Page images
PDF
EPUB

denial, in little things daily, which is to prepare you for greater efforts of the same kind when you are older-to give up this dangerous luxury of sitting down to dream, to long, to aspire after things which you cannot yet do, cannot yet have, is hard at the time, but in proportion to its hardness, will its reward be hereafter. After all, there is a great sphere of action, surrounding us all if we would but see it.

“The things are best lie nearest us

Are close about our feet
It is the distant and the dim

That we are sick to greet."

R. M. M.

Learn to believe that all doing of good works must begin first at home, and the noblest duties that we have to perform are generally those connected with its circle. Then, afterwards when the character is formed, when habits of perseverance, honesty, and exactness are acquired, when your application at school or college has made you an educated and well-informed man or woman, you may expect some degree of success in the trade or profession you have chosen for yourself; from one step you mount to another, and so rise higher and higher, till it is possible you may attain in the end the very eminence after which you have so long aspired always recollecting, however, that every step must be gained in probity, in wisdom, with an irreproachable and firm aim, or it is less than a step gained, it is a step lost. Shall I tell you something of my own life as a girl ?-listen.

My father was a ship's surgeon. I never saw much of him, for he was rarely at home, and he was lost to us by some accident on board a vessel bound for New Plymouth, when I was only nine years old. My mother had a very small income, on which we went on living in the large town of -, and with the exception of two years schooling which fell to my lot, she was my only teacher. She had but one accomplishment, which was the knowledge of German, and she had gained this from a residence of some years in a small German town, where her father had had occupation in a public school; so German was my only accomplishment too, until I reached the age of fifteen. At that time, the greatest misfortune that can happen to two children in this world, — for I had one brother, Alfred, nearly two years older than myself, -happened to us ; my mother died.

I remember well the last evening that my brother and I spent together. Alfred was in the employ of a machine-maker, and was receiving a small salary, the premium had only been such as would suffice to raise him to the rank of foreman in the works,—but he was full of spirit and hope and earnestness in his occupation, only that just now all such things were put out of his mind, by the great grief that had struck us.

“You must keep up a brave spirit, you know, Annie," he said to me, “and not think that poor mother would be any happier to see you giving way, and forever grieving and fretting after her. I daresay you'll be happy enough at Uncle's farm."

* I shan't be happy anywhere for a long time yet.”.

I said mommulutly.

"I mean when you've got over this, you know, Annie,” he continued, “I dare say you'll miss dreadfully, at first, all our good friends, and the dear old chapel ; and there will be no riding for you on the Torrington's pony, no drinking tea there, nor going to their Christmas parties, and all that; Will there, Annie?" The Torringtons were very good friends of my mother's, and rich people, the only rich people that we knew, with the exception of Alfred's employers. They had always been very kind to us.

The only lectures, concerts, exhibitions, that I had ever attended in my life, had been through them.

“Oh dear yes,” I sighed, you know I've been to Uncle Joshua's farm before, I know what it is. Well! well! I hoped once

but never mind, Alfred, there comes in Uncle himself, and I suppose I must go and make the tea.

Oh mama, mama ! I shall never make it for you again! oh dear!" My brother sighed, and began raking the fire, for it was a cold spring. I sat on, however, forgetting to

" and

was a

move, and vacantly staring into the fire, my cheek resting on my hand, until Uncle Joshua himself walked in. “Well Annie,” he said, “ I'm cold and wet, and should like a little tea, if you could get me some." With a sigh, and not uttering - a word, I rose slowly from my chair and went out of the room.

Should Í have done so ?

My uncle's farm was in Lancashire, in a wild, dreary region, or so it always appeared to me, accustomed and attached as I was to a town-life. It was four miles from any town, and situated rather in a hollow, with low hills stretching away to the north, and surrounded by a wild kind of park, and neglected garden. The house was a straggling, two storied brick affair, with long narrow windows, and gloomy rooms and passages. My uncle was a gentleman by birth, scarcely so in education, and still less so in manners. Не bad farmer, because he took no interest in his farm, and did not look after his affairs with sufficient vigour. He was constantly declining in wealth, and though lamenting his fate, took no pains to inquire into the reason of his decline. His stacks were burnt, his poultry-yard robbed, his horses badly used, his crops badly garnered, his land badly ploughed, and his seed ill-chosen. He had a large family, the eldest of whom, a young lady of twenty, having received a good education, was now employed in instructing several of her brothers and sisters, and among her pupils was now to be numbered myself; that is, we were to read together, she was to give me instruction in music and French, and in return I was to take some of the lessons of the younger ones. My cousins were bright contented creatures, very well satisfied with their lot in life, and desiring no better ; Lucy used often to visit among her friends during the midsummer and Christmas holidays, and found in this quite sufficient variety, but I

naturally of a morbid, melancholy, and rather repining disposition, I became more so, I believe, every day. It was seldom a smile illumined my countenance, I thought nothing around me worth living for. The house was cheerless, the country

*

about was stupid, there were no people to see or talk to, the farm was uninteresting. Lucy was always either teaching, helping her mother in her household duties, or riding on the pony. The other children did not like me because I would not play with them, my Aunt seldom talked to me because I was so silent and sad. And so, month after month went by, and no event of interest, to me at least, ever occurred.

My uncle had sold his horse and carriage, because it encouraged the girls to visit, to spend money in shopping, &c. So when things were wanted in town, some one must ride down on little Die, the pony, and bring up the things as best they could in a bag or basket. This mode of carriage was extremely inconvenient, and gave Die considerably more work than she could well bear, for she was often ridden by my uncle as well. Altogether the sale of the horse and carriage was voted a most eccentric and cruel proceeding on the part of Uncle Joshua ; but it certainly had exactly the effect that he desired; almost all visiting between the town and the Grange Farm, was discontinued, and our position in the world was about as isolated as can well be imagined. To Lucy and Helen this seemed to matter little, for they only rode the pony the more, but the pony was an impossible pleasure to me, and I rarely went further than I could walk.

(To be continued.)

THE RETIRED SOLDIER.

RETIRED at length from war's alarms,
His grand child circled in his arms,

The soldier told a tale
Of all the horrors of the flight,
When trampling the opponents' might,

The British arms prevail.
The boy who sat beneath his feet
Had raised his eager face to meet,

His grandsire's kindling eye,
The timid young one by his side,
In voice of artless terror cried,

“How dreadful thus to die !"
“ Dreadful! ah no, my little maid,
A soldier's laurels never fade,

[ocr errors]

Grim death he rarely heeds,
When he can leave behind a name
Through valor, and a lasting fame

For many glorious deeds."
The grand-child shook her gentle head,
“ It may be bold in me," she said,

My knowledge is but small,
But is it not more glorious still
To succour,

rather than to kill,
And carry help to all ?"
The baffled soldier paused awhile,
Then answered with a kindly smile,

* Although when armies flee,
I stand as motionless as stone,
My pretty questioner, I own

You now have conquered me.'

B. A. J.

A TRAVELLER'S RESCUE. A TRAVELLER was ng mountain heights alone, over almost untrodden snow. When persons are in danger of being frozen to death, they are overcome by the desire to sleep, and warning had been given to the traveller, that if slumber pressed down his weary eyelids, they would never again open to the light of day. For a time he went bravely along his dreary path. But when the darkness came, and with it blew the freezing blast of night, a weight seemed to fall upon his brain, and he could scarcely keep himself from sinking into that sleep which he knew must be fatal. At this time of danger, his foot struck against a heap which lay across his path. He stooped to touch it, and found & human body half-buried under the snowdrift. As soon as he discovered what it was, he used every effort to raise and restore the fallen creature against whom he had stumbled ; he chafed his chest and hands and forehead, he breathed upon the stiff cold lips the warm breath of his living soul, pressing the silent heart to the beating pulses of his own generous bosom. The effort to save another brought back to himself life, warmth, and energy. He felt a man again, instead of being a weak creature, ready to sink down to sleep and die. He saved his brother, and was saved himself. If thou findest thy brother in peril, try to do likewise, and the Lord and Giver of Life shall give thee strength. -From English Hearts and English Homes."

« PreviousContinue »