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Heart-Histories and Life-Pictures
by T. S. Arthur
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"How, vulgar, Emily?"

"Why, there was Mr. Jones, the watchmaker, with his wife and two daughters. I need not explain what I mean by vulgar, when I give you that information."

"I cannot say that I have any clearer idea of what you mean, Emily."

"You talk strangely, uncle! You do not suppose that we are going to associate with the Joneses?"

"I did not say that I did. Still, I am in the dark as to what you mean by the most vulgar kind of people."

"Why, common people, brother," said Mrs. Ludlow, coming up to the aid of her daughter. "Mr. Jones is only a watchmaker, and therefore has no business to push himself and family into the company of genteel people."

"Saratoga is a place of public resort," was the quiet reply.

"Well, genteel people will have to stay away, then, that's all. I, at least, for one, am not going to be annoyed as I have been for the last two or three seasons at Saratoga, by being thrown amongst all sorts of people."

"They never troubled me any," spoke up Florence Ludlow, the youngest of the three sisters. "For my part, I liked Mary Jones very much. She was——"

"You are too much of a child to be able to judge in matters of this kind," said the mother, interrupting Florence.

Florence was fifteen; light-hearted and innocent. She had never been able, thus far in life, to appreciate the exclusive principles upon which her mother and sisters acted, and had, in consequence, frequently fallen under their censure. Purity of heart, and the genuine graces flowing from a truly feminine spirit, always attracted her, no matter what the station of the individual in whose society she happened to be thrown. The remark of her mother silenced her, for the time, for experience had taught her that no good ever resulted from a repetition of her opinions on a subject of this kind.

"And I trust she will ever remain the child she is, in these matters," said Uncle Joseph, with emphasis. "It is the duty of every one, sister, to do all that he can to set aside the false ideas of distinction prevailing in the social world, and to build up on a broader and truer foundation, a right estimate of men and things. Florence, I have observed, discriminates according to the quality of the person's mind into whose society she is thrown, and estimates accordingly. But you, and Emily, and Adeline, judge of people according to their rank in society—that is according to the position to which wealth alone has raised them. In this way, and in no other, can you be thrown so into association with 'all kinds of people,' as to be really affected by them. For, the result of my observation is, that in any circle where a mere external sign is the passport to association, 'all sorts of people,' the good, the bad, and the indifferent, are mingled. It is not a very hard thing for a bad man to get rich, sister; but for a man of evil principles to rise above them, is very hard, indeed; and is an occurrence that too rarely happens. The consequence is, that they who are rich, are not always the ones whom we should most desire to mingle with."

"I don't see that there is any use in our talking about these things, brother," replied Mrs. Ludlow. "You know that you and I never did agree in matters of this kind. As I have often told you, I think you incline to be rather low in your social views."

"How can that be a low view which regards the quality of another, and estimates him accordingly?" was the reply.

"I don't pretend to argue with you, on these subjects, brother; so you will oblige me by dropping them," said Mrs. Ludlow, coloring, and speaking in an offended tone.

"Well, well, never mind," Uncle Joseph replied, soothingly. "We will drop them."

Then turning to Emily, he continued—

"And so your minds are made up not to go to Saratoga?"

"Yes, indeed."

"Well, where do you intend spending the summer months?"

"I hardly know yet. But, if I have my say, we will take a trip in one of the steamers. A flying visit to London would be delightful."

"What does your father say to that?"

"Why, he won't listen to it. But I'll do my best to bring him round—and so will Adeline. As for Florence, I believe I will ask father to let her go to Saratoga with the Joneses."

"I shall have no very decided objections," was the quiet reply of Florence. A half angry and reproving glance from her mother, warned her to be more discreet in the declaration of her sentiments.

"A young lady should never attempt to influence her father," said Uncle Joseph. "She should trust to his judgment in all matters, and be willing to deny herself any pleasure to which he objected. If your father will not listen to your proposition to go to London, be sure that he has some good reason for it."

"Well, I don't know that he has such very good reasons, beyond his reluctance to go away from business," Emily replied, tossing her head.

"And should not you, as his daughter, consider this a most conclusive reason? Ought not your father's wishes and feelings be considered first?"

"You may see it so, Uncle; but I cannot say that I do."

"Emily," and Uncle Joseph spoke in an excited tone of voice, "If you hold these sentiments, you are unworthy of such a man as your father!"

"Brother, you must not speak to the girls in that way," said Mrs. Ludlow.

"I shall always speak my thoughts in your house Margaret," was the reply; "at least to you and the girls. As far as Mr. Ludlow is concerned, I have rarely occasion to differ with him."

A long silence followed, broken at last by an allusion to some other subject; when a better understanding among all parties ensued.

On that evening, Mr. Ludlow seemed graver than usual when he came in. After tea, Emily said, breaking in upon a conversation that had become somewhat interesting to Mr. Ludlow—

"I'm not going to let you have a moment's peace, Pa, until you consent to go to England with us this season."

"I'm afraid it will be a long time before I shall have any peace, then, Emily," replied the father, with an effort to smile, but evidently worried by the remark. This, Florence, who was sitting close by him, perceived instantly, and said—

"Well, I can tell you, for one, Pa, that I don't wish to go. I'd rather stay at home a hundred times."

"It's no particular difference, I presume, what you like," remarked Emily, ill-naturedly. "If you don't wish to go, I suppose no one will quarrel with you for staying at home."

"You are wrong to talk so, Emily," said Mr. Ludlow, calmly but firmly, "and I cannot permit such remarks in my presence."

Emily looked rebuked, and Mr. Ludlow proceeded.

"As to going to London, that is altogether out of the question. The reasons why it is so, are various, and I cannot now make you acquainted with all of them. One is, that I cannot leave my business so long as such a journey would require. Another is, that I do not think it altogether right for me to indulge you in such views and feelings as you and Adeline are beginning to entertain. You wish to go to London, because you don't want to go to Saratoga, or to any other of our watering places; and you don't want to go there, because certain others, whom you esteem below you in rank, can afford to enjoy themselves, and recruit their health at the same places of public resort. All this I, do not approve, and cannot encourage."

"You certainly cannot wish us to associate with every one," said Emily, in a tone less arrogant.

"Of course not, Emily," replied Mr. Ludlow; "but I do most decidedly condemn the spirit from which you are now acting. It would exclude others, many of whom, in moral character, are far superior to yourself from enjoying the pleasant, health-imparting recreation of a visit to the Springs, because it hurts your self-importance to be brought into brief contact with them."

"I can't understand what you mean by speaking of these kind of people as superior in moral character to us," Mrs. Ludlow remarked.

"I said some of them. And, in this, I mean what I say. Wealth and station in society do not give moral tone. They are altogether extraneous, and too frequently exercise a deteriorating influence upon the character. There is Thomas, the porter in my store—a plain, poor man, of limited education; yet possessing high moral qualities, that I would give much to call my own. This man's character I esteem far above that of many in society to whom no one thinks of objecting. There are hundreds and thousands of humble and unassuming persons like him, far superior in the high moral qualities of mind to the mass of self-esteeming exclusives, who think the very air around them tainted by their breath. Do you suppose that I would enjoy less the pleasures of a few weeks at Saratoga, because Thomas was there? I would, rather, be gratified to see him enjoying a brief relaxation, if his duties at the store could be remitted in my absence."

There was so much of the appearance of truth in what Mr. Ludlow said, combined with a decided tone and manner, that neither his wife or daughters ventured a reply. But they had no affection for the truth he uttered, and of course it made no salutary impression on their minds.

"What shall we do, Ma?" asked Adeline, as they sat with their mother, on the next afternoon. "We must go somewhere this summer, and Pa seems in earnest about not letting us visit London."

"I don't know, I am sure, child," was the reply.

"I can't think of going to Saratoga," said Emily, in a positive tone.

"The Emmersons are going," Adeline remarked.

"How do you know?" asked Emily, in a tone of surprise.

"Victorine told me so this morning."

"She did!"

"Yes. I met her at Mrs. Lemmington's and she said that they were all going next week."

"I don't understand that," said Emily, musingly.

"It was only last week that Victorine told me that they were done going to Saratoga; that the place had become too common. It had been settled, she said, that they were to go out in the next steamer."

"Mr. Emmerson, I believe, would not consent, and so, rather than not go anywhere, they concluded to visit Saratoga, especially as the Lesters, and Milfords, and Luptons are going."

"Are they all going?" asked Emily, in renewed surprise.

"So Victorine said."

"Well, I declare! there is no kind of dependence to be placed in people now-a-days. They all told me that they could not think of going to such a vulgar place as Saratoga again."

Then, after a pause, Emily resumed,

"As it will never do to stay at home, we will have to go somewhere. What do you think of the Virginia Springs, Ma?"

"I think that I am not going there, to be jolted half to death in a stage coach by the way."

"Where, then, shall we go?"

"I don't know, unless to Saratoga."

"Victorine said," remarked Adeline, "that a large number of distinguished visiters were to be there, and that it was thought the season would be the gayest spent for some time."

"I suppose we will have to go, then," said Emily.

"I am ready," responded Adeline.

"And so am I," said Florence.

That evening Mr. Ludlow was graver and more silent than usual. After tea, as he felt no inclination to join in the general conversation about the sayings and doings of distinguished and fashionable individuals, he took a newspaper, and endeavored to become interested in its contents. But he tried in vain. There was something upon his mind that absorbed his attention at the same time that it oppressed his feelings. From a deep reverie he was at length roused by Emily, who said—

"So, Pa, you are determined not to let us go out in the next steamer?"

"Don't talk to me on that subject any more, if you please," replied Mr. Ludlow, much worried at the remark.

"Well, that's all given up now," continued Emily, "and we've made up our minds to go to Saratoga. How soon will you be able to go with us?"

"Not just now," was the brief, evasive reply.

"We don't want to go until next week."

"I am not sure that I can go even then."

"O, but we must go then, Pa."

"You cannot go without me," said Mr. Ludlow, in a grave tone.

"Of course not," replied Emily and Adeline at the same moment.

"Suppose, then, I cannot leave the city next week?"

"But you can surely."

"I am afraid not. Business matters press upon me, and will, I fear, engage my exclusive attention for several weeks to come."

"O, but indeed you must lay aside business," said Mrs. Ludlow. "It will never do for us to stay at home, you knows during the season when everybody is away."

"I shall be very sorry if circumstances arise to prevent you having your regular summer recreation," was replied, in a serious, even sad tone. "But, I trust my wife and daughters will acquiesce with cheerfulness."

"Indeed, indeed, Pa! We never can stay at home," said Emily, with a distressed look. "How would it appear? What would people say if we were to remain in the city during all the summer?"

"I don't know, Emily, that you should consider that as having any relation to the matter. What have other people to do with matters which concerns us alone?"

"You talk very strangely of late, Mr. Ludlow," said his wife.

"Perhaps I have reason for so doing," he responded, a shadow flitting across his face.

An embarrassing silence ensued, which was broken, at last, by Mr. Ludlow.

"Perhaps," he began, "there may occur no better time than the present, to apprise you all of a matter that must, sooner or later, become known to you. We will have to make an effort to reduce our expenses—and it seems to me that this matter of going to the Springs, which will cost some three or four hundred dollars, might as well be dispensed with. Business is in a worse condition than I have ever known it; and I am sustaining, almost daily, losses that are becoming alarming. Within the last six weeks I have lost, beyond hope, at least twenty thousand dollars. How much more will go I am unable to say. But there are large sums due me that may follow the course of that already gone. Under these circumstances, I am driven to the necessity of prudence in all my expenditures."

"But three or four hundred are not much, Pa," Emily urged, in a husky voice, and with dimmed eyes. For the fear of not being able to go somewhere, was terrible to her. None but vulgar people staid at home during the summer season.

"It is too large a sum to throw away now. So I think you had all better conclude at once not to go from home this summer," said Mr. Ludlow.

A gush of tears from Emily and Adeline followed this annunciation, accompanied by a look of decided disapprobation from the mother. Mr. Ludlow felt deeply tried, and for some moments his resolution wavered; but reason came to his aid, and he remained firm. He was accounted a very rich merchant. In good times, he had entered into business, and prosecuted it with great energy. The consequence was, that he had accumulated money rapidly. The social elevation consequent upon this, was too much for his wife. Her good sense could not survive it. She not only became impressed with the idea, that, because she was richer, she was better than others, but that only such customs were to be tolerated in "good society," as were different from prevalent usages in the mass. Into this idea her two eldest daughters were thoroughly inducted. Mr. Ludlow, immersed in business, thought little about such matters, and suffered himself to be led into almost anything that his wife and daughters proposed. But Mrs. Ludlow's brother—Uncle Joseph, as he was called—a bachelor, and a man of strong common sense, steadily opposed his sister in her false notions, but with little good effect. Necessity at last called into proper activity the good sense of Mr. Ludlow, and he commenced the opposition that has just been noticed. After reflecting some time upon the matter, he resolved not to assent to his family leaving home at all during the summer.

All except Florence were exceedingly distressed at this. She acquiesced with gentleness and patience, although she had much desired to spend a few weeks at Saratoga. But Mrs. Ludlow, Emily, and Adeline, closed up the front part of the house, and gave directions to the servants not to answer the door bell, nor to do anything that would give the least suspicion that the family were in town. Then ensconcing themselves in the back buildings of their dwelling, they waited in gloomy indolence for the "out of the city" season to pass away; consoling themselves with the idea, that if they were not permitted to join the fashionables at the Springs, it would at lest be supposed that they had gone some where into the country, and thus they hoped to escape the terrible penalty of losing caste for not conforming to an indispensable rule of high life.

Mr. Ludlow was compelled to submit to all this, and he did so without much opposition; but it all determined him to commence a steady opposition to the false principles which prompted such absurd observances. As to Uncle Joseph, he was indignant, and failing to gain admittance by way of the front door after one or two trials, determined not to go near his sister and nieces, a promise which he kept for a few weeks, at least.

Meantime, every thing was passing off pleasantly at Saratoga. Among the distinguished and undistinguished visitors there, was Mary Jones, and her father, a man of both wealth and worth, notwithstanding he was only a watchmaker and jeweller. Mary was a girl of no ordinary character. With beauty of person far exceeding that of the Misses Ludlow, she had a well cultivated mind, and was far more really and truly accomplished than they were. Necessarily, therefore, she attracted attention at the Springs; and this had been one cause of Emily's objection to her.

A day or two after her arrival at Saratoga, she was sitting near a window of the public parlor of one of the hotels, when a young man, named Armand, whom she had seen there several times before, during the watering season, in company with Emily Ludlow, with whose family he appeared to be on intimate terms came up to her and introduced himself.

"Pardon me, Miss Jones," said he, "but not seeing any of the Miss Ludlows here, I presumed that you might be able to inform me whether they intend visiting Saratoga or not, this season, and, therefore, I have broken through all formalities in addressing you. You are well acquainted with Florence, I believe?"

"Very well, sir," Mary replied.

"Then perhaps you can answer my question?"

"I believe I can, sir. I saw Florence several times within the last week or two; and she says that they shall not visit any of the Springs this season."

"Indeed! And how comes that?"

"I believe the reason is no secret," Mary replied, utterly unconscious that any one could be ashamed of a right motive, and that an economical one. "Florence tells me that her father has met with many heavy losses in business; and that they think it best not to incur any unnecessary expenses. I admire such a course in them."

"And so do I, most sincerely," replied Mr. Armand. Then, after thinking for a moment, he added—

"I will return to the city in the next boat. All of their friends being away, they must feel exceedingly lonesome."

"It will certainly be a kind act, Mr. Armand, and one, the motive for which they cannot but highly appreciate," said Mary, with an inward glow of admiration.

It was about eleven o'clock on the next day that Mr. Armand pulled the bell at the door of Mr. Ludlow's beautiful dwelling, and then waited with a feeling of impatience for the servant to answer the summons. But he waited in vain. No servant came. He rang again, and again waited long enough for a servant to come half a dozen times. Then he looked up at the house and saw that all the shutters were closed; and down upon the marble steps, and perceived that they were covered with dust and dirt; and on the bell-handle, and noted its loss of brightness.

"Miss Jones must have been mistaken," he said to himself, as he gave the bell a third pull, and then waited, but in vain, for the hall-door to be swung open.

"Who can it be?" asked Emily, a good deal disturbed, as the bell rang violently for the third time, and in company with Adeline, went softly into the parlor to take a peep through one of the shutters.

"Mr. Armand, as I live!" she ejaculated, in a low, husky whisper, turning pale. "I would not have him know that we are in town for the world!"

And then she stole away quietly, with her heart leaping and fluttering in her bosom, lest he should instinctively perceive her presence.

Finding that admission was not to be obtained, Mr. Armand concluded that the family had gone to some other watering place, and turned away irresolute as to his future course. As he was passing down Broadway, he met Uncle Joseph.

"So the Ludlows are all out of town," he said.

"So they are not!" replied Uncle Joseph, rather crustily, for he had just been thinking over their strange conduct, and it irritated him.

"Why, I have been ringing there for a quarter of an hour, and no one came to the door; and the house is all shut up."

"Yes; and if you had ringing for a quarter of a century, it would all have been the same."

"I can't understand you," said Mr. Armand.

"Why, the truth is, Mr. Ludlow cannot go to the Springs with them this season, and they are so afraid that it will become known that they are burying themselves in the back part of the house, and denying all visiters."

"Why so? I cannot comprehend it."

"All fashionable people, you know, are expected to go to the sea-shore or the Springs; and my sister and her two eldest daughters are so silly, as to fear that they will lose caste, if it is known that they could not go this season. Do you understand now?"

"Perfectly."

"Well, that's the plain A B C of the case. But it provokes me out of all patience with them."

"It's a strange idea, certainly," said Mr. Armand, in momentary abstraction of thought; and then bidding Uncle Joseph good morning, he walked hastily along, his mind in a state of fermentation.

The truth was, Mr. Armand had become much attached to Emily Ludlow, for she was a girl of imposing appearance and winning manners. But this staggered him. If she were such a slave to fashion and observance, she was not the woman for his wife. As he reflected upon the matter, and reviewed his intercourse with her, he could remember many things in her conversation and conduct that he did not like. He could distinctly detect a degree of self-estimation consequent upon her station in society, that did not meet his approbation—because it indicated a weakness of mind that he had no wish to have in a wife. The wealth of her father he had not regarded, nor did now regard, for he was himself possessor of an independence.

Two days after, he was again at Saratoga. The brief interview that had passed between him and Mary Jones was a sufficient introduction for him; and, taking advantage of it, he threw himself in her way frequently, and the more he saw of her, the more did he admire her winning gentleness, sweet temper, and good sense. When he returned to New York, he was more than half in love with her.

"Mr. Armand has not been to see us once this fall," said Adeline, one evening in October. They were sitting in a handsomely furnished parlor in a neat dwelling, comfortable and commodious, but not so splendid as the one they had occupied a few months previous. Mr. Ludlow's affairs had become so embarrassed, that he determined, in spite of the opposition of his family, to reduce his expenses. This resolution he carried out amid tears and remonstrances—for he could not do it in any other way.

"Who could expect him to come here?" Emily replied, to the remark of her sister. "Not I, certainly."

"I don't believe that would make any difference with him," Florence ventured to say, for it was little that she could say, that did not meet with opposition.

"Why don't you?" asked Adeline.

"Because Mary Jones—"

"Mary Jones again!" ejaculated Emily. "I believe you don't think of anybody but Mary Jones. I'm surprised that Ma lets you visit that girl!"

"As good people as I am visit her," replied Florence. "I've seen those there who would be welcome here."

"What do you mean?"

"If you had waited until I had finished my sentence, you would have known before now. Mary Jones lives in a house no better than this, and Mr. Armand goes to see her."

"I don't believe it!" said Emily, with emphasis.

"Just as you like about that. Seeing is believing, they say, and as I have seen him there, I can do no less than believe he was there."

"When did you see him there?" Emily now asked with eager interest, while her face grew pale.

"I saw him there last evening—and he sat conversing with Mary in a way that showed them to be no strangers to each other."

A long, embarrassed, and painful silence followed this announcement. At last, Emily got up and went off to her chamber, where she threw herself upon her bed and burst into tears. After these ceased to flow, and her mind had become, in some degree, tranquillized, her thoughts became busy. She remembered that Mr. Armand had called, while they were hiding away in fear lest it should be known that they were not on a fashionable visit to some watering place—how he had rung and rung repeatedly, as if under the idea that they were there, and how his countenance expressed disappointment as she caught a glimpse of it through the closed shutters. With all this came, also, the idea that he might have discovered that they were at home, and have despised the principle from which they acted, in thus shutting themselves up, and denying all visiters. This thought was exceedingly painful. It was evident to her, that it was not their changed circumstances that kept him away—for had he not visited Mary Jones?

Uncle Joseph came in a few evenings afterwards, and during his visit the following conversation took place.

"Mr. Armand visits Mary Jones, I am told," Adeline remarked, as an opportunity for saying so occurred.

"He does? Well, she is a good girl—one in a thousand," replied Uncle Joseph.

"She is only a watchmaker's daughter," said Emily, with an ill-concealed sneer.

"And you are only a merchant's daughter. Pray, what is the difference?"

"Why, a good deal of difference!"

"Well state it."

"Mr. Jones is nothing but a mechanic."

"Well?"

"Who thinks of associating with mechanics?"

"There may be some who refuse to do so; but upon what grounds do they assume a superiority?"

"Because they are really above them."

"But in what respect?"

"They are better and more esteemed in society."

"As to their being better, that is only an assumption. But I see I must bring the matter right home. Would you be really any worse, were your father a mechanic?"

"The question is not a fair one. You suppose an impossible case."

"Not so impossible as you might imagine. You are the daughter of a mechanic."

"Brother, why will you talk so? I am out of all patience with you!" said Mrs. Ludlow, angrily.

"And yet, no one knows better than you, that I speak only the truth. No one knows better than you, that Mr. Ludlow served many years at the trade of a shoemaker. And that, consequently, these high-minded young ladies, who sneer at mechanics, are themselves a shoemaker's daughters—a fact that is just as well known abroad as anything else relating to the family. And now, Misses Emily and Adeline, I hope you will hereafter find it in your hearts to be a little more tolerant of mechanics daughters."

And thus saying, Uncle Joseph rose, and bidding them good night, left them to their own reflections, which were not of the most pleasant character, especially as the mother could not deny the allegation he had made.

During the next summer, Mr. Ludlow, whose business was no longer embarrassed, and who had become satisfied that, although he should sink a large proportion of a handsome fortune, he would still have a competence left, and that well secured—proposed to visit Saratoga, as usual. There was not a dissenting voice—no objecting on the score of meeting vulgar people there. The painful fact disclosed by Uncle Joseph, of their plebeian origin, and the marriage of Mr. Armand—whose station in society was not to be questioned—with Mary Jones, the watchmaker's daughter, had softened and subdued their tone of feeling, and caused them to set up a new standard of estimation. The old one would not do, for, judged by that, they would have to hide their diminished heads. Their conduct at the Springs was far less objectionable than it had been heretofore, partaking of the modest and retiring in deportment, rather than the assuming, the arrogant, and the self-sufficient. Mrs. Armand was there, with her sister, moving in the first circles; and Emily Ludlow and her sister Adeline felt honored rather than humiliated by an association with them. It is to be hoped they will yet make sensible women.



THE WIFE.

"I AM hopeless!" said the young man, in a voice that was painfully desponding. "Utterly hopeless! Heaven knows I have tried hard to get employment! But no one has need of my service. The pittance doled out by your father, and which comes with a sense of humiliation that is absolutely heart-crushing, is scarcely sufficient to provide this miserable abode, and keep hunger from our door. But for your sake, I would not touch a shilling of his money if I starved."

"Hush, dear Edward!" returned the gentle girl, who had left father, mother, and a pleasant home, to share the lot of him she loved; and she laid a finger on his lips, while she drew her arm around him.

"Agnes," said the young man, "I cannot endure this life much longer. The native independence of my character revolts at our present condition. Months have elapsed, and yet the ability I possess finds no employment. In this country every avenue is crowded."

The room in which they were overlooked the sea.

"But there is another land, where, if what we hear be true, ability finds employment and talent a sure reward." And, as Agnes said this, in a voice of encouragement, she pointed from the window towards the expansive waters that stretched far away towards the south and west.

"America!" The word was uttered in a quick, earnest voice.

"Yes."

"Agnes, I thank you for this suggestion! Return to the pleasant home you left for one who cannot procure for you even the plainest comforts of life, and I will cross the ocean to seek a better fortune in that land of promise. The separation, painful to both, will not, I trust, be long."

"Edward," replied the young wife with enthusiasm, as she drew her arm more tightly about his neck, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee! Where thou goest I will go, and where thou liest I will lie. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."

"Would you forsake all," said Edward, in surprise, "and go far away with me into a strange land?"

"It will be no stranger to me than it will be to you, Edward."

"No, no, Agnes! I will not think of that," said Edward Marvel, in a positive, voice. "If I go to that land of promise, it must first be alone."

"Alone!" A shadow fell over the face of Agnes. "Alone! It cannot—it must not be!"

"But think, Agnes. If I go alone, it will cost me but a small sum to live until I find some business, which may not be for weeks, or even months after I arrive in the New World."

"What if you were to be sick?" The frame of Agnes slightly quivered as she made this suggestion.

"We will not think of that."

"I cannot help thinking of it, Edward. Therefore entreat me not to leave thee, nor to return from following after thee. Where thou goest, I will go."

Marvel's countenance became more serious.

"Agnes," said the young man, after he had reflected for some time, "let us think no more about this. I cannot take you far away to this strange country. We will go back to London. Perhaps another trial there may be more successful."

After a feeble opposition on the part of Agnes, it was finally agreed that Edward should go once more to London, while she made a brief visit to her parents. If he found employment, she was to join him immediately; if not successful, they were then to talk further of the journey to America.

With painful reluctance, Agnes went back to her father's house, the door of which ever stood open to receive her; and she went back alone. The pride of her husband would not permit him to cross the threshold of a dwelling where his presence was not a welcome one. In eager suspense, she waited for a whole week ere a letter came from Edward. The tone of this letter was as cheerful and as hopeful as it was possible for the young man to write. But, as yet, he had found no employment. A week elapsed before another came. It opened in these words:—

"MY DEAR, DEAR AGNES! Hopeless of doing anything here, I have turned my thoughts once more to the land of promise; and, when you receive this, I will be on my journey thitherward. Brief, very brief, I trust, will be our separation. The moment I obtain employment, I will send for you, and then our re-union will take place with a fulness of delight such as we have not yet experienced."

Long, tender, and hopeful was the letter; but it brought a burden of grief and heart-sickness to the tender young creature, who felt almost as if she had been deserted by the one who was dear to her as her own life.

Only a few days had Edward Marvel been at sea, when he became seriously indisposed, and, for the remaining part of the voyage, was so ill as to be unable to rise from his berth. He had embarked in a packet ship from Liverpool bound for New York, where he arrived, at the expiration of five weeks. Then he was removed to the sick wards of the hospital on Staten Island, and it was the opinion of the physicians there that he would die.

"Have you friends in this country?" inquired a nurse who was attending the young man. This question was asked on the day after he had become an inmate of the hospital.

"None," was the feebly uttered reply.

"You are very ill," said the nurse.

The sick man looked anxiously into the face of his attendant.

"You have friends in England?"

"Yes."

"Have you any communication to make to them?"

Marvel closed his eyes, and remained for some time silent.

"If you will get me a pen and some paper, I will write a few lines," said he at length.

"I'm afraid you are too weak for the effort," replied the nurse.

"Let me try," was briefly answered.

The attendant left the room.

"Is there any one in your part of the house named Marvel?" asked a physician, meeting the nurse soon after she had left the sick man's room. "There's a young woman down in the office inquiring for a person of that name."

"Marvel—Marvel?" the nurse shook her head.

"Are you certain?" remarked the physician.

"I'm certain there is no one by that name for whom any here would make inquiries. There's a young Englishman who came over in the last packet, whose name is something like that you mention. But he has no friends in this country."

The physician passed on without further remark.

Soon after, the nurse returned to Marvel with the writing materials for which he had asked. She drew a table to the side of his bed, and supported him as he leaned over and tried, with an unsteady hand, to write.

"Have you a wife at home?" asked the nurse; her eyes had rested on the first words he wrote.

"Yes," sighed the young man, as the pen dropped from his fingers, and he leaned back heavily, exhausted by even the slight effort he had made.

"Your name is Marvel?"

"Yes."

"A young woman was here just now inquiring if we had a patient by that name."

"By my name?" There was a slight indication of surprise.

"Yes."

Marvel closed his eyes, and did not speak for some moments.

"Did you see her?" he asked at length, evincing some interest.

"Yes."

"Did she find the one for whom she was seeking?"

"There is no person here, except yourself, whose name came near to the one she mentioned. As you said you had no friends in this country, we did not suppose that you were meant."

"No, no." And the sick man shook his head slowly. "There is none to ask for me. Did you say it was a young woman?" he inquired, soon after. His mind dwelt on the occurrence.

"Yes. A young woman with a fair complexion and deep blue eyes."

Marvel looked up quickly into the face of the attendant, while a flush came into his cheeks.

"She was a slender young girl, with light hair, and her face was pale, as from trouble."

"Agnes! Agnes!" exclaimed Marvel, rising up. "But, no, no," he added, mournfully, sinking back again upon the bed; "that cannot be. I left her far away over the wide ocean."

"Will you write?" said the nurse after some moments.

The invalid, without unclosing his eyes, slowly shook his head. A little while the attendant lingered in his room, and then retired.

"Dear, dear Agnes!" murmured Edward Marvel, closing his eyes, and letting his thoughts go, swift-winged, across the billow sea. "Shall I never look on your sweet face again? Never feel your light arms about my neck, or your breath warm on my cheek? Oh, that I had never left you! Heaven give thee strength to bear the trouble in store!"

For many minutes he lay thus, alone, with his eyes closed, in sad self-communion. Then he heard the door open and close softly; but he did not look up. His thoughts were far, far away. Light feet approached quickly; but he scarcely heeded them. A form bent over him; but his eyes remained shut, nor did he open them until warm lips were pressed against his own, and a low voice, thrilling through his whole being, said—

"Edward!"

"Agnes!" was his quick response, while his arms were thrown eagerly around the neck of his wife, "Agnes! Agnes! Have I awakened from a fearful dream?"

Yes, it was indeed her of whom he had been thinking. The moment she received his letter, informing her that he had left for the United States, she resolved to follow him in the next steamer that sailed. This purpose she immediately avowed to her parents. At first, they would not listen to her; but, finding that she would, most probably, elude their vigilance, and get away in spite of all efforts to prevent her, they deemed it more wise and prudent to provide her with everything necessary for the voyage, and to place her in the care of the captain of the steamship in which she was to go. In New York they had friends, to whom they gave her letters fully explanatory of her mission, and earnestly commending her to their care and protection.

Two weeks before the ship in which Edward Marvel sailed reached her destination, Agnes was in New York. Before her departure, she had sought, but in vain, to discover the name of the vessel in which her husband had embarked. On arriving in the New World, she was therefore uncertain whether he had preceded her in a steamer, or was still lingering on the way.

The friends to whom Agnes brought letters received her with great kindness, and gave her all the advice and assistance needed under the circumstances. But two weeks went by without a word of intelligence on the one subject that absorbed all her thoughts. Sadly was her health beginning to suffer. Sunken eyes and pale cheeks attested the weight of suffering that was on her.

One day it was announced that a Liverpool packet had arrived with the ship fever on board, and that several of the passengers had been removed to the hospital.

A thrill of fear went through the heart of the anxious wife. It was soon ascertained that Marvel had been a passenger on board of this vessel; but, from some cause, nothing in regard to him beyond this fact could she learn. Against all persuasion, she started for the hospital, her heart oppressed with a fearful presentiment that he was either dead or struggling in the grasp of a fatal malady. On making inquiry at the hospital, she was told the one she sought was not there, and she was about returning to the city, when the truth reached her ears.

"Is he very ill?" she asked, struggling to compose herself.

"Yes, he is extremely ill," was the reply. "And it might not be well for you, under the circumstances, to see him at present."

"Not well for his wife to see him?" returned Agnes. Tears sprung to her eyes at the thought of not being permitted to come near in his extremity. "Do not say that. Oh, take me to him! I will save his life."

"You must be very calm," said the nurse; for it was with her she was talking. "The least excitement may be fatal."

"Oh, I will be calm and prudent." Yet, even while she spoke, her frame quivered with excitement.

But she controlled herself when the moment of meeting came, and, though her unexpected appearance produced a shock, it was salutary rather than injurious.

"My dear, dear Agnes!" said Edward Marvel, a month from this time, as they sat alone in the chamber of a pleasant house in New York, "I owe you my life. But for your prompt resolution to follow me across the sea, I would, in all probability, now be sleeping the sleep of death. Oh, what would I not suffer for your sake!"

As Marvel uttered the last sentence, a troubled expression flitted over his countenance. Agnes gazed tenderly into his face, and asked—

"Why this look of doubt and anxiety?"

"Need I answer the question?" returned the young man. "It is, thus far, no better with me than when we left our old home. Though health is coming back through every fibre, and my heart is filled with an eager desire to relieve these kind friends of the burden of our support, yet no prospect opens."

No cloud came stealing darkly over the face of the young wife. The sunshine, so far from being dimmed, was brighter.

"Let not your heart be troubled," said she, with a beautiful smile. "All will come out right."

"Right, Agnes? It is not right for me thus to depend on strangers."

"You need depend but a little while longer. I have already made warm friends here, and, through them, secured for you employment. A good place awaits you so soon as strength to fill it comes back to your weakened frame."

"Angel!" exclaimed the young man, overcome with emotion at so unexpected a declaration.

"No, not an angel," calmly replied Agnes, "only a wife. And now, dear Edward," she added, "never again, in any extremity, think for a moment of meeting trials or enduring privations alone. Having taken a wife, you cannot move safely on your journey unless she moves by your side."

"Angel! Yes, you are my good angel," repeated Edward.

"Call me what you will," said Agnes, with a sweet smile, as she brushed, with her delicate hand, the hair from his temples; "but let me be your wife. I ask no better name, no higher station."



NOT GREAT, BUT HAPPY.

How pure and sweet is the love of young hearts! How little does it contain of earth—how much of heaven! No selfish passions mar its beauty. Its tenderness, its pathos, its devotion, who does not remember, even when the sere leaves of autumn are rustling beneath his feet? How little does it regard the cold and calculating objections of worldly-mindedness. They are heard but as a passing murmur. The deep, unswerving confidence of young love, what a blessed thing it is! Heart answers to heart without an unequal throb. The world around is bright and beautiful: the atmosphere is filled with spring's most delicious perfumes.

From this dream—why should we call it a dream?—Is it not a blessed reality?—Is not young, fervent love, true love? Alas! this is an evil world, and man's heart is evil. From this dream there is too often a tearful awaking. Often, too often, hearts are suddenly torn asunder, and wounds are made that never heal, or, healing, leave hard, disfiguring scars. But this is not always so. Pure love sometimes finds its own sweet reward. I will relate one precious instance.

The Baron Holbein, after having passed ten years of active life in a large metropolitan city of Europe, retired to his estate in a beautiful and fertile valley, far away from the gay circle of fashion—far away from the sounds of political rancor with which he had been too long familiar—far away from the strife of selfish men and contending interests. He had an only child, Nina, just fifteen years of age. For her sake, as well as to indulge his love of quiet and nature, he had retired from the world. Her mother had been with the angels for some years. Without her wise counsels and watchful care, the father feared to leave his innocent-minded child exposed to the temptations that must gather around her in a large city.

For a time Nina missed her young companions, and pined to be with them. The old castle was lonely, and the villagers did not interest her. Her father urged her to go among the peasantry, and, as an inducement, placed a considerable sum of money at her command, to be used as she might see best in works of benevolence. Nina's heart was warm, and her impulses generous. The idea pleased her, and she acted upon it. She soon found employment enough both for her time and the money placed at her disposal. Among the villagers was a woman named Blanche Delebarre, a widow, whose only son had been from home since his tenth year, under the care of an uncle, who had offered to educate him, and fit him for a life of higher usefulness than that of a mere peasant. There was a gentleness about this woman, and something that marked her as superior to her class. Yet she was an humble villager, dependent upon the labor of her own hands, and claimed no higher station.

Nina became acquainted with Blanche soon after the commencement of her residence at the castle. When she communicated to her the wishes of her father, and mentioned the money that had been placed at her disposal, the woman took her hand and said, while a beautiful light beamed from her countenance—

"It is more blessed to give than to receive, my child. Happy are they who have the power to confer benefits, and who do so with willing hearts. I fear, however, that you will find your task a difficult one. Everywhere are the idle and undeserving, and these are more apt to force themselves forward as objects of benevolence than the truly needy and meritorious. As I know every one in the village, perhaps I may be able to guide you to such objects as deserve attention."

"My good mother," replied Nina, "I will confide in your judgment. I will make you my almoner."

"No, my dear young lady, it will be better for you to dispense with your own hands. I will merely aid you to make a wise dispensation."

"I am ready to begin. Show me but the way."

"Do you see that company of children on the green?" said Blanche.

"Yes. And a wild company they are."

"For hours each day they assemble as you see them, and spend their time in idle sports. Sometimes they disagree and quarrel. That is worse than idleness. Now, come here. Do you see that little cottage yonder on the hill-side, with vines clustering around the door?"

"Yes."

"An aged mother and her daughter reside there. The labor of the daughter's hands provides food and raiment for both. These children need instruction, and Jennet Fleury is fully qualified to impart it. Their parents cannot, or will not, pay to send them to school, and Jennet must receive some return for her labors, whatever they be."

"I see it all," cried Nina with animation. "There must be a school in the village. Jennet shall be the teacher."

"If this can be done, it will be a great blessing," said Blanche.

"It shall be done. Let us go over to that sweet little cottage at once and see Jennet."

The good Blanche Delebarre made no objection. In a little while they entered the cottage. Every thing was homely, but neat and clean. Jennet was busy at her reel when they entered. She knew the lady of Castle Holbein, and arose up quickly and in some confusion. But she soon recovered herself, and welcomed, with a low courtesy, the visitors who had come to grace her humble abode. When the object of this visit was made known, Jennet replied that the condition of the village children had often pained her, and that she had more than once prayed that some way would open by which they could receive instruction. She readily accepted the proposal of Nina to become their teacher, and wished to receive no more for the service than what she could now earn by reeling silk.

It did not take long to get the proposed school in operation. The parents were willing to send their children, the teacher was willing to receive them, and the young lady patroness was willing to meet the expenses.

Nina said nothing to her father of what she was doing. She wished to surprise him some day, after every thing was going on prosperously. But a matter of so much interest to the neighborhood could not remain a secret. The school had not been in operation two days before the baron heard all about it. But he said nothing to his daughter. He wished to leave her the pleasure which he knew she desired, that of telling him herself.

At the end of a month Nina presented her father with an account of what she had done with the money he had placed in her hands. The expenditure had been moderate enough, but the good done was far beyond the baron's anticipations. Thirty children were receiving daily instructions; nurses had been employed, and medicines bought for the sick; needy persons, who had no employment, were set to work in making up clothing for children, who, for want of such as was suitable, could not attend the school. Besides, many other things had been done. The account was looked over by the Baron Holbein, and each item noted with sincere pleasure. He warmly commended Nina for what she had done; he praised the prudence with which she had managed what she had undertaken; and begged her to persevere in the good work.

For the space of more than a year did Nina submit to her father, for approval, every month an accurate statement of what she had done, with a minute account of all the moneys expended. But after that time she failed to render this account, although she received the usual supply, and was as actively engaged as before in works of benevolence among the poor peasantry. The father often wondered at this, but did not inquire the cause. He had never asked an account: to render it had been a voluntary act, and he could not, therefore, ask why it was withheld. He noticed, however, a change in Nina. She was more thoughtful, and conversed less openly than before. If he looked at her intently, her eyes would sink to the floor, and the color deepen on her cheek. She remained longer in her own room, alone, than she had done since their removal to the castle. Every day she went out, and almost always took the direction of Blanche Delebarre's cottage, where she spent several hours.

Intelligence of his daughter's good deeds did not, so often as before, reach the old baron's ears; and yet Nina drew as much money as before, and had twice asked to have the sum doubled. The father could not understand the meaning of all this. He did not believe that any thing was wrong—he had too much confidence in Nina—but he was puzzled. We will briefly apprise the reader of the cause of this change.

One day—it was nearly a year from the time Nina had become a constant visitor at Blanche Delebarre's—the young lady sat reading a book in the matron's cottage. She was alone—Blanche having gone out to visit a sick neighbor at Nina's request. A form suddenly darkened the door, and some one entered hurriedly. Nina raised her eyes, and met the gaze of a youthful strange, who had paused and stood looking at her with surprise and admiration. With more confusion, but with not less of wonder and admiration, did Nina return the stranger's gaze.

"Is not this the cottage of Blanche Delebarre?" asked he, after a moment's pause. His voice was low and musical.

"It is," replied Nina. "She has gone to visit a sick neighbor, but will return shortly."

"Is my mother well?" asked the youth.

Nina rose to her feet. This, then, was Pierre Delebarre, of whom his mother had so often spoke. The heart of the maiden fluttered.

"The good Blanche is well," was her simple reply. "I will go and say to her that her son has come home. It will make her heart glad."

"My dear young lady, no!" said Pierre. "Do not disturb my mother in her good work. Let her come home and meet me here—the surprise will add to the pleasure. Sit down again. Pardon my rudeness—but are not you the young lady from the castle, of whom my mother so often writes to me as the good angel of the village? I am sure you must be, or you would not be alone in my mother's cottage."

Nina's blushes deepened, but she answered without disguise that she was from the castle.

A full half hour passed before Blanche returned. The young and artless couple did not talk of love with their lips during that time, but their eyes beamed with a mutual passion. When the mother entered, so much were they interested in each other, that they did not hear her approaching footstep. She surprised them leaning toward each other in earnest conversation.

The joy of the mother's heart was great on meeting her son. He was wonderfully improved since she last saw him—had grown several inches, and had about him the air of one born of gentle blood, rather than the air of a peasant. Nina staid only a very short time after Blanche returned, and then hurried away from the cottage.

The brief interview held with young Pierre sealed the maiden's fate. She knew nothing of love before the beautiful youth stood before her—her heart was as pure as an infant's—she was artlessness itself. She had heard him so often spoken of by his mother, that she had learned to think of Pierre as the kindest and best of youths. She saw him, for the first time, as one to love. His face, his tones, the air of refinement and intelligence that was about him, all conspired to win her young affections. But of the true nature of her feelings, Nina was as yet ignorant. She did not think of love. She did not, therefore, hesitate as to the propriety of continuing her visits at the cottage of Blanche Delebarre, nor did she feel any reserve in the presence of Pierre. Not until the enamored youth presumed to whisper the passion her presence had awakened in his bosom, did she fully understand the cause of the delight she always felt while by his side.

After Pierre had been home a few weeks, he ventured to explain to his mother the cause of his unexpected and unannounced return. He had disagreed with his uncle, who, in a passion, had reminded him of his dependence. This the high-spirited youth could not bear, and he left his uncle's house within twenty-four hours, with a fixed resolution never to return. He had come back to the village, resolved, he said, to lead a peasant's life of toil, rather than live with a relative who could so far forget himself as to remind him of his dependence. Poor Blanche was deeply grieved. All her fond hopes for her son were at an end. She looked at his small, delicate hands and slender pro-portions, and wept when she thought of a peasant's life of hard labor.

A very long time did not pass before Nina made a proposition to Blanche, that relieved, in some measure, the painful depression under which she labored. It was this. Pierre had, from a child, exhibited a decided talent for painting. This talent had been cultivated by the uncle, and Pierre was, already, quite a respectable artist. But he needed at least a year's study of the old masters, and more accurate instruction than he had yet received, before he would be able to adopt the painter's calling as one by which he could take an independent position in society as a man. Understanding this fully, Nina said that Pierre must go to Florence, and remain there a year, in order to perfect himself in the art, and that she would claim the privilege of bearing all the expense. For a time, the young man's proud spirit shrunk from an acceptance of this generous offer; but Nina and the mother overruled all his objections, and almost forced him to go.

It may readily be understood, now, why Nina ceased to render accurate accounts of her charitable expenditures to her father. The baron entertained not the slightest suspicion of the real state of affairs, until about a year afterward, when a fine looking youth presented himself one day, and boldly preferred a claim to his daughter's hand. The old man was astounded.

"Who, pray, are you," he said, "that presume to make such a demand?"

"I am the son of a peasant," replied Pierre, bowing, and casting his eyes to the ground, "and you may think it presumption, indeed, for me to aspire to the hand of your noble daughter. But a peasant's love is as pure as the love of a prince; and a peasant's heart may beat with as high emotions."

"Young man," returned the baron, angrily, "your assurance deserves punishment. But go—never dare cross my threshold again! You ask an impossibility. When my daughter weds, she will not think of stooping to a presumptuous peasant. Go, sir!"

Pierre retired, overwhelmed with confusion. He had been weak enough to hope that the Baron Holbein would at least consider his suit, and give him some chance of showing himself worthy of his daughter's hand. But this repulse dashed every hope the earth.

As soon as he parted with the young man, the father sent a servant for Nina. She was not in her chamber—nor in the house. It was nearly two hours before she came home. When she entered the presence of her father, he saw, by her countenance, that all was not right with her.

"Who was the youth that came here some hours ago?" he asked, abruptly.

Nina looked up with a frightened air, but did not answer.

"Did you know that he was coming?" said the father.

The maiden's eyes drooped to the ground, and her lips remained sealed.

"A base-born peasant! to dare—"

"Oh, father! he is not base! His heart is noble," replied Nina, speaking from a sudden impulse.

"He confessed himself the son of a peasant! Who is he?"

"He is the son of Blanche Delebarre," returned Nina, timidly. "He has just returned from Florence, an artist of high merit. There is nothing base about him, father!"

"The son of a peasant, and an artist, to dare approach me and claim the hand of my child! And worse, that child to so far forget her birth and position as to favor the suit! Madness! And this is your good Blanche!—your guide in all works of benevolence! She shall be punished for this base betrayal of the confidence I have reposed in her."

Nina fell upon her knees before her father, and with tears and earnest entreaties pleaded for the mother of Pierre; but the old man was wild and mad with anger. He uttered passionate maledictions on the head of Blanche and her presumptuous son, and positively forbade Nina again leaving the castle on any pretext whatever, under the penalty of never being permitted to return.

Had so broad an interdiction not been made, there would have been some glimmer of light in Nina's dark horizon; she would have hoped for some change—would have, at least, been blessed with short, even if stolen, interviews with Pierre. But not to leave the castle on any pretext—not to see Pierre again! This was robbing life of every charm. For more than a year she had loved the young man with an affection to which every day added tenderness and fervor. Could this be blotted out in an instant by a word of command? No! That love must burn on the same.

The Baron Holbein loved his daughter; she was the bright spot in life. To make her happy, he would sacrifice almost anything. A residence of many years in the world had shown him its pretensions, its heartlessness, the worth of all its titles and distinctions. He did not value them too highly. But, when a peasant approached and asked the hand of his daughter, the old man's pride, that was smouldering in the ashes, burned up with a sudden blaze. He could hardly find words to express his indignation. It took but a few days for this indignation to burn low. Not that he felt more favorable to the peasant—but, less angry with his daughter. It is not certain that time would not have done something favorable for the lovers in the baron's mind. But they could not wait for time. Nina, from the violence and decision displayed by her father, felt hopeless of any change, and sought an early opportunity to steal away from the castle and meet Pierre, notwithstanding the positive commands that had been issued on the subject. The young man, in the thoughtless enthusiasm of youth, urged their flight.

"I am master of my art," he said, with a proud air. "We can live in Florence, where I have many friends."

The youth did not find it hard to bring the confiding, artless girl into his wishes. In less than a month the baron missed his child. A letter explained all. She had been wedded to the young peasant, and they had left for Florence. The letter contained this clause, signed by both Pierre and Nina:—

"When our father will forgive us, and permit our return, we shall be truly happy—but not till then."

The indignant old man saw nothing but impertinent assurance in this. He tore up the letter, and trampled it under his feet, in a rage. He swore to renounce his child forever!

For the Baron Holbein, the next twelve months were the saddest of his life. Too deeply was the image of his child impressed upon his heart, for passion to efface it. As the first ebullitions subsided, and the atmosphere of his mind grew clear again, the sweet face of his child was before him, and her tender eyes looking into his own. As the months passed away, he grew more and more restless and unhappy. There was an aching void in bosom. Night after night he would dream of his child, and awake in the morning and sigh that the dream was not reality. But pride was strong—he would not countenance her disobedience.

More than a year had passed away, and not one word had come from his absent one, who grew dearer to his heart every day. Once or twice he had seen the name of Pierre Delebarre in the journals, as a young artist residing Florence, who was destined, to become eminent. The pleasure these announcements gave him was greater than he would confess, even to himself.

One day he was sitting in his library endeavoring to banish the images that haunted him too continually, when two of his servants entered, bearing a large square box in their arms, marked for the Baron Holbein. When the box was opened, it was found to contain a large picture, enveloped in a cloth. This was removed and placed against the wall, and the servants retired with the box. The baron, with unsteady hands, and a heart beating rapidly, commenced removing the cloth that still held the picture from view. In a few moments a family group was before him. There sat Nina, his lovely, loving and beloved child, as perfect, almost, as if the blood were glowing in her veins. Her eyes were bent fondly upon a sleeping cherub that lay in her arms. By her side sat Pierre, gazing upon her face in silent joy. For only a single instant did the old man gaze upon this scene, before the tears were gushing over his cheeks and falling to the floor like rain. This wild storm of feeling soon subsided, and, in the sweet calm that followed, the father gazed with unspeakable tenderness for a long time upon the face of his lovely child, and with a new and sweeter feeling upon the babe that lay, the impersonation of innocence, in her arms. While in this state of mind, he saw, for the first time, written on the bottom of the picture—"NOT GREAT, BUT HAPPY."

A week from the day on which the picture was received, the Baron Holbein entered Florence. On inquiring for Pierre Delebarre, he found that every one knew the young artist.

"Come," said one, "let me go with you to the exhibition, and show you his picture that has taken the prize. It is a noble production. All Florence is alive with its praise."

The baron went to the exhibition. The first picture that met his eyes on entering the door was a counterpart of the one he had received, but larger, and, in the admirable lights in which it was arranged, looked even more like life.

"Isn't it a grand production?" said the baron's conductor.

"My sweet, sweet child!" murmured the old man, in a low thrilling voice. Then turning, he said, abruptly—

"Show me where I can find this Pierre Delebarre."

"With pleasure. His house is near at hand," said his companion.

A few minutes walk brought them to the artist's dwelling.

"That is an humble roof," said the man, pointing to where Pierre lived, "but it contains a noble man." He turned away, and the baron entered alone. He did not pause to summon any one, but walked in through the open door. All was silent. Through a neat vestibule, in which were rare flowers, and pictures upon the wall, he passed into a small apartment, and through that to the door of an inner chamber It was half open. He looked in. Was it another picture? No, it was in very truth his child; and her babe lay in her arms, as he had just seen it, and Pierre sat before her looking tenderly in her face. He could restrain himself no longer. Opening the door, he stepped hurriedly forward, and, throwing his arms around the group, said in broken voice—"God bless you, my children!"

The tears that were shed; the smiles that beamed from glad faces; the tender words that were spoken, and repeated again and again; why need we tell of all these? Or why relate how happy the old man was when the dove that had flown from her nest came back with her mate by her side The dark year had passed, and there was sunshine again in his dwelling, brighter sunshine than before. Pierre never painted so good a picture again as the one that took the prize—that was his masterpiece.

The Young Baron Holbein has an immense picture gallery, and is a munificent patron of the arts. There is one composition on his walls he prizes above all the rest. The wealth of India could not purchase it. It is the same that took the prize when he was but a babe and lay in his mother's arms. The mother who held him so tenderly, and the father who gazed so lovingly upon her pure young brow have passed away, but they live before him daily, and he feels their gentle presence ever about him for good.



THE MARRIED SISTERS.

"COME, William, a single day, out of three hundred and sixty-five, is not much."

"True, Henry Thorne. Nor is the single drop of water, that first finds its way through the dyke, much; and yet, the first drop but makes room for a small stream to follow, and then comes a flood. No, no, Henry, I cannot go with you, to-day; and if you will be governed by a friend's advice, you will not neglect your work for the fancied pleasures of a sporting party."

"All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy, We were not made to be delving forever with tools in close rooms. The fresh air is good for us. Come, William, you will feel better for a little recreation. You look pale from confinement. Come; I cannot go without you."

"Henry Thorne," said his friend, William Moreland, with an air more serious than that at first assumed, "let me in turn urge you to stay."

"It is in vain, William," his friend said, interrupting him.

"I trust not, Henry. Surely, my early friend and companion is not deaf to reason."

"No, not to right reason."

"Well, listen to me. As I said at first, it is not the loss of a simple day, though even this is a serious waste of time, that I now take into consideration. It is the danger of forming a habit of idleness. It is a mistake, that a day of idle pleasure recreates the mind and body, and makes us return and necessary employments with renewed delight. My own experience is, that a day thus spent, causes us to resume our labors with reluctance, and makes irksome what before was pleasant. Is it not your own?"

"Well, I don't know; I can't altogether say that it is; indeed, I never thought about it."

"Henry, the worst of all kinds of deception is self-deception. Don't, let me, beg of you, attempt to deceive yourself in a matter so important. I am sure you have experienced this reluctance to resuming work after a day of pleasure. It is a universal experience. And now that we are on this subject, I will add, that I have observed in you an increasing desire to get away from work. You make many excuses and they seem to you to be good ones. Can you tell me how many days you have been out of the shop in the last three months?"

"No, I cannot," was the reply, made in a tone indicating a slight degree of irritation.

"Well, I can, Henry."

"How many is it, then?"

"Ten days."

"Never!"

"It is true, for I kept the count."

"Indeed, then, you are mistaken. I was only out a gunning three times, and a fishing twice."

"And that makes five times. But don't you remember the day you were made sick by fatigue?"

"Yes, true, but that is only six."

"And the day you went up the mountain with the party?"

"Yes."

"And the twice you staid away because it stormed?"

"But, William, that has nothing to do with the matter. If it stormed so violently that I couldn't come to the shop, that surely is not to be set down to the account of pleasure-taking."

"And yet, Henry, I was here, and so were all the workmen but yourself. If there had not been in your mind a reluctance to coming to the shop, I am sure the storm would not have kept you away. I am plain with you, because I am your friend, and you know it. Now, it is this increasing reluctance on your part, that alarms me. Do not, then, add fuel to a flame, that, if thus nourished, will consume you."

"But, William——"

"Don't make excuses, Henry. Think of the aggregate of ten lost days. You can earn a dollar and a half a day, easily, and do earn it whenever you work steadily. Ten days in three months is fifteen dollars. All last winter, Ellen went without a cloak, because you could not afford to buy one for her; now the money that you could have earned in the time wasted in the last three months, would have bought her a very comfortable one—and you know that it is already October, and winter will soon be again upon us. Sixty dollars a year buys a great many comforts for a poor man."

Henry Thorne remained silent for some moments. He felt the force of William Moreland's reasoning; but his own inclinations were stronger than his friend's arguments. He wanted to go with two or three companions a gunning, and even the vision of his young wife shrinking in the keen winter wind, was not sufficient to conquer this desire.

"I will go this once, William," said he, at length, with a long inspiration; "and then I will quit it. I see and acknowledge the force of what you say; I never viewed the matter so seriously before."

"This once may confirm a habit now too strongly fixed," urged his companion. "Stop now, while your mind is rationally convinced that it is wrong to waste your time, when it is so much needed for the sake of making comfortable and happy one who loves you, and has cast her lot in life with yours. Think of Ellen, and be a man."

"Come, Harry!" said a loud, cheerful voice at the shop door; "we are waiting for you!"

"Ay, ay," responded Henry Thorne. "Good morning, William! I am pledged for to-day. But after this, I will swear off!" And so saying, he hurried away.

Henry Thorne and William Moreland were workmen in a large manufacturing establishment in one of our thriving inland towns. They had married sisters, and thus a friendship that had long existed, was confirmed by closer ties of interest.

They had been married about two years, at the time of their introduction to the reader, and, already, Moreland could perceive that his earnings brought many more comforts for his little family than did Henry's. The difference was not to be accounted for in the days the other spent in pleasure taking, although their aggregate loss was no mean item to be taken from a poor man's purse. It was to be found, mainly, in a disposition to spend, rather than to save; to pay away for trifles that were not really needed, very small sums, whose united amounts in a few weeks would rise to dollars. But, when there was added to this constant check upon his prosperity the frequent recurrence of a lost day, no wonder that Ellen had less of good and comfortable clothing than her sister Jane, and that her house was far less neatly furnished.

All this had been observed, with pain, by William Moreland and his wife, but, until the conversation recorded in the opening of this story, no word or remonstrance or warning had been ventured upon by the former. The spirit in which Moreland's words were received, encouraged him to hope that he might exercise a salutary control over Henry, if he persevered, and he resolved that he would extend thus far towards him the offices of a true friend.

After dinner on the day during which her husband was absent, Ellen called in to see Jane, and sit the afternoon with her. They were only sisters, and had always loved each other much. During their conversation, Jane said, in allusion to the season:

"It begins to feel a little chilly to-day, as if winter were coming. And, by the way, you are going to get a cloak this fall, Ellen, are you not?"

"Indeed, I can hardly tell, Jane," Ellen replied, in a serious tone; "Henry's earnings, somehow or other, don't seem to go far with us; and yet I try to be as prudent as I can. We have but a few dollars laid by, and both of us want warm underclothing. Henry must have a coat and pair of pantaloons to look decent this winter; so I must try and do without the cloak, I suppose."

"I am sorry for that. But keep a good heart about it, sister. Next fall, you will surely be able to get a comfortable one; and you shall have mine as often as you want it, this winter. I can't go out much, you know; our dear little Ellen, your namesake, is too young to leave often."

"You are very kind, Jane," said Ellen, and her voice slightly trembled.

A silence of some moments ensued, and then the subject of conversation was changed to one more cheerful.

That evening, just about nightfall, Henry Thorne came home, much fatigued, bringing with him half a dozen squirrels and a single wild pigeon.

"There, Ellen, is something to make a nice pie for us to-morrow," said he, tossing his game bag upon the table.

"You look tired, Henry," said his wife, tenderly; "I wouldn't go out any more this fall, if I were you."

"I don't intend going out any more, Ellen," was replied, "I'm sick of it."

"You don't know how glad I am to hear you say so! Somehow, I always feel troubled and uneasy when you are out gunning or fishing, as if you were not doing right."

"You shall not feel so any more, Ellen," said Thorne: "I've been thinking all the afternoon about your cloak. Cold weather is coming, and we haven't a dollar laid by for anything. How I am to get the cloak, I do not see, and yet I cannot bear the thought of your going all this winter again without one."

"O, never mind that, dear," said Ellen, in a cheerful tone, her face brightening up. "We can't afford it this fall, and so that's settled. But I can have Jane's whenever I want it, she says; and you know she is so kind and willing to lend me anything that she has. I don't like to wear her things; but then I shall not want the cloak often."

Henry Thorne sighed at the thoughts his wife's words stirred in his mind.

"I don't know how it is," he at length said, despondingly; "William can't work any faster than I can, nor earn more a week, and yet he and Jane have every thing comfortable, and are saving money into the bargain, while we want many things that they have, and are not a dollar ahead."

One of the reasons for this, to her husband so unaccountable, trembled on Ellen's tongue, but she could not make up her mind to reprove him; and so bore in silence, and with some pain, what she felt as a reflection upon her want of frugality in managing household affairs.

Let us advance the characters we have introduced, a year in their life's pilgrimage, and see if there are any fruits of these good resolutions.

"Where is Thorne, this morning?" asked the owner of the shop, speaking to Moreland, one morning, an hour after all the workmen had come in.

"I do not know, really," replied Moreland. "I saw him yesterday, when he was well."

"He's off gunning, I suppose, again. If so, it is the tenth day he has lost in idleness during the last two months. I am afraid I shall have to get a hand in his place, upon whom I can place more dependence. I shall be sorry to do this for your sake, and for the sake of his wife. But I do not like such an example to the workmen and apprentices; and besides being away from the shop often disappoints a job."

"I could not blame you, sir," Moreland said; "and yet, I do hope you will bear with him for the sake of Ellen. I think if you would talk with him it would do him good."

"But, why don't you talk to him, William?"

"I have talked to him frequently, but he has got so that he won't bear it any longer from me."

"Nor would he bear it from me, either, I fear, William."

Just at that moment the subject of the conversation came in.

"You are late this morning, Henry," said the owner of the shop to him, in the presence of the other workmen.

"It's only a few minutes past the time," was replied, moodily.

"It's more than an hour past."

"Well, if it is, I can make it up."

"That is not the right way, Henry. Lost time is never made up."

Thorne did not understand the general truth intended to be expressed, but supposed, at once, that the master of the shop meant to intimate that he would wrong him out of the lost hour, notwithstanding he had promised to make it up. He therefore turned an angry look upon him, and said—

"Do you mean to say that I would cheat you, sir?"

The employer was a hasty man, and tenacious of his dignity as a master. He invariably discharged a journeyman who was in the least degree disrespectful in his language or manner towards him before the other workmen. Acting under the impulse that at once prompted him, he said:

"You are discharged;" and instantly turned away.

As quickly did Henry Thorne turn and leave the shop. He took his way homeward, but he paused and lingered as he drew nearer and nearer his little cottage, for troubled thoughts had now taken the place of angry feelings. At length he was at the door, and lifting slowly the latch, he entered.

"Henry!" said Ellen, with a look and tone of surprise. Her face was paler and more care-worn than it was a year before; and its calm expression had changed into a troubled one. She had a babe upon her lap, her first and only one. The room in which she sat, so far from indicating circumstances improved by the passage of a year, was far less tidy and comfortable; and her own attire, though neat, was faded and unseasonable. Her husband replied not to her inquiring look, and surprised ejaculation, but seated himself in a chair, and burying his face in his hands, remained silent, until, unable to endure the suspense, Ellen went to him, and taking his hand, asked, so earnestly, and so tenderly, what it was that troubled him, that he could not resist her appeal.

"I am discharged!" said he, with bitter emphasis. "And there is no other establishment in the town, nor within fifty miles!"

"O, Henry! how did that happen?"

"I hardly know myself, Ellen, for it all seems like a dream. When I left home this morning, I did not go directly to the shop; I wanted to see a man at the upper end of the town, and when I got back it was an hour later than usual. Old Ballard took me to task before all the shop, and intimated that I was not disposed to act honestly towards him. This I cannot bear from any one; I answered him in anger, and was discharged on the spot. And now, what we are to do, heaven only knows! Winter is almost upon us, and we have not five dollars in the world."

"But something will turn up for us, Henry, I know it will," said Ellen, trying to smile encouragingly, although her heart was heavy in her bosom.

Her husband shook his head, doubtingly, and then all was gloomy and oppressive silence. For nearly an hour, no word was spoken by either. Each mind was busy with painful thoughts, and one with fearful forebodings of evil. At the end of that time, the husband took up his hat and went out. For a long, long time after, Ellen sat in dreamy, sad abstraction, holding her babe to her breast. From this state, a sense of duty roused her, and laying her infant on the bed,—for they had not yet been able to spare money for a cradle,—she began to busy herself in her domestic duties. This brought some little relief.

About eleven o'clock Jane came in with her usual cheerful, almost happy face, bringing in her hand a stout bundle. Her countenance changed in its expression to one of concern, the moment her eyes rested upon her sister's face, and she laid her bundle on a chair quickly, as if she half desired to keep it out of Ellen's sight.

"What is the matter, Ellen?" she asked, with tender concern, the moment she had closed the door.

Ellen could not reply; her heart was too full. But she leaned her head upon her sister's shoulder, and, for the first time since she had heard the sad news of the morning, burst into tears. Jane was surprised, and filled with anxious concern. She waited until this ebullition of feeling in some degree abated, and then said, in a tone still more tender than that in which she had first spoken,—

"Ellen, dear sister! tell me what has happened?"

"I am foolish, sister," at length, said Ellen, looking up, and endeavoring to dry her tears. "But I cannot help it. Henry was discharged from the shop this morning; and now, what are we to do? We have nothing ahead, and I am afraid he will not be able to get anything to do here, or within many miles of the village."

"That is bad, Ellen," replied Jane, while a shadow fell upon her face, but a few moments before so glowing and happy. And that was nearly all she could say; for she did not wish to offer false consolation, and she could think of no genuine words of comfort. After a while, each grew more composed and less reserved; and then the whole matter was talked over, and all that Jane could say, that seemed likely to soothe and give hope to Ellen's mind, was said with earnestness and affection.

"What have you there?" at length asked Ellen, glancing towards the chair upon which Jane had laid her bundle.

Jane paused a moment, as if in self-communion, and then said—

"Only a pair of blankets, and a couple of calico dresses that I have been out buying."

"Let me look at them," said Ellen, in as cheerful a voice as she could assume.

A large heavy pair of blankets, for which Jane had paid five dollars, were now unrolled, and a couple of handsome chintz dresses, of dark rich colors, suitable for the winter season, displayed. It was with difficulty that Ellen could restrain a sigh, as she looked at these comfortable things, and thought of how much she needed, and of how little she had to hope for. Jane felt that such thoughts must pass through her sister's mind, and she also felt much pained that she had undesignedly thus added, by contrast, to Ellen's unhappy feelings. When she returned home, she put away her new dresses and her blankets. She had no heart to look at them, no heart to enjoy her own good things, while the sister she so much loved was denied like present comforts, and, worse than all, weighed down with a heart-sickening dread of the future.

We will not linger to contrast, in a series of domestic pictures, the effects of industry and idleness on the two married sisters and their families,—effects, the causes of which, neither aided materially in producing. Such contrasts, though useful, cannot but be painful to the mind, and we would, a thousand times, rather give pleasure than pain. But one more striking contrast we will give, as requisite to show the tendency of good or bad principles, united with good or bad habits.

Unable to get any employment in the village, Thorne, hearing that steady work could be obtained in Charleston, South Carolina, sold off a portion of his scanty effects, by which he received money enough to remove there with his wife and child. Thus were the sisters separated; and in that separation, gradually estranged from the tender and lively affection that presence and constant intercourse had kept burning with undiminished brightness. Each became more and more absorbed, every day, in increasing cares and duties; yet to one those cares and duties were painful, and to the other full of delight.

Ten years from the day on which they parted in tears, Ellen sat, near the close of day, in a meanly furnished room, in one of the southern cities, watching, with a troubled countenance, the restless slumber of her husband. Her face was very thin and pale, and it had a fixed and strongly marked expression of suffering. Two children, a boy and a girl, the one about six, and the other a little over ten years of age, were seated listlessly on the floor, which was uncarpeted. They seemed to have no heart to play. Even the elasticity of childhood had departed from them. From the appearance of Thorne, it was plain that he was very sick; and from all the indications the room in which he lay, afforded, it was plain that want and suffering were its inmates. The habit of idleness he had suffered to creep at a slow but steady pace upon him. Idleness brought intemperance, and intemperance, reacting upon idleness, completed his ruin, and reduced his family to poverty in its most appalling form. Now he was sick with a southern fever, and his miserable dwelling afforded him no cordial, nor his wife and children the healthy food that nature required.

"Mother!" said the little boy, getting up from the floor, where he had been sitting for half an hour, as still as if he were sleeping, and coming to Ellen's side, he looked up earnestly and imploringly in her face.

"What, my child?" the mother said, stooping down and kissing his forehead, while she parted with her fingers the golden hair that fell in tangled masses over it.

"Can't I have a piece of bread, mother?"

Ellen did not reply, but rose slowly and went to the closet, from which she took part of a loaf, and cutting a slice from it, handed it to her hungry boy. It was her last loaf, and all their money was gone. The little fellow took it, and breaking a piece off for his sister, gave it to her; the two children then sat down side by side, and ate in silence the morsel that was sweet to them.

With an instinctive feeling, that from nowhere but above could she look for aid and comfort, did Ellen lift her heart, and pray that she might not be forsaken in her extremity. And then she thought of her sister Jane, from whom she had not heard for a long, long time, and her heart yearned towards her with an eager and yearning desire to see her face once more.

And now let us look in upon Jane and her family. Her husband, by saving where Thorne spent in foolish trifles, and working when Thorne was idle, gradually laid by enough to purchase a little farm, upon which he had removed, and there industry and frugality brought its sure rewards. They had three children: little Ellen had grown to a lively, rosy-cheeked, merry-faced girl of eleven years; and George, who had followed Ellen, was in his seventh year, and after him came the baby, now just completing the twelfth month of its innocent, happy life. It was in the season when the farmers' toil is rewarded, and William Moreland was among those whose labor had met an ample return.

How different was the scene, in his well established cottage, full to the brim of plenty and comfort, to that which was passing at the same hour of the day, a few weeks before, in the sad abode of Ellen, herself its saddest inmate.

The table was spread for the evening meal, always eaten before the sun hid his bright face, and George and Ellen, although the supper was not yet brought in, had taken their places; and Moreland, too, had drawn up with the baby on his knee, which he was amusing with an apple from a well filled basket, the product of his own orchard.

A hesitating rap drew the attention of the tidy maiden who assisted Mrs. Moreland in her duties.

"It is the poor old blind man," she said, in a tone of compassion, as she opened the door.

"Here is a shilling for him, Sally," said Moreland, handing her a piece of money. "The Lord has blessed us with plenty, and something to spare for his needy children."

The liberal meal upon the table, the mother sat down with the rest, and as she looked around upon each happy face, her heart blessed the hour that she had given her hand to William Moreland. Just as the meal was finished, a neighbor stopped at the door and said:

"Here's a letter for Mrs. Moreland; I saw it in the post-office, and brought it over for her, as I was coming this way."

"Come in, come in," said Moreland, with a hearty welcome in his voice.

"No, I thank you, I can't stop now. Good evening," replied the neighbor.

"Good evening," responded Moreland, turning from the door, and handing the letter to Jane.

"It must be from Ellen," Mrs. Moreland remarked, as she broke the seal. "It is a long time since we heard from then; I wonder how they are doing."

She soon knew; for on opening the letter she read thus:—

SAVANNAH, September, 18—.

MY DEAR SISTER JANE:—Henry has just died. I am left here without a dollar, and know not where to get bread for myself and two children. I dare not tell you all I have suffered since I parted from you. I——

My heart is too full; I cannot write. Heaven only knows what I shall do! Forgive me, sister, for troubling you; I have not done so before, because I did not wish to give you pain, and I only do so now, from an impulse that I cannot resist.

ELLEN.

Jane handed the letter to her husband, and sat down in a chair, her senses bewildered, and her heart sick.

"We have enough for Ellen, and her children, too, Jane," said Moreland, folding the letter after he had read it. "We must send for them at once. Poor Ellen! I fear she has suffered much."

"You are good, kind and noble-hearted, William!" exclaimed Jane, bursting into tears.

"I don't know that I am any better than anybody else, Jane. But I can't bear to see others suffering, and never will, if I can afford relief. And surely, if industry brought no other reward, the power it gives us to benefit and relieve others, is enough to make us ever active."

In one month from the time Ellen's letter was received, she, with her children, were inmates of Moreland's cottage. Gradually the light returned to her eye, and something of the former glow of health and contentment to her cheek. Her children in a few weeks, were as gay and happy as any. The delight that glowed in the heart of William Moreland, as he saw this pleasing change, was a double reward for the little he had sacrificed in making them happy. Nor did Ellen fall, with her children, an entire burden upon her sister and her husband;—her activity and willingness found enough to do that needed doing. Jane often used to say to her husband—

"I don't know which is the gainer over the other, I or Ellen; for I am sure I can't see how we could do without her."



GOOD-HEARTED PEOPLE.

THERE are two classes in the world: one acts from impulse, and the other from reason; one consults the heart, and the other the head. Persons belonging to the former class are very much liked by the majority of those who come in contact with them: while those of the latter class make many enemies in their course through life. Still, the world owes as much to the latter as to the former—perhaps a great deal more.

Mr. Archibald May belonged to the former class; he was known as a good-hearted man. He uttered the word "no" with great difficulty; and was never known to have deliberately said that to another which he knew would hurt his feelings. If any one about him acted wrong, he could not find it in his heart to wound him by calling his attention to the fact. On one occasion, a clerk was detected in purloining money; but it was all hushed up, and when Mr. May dismissed him, he gave him a certificate of good character.

"How could you do so?" asked a neighbor, to whom he mentioned the fact.

"How could I help doing it? The young man had a chance of getting a good place. It would have been cruel in me to have refused to aid him. A character was required, and I could do no less than give it. Poor, silly fellow! I am sure I wish him well. I always liked him."

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