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or food to the happy expectants of a truth ; her heart the seat of ardent day like this!
and active feeling. And now the little coats, the worst The little Seatons felt it no penance ed gloves, and snow-boots were duly to be confined to such a nursery. buckled on, and the mother saw the They looked upon it as privileged joyous troop depart. She did not de- ground, where they could enact a tain them with ill-timed cautions, lec- thousand sports, sure of Beaty Lawtures, or advice, to check the freedom son's assistance and applause. Even of their wildest wishes ; she stayed Sunday, that day of injudicious gloom but for a moment her little Mary, and, to many, shone a holiday to them; wrapping the Indian shawl still closer nay, it was the happiest day of all the on her breast, she bade Beaty take seven, for the pious father spent it care of her gentle child. The two with his children ; and when retired elder boys had already gone out with from their parents, they had still to Mr. Seaton; and Fanny, being a lit- look to Beaty's Bible story; and whetle beyond Beaty's control, remained ther it was to be Daniel in the lion's to accompany her mother.
den—the children in the fiery furnace, It was a pleasant sight for old and or Mary's favorite Ruth, was the only young, to behold the various
groups of question. restless, happy beings, which that But we must not forget that Monday crowded the far-stretched line of day has already come, and that Beaty Prince's Street. Already were to be has to attend to other high behests. seen some impatient little urchins, the No light task was hers, to hear and offspring of chicken-pecked mothers, answer the thousand questions and returning with their load of gilded never-ending projects, as to what their Bauhles from their early walk. And exhaustless wealth might be equal to passing them came upright, palefaced procure. But, before entering the girls, the governess's pride! Poor tempting precincts of the toy-shop, things, one day of freedom might have Beaty's custom had ever been to exbeen permitted you, just to gild the act from each child a tenth of its treagloom of such a life of vain and heart- sure, to be appropriated by her to some less toil! And now came youthful object of charity; and this being given mothers, and proud young papas, with with open heart and willing hand, riotous boys, and giggling rosy girls, there was no farther check to the disas happy in the toy-shop as their chil- posal of the rest. It was delightful dren were
But amongst all the va to listen to the various projected purrious throng, none were more natural- chases-the magnificent presents they ly joyous than Beaty Lawson's brood. intended to bestow. William knew They were the children of a good old- his papa wanted a barometer, and did fashioned nursery, where much kind- nurse think they would get it at the ness and little discipline kept all in toy-shop, and that Mrs. Connel would order. Beaty knew nothing of the give it him for half a crown? Then thousand methods and never-ending came a list of gifts, commencing with books, which are now thought neces - a satin gown for mamma, and ending sary for the education of youth. But with a tea-canister for Betty the cook. she had all her Bible by heart, and If these things were at last discovered the greater part of Shakspeare, besides to be beyond their grasp, and somea superabundance of fairy tales and thing humbler was suggested when in romantic ballads; and the little Sea- the toy-shop, great at least had been tons knew no severer punishment than their delight in talking of them, and Beaty's declaring that she would not Beaty was sure to make honorable tell a story for a week. Never was mention of the first intention on their an impure word or a base action return home. And now the toy-shops known in Beaty's nursery. Her own having been ransacked, and the mermind was the mirror of purity and its of good-humored Mrs. Connel
been thoroughly discussed, another beauty, if she ever had possessed it; pleasure was still in store-a visit to but there was a charm about the George's Square, to taste old aunty whole of the Stewart family far beStewart's bun. This had always yond that of beauty, although some of formed a part of the routine of Han- them had been eminent for lovesel Monday.
liness,-their minds seemed never to As long as the little Seatons could grow old. There was within a remember George's Square, so long springing well of warmth and kindlihad aunty Stewart inhabited the same ness, of cheerful thoughts and lively house, and sat at her little wheel in fun, which all the cares of this weary the same chair, just between the fire- world had never checked. They had place and the window. Her grey silk met with many trials, yet still they gown, her beautiful pinched cap, her saw the bright side of everything, and silver hair and smooth unwrinkled their lives seemed but a continual skin, these had never altered. There song of thankfulness to God. stood the little table with her Bible, The children now being seated, the the newspapers, and a volume of the great-coats unbuckled, the cold shoes Spectator, and from year to year these taken off, and the little feet rubbed dear children had come, and still found into a glow, a drop of Aunty's cordial all the same. The bright brass grate and a piece of bun was duly adminiswith its shining utensils, the maho- tered to each. Then came the disgany cat, on which the frothy butter- play of all the wonderful things which ed toast was placed at breakfast, and had been bought—the large Hansels the plates were warmed at dinner ; which they had got; and how the litthe china figures on the mantel-piece, tle tongues did go about all that had where Sir John Falstaff, with his been felt, seen, and done since the paunch stuffed full of fun, still stood morning ! Oh, what a pity that Han80 temptingly beyond their reach ; sel Monday should ever end ! But these well-known sights were sure to Beaty Lawson reminded them that it meet their eyes as the little folk was getting late, and they had still to marched into aunt Stewart's parlor. visit cousin Stewart in his room. It
“ Well, my bairns, and is this you ?" was not to every one that this gentlesaid the good old lady, laying aside inan chose to show himself, and few her spectacles, and carefully marking besides the little Seatons dared to inwith a pin the place in the newspaper trude on his Sanctum Sanctorum ; but she had been reading; for since her they were always sure of a kind rememory had begun to fail, she found ception. How, with his kindly feelthis the surest way of making straight ings and lively delight in everything work of the papers.
“ Is this you, my which looked young and happy, Mr. bairns, come to wish your old aunty Stewart had remained a bachelor, was a good Hansel Monday, and tell her like many other wonders, never rightall your news? Mary, my little wo- ly understood. But there he sat surman, give Annie a cry ; she'll be up rounded by his books, the picture of in the store-room looking after the content. His pen seemed never idle, bun." But it was not necessary to yet what he wrote, or where it went, hurry Annie, for she had heard the or if the world was ever the wiser well-known little tongues in the par- for it, no one ever knew ; but at all lor, and, “Is that the little Seatons ?” events he was the busiest and the bapin her kindly voice, was answered by piest of men. Himself, his room, and their running to meet her as she came all about him, was the picture of comdown the stair, with a beaming face, fort, order, and scrupulous tidyness. and a plate well heaped with short- He had been a very handsome man, bread and with bun.
and when dress was more the distinAnnie, the unmarried daughter of guishing characteristic of a gentleman Mrs. Stewart, was past the age of than it now is, his had still been con
spicuous. Regularly as nine o'clock one visit to be paid, which her benestruck was Mr. Stewart to be seen volent heart could not omit. under the hands of an ancient barber, a visit to the house of mourning. who had shaved, powdered, and tied In one of those narrow closes which his cue for more than thirty years, abound in the old part of the town of discussing at the same time the poli- Edinburgh, lived a poor widow of the tics of the day, mourning over the de- name of Gray. This day of happiness generacy of the times, and quitting his to many, rose to her the anniversary master with the daily renewed feeling, of lasting sorrow. But it had not althat it would be well for the country ways been thus : No,-one year ago in general, and his pocket in particu- and not the youngest heart on Hansel lar, if there were many such gentle- Monday had looked for fuller happimen of the good old school.
ness than that of widow Gray. On The entrance of the little cousins that day twenty-two years before, she was preceded by a gentle tap from had been made the blessed mother of Mary, who, being the decided favorite, a thriving boy. He was her only was the first to peer in her little head. child,-long wished for, and granted “ Come in, my little Fairy-God when hope was almost dead.
He bless the little creature—it is Queen seemed to bring a blessing with him, Mab herself.
for everything had thriven with Ag. And where got ye that gown sae gay,
nes Gray since George's birth. HanMy little Fairy Queen ?
sel Monday had been to her the hapI got it in the Fairies' land,
piest day of her life,-it was the birthWhere you have never been.'
day of her child ; and though she had And where are my little men, Jemmy since mourned over the grave of a and Willie?-Will your purses hold kind husband, yet, when the day came another half-crown, boys ? God bless round, the heart of Agnes still renewtheir comely faces! Annie, have you ed her hymn of gratitude to God. given them plenty of short-bread ? That day twelve months past had Remember,
been the day which the mother had • Christmas comes but once a-year,
fixed upon for the wedding of her son. But once a-year, but once a-year;
“ It was the happiest day of my life, Christinas comes but once a-year, George,” said she, “ and I would And therefore we'll be merry.'
have it the happiest day of yours; and So sung the old gentleman in the glee if God spare me to see your Peggy as of his heart, rubbing his hands in pure blest a mother as I have been, then delight. “And now, my little Fairy, may I say, “Lord, now lettest thou you must give cousin Stewart his thy servant depart in peace.' Thus, song.” The little maid needed no with his mother's blessing warm at second bidding, for she had sat and his heart, and happiness brightening sung on cousin Stewart's knee as long every feature, did the youthful brideas she could remember, and still her groom quit his parents' roof. song had been,
to return in the evening with his “ Ogin my love were yon red rose,
bride, who was henceforward to be That grows upon the castle wa';
the intimate of his mother's dwelling. And I mysell a drap of dew,
The widow had no fears or misgivings Into her bonny breast I'd fa’.”
as to the worth or excellency of He had heard her mother sing it when George's wife ; for she had known she was somewhat older than Mary; and loved her from a child ; and the and, perhaps, that might account for first wish of her heart had been that the tears that dimmed the good man's George should marry pretty Peggy eyes when he kissed the child, and Burns. said she was the image of her mother. The daylight had long passed away, But Beaty must now collect her flock and more than once had widow Gray and carry them off ; for there was yet trimmed the fire, and looked with
pride and pleasure at the well-furnish- two young men. He stopt for a moed room which was to be the abode of ment, but persuading himself they her new daughter. The hours passed were only claiming the privilege of by, and still they did not come ; Oh, Hansel Monday, to obtain a kiss from what could stay them now? And for a pretty girl, he prepared to hurry on the first time alarm arose in the mo to his own appointment. A second ther's heart. She took her seat be- appeal for help, however, in a voice side the fire, and tried to read her Bi- of unequivocal terror and supplicable ; but her heart throbbed and Aut- tion, rendered him ashamed of his tered so, it was in vain. At last she momentary selfishness, and thinking heard a noise,-her ears could not be of his own Peggy, he few to the asdeceived,-it was their footsteps on sistance of the poor girl. Forcibly the stair. She hurried to the door seizing the arm of the most troublewith a light,-a man, indeed, stood some of the two ruffians, he enabled there; but the light fell upon the face the girl to make her escape ; but at of a stranger. “Who are you ?” said that moment, the other young man the agitated mother. “Why do I turning upon George, threw him head see you here? My God! has any- foremost with all his force against the thing happened to my boy? Whose iron lamp-post. The blow was fatalare those voices that I hear below ?” ly severe, and he lay at their feet And she would have rushed past him, bleeding and senseless. A party of but he caught her arm. “ Come into the wedding guests were the first to the house,” said the compassionate observe him, and come to his assiststranger, “and I will tell you all.”- ance ; he was carried into the house “Oh, I know it already !” said the of his Peggy's father, and it was mother; my boy, my boy is gone !” some time before he uttered a word. -"No, he is not dead; believe me, At last he opened his eyes ; and as my poor woman, your son lives, but Peggy hung over him, he pressed her he has been severely hurt, and they hand, and faintly uttered, “Let them are now bringing him here at his own carry me to my mother.” After a desire. I have dressed his wound, and while, however, he recovered so far perhaps” The mother heard not as to be able to give some account of what he said—she remained fixed to what had happened.
The surgeon the spot-her eyes raised to heaven- who had been called in, having now her heart in silent prayer, as if im- made his appearance, the poor young ploring God for strength to bear her man again petitioned to be taken to misery. It was indeed a sight to his mother's house ; and seeing that harrow up the soul ; her brave, her quiet was not to be obtained where he beautiful boy, was now brought back was, the surgeon agreed to his immeto his mother's house, and laid upon diate removal. the bed, pale, bleeding, and almost All now having quitted the house of lifeless. He was supported by the Mrs. Gray, except the surgeon and surgeon and some of the bridal party, poor Peggy, the mother, with tremwhilst his poor Peggy pressed close to bling hands, assisted to undress her his side, her face as white as her bri- son, and stood by while he was bled. dal garments.
The doctor now saw him laid quiet, The mother asked not a question, and proposed to leare them for the but the facts were soon made known night. He had given no hope-he by those around her. Her son had had said nothing ; and the unhappy arrived within a few paces of his fa- widow dared not to ask a question, for ther-in-law's door, when his attention she read in his face the sentence of was attracted to the opposite side of her son's death. Next morning, the street, by the screams of a young George desired to see the surgeon girl, apparently struggling to disen- alone, and after conversing with him gage herself from the rude attack of for some moments, he sent for Peggy.
8 ATHENEUM, VOL. 2, 3d series.
They remained for some time toge- their hands were now joined in wedther, and when the mother entered lock. George's strength supported the room, the poor girl was seated by him through the sacred ceremony, and the bed, holding the hand of her lover, when the clergyman pronounced them paler is possible than before, but still, man and wife, he opened his arms, and silent, as death itself.
received her to his bosom, and saying, “ Mother, I have been telling Peg “ God bless my Peggy,” he expired. gy what I need not tell you, for I saw Such was the story which the childyou knew how it would be when you ren had heard from their nurse soon laid me on this bed. And now, dear after it had happened. Since then they mother, I have only one wish, and had frequently visited the widow and that is to see our good minister, and her daughter, for Peggy had never once more hear his voice in prayer.— left her mother-in-law. Though poor Oh! I hoped to have seen him per- now, they were not altogether destiform an office far different from this ! tute, and the young widow added to but the Lord's will be done.” The their little stock, by taking in plain good man came, and after a few words work. This was all she was able for. to the afflicted mother, he seated him- She had always been a delicate girl ; self by the bed of her son. Peggy and now sorrow, though quietly ennow rose for the first time, and taking dured, was making deep inroads in her the widow aside, she said some words feeble frame. The cold of winter in a low and earnest voice, but at that had borne hard upon Peggy; and moment the minister called to them when Beaty now saw ber seated by to kneel round George's bed, and then the poor old woman, she felt that it he prayed aloud with all the fervor would be difficult to say whether the of a feeling and a pious heart. His ripe fruit or the blighted flower was were indeed the words of eternal life; likely to be soonest taken. The childand as he poured out his spirit in ren, with instinctive feeling, had hid prayer, this world, with all its sins and their toys in Beaty's mantle as they its sorrows, faded from their eyes. ascended the stair. « Do not let poor
The holy man now arose, and would Peggy see our play-things, to put her have left them, but Peggy, starting in mind of Hansel Monday,” said litforward, laid her hand upon his arm tle William. Poor things, it was with a look of earnest supplication, kindly meant ; but Hansel Monday and tried to speak; but the effort was was written in Peggy's heart in chatoo much for her, and the mother racters too deep to be ever effaced then advanced to explain her wishes. from it. As they softly entered they “If you think there is naething wrang found the widow seated by the fire ; in it, sir, Peggy wishes to be made her wheel, for that day, was laid the wise of my poor boy.” The mi- aside, while Peggy sat beside her with nister looked at the dying man, and her open Bible upon her knee, appashook his head. " Peggy knows rently reading to her. “ Do not let that, sir,” said widow Gray; "she me interrupt you, Peggy," said the knows he has not many hours to live, nurse ; “our visit must be very short ; but yet it is natural for her to wish but my bairns have brought Agnes and
And then her father could let her yourself some little things to show live with me.” “ And then," said their good will, for they well know it Peggy, rousing herself to speak, “Oh! is not what this world can now bethen, sir, I would be laid in stow that is anything to you.” “That She could not say the word, but is true,” said Peggy, clasping her BiGeorge, clasping her hand, added, ble to her breast, this book is my “In my grave, Peggy! it is that best treasure ; and oh! may these you would say. God bless you, dear bairns feel it to be such, even in dearest, for the wish.” The good their young days of happiness and joy! man made no further objection, and So may God spare them the sore les