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a momentary agitation, which Mary's prompt interference had calmed whilst it had arrested a tear in her eye.
On this proposal of Mary's, they generally moved, as if to accompany her, but one more observing than the others checked them by a significant glance, and when they were withdrawn, she said,
Did you not remark that Isabella is in deep mourning; and I believe her papa died not long ago.
This cast a shade upon the party for a little while, but Anna, conscious of having a superior possession to the rest, resumed the subject by putting the question
Who, besides me, has a picture of their papa ?
I have no picture, Maria said ; but I have a lock of my papa's hair. See, here it is, tied with a piece of blue ribbon ; and love it so, I always wear it within my frock upon my heart; saying which, she took it from her bosom, opened it with care, displayed it a moment, kissed it, and then quickly returned it to its place.
At this moment a poor girl from the village came up to the house with some fruit I had ordered for the entertainment of the young people, and Mary with Isabella returned into the room, bringing the girl with the basket in her hand.
I have brought the fruit just as it is, said Mary, for Jane has packed it so nicely, I think it looks better in her basket than in any way we could dress it up.
She then took the basket and
placed it on the table. The picture was laid down, whilst they all surveyed the basket, and Jane's attention was arrested by the sight of the picture.
Anna, delighted to observe her favorite possession had so unexpectedly attracted notice, addressed herself to the girl,
Don't you think that is a beautiful picture?
Yes; would you not like to have such a pretty picture of your father ?
I don't know.
Don't know ! to be sure you would ; look here, I shall wear it just so, round my neck; at the same time holding it to her breast, as if already suspended to the promised chain.
The girl's interest seemed to have abated after the first gaze of curiosity, which a sight so new to her had occasioned, and she was busy in helping to put away the spare leaves with which she had covered the fruit.
A look of disappointment passed over the countenance of Anna; but she made one more effort, saying, You know if you had a picture of your
father you could never forget him.
The girl was quick in replying, O Miss, I can't forget my father.
Why, child, do you know what colored eyes he has, what sort of a nose he has, what kind of a mouth he has ?
I can't say, Miss.
Then, you foolish girl, would not a picture help you to know and to remember him?
Very likely, Miss; but he is so good to me, and I love him so dearly, that I can't forget that.
Anna looked at her a little, as did all the others, but making no more observations, the little girl, asking if she should call the next day for her basket, curtseyed and withdrew.
This little incident naturally awakened in my mind some reflections on the nature of filial love, and the various reasons which operate on the mind to draw it into real or apparent expressions of devoted attachment. Nor was it the first moment this subject had been presented to my mind; for it is obvious to common observation, that the gracious disposition of love and duty to parents is seldom demonstrated in the true principle; and yet the Lord has in mercy given a most solemn and persuasive call to this duty by the obligation of the fifth commandment, which stands next in order to those duties we owe to God himself. He has corroborated this His will by most express revelations in the no less constraining terms of the Gospel. I have looked round the whole circle of my acquaintance, poor and rich, for the real demonstration of filial love and duty; and often has my heart sickened at the too obvious evidences that it is scarcely an existing principle in the society of mankind; and as its importance is second only to that of duty to the Lord, I have longed for the opportunity of
representing it in some of its true characters to the attention both of parents and children. With this influence on my mind, I desired that Mary would follow the little fruit-girl, and tell her to come again the next day with another supply of fruit, when she should have her basket.
This matter settled, the young people sat round the table to enjoy the treat which Mary had provided them; and Isabella, who had seated herself close to Mary, began to ask some questions of her concerning the little girl.
Her name is Jane; she is a very dear little girl, and lives with her father, who is a gardener; her mother is lame, and can do very little of active business, therefore she takes in plain work; she has one sister and two brothers, and they are such a pretty family ; you would like to know them, I am sure.
Very pretty, are they? inquired Anna.
If you thought I meant pretty in the face, I must answer, I do not think them any thing particular in beauty ; but they behave so prettily, they love each other so much, they are so industrious and neat, and clean,-that is what I meant by pretty ; and that little Jane is like a mother to her brothers and sister.
Isabella looked much interested, and said, As I am going to stay with you to-night, Mary, will you take me to see them in the morning ?
With pleasure, Isabella, and if we rise an hour sooner, I shall have time after I have learnt my lessons.
The conversation then became very general, and the time being come when the young people were severally to return to their homes, the party was quickly broken up.
They, however, left me ruminating on the best practical method I could devise of laying before those on whom I might possess some influence, the peculiar duties of the fifth commandment; and committing my desire to providential direction, I walked the next morning across the fields to the house of my friend the father of Mary.
He was a man well disposed, and earnestly desirous of conducting his family on the strictest principles of moral duty. His wife was of the same mind; and they had the blessing of seeing their only child, Mary, walking in the most orderly course of regular attention to their desires. They set the exainple of order and method in all they themselves did, and they were happy in the good consequences of their example on their whole household. But there was still a want which I had often deplored, and had frequently endeavored to point out, without ever having had the success to convince them that any thing more could be wanted, than was produced by the constant observance of the duties before them, in their retired situation in life.
I arrived just as the usual course of the morning instructions were ended, and found Mary, with her young guest Isabella, busy in putting away their books.
After the little movement of friendly salutation