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The daily bath and this household exercise have given us the full arms and necks which you seem to admire so much. It may be unlady-like to be strong and almost incapable of fatigue; and yet, I am not ashamed to say that we are so. I never feel so tired but I look forward to a long walk with pleasure; and it is so with my sisters, even the youngest. We are seldom ill, and this is no doubt partly owing to our plain manner of living. And here, too, we sacrifice on one hand to gain on the other. We make no pastry or pickles, or preserves, and very little cake; but we have plenty of milk, eggs and chickens; from our orchard a great abundance of delicious fruits; and vegetables from our garden, which we cultivate ourselves. We always have light, sweet bread, and we never dine without meat of some kind.
Julia. I think your living is very nice. I do not know how it is, but I have not been without a headache in the morning for a year, until within the last three days. And there is no telling how much more clearly I can think, how much more courage
and resolution I begin to feel, since those ugly headaches are gone. I see you use no coffee.
Helen. No; and nobody but father takes tea.
Julia. I see, now, Helen, how you get your leisure for teaching and walking, and all that sort of thing. Beside cooking and washing, your Susan does a great deal of the plain sewing — does she not ?
Helen. Yes; for we almost always do the 'ironing. We make the puddings and prepare the vegetables. We milk, we churn. We do not spare our arms and hands, as you see.
Julia. But, Helen, you seem to feel no sense of degradation from being poor,— from doing all this work. Yoù appear to feel yourself as much a lady in your calico frock, on your mattingcovered floor, as if you were dressed in satin and walked on velvet.
Helen. And why should we not? I trust that we shall never lose the refined habits and the self-respect which were early taught us by our parents, and of which my father is still an example. We feel that labor, performed from love and duty, can never be degrading. As for elegant clothes and fine furniture, I like to see them in the houses of the rich, where they are appropriate; but they seem to me so unworthy to be compared to the riches of the mind and the heart, — such poor things to pride one's self upon,- that I cannot feel humiliation from the want of them. But, Julia, we have never been treated in a way to make us feel that we were inferior to other people. It may appear like pride in me, but I must say that the villagers seem actually to look up to us. And the rich people, who pass their summers in our neighborhood, — Mrs. Douglass and Mrs. Price, - treat us, not with humiliating condescension, but with real kindness and respect, as if we were their equals.
Julia. And so, no doubt, you are the equals of Mrs. Douglass and her daughters. But it is curious, and, I must confess, it is still a mystery to me, how you came by this equality,— they with every advantage of education and position, and you with so few.
. Helen. You forget, my dear cousin, that I was fourteen years old when my father failed, and my mother died. We enjoyed, before that time, many advantages in common with others; but we had, and still have, some that were peculiar. My father and mother were both, I think, uncommon people,– uncommonly clear-headed and warm-hearted. The best of what we know and are was learned from them. They thought that, of all things pertaining to this world, love and knowledge were the most desirable. They were philosophers. They taught us to examine things to the bottom; to see clearly and understand thoroughly; to observe, to inquire, to exert ourselves to the utmost in whatever we undertook. Hence, what we know, we know well; we take pleasure in it, and derive confidence from it. What we do, we do with skill and quickness. This is pleasure, and it gives us time. The only thing in which we spend our money freely as rich people do, is in books. We have the best in the English language. My father has taught me Latin and French, and I am teaching the younger ones. My mother taught me to love poetry, and from this love seems to spring naturally the love of all natural and moral beauty. I have taught my sisters what I know of music. Two of them have a talent for drawing, as you have seen; so that we are not entirely without accomplishments, as they are called.
Julia. But you seem to have such an exact knowledge of words, such a clear idea of facts ; you must have labored immensely to acquire it all.
Helen. My dear, you must remember that when things are well understood, learning becomes a pleasure ; that strenuous effort makes acquisition easy. The indolent do not know what the pleasure is. I dare say some people would think it troublesome to consult a dictionary for every word they do not understand; or to search a map for every place whose location they do not know; or to look over the biography of every famous person they hear mentioned. This we have been trained to do as a matter of course. And we converse about what we read, see and think. From our earliest years we have been taught to be grateful to those who will teach us anything, and still more so to those who give us love and sympathy.
Julia. But, Helen, do the little ones never do wrong? How came they to be so docile, and yet so gay and spirited ?
Helen. Do you not remember coming into the school-room one day, and finding us all in tears? One of my little sisters had committed a fault, and I had reproved her. But this is a rare thing. They are good children. My mother spoke words to them, on her dying bed, which they have never forgotten. They can be serious, but it is natural for the young and healthy to be gay. They have never been told that it is wrong. I have answered your questions frankly. But, Julia, you make me appear very egotistical. Let me now question you. I want to learn something from you.
Julia. I will tell you frankly, that I intended to teach you a great deal ; — all the new fashions in dress; all that I knew myself about etiquette, and all the anecdotes about great people that I could remember. But, Helen, I am thinking about something else now. I have been spoiled of late. I have not been well taught. I have had poor companionship and bad advice. I have been led to think that money and fashion were everything. But I had a mother, Helen, and she also said words to me which should never have been forgotten. I have a heart, Helen, and I feel that I love my father. . 0, what a pang shot through my very soul, as I saw how mortified and disappointed he was in me, when he had an opportunity to observe and examine. me, and when I exposed my deficiencies before others ! Helen, I would give more than words can tell to receive such a letter from my father as you received yesterday from yours, and to be able to answer it as you replied to your father. Aunt Jane showed me both.
Here the mortified and heart-stricken girl burst into a flood of tears.
Helen wept also, and tried to comfort her cousin by enumerating her advantages. But she would not be comforted.
"Am I not sixteen ?” said she. “ Am I not almost old enough to go into society, and how shall I appear ? How shall I beautify and enrich my solitude, only child as I am ? How shall I entertain my father, and make him happy at home, when we are left alone together? How shall I make his home appear respectable and pleasant to his friends ? I have no correct habits of thought; no facility of expression in conversation or writing; no clear, welldefined ideas. Even my music is discordant, and my drawing onesided.”
Helen was kind and generous. It pained her to witness the mortification of her cousin, and her own buoyant and energetic nature spoke in her voice as she said, “ Julia, my dear cousin, weeping does no good. Resolution and action are what you need. You
. are very young. You have a strong desire for improvement. You love your father, and I trust you feel your accountability to your Father in heaven; for this should be the first motive with all of us. By earnest and persevering effort, you can remedy all your defects and supply all your deficiencies. With such a help as our dear aunt Jane, with her full, rich mind, her glowing heart and her practical talent, you can do and be anything you wish. You give me much more credit than I deserve, and you take much less to yourself. I love you, Julia, for I now see how frank, truthful and generous you are; how modest and diffident of yourself; how ready to give credit to others."
Julia looked up pleased and surprised. She felt that this was a new character for her to appear in, and yet, not wholly undeserved. Her better feelings had been strongly and suddenly awakened, and her better powers aroused. Her mind was like a fountain from which a breeze had suddenly swept the decayed vegetation of years. Sparkles and gleams shot up from its depths, and gave promise of future clearness and beauty. She perceived that her aunt had been making a delicate experiment in bringing her upon this visit, and she had the good sense and right feeling to determine to avail herself of the benefit of it. Her visit was prolonged two or three weeks, during which time she not only vastly improved her health and personal appearance, by a rational mode of living and judicious exercise, but she learned many valuable lessons in life, and the secret of true happiness.
She learned to love and respect her poor cousins ; and many were the tears and regrets on both sides when she took her leave of them
to return home. Home was a new place to her, with her deeplyawakened feelings and earnest resolutions. Under the kind and judicious guidance of her aunt, and with Helen's example in her mind, she put herself upon a course of self-training and self-improvement, which, in the course of two or three years, produced results almost wonderful.
We are fond of detail, and we should be delighted to describe to our young readers the steps by which this girl, from being indolent, careless, vain, and wilful, came to be docile and modest, bright and active, the pride and comfort of her father, and the delight of her acquaintance, among whom were ranked the accomplished Mrs, Douglass and her daughters, who thought none the less of her for having a cousin Helen.
But our article is already too long, and we must defer this to some future time. We will only say, before closing, what we think our readers will be glad to know, that Mr. May recovered his health by a visit to a water-cure establishment, and, being still a comparatively young man, he was enabled to enter upon a lucrative business, by which he placed his family in very comfortable circumstances, which, of course, enlarged their sphere of usefulness and happiness. They did not confine themselves to shilling calicoes, but they always preserved their taste for simplicity in dress and ornaments. Julia, however, did not feel ashamed of them, and their annual visits were looked forward to as the happiest days in the year.
Nor was Julia the only one to benefit by her intercourse with the Mays. Mr. Litchfield was induced to adopt the custom of his brother-in-law, of remaining at home with his family after dinner and during the evening. And he has of late been heard to declare, that no prospect of pecuniary advantage should ever induce him to resume those engrossing habits of business which kept him in almost entire ignorance of his family, and deprived him in a great measure of the highest and sweetest enjoyments of life, - literary cultivation, domestic endearment, and leisure for that spiritual improvement which he had justly come to regard as more sacred and important than either.
HAPPY were meñ if they but understood