Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

66

occupying the extra stewardship which has been given—that is the difficulty ; and yet without it there can be no circle of classes.”

“I suppose it is just that horrible Ego that does the mischief,” said Lady Elinor. “ Self-assertion and self-obtrusiveness rampant in all classes."

“And wherever you have self,” said Dr. Brown, “ you have that thing with the ugly name—VULGARITY. People forget that there may be a vulgarity of quarterings as well as of wealth, poverty, genius, vanity, and whatever else unduly obtrudes itself.”

“ It is strange, too,” remarked D'Arcy, " that one meets so often with the vulgarity of self-assertion where there is no need for it.'

“ Like the Bakwain tribe," answered Dr. Brown, “who are so proud of being related to great families, that if the headman's attendants forget to declare his genealogy to his visitors, he whispers, 'Tell them who I am !'”

After a little more conversation, the brother and sister rose to take leave, and to receive that low-breathed, heart-felt “ God bless you"

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

which, from the lips of their dear invalid friend, always sounded like the prayer which it indeed ought ever to be; a prayer which they hoped and believed would be heard and answered.

Hester missed them very much, for their visits had become a source of fresh and pleasant interest to her. The weeks and

. months that followed were not cheeringgreat pain, English rains, and mists, and east winds, disappointment at the unsatisfactory contents of the postman's bag, perplexity and distress about Philip Gower, anxiety about Leslie, who, in addition to her own sorrows and failing health, was watching over the painful and lingering illness of her poor aunt, Mrs. North. It was all misty and dreary ; yet Hester's faith rose above it all. The sun was in its warmth and beauty behind the clouds, and at the right time its beams would shine out again to irradiate the land.

CHAPTER XV.

UNEXPECTED EVENTS.

“ The Lord hath been mindful of us; he will bless us.

We will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.
Ps. cxv. 12, 18.

"A step-she turned,
Their eyes met, and that swift flash made them one
For ever,-in all worlds.”—ALEXANDER SMITH.
“I go through perils of land and sea,
Where man

idolatry bows the knee,
From kindred far, and from social glee,
Friend of my heart, wilt thou come with me?
To sound through the adverse camp an alarm,
To seek in his strongholds the foe to disarm;
Through fire and flood be it Heaven's decree
To pass,-wilt thou share this lot with me?
Wilt thou fondly devoted and firm of soul,
Through life o'er my spirit hold sweet control,
Or prepare by a dying bed to stand
And mourn alone in a distant land?
All earthly things that most precious be,
To risk for thy Lord,--wilt thou go with me?"

THE REPLY.
“Is there a danger I might not share,

A sorrow with thee that I could not bear?
In the flood, in the flame, no terrors I see,
I go for my Lord,-and go with thee.
In panoply armed to the world unknown,
We'll brave the conflict and snatch the crown;
Hope be our anchor the veil within,
And our bliss the souls that for Christ we win."

While Lord Mordaunt and Lady Elinor were among the cool, blue hills of the north, the hot, and smoky Manchester sunbeams

[ocr errors]

were beating down upon Woodside Villa, where Leslie was sitting one July morning at a partially open window, her hand upon her brow, very pale, still, and silent, trying to catch a stray waft of air. She was too tired and in too much pain to think very clearly upon any subject, only her lips were mechanically forming into the silent words, “ All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth,” and her heart rested upon them in inost sure and childlike belief. The door slightly creaked on its hinges. “ Hush !” and she turned round with uplifted finger.

“I am not asleep,” said a faint voice, come in, dear Charlie.”

Mr. North advanced, first giving Leslie a letter, and then stooping down to kiss the worn yet loving face lifted up with difficulty from the downy pillows. Like many others, Mrs. North bore much better those evils which were real and tangible, than the woes of imagination, or the pains of hypochondriasis. Besides, there was so much tenderness in her husband's eye and voice ; tenderness

[ocr errors]

that had been long estranged, that she would have been astonished bad any one pitied her for the long and wasting illness, which had drawn aside the veil between those two hearts. Alas! that it is so frequently only sickness or approaching death, that bring the right understanding and full love into families, which might have cheered and strengthened them during health and life! Besides that friendly illness, however, other blessed influences had been at work. Mrs. North insisted on it that Leslie had been as an “angel in the house." during that long dreary winter, and it was with pangs of conscience that she remembered how little she had deserved it,-how little, Leslie herself was scarcely aware. Mrs. North had resolved to confess all to Leslie, but she put it off from day to day, saying, “ It will do no good.” Leslie had done the best service of all to the dwellers in that house ;-a certain old-fashioned volume had

; been little familiar there, save in Leslie's own room ; but it had been rescued from high book-shelf and powdery dust, and was it not

« PředchozíPokračovat »