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the fox in the fable, how very sour are the grapes they could not reach.'
· That may be,' remarked the widow thoughtfully. • It is, I assure you,' said the stranger.
· Those who are lucky enough to get fully engaged soon come to live like gentlemen. Good lodging, capital clothing, the best to eat, and plenty of it: kind neighbours, generous masters, skilful doctors'
And fine preachers,' added Mr. Stratton.
Oh, for those that like fine preaching it is as good as London itself: lots of Bible Societies, missionary meetings, tract depositories,'
And schools ?' asked the widow anxiously.
Capital schools: day, evening and Sunday schools to no end.'
• We cannot stop long now,' observed Mr. Stratton. * Think over wbat you have heard, but don't mention a word of it to anybody at present. In the first place, my friend would be exposed to so many applications he might not be able to serve you effectually; and in the next place, the life in the lease has not yet expired: so you have a chance still.'
• I will not mention it, sir; unless to Mr. Barlow, who is always my true friend.'
* Mr. Barlow! oh no, by no means: he is the best man alive, and your friend; but then he is other people's friend too. Come, I have good reason for desiring you to promise you wont name the matter to any body till we talk it over again.'
The widow promised ; adding that she would answer for Helen too.
• Come here, Helen,' said the kind neighbour. Why you are grown quite a woman. think it would be a nice plan to stop with your
good old friend, instead of going out to all sorts of drudgery?'
• Indeed, sir, I should not mind drudgery: but I could not part with her,' casting her tearful eyes towards the old lady.
Nor need you,' said the stranger; 'a strong healthy girl like you may earn enough, and easily, to keep her old hands both quiet and warm. Good bye to you.' And the gentlemen departed.
• Why did you not tell them, granny,' said Helen, when the visitors had left the cottage, ó that you had relations in the factories?'
“It would have done no good, my dear; and indeed I wanted to have their own account of the matter: for I often thought-my daughter Wright had a little over-rated the comforts of the place, because she went against the judgment of her friends; and she is one of those, Helen, who don't like to own they are disappointed.'
· But what a fine thing it must be, if all this is true.'
• It isn't all true, to my knowledge; but the Parliament has been making new laws they say, and all for the benefit of the working people: so it may be truer than I thought at first. Well, we must wait, and see how things turn out, Helen. A higher hand than ours is overruling all for good.'
They resumed their employments; and on the morrow the young people attended the Sunday school, with faces as cheerful and hearts as light as any in the village. Helen taught her class, Richard his, and the three children, as usual, gave perfect satisfaction to their instructors. From the school they went in modest order to the church, where the widow
Green was already in her place. They had proceeded but a few paces homeward, after the service, when a deep toll of the large bell struck them with a startling effect: they paused involuntarily.
* Poor Hewitt !’ remarked a gentleman who was passing, 'when did he die?'
'I don't know: I heard yesterday that he could not live many hours.'
Another step or two brought the party so painfully interested in these tidings within a few feet of the humble mound, over which a neat wooden graverail extended, bearing the names of William and Sarah Green and their departed children. It was almost too much for the widow: the cottage rose up before her, with all its sad and sweet associations ; the past and the future blending with the present, in a way they had never done before. She leaned more beavily on her grandson's arm; and as with affectionate sympathy he pressed hers closer to his side, a sob--a sound not often heard from her patient lips -burst forth, and then the natural weakness of humanity was conquered by a sweet recurrence to her mind of the words she had just before heard quoted in the pulpit:'“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Nothing was said on the subject: Richard fully understood the extent of what had befallen them; but he was a boy alike of resolute spirit and of sanguine disposition. The burden that then hung on his arm was dear to him as his life; and in deep devotion of soul he entered on the new path of duty into which the funeral bell had ushered him, determining that while he had hands to work, neither the aged form beside him nor the youthful beings who followed their tread should know want or sorrow. The untried path presented no obstacles to his inexperienced eye; and if Richard grieved over the loss of his little patrimony, still more did he rejoice in the conscious acquisition of what was indisputably his own-useful information, industrious habits, and an unblemished character.
At the cottage door they were met by Mrs. Barker, who, with a face where concern was most legibly pictured, took the widow's hand, saying, “If I could save you from what's now likely to come upon you, by walking fifty miles on my bare feet, I'd set out this minute.'
* That you would, ma'am,' exclaimed more than one young voice; while the widow mildly said, 'I know I have a kind, true friend on earth as long as Mrs. Barker is there : but now will you please to defer all talk about these things till to-morrow. We must remember the sabbath-day to keep it holy; and for all the rest, “ the Lord will provide.”
No word of allusion to the event was heard during the remainder of the day; all was cheerfulness, though perhaps not so bright as at some other times. The lodger's studious attentions, her many little bustling kindnesses, and looks of anxious love, tended to keep the matter very distinctly present to their thoughts; and once or twice she so-far forgot herself as to mutter expressions of admiration, the origin of which none could mistake, who knew the circumstances of the case.
• What a difference there is between Mrs. Barker and cross old Buckle!' whispered Mary to Helen. But the next morning, when the pail of milk was handed in, cross old Buckle spoke in tones so gentle, and stroked her head so kindly, and slipped so bright
a shilling into her hand, that Mary's opinion was quite staggered: tripping backward, as usual, in Helen's path, she exclaimed, I say, Helen, it is a good thing to be poor and in trouble: every body does be so kind to one then. Alas, poor Mary! she had much to learn.
THE SMILES OF HOPE.
The heart is a child-it's wishes are all hopes.'
THERE is an angel, who on airy wing,
From man's first hour, doth still his steps attend; In smiles, in tears ; in winter or in spring,
She 'flitteth near him, ready to befriend."
Bright is her aspect, sunny is her mien,
When hovering first around youth's path of flowers, She lightly leadeth him, o'er swards of green,
Where o'er no tempest rolls, no storm-cloud lowers.
And onward ever doth she point, to where
Some spot shines forth, far brighter than the rest, And still doth promise to return, and bear
The flower we prize, and place it in our breast. OCTOBER, 1839.