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THE NEW YORK
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of a Governess.
ST O EIE S
OF A GOVERNESS.
MISS ANNIE FISLER.
PBOTESTANT EPISCOPAL SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION .
AND CHURCH BOOK DEPOSITORY,
. - >
s , . . .
> ' ' > > ,
THE NEW YOKK
ASTOR. LENOX AM]
according to Act
of Congress, in the year
1865, by the GENERAL PHOT
EBTANT EPISCOPAL SUNDAY
SCHOOL UNION AND CHURCH
BOOK SOCIETY, in the Clerk's
Office of the District, Court
of the United States, for the
Southern District of
, , , , I
PUBLISHED THROUGH THE
OFFEEINGS OF THE SUNDAY SCHOOL OF
S1MKS M A UOTE1NISS.
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
6 STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STOEIES OF A GOVEENESS. 7
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
8 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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.
STOEIES OF A GOVEKNESS. 9
" 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.
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.
10 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
James came with candles, and then the exam-
ination beg-an. Miss Lane was not old, neither
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-
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,"
" 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-
12 STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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.
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 13
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
" 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."
14 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" 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."
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 16
" 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
16 STORIES OP A GOVERNESS.
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,
STORIES OP A GOVERNESS. 17
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
" 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-
ing, so they gladly followed the teacher as she
led the way up stairs to the school-room.
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
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 19
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-
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,
20 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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-
"Why? what need you care?" The room's
in your father's house."
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 21
" 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
"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-
22 STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
Lillie's cheeks crimsoned ; she stood with
clasped hands and loud beating heart, surveying
" 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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 23
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
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,
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
24 STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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,
STORIES OF A GOVEEXESS. 25
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
26 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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-
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
" Has any one been in my room to-day ?" she
inquired. There was a chorus ot Noes, and she
" Some one or some thing has knocked my
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 27
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
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
28 STORIES OF A GOVEKXESS.
her teacher's face, to know her trust was forfeit-
ed, and feel the punishment deserved.
" What did Sallie say ?" asked Jennie, when
" 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
" You need not believe her," continued Jen-
nie, " she is not true. Mrs. Hall can't teach her
" 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
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
"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.
30 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" 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
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 31
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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,
STOKIES OF A GOVEEXESS. 33
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
34 STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STORIES OF A GOVEKXESS. 35
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
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-
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
36 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 37
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
38 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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-
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 39
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
40 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
42 STOETES OP A GOVERNESS.
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.
STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS. 43
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
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
44 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" 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
STOEIES Or A GOVEKNESS. 45
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
" 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 ?
46 STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 47
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.
48 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" I'm not afraid to cross that. Are you,
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-
STOEIES OF A GOVEKXESS. 49
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-
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,
50 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 51
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.
52 STOEIES OF A GOVEKNESS.
" 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
" My dear, I forgive you you must not for-
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 53
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,
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 !"
54 STOEIES OF A GOVEKNESS.
" 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-
' 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
'Blessed is the man that endureth tempta-
tion : for when he is tried he shall receive the
STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS. 55
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 57
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.
58 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" 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
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.
STORIES OF A GOVEENESS. 59
"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."
60 STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" I cannot see oh, save me."
" Our Saviour is waiting, Phoebe. He is
near. Do not fear. Lift up your heart unto
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 61
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
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
62 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
64 STORIES OF A GOVEKNESS.
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 65
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
66 STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 67
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.'
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
68 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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-
STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS. 69
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
70 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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."
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 71
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
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."
72 STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" 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
" 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,
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 73
and so it can't help being a disappointment just
" 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
" 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.
74 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" 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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 75
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-
76 STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
78 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
"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.
STORIES OF A GOVEKKESS. 79
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-
80 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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-
STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS. 81
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
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
" 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
82 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
little thing," she answered, in a low tone, her
" 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-
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 83
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
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
84 STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" You are not to have the victory without a
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 85
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
" ]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
86 STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" "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.
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 87
It shocks me to think of your allowing her gifts
to lie about the floor."
Jennie's tears flowed fast as they walked up
" 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
" 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-
" I am ashamed that you should see my
88 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS. 89
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
" All you have to do now, Jennie, is to re-
member that, after using a thing, you must put
90 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 91
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-
92 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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,
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 9-3
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 ?"
94 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" 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
" I know it is a great trial ; but you must
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 95
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
STORIES OF A GOVEEXESS. 97
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-
" 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
98 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 99
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
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
100 STORIES OF A GOVEENESS.
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 101
" 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
102 STORIES OF A GOVEENESS.
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.
" 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
STORIES OF A GOVEEXESS. 103
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.
104 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
"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,
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 105
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-
106 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" 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
STOEIES OF A GOYEEJSTESS. 107
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
" ' 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.
" And so there began to be this shadow over
108 STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" 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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 109
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
the good in it all, which seemed so hard for me
" 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
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.
110 STORIES OF A GOVERXESS.
He had kissed me again and again, had bidden
' God bless me !' and torn himself away. It was
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. Ill
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 :
112 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" ' Grandmamma, tell me something about
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 113
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
" ' 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.'
114 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" ; 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
" 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-
STOE^ES OF A GOVERNESS. 115
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
"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."
116 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS. 117
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,
STOEIES OF A GOVEKNESS. 119
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
120 STORIES OF A GOVEENESS.
BO charming; as the seat bv his side, and he
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-
" * 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,
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 121
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.
122 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" If we sat down to read the luckless indi-
vidual who first caught her attention had no
sooner become interested, than her voice roused
" ' 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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 123
" 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
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
" ' 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
" ' It seems almost too late to begin now,
124 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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-
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 125
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
126 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" 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.
PUBLIC I j HY
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 127
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
" 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
128 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 129
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
" 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
130 STOEIES OF A GOVE1INESS.
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
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.
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 131
" ' 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-
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
" ( 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
132 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
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,
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 133
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
134 STORIES OF A GOVEKNESS.
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
" We were wild with delight the boat glided
on so swiftly, the sky was cloudless the birds
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 135
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
136 STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" 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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 137
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
138 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
140 STORIES OF A GOVERXESS.
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
' 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, .
STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS. 14 J
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
" 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.'
,142 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" ' 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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 143
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
" 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.
144 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" 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
" 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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 145
cast them off in my arrogance, thinking I could
" 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 ?
146 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" 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,
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 147
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
148 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
at aunt Marion's door, hoping to find her awake,
that I might tell her. I listened a moment,
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 149
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
150 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STORIES OF A GOVEKNESS. 151
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
152 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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-
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
154 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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.
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 155
" 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,
156 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" 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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 157
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
158 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS. 159
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
160 STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS.
" 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
"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
162 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" 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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 163
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.
164 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
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
STORIES OF A GOVERNESS. 165
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.
" ' 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
1G6 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" ' 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
STORIES OF A GOVEKXES3. 167
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,
168 STORIES OF A GOVEKNESS.
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
STOKIES OF A GOVERNESS. 169
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
170 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
172 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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-
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
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 173
" 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
174 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
" 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
" 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
STOEIES OF A GOVERNESS. 175
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
"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,
176 STOETES OF A GOVERNESS.
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
STORIES OF A GOVEKNESS. 177
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
" 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,
178 STORIES OF A GOVERNESS.
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