Page images
PDF
EPUB

smiled so sweetly, you will think of nothing but your dear papa!

Anna rather started, My picture! O that's true, my picture! what have I done with it?

You have it in your breast, most likely, said Maria.

My breast ! no. What have I done with it? It will be very ridiculous if I get the chain and have lost the picture ; what can I have done with it? She emptied her work-box, turned over her writing-desk ;-all in vain. What can I have done with it? I will go and look in my drawers; and she went out in great haste.

Poor Anna! exclaimed Maria, what will she do if she has lost her papa's picture : I wish I could help her to find it;-and addressing herself to Mrs. Aston, said, Would you give me leave to follow Anna, to help her to search?

Certainly, my love; you know the way. Mrs. Aston and I were now left alone. She had a countenance of painful anxiety, and sighing,

said to me,

Anna is a very good child on the whole, but there is a disposition in her I cannot correct. We can never obtain her obedience to our desires for her instruction, but by some artifice in the way of a bribe ; promise to give her any thing, and she will then do any thing; and having now found our anxiety by our indul. gence, she fails not to make her advantage of it. That picture she seems to have lost, was given to bribe her to apply her mind to overcome a difficulty she met with in arithmetic; no persuasion could prevail to make her try to work out a sum in long division, until she extorted the proinise; and the gold chain was to be given in order to induce her to learn a piece of music of which her father is extremely fond. I begin to think our system is a bad one; and as she has not perfected herself in the music, I requested her father not to send the chain; he has complied with this, but you perceive he has endeavored to soften the disappointment by a profusion of other presents; and I do think, if the truth were known, that he did not like to return without the chain, and encounter the refractory behavior of his own child. The tears Aowed from her eyes as she spoke, and a bitter sigh expressed the feelings of her heart at the thought of her child's disobedience.

At this moinent the two girls returned.
I can't find it any where, mamma.
I am sorry for it.
What shall I do?

Perhaps if you wait a little patiently, you may remember where you last had it. Do you

think papa will bring the chain ? I do not know.

How vexatious! ell, never mind, she continued, with an air that expressed her determination to shake off the disagreeable recollection, when papa sees me so very sorry, he will buy me something else to hang upon it; perhaps a garnet cross; Amelia had a beautiful garnet

a

Cross.

O, said Maria, that would not be papa's-picture! The chain would be good for nothing without the picture of your papa; if you do not find the picture you will not want the chain.

I do not know that, Maria : a gold chain is a pretty thing of itself, and you know it is always ready for any thing.

Anna ! for any thing! Well, I had rather have this lock of my papa's hair, wrapt up in this bit of paper, taking it out of her breast, and kissing, and then returning it, than I would have any thing on a gold chain.

Anna was silent, and looked rather ashamed.

I thought it a good opportunity to prolong the present interview, by proposing to Mrs. Aston to accompany me and Maria as far as her home; adding, I think it will help to dissipate the melancholy Anna feels from the loss of her papa's picture.

Anna felt that I had a meaning not favorable, but was glad to put it off by readiness to be of the party; and Mrs. Aston seemed to meet the proposal as an alleviation of the oppression which weighed upon her own mind.

The evening was fine, and the breeze refreshing after a hot day, and we were soon at Mrs. Bennet's ; who was strolling in the grounds, waiting for the return of her daughter, and we all sat down on a rural seat that was near.

The young people did not seem desirous to leave us, for they had somehow lost the feeling of congeniality; and Anna had evidently not risen in the estimation of Maria, of whose cha

[ocr errors]

racter wishing to ascertain some proof, I ventured to ask her a few questions.

Do you know, Maria, that many people may be doing the same thing, and yet all have very different motives for doing it ?

I do not exactly understand you.

For instance, suppose men were digging different parts of that piece of ground, they would be all doing the same thing?

Yes.

But suppose one was doing it for hire, at 2s. 6d. a day, to be paid for his work ;-another was doing it for the profit of the crop that should be produced ;-another was doing it to destroy the weeds ;-another to ameliorate the soil ;another merely out of love for the owner ;-and another simply because it was the right and usual way of managing the ground :-these are different motives : but which motive do you like the best?

Oh! for love, to be sure.

When you learn your lesson, and do the thing your mamma bids you do, what is your motive ?

Oh! love, to be sure, all for love ! saying which, she sprang to her mamma and embraced her in a kind of rapture, which met the return of her mother's embrace, and a kiss on her forehead.

Anna looked at her with surprise.

Why did you ask me that question ? Maria said ; keeping her station by her mamma's side.

I will tell you openly. Because I have been reflecting lately on the duties of children to parents, which duties I am enabled to inquire into on the foundation of the fifth commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother," and in the light which is thrown upon it by other scriptures, especially by the Lord Jesus, and by the apostle Paul in Ephesians vi. 1-3.

Maria seemed to have her heart unlocked by this liberty to disclose her motives; and she said, I know the fifth commandment is very good, because it is God's commandment; but I always think (forgive me if I say wrong) that honor” sounds so cold.

Perhaps, my dear, if you understood it, you would not find it so cold ; and Anna may perhaps think it sounds unprofitable, but if she understood it, it would be found to convey some hope of gain ; for, (turning to Anna,) it a commandment with promise,

" and it shall go well with thee ;' and another little girl I know would be satisfied, because it is written, Honor thy father and thy mother, for this is right.

I should like, then, to understand that commandment, Maria answered; I did not know it contained so much.

I make a proposal, then, to you and your parents, to meet once a week at my house, for the purpose of coming to an understanding of the fifth commandment; and if the Lord gives us His grace and blessing, I think you will all love to

[ocr errors]

father and mother ;" and your father and mother will love the commandment

honor your

« PreviousContinue »