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night, and then he was in his customary condition.
The next morning, at breakfast, he launched forth in invectives against Hutton, and his newfangled notions, on which he freely bestowed his favourite epithets. When he went out, banging the door after him, "It is too bad!" said George. "If I get into the legislature when I am a man, I'll do what I can to give these old laws a smoking."
"Oh hush, my son," said his mother; "I trust they will be righted long before that time; till they are, we must suffer and do as best we can. I feel as if I could bear anything just now,—I am all ready for our start; we are to be at the boat at one, and I am going now to settle accounts with Mr. Doyle. Write a letter to Anne while I am gone to the shop, and tell her I enclose twenty dollars in it. The doctor says Jessie is a little better to-day. Frovidence smiles on us, my son,—the weather is lovely." The world without and within was all smiling to the happy mother. She went with a light step and light heart to Mr. Doyle's. He was alone in his counting-room, where he received her kindly, for Mr. Doyle is one of the few men who put a heart of humanity into all his business relations. "You are always punctual, Mrs. Warren," he said; "you have finished your last lot of shoes."
"Yes, sir, and if convenient, I should like to settle my account with you."
"Certainly, there is a small balance due to you."
"Small, Mr. Doyle! to me it seems very large. You who have to do with hundreds and thousands can scarcely conceive what fifty is to me, nor what good I expect it to do me." Mr. Doyle's countenance clouded, but Mrs. Warren not perceiving this went on. "My youngest child has been sick all summer, and nothing, the doctor says so, and I am sure of it, could do her any good while she is in the
bad air in Street. But I shall have her on
the sea-shore by Tuesday morning; and owing to the captain's goodness, who gives George a free passage, he is going down to his uncle's
with me. But excuse me, Mr. Doyle; I am so happy, I know you will feel with me."
"I do with you, and for you, Mrs. Warren, and it grieves me to tell you that your husband came here last night and asked for your dues, and I not suspecting that he came unknown to you, paid him fifty-five dollars, so that there is but five dollars coming to you."
The sudden change from light to darkness was too much for poor Mrs. Warren. The flush of sweet hopes vanished from her face. She became fearfully pale, and sank back into a chair. She did not faint, she did not weep, she did not speak.
Tears gushed from Mr. Doyle's eyes. He thrust his hand into his money-drawer, and eagerly counting out sixty dollars, he put the money into Mrs. Warren's hand. She looked up, scarcely comprehending what he was doing. "It is yours, ma'am," he said; 4fcicccpt it—no. take it as your due. It is your due. I could not swallow down the kind words you spoke, when you said you knew I would feel for you, if I did not do this. A plague on the laws that give a husband the right to take his wife's earnings, I say. No, no! don't thank me— don't say a word—you have no time to lose: get to the boat with your children as quick as you can, and I will take your thanks out in pleasant thoughts of all you are enjoying."
Mrs. Warren did not speak—she could not: but the tears how flowed plentifully, and they were like the rain in sunshine, when every drop is bright as a jewel.
N. B. We have simply recorded a recent fact in the life of a tradesman. Whether his name be Doyle, or whether he is a shoemaker, docs not matter. If in the odd chances of life this page should meet his eye, his modesty will pardon the publicity given to his beneficence, in consideration of the value of so rare an example.
While human nature is vilified in such fictions ns Vanity Fair, we arc anxious to present the antidote of real goodness which comes within our knowledge by personal observation, or unquestionable report.
They toll me, love, my cheek has lost
The richly mantling glow, Which told its own unstudied tale
Of life's exulting flow;
Prom its abounding May,
They marked but in decay.
But ah. they know, they nothing know,
Of all the secret joys,
As fast as time destroys;
May silently depart,
To deepen at the heart.
A WINTER SCENE,
OE LILY FORD.
BY MARY SFENSEB PEASE.
The knowing ones of the pretty little village of Winslow very portentously shook their heads, thereby giving the wisdom contained in them an additional impetus. Some, upon the strength of this impetus, said, "We'll see what we shall see." Others said much more; while some very significantly drew down the left corner of the mouth, and elevating the right eyebrow, said nothing. And all this, because Ellen Grant, the village beauty and the likeliest maiden all the country round, "would throw herself away on that handsome, worthless Ned Ford, when she might have had William Walton, the young schoolmaster, or young Grey, the lawyer, or the rich farmer, Silas Greene; or almost any of the best-to-do bachelors of Winslow, just for the asking—no, for the accepting." Thus spake Aunt Hetty, and Aunt Hetty knew; and Aunt Hetty added, that "all Ned Ford cared for was to play on that eternal fiddle and read Burns and Shakespeare—that he had not three dollars beforehand, and never would have." And what had Ellen to urge in reply? That she loved Edward Ford.
She loved him as such warm gentle natures as her own can love. In those delicious hours when he came wooing, she felt her whole nature drawn in tenderness towards him, and when he took her unresisting hand and poured forth in fervent meaning a question from his soul to hers, he felt her tremble to her heart's core, and insensibly her beautiful head inclined more and more softly toward him, until, as his arm enclosed her nearer, it lay nestling upon his manly breast, and he was answered as, with the warmth and silence of summer dew, he felt her very being in sweet accord melt into his.
Edward Ford owned a snug little cottage with a small farm attached, situated about a mile from the village, and to this home ho took his young bride; and, disproving the predictions of Aunt Hetty, and the rest of the villagers, the loving couple lived on in comfort and harmony.
If Ned Ford would draw forth touching melodies from his violin, and if he would persist in reading Burns and Shakespearo, and if he would occasionally indulge his fancy in
the construction of some plaintive verses of his own, setting them to his own music for Lily, his precious first-born, to try her sweet voice upon—and all this while he might have been patching up fences, or rethatching his sheds for the better comfort of his cattle—still they got on very happily. Ellen loved his music, and loved to hear him read, and loved to see him teach her darling Lily. The indefatigable little woman spun, and churned, and tended her poultry; and sent or took her yarn and butter and eggs to the village market, which greatly added to their means of comfort.
Thus, until their Lily was sixteen, their life glided smoothly on. That winter, however, brought to Ford a severe rheumatism, which lasted all the weary months of that dreary season. Although Ellen spun, working almost night and day, yet her husband required so much of her care, that all her efforts availed not much in keeping that stern truth—poverty —out of their cottage door.
Spring came with its genial influences; and in warming into life the tender grass-blades, and the young crocuses and dandelions, it also thawed out the cold and pain in the stiff limbs of Ford, and to Ellen's great joy he was able to be about again.
The young Spring had gradually matured into the mellow, fruit-yielding Autumn before the bitter knowledge came fully upon Ellen, that her husband's recovery to health had not brought her own recovery to happiness, that her first sorrow was likely to prove her least.
That long illness had put them so far behindhand that Ford, finding bills press upon him that he had no means of paying, was forced to mortgage his little property. Affairs still continued to grow worse. Edward had become lazy or disheartened. His farm was ill-worked or neglected, and by fall, his horse and oxen had to go for necessary expenses.
Ellen still kept her cows and poultry, but it was now very little help she received from her husband. He had taken more and moro to his beloved fiddle, although it was not at home he played. Therein lay Ellen Ford's deepest sorrow. Edward, who had been originally the most temperate of men, now spent his days— often his nights—at the village tavern, wasting in senseless riot the time, the health, the means that God had given him for other purposes. Poor Ellen could not help thinking that his thirst for intoxicating drink commenced with the potions of brandy ordered by his physician during his convalescence.
It was now deep into the month of December. In two days more would come that season of rejoicing and roast turkey, " Merry Christmas." Ellen sighed at the dreary prospect for mirth that lay before her. The sigh had scarcely parted her lips, when the door opened, and Edward, earlier than was his wont and perfectly sober, stood before her. With a lightened and grateful heart, Ellen set about preparing the supper. With gentle homely endeavours she made all that evening as pleasant for him as she could.
Upon the next morning, earlier than usual, Edward was preparing to go out. The weather was bitter cold, and Ellen's wood-pile waned low. She had forborne the evening before to ask him to split her some wood, as she did not wish to vex him in any way. Of late he had often very harshly refused her simple requests. It was now with a timid voice, fearful of a rebuff, that Ellen begged him to split a few logs.
"Why did you not ask me yesterday, when it would have done some good? You saw me doing nothing all the evening. You must get along until night the best way you can. I have engaged to work to-day for Squire Davis, and I shall be late unless I go at once."
"To work! Have you?" said Ellen in a pleased and startled tone.
"Yes, so don't detain me. I am to get a dollar and a half a day as long as I choose to work for him."
"How very fortunate!" ejaculated Ellen. "Very," replied Ford in a bitter tone, for the necessity to work for another as a day labourer, instead of working for himself and of his own sweet will, galled his pride sorely.
After he was gone, Ellen busied herself in making things comfortable for the children. It was market day, and she must carry her heavy basket to the village for the different families who depended upon her for their supply of fresh butter and eggs. A year ago she had a neat little wagon and a good horse to drive. Even now Edward might have helped her with her heavy basket, but somehow he was sadly altered.
A dim presentiment of something not good shot through Ellen's breast as she stepped across the cottage threshold into the chill air.
"Mind, Lily dear, and take good care of the baby. I may be gone longer than usual, for I have to buy some things at the store. If anything should happen, send Hetty for me.
And, darling, be a little woman now, and take the best of care of your little baby brother." Lily promised, and Ellen was gone.
For a time the children got along very comfortably. But the bitter cold without grew colder, and the colder the air grew, the faster and merrier burned the diminishing wood. At length the intense cold seemed to soften. The great black clouds flattened and spread themselves sullenly and murkily over the wide canopy as far as the eye could see. Then the soft white snow came stealthily down, and the baby clapped his tiny hands, and crowed in baby glee to see the little feathery, airy, joyous things chase each other down, down, down so rapidly.
Again the air grew colder. The wood was all burned, not a stick or chip remained. What was poor Lily to do to keep her baby brother warm?
"Hetty, dear, we will go out and see if together we cannot roll in one of those great logs." Hetty was the next child after Lily, and was eleven years old. Lily put the baby in the cradle, and worked hard with Hetty at the unwieldy log. They rolled it to the stone step and up the step, but there, alas! it stuck fast; with all their united strength they could not move it one inch back or forth. What should they do? The door was now fastened wide open; the wind and snow beat in from without; the fire within was gradually settling away in its embers. Poor children! Ellen's presentiment was not a vain one. Before three o'clock that afternoon little Hetty, cloaked and hooded, was sent out to face the whirling storm in search of her mother, with a tale that would almost rob the poor mother of her heart's life.'
"What is it, dear child?"' said she, as Hetty entered the village store. "You look cold and pale. Come to the stove and warm yourself, and tell me what has gone wrong."
"Oh mother! dear mother, make haste home. Little Eddy is dreadfully sick. Lily says it is the croup, and that he is dying. The fire is all out, and the room is full of snow, because the big log we tried to roll in, stuck fast in the doorway. Then, mother, when we went into the garden to find some bits of old fence, the spotted cow followed us. We were afraid she would hurt the bushes, and while we were trying to drive her out, she ran down to the end of the garden where the fence is broken away, and plunged into the frozen pond. And there she is above her knees in the water, freezing to death, for the ice broke and let her feet through, and she could not get out again."
What a chapter of calamities! Ellen's heart vibrated in pain to every word the child uttered. As she was hurriedly crossing the street,