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of a Governess. 








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according to Act 

of Congress, in the year 

1865, by the GENERAL PHOT 



BOOK SOCIETY, in the Clerk's 

Office of the District, Court 

of the United States, for the 

Southern District of 

New York. 

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children had all been very eager 
about the new governess. They had 
sat full three minutes at a time, 
more than once, discoursing about her, won- 
dering whether she was young or old, whether 
.she was pretty or ugly, and whether she was 
cross or good-tempered. In short, there had 
been no end to their wonderings; but they 
could not agree, and so sat waiting full of curi- 
osity till she should come down stairs. 

Lillie sat on the floor in front of the grate, her 
chin on her hands, her eyes fixed on the bright 
fire. Frank was watching the door, in a very 
unnatural sort of quietness for a boy, with Tan 
curled up at his feet; and Jennie was nervously 


tearing off the corners of her book, since it had 
grown too dark to read it, thinking that Miss 
Lane was a very long time in taking off her 

On the sofa lay a plump little darling, with a 
pair of dark soft eyes shining out of the still- 
ness ; one round rosy cheek rested upon her 
pretty brown hand, and the silky hair was 
tangled by her race with Tan 011 the piazza. 
Nobody . knew what Rosie was thinking, for 
Eosie did not talk much did not tell all the 
puzzles in her child-brain, though it was quite 
full of them, lika any other child's. 

Outside, the wind had gone down, but the 
bare trees, the naked lawn, and the great wide 
stretch of waste land beyond that, looked bleak 
enough in the gathering gloom of the winter 
twilight. Softly fluttering down, like white 
birds, came a few light flakes of the first snow, 
and now and then the swaying back of a thick 
cedar-tree, showed a grave at its foot, receiving 
the downy covering. It was the resting place 
of the children's mother ; she had lain there a 


year, and the little ones had grown quite used 
to the sight of that which had once made their 
hearts ache for " poor mainma out in the cold." 

There was a wistful look in the little faces, 
and a yearning for love in the little hearts all 
unsatisfied, since the good mother had gone to 
rest ; but none, even down to little Ro&ie, had 
forgotten the prayers she had taught them, nor 
to lift, night and morning, their innocent hands 
to the All-Father. 

And now Tan had risen, snuffed about, gone 
from one child to another, pattering about on his 
soft paws, saying, "good night" to all. He 
sprang noiselessly upon the sofa, by Rosie's head, 
and taking in his mouth a beautiful white kitten 
lying there, carried it off to his basket in the 

At this movement of Tan's every child was 
on its feet, to witness this nightly performance, 
which afforded the lookers-on the most intense 
delight. Kitty submitted very quietly, as a 
matter of course, and the puppy trotted off as 
gravely as mother cat might have done. He 


put pussy to bed first, turning her over to her 
own side with his paws, if she encroached upon 
his, and then, ensconcing himself snugly in his 
corner of the basket, he winked himself to sleep 
with much satisfaction. When Tan had gone to 
sleep, the children grew tired of waiting again ; 
but presently, a shout from Frank, who had 
gone to the window, roused them. 

" There's papa !" he cried, and in two seconds, 
all, even sleepy Rosie, were in the hall, waiting 
for his greeting. In they came, a joyous party, 
clinging to their papa's arms and knees, claiming 
kisses and answers to a multitude of questions 
in one breath, forgetting their late interest in the 
new governess who stayed so long in her own 
room, and caring only to welcome him who 
claimed a double share of their love, now that 
they had no mother. 

Jennie rang the bell, ordering James, when 
he answered it, rather imperiously, to take her 
father's coat and to bring his slippers, bustling 
about uneasily, and overturning a light stand 
near her in her haste. 


" Softly, Jennie daughter ; not so much noise," 
chided her papa, rubbing his hands before the 
blaze, as if he were glad to be at home again. 
Gently as the words were spoken, they brought 
tears to the eyes of the sensitive child, and she 
drew back with a shadow fallen upon her glad- 

With shy ecstasy Rosie was rubbing her 
brown face against her papa, much as pussy 
might have done ; and Lillie performed a joyful 
dance with Tan, who had waked up with the 
commotion, holding him by the fore-paws, and 
endangering the costly vases by her romping. 
Frank was pouring out a history of the clay with 
great glee, standing first upon one foot, then 
upon the other, winding up with : 

" And Ben brought Miss Lane from the cars 
at half past four. We have not seen her yet. 
But papa- 
He stopped. There she was. 
" How do you do, Mr. Graham ? How do you 
do, children ?" said a sweet voice, and they all, 
including Tan, became as mute as mice. 


James came with candles, and then the exam- 
ination beg-an. Miss Lane was not old, neither 

o ' 

was she very young ; she was almost as small 
and slight as Jennie, and not at all pretty, as 
Frank declared more than once, though he liked 
to look at her face too. 

She was dressed neatly and well ; her collai 
shone, her hair shone, her teeth shone, her 
hands were almost lily white, and her step as 
light as the snow-fall out of doors. She had a 
quiet sort of grace that was very fascinating, and 
from the crown of her head to the sole of her 
small walking-shoe, stood before them the per- 
fect lady. 


breakfast bell had been rung, 
Miss Lane came in at its last tingle 


and saw the children waiting for her. 

" Good morning ! AVhere is your papa ?" 

" Gone : he goes to his office at six every 
morning, and doesn't come home till evening," 
answered Jennie. 

" Who reads prayers ?" 

" No one, since mamma died." 

The lady stood silent a moment ; a little tinge 
of red colored her cheek, and she did not trust 
her voice for a few seconds, lest it should 

" I cannot," was her first thought ; " it is not 
my place ; they may think it presuming." 

" I will," was her next ; " God has put it in 
my way ; it is plainly my duty." Then speak- 


ing aloud to Mrs. Hill, the housekeeper, she 
said calmly : 

" If you will call in the servants, I will read 
prayers : I suppose Mr. Graham would not 

" Oh, no, ma'am." 

In a little time thev came in and sat down. 


wondering at the new ways of the teacher, but 
joining in the prayers quite reverently, and as 
they went out again, casting curious glances at 
the pale quiet face of the reader. As for the 
children, their appetites were quite forgotten in 
this new and interesting study of the governess, 
and Jennie secretly determined to imitate her in 
her mode of eating. It was really a pleasure to 
watch the neat, graceful fingers at any work, 
and the children began to find and to feel some- 
thing of that subtle charm in perfect grace and 
tact which mere beauty cannot supply. Though 
she spoke but little, and did not seem to watch 
them at all, not a word, not a motion, scarcely 
a glance of her new pupils escaped her. She 
silently deciding upon the character of each. 


After breakfast, the whole party ran to the 
windows, to admire the snow-fall ; Miss Lane 
among the rest. It lay white and pure upon 
the lawn and the trees, and the sun sparkled 
over it. 

" He giveth snow like wool, and scattereth the 
hoar-frost like ashes," said the teacher. 

" Who ? God ?" asked Rosie, who could not 
be content without caresses, and so had crept 
shily to the side of the teacher. 

" Yes, and do you know why it is like wool ?" 

" Because it is white," answered Frank, com- 
ing up softly, while the rest followed after a 
moment of hesitation, and closed round Miss 
Lane with bashful but eager glances. 

" Yes, and for another reason. Because it is 
warm; it protects the tender wheat, keeps it 
alive in the ground till the spring opens. It is 
like your cloaks and overcoats, only so much 
softer, so much more beautiful." 

" Warm ? snow warm ? I thought it was cold." 

" Persons have been saved from freezing by 
burying themselves in snow." 



" Do you know stories ?" questioned Rosie, 
with a ilusli over her brown face. 

"Yes, a great many. I will tell you one 
about a person who had no bed but one of snow 
for many nights." 

" Did you know him ? did you ever see him ?" 
were the eager questions; and the children 
crouched at her feet, forgetting their reserve. 

7 O O 

" Yes, very, very well, all my life. This per- 
son, this gentleman, when he was young like 
you, cared only for books, books all the time, 
and wandering about over all the rocks, through 
all the woods in the neighborhood. After a 
while, when he grew older, he wanted to travel. 
He went to Asia, to Africa, tab Europe he saw 
all the great world, but he forgot God." 
" Forgot God ! oh, how dreadful !" 
" Forgot God ; forgot to love him and pray to 
him tried to live without him. Bqf God re- 
membered him. He never forgets any one, you 
know not even the smallest bird or worm. 
He counts the tiniest blade of grass." 


" By and by a very sad thing happened to 
him. A beautiful lady whom he had loved a 
long, long time, and who was to have been his 
wife, died suddenly. She was deaf, quite deaf, 
but so very patient and sweet, living such a holy 
life, so near to God, that all her goodness shone 
in her face, making it so lovely, so radiant, 
that no one could look at her without loving 
her, and wondering if angels were not like her. 
She was lost at sea. She had been in England 
with her father, and was returning to America, 
when the ship was lost. They both went down 
together, and when this gentleman heard it, he 
seemed as if he could never be happy again. 

" He looked quite broken-hearted ; but the 
taking of her who was to have been his wife to 
the rest of the blessed did not seem to draw him 
any nearer to God, and after a while he wan- 
dered off again, and was not heard of for years. 
He lived for months near the shore of the Gulf 
of California, alone, excepting the company of 
two pet seals, which he learned to love dearly. 
He used to go out on the sand and watch the 


seals there. Sometimes the young ones, when 
left bj their parents on the beach, would make 
the most pitiful moaning and crying, like a lit- 
tle child in pain. It used to melt his heart to 
hear them ; he said it made him think of the 
voice of the lost, crying out of the sea ; and so 
his melancholy grew deeper and darker than 
ever. He would have stayed there perhaps till 
he died ; but his seals were lost, and then, in 
his loneliness, he roamed away again. 

" He settled at last in JSTew Mexico, and 
though he lived so much alone, his gentleness 


and kindliness won him many friends, and he 
began to think he had found a home. But at 
length he longed to return, and when he set out 
he sped towards the mountains. He dared not 
travel through the valleys, for fear of the In- 
dians, but had to keep out of their sight, if he 
wished to preserve his life. The mountains 
were covered with snow. The cold was bitter, 
and he knew that many days must pass before 
he could reach a safe shelter ; but his heart did 
not fail him, for he began in those fearful, 


solitary nights to *beg for God's aid, to think of 
him as he had not done in years before. 

" Every night he lay down in the snow, 
hungry and tired, for it was dangerous to shoot 
game. If the Indians had heard the report of 
his rifle, they would have been upon him quickly ; 
and he suffered severely for want of food. His 
shoes gave out too, but not his courage and trust 
in God, which had all come back to him as he 
lay under the stars, in his snowy bed, so awfully 
alone, shut out from humanity. On the thir- 
teenth day, he limped into a fort, almost bare- 
footed, hollow-eyed and gaunt, very weak, but 
joyful over his deliverance, and, with a new 
heart, praising God." 

" Where is he now V asked Rosie, when Miss 
Lane paused. 

" Gone to rest," she answered solemnly. 


By this time the hour for school had arrived, 
and all were eager to begin the work of learn- 

o o 

ing, so they gladly followed the teacher as she 
led the way up stairs to the school-room. 

. 2* 


days the children had 

, i learned that Miss Lane intended to be 
S^Q obeyed ; so the idea of resisting her 

authority gradually faded out of their minds, if 
they had ever entertained it. She went about 
her duties in her quiet, graceful way, showing 
in every action that she worked for God, and 
made the thought of her accountability to Him 
the rule of her life. 

" There was a promptness and decision in her 
manner that irresistibly drew every child into 
her way, and very soon there was no complaint 
of tardiness or carelessness in the school-room. 
Jennie's hair was brushed smoothly, because 
Miss Lane's satin braids made her ashamed of 
her tangled locks. Lillie thought of her own 
ten ragged finger-nails with a blush, when the 
rosy tips of her teacher's fingers glided over the 


piano-keys ; and Frank scraped his shoes before 
coming into the parlor, because he had once left 
a stain on the clear gray of her dress with his 
muddy boots ; he could not forget her distressed 
look as she noticed it, and reformed accord- 

A taste for beautiful things began to be de- 

o o 

veloped in their minds too, and the stars, the 
sunset, and a snow-fall were seen with new eyes. 
They learned, too, to know that God was about 
them, around them, above them ; that there 
was no thought in their heart but he knew it 
altogether ; that he must be the Guide in the 
daily walk of his baptized children. So the 
days went on in content. 

There came sometimes a girl of Jennie's age 

to visit the children ; Marv Noel was her name ; 


her parents lived on the opposite shore of the 
lake, about a quarter of a mile from Mr. 
Graham's, and were very careless, worldly 
people, keeping but a loose watch over their 

Miss Lane did not fancy her from the first, 


and disapproved of the intimacy with her young 
charges ; but she had never seen anything posi- 
tively evil in the child's behavior, and therefore 
could not forbid it. But one afternoon, while 
Mary Noel was there, something occurred 
which decided her to prevent all intercourse 
between the children. 

Lillie and Mary in passing Miss Lane's door 
found it ajar, and looked in curiously at the pic- 
tures, curious boxes and books that adorned it, 
all arranged with most exquisite neatness and 

" Let us go in," proposed "Mary. " She is not 
there, is she ?" 

: No ; but I would rather go in when she is 
there," answered Lillie. 

Well, I'd like to see those pictures ; come," 
and she pushed the door open. 

" I don't think Miss Lane would like it," per- 
sisted Lillie. 

"Why? what need you care?" The room's 
in your father's house." 


" I don't think it would be quite right, quite 
polite ; Miss Lane is so precise." 

" I know ; such a stiff* old maid, too. You'll 
all be just like her. Well, I'm going in. I 
wonder if there are many pictures in that album ; 
I'm going to look." 

" Come out, Mary ; we had better not disturb 
anything. I am sure Miss Lane would be dis- 

" You all act as if you were afraid of her. 
She isn't mistress here yet. Mamma said 
may-be she'd be your stepmother sometime ; how 
would you like that'?" 

The child's face became scarlet ; she stamped 
her foot. 

"It is not true ; it is a wicked story. You 
are very bad to say so. I'll ask papa;" and 
Lillie sat clown in the window with tears in her 

In the mean time, Mary was examining one 
by one the contents of the room, opening books 
and boxes, and peering about, full of curiosity. 

" Oh, Lillie, here is this bottle ; it is so deli- 


cious! Oh, just smell Cologne ! And isn't the 
bottle pretty ?" 

" Beautiful !" exclaimed Lillie, springing up 
and taking it out of her hand quickly too 
quickly ; the choice ornament fell from her 
grasp, and lay broken in two pieces upon the 
floor, while the odor of the Cologne water filled 
the room. 

Lillie's cheeks crimsoned ; she stood with 
clasped hands and loud beating heart, surveying 
the fragments. 

" What dtti.H we do ?" she exclaimed. 

" Let us go away she'll find the bottle bro- 
ken ; we need not say anything. She will not 
know that you did it." 

So, conscience-smitten and miserable, the lit- 
tle girl followed her tempter down stairs ; her 
first thought being an earnest desire to escape 
the blame. Lillie was nervous and sensitive and 
very timid ; the idea of her teacher's displeasure 
overshadowed all the sunshine of that day, and 
made it indeed a time of wretchedness. She 
trembled with terror when she heard Miss Lane's 


step, and shrunk back with a guilty flush when- 
ever she caught her eye, growing pale and chill 
at the sound of her voice, lest the dreaded ques- 
tion should be asked, and contending with her 

' O 

ever rebuking conscience which urged her to 

" Ah !" she thought, " if I had only not given 
up at first if I had only never touched it it 
was so wrong. Mamma used to tell us that we 
were always punished for doing wrong, even if 
no one saw us : and now I know that is why I 
broke the vase. Miss Lane cannot trust me 
when she knows it ; and, oh, she said she would 
rather we troubled her every minute with mis- 


chief than to see us do one dishonorable thing. 
She will be sure to find it out too, oh, dear ! and 
I never can tell her ; it frightens me to think of 
it. What shall I do ? I am so unhappy ;" and 
the child buried her head in the sofa cushions, 
sobbing aloud. 

By and by she crept into the parlor, quite 
pale and subdued, worn out by the ceaseless re- 
proaches of her conscience, and waited in much 


sadness for her papa's coming. The children 
were in great glee watching the snow as it came 
softly down, and listening to the loud howling 
of the wind round the house, happy in their 
good home, the loving hearts around them, and 
the bright firelight. 

How little they knew of the great world, with 
the sin, suffering, and death in it ; of the dying, 
despairing thousands on God's earth, crying out 
to him in sore pain and need, the day of their 
rejoicing long since passed ! 

Presently there was a shout, as Miss Lane 
came at a quick pace up the walk, struggling 
against the wind and storm, holding her cloak 
fast around her. She came in merrily, laugh- 
ing, and with a vivid color in both cheeks. 

" It is perfectly delightful," she cried, as soon 
as she saw the children. " How happy is the 
dog rolling in the snow 1" 

" Where have you been ? We were lone- 
some ; we've been hunting you everywhere." 

"I have been to visit my Sunday scholars, 



and I came round by the post-office for my let- 
ters, and I have two such pleasant ones." 

" Did you go to see all the scholars ? And 
did you find out who it was that sat on the end 
of the bench last Sunday ?" 

" Yes ; her name is Phoebe Birch, and I went 
to her house. She has a stepmother who is not 
kind to her. Her father was sitting in a corner 
of the room ; he had been drinking ; and when 
I went in, Phoebe was crvhiff. Her eves were 

v O / 

quite red and swollen ; she brightened at the 
sight of me ; but I was too much afraid of both 
the father and mother to talk much to her, poor 
child ! At last I asked her if she would not 
come regularly to Sunday-school, and gave her 
a little Prayer-book, which seemed to make her 
very happy. The mother scolded and said, 
1 She was good for nothing already, and she did 
not think going to Sunday-school would make 
her any better,' I told her that I hoped it 
would. But when I had got out of the close 
little room, from that hard scowling woman and 

the drunken man, into the fresh air, I could 



scarcely bear to think of poor little Phoebe's 
spending all her life there." 

Miss Lane looked round the beautiful rooms, 
her eye glancing through an open door to the 
glittering table awaiting them with its delicacies, 
and she sighed heavily. Her cloak lay on the 
sofa; she was holding her hat by one string, 
and Lillie was trembling, lest any moment she 
might go up to her own room to put them away, 
and so discover the mischief that had been done. 
What would she have given to live over that 
day again, that she might have left that un- 
done ? 

It was too late then, and her face blanched as 
Miss Lane, gathering up her things, went gaily 
up stairs to brush her hair. In a little while she 
came down again, and Lillie's watchful eyes saw 
as no doubt she expected a change in her 
face immediately. 

" Has any one been in my room to-day ?" she 
inquired. There was a chorus ot Noes, and she 
continued : 

" Some one or some thing has knocked my 


Cologne bottle off the bureau, and I found it 
lying shattered on the floor." 

" It must have been Sallie," said Jennie, " she 
is so careless ; she spilled all the ink in my bot- 
tle on the parlor carpet yesterday." 

" What were you doing with ink in the 

J O 

parlor ?" asked Miss Lane. 

" I was writing my exercises : Mary Noel 
and Lillie made so much noise in the hall that 
I could not write in my room." 

" Don't go there to write again ; it is not the 
proper place ; and I wish none of you to have 
anything to do with Mary Noel ; she is not a 
proper companion for you, I am sure. When 
she comes here to ask you to walk with her 
again, just tell her I do not allow you to go. I 
must speak to Sallie about breaking my things ; 
there is no occasion for such accidents.' 3 

She walked toward the door. Lillie started 
up to stop her ; but the words died on her lip. 
She could not utter them ; she could not bear to 
see the expression of disapproval gathering upon 


her teacher's face, to know her trust was forfeit- 
ed, and feel the punishment deserved. 

" What did Sallie say ?" asked Jennie, when 
she returned. 

" She says she never touched the bureau, and 
seemed much hurt at my suspecting her," an- 
swered Miss Lane, sitting down by the window 
with a grave air, and looking out upon the snow 
in silence. 

" You need not believe her," continued Jen- 
nie, " she is not true. Mrs. Hall can't teach her 
to be." 

" I have good reason to believe her," was the 
answer ; and Mr. Graham's arrival at that mo- 
ment caused the children to rush with a shout 
to meet him, forgetting Sallie and the Cologne 


*=- v 

UT if you go to-night, Miss Lane, we 
cannot finish Evangeline." 

" Why not, Jennie? You can read 
aloud to the rest." 

" But I don't like reading aloud." 

" Neither do I like reading aloud. I do a 
great many things I don't like to do." 

" I'll read it to myself then the rest can do 
the same." 

"I don't like to read aloud a thing that I 
have read again and again. I don't like to play 
games that you little ones like. I don't care 
to play for you, when each one can do it for 

Miss Lane looked at Jennie gravely. The 
little girl's lip began to quiver, her eyes filled. 

" Oh, Miss Lane !" she faltered. 



" Suppose I were never willing to do any- 
thing for your pleasure, Jennie, just because I 
did not fancy it, wouldn't you think me a little 
selfish ?" 

The tears were rolling over Jennie's cheeks 
now, and Miss Lane sat in silence, wishing the 
child's sensitiveness were not so exquisite. The 
gentlest chiding touched the quick it was al- 
most a cruelty to rebuke, even when rebuke was 
needed. That word u selfish" had set Jennie's 
heart-strings to quivering ; and thoughtlessness, 
as much as anything else, had prompted her 
first speech ; so she sat downcast, bearing her 
pain in silence, while her teacher was almost as 
much grieved as she. 

"I think it would not be quite kind to sit 
alone and read to yourself all the evening, when 
the rest are so anxious to finish the story, 
and you know but one can have the book at a 

There was no answer ; but Jennie had forgot- 
ten her great repugnance to reading aloud in 
remembering that only the day before, Miss 


Lane had left her book for an hour, to tell baby 
stories and read Mother Goose to Rosie, when 
she was lying peevish and sick in bed. 

" She could not have liked it," pondered the 
child, and the first dim consciousnes of duty 
rose in her mind to puzzle her. Sorely troubled 
was Jennie; she did not fancy giving up her 
own will in anything. She had an instinctive 
dislike to law and order, to getting up early, 
setting things to right, and losing her own 

A little flash of light seemed let into her soul, 
and all her daily wrong-doing lav clear before 

i/ ~ O t/ 

her. She read selfishness on all, or at the best, 
thoughtlessness for others' pleasure. Before her 
like a picture, she saw her dear mother stretched 
on her patient bed of pain, smiling ever to keep 
sadness out of the hearts of her little ones, and 
fading slowly day bv day out of their beautiful 

O V V 9* V 

bright world into what seemed loneliness, chilli- 


ness, darkness to Jennie in her fresh youth. 
Xow and then the sweet weak voice had begged 
her daughter to read the Word of Life to her as 


she went through the valley of the Shadow of 
Death; and many times this seemed a weari- 
some task. How glad the child would have 
been to remember having volunteered once to 
cheer her mother's waiting-time with the words 
of Jesus ! Such anguish as it was then to know 
that many times the mild request for a Psalm or 
the lessons of the day had been met by a frown- 
ing, fretful compliance. Too late, too late, 
thought Jennie with anguish and yearning for 

" The touch of the vanished hand. 

And the sound of the voice that was still." 

And almost the last words that dear mother 
had uttered were : 

"Jennie, be good to the little ones, dear 
patient, loving. They will have no mother, and 
the world is dreary without love, my child ; 
give it to them, all that you can, and fill my 

It had been long ago in her child life, when 

time is counted by hours and days, and we think 
a year so long, since her mother went to rest, 


but it was not till that hour that the meaning of 
her mother's words came to her. There had 
never seemed to be much need for the exercise 
of her care over the little ones ; so she thought. 
It seemed as if there were nothing she could 
do at least nothing that she I'lka! to do teach- 
ing the Catechism, reading aloud, telling stories 
and such things were so disagreeable, and she 
could not have patience with the little ones. 

While Jennie was sitting at the window, look- 
ing out on the winter scene and thinking, with 
the tears drying on her cheek, Miss Lane had 
gone to the piano, and was playing softly she 
was singing too, in a low voice, and the silent 
darkness was creeping over the lawn under the 
trees and into the room, gathering shadows on 
the walls and settling stilly over the fields and 

" Broken-hearted, lone and tearful, 
By that cross of anguish fearful, 
Stood the Mother by her Sou." 

Deep and touching was the voice, as were the 
words, and a feeling of awe, pain, and strange 
longing love filled the heart of the child, and 


her soul went out in prayer to the Saviour who 
died for her, to keep her in his ways and make 
her spirit white. 

That same evening, after Miss Lane had gone 
to stay with poor dying Phoebe Birch, Jennie 
finished the story to her little brother and sis- 
ters ; played her papa's favorite songs, and went 
to bed infinitely rewarded for her sacrifice in 
the " peace of mind which passeth under- 

The dreaded messenger who walks among us 
unseen at all hours had called for the lonely 
child in her comfortless home, and Phoebe's soul 
was passing to the land of rest, where many 
saints had gone before. 

The morning before, Phoebe had gone down 
stairs to make the fire and prepare breakfast. 
It was a chilly morning, and the child's gar- 
ments were very thin, but she was very happy. 
She had a friend. In all the wide world, a few 
weeks before, there had been no one to greet her 
pleasantly, no one to care whether she lived or 
died, and her poor heart was aching, aching all 


the time for that love which every child claims 
as its right. 

All day long it was toil, and wearying at fault- 
finding, sometimes weeping at blows from her 
drunken father or her cruel stepmother, till 
there seemed neither rest nor brightness for her 
on earth. 

At last, one Sunday, as she stood wistfully 
watching the children going into Sunday-school, 
an impulse to follow them seized her. So, 
trembling and with flushed cheeks, she glided 
through the door and sat down on the first va- 
cant seat. 

How beautiful it all was ! The children were 
singing ; and into the sensitive, wounded spirit 
of the child crept a strange, soothing peace, as if 
the great world of pain and sin were shut out 
from her forever. 

Heaven must be like that, she thought, and 
her eyes rested on a fair face near her with a 
sort of reverent admiration. It was a face 
patient and calm, with a touch of sadness in it 
though the eyes looked ever upward, and the 


lips smiled. The brow was clear and broad and 
white, the hair bright and smooth, and chil- 
dren's faces turned lovingly to meet the gentle 
glances cast upon them from those unclouded 
blue eyes. 

For one moment, this lady with her grace and 
exceeding refinement, passing her delicate fin- 
gers over the organ keys, seemed as far off from 
the child as the angels in heaven ; but when her 
soft voice had inquired Phoebe's name, when 
those lily hands held her own brown hand, 
some of Phoebe's awe vanished, and a warm, 
grateful love sprang up in its place. 

And after that the working, suffering days 
never seemed so long. Somehow, the thought 
of Sunday brightened all the week, and Phoebe 
lifted up her heart. Sometimes, indeed many 
times, Miss Lane came to see her and gave her 
books. Once or twice the child had spent an 
hour in her kind friend's own dainty room. 
And when at last she became u a member of 
Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the 
kingdom of heaven," Miss Lane stood near to 


encourage, and ever since liacl been pointing 
out the way in which she should walk. 

]STo one could dream then, how inexpressibly 
sweet and strong was this tie that bound her 
to her benefactress. No one knew how the 
thought of this earnest love wanned and lighted 
that cold room in the gloomy December morn- 
ing. And but little could the outer world of 
those more fortunate than she, guess how ex- 
quisitely beautiful were the thoughts and feel- 
ings of this poor, untaught child, whose one joy 
had changed the earth into a Paradise. 

So she lighted the fire and sat fanning it into 
a blaze with her apron, thinking, with a thrill 
of delight, that to-day Miss Lane was to begin 
teaching her to knit fancy knitting. She had 
promised to find sale for any articles that Phoebe 
might make ; and such a bright vision rose be- 
fore her fancy that she clapped her hands and 
laughed aloud - - such a picture of a winter 
cloak, a hood, and a little offering to the Sun- 
day School, which it burned her cheek to think 

she had never been able to give. And on 



Christmas morning she would go herself to 
Lyle's to buy a bouquet for Miss Lane, one 
made up of delicate, pure flowers like the lady 
herself, with heliotrope and geranium leaves. 

Inside of her Prayer-book WLS a withered, 
faded blossom, which Miss Lane had given her 
weeks ago, and told her it meant, " I love you," 
and Phoebe kissed it night and morning, and 
many times in the day, if hard words brought 
tears to her eyes or tempted her to lose her 
trust and hopefulness. It all came back when 
she touched this talisman, or read, " Let not 
your heart be troubled." 

She used to think a great many strange 
thoughts, these lonely days, when sometimes, 
for many hours, there was no hum^n friend to 
whom she could speak, and only the wide, 
blank snow, with the leafless trees waving over 
it, for her to look out upon. 

She liked to look at the sky, and watch the 
clouds at sunset, for God seemed just beyond 
them, and her loneliness left her when she re- 
membered that He was her Father, and a beau- 


tiful hope was in her heart, that she, the be- 
lieving child, might save that erring, earthly 

So, when the blaze sprang up, Phoebe, under 
the influence of its warmth, grew drowsy and 
fell asleep, and dreamed. While she dreamed, 
the messenger came ; slowly the flame crept 
towards her, and a spark rested on her cotton 
dress ; it glowed and spread and crackled, then 
burst into a flame and bathed her .in a stream 
of fire. Her father and mother were asleep 
up stairs, but her dreadful, agonized screams 
soon reached their ears. 

When .they burst into the room, the panting, 
trembling, shrieking child was rolling on the 
floor, blackened, burnt, a pitiful sight for human 
eyes. She had wrapped a piece of carpet about 
her, and so put out the dreadful fire ; but the 
agony of those few seconds who can tell ? 

She bore it all, the dreadful, sickening dress- 
ing of the burns, her faintness, and the coarse 
words of the step-mother, who reproached her 
even then ; she bore it because Miss Lane held 


her hand, whispered her words of Jesus, and 
cooled her brow, praying God to help her bear 
it. He did help her, and a wonderful patience 
and sweetness came into her soul, so that heaven 
seemed to lie not far oft'. 

She could not bear, at first, that her com- 
forter should leave her, but one word on the 
duty of resignation dried her tears, and* she 
waited in calmness till her dear friend came 

to her again. 


Every moment that she could spare from her 


duties, Miss Lane devoted to the sufferer. Her 
soft fingers soothed when none others had the 


power, and when the pain was torture she sang 
the young girl into quietness, lifting her soul to 
God in prayer, and cheering her when the fear 
of death was strong. So two days passed, and 
a second night of watching came. 


ILLIE had never spent such miserable 
days as those two when the warfare 
with her conscience was waging con- 
tinually. Everything went wrong, nothing gave 
her any pleasure, she was thoroughly miserable, 
and so irritable that she had to be sent two or 
three times each day to her room for cross 
answers and ill conduct. 

She knew quite well that she could have no 
peace till she confessed her fault, she saw that 
she could not do right till that spot on her 
usual truth and sincerity had been washed out. 
But timidity held her back ; she kept putting 
oif the evil day, and rose each morning with a 
sense of heaviness and depression about her, re- 
solving to get rid of the weight before another 

night came. 



She could not pray, for while she said the 
words she knew the act was mockery, because 
she was continuing in wilful sin. So, this safe- 
guard being removed, the child fancied herself 
falling into sins innumerable, and darkening all 
the hours of the day with the shadow of one 

Two or three times she had gone to Miss 
Lane, intending to confess ; but when there, the 
words died on her lips, and remained nnsaid- 
,such a trembling and terror seized her. She 
tried to persuade herself that opportunity was 
wanting, as her teacher was so much engaged 
with the dying Phoebe that she was only seen 
at meals and in school hours ; but that was poor 

The very next afternoon Lillie determined to 
meet her teacher in the hall, and tell her the 
whole truth ; but when she heard Miss Lane 
going quickly down the steps, her feet almost 
refused to move, and when she opened the hall 
door, Frank was there, kneeling on the rug, and 
fitting on the small over-shoe for his idol. 



She could not speak before Frank ; he would 
consider her so mean, her cheek crimsoned at 
the thought, and a glimpse at Miss Lane's pale, 
sad face frightened her still more ; it looked so 
fixed and settled, so far off from things of earth, 
that she could not bear the idea of those eyes 
falling on her in shocked surprise and reproach. 

She drew back, the soft " good-bye ' : was 
uttered, the slight figure flitted through the 
door, and in a second was skimming down the 

' O 

lawn with quick, graceful motions. .It was too 

About half-an-hour later, as she and Jennie 
were drawing in the school-room, the latter, 
looking out of the window, exclaimed- 

" There's Mary ]SToel ! What brings her here, 
I wonder ?" 

Lillie was putting her drawing materials 
away hurriedly, a look of eagerness taking the 
place of the weary expression that had before 
rested upon her face, when Jennie continued 

" You must not go down, you know, Miss 


Lane told us not to have anything to do with 

" I don't care !" exclaimed Lillie. 

"For shame, Lillie! I'll tell papa. What 
would he say if he heard you speak so ?" 

"I'm not going to sit still, shut up in the 
house all day. Besides, what is the harm? 
Mary Noel don't hurt anybody." 

" It is wrong to do what your teacher tells 
you not to do. You know Mary Noel is not a 
good girl." 

" She's as good as anybody. You don't like 
her, nor care to play with her at all, or you 
would not be so obedient all at once." 

Just then the door opened, and Mary ap- 

" Don't you want to go and slide ? It is fine 
on the ice, Lillie," she exclaimed. 

" Miss Lane and papa don't like Lillie to go 
on the ice alone," answered Jennie, quickly. 

" That was when the ice was thinnei^" inter- 
posed Lillie, angry at her interference. 

" What a baby you are, to care for everything 


Miss Lane says. I don't see what right she has 
to rule you." 

"She don't rule us," cried Jennie, indig- 
nantly ; but Lillie, whose wrong-doing had not 
been without its effect upon her sense of justice 
and natural nobleness, began to consider herself 
an ill-used person, and flushed crimson at the 
thought of being " ruled." 

" fehe does," continued Mary ; " why, the 
other afternoon, Lillie was afraid- 

A quick, imploring gesture from Lillie stopped 
her words, and Jennie, facing round, eyed both 
girls suspiciously. 

" What was she afraid of ? What have you 
been doing ?" 

" Oh, nothing. Come, Lillie, are you going f 

" No, she isn't," uttered Jennie, imperatively. 

" You can't hinder me." 

" I'll teU papa." 

" Well, tell him." 

" I'll go now, and Mrs. Hill will lock you up, 
if I speak to her." 

" Oh, dear, there's another mistress, is there ? 


Why, it's a wonder you get liberty to eat or 
sleep," exclaimed Mary, mockingly. 

" I did not care about going on the ice," said 
Lillie, standing -up and looking wrathfully at 
Jennie, " but since you have made yourself so 
disagreeable about it, I will go. So there's no- 
body to blame but yourself. Papa has told you 
never to speak to me in that manner, many a 

The two strode down stairs and out of the 
house with much dignity, leaving Jennie in 
great anger. But presently, the excitable girl's 
nerves grew more quiet, a feeling of sorrow took 
the place of her wrath, and her tender con- 
science began to accuse her of hastiness and sin- 
fulness in provoking her sister. It was not long 
before every other thought was forgotten in an 
intense feeling of self-reproach, and, like all im- 
pulsive persons, she went quickly from one ex- 
treme to another, and acquitted Lillie of all 
blame, laying it upon herself. 

" Oh ! if I had only not been so quick. Oh ! 
if I had governed my tongue and I have been 


warned so many times Lillie would not have 
gone, I'm sure ; she nearly always does what 
she is told. May-be she will* be drowned. I 
will run and coax her to come back. I could 
never hold up my head again." 

She ran out along the bank of the lake, and 
called the two girls loudly. They were sliding 
near the shore, and Jennie's anger and impa- 
tience returned at the sight of them in safety, 
disobeying the commands of those to whom 
they owed obedience : so that another scene of 


quarrelling took place, and Jennie went back 
sobbing with vexation, and Lillie continued to 
slide, more obstinate and hardened than before. 

" Let us go out further," proposed Mary, " the 
ice is smoother nearer the other side." 

" Are you sure it is sound ?" 

" Yes, Torn drew a load of wood over it yes- 

So on they slid till they reached a broad, 
square place, where Mr. Graham's men had 
been cutting ice, with a thin coating as smooth 
as glass upon it. 


" I'm not afraid to cross that. Are you, 
Lillie ?" 


Foolish child that she was, Lillie could not 
bear to acknowledge that she was afraid. 

" You are afraid !" exclaimed Mary, with a 
loud laugh, seeing her hesitate. " I dare you to 
cross it. It is not thin." 

" You're afrajd yourself." 

" I knew you were. See, you're only trying 
to get out of it." 

With a crimson face and her heart beating 
loudly, the little girl advanced upon the treach- 
erous ice. She' had just gone beyond the edge 
of the thick part, when a crack and a shriek 
rang upon the air, and she felt herself going 
down. It was all the work of an instant, like a 
flash, though neither remembered exactly how it 
happened. Mary caught the clothes of the 
sinking child, and drew her out, dripping, shiv- 
ering, and pale with fright, upon the thick ice. 
There they looked at each other an instant, and 
then began to sob with nervous excitement. 

Lillie was so touched and awed by the emo- 


tion of her usually insensible companion, that 
she had not the heart to cry out against her for 
tempting her to her death, as had been her first 
impulse. So, in that deplorable plight, with 
the dripping water freezing about her, she has- 
tened home. 

She was too much subdued to heed Jennie's 
" I told you so," and " You might have known," 
but submitted to Mrs. Hill's rather rough usage 
in meekness, obeying her sentence of going to 

bed and taking a hot drink, ia silence. 

And there she lay in solitude., weeping over 
her sin, resolving to do better in the future, 

j O J 

starting up with a great thrill of terror when 
the thought that she might even then have 
been in God's presence with the uiirepented sin 
on her soul, came into her mind. 

"I will tell Miss Lane just as soon as she 
comes home," she said to herself again and 
again, and as the night came on, she sat listen- 
ing eagerly for the light steps of the teacher. 
Jennie came creeping in with a penitent face, 
after a while, to show her completed drawing, 


and to tell her, shyly but earnestly, how sorry 
she was for her share in the afternoon's dis- 

" Papa will punish me, I suppose," remarked 
Lillie, at last, when the*e was a pause. " But 
I think I am cured of going with Mary ]N"oel 
any more. I wonder if he will be very angry !" 
And the old dread of reproaches came upon her 
with such force, that she was about to utter an 
entreaty to Jennie for silence concerning the 
events of the afternoon, when her better soul, 
came to her again, and she resolved to bear 
whatever might be given her in patience. 

Presently, as she lay there alone, listening for 
sounds in the large, still house, she heard the 
joyful outcry that welcomed her papa, and a few 
seconds after, the light, tripping step of Miss 
Lane sounded near the door. Pretty soon, she 
was heard descending, and then the buzzing of 
voices, as the parlor door was opened, came con- 
fusedly to her ear. 

A moment more and the sound was shut out 
from her, and Sallie came up with a tray, and 


her nice tea arranged upon it she saw at a 
glance by Miss Lane's own hands. 

But Lillie was almost too sad and depressed 
to eat. Her heart was very full of tears by this 
time, as she thought that her own fault had 
shut her out from the light and warmth and 
pleasure down stairs. She heard the piano soon, 
and voices of happy laughter reached her faintly, 
borne through the long empty halls and quiet 
rooms up stairs. But these sounds of mirth, in- 
stead of enlivening her, only made her sadder. 

The great tears ran down her cheeks as she 
thoup-ht how little she was missed, and won- 


dered if her papa would come to say "good 
night" to her. The moonlight began to shine 
in at her window. She got up and looked out 
at her mamma's grave, and wept again in her 
loneliness and gloom. The door opened softly, 
and turning round quickly, she saw her papa 
standing grave and sorrowful before her. 

" I'm sorry to hear what my little Lillie has 
been doing," he said, sadly. 

The child covered her face with both hands. 


" Indeed, indeed, papa, I am so sorry," she 

" But that will not undo it, my child, it can- 
not give me back my trust in your honor and 

It was very bitter. What would she have 
given to blot out all those last days ? Her 
guilty pleasure seemed so very worthless now, 
and she had given in exchange her papa's 
esteem, Miss Lane's confidence, her peace of 
mind. She sat with her head bent down in 
humiliation, while her papa stood over her with 
the face which he had w r orn when her mamma 
died. Lillie could not bear it. 

'' Oh ! papa, please forgive me, please trust 
me again ; I cannot bear it." 

A.nd Lillie felt his arms around her, and his 
kiss on her cheek, while she sobbed as if her 
heart would break. 

" I will take any punishment, papa, so- you'll 
let me be your little Lillie again. It has been 
so miserable." 

" My dear, I forgive you you must not for- 


get that there is some one else whose pardon 
you must ask. You have displeased God no 
less than me and you are His baptized child, 
you know." 

Lillie hung feer head, and her papa, kiss- 
ing her again, left her to seek that pardon, 
which she did seek humbly and with tears. 
Before she slept she opened her heart to her 
teacher also, and received an assurance of forr 

" Never try to conceal anything, Lillie," said 
Miss Lane ; " your punishment is sure to come 
sooner or later. Your sin will find you out in 
some way. God allows not the slightest wrong- 
doing to pass unpunished and a hidden fault is 
like poison in the soul, blackening and corrupt- 
ing it. Little children can hide but little from 
those who are older. I guessed much from your 
manner, and Sallie told me you and Mary had 
been in my room, when I asked her if she knew 
anything of the accident." 

" Then what could you have thought of me, 

Miss Lane !" 



" I was very much disappointed in you, my 
dear, I will tell you frankly. I thought you in- 
capable of concealment or deceit." 

" Oh, Miss Lane, I have been so unhappy. I 
wanted to tell you, but I was afraid, and I really 
thought it very mean to go into your room with- 
out permission." 

' But you listened to the tempter twice, my 
dear, and you see what the consequences have 
been. If you had resisted the first time, it 
would not have been so easy to fall the second. 
Every time we yield, we lose one portion of 
strength, and by familiarity with sin, our horror 
of it passes quickly away. There might come a 
time, my dear, when a deceitful, disobedient 
action would not trouble your conscience at 

' Oh, Miss Lane ! But, indeed, there are 
so many things to make me naughty, and 
Jennie was so cross and overbearing that I 
would go." 

'Blessed is the man that endureth tempta- 
tion : for when he is tried he shall receive the 


crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to 
them that love Him," was the answer, as Miss 
Lane, kissing the little penitent, went out and 
left her with God. 


"The snow had begun in the gloaming, 

And busily all the night, 
Had been heaping field and highway 
With a silence deep and white." 

was Saturday, the children's holiday- 
Miss Lane was walking through the 
glen towards the village, and looked at 
everything with pleasure. The ground 
was covered with a light snow, and the trees 
wore a sparkling coat of mail. It seemed as if 
a new earth had been created during the ni^ht, 

O o " 

so strange and beautiful was the aspect of the 

The air was soft and fresh, and quite still ; 
the snow was like an exquisitely pure carpet 
under her feet, and here and there, a branch, 
laden with its weight of pearls, bent over the 


It was more like a dream than anything real, 
for the trees wore a foliage fairy-like in its 
delicacy, and a gray sky hung over the whole. 
Sounds came muffled to her ears, and the 
brook was ice-bound. Everything was so 
strangely, wonderfully beautiful, that her heart 
was thrilled, and she was half afraid to think 
how very glad she was- -how very fair the 
world seemed. So, moving on quickly in the 
lightness of her heart, pushing the snow with 
her feet, she came out of the long avenue of 
crystal, and knocked at the cottage door. 

"She was took bad in the night, ma'am," 
was the step-mother's reply to her inquiries, and 
the awful nearness of death fell upon the mar- 
vellous loveliness of the day, changing the 
bounding gladness of the lady's heart into a 
calm, quiet sadness, and leaving an impress of 
wonder and fright on the hard face of the wo- 
man, as they stood in the presence of that soul 
so near the borders of the silent land. 

" She's been lying just so for two hours, Miss. 
I cairt get her to open her eyes or to speak. 


The doctor's been here, and he says 'taint no 
use ; so he went away again." 

The perfectly white face of the child was up- 
turned towards them, her eyes were closed, and 
deep black circles enclosed them, sunken in 
their sockets. The battle of life was almost 
over. The little gleam of brighter days was 
about to broaden into the full sunlight of the 
celestial abode, and a land of love was opening 
for the lonely heart. 

" Phoebe, it is I, your friend, Miss Lane. 
Can you not speak to me ?" 

The heavy lids were lifted, and a ray from 
the dimming eyes rested upon the lady's face, 
as she leaned over the miserable bed, the tears 
dropping silently. 

" The doctor said he thought nothin' wouldn't 
rouse her, ma'am. She is nearly gone, for 
sure ;" and the step-mother lifted her apron to 
her eyes. 

The father, haggard from drink, yet with a 
certain expression of awe on his face, too, came 
in and stood on the other side of the bed. 


"With great gentleness, Miss Lane admin- 
istered a cordial, and soon the deathlike look 
left Phoebe's face a little. The fingers lying 
languidly in her friend's palm closed in a slight 
pressure, and her lips moved in a whisper. 
The teacher put down her ear and caught the 
words, " The Holy Communion send for Mr. 

In a moment the step-mother was hastening 
for the man of God. 

"Father," said Phoebe again, speaking with 
much difficulty; and the wretched man came 
nearer, so that his child's eyes rested upon his 
face. " I am going to leave you oh, be ready 
to meet me ; promise :" and the solemn tones of 
her voice broke up the ice of wickedness and 
hardness about the man's heart, till he wept. 

There was a great stillness in the room again, 
and it was only broken by a low moan of pain 
from the dying child. 

" Do you suffer, Phoebe ?" asked Miss Lane. 

" Oh yes, and it is dark lonely." 

" Jesus is there, my dear ; trust in Him." 


" I cannot see oh, save me." 

" Our Saviour is waiting, Phoebe. He is 
near. Do not fear. Lift up your heart unto 
the Lord." 

A light broke over her face y and the moaning 
ceased. She moved her hand to her breast ; 
and, lifting the sheet, Miss Lane saw lying 
there, the little Prayer-book she had given her, 
with its faded heliotrope between the leaves. 
The tears fell faster, and she kissed the poor, 
wasted cheek of the girl. 

" That makes me happy- she murmured, 
with such a look of delight that a great 
pang passed through the teacher's heart, as she 
thought of how little love had brightened the 
poor girl's life, when one kiss was felt amidst 
her suffering to be such a joy. 

" I'll remember it in Paradise you have 
taught me the way there," she continued. 

And now Mr. Payne came, and the solemn 
sacrament began. Kneeling round the bed of 
that departing soul, the broken body and shed 
blood of the Lord were received by chastened 


spirits while 'Hhe peace which passeth under- 


standing" rested in the hearts of all. 

It was over, and Phoebe lay on her pillow ex- 
hausted, but with a calm mind, and an expres- 
sion of perfect joy on her face. And now the 
end was very near. For one, two hours, the 


soul wrestled with the body, and the pain was 
hard to bear : but then a calmer time came, 
when she was free from pain, and before sun- 
setting she fell asleep, or rather woke into light 
and life. 

Her friend smoothed back the soft hair, closed 
the eyes, took the little Prayer-book from the 
dead hands, gave it to the humbled father with 
a silent prayer, and reverently kissing the mar- 
ble brow, went softly home through the quiet 
woods, feeling as if she had been close to heaven. 

At the sun-setting, its brilliant rays illumin- 
ated all the trees and shrubs till the forests were 
resplendent. The sky was blue, and a few 
clouds floated near the horizon, tinted with a 
border of gold. In the distance, the heaven 

and the woods seemed to meet ; the clouds, the 



millions of branches sparkling with diamonds, 


appeared one might conceive like the gates 
at the entrance of Paradise, and shining upon 
them was the splendor of the sun behind. 

A soul had entered into rest, and God's 
world, held in his hand, was made all beautiful 
by the reflection of his glory. Suddenly, dark- 
ness came, and the wonderful beauty faded 


was a dull gray morning, and it had 
been raining all night. Jennie was 
very unwilling to get up it was a daily 
trial to her but this morning it seemed 
absolutely impossible, she could not keep her 
eyes open ; and yet, half dozing as she was, she 
was uncomfortably conscious that she was doing 

Seven sounded from the clock half past- 
and then she heard Miss Lane and the children 
descending. She lay still, idlv watching; the 

O / *) O 

drops as they fell against the panes, trying to 
make up her mind that she did not care for the 
disapproval of her own conscience nor for the 
reproof which she was quite sure awaited her 
from Miss Lane. In fact, she was indifferent to 
everything but the dreamy, lazy delight of lying 


there and hearing the dripping of the rain 
drops. Presently, her charming reverie was 
rudely disturbed by Lillie, who rushed into the 
room with the command from Miss Lane that 
she should come down immediately. 

A disrespectful answer rose to Jennie's lips 
as the blood rushed over her face. A month 
ago she would have uttered it, disregarding the 
consequences ; but she had learned a little, a 
very little, of the meaning of self-control, from 
her teacher's words and example ; so she kept 
her lips closed. 

" You'd better come," continued Lillie, "Miss 
Lane's going to show us about the Christmas 
things as soon as breakfast is over." 

"I don't care," murmured Jennie, shutting 
her eyes slowly. 

" Yery well then ;" and Lillie went down 
stairs, in a state of great indignation, to report 
to Miss Lane. 

" Jennie says she don't care, and is going to 
sleep again," she exclaimed, not without a little 
triumph at her own superior goodness, in her 


tone, and waiting to hear her teacher's com- 
ment upon such unprecedented conduct. But 
Lillie was disappointed ; neither frown nor flush 
changed the fairness of her face. 

" Very well," she said, in a quiet voice, look- 
ing at the child steadily, showing that she read 
her thought, and calling a blush of conscious- 
ness and shame to her cheek. 

About an hour afterwards, Jennie, coming 
down, found some bread and butter and a glass 
of milk on the dining-room table for her. She 
rang the bell impatiently, and Sallie presently 

" Sallie, I want some muffins. Did you save 
any for me ?" 

Sallie closed the door carefully, and coming 
near her, said in a half whisper, 

" Miss Lane said you were to have only this ; 
but I saved you some hot muffins and a piece 
of steak. I'll bring 'em in." 

And she did so accordingly. 

" I suppose," exclaimed Jennie, her face in a 

blaze, "I'll eat what I please in my own father's 



house. If she thinks she's mistress here, she'll 
see she's mistaken. Dear me !" 

" And that is what she does think. I declare 
I never see anything so imposed upon as you 
all are. You have to come and go at her beck. 
I wouldn't stand it," answered Sallie. 

" You must not speak so !" said Jennie, 
rebukingly, recalled somewhat to her senses 
by the servant's words ; and Sallie retreated 

Jennie buttered a muffin and put a piece 
of the steak upon her plate. She was quite 
hungry; the steaming viand increased her ap- 


petite, but could not quiet her thoughts. 

" I am doing wrong, wrong, wrong," kept 
floating in her mind. She leaned her head on 
her hand. " I have made a bad beginning, 
the day will go wrong. I hate to give up but 
this is mean and Miss Lane has never done a 
harsh or unkind thing to me since she came 
here. It is deceitful to take these, things when 
she cannot see me. But then, what right has 
she " her face flushed for a moment, but 


strangely enough, these words, " Submit your- 
selves to all your governors, teachers, spiritual 
pastors and masters," occurred to her at that in- 
stant, and all doubt as to her duty in the matter 
was cleared away. 

Pride still remained to be conquered. 

" She need not think I am afraid of her, 
either, though she does think her word is law. 
I would have this if I wanted it but I know it 

is wrong ; it is not Miss Lane that I care for.' 

~ j 

She put away the tempting breakfast, and ate 
her bread and butter quickly, and when Sallie 
came in, said shortly and with averted face. '* I 


did not eat those things because it was not 
right. I ought to have been up in time. It 
was wicked in you to try to cheat Miss Lane 
though," seeing Sallie's face of mortification- 
" I suppose you meant to be kind to me." And 
Jennie walked up to her own room, angry with 
herself, Miss Lane, and Sallie, yet with an un- 
comfortable sense of having been most deserv- 
ing of blame. 

Only the evening before she had promised 



herself that it should be such a pleasant day. 
Miss Lane had intended to teach her and Lillie 
to knit. They were each to make a pair of 
stockings for a poor little girl in the village, 
and had looked forward with intense delight to 
the time for commencing them. 

This little child, Alice Boss, had lost her 
father ; and her mother, who was a poor woman 
in every way, having very delicate health, 
found it difficult to keep her daughter and her- 
self from starving, and worked all day long 
with her sore heart to keep the wolf from the 

Alice's pale, sorrowful face was sad to see, 
and she came shivering to Sunday school in her 
thin dress, with her little bare hands stiff and 
red from the cold, and sat silent and dejected 
among the bright, childish faces around her, 
and often wiping scalding tears from her hollow 

Such a pitiful thing it was to see this little 
one, in the beginning of life, bearing a burden 
so heavy for her weak shoulders, that the chil- 


dren's tender hearts ached for her, and they 
poured out their compassion into the ears of 
their sympathizing friend. 

"Papa has plenty of money," said Rosie, "he 
might buy things for Alice's mamma." And 
when " papa" came home, the eager sprites sur- 
Burrounded him with designs upon his purse, 
and entreaties for charity to Mrs. Ross. 

"Well, I'll give you money. I'll help her. 
Miss Lane shall tell us what she needs on one 

They were eager for the "condition;" of 
course, they would do anything. 

" That you deny yourselves enough to pay 
me for what I give." 

" Of course ; but what can we do without, 
papa ? We have everything They were 

rather disappointed for the moment that he had 
not given them something great to do some 
extraordinary self-sacrifice to perform. 

" We must have dresses and shoes and stock 
ings, and we can't do without cloaks, unless we 
stay in the house all the time and that would 


not be right, because we must go to church,' 
mused Rosie. It was such a novelty to all, 
that they seemed in great glee, and Jennie be- 
gan to feel exceedingly virtuous immediately. 

u We might sell our skates," exclaimed Lillie, 
looking up brightly, but Frank cried out against 
" taking away all their fun." 

" You must be willing to give up some ' fun,' 
Frank; but I want you to keep your skates. 
Exercise is good and healthful," said his papa. 
" But if you don't give up something you like, 
it will not be denying yourself; don't you see ?" 

Frank hung his head. 

" I'll tell you all, to-morrow morning, what 
you can do. You must say good night now, 
and think about it seriously. Because God has 
been very good to you, my dears, in giving you 
all you desire, you must be willing to share 
with others, even at the sacrifice of some of 
your pleasures. It is not good for us to have 
all we wish, and I will see how my little ones 
bear doing without some gratification for the 
sake of doing good." 


And so they went to bed, full of curiosity, 
though without much comprehending the real 
meaning of their father's words. But when the 
morning came, each child was about his chaii 
at his early breakfast. 

" What early birds you are ! What brought 
you down stairs at such an hour ? Isn't this 
the first time you have seen the sun rise this 
year ?" 

He glanced smilingly at Miss Lane, who ap- 
peared in the back ground, looking over the 
glossy heads of Frank and brown Eosie. 

"I must confess, /was curious, too, and hear- 
ing the commotion, I followed to learn the mys- 

"Now, 'brown Eosie,' how much do you 
suppose you thought of it all last night ? The 
Band-man had arrived when you kissed me did 
he wait till you put your head on the pillow ?" 

"I did think of it, papa," said the little one, 
putting her head on one side, like a bird ; 
" and," she continued in a low tone, so that only 
her father coulr 1 x ^ar, " I asked God about it." 


" Bless you ! my love," lie exclaimed, pressing 
the soft face close to him. 

" We can't think what it can be," cried Jen- 
nie, in much impatience. " Oh, do, papa, tell 
us quickly." 

" Well, my dears," a profound silence 
reigned, four little hearts beat quickly. u Last 
year your Christmas tree and the presents on it 
cost me sixty dollars." A shadow gathered 
over more than one face. " This is such a sad 
time for so many, and we must do with less 
ourselves to help them. If you are willing to 
do without your presents this year, Alice's 
mother shall have the money." 

Lillie sighed, Frank made a wry face, and 
Jennie could not quite help the exclamation : 

" Oh, my bracelet !" but little Kosie's brown 
eyes remained quite bright, and she stroked her 
father's cheek contentedly. 

" Well, my dears, what do you say ?" 

" Oh, papa, you could not think us so cruel ; 
of course we are willing," the three cried in a 
breath. " We did not think of that^ you know, 


and so it can't help being a disappointment just 
at first." 

" Anything would be better than that, papa," 
ventured Frank. " It will be so dull - - and 
then, no Christmas presents. Why, who ever 
heard of such a thing ?" 

" Little Alice, I dare say," his father replied ; 
" I imagine she has never had a present in her 

Frank seemed amazed at the idea. His 
imagination had never fathomed the depth of 
such misery. 

" But," continued his papa, " you can sell 
Robin, or your watch, or your gun." 

" Oh, papa, Robin ! And, you see, I'm so 
used to the watch - - and my gun, why, just 
think, I couldn't stand seeing the ducks on the 
lake with nothing to shoot at them.' 


" Well, my boy, Alice has no stockings, and 
Mrs. Ross no wood just think of this room 
without a fire this morning 1" 

" I know it, it is all right, papa I'm agreed !" 

cried Frank, abruptly, leaving the room. 



" Very well, then, here's the purse. I'll put 
it into Miss Lane's hands she'll be prudent. 
Are you satisfied, Kitten ?" pulling Hosie's ears. 

" Yes, papa, for I thought you might want 
Dolly, and you know I love Dolly that would 
have been sad." 

" I think we must manage a dolly for little 
Alice, too, Miss Lane," said Mr. Graham. 

Rosie started a little anxiously. A look of 
perplexity puckered her smooth forehead, and 
all day she moved about in an unusually 
thoughtful manner. Towards evening, as Miss 
Lane was going to her own room to get her 
bonnet and cloak, before setting out for Mrs. 
Ross's dwelling, in order to make inquiries into 
her necessities, she heard a little voice talking 
in the nursery, and going to the door, peeped 
in. Rosie sat on the floor, with her little bu- 
reau of doll's clothing before her. She had the 
precious plaything in her arm, and was soothing 
it with gentle words. 

" Now you must not cry, for I shall come to 
see you-. sometimes, and I hope Alice will be 


good to you. But, you know, she never had a 
dolly, nor a present in all her life just think 
how dreadful, and her papa's gone, and they 
have no wood to make a fire : so you must com- 
fort Alice, for she must be very unhappy. I 
am sure I love you very much, better than any- 
thing I have, and that is the reason I give you 
away. You have made me so happy that I 
think you'll make Alice happy too, and then 
she won't cry when she comes to Sunday school 
any more. It makes me so sad to see her." 

The tears w r ere in Rosie's eyes, her lip was 
quivering. Her sacrifice was greater than that 
of all the rest. Miss Lane stole away on tip-toe, 
much touched. When she was ready to go, a 
timid voice begged leave to accompany her, and 
the little girl carried her treasure in silence to' 
the poor child, whose face lighted with such joy 
on seeing it, that content came into Rosie's face 
immediately ; so that, though her voice trem- 
bled, she smiled in begging Alice to " take good 
care of it," and trotted home briskly and hap- 


It was the very next day that Lillie and Jen- 
nie were to begin the stockings for Alice, and 
Lillie. knitting-needle in hand, was trying pa- 
tiently to follow Miss Lane's directions about 
the beginning, while Jennie sat sullenly looking 
out of the window, wishing she had no stain on 
her conscience to make her ashamed of going 
into the parlor with the rest. 


called a full, clear voice 
twice before there was any answer. 
At the second summons Jennie slowly 
opened the door, and saw Miss Lane 
waiting at the foot of the stairs. " Get your 
work-box, thimble, and scissors, and come down 
stairs. I want you and Lillie to make a knit- 
ting-bag before you begin the stockings." 

" Yes, I will," answered Jennie, glad that the 
first trouble, the meeting with her teacher, was 

Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed. Miss Lane 
was about to despatch a messenger for her, 
when the door opened, and^ a discontented, 
frowning face appeared. The work-box was 
dashed upon the sofa, and Jennie exclaimed 




"I don't want to sew I have been hunt- 
ing and hunting for my scissors somebody's 
always meddling with my things and now, 
when I found those, I can't find my thimble. 
I wish- ' she cried, turning passionately upon 
her sisters, " I wish you'd stay out of my room. 
You have no business there you know it." 

There was a sob in her voice. Lillie's color 
rose violently, while Rosie looked grieved and 
frightened. The former opened her lips to re- 
tort, but at a sign from Miss Lane, restrained 

" Take your work-box and go up stairs, Jen- 
nie," said Miss Lane, quietly. 

The young girl started in a sort of amaze- 
ment, and looked into her teacher's face. She 
had not the slightest intention of obeying her, 
and felt in a whirl of anger at being ordered 
about so like a child ; but the clear, steady eye 
met hers unwaveringly, not the faintest tinge of 
color dyed the smooth cheek. There was power 
there not to be resisted and before that quiet 
will she bowed. 


Taking her box in her hand, she obeyed, as a 
matter of course, and went to her room again, 
in loneliness. She lay down on the bed and 
sobbed. Oh ! how everything darkened around 
her ! How far off now lay the beautiful, new 
life of which she had been dreaming ! That 
fair, clean white leaf which she had promised 
herself should have no stain, was soiled already; 
and the sun was shining on a day begun with- 
out prayer, without a thought of God, and the 
clouds of idleness, disobedience, and anger, were 
rising to dim it all. 

Only yesterday, everything had seemed so 
bright only yesterday, Jennie had resolved to 
give herself to God entirely, had felt a waking 
up to work in His cause, and promised that at 
Easter she would be confirmed. But now, how 
fearfully she had foiled ! It was always so ! she 
could not keep her resolutions, there was no 
use in trying she knew it would never be any 

All her life long she would have that struggle 
about getting up in the morning, and she so dis- 


liked that same dull, every-day work. If it were 
only right to do just what one pleased ! A 


wild, thrilling wish filled her heart that it were 
so, and for an instant, the chains that conscience 
and a sense of duty cast around her, seemed too 
galling to be borne. Sad, discouraged, and 
restless, she tossed from side to side of the bed, 
making herself more miserable by indulging in 
her sinful thoughts. 

Presently a hand touched her cheek, and Miss 
Lane said : " Come, Jennie, get up ; brush your 
hair, and I will help you to find your thimble 
the day is passing away." 

Mechanically she obeyed, bathing her face 
and hands, smoothing her hair, and feeling more 
cheerful for the pleasant smile beaming upon 
her all the time. 

" When had you your thimble last ?" 

" Yesterday, I believe. I was braiding a 
little at papa's slipper ; but I don't know where 
I left my work." 

" Where were you working ?" 

" Let me see." She paused to think a rnin- 


nte. " I was sitting on the window-seat in tlie 
library. I must have left it there." 

" We'll go down and look. Have you no 
place for Keeping your things ?" 

" I have that basket for larger things, but 

v * 

that was not down stairs. It takes so much 
time to run about, putting things away." 

" Do you think it would have taken as 
much as it has done to hunt the thimble this 
morning ?" 

" I never thought of that ! So it does," ex- 
claimed Jennie, flushing into animation at the 

" Besides," continued Miss Lane, " did it 
never occur to you that it was sinful to be care- 
less, even in little things ?" 

The look of weariness returned to her face. 

"Miss Lane, I can't do right, there is no 
use in. trying ! I do think I'll try, but it never 

" May-be, you think you can do it without 
help, my dear ?" 

"I did not think of praying about such a 


little thing," she answered, in a low tone, her 
face flushing. 

" Little things make great things, my dear. 
Our lives are made up of little things. Con- 
stant, little vexations are harder to bear in pa- 
tience than some great grief. If we want God's 
help in our life, we must ask it for little things, 
because great things may happen only once in a 
life-time, and the little trials are of hourly oc- 
currence. Which was harder to bear giving 
up your Christmas tree, or the vexation about 
vour thimble ?" 


" About the thimble," answered Jennie im- 

In the mean time they had reached the library. 
On the floor lay a beautifully bound and illus- 
trated copy of Percy's Reliques, with the print 
of Tan's paws on its open leaves ; and among 
tangled braids and silk lay the torn, soiled, half- 
finished slipper. Miss Lane gathered all up in 
silence, and continued the search for the thim- 
ble without a word. 

" You see," said Jennie, thoughtfully, stand- 


ing in the middle of the room, with her head on 
one side/ " I was sewing here, and I was in 
great haste to get done. Rosie came in and 
wanted me to read her i The Children in the 
Wood.' So I got up there to reach the book- 
yon see, there is just where it was on the shelf 
and then, I don't remember anything more 
about the thimble. I did not sew again, and 

o / 

when it was too dark to read I forgot all about 
the slippers and book, too because you were 
playing a favorite piece in the parlor." 

"I wonder what your papa would say to 
those mud stains on his ' Reliques ?' You must 
have left the book on the floor, and Tan trod on 
it. If it were mv book, I should not value it 


after it had been so defaced." 

" Oh !" answered Jennie, carelessly, " he can 
easily get another one." 

'" You can buy more material for the slippers, 
and another thimble, too ; but don't you know 
that the money for those things would buy Mrs. 
Ross a cloak, or pay for the splitting of all her 


winter's wood ? The b<5bk must have been an 
expensive one, and your thimble was gold." 

"I never thought of it in that light," said 
Jennie, slowly. " Then I suppose we ought 
to be careful, even if we have everything we 

" Certainly, we have to account for the way 
in which we spend or waste money, as well as 

Jennie looked up in dismay. 

a Oh ! Miss Lane, what an array there will 
be against us at the time of reckoning. So 
many things I have done wrong, though the 
day is not half done !" 

" You began wrong in the first place !" 

" I know it, and I meant to do all right. I 


don't believe there is much use in trying;" and 
she sat down despondently. 

" I have not seen you try yet. You yield at 
the slightest temptation." 

The tears sprang to Jennie's eyes ; she seemed 
much grieved. 

" You are not to have the victory without a 


battle, my child ; not to wear the crown unless 
you have run for it. And it seems to me that 
you make resolutions in a fit of enthusiasm, 
thinking that the only thing to be done, where- 
as it is only the beginning. Have you really 
tried not to be careless? Have you really 
prayed for God to help you to conquer that 
fault ?" 

" ]STo," she answered slowly, " it never seemed 
so serious before. I did not think of its being a 


" Don't you see it now ?" 

" Yes, but you must show me. I don't know 
how to begin. I wish I had some rules to fol- 
low that I dare not break." 

" You have a rule. God's laws must not be 
broken wilfully. I cannot give you rules more 

" Well, I should like to be as careful and as 
neat as you are ; but how am I to learn ?" 

" Put your things in or clef , and keep them so. 
There is nothing easier. Then you never have 
any hunting to do and thus your temper is not 


excited so often. I suppose we might as well 
give up the search for the thimble, it does not 
come to light. I have no doubt that Tan 
chewed it up. I'll go up to your room and help 
you put your things in order, so that you may 
make a beginning. Come." 

" I am so sorry about the thimble. Do you 
know, it is almost the last thing mamma gave 
me of her own ? I dropped her ring in the or- 
chard, and Frank trod on her pearl pin. I had 
it in my scarf, and left it on the hall table one 
day. Tan pulled it on the floor, and Frank 
crushed it with his boot, And now the thimble 
has gone. Lillie has all her things safe, and 
Mrs. Hill keeps Kosie's for her. Oh, I'm so 
sorry !" 

" "Well, there is no use in regretting it now 
or rather- -I hope it will do you good. I 
thought you loved your mamma." 

" Oh, Miss Lane !" 

" Well, my dear} you do not seem to care for 
anything she has given you. I should think 
you would cherish everything she has touched. 


It shocks me to think of your allowing her gifts 
to lie about the floor." 

Jennie's tears flowed fast as they walked up 
stairs together. 

" This is the way I keep my drawers," said 
Miss Lane, opening one after another, and ex- 
hibiting- piles of neatly folded handkerchiefs, 
snowy collars and cuffs, stockings rolled up 
compactly, and dainty garments with sprigs of 
lavender between. 

" Oh, how beautiful ! It is a pleasure to look 
at them. Mine are so different," cried Jennie, 
as she looked. 

" Here is my work-basket. Here are the 
cases for my thimble, for my spools, and for my 
scissors. Here is my needle-book, too, and in 
this bag are silks wound upon ivory winders. I 
keep this long silk bag with the shallow basket 
in the bottom for my knitting, and I must tell 
you that I never lose anything. Shall we go 
now into your room awhile and make an exam- 
ination ?" 

" I am ashamed that you should see my 


things. I always stuff them in. It takes so 
long to put them away particularly." 

" We agreed a little while ago that time was 
saved by being careful, you know. I think 
you must confess that most of your morning 
has been wasted in hunting what would not 
have taken you twenty minutes to put away 

In the top drawer of Jennie's bureau were a 
comb and brush, one shoe and a slipper, a 
Prayer-book, several pairs of gloves, a heap of 
stockings, one dumb-bell, a pair of graces, and a 
half eaten apple. In the second, among a pile 
of incongruous articles, was an overturned work- 
basket, with all the silks and cotton in a snarl, 
and, one by one, Miss Lane placed various 
pieces of unfinished work on a chair by her side. 
The first was a slipper partly embroidered. 

" I began that for papa's birthday, Jout I did 
not like the pattern so I bought the others," 
explained Jennie, as it came to light. 

" Those were mats for mamma's cologne bot- 
tles : but I lost my crochet needle, and could 


not finish them," she continued, as a crimson 
worsted mat, minus the border, appeared. 

" That was a purse I was knitting for Mrs. 
Hill : but just look at the silk it is one knot ; 
so I had to give it up. 

" That was a drawing I promised to do for 
Dr. Sprague; but I got so tired of all that 
shading and I don't care to finish that em- 
broidery it is out of fashion, you know. 

" That is a story I commenced ; but I spilt 
ink on the last pages, and it soaked through the 
bottom of my drawer, and stained my white 
dress till it is totally ruined. Here it is. I can 
never wear it again. Wasn't it provoking ?" 

After much work the drawers were reduced to 
order, the gloves matched, excepting two which 
remained unmated, the work-box righted, and all 
soiled, rumpled articles removed. Jennie sur- 
veyed the whole with much pleasure, and felt as 
if nothing could induce her to allow chaos to 
prevail again. 

" All you have to do now, Jennie, is to re- 
member that, after using a thing, you must put 


it into the place from which you took it, and 
then it is always there." Touching the pile of 
things on the chair, she continued : " Here you 
have a lesson. I don't know that I need say 
anything. You see all that begun and never 
ended. Is your life to be incomplete, full of 
plans given up almost as soon as formed, like 
that, with all the threads broken, tangled no 
harmony in it no use in it no work in it ? 
Are you going to fritter away all your energy 
in devotion to an object for an hour or a day, 
only to lay it aside after the first novelty has 
passed, and a new interest takes its place ? Are 
you going to fade away from the world without 
having done anything in it ? Did you ever 
finish one thing ?" 

Jennie could think of nothing not one thing. 
Drawing, music, French, German, Italian, all 
sorts of fancy work, visiting the poor, being con- 
stant inner attendance at church, zealous in good 
works, had all been tried successively, and drop- 
ped before anything had been accomplished, any 
habit formed, so that Jennie, with excellent 


opportunities, was really not so well-informed as 
many girls of her age. 

In her desultory reading, she had gathered a 
mixture of facts and fiction, till her brain was 
in as much confusion as her bureau. She could 
not converse five minutes in French without a 
mistake, though she could skim over a French 


story and manage to get the substance of its con- 
tents in a very short time indeed. Though pas- 
sionately devoted to music she could scarcely 
play a single piece through correctly. AY hen 
the drudgery came, Jennie's interest flagged. 
She exhibited much taste and talent in drawing, 
but her lack of application had prevented her 
from making any progress, and half-finished 
sketches littered her table and writing desk. 

Her teacher's words awoke her thoughts. She 
saw herself as she was, dreaming, impractical, 
useless, with her mind undisciplined, full of 
weeds like a neglected garden, which, no matter 
how beautiful in the beginning, cannot thrive 
without care and cultivation. She recalled her 
mother's many warnings against this her beset- 


ting sin, which she had allowed to pass un- 
heeded, because it had never been shown to her 
clearly before ; but there lav the proofs of hex 
folly and wrong-doing, and on her soul were 
wrecks of broken promises and resolutions, du- 
ties forgotten, prayers hurriedly said or omitted 

A great fear and dread possessed her. Must 
it always be so ? And at the great Day, must 

she be weighed in the balances and found want- 


ing ? Oh, if she could but change it all ! But 
she had tried again and again. This trying was 
like the rest ; her enthusiasm died away and she 
gave it up. Miss Lane said nothing she was 
putting the unfinished articles into a large empty 
basket. At last Jennie broke the silence. 

" Miss Lane, I am going to try again. Will 
you help me ? Please make rules for me. Please 
tell me what I am to do." 

" First, you must expect to do nothing without 
God's help : for that you must ask : to ask it, 
you must rise earlier, so as to have the time. 
Never begin the day without prayer : your life, 


without that, is like a boat rudderless upon the 
broad ocean. Never do anything upon which 
you cannot ask God's blessing. Finish what 
you undertake, no matter how great your dis- 
gust may be before it is ended. And do but 


one thing at a time/' 

" I will try. Then I shall finish Alice's stock- 
ings and burn all these things so as to begin 


" No, Jennie, you must not burn them : you 
surely cannot meditate such a sinful waste." 

a But, Miss Lane," she exclaimed, compre- 
hending with a flash of dismay her teacher's 
meaning, " you cannot expect me to finish all 
those things now. Why, I hate the sight of 
them. I could never untangle that silk, and the 
worsted is all to wind. I have another pair of 
slippers, too, down stairs those that Tan tore : 
and I promised Dr. Sprague the drawing a year 
ago I should be ashamed to give it to him 


" It is time you were telling the truth about 
it, Jennie. You promised did you not ?" 



" There has been nothing to prevent your 
doing it, excepting your distaste for finishing 
your work, has there ?" 


" Then, my dear, it seems to me, there is but 
one thing to be done ; you want to bring a clear 
conscience into your new life. Can't you see 
your duty plainly in this case?" 

" Yes, I do. "Well,- with a grimace, " I 
suppose it must be done. Oh, clear, it is not 
going to be easy at all ! I shall be glad to get 
that Bristol board out of my sight it is a tor- 
ture every time I see it." 

" I think you are old enough to know that it 
would be wrong to finish any one of these things 
in such haste as not to do it well, Jennie ?" 

" Yes," she answered, alarmed at seeing how 
Miss Lane took it for granted that all must be 
done. " But, "indeed, I shall have no time for 
Christmas things and I did so want to knit 
Alice's stockings." 

" I know it is a great trial ; but you must 


begin right ; and the lesson will have no effect 
if you get off so easily. I leave it to yourself 
you may do as you think best. I should not 
hesitate if it were myself the duty is so plain." 
Miss Lane walked out of the room, and Jen- 
nie, taking the basket on her lap, sat down, to 
think intently. In a few minutes she rose, read 
the morning lessons, said her prayers, and, going 
to the library, searched perseveringly till she 
found her thimble. It was on the top shelf, 
where she had left it in taking down the " Reli- 
ques." Then setting herself to work at her 
drawing, she became so interested that the din- 
ner-bell startled her quite unpleasantly, and she 
saw with a thrill that much towards beginning 
her new life had been done. 


lE sun had gone down ; the gay, busy 
voices of the children were hushed as 
twilight came on. Jennie put down 
her silk, which she was patiently try- 
ing to untangle. Lillie laid aside her stocking, 
and Rosie crept to Miss Lane, putting her 
brown head on the lady's knee, while Frank 
stretched himself with Tan on the rug before 
the crackling fire. 

The wind whistled and howled and moaned, 
the sky was gray and wintry ; but within doors 
everything was comfortable and nice. 

u It is just the time for a story !" suggested 
Lillie, slyly, and - - " Oh, please do," began 
Rosie, while Frank and Jennie started forward 

" I think I have nearly exhausted myself: it 


would really be a difficult matter to get up a 
story now, I have told you so many." 

" Oh ! tell us one about yourself something 
about you when you were a little girl," ex- 
claimed Rosie. 

" Well, I will tell you about something that 
happened to me once. I cannot promise that it 
will be very interesting, but it is all true. My 
mother died when I was only a little baby, and 
I had always been with my father. He took 
the care of me that usually falls to a mother's 
share. I was very fond of him, indeed, and he 
called me his c Joy.' He gave me a great many 
beautiful things, and taught me every day. I 
never played with other children, because I 
scarcely ever saw any, and did not go to school. 
I think I shall never forget our long evenings 
together, when sometimes we sat for hours 
without speaking, and papa only roused him- 
self when the light began to grow dim. 

" I was timid, and used to be very much 
afraid of going through the long hall alone to 

my own room, but I never told papa of it, and 



kept up my courage by feeling that God was 
around me always. 

"It was a lonesome old house, too, with 
heavy, trailing vines covering the long porch 
and darkening the lower windows. We seldom 
entered the parlor; it was a dark room, with 
rich, thick carpet, and old, heavy furniture, and 
between the two front windows was an immense 
mirror, which always showed me my' demure, 
frightened little figure, the first thing when the 
door was opened. 

" There were dark, curiously shaped vases on 
the tables, and over the mantelpiece hung my 
mother's portrait. I used to stand in awe of 
that, though the face was a young and laughing 
one, but the bright, dark eyes seemed to follow 
me wherever I moved, and the half-opened lips 
seemed ever going to speak. I used to have 
such a longing to hear one word from those lips. 
I could remember nothing of my mother, and 
papa never mentioned her name. It was only 
when I went to my aunt's that I learned the 
manner of her death even, and I was ever 


yearning, with the curiosity of childish love, to 
know something of her. 

" In papa's room there was a casket of letters, 
and another of jewels, and under a glass case 
were kept a crimson riding cap, with a long 
black feather, and a pretty silver-handled whip, 
with a pair of tiny gloves, which they told me 
had once been my mother's ; but he never spoke 
to me of them. 

" I think I was very happy then, too, though 
they declared I was unnaturally quiet and 

i/ t> 

moping. In the summer time I gathered 
flowers, and papa told me marvellous stories of 
their meaning and form, until the frailest anem- 
one seemed to me like some wonderful, beauti- 
ful friend, and I could find the modest, smiling 
faces of the very earliest violets, and purple and 
pink-tinged hepaticas under the green, graceful 
lady ferns, or among the moss that covered the 
rocks in the glen. 

" There was a certain mysterious, dear, de- 


lightful garret, too, with its store of enchant- 
ment for rainy days, in the shape of- old chests 

o (l fl f\ Q C A 


filled with various wonders, such as worn, but 
most charming books and magazines, and curi- 
ous old pictures, while others held dresses, an- 
tiquated cloaks, bonnets, and shoes, and many a 
beautiful thing gone out of fashion long ago. 

" Many an hour I sat there, oblivious of din- 
ner, absorbed in some entrancing book, or spec- 
ulating about the wearers of these cast off gar- 
ments, until the shadows of evening warned me 
that papa must be waiting for me down stairs. 

" But I had certain warm, living friends 
there, about which I must not forget to tell 

' *-> 

you. At the head of the stairs, behind the 
chimney, there was a hollow log, in which some 
little, brown birds made a nest every year. 
There was a little round hole in the side of the 
house, which served them for a door, and they 
came flitting in and out there many times in the 
day. I used to be in a state of great excite- 
ment from the time of their spring house-clean- 
ing till the first egg was laid, and was a shy, 
silent, but frequent visitor while the lady-mother 
was sitting. 


" I think she must have learned to know me 
very well, for after a while she scarcely stirred 
when I approached, and used to turn her cun- 
ning, black eyes upon me, with her little head 
on one side by way of welcome. I should have 
clapped my hands the first time this happened, 
had I not been afraid of startling her, as she 
had such quiet ways ; but nothing could re- 
strain the expression of my perfect delight when 
the wee, helpless, open-mouthed birdies ap- 
peared. Then I shouted till papa came in 
amazement to see what was the matter, and 
even sober Allie and James hastened out of the 
kitchen to see what it all meant. 

" But the first time I put my hand, all trem- 
bling with eagerness, into the warm nest, and 
took out a soft, round, brown creature, scarcely 
daring to kiss the pretty head, and putting it 
back in all haste, lest it should be hurt, such a 
thrill of love and ecstasy passed over me that it 
was almost painful to bear. 

" So these tiny, twittering elves grew so near 
and dear to me, that when the time came for 


them to fly away, I used to feel sadly lonely 
and forlorn for many days. And whe^i spring 
came, I mounted the garret stairs daily, in ex- 
pectation of their return. 

" Then there was my music. Papa brought 
the piano out of the gloomy parlor and put it 
into his own pleasant study, and there he taught 
me to play. So it was an ever new pleasure to 
sit before it hour after hour, playing whatever 
suited mv fancy. 

tj t/ 

" We had an ^Eolian harp, too, in my own 
little window ; and I used to gather roses, 
white and crimson, by putting my hand out 
through that window. 

" Papa taught me to keep my room in perfect 
order. He was very particular, and could not 
tolerate dust or confusion. I soon became so 
very precise that Allie used to shake her head 
and declare I was born for an old maid. When 
I came to be with other children, I found that 
this being so set, as she called it, in my own 
ways, was rather inconvenient, and it was a 
hard lesson to learn that I must give up my 


cherished plans, for others' pleasure, till I saw 
how selfish it was to persist in my own ways- 
orderly, systematic, and right as they were, in 
one sense without any regard to the wishes or 
inclinations of any one around me. It has 
taken me many long years to unlearn some 
things which my isolated child life taught me, 
and the lesson has been a very hard one." 

Miss Lane was silent a moment, and the chil- 
dren heard her sigh. But she proceeded : 

" So the summer and winter days went on, 
and papa began to walk feebly and to look pale : 
he coughed, too, and ceased to run and play 
with me as he had formerly done ; and once or 
twice Dr. Lee came to see him. I knew nothing 
of sickness, and death seemed like something far 
off in the future, that had come to my mother, 
I knew, but I fancied it could not approach papa 
or me. The years that stretched far before me, 
seemed unending, and I had never dreamed of a 
life without papa. He was as my life. Never 
for one day had I been out of his sight : he 
seemed a part of me. 


"It came upon me very suddenly, that I 
might lose my dear father. I was sitting in the 
library one afternoon, partly hidden by the cur- 
tain of the window, reading ; and I had been 
quiet so long that, I suppose, papa had forgot- 
ten I was in the room. 1 remember it all quite 
as well as if it had been yesterday. Dr. Lee 
came in, and he and papa began to talk. I did 
not quite understand at first ; but when Dr. 
Lee said : 

" ' You'll never get well there's no physician 
on earth can cure- you ; but you may prolong 
your life by going abroad,' it all came upon me. 
My heart seemed to stand still. I peeped out. 
panting, from my screen, and saw the dear, mild 
face, with the settled paleness and gravity on its 
features which I had ever seen there, the tall 
figure a little bent, the beautiful hair growing 
gray about the temples; and, as the doctor 
spoke, his hollow cough began to sound through 
the room : and then I knew he must leave me ! . 
The word of doom had gone forth. 

"I rushed from the room, I ran up stairs, 


thinking only to hide myself from the sunshine 
and from everything. Oh ! my dear, dear father 
-how could I bear it ? I lay on the floor in 
agony, sobbing and thinking God would not 
leave me so alone, till I grew quiet from the 
very intensity of my suffering; and when I 
lifted my head, throbbing with pain, the dark- 
ness was resting upon the room, and shadows 
were flickering on the wall. 

" I half fancied I must have been asleep, and 
it was all a horrible dream : but in a moment, 
the anguish and heartache returned, and, fleeing 
as if from some awful presence of grief, I sped 
down stairs again. I reached the door and put 
my hand upon the knob. But my heart failed 
me I could not open it. I heard a step a 
slow, feeble step. A thrill of piercing sorrow 
made me shudder for how long was I to hear 
that step ? and then I opened the door. 

" Papa turned round, and I stood quite still. 
He saw my face and my tears, I suppose, for he 
stopped and held out his hands and, in a mo- 


ment, I threw myself on his breast, only able to 
cry as if my soul were leaving my body, 

" l Oh, papa, papa, papa !' 

" ' Poor, poor Mary,' he said, smoothing my 
hair, and pressing me tightly in his arms, and 
kissing my cheek till I grew quiet. I looked up 
at last he was there with me I held his hand, 
his eyes were just as kind he was alive he 
spoke to me, my great love must keep him I 
put my arms round him as if I would never let 
him go and resolved to die when he died- 
never, never to loose myself from him. Surely, 
surely, I could keep him, I thought. God must 
know how dreary the. world would be to me 
without him. 

" Papa was so calm that I began to lose my 
fear at last, and to think it was not true ; when, 
as I lifted my face to kiss him, there dropped on 
my cheeks two bitter, awful, waifs tears. I 


shrank back affrighted. I bit my lips to keep 
from screaming. I clasped my father as if I 
must grow to him 3 and began to gasp and sob 


as if my heart was broken. Those tears touched 
me, I have no words to tell how much. 

"'Papa, I cannot bear it I cannot have it 
so !' I cried. 

" l Don't, my daughter, don't say so. It is 
God's doing.' 

" ' Oh ! papa !' 

" ' It will not be long, my child, that you 
must be alone !' 

" ' But I cannot, cannot live without you 
you must not die.' 

" ' You have God, my child. It grieves me 
to hear you speak so.' 

" ' But, papa, I cannot see God He is not 


" ' Oh, Mary, He is near, He is about you, He 
will care for you.' 

" I moaned myself to sleep and woke in the 
night with a great cry for I had dreamed that 
my father was gone. But he was near to soothe 
me, and from that time till our parting, kept me 
with him, day and night. 

U O 

" And so there began to be this shadow over 


my life. It hid the brightness of the fairest 
day from my eyes, and came between me and 
all childish enjoyment. When papa played, I 
wept because it was so soon to be that 1 could 
listen no longer, and his laugh sounded hollow, 
while my own always ended in a sob. As the 
time passed, he tried to teach me to receive the 
blow in meekness, as coming from the hand of 
the All-Father ; and it makes me happy to re- 
member that his own faith and trust in God 
never wavered. 

" So, after a while, I came to think of this life 
as but a short one at best, and to look forward 
to the one in which we could be together forever. 
At these times, he spoke of my mother, and I 
began to know more of her, and to understand 
better his joy at the prospect of seeing her again. 
By the time the winter had worn away and 
spring had come, when I was counting the days, 
one by one, which we had together, I had 
learned, at last, to bear in patience, and did not 
grieve him by violent outbreaks of sorrow. 

" In May, he was to go to Italy. It was not 


likely I should ever see him again, though if I 
had allowed myself to feel that fully, I could 
not have borne it all as I did. He thought it 


best for me to remain in America; indeed, it 
was impossible for me to go with him though 
I poured ont my heart in entreaties to be allowed 
to do so. I am always sorry when I think of 
my undisciplined spirit my unwillingness to 
submit at this time ; it added to papa's grief, 
and he wore himself out in trying to show me 

J o 

the good in it all, which seemed so hard for me 
to see. 

" Dr. Lee had told him that to go abroad was 
the sole chance of adding to his days, and he 

o / / 

thought it his dutv to cherish the boon of life as 

o / 

long as possible ; or else, I believe nothing would 
have induced him to leave me. I was to stay 
with aunt Marion Bell, my mamma's sister, 
whom I had never seen; but the prospect of 
cousins for companions, and a pony to ride of 
a free, fresh country life did not rouse me in the 
least from my sadness. 

"At last it was all over, and he was gone. 



He had kissed me again and again, had bidden 
' God bless me !' and torn himself away. It was 
very dreadful." 

Miss Lane paused, while each of her little 
hearers remembered the parting of a year ago, 
when their dear mother went away. f 

" But all the time," she then resumed, ".I 
kept in my mind these last words of my father : 
i Be patient, my child, be patient always ;' and 
that helped the time to pass away. 

" At first, I used to wake with the heavy 
weight of sorrow upon me, morning after morn- 
ing, and sit apart, pale and sad, with the tears 
starting at the slightest word and was no doubt 
an object of wonder to my merry, boisterous 
cousins, who looked on me from wide open eyes, 
with wondering glances, scarcely ever approach- 
ing me or speaking to me. 

" But by and by, I began to look out of my 
corner with some interest upon this new scene, 
though as yet I was not an actor in it and I 
had made up my mind not to live, only to wait 
till papa returned thinking all those around 


me, with their ways so different from his, un- 
worthy of much notice ; and as for affection, it 
had never even occurred to me that there was 
enough room in my heart for any body but my 

" There was my grandmother, an old lady, 
with the daintiest of caps, and hair as shining 
white as silver. She always wore a black dress, 
with the whitest of inside handkerchiefs fastened 
by a beautiful old-fashioned pin of seed pearls, 
and on her finger glittered a diamond ring that 
dazzled my eyes. Those white unwrinkled 
hands used to be busied with most delicate 
work, or with her Bible and Prayer-Book, which 
lay always on a table by her side. 

" I stayed by her side mostly, and she lavished 
tender words and caresses upon me : these made 
me sad, because they reminded me of papa ; but 
I was attracted by something in her face that 
made me think of mamma's picture, and so I 
studied her features with eager, wondering eyes. 
One day while I had been watching her in- 
tently, I suddenly exclaimed : 


" ' Grandmamma, tell me something about 

/ ^j 

mamma you are so like her picture.' 

" Aunt Marion, who was sitting upon the sofa 

opposite to me, gave me a quick glance, frowned, 

and shook her head ; then, getting up, said : 
" ( Mary, please run and get my thimble out 

of my work-basket it is lying out on the piazza.' 
" I ran and brought the thimble. What was 


this about my mother ? Was I never to know ? 
My face flushed hot, my heart began to beat fast 
and loud. My father oh, my father ! Alone, 
alone the world seemed so empty and hard 
and cold. I suppose grandmamma noticed my 
loneliness and sadness, for one day she said to 

" ' Why don't you play with your cousins ?' 
" 6 1 don't care to play they are so rough.' 
" ' But, Mary, don't you know your father 
wished you to be well and strong by the time he 
came back ?' 
" ' Yes, ma'am.' 

" ' You will not become so by moping in this 
melancholy way. My dear, I think you take 


but a poor way of showing your affection for 
your dear papa.' 

" i But, grandmamma, I'm quite sure I never 
can be happy without him ; there is no use in 
trying. . The time will seem so long before he 
conies back.' 

" ' My dear, I know how much you love him; 
but I must say to you that you may have to 
spend the rest of your life without him ; and do 
you think that he that God would be satisfied 
if it should be passed in grieving r C 
" ' Oh ! grandmamma, it cannot be so !' 

" ' My child, you must be patient and take 
what comes. God afflicts us all our days, and 
does not tell us why, but we must receive the 
cup, no matter how bitter, knowing whose hand 
it is that offers it. I cannot bear to see you thus 
resisting His will.' 

" ' I did not think I did not mean it. I will 
try to be better; but indeed, indeed I cannot 
help feeling the heart-ache about papa, and 
sometimes I wake, feeling so sad that I am al- 
most afraid to stay alone.' 



" ; I think it would be very strange and un 
natural, my dear, if you did not grieve ; but 
sorrow may be selfish, too. It is the duty of 
every one to strive to be happy and cheerful for 
the sake of those around. Every one has a cer- 
tain influence the youngest and feeblest of us. 
Four sad face makes many an unhappy hour 
for those around you. I have passed through 
more pain and sorrow than you can dream of, 
my child, and yet I am content because I trust 
it all to God, and know that whatever befalls, 
u He doeth all things well." It is your duty, 
my dear, to join with the rest and try to feel 
more happy.' 

" I did not think this possible, and could not 
understand how I was to control my feelings at 

all. I had learned to act according to certain 


rules and laws of conscience, lout feeling seemed 
another thing. I think, if a long letter from 
papa upon this very subject had not come to 
me, I should have gone on in ignorance of the 
meaning of her words. He called this trouble 
'cross,' and told me to bear it 'ever pa- 


tiently, looking upward iu hope and cheerful- 


" So I tried, and soon leamed to laugh and be 
gay with the rest. I had been called a good 
child and gentle tempered ; but sometimes the 
wild, undisciplined children vexed me beyond 
measure, and after some outbreak the tears 
would come in abundance, for fear I was going 
backwards, and papa, when he came, would be 
disappointed. I used to be frightened at my 
own anger and vehemence, and once, after a 
quarrel, ran to grandmamma in great grief, to 
complain that 

"I had never seen such children in my 
life that they were making me as bad as them- 

u ' My dear,' answered my wise grandmother, 
' remember, you have never been with children 
before your temper has not been tried you 
have not known yourself these temptations are 
showing you to yourself be careful not to let 
them get the better of you. " He that ruleth his 
own spirit is greater than he that taketh a city." 


The trouble with you is that you want to have 
every thing your own way, and because others 
are not so neat and so precise as yourself, you 
lose patience, and so make trouble about you. 
There are not two persons in the world alike. 
If it were not for love and the beautiful spirit 
of patience which God gives us if we ask Him, 
there would be nothing but jarring and wrang- 
ling everywhere. You cannot live alone; no 
one will find happiness in such a life neither 
would it be right. Therefore you must learn to 
bear and forbear ; your life will be a sad mis- 
take if you do not.' 

" So I endured Cora's sleeping in my room 
and leaving her clothes in a he a}) in the middle 
of the floor, in grim silence. I tried not to 
wince when she turned over, so carelessly, my 
books and music, and when she overturned my 
inkstand in my writing desk, I restrained my 
tears, and after the fir-t flash of angry feeling, I 
tried quietly to repair the damage without a 
word. Cora seemed much amazed at this con- 
duct, so unlike the past, and after a stare of 


astonishment, told me heartily and freely that 
she was very sorry. 

" By-and-by, much to my amazement, she be- 
gan to touch my possessions carefully, and now 
and then, gathered stray articles of her own off 
the sofa or bureau, or from under the bed, with 
a praiseworthy effort to set things to rights. 
Before the summer was over Aunt Marion de- 
clared that Cora was as particular as myself, 
and I was convinced that patience was a good 
rule to live by ; and so often was I called upon 
to exercise it, that I learned always to be on the 

" There !" Jennie started, " I expected to hear 
that bell, and here is papa ! Miss Lane, you 
will tell us more after tea ?" she said, implor- 

" If you care to hear it !" 

" Yes, oh ! yes," cried all in chorus, and the 
party filed out to tea. 


children could scarcely wait to 


finish their tea before they begged for 
the continuation of the story. 

" Miss Lane is telling us her life, 
papa," they exclaimed, as they gathered closely 
about her, with wide awake faces. 

She went on : 

" There were two boy cousins, Robert and 
John, and a little Nellie, a sweet, gentle-natured 
little thing, whom I learned to love very soon. 
Besides these two cousins, there was another 
boy, a good deal older than any of us, who 
spent all his vacations at Uncle Bell's. He had 
neither father nor mother, sister nor brother. 
Uncle Bell was his mother's brother and his 
guardian, so that he called that his home. Pie 
was to have a great fortune by-and-by, so we all 
knew ; but I remember pitying him so much, 


and thinking I would not give my clear father 
for a thousand times his wealth. One day, 
when we three girls were talking abont this, 
and thinking how very dreadful it must be, he 
heard us, and coming out of the library where 
he had been reading, said : 

' " ' You need not pity me, I shall never have 
to grieve for my relations.' 

" It struck me then, and made me thoughtful 
and sad many times afterwards, that I might 
soon be called upon to mourn for papa over the 
sea ; but I learned to like Willie better than the 
rest, because he, like me, was alone in the 
world. He used to tell us stories, and play on 
the piano for us very often, and was so gentle 
and good tempered that everybody loved him. 

" I remember how the dog started up and ran 
at the sound of his footsteps, and there was no 
place pussy liked so well as his shoulder or knee 
for a sleeping place. His voice was very sweet, 
and his eyes so bright and kind, that every one 
was happier for a glance from them. I liked 
him so much that, after a while, no place seemed 


BO charming; as the seat bv his side, and he 

O i/ 

always smoothed away difficulties as if by 
magic. Once I asked him if he ever got angry. 

" ' Oh, yes, a great many times I am pro- 
voked half the time something is always vex- 
ing me.' 

" * You never seem to be. You never show 
it. How can you help it ?' 

" c It only makes things worse to talk. I 
whistle when I am angry.' 

" He smiled, too, I believe, for his face was 
always sunny, and in its cheerful light I some- 
times grew ashamed of my melancholy feelings 
and of being vexed by trifles. He had faults, 
for, afterwards, I found them out ; but in those 
days he seemed a perfect being to me, and by 
and by. I became almost as enthusiastically de- 
voted to him as I was to papa, 

" He never talked to us much about being 
good he acted a lesson for us and untruth, 
meanness or anger fled from his presence. I 
never saw him hurt any thing, though he was 
tall and strong and active. When you are older, 


you will read Sir Galahad, or sometime, if you 
like, I will read it to you, and then you can 
know better what he was like, than I can tell 

" He had a pet dove we called it Daisy. It 
was hatched late in autumn, in the barn, and he 
brought it to the house, to keep it from freezing. 
He fed it w r ith his own hands, and much trouble 
it gave him. It learned to know him, and often 
went with him in his walks, perched upon his 
shoulder, and when he went to college, he car- 
ried it with him. So in his daily life, he bore 
with him patience, pity and love, which shone 
in his face and blossomed into good deeds to 
those about him. 

"But aunt Marion was the comedy of the 
house. I think she never knew where any thing 
was; and, much as we loved her, pleasant as 
she was, we avoided her as much as possible, for 
fear of being sent upon explorations after miss- 
ing articles. There was no occasion for giving 
us lectures upon order where Auntie was. She 

was a living lesson to us against carelessness. 



She was full of childlike spirits and bright ways, 
perfectly simple and ingenuous, a charming 
woman ; but the one fault had mastered her com- 
pletely ; it had grown with her growth, strength- 
ened with her strength, and was the drop of 
bitterness in the cnp of happiness which we all 
drank there. 

" If we sat down to read the luckless indi- 
vidual who first caught her attention had no 
sooner become interested, than her voice roused 
him with, 

" ' Robbie, have you seen my ball of yarn ? 
perhaps Carlo carried it into the garden : I had 
it on the piazza the last time I saw it. Do run 
and get it.' 

" A moment more, it would be : 

" ' Cora, do you know where my thimble is ? 
1 had it in the kitchen when I went to see about 
the pudding. Ask Jane for it.' Or, 

" ' Mary, do run up to my room and see if you 
can find my other slipper. I had to put on one 
of your uncle's this morning. I could not see 
mine.' Or, 


" c Where do you suppose I left my clean linen 
collars ? Sarah, certainly brought them up stairs 
yesterday, and I have not seen them since.' 

" My uncle Bell was exceedingly orderly and 
systematic. This failing of his wife's annoyed 
him. He never could depend upon her for 
being in time, or entirely ready for any thing, 
and lived in a state of continual discomfort. 
One of aunt Marion's coaxing smiles used to 
disarm him and chase the frowns awav, for the 

tJ 7 

time, only to return, when dinner was late, the 
dessert forgotten, or Auntie was absent at prayers 
because she could not find her morning dress. I 
remember once sitting and speculating upon the 
best way of remedying all the evil and trouble 
arising from this failing, till aunt Marion, struck 
by my thoughtfulness, asked me what made me 
so quiet. 

" ' I was wondering whv you don't know 

O t/ / 

where your things are, when it is so easy and 
would make every body more comfortable,' I 
told her. 

" ' It seems almost too late to begin now, 


Mary my habits are all formed I sliould find 
it very hard work to change indeed. My dear, 
when I was a little girl like you, was the time 
to do that.' 

" 'And must it spoil all your life, and Uncle's, 
and Cora's, and John's, and Robbie's ?' I said, 
not thinking how my words would affect her. 

u ' So it does, my dear,' said Auntie despond- 
ingly. ' Oh, Mary, our lives have all been 
spoiled they have been a mistake all the 
years before me will not make it right. Never 
let a failing overcome you, never give up to it. 
Learn the meaning of self-control, then learn to 
practise it when you are young. Take out all 
the germs of evil when they are young and ten- 
der, for after a while, it is like taking your life, 
to dig out the strong, knotted roots.' 

" So I tried to remember that and my terror 
of becoming, like poor aunt Marion, the victim 
of any weakness, kept me on the watch contin- 

"And how uncomfortable she was herself! 
She missed so much happiness or pleasure be- 


cause she could not be ready in time, She was 
always too late for church. She scarcely ever 
finished any work, because some of the materials 

were lost or destroyed before it was half done. 

And every day, something neglected, many 
things undone, reproached her. 

" I remember one time, in particular, when 
her failing caused much vexation and trouble 
A very dear and near friend of Uncle Bell's had 
died. He was anxious that the whole family 
should attend the funeral, which was to take 
place in the morning. We were all ready- 
Cora, Robert, John, Willie, Uncle Bell and my- 
self the carriage was at the gate, the coachman 
holding the horses' 'heads, but still Aunt Marion 
did not appear. Uncle began to pace back and 
forth a sure sign of impatience with him 
Robbie was fretting and wondering why his 
mother did not come, and we had grown quite 
weary of waiting, when I ran up stairs to see 
what was the matter. 

" A scene of confusion presented itself. The 

bureau drawers were all pulled out, the closet 



doors all opened, a bandbox was on the bed^, a 
pitcher in the middle of the room, on the floor, 
brushes and combs on the chairs, and a heap of 

garments over the sofa. Aunt Marion herself, 

arrayed in bonnet and shawl, was limping about 
the room, with one foot shod 5 and a face of 
great perplexity. 

" i Auntie, we've all been ready for ten min- 
utes. What is the matter ?' I asked. 

" ' I can't find my other boot I've looked in 
every place,' was the answer. 
" ' Can't you wear another one ?' 
" ' I have none fit. Slippers will not do.' 
"So I began a search, and presently, the 
children, the servants and, at last, Uncle Bell 
himself, were called up to assist. 

" We looked in every imaginable place where 
the shoe might have been left or lost, but could 
not find it, and at last left Auntie, sitting for- 
lorn and puzzled in the middle of her room, 
while we set out, vexed and tired, for the 
funeral. Poor Uncle wore a grave, stern ex- 
pression of countenance all day, and we were 

Stories of a Governess. 






so awed by Iris silence and gloom, that we dared 
not talk to each other, and so we were very 
glad when the day was over and we could say 
good night. 

" Some weeks after, the shoe came to light. 
It was discovered in a bandbox, witk Auntie's 
best winter hat. How it came there will re- 
main among the mysteries, I suppose ; but that 
lost shoe made me determined to have a place 
for everything and keep everything in its place. 

" I think I shall never forget those long sum- 
mer days the fishing on the rocks, while the 
trees, leaning over the banks, left green, quiet 
shadows in the water the wandering hour after 
hour among the beautiful flowers and ferns, or 
the rowing in Willie's boat while he told us 
stories or sang to us. But though it was all so 
charming then, there is not much to tell you 
about it now. 

" My father had taught me to speak the truth. 
I scorned an approach to a lie, and many times 
I expressed my contempt for my cousins' dis- 
honorable proceedings in no very measured 


terms. Cora was timid and careless : it did not 
occur to her that many little words were wrong, 
that the intention to deceive made the lie, not 
the false statement itself and much trouble I 
made for myself and her by my anger at her 
disregard f)f truth. 

" I became so suspicious of her that, by-and- 
by, I doubted almost every word she uttered. 
Childlike, I did not consider that she had never 
had any training, that she had never had the 
lectures upon honor and frankness that I had 
received indeed, she scarcely knew the mean- 
ing of the words though she was good at heart. 

" Morning after morning I used to say to her, 

" ' Cora, aren't you going to say your 
prayers ?' as she was hastening down stairs 
without doing so. 

" ' Oh, I'll be late to breakfast, and papa will 
scold. At night is enough;' and down she 
would run, leaving the door open. Yexed by 
this, I used to get up and close it after her with 
a noise, and then my mind was not in a state 
for praying and reading. Sometimes I would 


find myself in the middle of my prayers, forget- 
ting the words in recalling her misdeeds, and, 
shocked at myself, I used to cry and think how 
far back I was going consoling myself always 
at the last, by laying the blame upon those 
around me. 

" Once poor Cora got into sad disgrace. I 
never think of that without a feeling of self-re- 
proach. Aunt Marion had sent her with a 
small pitcher to bring some cream from old 
Ricy, who kept the dairy. Cora came down 
with, a pretty silk apron on, and Auntie sent 
her to change it for a gingham one, telling her 
she might soil it. 

" I don't know how she came to be tempted 
to disobey; she was not usually a self-willed 
child ; but, instead of obeying, she put on two 
aprons, the gingham one over the silk, and as 
soon as she was out of sight of the house, took 
off the former, hiding it by the fence, intending 
to put it on when she came back. 

"She was gone a long time I remember it 
quite well. Willie had promised to take us all 


to a pic-nic in his boat when she returned, and 
I waited impatiently for her return. lie was to 
row us clown the river to a certain shady, cool 
place, and there we were to spend the day with 
a party of children from Newton. We had 
been looking forward to this time for weeks 
past, and had danced with joy when the day 
came so clear and bright. I watched and 
waited and fretted about her getting back, till I 
had worked myself quite into a state of excite- 
ment and indignation. 'I never saw anything 
so selfish so mean. She knows we can't go 
without her. She does it on purpose,' I said to 
grandmamma two or three times. 

" ' Don't be unjust, my dear. Settle yourself. 
You'll be tired before the time comes,' was all 
the answer I received, while the knitting-needles 

/ o 

continued to move as slowly as ever. How it 
fretted me! I felt it a positive injury that she 
did not care more that she could be so calm. 
At last, Cora appeared. She came into the 
yard, swinging the pitcher unconcernedly. J 
ran out to meet her. 


" ' What did keep you so long ?' I cried when 
slie was near enough to hear. 

" ' Have I been gone long ?' she asked so coolly 
as to provoke me beyond measure. 

" Of course you have ; we're all ready ; Wil- 
lie and the boys have gone down to the boat. 
Where's the cream ?' 

" ' I did not get any,' she answered in a low 
voice, flushing uneasily. 

" I did not believe her. I knew something 
was wron^, but I feared if aunt Marion sus- 

. O' 

pected anything it might delay us longer and 
it seemed to me then that I could not bear to be 
kepi ten minutes longer. I was in a fever of 
impatience already. 

" ( Go, get your bonnet, I'll tell Auntie,' I 
cried hastily, and Cora, with a look of relief, 
gave me the pitcher and ran up stairs. I car- 
ried it into the dining-room, and gave it to 
Auntie. ' Cora could not get any, Auntie,' T 
Baid, and I was conscious of looking guilty, so 
that I dared not raise my eyes. 

" ' Oh, I'm so sorry. But you have been good 


to wait so long now yon must go good-bye,' 
said kind Ann tie, and so she began to search 
through the spice-box with a puzzled expression 
on her face. I escaped for fear of being sent 
upon a search for something. Had I told a lie ? 
That fearful thought flashed through my soul 
like lightning as I shut the door, and I stopped 
with a loudly beating heart. How fearful it 
seemed ! How all the beautiful, glad day had 
changed ! 

u I half turned back. Like a flash, clear, as 
noon-day, it looked to me then that Cora had 
done some wrong, and that I for fear of losing 
my pleasure was helping her to deceive. Those 
words burnt themselves into my heart. I put 
my hand on the door-knob, and then the thought 
came ' What shall I say ? I have nothing to 
tell it will be mean to get her into trouble, 
when I know nothing.' 

" Ah ! but I did know. The fluttering lin- 
gers, the downcast eyes, the bright blush, had 
told me as plainly as words could tell, that all 
was not right. But a whistle, a shout of ' Come, 


girls !' made my blood dance again, and a great 
thrill of pleasure shot through me, as I ran 
swiftly out of the gate, forgetting every thing, 
eager only for the sport. Cora was coming out 
from behind the hedge of box as I passed 
through the garden. She started when she saw 

" ' Come, Cora quick, they are waiting/ I 
cried, running on. 

" ' What did mamma say ?' she asked, reach- 
ing my side. 

"I stopped short. 'Nothing, only that she 
was sorry,' I answered, scarcely daring to look 
at her. ' Cora, I hope you have not been doing 
any thing you know Auntie would send you 
back if you had, and then we should be late.' 

" I was scarcely conscious of what I did. If 
I had reflected at all, I should have shrunk in 
horror from persuading any one to deceive, and 
yet I said those words with the hope of frighten- 
ing her into silence lest we should miss our 
pleasure. I knew how easily she could be moved 

for good or evil. I though* nnly how we should 



miss our boating if she should be inclined to 
confess, and so I put a stop to any such inten- 
tions, effectually, by rousing her fears. Cora 

" i You must never tell, then, and mamma 
won't find out. I hid my apron, and Kicy will 
never think of the cream,' she said confiden- 

" A day, an hour ago, I should have repelled 
any efforts to make me an accomplice in a lie, 
with scorn, loathing, wrath ; but three handker- 
chiefs were waving for us to come, and shouts 
of * all aboard !' were borne to our ears from the 
river bank. I did not stop I did not even hes- 
itate busy whispers were at my heart, my face 
was flushed. I disregarded the reproaches of 
conscience. Deliberately, consciously, and with 
a clear knowledge of what my sin was, I stepped 
into the boat. A few strokes of the oars, and 
with a long breath of relief, I told myself, it was 
too late. 

" We were wild with delight the boat glided 
on so swiftly, the sky was cloudless the birds 


seemed too happy to sing, and the bright sun- 
shine gilded tree and rock and water and then, 
as we turned at a bend in the shore, a white 
tent appeared, and groups of children shouted 
welcome to us. We had music, refreshments, 
and games, and the hours passed only too swiftly. 

" I shall always remember Willie's kindness 
in amusing the smallest, settling all troubles, and 
inventing new pleasures for us that day. He 
was the life of the party, and with his merry 
ways made many friends among the little ones. 
I was so full of excitement that I had no time 
to think, but towards evening a quieter time 
came, and I sat down apart. 

" Cora was near by in a ring of girls and 
boys, shouting with pleasure, her limbs and face 
all alive with play, and then I grew sad. What 
was it worth ? It was all gone, nearly over 
now the laughing and sport but the pain of 
the sin still remained it had been there all 
day, like a shadow haunting me, but I would not 
think of it. I had had my will and did it 
satisfy 2 


" Presently there was a call. 

" f Come, Mary, Cora, Robbie, Johnnie, we 
are all ready come,' and Willie appeared with 
Nellie in his arms. 

" ' Oh ! just a little longer, Willie,' cried Cora, 
' do it is so early.' 

" ' No, not a minute ; Auntie bade us come 
before the dew had fallen ;' and off he marched. 

" We knew there was no use in saying one 
word, but the spirit of naughtiness was strong 
within us, and we pouted and grumbled much 
at being obliged to leave before the rest. In the 
boat, there was a gentleman, who gave me a 
seat beside him, and said he had just come from 
Italy, and that he had seen papa. He was a 
Mr. Percy, and was going with us to make a 
visit at uncle Bell's. When he mentioned papa, 
a whole flood of feeling came into my heart ; I 
could not say a word. I looked clown at the 
water and shut my lips tight. 

" i He was in an old tower, with hills purple 
hills all about him, and a white mountain not 
far off. There was a valley, too, and a glimpse 


of the deep blue sea. The air is always soft 
and the sky, the sunshine makes one think of 
heaven.' This he said to Willie. 

" Oh, the great aching and longing that came 
upon me ! the yearning for one touch of that 
dear hand, for a glimpse of that 'blue sea' which 
shut him out from me ! It was so sore that I 
could scarce keep from sobbing. But I could 
not ask if he were well. I could not trust my 
voice, and he must have taken my silence for 
indifference, as presently, he began to speak of 
something else, and we went floating on with 
that hungering in my heart for more tidings of 
dear papa in his tower. 

" I thought of him as looking out upon the 
white mountain with the glory of the sunset on 
it, and the sea dancing, and I wondered if his 
heart ached for me as mine did for him ; and 
then the dreary time of our separation stretched 
out and lengthened till it seemed unending, and 
I had almost cried out in the anguish of my 
longing. The tears were dropping one by one 

into the water, and the dreamv talk of the 



others went on till we readied the shore. Mr. 
Percy took no further notice of me, as I saw 
with much pain ; he thought I did not care for 
papa, and so I walked up to the house, listening 
feverishly for one word more of Italy. 



'HE evening passed away ; I lingered 
for a word; but though there was 
^ much talk, I still remained unsatis- 
fied. I was restless, impatient. 

" * Come, Mary, we're going to play in the 
dark dining-room,' said Robbie, after tea, and 
while the elders were all gathered in the parlor. 

" ' No, don't trouble me,' I answered shortly, 
afraid, of losing a word of the conversation. 

" ' You need not take my head off for asking 
you,' said Robbie, running off in anger, and my 
face flushed as I saw both Willie and the stran- 
ger glance towards me. I was very sorry ; I 
liked Robbie ; though sensitive, he was kind to 
me, and we had never quarrelled. My first im- 
pulse was to run after him and tell him I did 
not mean to be cross, when the fear that the 


coveted news might "be told in my absence, re- 
strained me. I waited and listened and grew 
weary with hoping. My nerves had been so 
excited all day, that the slightest sound which 
might prevent my catching every word, caused 
me to start and flush. The children were bois- 
terous, the noise of their play came through the 
hall. I closed the door quickly and impatiently 
and hastened back to my station. 

" ' Don't shut the door, Mary,' said aunt Ma- 
rion. 'Why don't you go and play with the 
rest ?' 

' I don't want to play,' I answered pettishly. 
6 Then you must be tired you had better go 
to bed. Willie, ring the bell, please.' 

" ' No,' I cried passionately, in a heat at this 

interruption, 'no, I am not tired.' 

" I watched for the striking of the clock. I 
knew that at eight we must all retire. There 
would be no help for it then, and I listened as if 
my doom were to be sounded. John came in 
with the letters, the nurse carried baby away 
I knew it was almost time. I was on the rack, . 



my eyes were wide open, my cheek burned, my 
ear almost ached, my heart fluttered I held my 
hands tightly clasped. 

" * There ! clear and prompt, one, two till 
eight strokes rang out, and the children filed in, 
flushed and sleepy, to say good-night. I un 
clasped my fingers ; nerveless, weak and trem- 
bling, I tottered to aunt Marion the unnatural 
strain had relaxed and left me ready to drop. I 
looked up at her imploringly, saying : % 

u ' Oh ! Auntie, let me stay a little longer ;' 

and waited for her answer, as if my life hung on 
her words. 

" i ISTo, my dear, you will be ill you look 
wretched now; I should think this day was 
enough. Are you never satisfied ?' 

" Something in my throat choked me, the 
tears began to come, they rained over my 
cheeks. I must stay. 

" i Just a little longer, Auntie oh, please.' 

" ' Well ,' began Auntie, relentingly, but 

the rest cried out, indignantly, 

" ' Then we'll stay too ; 'tisn't fair.' 


" ' How can you be so foolish, Marion ? Send 
those children all to bed. Mary don't know 
what is best for her, 5 interposed Uncle, and we 
were sent away. I ran up to my room ; I threw 
myself on the floor ; I panted, and sobbed, and 

" * Oh, papa, papa, take me away ; I cannot, 
cannot bear it. Oh, I cannot so cruel so 
wicked. Oh, papa, papa !' 

" 'Why what is the matter f inquired Cora, 
with much concern. 

" ' Oh,' said Robbie, who had come to the 
door at the prospect of a scene, ' this is our nice, 
good girl our pattern, grandmamma said : but 
you see she can be like other people when she 
gets her temper up.' 

" Conviction came to me. I ceased to sob. I 
answered not a word to his taunts, though they 
cut deep, for right sure was I that he never 
would have uttered them, but for the one unkind 
word I had given him in the evening, in return 
for his kindness. Surely every wrong word or 
thought or deed, or even look, brings its own 


punishment and who can count the harm 
wrought by once giving up to anger ? the 
harm not only to ourselves but to others ? My 
forge tf ulness, my impatience was causing my 
cousin to sin grievously to go to sleep with 
anger in his heart, instead of lifting it to God 
in prayer. 

" I was not yet willing to yield. This desirp 
to know of my dear father's welfare was turn- 
ing into a strong purpose of having my own 
will. Self-will was my bane, though I was only 
half conscious of it. My own way, my own 
wishes, seemed best. My dear father's gentle, 
loving sway had never seemed irksome. I had 
known nothing of this germ of evil in my own 
neart, which was to grow and blossom and bear 
fruit in anger, in wrong doing, in deceit and 
so had not yet strength to resist it. The weed 
was taking root firmly, displacing the flowers of 
gentleness, truth, obedience, slowly but surely, 
and poisoning my thoughts of duty to God and 
man with its breath. I had been conquered by 
it in all the deeds of that day. 



" I undressed myself, inwardly chafing against 
wliat I was pleased to think Uncle Bell's op- 
pression, and contrasting papa's indulgence with 
it. * He would not have made me come up 
here, when I wanted so to hear it all,' I said to 
myself, with the hot tears on my cheeks. i He 
would not have been so cruel, so unkind. I 
will not stay here I will write to him to-mor- 
row. They are all so wicked so wrong I 
shall be like them if I stay. I am getting like 
them now,' I continued, with a sudden fear that 
struck me like a chill, and I paused, and threw 
myself on my knees, and poured out a fervent 
prayer to be kept, through God's mercy, in the 
straight path. 

" Wave after wave of sorrow, trouble, self-re- 
proach, and penitence passed over me. 

" I had hated them ; and the vision of our 
Holy Saviour, bleeding, suffering, praying for 
his murderers, rose before me. 

" They had been kind to me most kind, 
most indulgent. Because their ways were not 
my ways, must they be condemned ? and I had 


cast them off in my arrogance, thinking I could 
govern myself. 

" How could they guess what feelings of 
yearning and love, and what agony of expecta- 
tion had been in my heart all the evening ? 
The wrong lay in my own thoughts kindness 
made them insist upon my going up stairs at 
the right hour. Must they not have thought it 
weariness that prevented my joining the plays 
of the others \ 

" Oh, how humbled I felt. And that cross 
word to Robbie could I ever wipe out the evil 
it had done ? Could I ever get back the love 
he had given me so freely before ? Oh, sad, sad 
thought ! The anger, and taunting, and neg- 
lected prayers, were they not written in God's 
great book ? It was my sin mine. I fancied 
my poor cousin, trembling before God's awful 
look, and the sin caused by my impatience 
brought before him. And had I not brought 
shame on Christ ? I who called myself his 
child, and said I lived by his rule, and yet could 

bear up no better than that ? 



" I took m j candle, and crossing the hall, I 
knocked at my cousin's door. Robbie opened 
it. His eyes were red he had been weeping. 
I was so touched that, for a moment, the words 
would not come ; then I said : 

" ' Oh, Robbie, I am so sorry I was cross this 
evening. I wanted to hear about papa, and I 
was so afraid your speaking to me would make 
me miss something. Indeed, I'm sorry.' 

" ' Never mind I was more cross to you 
I'm sorry, too,' was his answer. 

" ' It was so wicked in me and and I was 
afraid you would not say your prayers right 
when you were angry,' I continued, afraid to 
look at him. 

"'I will now. Don't worry. Good night;' 
and he shut the door, pretending to be gruff 
that he might not show how much he felt. 

" I was almost happy now ; but I thought I 
should keep awake till aunt Marion came up 
stairs, that I might tell her of my sorrow for not 
obeying her promptly. When I went back, 
Cora was tossing about restlessly on the bed, 


her face was burning hot she muttered words 
in her troubled sleep. 

" ' In the large bush of box- wood,' she mut- 
tered, as I leaned down to hear. ' I meant to 
tell but- ' here she moaned and seemed dis- 
tressed, her brow contracted into a frown, and 
then a look of pain crossed her face. ' Mary 
was in such a hurry,' she said. She was quiet a 
moment, and then began again : ' you might 
scold I did think at first oh- 

" In her sleep she was thinking of it that 
wrong at which I had guessed, and which, at 
one word from me, she would have confessed at 
first. I had not given her credit for conscien- 
tiousness. I thought she had forgotten the 
whole thing. Here was another growth in my 
harvest of the day's wrong doing. Oh, what 
was I to do ? 

" ' Cora, Cora, wake up. Tell me, what was 
it? "What is it? Let us go down to Aunt 

"I shook her in my fright, but she only 
turned and muttered, and would not wake. I 


lay down in sore distress I could only wait in 
patience, I durst not go down stairs. Presently, 
sight and sound and troubled thought faded 
away, and I was asleep "before I knew that I 
was growing sleepy. 

" I had been dreaming uneasily, and woke 
with a start of fright. A great weight was upon 
me the events of the day, the sin and pain and 
weariness flashed upon me and were almost too 
grievous to be borne. 

u I could not tell what time it was but the 
feeling that I must tell all to aunt Marion was 
strong upon me. I heard no sound in the house 
-perhaps they had all retired my natural 
timidity made me tremble at the thought of the 
stillness of the house. The moon was shining 
brightly its rays were streaming in at my win- 
dow, and shadows lay silently on the wall and 
about the floor. 

" Cora was asleep still. I could not bear it. 
I thought I should 2:0 down the hall and listen 

~ o 

at aunt Marion's door, hoping to find her awake, 
that I might tell her. I listened a moment, 


holding my breath. It seemed so lonely that I 
feared to rise ; there was a sound like the click- 
ing of a key in the lock, then a stirring, mur- 
muring sound, as if a "breeze were passing. I 
lifted my head, noiselessly, but my heart flut- 
tered with fear, a faintness came over me, ter- 
ror kept me still, I could not have screamed if 
I had tried. 

" At the foot of my bed was a door opening 
into a room which was never used, and very 
seldom entered. There was a sort of closeness 
and dreariness about it even in the day time- 
and none of us cared to open the door. Xow 
and then, I had stolen in, on tip-toe, to look at 
some cast-off pictures on the wall, or to hide 
with my book from Cora's teasing ; but such a 
proceeding was of rare occurrence and only took 
place on sunshiny days. 

" I was always particularly careful to lock the 
door upon retiring, and had with my own hand 
turned the key before getting into bed that even- 
ing, ^Tow the door stood wide open there was 
a blank, black space in the white wall. I stared 


with eyes wide open in horror, but in a moment 
fell back faint with the relief. It was the foot 
of our French bedstead. The dark mahogany, 
being between me and the door, gave it the ap- 
pearance of being open. 

u Trembling and chilled with the fright, in my 
nervous, feverish state, ready to start at every 
sound, every shadow, I rose, and stepping tim- 
idly, felt my way along the hall, carefully, 
quietly, praying God to keep me. I reached the 
head of the steps and looked down into the 
black, empty hall below. There was no sound, 
but from the library door a little stream of light 
wandered and wavered over the carpet. 

" Going on softly, scarcely breathing, I reach- 
ed the door and looked in. I cannot tell you 
what I felt at the sight which met my eyes. I 
could not have moved or spoken if I had tried, 
so great was the terror which seized me. 

" There was a lighted lamp on the window 
seat, and a tall woman was busily taking books 
from the shelves and piling them in the middle 
of the room. She was dressed in a long white 


wrapper, and her hair streamed nearly to her 
feet. Her face was towards me. I saw that her 
eyes were black and large, and there was a wild 
expression in them. 

" Presently she ceased in her work, and, light- 
ing a taper, put it to the books. Then, the 
spell was broken ! I don't know how I reached 
aunt Marion's room, but I remember shrieking 
at the top of my voice and fleeing as if wings 
were on my feet. Such agony of fear I am sure 
I never can feel again. I burst into the room, 
I threw myself trembling, panting, cowering, on 
the bed only able to sob out, k In the library- 
oh ! a woman she is burning the books.' 

" That is all I remembered of what took place 
then, but in the morning I saw the woman 
again, and spoke to her, even touched her hand 
gently, and kissed her cheek, though a good 
many of my favorite books lay blackened and 

t/ t/ t/ 

charred on the floor of the library. The long 
hair was bound up, and the wild, black eyes 
were very sad now, oh, so sad, so wistful, so 
full of dumb questioning, like those of some 


beautiful, caged animal ; and she sat with her 
hands clasped, looking down, very pale, grief- 
worii and quiet. 

" But after a while they took her away again. 
he was my aunt, my mother's sister, and had 
been insane for years. She had been taken to 

an asylum, but escaped occasionally from her 
keepers and returned to her old home. They 


tried to keep her there, but she was better away 
from her friends, and though years had passed 
they had never given up the hope of her recov- 


5--:> CX,^ 

i: ^ IB HEN morning came, the fears and 


troubles of the night passed away 

a m i s t? and I felt less inclined 
to tell aunt Marion my short-comings. In the 
excitement about the crazy girl, I forgot it 
almost entirely, and indeed she was so busy that 
I had no opportunity of speaking to her alone. 
So, when the bustle was over and my whisperings 
of conscience returned, I made that an excuse to 
myself and tried to dismiss the whole matter 
from my mind. 

" But how surely our sin finds ns out ! how 
one spot on our souls, not washed clean by re- 
pentance, spreads itself and poisons the good in 
us : and one step taken in the wrong path leads 
to another and another, till we are sinking hope- 
lessly in the mire of mistakes and sin, and lose 


time and strength in struggling back to the 
broad, clean way, if indeed the mire be not too 
deep for our force, and we remain there ever 
going deeper and deeper. 

" Remember, dear children, to pluck out, by 
the grace of Jesus, every root of sin and keep a 
clear conscience ; don't let any stain rest there, 
or it blackens the whole. And then, think, is 
the pain, the embarrassment of confession, equal 
to the fear of being found out, the depression, 
the stings of conscience which last so long ? 

" Mr. Percy remained all that day, and I had 
the satisfaction of hearing all about papa. If I 
had but had patience to wait. I was angry with 
Cora, for having been the cause of my discom- 
fort ; I avoided her, feeling guilty ; and as for 
her, she moped alone almost the whole day. 

" After a while, grandmamma called me to 
her room and told me my mother's story my 
poor, dear, young mother ! She could not tell 
it without many tears, neither could I listen un- 
moved, and it seemed to me that I had lived a 
life-time in hearing it. 



" My father was a lieutenant in the army. 
He and my mother were very young when they 
met each other, and they became much attached. 
There was so much opposition to their marriage, 
for many reasons' one, their youth, another, 
my father's profession that at last, unhappily, 
they disobeyed their parents and displeased their 
friends by marrying secretly. 

" Soon after, papa was ordered with his regi- 
ment to Florida, to fight the Indians, and my 
delicate young mother accompanied him. Her 
friends had never forgiven her, never seen her ; 
and grandmamma wept when she told me what 
she fancied must have been my mother's grief 
at leaving her home without a word of tender- 
ness for those whom she had loved so dearly. 
But she went, and months passed without any 
tidings from her. 

" At last there came a letter, telling of my 
birth, and then they longed to see her again. 
The yearning was so sore that grandmamma 
would have gone herself, had it been possible. 
That being out of the question, Aunt Millicent, 



her twin sister, whose light-hearteclness had left 
her when my mother went away, determined to 
go. They had friends in Florida, and she conld 
make her home with them ; so it was arranged. 

" In the mean time my mother fancied that 
but one thing was wanting to her perfect happi- 
ness. She lived in garrison, and was the light 
of the old colonel's eyes, as well as of her hus- 
band's. Gay and simple-hearted, full of child- 
ish spirits and happiness, they could think but 
little of their hardships where her bright, fair 
face appeared. 

" At last the tidings that the home hearts had 
melted for her, that her dearest sister was on 
her way to meet her, came to her, being the 
one thino- she craved to make life beautiful to 


her. Aunt Millicent was to travel with a party 
bringing supplies and reinforcements to the gar- 
rison, thinking it the safer plan. 

" A party was sent out to meet them, on 
the day upon which they were expected. My 
mother, in the gaiety of her heart, begged to 
be of the company; and as the Indians had 


been quiet for some time, my father allowed her 
to go. He could not accompany her, being 
officer of the day, and saw her mount her horse 
and ride off laughing in the sunshine without a 
thought of the grief which was to fall upon him 
like a thunder-bolt before night. 

" Several hours afterwards a horse came gal- 
lopping back to the garrison, riderless, and when 
my father saw it he fell to the ground as if a 
bullet had struck him. It was the horse my 
mother had ridden. It was not long before 
they went in search of those who had set out so 
fearlessly in the morning, with sad forebodings. 
They scarcely hoped to find the remains of any ; 
it was the habit of the Indians to mutilate fear- 
fully the bodies of those slain by them, and the 
agony of all was increased by the thoughts of 
the tender young form hacked and torn by the 

" Yery soon they reached the spot where the 
work of death, had been clone. Three bodies 
lay upon the ground, and at some distance, un- 
der a tree, to which he had dragged himself with 



much pain, lay a soldier mortally wounded. 
They gathered round him. Close at his side, 
with his hat over her face, lay niy dead mother, 
shot through the heart. The soldier could just 

" ' Lieutenant,' said he, ' I would have pro- 
tected your lady with my last drop of blood : 
they would have had to tear me to pieces before 
they should have taken her body.' 

" And when the strong men around, w T ith 
tears on their cheeks, lifted the hat, there was 
the young face, with almost a smile parting the 
lips. Before they had left the place, the rest of 
the party returned from pursuing the Indians, 
and they heard the particulars of the sad event. 

" It seems, as they were riding along gaily, 
not dreaming of danger, the Indians fired upon 
them from the woods, and killed one man. My 
mother, in terror, sprang from her horse, and 
attempted to reach the baggage wagon, think- 
ing she would be safer in that, but as she was 
running towards it, a bullet struck her, and 
she fell instantly dead. The men rallied and 


turned, and the few Indians, taking alarm lest 
there should be help for the whites at hand, fled. 

" The wounded soldier died on the way back, 
and when my aunt arrived in the afternoon, 
she saw only my mother's dead face, and found 
only a deaf ear, into which she poured all the 
tardy messages of love and forgiveness from 

" Neither Aunt Millicent nor my father ever 
entirely recovered from the shock. My father's 
poor health and spirits were caused by this 
grief in the beginning of his life, and he shut 
himself up with his child, refusing to see any of 
my mother's family for years : it was not until 
he was going to Europe that he had any inter- 
course with them. 

" Aunt Millicent was so shattered, so shocked, 
by this dreadful occurrence, that her nerves 
never recovered from it. She was morbid, ail- 
ing, and delicate for a long time ; and, taking to 
heart a great disappointment which happened 
to her several years after, she became hopelessly 


" i My dear,' said my grandmother, when she 
had finished her story, ' let not the sun go down 
upon your wrath.' You cannot tell what sor- 
row and punishment the morning may bring 
you. The pride and stubbornness of age need 
severer lessons to train them into gentleness and 
patience than the same faults in youth and 
so surely, for every fault, God sends a pain to 
cure it.' 

"And how inexpressibly I was touched ! My 
dear father ! I resolved that in the future, 
nothing that the most loving care, the utmost 
devotion to every wish, could do towards making 
his days brighter, should be left undone and 
Paradise seemed not so far off now, because I 
knew that there waited for us both, the bright- 
eyed, gentle, young mother, whose kisses and 
glances I had never consciously received. And 
so another evening came, and I forgot the yes- 
terday resolutions in nay new thoughts. 


next day Cora was sick. She lay 
in bed, moaning in a feeble way, her 

<X^* face very much flushed, her lips dry 
and parched. She was very ill, they 
said, and the doctor was sent for. My first 
thought was that she would die with her sin 

" So she lay in a kind of stupor for many 
days. There was silence, or only whispers 
and soft steps over the house, and we neither 
laughed nor played. It was very solemn and 
strange. Once, when the door was ajar, I 
caught a glimpse in the darkened room of a hot 
face on the pillows, and a shorn head bound 
with white bandages. 

And thus the time passed. Every morning I 

woke in a fright, thinking the pale messenger 



had come in the night ; and at each assurance, 
' She still lives,' my spirits rose, until night and 
gloom coming again, I became sad and fearful. 
And then we wondered what death was, and it 
seemed to our young lives very dreadful, and 
we sat pale and grieving together over our 
many unkindnesses to Cora, thinking if she 
were only well, only with us once more, that we 
could never be vexed with her again. 

" I had been sitting alone in the library, one 
afternoon, trying to forget my pain in a book. 
The blinds were down, there was only a glim- 
mer of light here and there, and the gloom, the 
stillness, grew so deep that I went out into the 
sunshine, looking for life to take my thoughts 
from death. 

" There was Cora's pretty Italian greyhound, 
Fairy, on the piazza. She put her pretty head 
into my hands, looking wistfully into my face, 
as if asking for her mistress. I could not bear 
that. I went into the garden. There was her 
flower bed, full of weeds, and the buds were 
withering for want of water. I began to pluck 


out the weeds, working zealously, glad to do 
something for her and resolved to tend her 
garden till she was well. 

" The old white-haired gardener came near 
while I was thus employed. He shook his head. 

" ' Poor Miss Cora ! I 'spect she won't w^ork 
no more in this garden.' 

"He was an old man, bent and worn. To 
have seen the child's and his figure moving 
together about those walks a month ago, who 
would have dreamed the lighter, younger form 
must lie low first ? 

" ' We're in the Lord's hands,' said the old 
man, looking upward. 'I did not think her 
time would come first ;' and he hobbled on. I 
watched him. It seemed strange to rne to see 
him so content. Day after day, he plodded 
on in the same dull routine. I never saw him 
without that same sense of wondering pity. 
He did not read, he could not play, he worked, 
worked from morning till night. What was 
life to him ? I asked myself. Presently he came 
limping back, he held something in his hand. 


4 1 got this in the biggest bush of box. It is an 
apron, isn't it ?' 

" Yes ; it was Cora's little silk apron, with the 
greasy spots from the spilt cream on it. I took 
it into my hand with such a pain shooting 
through my very heart, tears rushed to my eyes, 
and I could scarcely stand. And the thought 
that she was now near the threshold of that un- 
seen world, where all must render an account of 
the deeds done in the body, made me shudder 
with dismay. 

u I did not know what to do. Words cannot 
describe my feelings of self-reproach, the pain 
of knowing that / had prevented her from easing 
, her conscience by confession. I went back to 
the house, carrying the apron. Aunt Marion, 
in her white wrapper, passed quickly along the 
hall, with ice on a plate for the sick-room, too 
anxious to think of any one but her suffering 

u While I was still standing there, she re- 
turned. Tears were on her cheeks She came 
to me and clasped me in her arms, sobbing. ' I 


cannot bear it it seems too hard,' she said. See- 
ing what I held in my hand, the weeping was 

" i Where did you find her apron poor, dear 
Cora T she asked, after a while, touching it ten- 
derly, almost reverently, as we do the veriest 
trine belonging t < the dead. 

o o 

" ' Baines found it in the garden, Auntie,' I 
answered, looking down. The opportunity was 
near for making my confession. 

" ' In the garden ? How could it have come 
there?' said Auntie, still smoothing out the 
creases with her gentle fingers, the tears drop- 
ping all the while. 

" I did not answer. Aunt Marion looked up 
at my silence, she saw my tears, my pale cheeks, 
my down-cast looks. ' Do you know any thing 
about it, Mary ?' she asked. 

" ' Yes. Cora put it there,' I said, ' in the 
box- wood the day of the pic-nic;' and then, 
with tears and broken words, I told her all. She 
listened without saying a word ; but it was pain- 
ful to see the mother's face, flushing, paling, full 


of pain. She rang for Kiev, who came in a 
moment or two. 

" ' Did you give Miss Cora cream the day the 
children had their pic-nic, Ricy ? I sent her for 
some in the morning,' said Auntie. 

" ' Yes, 'pears like I did,' answered Ricy, 
meditating. c Yes, Missis, I did ; bressed lamb ! 
and she had that bery apurn on, 'cause I thought 
she'd spill de cream on't, an' tole her so. Laws, 
'taint no countin' on life dese yer days ; to see 

her then, so peart, and now ,' and Ricy, at a 

gesture from my aunt, went away in tears. 

" ' If she had only told me of it if she 
had only said one word of sorrow for her 
faults, one word, it would not have seemed 
so hard,' moaned Auntie, rocking herself to 
and fro. 

" ' Oh ! Auntie, I think she meant to tell you 

/ / 

she talked about it in her sleep, she was 
troubled, she did not seem the same afterwards : 
but but- and then I faltered out my own 
share in the guilt, and told her of Cora's hesita- 
tion, and of my fear that we should be late, and 


of offering to tell about the cream while Cora 
ran for her bonnet, being afraid she would con- 
fess and so delay us. 

" My gentle aunt's look of displeasure, her 
repellent gesture and cold words : ' I must 
go to my child and leave you to your 
thoughts ; they cannot be pleasant ones,' were 
bitter indeed to bear. Surely my sin had 
found me out. 

" So she went up stairs again, and left me in 
my grief alone. It seemed as if the sun never 
could shine again that a great black cloud had 
shut out my sky, and there was nothing but 
despair in the world. And so I lay there, too 
sad to weep, only choking and sobbing, till Wil- 
lie came and carried me into his own cool room, 
and with gentle words soothed me, till I had 
poured out my grief to him and so lightened the 

" He told me I must not mourn so, and 
showed me that I must not follow my own will 
even in this, since it was that self-will which 
caused all my troubles. In his beautiful way, 


he told me where the wrong lay, and pointed 
to the one safe path for avoiding pitfalls and 
thickets, and before the hour was spent, stilled 
even my cries at the thought of Cora's dying 
saying, ' God's will must be our will, and we 
dare not murmur.' 

" Willie himself sat by my bedside till I went 
to sleep, and he it was that brought Aunt 
Marion to kiss me before I closed my eyes. It 
was a very tender kiss, for anger and bitter feel- 
ing melt away in the presence of death, and her 
heart was stirred too deeply to wish to inflict 
pain on one already suffering. 

" Daylight was streaming into my room when 
I opened my eyes. I heard the birds singing, 
the doves cooing, and busy sounds of life every- 
where. I dressed myself, and the cheerful light 
drove away the sadness of the day before 
Surely one need not fear under such a sky and 
such a sunshine. 

"I opened my door and glided noiselessly 
down stairs. I passed Aunt Marion's door. 
Grandmamma was kneeling by the bed, and 


Uncle Bell stood at the window with his back 
towards me. Fairy was whining at the door of 
the sick room. The front door was open ; there 
came in a fresh smell of pure air and new hay 
from outside, and I heard a laugh from the 
lawn. A face one, two, three, ^Nellie's, Rob- 
bie's, Willie's appeared. There were smiles 
and tears both on them, and in joyful tones, 
they poured into my ear the good tidings, 
' Cora is better.' 

" So she was. In a week we gathered about 
her as she reclined in her chair, pale and quiet, 
and we brought her June roses, June cherries, 
and young, downy June chickens to inspect 
enchanted at winning a smile, and ready to run 
at her slightest bidding. 

" But the lesson taught me through pain and 
suspense lasted all the time of my stay there ; 
and patience and self-denial, with a whole train 
of good feelings, came out of Cora's illness and 

" She, too, was changed. When winter came, 

and I went to boarding-school, we bade each 



other good-bye with real sorrow, and we have 
continued friends all the years of onr life. 

"I think neither of us will ever forget the 
spilt cream,- the picnic, and the little silk apron. 


H, Miss Lane, is that all?" cried the 
children. "Please tell us the rest. 
What became of Willie ? and did 
your papa come back ?" 

Jennie's silks were untangled, and Mr. Gra- 
ham's eyes were wide open ; but bed time had 
come for Tan and Rosie, and so they had to be 
satisfied for that evening. 

Christmas came and went. Allie Ross and 
her mother were made happy, and Lillie finished 
the stockings. Poor Jennie succeeded only in 
finishing her " odds and ends" by New Year, 
and very sad and dispirited she grew over the 
work many times ; but when it was over, and 
she began fresh and with a clear conscience, she 
was glad of the discipline. 

Christmas Day did not seem dull, though not 


a single present filled the stocking of any, Mr. 
Graham had no idea of making the sacrifice in- 
complete : he intended that his children should 
feel what self-denial meant, and learn to prac- 
tise it. 

It was some time before Miss Lane finished 
her " Life," as the little ones called it. It was 
rather a mild day one of the January thawing 
ones before they heard the whole. 

"Did your cousin Robbie get to be a good 
boy, Miss Lane," asked Rosie, while they were 
all in the parlor, before evening came on. 

" Yes. I told you about my cousin Robbie 
when I first came here. It was he that wan- 
dered in the snow, trying to escape from the In- 
dians in ]^ew Mexico." 

" Oh, what a pity !" 

" I don't know, my dears ; he did his work, 
and God gave him rest," was the answer. 

"It seems sad to die, though." 

" ISTot to every body, my children." 

"And Johnnie and Nellie, and Cora and 
Willie ?" 


" Johnnie is a dignified gentleman now, very 
rich, very honorable, with a beautiful wife, and 
two pet children that call me Auntie. Cora 
married a clergyman, and is in China, teaching 
the heathen : she is very noble, very true, and 
full of zeal. 

" Little ISTellie grew to be a lovely woman, so 
very bright and happy that it lightened one's 
heart to look at her. She stepped as if treading 
on air, and was full of music, playing and sing- 
ing through life, with a promise of joy in her 
future. Every body loved Nellie Bell, and ad- 
mired her as we do some beautiful, rare flower, 
thinking her about as fit as a blossom to bear 
the ills and cares of life. And yet JN r ellie was 
the heroine of the family, caring for her mother, 

/ / O 

who grew blind, with the most beautiful tender- 
ness, bearing the burden of her papa's morose- 
ness and repinings, and putting away, with a 
sublime self-sacrifice, all the fair and lovely 
dreams that must have filled her heart, to be the 
comforter and helper of their old age. 

" By and by, uncle Bell lost his property, and 



Nellie generously gave up her own dowry, left 
by her grandmother, to support him wearing a 
plain dress, when she delighted in gay colors 
and soft fabrics ; giving up her books, her pony, 
her music, and doing many tilings with her own 
dainty fingers, that they might not miss the ser- 
vants, some of whom she was obliged to dismiss. 

" And her natural gayety softened into the 
loveliest, calmest content. Her eyes grew deep 
and radiant, and her lips smiled always ; her 
brow was as smooth too as ever, and nothing 
could change the child look of ingenuousness in 
her face. 

" I think I have never seen anything so pure 
and sweet as her ways. She seems living ever 
near to God, taking blessings from His hand, 
and when He sends sorrow, smiling with the 
same patience ; because both alike come from 
her Father. 

" A few years ago, there was a new joy in her 
life, and the cup was dashed from her lip as she 
was about to drink it. A sudden death came to 
one who was to have been her husband, death 


irom home, when lie was not dreaming of it, 
and while she was even waiting and watching 
for him day by day. 

" She was waiting for the words, He is here,' 
and they told her, ' He is dead '- -and the strange 
event, threatened to put out the light and 
warmth in her young heart for a time ; but it 
brightened again, and she took up her duties 
vvitn patience, sweetness, peace, even happiness, 
because God is good, and his presence in the 
world is beautiful, because a long life teaches us 
much, and we must thank the Giver for it." 

" How very sad," said the children. 

" You would not call her sad, if you were to 
see her. She, I am sure, would not have her 
lot changed." 

"And you and Willie?" suggested the chil- 
dren, after a pause. 

" I am here, my dear," continued Miss Lane 
with a little sigh, looking thoughtfully out of the 
window. " You know all about me. My fate, 
I suppose, was to tell you stories. I never saw 
my dear father again alive. In the next spring, 


he sailed for home, he died on the sea, and they 
buried him in the water. It was very hard to 
bear at first. To this day, I have not recovered 
from the yearning for one more touch of his 
hand, one more sound of his voice. It seemed 
as if I were dying of hunger for a sight of his 
face once more, and I grew so pale and weak 
that every body feared for my life. It seemed 
as if my soul's food had been taken away, and I 
pined for many months, till a good man, even 
dear, gentle Willie, showed me my sin in griev- 
ing so much, and I tried again to lift up my 

" And when I finished my education, because 
there was other need greater than mine, I gave 
up my little fortune, and took this work of teach- 
ing upon myself. Willie is your Dr. Sprague." 

" Our Dr. Sprague ! our Dr. Sprague your 
Willie ! Hurrah ! Papa, Dr. Sprague is Miss 
Lane's Willie !" cried the children, running to 
the door as Mr. Graham appeared. 

" Whose Willie am I ?" said a voice, speaking 
from out the depths of a great-coat, as another 


gentleman appeared behind their papa ; and four 
young forms were held tight in a strong pair of 
arms, as their turns came. 

" Do you know Miss Lane ?" inquired Lillie, 
when, tea being over and some degree of quiet- 
ness restored, she sat curiously watching the two 
faces of her friends. 

" Yes, a little," answered the gentleman, nod- 
ding and smiling in a wonderfully contented 


A moment after all were moved to mirth, as 
little Rosie said, deliberately bringing out her 
words, as if she had come to the conclusion after 
much study, and looking meditatively into Miss 
Lane's face,: 

" I think she likes him yet Willie, I mean." 

On the next day, they learned that in the 
spring, Miss Lane would have her own home 
and fireside, to which, she assured them, when 
their tears fell at the thought of parting with 
her, they would ever be welcome. 

Many new lessons were learned during those 
winter months, habits of order were acquired, 


and self-control became no longer so difficult to 

Though Jennie did not become a model of 
neatness and punctuality, she did much in the 
way of improvement, and learned to subdue her 
temper, though tried severely. 

Lillie, too, and Frank found there was another 
ruler than their own will, and made a good be- 
ginning in the straight, narrow way, before Miss 
Lane departed, her dear face looking fairer and 
brighter than ever to her ardent admirers, the 
young Grahams.