, relentless Death,
has been there.

Surely, the _soul_ that once beamed from those closed eyes is happy!
Hath not the Saviour said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven?" Robed
like an angel is she now, a lamb in the Saviour's bosom. Could
parental love ask more? Surely not. Cleansed from all earthly taint;
secure from all trouble, care, or sin, those eyes will no more weep;
but the tiny hands will sweep a golden harp, and the childish voice
will be heard making music in heaven.

Often, O, how often had our hearts said, "God bless her!" And has
not our prayer been answered? The yearnings of love cannot be
stifled; for we miss the loving clasp of white arms--the soft
pressure of fresh lips--the prattle and smile that were music and
light to our world-weary hearts; our hand moves in vain for a
resting-place on the golden head; yet we feel, we know that "it is
well with the child," for we see how much of woe she has escaped;
how much of bliss she has gained; a home with the sinless; the
companionship of angels for ETERNITY. Blessed one!

Alone, yet fearlessly, didst thou pass through the "dark valley" and
enter into the home prepared for thee. As fearlessly, trustingly may
_we_ meet the conqueror, Death, and when the conflict is ended, meet
thee in thy new home to dwell for evermore!



WATER.


GOD is the author of all our blessings. There is no truth, perhaps,
to which we are more ready to give our assent than this; and yet, a
great many people seem to act as if they did not believe it, or, at
least, as if they were prone to forget it.

A traveller stopped at a fountain, and, letting the rein he held in
his hand fall upon the neck of his horse, permitted the thirsty
animal to drink of the cooling water that came pouring down from a
rocky hill, and spread itself out in a basin below. While the weary
beast refreshed himself, the traveller looked at the bright stream
that sparkled in the sunlight, and said thus to himself:--

"What a blessing is water! How it refreshes, strengthens, and
purifies! And how bountifully it is given! Everywhere flows this
good gift of our Heavenly Father, and it is as free as the air to
man and beast."

While he thus mused, a child came to the fountain. She had a vessel
in her hand, and she stooped to fill it with water.

"Give me a drink, my good little girl," said the traveller.

And, with a smiling face, the child reached her pitcher to the man
who still sat on his horse.

"Who made this water?" said the traveller, as he handed the vessel
back to the child.

"God made it," was her quick reply.

"And do you know anything that water is like?" asked the traveller.

"Oh, yes! Father says that water is like truth."

"Does he?"

"Yes, sir. He says that water is like truth, because truth purifies
the mind as water does the body."

"That is wisely said," returned the traveller. "And truth quenches
our thirst for knowledge, as water quenches the thirst of our lips."

The little girl smiled as this was said, and, taking up her pitcher,
went back to her home.

"Yes, water represents truth," said the traveller, as he rode
thoughtfully away. "The child was right. It purifies and refreshes
us, and is spread out, like truth, on every hand, free for those who
will take it. Whenever I look upon water again, I will think of it
as representing truth; and then I will remember that it is as
important to the mind's health and purity to have truth as it is for
the body to have water."

Thus, from a simple fountain, as it leaped out from the side of a
hill, the traveller gained a lesson of wisdom. And so, as we pass
through the world, we may find in almost every natural object that
exists something that will turn our minds to higher and better
thoughts. Every tree and flower, every green thing that grows, and
every beast of the field and bird of the air, have in them a
signification, if we could but learn it. They speak to us in a
spiritual language, and figure forth to our natural senses the
higher, more beautiful, and more enduring things of the mind.



BEAUTIFUL, HAPPY, AND BELOVED.


      WOULDST thou be beautiful?
  Ah, then, be pure! be pure! An angel's face
    Is the transparent mirror of her soul.
  If ghastly guilt on fairest brows you trace,
    Then do you hear the knell of beauty toll.
  Let Purity her seal on thee impress,
    And thine shall be angelic loveliness.
      The pure are beautiful.

      Wouldst thou be dearly loved?
  Then love, love truly all that God has made;
    For by His name of love is He best known.
  No damp distrust be on thy spirit laid;
    And let affection's words and deeds be one.
  Thy soul's warm fountain shall not gush in vain;
    From Love's deep source it shall be filled again;
      For they who love, are loved.

      And wouldst thou happy be?
  Then make the truth thy talisman, thy guide.
    Be truth the stone in all thy jewels set.
  Into thy heart its opal-light shall glide,
    And guide thee where are happier spirits yet.
  For these three rays are in the shining crown:
    The seraph by the Throne of Light lays down,
      Truth, Love, and Purity.



"EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING."


WHAT! can this be true in this dark world of ours, where the thick
clouds of sorrow, disappointed hopes, and bereavements are
continually hanging over us, obscuring even the bright star of hope;
where upon every passing breeze is borne deep wailings of woe,
bitter sighs ascending from bruised and broken hearts mourning over
lost hopes, crushed affections, wasted love; struggling vainly for
victory in the fierce battle of life; groping about in darkness to
catch, if possible, one gleam of sunlight from the heavy clouds--but
in vain?

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." Another shrine robbed of its idol;
another hearth left desolate. See, how the black clouds settle down
and press more closely around that lonely widowed one. Grim Death
mocks at his grief from the open grave, so soon to receive his
heart's idol. Ay, remove the coffin lid; gaze with all the agonizing
bitterness of a _last_ look upon that cold marble face; was aught on
earth so lovely? Kiss for the last time the pure forehead. Ah! those
pale white lips give back no answering pressure of love; sealed for
ever by that last chilling blast from the cold river.

And now the damp earth presses heavily over that cherished form; far
down in the darkness and silence of the grave must the loved one
remain, never more to cheer by her gentle words of love and
kindness, the heart of him who so needed her sympathy and love.
Gone, gone for ever.

What on earth is now beautiful or bright since the dearest, best
treasure is removed? Oh, no! there can be no bright spot in
affliction like this; there can be no bright ray to gild this night
of sorrow.

Ah! thou erring mortal, repine not. The all-wise Father knew thy
frail heart, saw thy whole life and soul bound up in that one
creature, weak and sinful like thyself; forgetful of the Creator;
and wilt thou dare raise thy feeble voice against the Almighty when
He removed the idol that He alone may reign? Wilt thou not bow
meekly, kiss the rod, and accept the bitter cup of bereavement,
offered as it is in mercy?

And is this all? Is there no life beyond the grave? Is the spirit
which held such communion with thine for ever quenched?

Can the grave contain for ever the immortal part? Look up, oh!
mourning one; thy loved one is not there.

Hark! hearest thou not soft, heavenly voices, whispering sweetly of
a life beyond the dark river, where Death can never come; of
glorious mansions where is peace and joy for ever more, and of
another freed spirit welcomed to the blissful home? Dost thou not
feel upon thy tear-moistened cheek, gentle wavings of angel wings
perfumed with the breath of heavenly flowers?

Even now, may the happy glorified spirit of thy loved one be
hovering around; think you it would return again to that perishing
body of clay?

The sweet star of faith is already rising over thy grief; the
clouds, all bright and shining with hues caught from heavenly skies,
are no longer dark and rayless; and now, even with thy lonely
bleeding heart, canst thou humbly receive the chastisement from Him
who doeth all things well.

Henceforth will earth seem less dear, heaven nearer, and more to be
desired; thy own cherished companion is there, and who can know but
that her pure spirit may sometimes look down upon thee, still to
encourage thy endeavours to battle manfully with life and its
trials, still to cheer and console in thy hours of distress; but
now, with heart and affections all purified from the dross of earth,
will not the influence be more blessed than when she walked with
bodily presence at thy side?

Yes, thanks to our merciful Father, every cloud _has_ a silver
lining, however dark the side presented to our view, ladened heavy
though it be with sorrows and woes, which almost crush the life from
our hearts as it presses upon us; yet there away, hidden from our
short mortal vision, gleams the soft silvery lining, ever gently
shining, perhaps never to be revealed in this world, reserved for us
to discover after we too have been called from this to our heavenly
home, and look back upon our earthly pilgrimage with rejoicings that
we have been so safely borne through every trial and temptation.

Ah! then will our sky be without a cloud. All joyous and happy will
we tune our harps anew to the praise of Him who loved us and hath
given us the victory!



AN ANGEL OF PATIENCE.


    BESIDE the toilsome way,
  Lowly and sad, by fruits and flowers unblest,
  Which my lone feet tread sadly, day by day,
    Longing in vain for rest,

    An angel softly walks,
  With pale, sweet face, and eyes cast meekly down,
  The while from withered leaves and flowerless stalks
    She weaves my fitting crown.

    A sweet and patient grace,
  A look of firm endurance true and tried,
  Of suffering meekly borne, rests on her face,
    So pure--so glorified.

    And when my fainting heart
  Desponds and murmurs at its adverse fate,
  Then quietly the angel's bright lips part,
    Murmuring softly, "Wait!"

    "Patience!" she meekly saith--
  "Thy Father's mercies never come too late;
  Gird thee with patient strength and trusting faith,
    And firm endurance wait!"



THE GRANDFATHER'S ADVICE.


IT was a golden sunset, which was fondly gazed upon by an old man on
whose broad brow the history of seventy winters had been written. He
sat in the wide porch of a large old-fashioned house: his look was
calm and clear, though years had quelled the fire of his eagle
glance; his silver hair was borne mildly back, by the south wind of
August, and a smile of sweetness played over his features, breathing
the music of contentment. His heart was still fresh, and his mind
open to receive an impress of the loveliness of earth. The dew of
love for his fellow-creatures fell upon his aged soul, and pure
adoration went up to the Giver of every good from its altar. He
lifted his gaze to the cerulean blue above him, and dwelt upon his
future, with a glow of hope upon his heart--then he turned to the
past, and his beaming expression gradually mellowed into
pensiveness: in thought, he travelled through the long vista of
years which he had left behind him, and his mental exclamation was,

"There has not been a year of my life since manhood, that I might
not have lived to a better purpose. I might have been more useful
and devoted to my race. I might more fully have sacrificed the idol
self, which so often I have knelt to, in worship more heartfelt than
I offered the Divinity. Yet have I laboured to become pure in thy
sight, oh, my God! build thy kingdom in my breast!"

A tear trembled in the aged suppliant's eye, and the calm of holy
humility stole over him; the gentle look was again upon his
countenance, when a young man of about twenty years, swung open the
gate leading to the house, and, approaching, saluted the old man
with a cordial grasp of the hand; flinging his cap carelessly down,
he took a seat in a rustic chair, and exclaimed with a smile of
mingled affection and reverence, which broke over his thoughtful
features, making him extremely handsome,

"Well, grandfather, I believe you complete seventy years to-day!"

"Yes, my son, and I have been looking back upon them. I do not
usually dwell upon the past with repining, yet I see much that might
have been better. My years have not always been improved."

The young man listened respectfully; presently he asked, with sudden
interest, "Pray tell me, if there ever was a whole year of your
life, so perfectly happy that you would wish to live it all over
again?"

"I have been perfectly happy at brief intervals," was the reply,
"yet there is not a year of my long life, that I would choose to
have return. I have been surrounded by many warm friends now gone to
their homes in the spirit-world,--I have loved, and have been loved,
and the recollection yet thrills me; still I thank God that I am not
to live over those years upon earth. I have struggled much for truth
and goodness, and there has not been one struggle which I would
renew, though each has been followed by a deep satisfaction."

"To me, your life appears to have been dreary, grandfather," replied
his companion. "I ask for happiness!" After a pause, he added with
impetuosity, "If I am not to meet with the ardent happiness I dream
of, and desire, I do not care to live. What is the life which
thousands lead, worth? Nothing! I cannot sail monotonously down the
stream--the more I _think_, and thought devours me, the more
discontented do I become with everything I see. Why is an
overpowering desire for happiness planted within the human breast,
if it is so very rarely to be gratified? My childhood was sometimes
gay, but as often, it was clouded by disappointments which are great
to children. I have never seen even the moment, since I have been
old enough to reflect, when I could say that I was as happy as I was
capable of being. I have even felt the consciousness that my soul's
depths were not filled to the brim with joy. I could always ask for
more. In my happiest hours, the eager question rushes upon me,
involuntarily, 'Am I entirely content?' And the response that rises
up, is ever 'No.' I am young, and this soft air steals over a brow
of health--I can appreciate the beautiful and exquisite. I can drink
in the deep poetry of noble minds--I can idly revel in voluptuous
music, and dream away my soul, but with that bewitching dream, there
is still a yearning for its realization. I cannot abate the
restlessness that presses upon me--I look around, and young faces
are bright and smiling with cheerful gayety. I endeavour to catch
the buoyant spirit, but I succeed rarely,--if I do, it floats on the
surface, leaving the under-current unbroken in its flow. Yet after I
have endeavoured to lighten the oppressive cares of some
unfortunate creature, a sort of peace has for a time descended upon
me, which has been infinitely soothing. It soon departs, and my
usual bitterness again sways me. I sought for friendship, and for
awhile I was relieved, but I cannot forbear glancing down into the
motives of my fellow men, and that involuntarily-searching spirit
has proved unfortunate to me. I met with selfishness in the form of
attachment, and then I turned to look upon the hollow heart of
society, and it was there."

"Alfred, you make me sad," said the old man, in a solemn and deeply
pained voice. "This is the first time I knew that your heart was
such a temple of bitterness."

"If I have saddened you, I wish I had not spoken: but the thoughts
rushed over me, your kind heart is always open, and I gave them
expression. You have lived long, and there is more sympathy in your
experience, than in the laughing jest of those near my own age.
Pardon me, grandfather, I will not pain you again!" Alfred turned
his eyes upon his aged friend; he caught the look of kindness upon
that honoured face, and it fell warmly, upon his soul.

"It is right to think deeply," said the revered adviser, "but one
must think rightly, also. You must not look out upon the world, from
the darkened corners of your soul, or the hue is transferred to all
things which your glance falls upon. Take the torch of truth and
heavenly charity to chase away the dimness within you, then powerful
changes will be wrought in your vision. You will begin to regard
your fellow man with new feelings of interest. I am a plain and
blunt old man, Alfred, but you know that my only desire is for your
good; so bear with my remarks if they be unpalatable."

"Certainly, sir, I value frankness before flattery."

"You may say that you have never been _perfectly_ happy," continued
the old gentleman; "that is neither strange nor uncommon, for I have
met with few thoughtful persons of your years, who, upon close
reflection, could say that their souls could desire no more than had
been granted to them. You must seek for resignation, not entire
bliss upon earth, although it is possible that you may enjoy it for
a season."

"Why is joy so transitory and unquiet so lasting?" demanded the
young man impatiently.

"The fault is not in the transitoriness of the joy, but in the very
soul itself,--it is in a state of disorder; its nature must be
changed before it can receive for ever only the image of gladness.
In a chaos of the elements, can a smiling sky be always seen? Lay
asleep all unruly elements in the spirit, and a pure heaven of
brightness will then greet the uplifted glance."

"But how can all this be done, grandfather? hath unruly elements do
you speak of? What can I do; for instance? I certainly am willing
and glad to see my kind happy--if my soul be in disorder, I do not
know in what it consists, or how to bring it to order. I am weary of
its unsatisfied desires; it is, continually in search of something
which it has never caught sight of,--and the fear, that that
unknown, yet powerfully desired something may never come to quench
my thirst, falls with the coldness of death upon my bosom."

"That something may be found by every human being, if sought for in
the right way. Those yearnings are not given us, that they may fall
back and wither the fountain from which they spring. But the
question is, do we seek for happiness in the right way? Do we not
rather ask for an impossibility, when we ask for permanent bliss,
before we have laid a foundation in our souls for it? You wish to
take this life too easy by far, my son; rouse up all your strength,
look around you with the keenness of a resolved spirit, and seek to
regenerate your whole being,--let that be your object, and let the
desire for happiness be subservient to it. You will clasp joy to
your breast, as an everlasting gift, at the end of the race. What
are your aims and objects? You hardly know; you are in pursuit of
that which flees, before you as a shadow, and your restless spirit
sinks and murmurs,--you have no grand object in view, to buoy you up
steadily and trustfully through every ill which life has power to
bestow. Those very ills are seized upon, and become instruments of
glory to the devoted and heaven-strengthened spirit,--they prepare
for a deeper draught of all things dear and desired, and though the
soul droop beneath the weight of human suffering, yet the rod that
smites is kissed with a prayer. Turn away from your individual self,
as far as you can, and regard the broad world with a philanthropic
eye--"

"Impossible--impossible!" interrupted Alfred, hastily, "I defy any
person to turn from himself, and look upon the world with a more
interested gaze than he casts upon his own heart. One may be
philanthropic in his feelings and devoted to alleviating the
distresses of less fortunate beings, but I hold it to be impossible
that our individual selves will not always be first in interest. A
sudden and powerful impulse may carry us away for a time, but after
that rushing influence leaves us, we see yourselves again, and, find
that we had only lost our equilibrium briefly. I say only what I
sincerely think, and what thousands secretly know to be the case,
even while advocating views quite opposite. There is no candour in
the world!"

"Softly, my good friend," said the grandfather, mildly smiling. "I
also hold it to be impossible that we can lose either our
individuality or our interest in ourselves, but I believe it
possible that we may love others just as well, if not better than
ourselves. I do not refer to one or two particular persons whom we
may admire, but I speak of the mass of our fellow-creatures."

"I cannot even conceive of such a love!" returned the young man,
shaking his head. "I cannot see how I could love a person who
possesses no attractive qualities whatever;--I always feel
indifference, if not dislike. I think I could sacrifice my life to
one I loved, if thrown into sudden and imminent danger; still, I
think I might give pain to that same person many times, by
gratifying myself. For instance, grandfather,--suppose you were to
be led to the stake, to be burned to-morrow,--I would take your
place to save you; yet I do not now do all I possible can, to add to
your happiness. I gratify whims of my own; I idle away hours in the
woods, or by some stream, when I fully know that it would be more
pleasing to you, to see me bending patiently over my Greek and
Latin."

"Very true!" sighed the old man. "You prove your own position, which
is that your ruling love is self-love."

Alfred lifted up his eyebrows, as if he had heard an unwelcome fact.
We are often willing to confess things, which we do not like to have
old us. He fell into deep thought. Finally he said, "It is
universally allowed that virtue is lovely; those who practise it,
appear calm and resigned, and often happy--but, to tell the truth,
such enjoyment seems rather tame and flat. I wish to be in freedom,
to let my burning impulses rush on as they will, without a yoke. I
love, and I hate, as my heart bids me, and I scorn control of any
kind."

"Yet you submit to a yoke, my son; one which is not of your own
imposing either."

"What kind of a yoke?"

"The yoke of society,--you bow to public opinion in a measure. You
avoid a glaring act, often, more because it will not be _approved_,
than because you have a real disinclination for it. Is not that the
case sometimes?"

Alfred did not exceedingly relish this probing, but he was too
candid to cover up his motives from himself. He answered a decided
"yes!" but it was spoken, because he could not elbow himself out of
the self-evident conviction forced upon him.

"Do you think it degrading for a man to conquer and govern the
strongest, as well as the weakest impulses of his soul?" pursued his
grandfather.

"Certainly not degrading,--it is in the highest degree worthy of
praise. It is truly noble! I acknowledge it."

"And yet you deem such enjoyment as would result from this
government, tame and flat."

"I beg pardon; when I spoke of virtue, I referred to that smooth
kind which is current, and seems more passive than active,--that
soft amiability which appears to deaden enthusiasm, and to shut up
the soul in a set of opinions, instead of expanding it widely to
everything noble and generous, wherever it may be found."

"It was not genuine virtue, you referred to, then,--it was only its
resemblance."

"It was what passes for virtue. But to come at the main point,
grandfather;--where is happiness to be found, if we are to be
warring with ourselves during a lifetime, checking every natural
spring in the soul?"

"Stop there, Alfred! We only quench the streams, which prevent the
spirit's purest wells of noble and happy feelings from gushing forth
in freedom. We must wage a warfare, it is true; why conceal it? But
it does not last for ever, and intervals of gladness come to refresh
us, which the worn and blunted spirit of the man of pleasure in vain
pants for. An exquisite joy, innocent as that of childhood, pervades
the bosom of truth's soldier in his hours of peace and rest, and he
lifts an eye of rapture to heaven--to God."

Alfred dwelt earnestly upon the noble countenance of the speaker,
and his bosom filled with unwonted emotion, as the heavenly
sweetness of the old man's smile penetrated into his inward soul.
Goodness stood before him in its wonderful power, and he bowed down
his soul in worship. How insignificant then seemed his individual
yearnings after present enjoyment, instead of that celestial love
which can fill a human soul with so strong a power from on high. He
reflected upon that venerable being's life--so strong and upright;
he dwelt upon his large and noble heart, which could clasp the world
in its embrace. He remembered months of acute suffering, both
physical and mental, which had been endured with the stillness of a
martyr's inward strength; and then, too, he recalled times when that
aged heart was more truly and deeply joyful than his own young
spirit had even been. Both relapsed into the eloquent silence of
absorbing thought. It was evident from the softened and meditative
cast of Alfred's features, that his bitterness had given way to the
true tenderness of feeling it so often quelled; he revolved in his
mind all that had been advanced by his grandfather, and he dwelt
upon every point with candour and serious reflection. A strong
impression was made upon him, but he was entirely silent in regard
to it,--he waited to try his strength, before he spoke of the better
resolutions that were formed, not without effort, in his mind. He
felt a conviction that a change from selfishness to angelic charity
might be accomplished, if he were but willing to co-operate with his
Maker,--the conception of universal love slowly dawned upon his
soul, now turned heavenward for light,--his duties as a responsible
being came before him, and a sigh of reproach was given to the past.
Then golden visions of delight thronged up to his gaze, and it was
with a severe pang he thought of losing his, hold upon the dear
domains of idle fancy,--he had so revelled for hours and hours, in
intoxicating dreams, which shut out the world and stern duty. He
felt his weakness, but he resolutely turned from dwelling upon it.
The evening air was refreshing after the warm sunset, but old Mr.
Monmouth would not trust himself to bear it. Alfred went into the
house with him, and made a brief call, then left, and wended his way
a short distance to his own home, which was a very elegant mansion,
surrounded by every mark of luxury and taste. He immediately sought
his chamber, and took up a neglected Bible which his mother had
given him when a child,--he turned over its leaves, and his eyes
fell upon the one hundred and nineteenth psalm, "Thy word is a lamp
unto my feet, and a light upon my path. I have sworn, and I will
perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments." He read on,
and the exceeding beauty and touching power of the Holy Word had
never so deeply affected him,--he wept, and all that was harsh in
his nature melted,--he prayed, and the angels of God approached,
filling his uplifted soul with heavenly strength. Sweet was the
thrill of thanksgiving, that arose from that hitherto restless
spirit--quiet and blest the peace that hushed him to deep,
invigorating slumber. Persons of an enthusiastic temperament are apt
to fall into extremes; such was the case with Alfred Monmouth. He so
feared that he would fall back into his former states of feeling,
that he guarded himself like an anchorite. For three months he
abstained from going into company, and even reasonable enjoyment he
deprived himself of. He threw aside all books but scientific and
religious ones; even poetry he shut his ears against, lest it might
beguile him again to his dreamy, but selfish musings. No doubt this
severe discipline was very useful to him at the time, in
strengthening him against the besetting faults of his character; but
it could not last long, without originating other errors. During
this time he had been, perhaps, as happy as ever in his life; his
mind had been fixed upon an object, and a wealth of new thoughts had
crowded upon him--he rejoiced with a kind of proud humility in his
capability for self-government. He thought he was rapidly verging
towards perfection. But "a change came o'er the spirit of his dream"
at last, and an unwonted melancholy grew upon him, until it settled
like a pall over his heart. An apathy in regard to what had so
lately interested him, stole over him, and indeed a cold glance fell
upon almost every pursuit he had once prized. Plunged in deep gloom,
he one evening sought his grandfather's dwelling, hoping, by a
conversation with the cheerful old man, to regain a more healthy
state of mind; to his great satisfaction, Alfred found him alone
reading.

"Well, my boy, I am glad you have come in!" was the salutation, with
a most cordial smile, for Mr. Monmouth had silently remarked the
late alteration in his somewhat reckless grandson. He also detected
the present gloom upon his fine countenance, and the earnest hope of
dispelling it, added an affectionate heartiness to his manner.
Alfred made several common-place remarks, then, with his usual
impatience, he flung aside all preamble, and said,

"I am gloomy, grandfather, even more so than I have ever been, and I
cannot explain it. The last serious conversation I had with you,
produced a strong effect upon me, and for a long time after I was
unusually cheerful and vigorous in mind. I seemed to have imbibed
something of your spirit--I delighted in the hope of regenerating
myself, through the aid of Heaven; it seemed as if angels hushed my
restless spirit to repose, and I tried in humility to draw near my
God. Yet I feared for myself, and I withdrew from temptation, from
all society which was uncongenial to my state of mind. I was
_content_ for a long time, but now the sadness of apathy overwhelms
me."

"Endeavour, without murmuring, to bear this state of mind, and it
will soon pass off," remarked Mr. Monmouth. "We must not always fly
from temptation in every form, my boy, but we must arm ourselves
against its attacks, otherwise our usefulness will be greatly
lessened. If those who are endeavouring to make themselves better,
do so by shunning society, they are rather examples of selfishness
than benevolent goodness,--the selfishness is unconscious, and such
a course may be followed from a sense of duty. But the glance which
discovered this to be duty was not wide enough; it took in only the
claims of self, yet I would not convey the idea, that we have any
one's evils to take care of but our own. We need society, and,
however humble we may be, society needs us. We need to be refreshed
by the strength of good beings, and we must also contribute our
slight share to those whom Providence wills that we may benefit. The
life of heaven may thus circulate freely, and increase in power
among many hearts. Go forward, Alfred, unmindful of your feelings,
and pray only to trust in Providence, and to gain a deep desire for
usefulness."

"Ah! yes," returned the young man, earnestly. Light broke in upon
his darkness. "I am glad that I have spoken with you, grandfather,
for your words give me strength to persevere. I never knew that I
was weak until lately."

"Such knowledge is precious, my dear son. We are indeed strongest
when the hand of humility removes the veil that hides us from
ourselves."

"Probably such is, the case, but I cannot realize it. It is with
effort that I drag through the day; I am continually looking towards
the future, and beholding a thousand perplexing situations where my
besetting sins will be called into action. I see myself incapable of
always following out the noble principles I have lately adopted."

"As thy day is, so shall thy strength be!" said Mr. Monmouth. "Be
careful only to guard yourself against each little stumbling-block
as it presents itself, and your mountains will be changed to
mole-hills. Never fear for the future, do as well as you can in the
present."

"But it is so singular that I should feel thus, when I have been
trying as hard as a mortal could to change my erroneous views, and
to regard all the dispensations of Providence with a resigned heart.
I have cast the selfish thought of my own earthly happiness from my
mind as much as possible."

"And yet there is a repining in your gloominess. You are not
satisfied to bear it."

"Well, perhaps not. I am wrong,--I think that I could submit with
true fortitude to an outward trial, but there seems so little reason
in my low spirits. Have you ever felt so, grandfather?"

"Often; and at such times, I devote myself more earnestly than ever
to anything which will take my thoughts from myself."

"I will do so!" replied Alfred, firmly. "If my purposes are right in
the sight of Heaven, I will be supported."

"True, my son."

Alfred left the home of his grandsire, more at rest with himself and
all the world. Fresh peaceful hopes again sprang up within him, and
he began to see his way clear. He reasoned himself into resignation,
and, as day after day went on, he grew grateful for the privilege
and opportunity offered to school his rebellious spirit to order.

Four years passed; Alfred was engaged in the busy world, and he
shrunk not from it, but rather sought to do his duty in it. One
summer evening, he was called to enter the large, old-fashioned
house of his grandfather. His brow was thoughtful, but calm and
resigned--he sought a quiet room; it was the chamber of death,--yet
was its stillness beautiful and peaceful; he knelt by a dying couch,
and clasped the hand of his aged grandsire--then he wept, but the
unbidden tears were those of gratitude. The serenity of heaven was
upon the countenance of the noble old man.

"My hour has come, Alfred," he said, placing one hand upon the
beloved head bowed before him, "and I go hence with thankfulness.
Ah! even now, there is a heavenly content in my bosom. The angels
are bending over me, and wait to take my spirit to its home: there
is no mist before my sight, all is clear. The Father of love lifts
up my soul in this hour--our parting will be short, my son--" the
old man's voice trembled, an infinite tenderness dwelt in his eyes,
and Alfred felt that there was a reality in the peace of the dying
one. All the good that he had done him rushed before him, and he
exclaimed with humility,

"How can I ever repay you, dear grandfather! for all your noble
lessons to me?"

"I am repaid," was (sic) the the low reply; "they have brought forth
fruit, and I have lived to see it. I trust that you will leave the
world with all the peace that I do, and with deeper goodness in your
spirit. My blessing be upon you, my son!"

"Amen!" came low from Alfred's fervent lips.

The eyes of the aged one closed in death, and his young disciple
went forth again into the world, made better by the scene he had
witnessed.



A HYMN OF PRAISE.


  I BLESS Thee for the sunshine on the hills,
    For Heaven's own dewdrops in the vales below,
  For rain, the parent cloud alike distils,
    On the fond bridegroom's joy--the mourner's woe!
  And for the viewless wind, that gently blows
    Where'er it listeth, over field and flood,
  Whence coming, whither going, no man knows,
    Yet moved in secret at Thy will, Oh, God!
  E'en now it lifts a ring of shining hair
    From off the brow close to my bosom pressed--
  The loving angels scarce have brows more fair
    Than this, that looks so peaceful in its rest:--
  We bless Thee, Father, for our darling child,
  Oh, like Thine angels make her, innocent and mild!

  I rise and bless Thee, for the morning hours;
    Refreshed and gladdened by a timely rest,
  When thoughts like bees, rove out among the flowers,
    Still gathering honey where they find the best:
  And for the gentle influence of the night,
    Oh, Heavenly Father! do we bend the knee,
  That shuts the curtains of our mortal sight,
    Yet leaves the mind, with range and vision free,
  For dreams! the solemn, weird, and strange that come
    And bear the soul to an elysian clime,--
  Unveiling splendours of that better home,
    Where angels minister to sons of time!
  For all Thy blessings that with sleep descend,
  Our hearts shall praise Thee, God, our Father and our Friend!



AN ANGEL IN EVERY HOUSE.


IT is a trite saying, and an unique one, that there is "a skeleton
in every house." That every form however erect, that every face
however smiling, covers some secret malady of mind that no physician
can cure. This may be true, and undoubtedly is; but we contend that,
as everything has its opposite, there is also an _angel_ in every
house. No matter how fallen the inmates, how depressing their
circumstances, there is an angel there to pity or to cheer. It may
be in the presence of a wrinkled body, treading the downward path to
the grave. Or, perhaps, in a cheerful spirit looking upon the ills
of life as so many steps toward heaven, if only bravely overcome,
and mounted with sinless feet.

We knew such an angel once, and it was a drunkard's child. On every
side wherever she moved she saw only misery and degradation, and yet
she did not fall. Her father was brutal, and her mother discouraged,
and her home thoroughly comfortless. But she struggled along with
angel endurance, bearing with an almost saintly patience the
infirmities of him who gave her existence, and then hourly
embittered it. Night after night, at the hours of ten, twelve, and
even one, barefoot, ragged, shawlless, and bonnetless, has she been
to the den of the drunkard, and gone staggering home with her arm
around her father. Many a time has her flesh been blue with the mark
of his hand when she has stepped in between her helpless mother and
violence. Many a time has she sat upon the cold curbstone with his
head in her lap; many a time known how bitter it was to cry for
hunger, when the money that should have bought bread was spent for
rum.

And the patience that the angel wrought with made her young face
shine, so that, though never acknowledged in the courts of this
world, in the kingdom of heaven she was waited for by assembled
hosts of spirits, and the crown of martyrdom ready, lay waiting for
her young brow.

And she was a martyr. Her gentle spirit went up from at couch of
anguish--anguish brought on by ill-usage and neglect. And never till
then did the father recognise the angel in the child; never till
then did his manhood arise from the dust of its dishonour. From her
humble grave, he went away to steep his resolves for the better in
bitter tears; and he will tell you to-day, how the memory of her
much-enduring life keeps him from the bowl: how he goes sometimes
and stands where her patient hands have held him, while her cheek
crimsoned at the sneers of those who scoffed at the drunkard's
child.

Search for the angels in your households, and cherish them while
they are among you. It may be that all unconsciously you frown upon
them, when a smile would lead you to a knowledge of their exceeding
worth. They may be among the least cared for, most despised; but
when they are gone with their silent influence, then will you mourn
for them as for a jewel of great worth.



ANNIE.


  THE grave is Heaven's gate, they say;
  And when dear Annie passed away,
    One calm June morning,
  I saw upon the heavenly stairs,
  A band of angels, unawares,
    Her path adorning.

  The grave is Heaven's gate, they say;
  And when dear Annie passed away,
    A music flowing
  Filled my sad soul with love and light,
  That made me seem, by day and night,
    To Heaven going.

  The grave is Heaven's gate, they say;
  And when dear Annie passed away,
    A saintly whiteness
  O'erspread the beauty of her face,
  And filled it with the tender grace
    Of angel brightness.

  The grave is Heaven's gate, they say;
  And when dear Annie passed away,
    An angel splendid
  Cast his large glories to the ground,
  While waves of throbbing music-sound
    In sweetness blended.

  The grave is Heaven's gate, they say;
  And when dear Annie passed away,
    In holy sweetness--
  When life's sad dream with her was o'er,
  Her white soul stood at Heaven's door,
    In its completeness.



MOTHER.


WHEN she changed worlds, and before the time, what was she to
others? A small old, delicate woman. _What was she to us?_ A
radiant, smiling angel, upon whose brow the sunshine of the eternal
world had fallen. We looked into her large, tender eyes, and saw not
as others did, that her mortal garment had waxed old and feeble; or
if we saw, this, it was no symbol of decay, for beyond and within,
we recognised _her_ in all her beauty. Oh! how heavy and bitter
would have been her long and slow decline, if we had seen her grow
old instead of young! The days that hastened to give her birth into
eternity, grow brighter and brighter, until when memory wandered
back, it had no experiences so sweet as those through which she was
passing. The long life, with its youthful romance, its prosaic
cares, its quiet sunshine, and deep tragedies, was culminating to
its earthly close; and, like some blessed story that appeals to the
heart in its great pathos, the end was drawing, near, all clouds
were rolling away, and she was stepping forth into the brilliance of
prosperity. Selfishness ceased to weep under the light of her
cheerful glance, and grew to be congratulation. Beside her couch we
sat, and traced with loving fancy the new life soon to open before
her; with tears and smiles we traced it. Doubts never mingled, for
from earliest childhood we had no memories of her inconsistent with
the expectations of a Christian. Deep in our souls there lay
gratitude that her morning drew near; beautiful and amazing it
seemed that she would never more bow to the stroke of the chastener;
fresh courage descended from on high, as we realized that there was
an end to suffering; it was difficult to credit that her discipline
was nearly over; how brief it had been, compared with the glorious
existence it had won her. How passing sweet were her assurances that
she should leave us awhile longer on earth with childlike trust,
knowing that our own souls needed to stay, and that the destiny of
others needed it! But the future seemed very near to her, and she
saw us gathered around her in her everlasting home. She grew weaker,
and said her last words to us. Throughout the last day she said but
little, but often her tender eyes were riveted upon us; they said
"Farewell! farewell!" In the hush of the chamber, a faint,
eolian-like strain came from her dying lips; it sounded as if it
came from afar; _then_ the angels were taking her to their
companionship. She softly fell asleep, resigning her worn-out body
to us, and _she_ entered heaven. Ah! do we apprehend what a glorious
event it is for the "pure in heart" to die? We look upon the bride's
beauty, and see in the vista before her, anguish and tears, and but
transient sunshine. The beauty fades, the splendour of life declines
to the worldly eyes that gaze upon her. Deaf and blind are such
gazers, for the bride may daily be winning imperishable beauty, yet
it is not for this world. A most sad and melancholy thing it seems
when children of a larger growth judge their parents by their frail
and decaying bodies, rather than by their spirits. And more deeply
sad still is it, when the aged learn through the young to feel that
the freshness of existence has gone by with them. Gone by? when they
are waiting to be born into a new and vast existence that shall roll
on in increasing majesty, and never reach an end! Gone by? when they
have just entered life, as it were! The glory and sweetness of
living is _going by_ only with those who are turning away their
faces from the Prince of Peace. Sweet mother! she is breathing
vernal airs now, and with every breath a spring-like life and joy
are wafted through her being. Mother beautiful and beloved! some
sweet, embryo joy fills the chambers of my heart as I contemplate
the scenes with which she is becoming familiar. Dead and dreary
winter robes the earth, and autumn leaves lie under the snow like
past hopes; but what of them? I see only the smile of God's
sunshine. I see in the advancing future, love and peace--only
infinite peace!



GREAT PRINCIPLES AND SMALL DUTIES.


IT is observable that the trivial services of social life are best
performed, and the lesser particles of domestic happiness are most
skilfully organized, by the deepest and the fairest heart. It is an
error to suppose that homely minds are the best administrators of
small duties. Who does not know how wretched a contradiction such a
rule receives in the moral economy of many a home? how often the
daily troubles, the swarm of blessed cares, the innumerable minutiae
of arrangement in a family, prove quite too much for the generalship
of feeble minds, and even the clever selfishness of strong ones; how
a petty and scrupulous anxiety in defending with infinite
perseverance some small and almost invisible point of frugality, and
comfort, surrenders the greater unobserved, and while saving money,
ruins minds; how, on the other hand, a rough and unmellowed sagacity
_rules_ indeed, and without defeat, but while maintaining in action
the mechanism of government, creates a constant and intolerable
friction, a gathering together of reluctant wills, a groaning under
the consciousness of force, that make the movements of life fret and
chafe incessantly? But where, in the presiding genius of a home,
taste and sympathy unite (and in their genuine forms they cannot be
separated)--the intelligent feeling for moral beauty, and the deep
heart of domestic love,--with, what ease, what mastery, what
graceful disposition, do the seeming trivialities of life fall into
order, and drop a blessing as they take their place! how do the
hours steal away, unnoticed but by the precious fruits they leave!
and by the self-renunciation of affection, there comes a spontaneous
adjustment of various wills; and not an innocent pleasure is lost,
not a pure taste offended, nor a peculiar temper unconsidered; and
every day has its silent achievements of wisdom, and every night its
retrospect of piety and love; and the tranquil thoughts, that in the
evening meditation come down with the starlight, seem like the
serenade of angels, bringing in melody the peace of God! Wherever
this picture is realized, it is not by microscopic solicitude of
spirit, but by comprehension of mind, and enlargement of heart; by
that breadth and nicety of moral view which discerns everything in
due proportion, and in avoiding an intense elaboration of trifles,
has energy to spare for what is great; in short, by a perception
akin to that of God, whose providing frugality is on an infinite
scale, vigilant alike in heaven and on, earth; whose art colours a
universe with beauty and touches with its pencil the petals of a
flower. A soul thus pure and large disowns the paltry rules of
dignity, the silly notions of great and mean, by which fashion
distorts God's real proportions; is utterly delivered from the
spirit of contempt; and, in consulting for the benign administration
of life, will learn many a truth, and discharge many ant office,
from which lesser beings, esteeming themselves greater, would shrink
from as ignoble. But in truth, nothing is degrading which a high and
graceful purpose ennobles; and offices the most menial cease to be
menial, the moment they are wrought in love. What thousand services
are rendered, ay, and by delicate hands, around the bed of sickness,
which, else considered mean, become at once holy and quite
inalienable rights! To smooth the pillow, to proffer the draught, to
soothe or obey the fancies of the delirious will, to sit for hours
as the mere sentinel of the feverish sleep; these things are
suddenly erected, by their relation to hope and life, into sacred
privileges. And experience is perpetually bringing occasions,
similar in kind, though of less persuasive poignancy, when a true
eye and a lovely heart will quickly see the relations of things
thrown into a new position, and calling for a sacrifice of
conventional order to the higher laws of the affections; and alike
without condescension and without ostentation, will noiselessly take
the post of service and do the kindly deed. Thus it is that the
lesser graces display themselves most richly, like the leaves and
flowers of life, where there is the deepest and the widest root of
love; not like the staring and artificial blossoms of dry custom
that, winter or summer, cannot change; but living petals woven in
Nature's workshop and folded by her tender skill, opening and
shutting morning and night, glancing and trembling in the sunshine
and in the breeze. This easy capacity of great affections for small
duties is the peculiar triumph of the highest spirit of love.



"OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN."


  How quietly she lies!
  Closed are the lustrous eyes,
  Whose fringed lids, so meek,
  Rest on the placid cheek;
  While, round the forehead fair,
  Twines the light golden hair,
  Clinging with wondrous grace
  Unto the cherub face.
  Tread softly near her, dear ones! Let her sleep,--
  I would not have my darling wake to weep.

  Mark how her head doth rest
  Upon her snowy breast,
  While, 'neath the shadow of a drooping curl,
  One little shoulder nestles like a pearl,
  And the small waxen fingers, careless, clasp
  White odorous flowers in their tiny grasp;
  Blossoms most sweet
  Crown her pure brow, and cluster o'er her feet,
  Sure earth hath never known a thing more fair
  Than she who gently, calmly, slumbers there.

  Alas! 'tis Death, not sleep,
  That girds her in its frozen slumbers deep.
  No balmy breath comes forth
  From the slight-parted mouth;
  Nor heaves the little breast,
  In its unyielding rest;
  Dead fingers clasp
  Flowers in unconscious grasp;--
  Woe, woe is me, oh! lone, bereaved mother!
  'Tis Death that hath my treasure, and none other.

  No more I hear the voice,
  Those loving accents made my heart rejoice;
  No more within my arms
  Fold I her rosy charms.
  And, gazing down into the liquid splendour
  Of the brown eyes serenely, softly tender,
  Print rapturous kisses on the gentle brow,
  So cold and pallid now.
  No more, no more! repining heart, be still,
  And trust in Him who doeth all things well.

  Oh, happy little one!
  How soon her race was run--
  Her pain and suffering o'er,
  Herself from sin secure.
  Not hers to wander through the waste of years,
  Sowing in hope, to gather nought but tears;
  Nor care, nor strife,
  Dimmed her brief day of life.
  All true souls cherished her, and fondly strove
  To guard from every ill my meek white dove.

  Love, in its essence,
  Pervaded her sweet presence.
  How winning were her ways;
  Her little child-like grace,
  And the mute pleadings of her innocent eyes,
  Seizing the heart with sudden, soft surprise,
  As if an angel, unaware,
  Had strayed from Heaven, here;
  And, saddened at the dark and downward road,
  Averted her meek gaze, and sought her Father, God.

  In her new spiritual birth,
  No garments soiled with earth
  Cling round the little form, that happy strays,
  Up through the gates of pearl and golden ways,
  Where sister spirits meet her,
  And angels joyful greet her.
  Arrayed in robes of white,
  She walks the paths of light;
  Adorning the bright city of our God,
  The glorious realms by saints and martyr trod!



THE OLD VILLAGE CHURCH.


TWENTY years! Yes, twenty years had intervened since I left the
pleasant village of Brookdale, and not once during all this period
had I visited the dear old spot that was held more and more sacred
by memory. Hundred times had I purposed to do so, yet not until the
lapse of twenty years was this purpose fulfilled. Then, sobered by
disappointments, I went back on a pilgrimage, to the home of early
days.

I was just twenty years old when I left Brookdale. My father's
family removed at the same time, and this was the reason why I had
not returned. The heart's strongest attractions were in another
place. But the desire to go back revived, after a season of
affliction and some painful defeats in the great battle of life. The
memory of dear childhood grew so palpable, and produced such an
earnest longing to revisit old scenes, that I was constrained to
turn my face towards my early home.

It was late in the evening of a calm autumnal day, at the close of
the week, when I arrived at Brookdale. The village inn where I
stopped, and at which I engaged lodgings for a few days, was not the
old village inn. That had passed away, and a newer and larger
building stood in its place. Nor was the old landlord there. Why had
I expected to see him? Twenty years before, he was bent with age.
His eyes were dim and his step faltered when last I saw him. It was
but natural that he should pass away. Still, I felt a shade of
disappointment when the truth came. He who filled his place was
unknown to me; and, in all his household, not a familiar countenance
was presented.

But I solaced myself for this with thoughts of the morrow, when my
eyes would look upon long-remembered scenes and faces. The old
homestead, with its garden and clambering vines--a picture which had
grown more vivid in my thoughts every year--how earnest was my
desire to look upon it again! There was the deep, pure spring, in
which, as I bent to drink, I had so often looked upon my mirrored
face; and the broad flat stone near by, where I had sat so many
times. I would sit there again, after tasting the sweet water, and
think of the olden time! The dear old mill, too, with its murmuring
wheel glistening in the bright sunshine, and the race, on whose bank
I had gathered wild flowers and raspberries?

I could sleep but little for thinking of these things, and when
morning broke, and the sun shone out, I went I forth impatient to
see the real objects which had been so long pictured in my memory.

"Am I in Brookdale? No--it cannot be. There is some strange error.
Yes--yes--it is Brookdale, for here is the old church. I cannot
mistake that. Hark! Yes--yes--it is the early bell! I would know its
sound amid a thousand!"

On I moved, passing the ancient building whose architect had long
since been called to sleep with his fathers, and over whose walls
and spire time had cast a duller hue. I was eager to reach the old
homestead. The mill lay between--or, once it did. Only a shapeless
ruin now remained. The broken wheel, the crumbling walls, and empty
forebay were all that my eyes rested upon, and I paused sadly to
mark the wreck which time had made. The race was dry, and overgrown
with elder and rank weeds. A quarter of a mile distant stood out
sharply, against the clear sky, a large factory, newly built and
thither the stream in which I had once sailed my tiny boat, or
dropped my line, had been turned, and the old mill left to silence
and decay. Ah me! I cannot make words obedient to my thoughts in
giving utterance to the disappointment I then felt. A brief space I
stood, mourning over the ruins, and then moved on again, a painful
presentiment fast arising in my heart that all would not be, as I
had left, it in the white cottage I was seeking. The two great elms
that stood bending together, as if instinct with a sense of
protection, above that dear home--where were they? My eyes searched
for them in vain.

"Where is the spring? Surely it welled up here, and this is the way
the clear stream flowed!"

Alas! the spring was dried, and scarcely a trace of its former
existence remained. The broad flat stone was broken. The shady
alcove beneath which the waters came up so cool and clear, had been
removed. All was naked and barren. Near by stood an old deserted
house. The door was half open, the windows were broken out, the
chimney had fallen, and great patches of the roof had been torn
away. Around, all was in keeping with this. The little garden was
covered with weeds, the fence that once enclosed it was broken down,
the old apple-tree that I had loved almost as tenderly as if it had
been a human creature, was no more to be seen, and in the place
where the grape-vine grew was a deep pool of green and stagnant
water.

My first impulse was to turn and flee from the place, under a
painful revulsion of feeling. But I could not leave the spot thus.
For some minutes I stood mournfully leaning on the broken garden
gate, and then forced myself to enter beneath the roof where I was
born, and where I grew up with loving and happy children, under the
sunlight of a mother's smile. If there was ruin without, there was
desolation added to ruin within, but neither ruin nor desolation
could entirely obliterate the forms so well remembered. I passed
from room to room, now pausing to recall an incident, and now
hurrying on under a sense of pain at seeing a place, hallowed in my
thoughts by the tenderest associations of my life, thus abandoned to
the gnawing tooth of decay, and destined to certain and speedy
destruction. When I came to my mother's room, emotion grew too
powerful, and a gush of tears relieved the oppressive weight that
lay upon my bosom. There I lingered long, with a kind of mournful
pleasure in this scene of my days of innocence, and lived over years
of the bygone times.

At last I turned with sad feelings from a spot which memory had held
sacred for twenty years; but which, in its change, could be sacred
no longer. Material things are called substantial; but it is not so.
Change and decay are ever at work upon them; they are unsubstantial.
A real substance is the mind, with its thoughts and affections.
Forms built there do not decay. How perfectly had I retained in
memory the home of my childhood! Not a leaf had withered, not a
flower had faded; nothing had fallen under the scythe of time. The
greenness and perfection of all were as the mind had received them
twenty years before. But the material things themselves had, in that
brief space, passed almost wholly away. Yes; it is in the mind that
we must seek for real substance.

Slowly and sadly I turned from the hallowed place, and went back
towards the village inn. No interest for anything in Brookdale
remained, and no surprise was created at the almost total
obliteration of the old landmarks apparent on every hand. My purpose
was to leave the place by the early stage that morning, and seek to
forget that I had ever returned to the home of my childhood.

My way was past the old village church where, Sabbath after Sabbath,
for nearly fifteen years, I had met with the worshippers; and as I
drew nearer and nearer the sacred place, I was more and more
impressed with the fact that, if change had been working busily all
around, his hand had spared the holy edifice. That change had been
there was plainly to be seen, but he had lingered only a moment,
laying his hand gently, as he paused, on the ancient pile. New and
tenderer feelings came over me. I could not pass the village church,
and so I entered it once more, although it was yet too early for the
worshippers to assemble. How familiar all! A year seemed not to have
intervened since I had stood beneath that roof. The deep, arched
windows, the antique pulpit and chancel, the old gallery and organ,
the lofty roof, but most of all the broad tablet above the pulpit,
and the words "Reverence my Sanctuary: I am the Lord," were as
familiar as the face of a dear friend. There was change all around,
but no change here in the house of God.

Seating myself in the old family pew, I gave my mind up to a flood
of crowding associations; and there I sat, scarcely conscious of the
passing time, until the bell sounded clear above me its weekly
summons to the worshippers. And soon they began to assemble, one
after another coming in, and silently taking their places. Conscious
that I was intruding, I yet remained in the old family pew. It
seemed as if I could not leave it--as if I must sit there and
hearken once more to the words of life. And I was there when the
rightful owners came. I arose to retire, but was beckoned to remain.
So I resumed my seat, thankful for the privilege. Group after group
entered, but faces of strangers were all around me. Presently a
white-haired old man came slowly along the aisle, and, entering the
chancel, ascended to the pulpit. I had not expected this. Our
minister was far advanced in years when we left the village, yet
here he was! How breathlessly did I lean forward to catch the sound
of his voice when he arose to read the service! It was the same
impressive voice, yet lower and somewhat broken. My heart trembled,
and tears dimmed my eyes as the sound went echoing through the room.
For a time I was a child again. I closed my eyes, and felt that my
mother, my sister, and my brothers were with me.

I can never forget that morning. When the service closed, and the
people moved away, I looked from countenance to countenance, but all
were strange, except those of a few old men and women. Still
lingering, I met the minister as he came slowly down the aisle
towards the door. He did not know me, for his eyes were dim with
age, and I had changed in twenty years. But, when I extended my hand
and gave my name, he seized it with a quick energy, while a vivid
light irradiated his countenance.

I will not weary the reader with a detail of the long interview held
that day with the old minister in his own house. It was good for me
that I met him ere leaving Brookdale under the pressure of a first
disappointment. His words of wisdom were yet in my ears.

"As you have found the old church the same," said he, while holding
my hand in parting, "amid ruin and change everywhere around, so will
you find the truths which are given for our salvation ever
immutable, though mere human inventions of thought are set aside by
every coming generation for new philosophies, and the finer fancies
of more brilliant intellects. Religion is built upon a rock, and the
storms and floods of time cannot move it from its firm foundation."



"THE WORD IS NIGH THEE."


  DWELL'ST thou with thine own people? are the joys,
    The hopes, the blessings of "sweet home" thine own?
  "The Word is nigh thee;" hear the sacred voice!
    At morn, bow with thy loved ones round the throne;
  At noon-tide read and pray; and in the hour
    When evening's shades close round thee, let the truth
  Subdue thy heart by its transforming power;
    That thou, whom God has blessed, may'st serve him from thy youth.

  Affection's ties oft sunder; and the home
    Of peace and love, sorrow and death can enter.
  Art thou, indeed, a mourner? dost thou roam
    Alone and sad, where late thy joys did centre?
  "The Word is nigh thee!" and though bitter grief
    Makes all the future seem one day of sorrow,--
  Its words of peace shall grant thee sweet relief;
    The night of pain and fear shall find a joyous morrow

  "The Word of God is nigh thee!" let it be
    The lamp that o'er thy pathway sheds its light,
  Then, through the mists of error, thou shalt see
    The way of truth, all radiant and bright,
  In which of old the sons of God did go,
    Leaning on Him who was their friend and guide;
  Nor shall thy heart be faint, thy step be slow,
    Till thou in Heaven, thy home, shalt triumph by their side

  The Word of God shall bless thee, in the hour
    When human hopes and human friends shall fail:
  It was in health thy portion, and its power
    Is mightiest even in the gloomy vale.
  No evil shalt thou fear while He is with thee;
    The sting of death his hand shall take away,
  His rod and staff shall comfort thee and cheer thee,
    And thou with Him shalt dwell through heaven's eternal day.



AUNT RACHEL.


WE remember as it were yesterday the first time we saw her, though
it was a brief glance, and she was so quickly forgotten that most of
us had passed into the supper-room and the rest had reached the
door, heedless of the stranger, when one of our party, perhaps more
thoughtful than the others, cast her eyes on the quiet little figure
that stood, near the fire as if irresolute, whether to follow or
remain. With lady-like politeness she received the excuses which one
of the gentlemen offered for having preceded her, and entered the
room.

She was very slight, and thin, and pale, her, eyes were of a light
gray and her hair inclined to redness, but her forehead, was broad
and smooth and, about her thin lips there hovered an expression of
sweetness and repose.

We have forgotten now what first led us to feel that beneath that
unprepossessing exterior were concealed the pulses of a warm,
generous heart, and the powers of a strong and cultivated mind, but
we remember well the morning that she set her seal upon our heart.

It was a clear, cold, brilliant morning in March. The whole broad
country was covered with a thick crust of hard, glittering snow, and
every tree was encased in ice. The oaks and elms and chestnuts and
beeches from their trunks upward and outward to their minutest
twigs, and the pines and firs with their greenness shining through,
sparkled like diamonds and emeralds in the brightness of the sun.

O, it was a glorious morning, and we have seldom since been so young
in feeling as never we are sure in years, as when we walked forth
into its bracing air. And Aunt Rachel--she enjoyed it; the broad icy
fields, the difficult ascent of the steep slippery hills and the
"duckies" down them, and the crackling of the icicles as we thrust
our way through the bristling under-brush of those diamond-cressed
woods. We loved even to eat the icicles that hung from the pines
with their pungent flavour, strong as though their pointed leaves
had been steeped in boiling water. It was a pleasure to taste as
well as see the trees.

As we entered the "Main Road" and were passing along by the "Asylum
for the Insane," a clear, pleasant voice from one of the cells in
the upper story, accosted us: "Good morning, ladies." We looked up
and bowed in reply to the salutation. "It is a beautiful morning,"
he continued, "and I should like myself to take a walk down on 'Main
Street,' but my folks have sent me here to be shut up because they
say I am crazy, but I am sure I am not crazy, and I can't see why
they should think so." And we thought the same as we listened to the
calm, pleasant tones of his voice, till he added, "It will soon make
me beside myself to be with this wild, screaming set; and it doesn't
do them any good either to shut them up here. What they want is the
Grace of God, and I'll put the Grace of God into them."

His voice grew wild and excited, but we knew that a whole volume of
truth had been uttered in those simple words: "What they want is the
Grace of God."

The Grace of God. How many has it saved--rescued--from madness! how
have prayer and watchfulness been blest in conquering self, in
subduing rampant passion and the wild, disorderly vagaries of the
brain!

As we listen, the low whispered prayer of a Hall when he felt the
billows of angry passion about to sweep over his soul, "O, Lamb of
God, calm my perturbed spirit," we feel that but for such
interceding prayer and that watchfulness which accompanied it, the
insanity to which he was temporarily subject would have won the same
mastery over the mighty powers of his mind as over those of Swift,
and the glory of his "wide fame" as well as the peace of his "humble
hope," would have been exchanged for the vagaries of the madman or
the drivellings of the idiot.

The Grace of God. We thought of John Randolph, with his sway over
the minds of others, with a "wit and eloquence that recalled the
splendours of ancient oratory," yet with so little command over
himself that his weak frame sometimes sank beneath the excitement of
his temper, and gusts of passion were succeeded by fainting-fits;
and when the one desire of his heart was denied, when a love mighty
as every other passion of his soul failed him, his grief,
ungovernable and frenzied as his rage, overwhelmed him, and the
"taint of madness which ran in his line," flooded his brain. But
when the atheist became a Christian; when, in his own words, he felt
"the Spirit of God was not the chimera of heated brains, nor a
device of artful men to frighten and cajole the credulous, but an
existence to be felt and understood as the whisperings of one's own
heart;" his prayer of, "Lord! I believe, help thou my unbelief," was
answered in calm and peace to his soul.

"The saddest thought," said Aunt Rachel, as we turned away from that
gloomy edifice, "the saddest thought connected with that building
is, that so large a number of its unhappy inmates have brought their
misery upon themselves, are the victims of their own irregular and
indulged passions."

As we turned and looked upon her smooth brow, her serious and serene
eyes and her sweet, calm mouth, we marked a look of subdued
suffering mingled with an expression of Christian triumph; and we
knew that she had felt "the ploughings of grief;" that she had
learned "how sublime a thing it is to suffer and grow strong;" but,
though we wondered deeply, we never knew in what form she had been
called "to pass under the rod;" but we heard a voice that said,

"Fear not; when thou passest through the waters, I will be with
thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee."

  Nay, fear not, weak and fainting soul,
  Though the wild waters round thee roll,
  He will sustain thy faltering way,
  Will be thy sure, unfailing stay.

  And though it were the fabled stream
  Whose waves were fire of fearful gleam,
  He still would bear thee safely through
  The fire, but cleanse thy soul anew.



COMETH A BLESSING DOWN.


  NOT to the man of dollars,
    Not to the man of deeds,
  Not to the man of cunning,
    Not to the man of creeds,
  Not to the one whose passion
    Is for a world's renown,
  Not in a form of fashion,
    Cometh a blessing down.

  Not unto land's expansion,
    Not to the miser's chest,
  Not to the princely mansion,
    Not to the blazoned crest,
  Not to the sordid worldling,
    Not to the knavish clown,
  Not to the haughty tyrant,
    Cometh a blessing down.

  Not to the folly-blinded,
    Not to the steeped in shame,
  Not to the carnal-minded,
    Not to unholy fame;
  Not in neglect of duty,
    Not in the monarch's crown,
  Not at the smile of beauty,
    Cometh a blessing down.

  But to the one whose spirit
    Yearns for the great and good;
  Unto the one whose storehouse
    Yieldeth the hungry food;
  Unto the one who labours,
    Fearless of foe or frown;
  Unto the kindly-hearted,
    Cometh a blessing down.



THE DARKENED PATHWAY.


"TO some the sky is always bright, while to others it is never free
from clouds. There is to me a mystery in this--something that looks
like a partial Providence--for those who grope sadly through life in
darkened paths are, so far as human judgment can determine, often
purer and less selfish than those who move gayly along in perpetual
sunshine. Look at Mrs. Adair. It always gives me the heart-ache to
think of what she has endured in life, and still endures. Once she
was surrounded by all that wealth could furnish of external good;
now she is in poverty, with five children, clinging to her for
support, her health feeble, and few friends to counsel or lend her
their aid. No woman could have loved a husband more tenderly than
she loved hers, and few wives were ever more beloved in return; but
she has gathered the widow's weeds around her, and is sitting in the
darkness of an inconsolable grief. What a sweet character was hers!
Always loving and unselfish--a very angel on the earth from
childhood upwards, and yet her doom to tread this darkened pathway!
If Heaven smiles on the good--if the righteous are never forsaken,
why this strange, hard, harsh Providence in the case of Mrs. Adair?
I cannot understand it! God is goodness itself, they say, and loves
His creatures with a love surpassing the love of a mother; but would
any mother condemn beloved child to such a cruel fate? No, no, no!
From the very depths of my spirit I answer--No! I am only a weak,
erring, selfish creature, but--"

Mrs. Endicott checked the utterance of what was in her thought, for
at the instant another thought, rebuking her for an impious
comparison of herself with her Maker, flitted across her mind. Yes,
she was about drawing a Parallel between herself and a Being of
infinite wisdom and love, unfavourable to the latter!

The sky of Mrs. Endicott had not always been free from clouds. Many
times had she walked in darkness; and why this was so ever appeared
as one of the mysteries of life, for her self-explorations had never
gone far enough to discover those natural evils, the existence of
which only a state of intense mental suffering would manifest to her
deeper consciousness. But all she had yet been called to endure,
was, she freely acknowledged, light in comparison to what poor Mrs.
Adair had suffered, and was suffering daily--and the case of this
friend gave her a strong argument against the wisdom and justice of
that Power in the hands of which the children of men are as clay in
the hands of the potter.

Even while Mrs. Endicott thus questioned and doubted, a domestic
opened the door of the room in which she was sitting, and said,

"Mrs. Adair is in the parlour."

"Is she? Say that I will be down in a moment."

Mrs. Endicott felt a little surprised at the coincidence of her
thought of her friend and that friend's appearance. It was another
of those life-mysteries into which her dull eyes could not
penetrate, and gave new occasion for dark surmises in regard to the
Power above all, in all, and ruling all. With a sober face, as was
befitting an interview with one so deeply burdened as Mrs. Adair,
she went down to the parlour.

"My dear friend!" she said, tenderly, almost sadly, as she took the
hand of her visiter.

Into the eyes of Mrs. Adair she looked earnestly for the glittering
tear-veil, and upon her lips for the grief curve. To her surprise
neither were there; but a cheerful light in the former and a gentle
smile on the latter.

"How are you this morning?"

Mrs. Endicott's voice was low and sympathizing.

"I feel a little stronger, to-day, thank you," answered Mrs. Adair,
smiling as she spoke.

"How is your breast?"

"Still very tender."

"And the pain in your side."

"I am not free from that a moment."

Still she smiled as she answered. There was not even a touch of
sadness or despondency in her voice.

"Not free a moment! How do you bear it?"

"Happily--as I often say to myself--I have no time to think about
the pain," replied Mrs. Adair, cheerfully. "It is wonderful how
mental activity lifts us above the consciousness of bodily
suffering. For my part, I am sure that if I had nothing to do but to
sit down and brood over my ailments, I would be one of the most
miserable, complaining creatures alive. But a kind Providence, even
in the sending of poverty to his afflicted one, has but tempered the
winds to the shorn lamb."

Mrs. Endicott was astonished to hear these words, falling, as they
did, with such a confiding earnestness from the pale lips of her
much-enduring friend.

"How can you speak so cheerfully?" she said. "How can you feel so
thankful to Him who has shrouded your sky in darkness, and left you
to grope in strange paths, on which falls not a single ray of
light?"

"Even though the sky is clouded," was answered, "I know that the sun
is shining there as clear and as beautiful as ever. The paths in
which a wise and good Providence has called me to walk, may be
strange, and are, at times, rough-and toilsome; but you err in
saying that no light falls upon them.

"But the sky is dark--whence comes the light, Mrs. Adair?"

"Don't you remember the beautiful hymn written by Moore? It is to me
worth all he ever penned besides. How often do I say it over to
myself, lingering with a warming heart and a quickening pulse, on
every word of consolation!"

And in the glow of her fine enthusiasm, Mrs. Adair repeated--

  "Oh, Thou, who dry'st the mourner's tear,
    How dark this world would be,
  If, when deceived and wounded here,
    We could not fly to Thee!
  The friends, who in our sunshine live,
    When winter comes, are flown;
  And he who has but tears to give,
    Must weep those tears alone.
  But Thou wilt heal that broken heart,
    Which, like the plants that throw
  Their fragrance from the wounded part,
    Breathes sweetness out of woe.

  "When joy no longer soothes or cheers,
    And e'en the hope that threw
  A moment's sparkle o'er our tears
    Is dimmed and vanished, too,
  Oh, who would bear life's stormy doom,
    Did not Thy wing of Love
  Come, brightly wafting through the gloom
    Our Peace-branch from above?
  Then sorrow, touched by Thee, grows bright
    With more than rapture's ray
  _As darkness shows us worlds of light_
    _We never saw by day._"

"None," said Mrs. Adair, "but those who have had the sky of their
earthly affections shrouded in darkness, can fully understand the
closing words of this consolatory hymn. Need I now answer your
question, 'Whence comes the light?' There is an inner world Mrs.
Endicott--a world full of light, and joy, and consolation--a world
whose sky is never darkened, whose sun is never hidden by clouds.
When we turn from all in this life that we vainly trusted, and lift
our eyes upward towards the sky, bending over our sad spirits, an
unexpected light breaks in upon us, and we see a new firmament,
glittering with myriads of stairs, whose light is fed from that
inner world where the sun shines for ever undimmed. Oh, no, I do not
tread a darkened pathway, Mrs. Endicott. There is light upon it from
the Sun of heaven, and I am walking forward, weary at times, it may
be, but with unwavering footsteps. I have been tried sorely, it is
true--I have suffered, oh how deeply! and yet I can say, and do say,
it is good for me that I was afflicted. But I meant not to speak so
much of myself, and you must forgive the intrusion. Self, you know,
is ever an attractive theme. I have called this morning to try and
interest you in a poor woman who lives next door to me. She is very
ill, and I am afraid will die. She has two children, almost
babes--sweet little things--and if the mother is taken they will be
left without a home or a friend, unless God puts it into the heart
of some one to give them both. I have been awake half the night,
thinking about them, and debating the difficult question of my duty
in the case. I might make room for one of them--"

"You!" Mrs. Endicott interrupted her in a voice of unfeigned
astonishment. "You! How can you give place a moment to such a
thought, broken down in health as you are and with five children of
your own clinging to you for support? It would be unjust to yourself
and to them. Don't think of such a thing."

"That makes the difficulty in the case," replied Mrs. Adair. "The
spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. My heart is large enough
to take both of them in; but I have not strength enough to bear the
added burden. And so I have come around this morning to see if I
cannot awaken your interest. They are dear, sweet children, and will
carry sunshine and a blessing into any home that opens to receive
them."

"But why, my friend," said Mrs. Endicott, "do you, whose time is so
precious--who have cares, and interests, and anxieties of your own,
far more than enough for one poor, weak woman to bear, burden
yourself with a duty like this? Leave the task to others more fitted
for the work."

"There are but few who can rightly sympathize with that mother and
her babes; and I am one of the few. Ah! my kind friend, none but the
mother, who like me has been brought to the verge of eternity, can
truly feel for one in like circumstances. I have looked at my own
precious ones, as I felt the waves of time sweeping my feet from
their earthly resting place, and wept bitter tears as no answer came
to the earnest question, 'Who will love them, who will care for the
when I am taken?' You cannot know, Mrs. Endicott, how profoundly
thankful to God I am, that He spares my life, and yet gives me
strength to do for my children. I bless His name for this tender
mercy towards me when I lie down at night, and when I rise up in the
morning, I bear every burden, I endure every pain cheerfully,
hopefully, even thankfully. It is because I can understand the heart
of this dying mother, and feel for her in her mortal extremity, that
I undertake her cause. You have only one child, my friend, and she
is partly grown. 'A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure.'
Is it not so? Take one, or even both of these children, if the
mother dies. They are the little ones who are born upon the earth,
in order that they may become angels in Heaven. They are of God's
kingdom, and precious in His eyes. Nurture and raise them up for
Him. Come! oh, come with me to the bedside of this dying mother, and
say to her, 'Give me your babes, and I will shelter them in my
heart.' So doing, you will open for yourself a perennial fountain of
delight. The picture of that poor mother's joyful face, painted
instantly by love's bright sunbeams on your memory, will be a source
of pleasure lasting as eternity. Do not neglect this golden
opportunity, nor leave other hands to gather the blessings which lie
about your feet."

That earnest plea was echoed from the heart of Mrs. Endicott. The
beautiful enthusiasm, so full of a convincing eloquence, prevailed;
and the woman in whose heart the waters of benevolence were growing
stagnant, and already sending up exhalations that were hiding the
Sun of heaven, felt a yearning pity for the dying mother, and was
moved by an unselfish impulse toward her and her babes. Half an hour
afterwards she was in the sick-chamber; and ere leaving had received
from the happy mother the solemn gift of her children, and seen her
eyes close gently as her spirit took its tranquil departure for its
better home.

"God will bless you, madame!"

All the dying mother's thankfulness was compressed into these words,
and her full heart spent itself in their utterance.

Far away, in the inner depths of Mrs. Endicott's spirit--very far
away--the words found an echo; and as this echo came back to her
ears, she felt a new thrill of pleasure that ran deeper down the
electric chain of feelings than emotion had ever, until now,
penetrated. There were depths and capacities in her being unknown
before; and of this she had now a dim perception. Her action was
unselfish, and to be unselfish is to be God-like--for God acts from
a love of blessing others. To be God-like in her action brought her
nearer the Infinite Source of what is pure and holy; and all
proximity in this direction gives its measure of interior
delight--as all retrocession gives its measure of darkness and
disquietude.

"God will bless you!"

Mrs. Endicott never ceased hearing these words, and she felt them to
be a prophecy. And God did bless her. In bestowing love and care
upon the motherless little ones, she received from above double for
all she gave. In blessing, she was twice blessed. About them her
heart entwined daily new tendrils, until her own life beat with
theirs in even pulses, and to seek their good was the highest joy of
her existence.

Still there were times when Mrs. Endicott felt that to some God was
not just in his dispensations, and the closer she observed Mrs.
Adair, the less satisfied was she that one so pure-minded, so
unselfish, so earnest to impart good to others, should be so hardly
dealt by--should be compelled to grope through life with painful
steps along a darkened way.

"There is a mystery in all this which my dim vision fails to
penetrate," she said one day, to Mrs. Adair. "But we see here only
in part--I must force myself into the belief that all is right. I
say _force_, for it is indeed force-work."

"To me," was answered, "there is no longer a mystery here. I have
been led by at way that I knew not. For a time I moved along this
way, doubting, fearing trembling--but now I see that it is the right
way, and though toilsome at times, yet it is winding steadily
upwards, and I begin to see the sunshine resting calmly on the
mountain-tops. Flowers, too, are springing by the wayside--few they
are, as yet, but very fragrant."

Mrs. Adair paused for a moment, and then resumed,

"It may sound strange to you, but I am really happier than when all
was bright and prosperous around me."

Mrs. Endicott looked surprised.

"I am a better woman, and therefore happier. I do not say this
boastfully, but only to meet your question. I am a more useful
woman, and therefore happier, for, as I have learned, inward peace
is the sure reward of benefits conferred. The doing of good to
another, from an unselfish end, brings to the heart its purest
pleasure; and is not that the kindest Providence which leads us, no
matter by what hard experiences, into a state of willingness to live
for others instead of for ourselves alone? The dying mother, whose
gift to you has proved so great--a good, might have passed away,
though her humble abode stood beside the elegant residence I called
my home, without exciting more than a passing wave of
sympathy--certainly without filling my heart with the yearning
desire to make truly peaceful her last moments, which led to the
happy results that followed her efforts in my behalf. My children,
too; you have often lamented that it is not so well with them as it
would have been had misfortune not overshadowed us,--but I am not so
sure of that. I believe that all external disadvantages will be more
than counterbalanced by the higher regard I have been led to take in
the development of what is good and true in their characters. I now
see them as future men and women, for whose usefulness and happiness
I am in a great measure responsible; and as my views of life have
become clearer, and I trust wiser, through suffering, I am far
better able, under all the disadvantages of my position, to secure
this great end than I was before."

"But the way is hard for you--very hard," said Mrs. Endicott.

"It is my preparation for Heaven," replied the patient sufferer,
while a smile, not caught from earth, made beautiful her
countenance. "If my Heavenly Father could have made the way
smoother, He would have done so. As it is, I thank Him daily for the
roughness, and would not ask to have a stone removed or a rough
place made even."



LOOK ON THIS PICTURE.


  O, IT is life! departed days
  Fling back their brightness while I gaze--
  'Tis Emma's self--this brow so fair,
  Half-curtained in this glossy hair,
  These eyes, the very home of love,
  The dark thin arches traced above,
  These red-ripe lips that almost speak,
  The fainter blush of this pure cheek,
  The rose and lily's beauteous strife--
  It is--ah, no! 'tis all _but_ life.

  'Tis all _but_ life--art could not save
  Thy graces, Emma, from the grave;
  Thy cheek is pale, thy smile is past,
  Thy love-lit eyes have looked their last,
  Mouldering beneath the coffin's lid,
  All we adored of thee is hid;
  Thy heart, where goodness loved to dwell,
  Is throbless in the narrow cell:
  Thy gentle voice shall charm no more,
  Its last, last joyful note is o'er.

  Oft, oft, indeed, it hath been sung,
  The requiem of the fair and young;
  The theme is old, alas! how old,
  Of grief that will not be controlled,
  Of sighs that speak a father's woe,
  Of pangs that none but mothers know,
  Of friendship with its bursting heart,
  Doomed from the idol-one to part--
  Still its sad debt must feeling pay,
  Till feeling, too, shall pass away.

  O say, why age, and grief, and pain,
  Shall long to go, but long in vain?
  Why vice is left to mock at time,
  And gray in years, grow gray in crime;
  While youth, that every eye makes glad,
  And beauty, all in radiance clad,
  And goodness, cheering every heart,
  Come, but come only to depart;
  Sunbeams, to cheer life's wintry day,
  Sunbeams, to flash, then fade away?

  'Tis darkness all! black banners wave
  Round the cold borders of the grave;
  Then when in agony we bend
  O'er the fresh sod that hides a friend,
  One only comfort then we know--
  We, too, shall quit this world of woe;
  We, too, shall find a quiet place
  With the dear lost ones of our race;
  Our crumbling bones with theirs shall blend,
  And life's sad story find an end.

  And _is_ this all--this mournful doom?
  Beams no glad light beyond the tomb?
  Mark how yon clouds in darkness ride;
  They do not quench the orb they hide;
  Still there it wheels--the tempest o'er,
  In a bright sky to burn once more;
  So, far above the clouds of time,
  Faith can behold a world sublime--
  There, when the storms of life are past,
  The light beyond shall break at last.



THE POWER OF KINDNESS.


HOW much comprised in the simple word, _kindness!_ One kind word, or
even one mild look, will oftentimes dispel thick gathering gloom
from the countenance of an affectionate husband, or wife. When the
temper is tried by some inconvenience or trifling vexation, and
marks of displeasure are depicted upon the countenances and perhaps,
too, that most "unruly of all members" is ready to vent its spleen
upon the innocent husband or wife, what will a kind mien, a pleasant
reply, accomplish? Almost invariably perfect harmony and peace are
thus restored.

These thoughts were suggested by the recollection of a little
domestic incident, to which I was a silent, though not uninterested
spectator. During the summer months of 1834, I was spending several
weeks with a happy married pair, who had tasted the good and ills of
life together only a twelvemonth. Both possessed many amiable
qualities, and were well calculated to promote each other's
happiness. My second visit to my friends was of a week's duration,
in the month of December. One cold evening the husband returned home
at his usual hour at nine o'clock, expecting to find a warm fire for
his reception, but, instead, he found a cheerless, comfortless room.
His first thought, no doubt, was, that it was owing to the
negligence of his wife, and, under this impression, in rather a
severe tone, he said,

"This is too bad; to come in from the office cold, and find no fire;
I really should have thought you might have kept it."

I sat almost breathless, trembling for the reply. I well knew it was
no fault of hers, for she had wasted nearly all the evening, and
almost exhausted her patience, in attempting to kindle a fire. She
in a moment replied, with great kindness,

"Why my dear, I wonder what is the matter with our stove! We must
have something done to-morrow, for I have spent a great deal of time
in vain to make a fire."

This was said in such a mild, pleasant tone, that it had the most
happy effect. If she had replied at that moment, when his feelings
were alive to supposed neglect, "I don't know who is to blame; I
have done my part, and have been freezing all the evening for my
pains. If the stove had been put up as it should have been, all
would have been well enough." This, said in an unamiable, peevish
tone, might have added "fuel to the fire," and this little breeze
might have led to more serious consequences; but fortunately, her
mild reply restored perfect serenity. The next day the stove was
taken down, and the difficulty, owing to some defect in the flue,
was removed. What will not a kind word accomplish?



SPEAK KINDLY.


  SPEAK kindly, speak kindly! ye know not the power
    Of a kind and gentle word,
  As its tones in a sad and weary hour
    By the trouble heart are heard.
      Ye know not how often it falls to bless
      The stranger in his weariness;
      How many a blessing is round thee thrown
      By the magic spell, of a soft, low tone.
  Speak kindly, then, kindly; there's nothing lost
      By gentle words--to the heart and ear
  Of the sad and lonely, they're dear, how dear,
        And they nothing cost.

  Speak kindly to childhood. Oh, do not fling
      A cloud o'er life's troubled sky;
  But cherish it well--a holy thing
    Is the heart in its purity.
      Enough of sorrow the cold world hath,
      Enough of care in its later path,
      And ye do a wrong if ye seek to throw
      O'er the fresh young spirit a shade of woe.
  Speak kindly, then, kindly; there's nothing lost
    By gentle words--to the heart and ear
  Of joyous childhood, they're dear, how dear--
        And they nothing cost.

  Speak gently to age--a weary way
    Is the rough and toilsome road of life,
  As one by one its joys decay,
    And its hopes go out 'mid its lengthened strife.
    How often the word that is kindly spoken,
    Will bind up the heart that is well nigh broken,
    Then pass not the feeble and aged one
    With a cold, and careless, and slighting tone;
  But kindly, speak kindly; there's nothing lost
    By gentle words--to the heart and ear
  Of the care-worn and weary, they're dear, how dear--
        And they nothing cost.

  Speak kindly to those who are haughty and cold,
    Ye know not the thoughts that are dwelling there;
  Ye know not the feelings that struggle untold--
    Oh, every heart hath its burden of care.
    And the curl of the lip, and the scorn of the eye
      Are often a bitter mockery,
      When a bursting heart its grief would hide
      From the eye of the world 'neath a veil of pride.
  Speak kindly, then, kindly; there's nothing lost
    By gentle words--to the heart and ear
  Of the proud and haughty they're often dear,
        And they nothing cost.

  Speak kindly ever--oh, cherish well
    The light of a gentle tone;
  It will fling round thy pathway a magic spell,
    A charm that is all its own.
      But see that it springs from a gentle heart,
      That it need not the hollow aid of art;
      Let it gush in its joyous purity,
      From its home in the heart all glad and free.
  Speak kindly, then, kindly; there's nothing lost
    By gentle words--to the heart and ear
  Of all who hear them they're dear, how dear--
        And they nothing cost.



HAVE PATIENCE.


IT was Saturday evening, about eight o clock. Mary Gray had finished
mangling, and had sent home the last basket of clothes. She had
swept up her little room, stirred the fire, and placed upon it a
saucepan of water. She had brought out the bag of oatmeal, a basin,
and a spoon, and laid them upon the round deal table. The place,
though very scantily furnished, looked altogether neat and
comfortable. Mary now sat idle by the fire. She was not often idle.'
She was a pale, delicate-looking woman, of about five-and-thirty.
She looked like ones who had worked beyond her strength, and her
thin face had a very anxious, careworn expression. Her dress showed
signs of poverty, but it was scrupulously clean and neat. As it grew
later, she seemed to be listening attentively for the approach of
some one; she was ready to start up every time a step came near her
door. At length a light step approached, and did not go by it; it
stopped, and there was a gentle tap at the door. Mary's pallid face
brightened, and in a moment she had let in a fine, intelligent-looking
lad, about thirteen years of age, whom she welcomed with evident
delight.

"You are later than usual to-night, Stephen," she said.

Stephen did not reply; but he threw off his cap, and placed himself
in the seat Mary had quitted.

"You do not look well to-night, dear," said Mary anxiously; "is
anything the matter?"

"I am quite well, mother," replied the boy. "Let me have my supper.
I am quite ready for it."

As he spoke, he turned away his eyes from Mary's inquiring look.
Mary, without another word, set herself about preparing the supper,
of oatmeal porridge. She saw that something was wrong with Stephen,
and that he did not wish to be questioned, so she remained silent.
In the mean time Stephen had placed his feet on the fender, rested
his elbows on his knees, and his head on his hands. His hands
covered his face; and, by and by, a few large tears began to trickle
down his fingers. Then suddenly dashing off his tears, as though he
were ashamed of them, he showed his pale, agitated face, and said,
in a tone of indignation and resolve,

"Mother, I am determined I will bear it no longer."

Mary was not surprised. She finished pouring out the porridge; then,
taking a stool, she seated herself beside him.

"Why, Stephen," she said, trying to speak cheerfully, "how many
hundred times before have you made that resolution! But what's the
matter now? Have you any new trouble to tell me of?"

Stephen answered by silently removing with his hand some of his
thick curly hair, and showing beneath it an ear bearing the too
evident marks of cruel usage.

"My poor boy!" exclaimed Mary, her tears starting forth. "Could he
be so cruel?"

"It is nothing, mother," replied the boy, sorry to have called forth
his mother's tears. "I don't care for it. It was done in a passion,
and he was sorry for it after."

"But what could you have done, Stephen, to make him so angry with
you?"

"I was selling half a quire of writing paper to a lady: he counted
the sheets after me, and found thirteen instead of only twelve; they
had stuck together so that I took two for one. I tried to explain,
but he was in a passion, and gave me a blow. The lady said something
to him about his improper conduct, and he said that I was such a
_careless little rascal_, that he lost all patience with me. That
hurt me a great deal more than the blow. It was a falsehood, and he
knew it; but he wanted to excuse himself. I felt that I was going
into a passion, too, but I thought of what you are always telling me
about patience and forbearance, and I kept down my passion; I know
he was sorry for it after, from the way he spoke to me, though he
didn't say so."

"I have no doubt he suffered more than you, Stephen," said Mary; "he
would be vexed that he, had shown his temper before the lady, vexed
that he had told a lie, and vexed that he had hurt you when you bore
it so patiently.

"Yes, mother, but that doesn't make it easier for me to bear his ill
temper; I've borne it now for more than a year for your sake, and I
can bear it no longer. Surely I can get something to do; I'm sturdy
and healthy, and willing to do any kind of work."

Mary shook her head, and remained for a long time silent and
thoughtful. At length she said, with a solemn earnestness of manner
that almost made poor Stephen cry,

"You say that, for my sake, you have borne your master's unkind
treatment for more than a year; for my sake, bear it longer,
Stephen. Your patience must, and will be rewarded in the end. You
know how I have worked, day and night, ever since your poor father
died, when you were only a little infant in the cradle, to feed and
clothe you, and to pay for your schooling, for I was determined that
you should have schooling; you know how I have been cheered in all
my toil by the hope of seeing you, one day, getting on in the world,
And I know, Stephen, that you will get on. You are good, honest lad,
and kind to your poor mother, and God will reward you. But not if
you are hasty; not if you are impatient. You know how hard it was
for me to get you this situation; you might not get another; you
must not leave; you must not break your indentures; you must be
patient and industrious still; you have a hard master, and, God
knows, it costs me many at heartache to think of what you have to
suffer; but bear with him, Stephen; bear with him, for my sake, a
few years longer."

Stephen was now fairly crying and his mother kissed off his tears,
while her own flowed freely. Her appeal to his affection was not in
vain. He soon smiled through his tears, as he said,

"Well, mother, you always know how to talk me over, When I came in
to-night I did think that I would never go the shop again. But I
will promise you to be patient and industrious still. Considering
all that you have, done for me, this is little enough for me to do
for you. When I have a shop of my own, you shall live like a lady.
I'll trust to your word that I shall be sure to get on, if I am
patient and industrious, though I don't see how it's to be.--It's
not so very bad to bear after all; and, bad as my master is, there's
one comfort, he lets me have my Saturday nights and blessed Sundays
with you. Well, I feel happier now, and I think I can eat my supper.
We forgot that my porridge was getting cold all this time."

Stephen kept his word; day after day, and month after month, his
patience and industry never flagged. And plenty of trials, poor
fellow, he had for his fortitude. His master, a small stationer in a
small country town, to whom Stephen was bound apprentice for five
years, with a salary barely sufficient to keep him in clothes, was a
little, spare, sharp-faced man, who seemed to have worn himself away
with continual fretfulness and vexation. He was perpetually
fretting, perpetually finding fault with something or other,
perpetually thinking that everything was going wrong. Though he did
cease to go into a passion with, and to strike Stephen, the poor lad
was an object always at hand, on which to vent his ill-humour, Many,
many times was Stephen on the point of losing heart and temper; but
he was always able to control himself by thinking of his mother.
And, as he said, there was always comfort in those Saturday nights
and blessed Sundays. A long walk in the country on those blessed
Sundays, and the Testament readings to his mother, would always
strengthen his often wavering faith in her prophecies of good in the
end, would cheer his spirits, and nerve him with a fresh resolution
for the coming week. And what was it that the widow hoped would
result from this painful bondage? She did not know; she only had
faith in her doctrine--that patience and industry would some time be
rewarded. _How_ the reward was to come in her son's case, she could
not see. It seemed likely, indeed, from all appearances, that the
doctrine in this case would prove false. But still she had faith.

It was now nearly four years since the conversation between mother
and son before detailed. They were together again on the Saturday
evening. Stephen had grown into a tall, manly youth, with a gentle,
kind, and thoughtful expression of countenance. Mary looked much
older, thinner, paler, and more anxious. Both were at this moment
looking very downcast.

"I do not see that anything can be hoped from him," said Stephen,
with a sigh. "I have now served him faithfully for five years; I
have borne patiently all his ill-humour; I have never been absent a
moment from my post; and during all that time, notwithstanding all
this, he has never thanked me, he has never so much as given me a
single kind word, nor even a kind look. He must know that
apprenticeships will be out on Tuesday, yet he never says a word to
me about it, and I suppose I must just go without a word."

"You must speak to him," said Mary; "you cannot leave without saying
something; and tell him exactly how you are situated; he cannot
refuse to do something to help you."

"It is easy to talk of speaking to him, mother, but not so easy to
do it. I have often before thought of speaking to him, of telling
him how very, very poor we are, and begging a little more salary.
But I never could do it when I came before him. I seemed to feel
that he would refuse me, and I felt somehow too proud to ask a
favour that would most likely be refused. But it shall be done now,
mother; I will not be a burthen upon you, if I can help it. I'd
sooner do anything than that. He _ought_ to do something for me, and
there's no one else that I know of that can. I will speak to him on
Monday."

Monday evening was come; all day Stephen had been screwing up his
courage for the task he had to do; of course it could not be done
when his master and he were in the shop together, for there they
were liable at any moment to be interrupted. At dinner-time they
separated; for they took the meal alternately, that the post in the
shop might never be deserted. But now the day's work was over:
everything was put away, and master and apprentice had retired into
the little back parlour a to take their tea. As usual, they were
alone, for the stationer was a single man (which might account for
the sourness of his temper), and the meal was usually taken in
silence, and soon after it was over they would both retire to bed,
still in silence. Stephen's master had poured out for him his first
cup of tea, handed it to him without looking at him, and begun to
swallow his own potion. Stephen allowed his cup to remain before him
untouched; he glanced timidly towards his master, drew a deep
breath, coloured slightly, and then began:--

"If you please, sir, I wish to speak to you."

His master looked up with a sudden jerk of the head, and fixed his
keen gray eyes on poor Stephen's face. He did not seem at all
surprised, but said sharply (and he had a very sharp voice), "Well,
sir, speak on."

Stephen was determined not to be discouraged, so he began to tell
his little tale. His voice faltered at first, but as he went on he
became quite eloquent. He spoke with a boldness which astonished
himself. He forgot his master, and thought only of his mother. He
told all about her poverty, and struggles to get a living. He dwelt
strongly, but modestly, on his own conduct during his apprenticeship,
and finished by entreating his master now to help him to do something,
for he had nothing in the world to turn to, no friends, no money, no
influence.

His master heard him to an end. He had soon withdrawn his eyes from
Stephen's agitated face, then partially averted his own face, then
left his seat, and advanced to a side table, where he began to
rummage among some papers, with his back to Stephen.

Stephen had ceased speaking some time before he made any reply. Then
still without turning round, he spoke, beginning with a sort of
grunting ejaculation--"Humph! so your mother gets her living by
mangling, does she? and she thought that if she got you some
schooling, and taught you to behave yourself, your fortune would be
made. Well, you will be free to-morrow; you may go to her and tell
her she is a fool for her pains. Here are your indentures, and
here's the salary that's due to you. Now you may go to bed."

As he spoke the last words, he had taken the indentures from a desk,
and the money from his purse. Stephen felt a choking sensation in
his throat as he took from his hands the paper and the money; he
would even have uttered the indignation he felt, but, before he
could speak, his master left the room. Disappointed and heart-sick,
and feeling humiliated that he should have asked a favour of such a
man, the poor lad retired to his garret, and it was almost time to
get up in the morning before he could fall asleep. On the Tuesday,
when the day's work was over, Stephen packed up his bundle of
clothes;--should he say good-bye to his master? Yes; he would not be
ungracious at the last. He opened the door of the back parlour, and
stood just within the door-way, his bundle in his hand. His master
was sitting, solitary, at the tea-table.

"I am going, sir, good-bye," said Stephen.

"Good-bye, sir," returned his master, without, looking at him. And
so they parted.

The result of the application told, the mother and the son sat
together that night in silence; their hearts were too full for
words. Mary sorrowed most, because she had hoped most. Bitter tears
rolled down her cheeks, as she sat brooding over her disappointment.
Stephen looked more cheerful, for his mind was busy trying to form
plans for the future--how he should go about to seek for another
situation, &c. Bed-time came; both rose to retire to rest. Stephen
had pressed his mother's hand, and was retiring, saying as he went,
"Never mind, mother, it'll all be right yet," when they were
startled by a loud rap at the door.

"Who's there?" shouted Stephen.

"A letter for you," was the reply.

Stephen thought there was some mistake, but he opened the door. A
letter was put into his hand, and the bearer disappeared. Surprised,
Stephen held the letter close to the rush-light Mary was carrying.
He became still more surprised; it was addressed to Mrs. Gray, that
was his mother, and he thought he knew the handwriting; it was very
like his master's. Mary's look of wonder became suddenly brightened
by a flash of hope; she could not read writing--Stephen must read it
for her. He opened the letter, something like a banknote was the
first thing he saw--he examined it--it was actually a ten pound Bank
of England note; his heart beat rapidly, and so did his mother's;
what could this mean? But there was a little note which would
perhaps explain. Stephen's fingers trembled sadly as he opened it.
There were not many words, but they were to the purpose. Stephen
read them to himself before he read them aloud. And as he was
reading, his face turned very red, and how it did burn! But what was
the meaning of tears, and he looking so pleased? Mary could not
understand it.

"Do read up, Stephen," she exclaimed.

With a voice broken by the effort he had to make all the time to
keep from crying, Stephen read,


"MADAM--Put away your mangle-that son of yours is worth mangling
for; but it is time to rest now. The note is for your present wants;
in future your son may supply you. I let him go to-night; but I did
not mean him to stay away, if he chooses to come back. I don't see
that I can do well without him. But I don't want him back if he
would rather go anywhere else; I know plenty that would be glad to
have him. He has been seen in the shop, and noticed, and such lads
are not always to be got. If he chooses to come back to me, he won't
repent. I've no sons of my own, thank God. He knows what I am; I am
better than I was, and I may be better still. I've a queer way of
doing things, but it is my way, and can't be helped. Tell him I'll
be glad to have him back to-morrow, if he likes. Yours,

"J. W."


"I knew it!" exclaimed Mary, triumphantly; "I always said so! I knew
you would get on!"

Stephen did go back to his eccentric master, and he never had any
reason to repent. He _got on_ even beyond his mother's most soaring
hopes. The shop eventually became his own, and he lived a
flourishing and respected tradesman. We need scarcely add that his
mother had no further use for her mangle, and that she was a very
proud and a very happy woman.



DO THEY MISS ME?


  Do they miss me at home? Do they miss me?
    'Twould be an assurance most dear,
  To know at this moment some loved one
    Was saying, "I wish he was here!"
  To feel that the group at the fireside
    Were thinking of me as I roam!
  Oh, yes! 'twould be joy beyond measure,
    To know that they missed me at home.

  When twilight approaches--the season
    That ever was sacred to song--
  Does some one repeat my name over,
    And sigh that I tarry so long?
  And is there a chord in the music,
    That's missed when my voice is away?
  And a chord in each glad heart that waketh
    Regret at my wearisome stay?

  Do they place me a chair at the table,
    When evening's home pleasures are nigh!
  And lamps are lit up in the parlour,
    And stars in the calm azure sky?
  And when the "Good Nights" are repeated,
    And each lays them calmly to sleep,
  Do they think of the absent, and waft me
    A whispered "Good-Night" o'er the deep?

  Do they miss me at home? do they miss me?
    At morning, at noon, or at night,
  And lingers one gloomy shade round them,
    That only my presence can light?
  Are joys less invitingly welcomed,
    Are pleasures less hailed than before,
  Because one is missed from the circle?
    Because I am with them no more?

  Oh, yes! they do miss me! kind voices
    Are calling me back as I roam,
  And eyes are grown weary with weeping,
    And watch but to welcome me home.
  Kind friends, ye shall wait me no longer,
    I'll hurry me back from the seas;
  For how can I tarry when followed
    By watchings and prayers such as these?



THE END.





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