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on with Emmeline Loveday, and therefore her kindness to Barbara may not be attributed, in its first operations, to any thing more than a natural sense of justice, and something of that maternal tenderness which is found oftentimes in the young female heart, though these kindly feelings are like the drops of dew in a summer's morning, liable to be speedily scorched up by exposure to the sun, so soon does their freshness pass away in the atmosphere of the world.
The Almighty, however, in his infinite goodness, was now about to give a substance to this shadowy feeling of affection which had fallen from Emmeline upon little Barbara, and through the instrumentality of that unconscious little one, in the words of Holy Scripture, to cause the blessings of her father, the Almighty One, to prevail above the blessings of her progenitors, unto the utmost boundaries of the everlasting hills.
There was some little similitude in the respective experiences, at school, of Jocelyn and Barbara. Both were protected and patronized by elders; but in the first case, the blessing which was not merely temporary had descended from the elder to the younger, following as it were the course of time; in the second, it was appointed to go upwards ; reversing the order of natural descent, for as our Blessed Saviour says, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” The divine Spirit is not restricted in its operations to the laws of created things ; and though that small branch of the Living Rill which seemed to arise as by the divine touch, and without other ministry but that of the word of truth, with the lone widow at Craddock Court, had hitherto flowed as it were downwards, it was now directed to reverse its operations: and having for a little while pursued a secret and hidden channel, to break forth and throw its waters upwards, even on the parched land above it-a desert spot, in which thorns and briers had only hitherto taken root. In other words, it was the elder now that was to receive the truth from the younger; and it was the elder, who was ordained by Providence to convey that which came to her from the younger, to those who were afterwards appointed to receive it.
If it had been possible to have concluded the history of little
Barbara in the present number, the narrator would have gladly done so; but it could not be, without omitting much in which the young and pious reader may take pleasure-a few more lines, and the continuation must be referred to another month.
The morning was bright, and the window of the chamber partially open, when Emmeline awoke, and looking across her small chamber, saw, that Barbara was already up and completely dressed, and was sitting by the side of her bed, with her beloved book open on her knees. There was a sweetness and peacefulness in the whole appearance of the little girl, which caused Emmeline to think again, and again to ask herself“Can there be so much contentment to a child in reading the Bible?” And then added she, “She has risen early to have the opportunity of reading this book, and has dressed herself without disturbing me. Did I ever give myself such trouble about the Bible? Have I ever employed myself in private, in reading it? What can that young thing find in it to give her such delight? At least she is a happy child to be so easily pleased; I will not disturb her, but I will take occasion to tempt her to tell me what it is in that well worn little book which so delights her. I thought that only old and dying people studied the Bible."
M. M. S. (To be continued.)
THE THREE WORDS. "The Lindens," as we have already said, was a sweet place. Situate in a quiet country lane at the extremity of the village already mentioned, and backed by a range of gentle slopes, partly open and partly wooded, it had many of the advantages of a town residence, combined with the fresh air and sweet associations of the country. Of course it was in the cottage ornée style, with a thatched roof, twisted chimneys, and a regular net-work of trellis all over the front, covered with a profusion of climbers and creepers, some of which entwined themselves around the very chimneys, and waved over the pinnacles that graced every gable, like giant eyeleteers on guard. The young ladies who lived there could tell you the classical terms for all these towering herbs and shrubs, from the fuchsia to the common nasturtium, but for our
parts, we will never be guilty of such ingratitude to our garden pets, as to call them out of their homely English names. The hall was entered through a honey-suckle porch; and a very pretty hall it was-airy and elegant as if it belonged to some large mansion, though the whole cottage itself stood upon less ground than the vestibule belonging to many of these great houses. This hall opened on the left hand into the common parlour or sitting-room, which had nothing about it particularly worthy of notice, unless it were the entire absence of books or book-cases, a few square stumbling boxes, or ottomans, and a sideboard remarkable for its antiquity, and the unfathomable profundity of its interior. On the opposite side of the hall stood the best parlour or drawing-room; and as we have generally remarked, that such rooms are typical of the household, we shall be a little more minute in our description of it. Such showapartments have usually an outward and inward aspect, and seem, in fact, to belong rather more to the public than to their own proper owners. We shall therefore first describe that appearance which the drawing-room at“ The Lindens” presented to the casual passer-by.
This room, then, as it was seldom or never used, was, as is generally the case, the largest in the house, running back through its entire depth, and opening in the rear, on to a lawn interspersed with little knots of roses, and terminating in a belt of flowering shrubs. As the front windows also reached down to the ground, and were exactly opposite those at the other end, every one who passed the house had the advantage of seeing the whole furniture, animate and inanimate, of that pretty room. It was, however, ingeniously contrived in some degree to break the range of vision by means of a little table, covered with fancy worsted work, and crowned, in summer time with flowers, and in winter, with an immaculate block of coral, which was placed in full front of the window, thus farther benefiting the inmates by shutting out the light just where it was most wanted. In the centre of this room stood a round rosewood table covered with an elegant cloth, around which were generally placed some half-dozen books, radiating with great exactness from a common centre, where stood a curious and unique card-basket, to be hereafter more particularly noticed. There were no shelves, or cupboards, or
chiffoniers about the place, and the chairs seemed to keep at the greatest possible distance from the table, so that employment of any kind was impracticable, unless it could be managed to make a reading-desk or escritoire of the knees. Yet there were a few books, as we have just stated, in the room. There were “ The Lyrics of Loveliness,” in quarto ; “ The Ruby," a local annual ; a work on garden flowers, with colored plates; a volume by a young friend of the family, entitled, “ Dreams about Dingledown;" two or three albums, and a collection of “ original" poetry, by no means original. In the little basket on the table were the cards of “ Sir Skyffen Montague” occupying the post of honor in the centre, and a variety of others of less name and note. Here and there, a pair of them were joined with silvercord, as if silver were the only true type of matrimony, or the proper material of which love-knots ought always to be woven; and where the original envelopes, enclosing these favors, were remarkably tasty, they were still left within their paper shells, like butterflies just peeping from the chrysalis. Everything was covered up, or rather veiled, for better effect, in doyleys and antimacassars, in shell-work, and leaf-work, and feather-work, and every kind of work ; and the whole place seemed as if intended for a summer parlor, in which those notable spinsters, the Misses Knitting, Netting, and Crochet were to receive visitors, and do nothing else,
Mr. Walkinshaw was a gentleman “out of business," so far as any profits were concerned, but just enough engaged in it to experience its annoyances. Mrs. Walkinshaw was a pleasant looking lady, all smiles and surface, and the Misses Walkinshaw Louisa, Caroline, and Laura-were genteel girls, without any other name, character, or recommendation. The whole household, in fact, lived upon the credit of being nice sort of people, and seemed to think they had nothing to do but to slide through the world easily, and be well thought of by their numerous acquaintance.
Yet it was surprising to those who augured differently from appearances, to find how shallow were the attainments of these young ladies. Without the natural shrewdness of their mother, they were also far behind her in the really useful acquirements of the household. And perhaps it will scarcely be credited when we assert that neither the old lady nor her daughters were able to read. Nay: our friends must not start; for in order to assure them that we mean what we say, we shall repeat the statementthey could not read.
We do not, of course, mean to say that they did not know their letters; nor do we mean that they could not spell words, or tell the sound of them. We may go, perhaps, a little farther, and allow that they knew their meanings, and the meanings of the sentences they composed; and yet we think it is no misrepresentation of the matter to adhere to our declaration that they could not read. The child who knows every note of the gamut, and can plunge down and dwell upon each at the exact moment indicated by the emphatic ONE-two-three-four !” is, notwithstanding; no musician. She cannot play. She knows and feels nothing of the soul, spirit, or meaning of the music. And we think it is much the same with that very numerous class who, though they understand words and letters, and can put sentences together, have yet no idea of the great business, or end, of reading. Not only was this the case with the family we are describing, but they had an unconquerable antipathy to look at books at all. When they did so, they looked at them as books only, never thinking that they could have anything to do with the world around them, or realizing the great fact that every sentence was intended to have a bearing for good or evil on the reader. In this sense, then, but in this only, the family at the Lindens could not read.
The young ladies moreover, had been brought up in the common, but very erroneous idea, that their education had ceased on their leaving school. They never thought that they were then only furnished with appliances and means for the express purpose of enabling them all their lives long, to gather and elaborate information that they were taught chiefly that they might afterwards teach themselves; and for this reason they never applied to any branch of useful knowledge, but spent their time in listless indolence ; in exploring the unfathomable, but unremunerative, mines of fashion and gentility, or losing themselves in the bewildering mazes of female costume.
Yet the Misses Walkinshaw were very passable girls in society. They could talk glibly, and as some folks thought, poetically.