The Baldwin Library
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THE FLOWER CHOICE.
GIRLS AND FLOWERS.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;
SOLD AT THE DEPOSITORY, 66, PATERNOSTER ROW,
AND 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND BY THE BOOKSELLERS.
Girls and Flowers ........................... 7
The Rose and the Rhododendron ............ 15
The White Convolvulus ...................... 26
The Laurel................................. 88
The Daisy ............................... 49
Flowers in a Ball-room...................... 59
Flowers in the Chamber of Sickness ........... 70
Home Flowers the sweetest.................... 82
The Rose withers ............................. 94
Everlasting Flowers....................... .... 104
The Rose of Sharon ............................ 117
A Lesson for the Convolvulus .................... 126
The Rhododendron thinks to stand alone ........ 185
The Laurel yearneth for the Palm ................ 146
The Daisy still looks up ...................... 168
Girls and Flowers .............................. 169
GIrLS AND FLOWERS.
A GROUP Of young and light-hearted
girls sat together in the fading sunlight,
sily aarranging the fliers they had
thering in the $easIt woods
"What beautiful things flowers are!"
said one. "And what a nice amuse-
ment it would be, now that we are all
sitting her so quietly, if each w*re .to
choose which flower each would rather
Her young companions eagerly
agreed to her proposal.
"Just as if there could be any
choice," exclaimed Laura Bennet, a
little proudly, and holding up a moss-
rose, as she spoke. Among all the
flowers that grow, there is nothing to
vie in beauty with the rose. Let me
be the queen, or none !"
The rest laughed; and some said
that Laura Bennet looked like a queen.
She was certainly very handsome; and
the injudicious praises of her parents
and friends had made her perfectly
aware of a fact which she considered to
be of no little importance.
For my part," observed her sister
Helen, I should like to resemble the
luxuriant rhododendron, so beautifully
GIRLS AND FLOWERS.
described by Mrs. Child. When any
one in passing shook it rougmy, it scat-
tered, she tells us, 'a shower of honey-
dew from its roseate cups, and imme-
diately began to fill its chalices anew
with transparent ambrosia: teaching
us to shower sweetness even upon the
hands that disturb us, and to fill once
more with pure honey-drops the cha-
lices of our inward thoughts.' Oh I
who would not wish to be meek and
forgiving, like the rhododendron, if
they could? But it is very difficult,"
added poor Helen, with tears in her
"It is indeed,' said Lucy Neville,
gently, "if we trust only in our own
"And who is there to help us? I
am sure if Laura happens to say, as
she sometimes does, 'Do not put your-
self in a passion, Helen!' it makes me
ten times worse. It is only when papa
looks at me in his grave, kind manner,
that I have the slightest control over
"What a pity it is," said Lucy,
simply, "we cannot always remember
that the eye of our heavenly Father is
ever upon us."
"I wish I could," replied Helen.
"I have heard mamma say," observed
Lucy, "that praying is better than
"Now, Clara !" interrupted Laura
Bennet, turning impatiently towards a
fair, gentle-looking girl by her side,
"we are waiting for you."
GIRLS AND FLOWERS.
Clara smiled, and immediately chose
the pale convolvulus, or bindweed,
winding so caressingly in and out
among the bushes, and flinging over
them a graceful covering, an emblem
of meek beauty and loving tenderness.
"The only pity is," said she, that it
should so soon close up and fade."
Florence Delmont was the next to
speak; and, after a moment's pause, she
shook back the hair from her clear,
thoughtful brow, and declared that she
preferred the green laurel to all the
flowers that grew.
"That is because you write verses,
and think yourself clever," said Laura
Florence laughed good-humouredly,
as she twined the bright leaves among
her curls. To confess the truth, she
was not altogether unconscious of her
talents, or unmindful of the admiration
"But what says our dear Lucy?"
"I think that I can guess," said
Clara Seymour; "either a violet or a
heartsease-am I right ?"
"Not quite," replied Lucy, with a
deep blush; "although both the flowers
that you have mentioned are favourites
of mine. But I should like to resemble
the daisy most, because it is always
Her companions laughed; some in
ridicule, more especially Laura; while
her sister Helen glanced wonderingly
into the pale, quiet face of Lucy Neville.
GIRLS AND FLOWERS.
"Do tell me," said she, as they
walked home together in the twilight,
carrying the flowers which they had
gathered to adorn their several dwell-
ings, do tell me what made you wish
just now to be always looking upward,
like the daisy."
"Oh, Helen, can you ask? What
more do we require for happiness than
to be able, let the cloud be ever so
dark, to look upwards with the eye of
faith, and say, It is the Lord, arid
therefore it is best ?"
Do you always think thus ?" asked
"Alas, no!" replied poor Lucy, while
the tears fell fast upon her deep mourn-
ing dress. "But I am trying, and
praying to God to teach me."
SIt seems a hard lesson."
"But a beautiful one, dear Helen, if
we can but get it by heart; and full of
The friends now separated to their
various homes, where we shall severally
follow them, in order to give a clearer
insight into the character of each.
ROSE AND RHODODENDRON.
THE ROSE AND THE RHODODENDRON.
MR. and Mrs. Bennet were possessed
of considerable property; and not only
hospitable and generous to their friends
and neighbours, but mindful of the
poor and needy, who seldom went away
from their door unrelieved. The former
was a man of high moral principles
and strict integrity; the latter, a vain,
worldly woman, with sufficient sense,
however, to appreciate the nobler quali-
ties of her husband, and admire that
active benevolence which she wanted
energy of character to aid or emulate.
Laura resembled her mother both in
person and disposition; while Helen
was most like her father. She had the
same earnest and beautiful temper,
the same warm, generous heart; and,
young as she was, entered cheerfully
into all his plans of usefulness, besides
devising many little schemes of her
own, which were carried out with per-
severing industry, in spite of obstacles.
If Mrs. Bennet erred in the exagge-
rated praises constantly lavished upon
the beauty of her eldest daughter, her
husband was no less to blame in assert-
ing his belief, that there was no one in
the world like his good little Helen.
Poor Helen often felt the evil of her
own heart; and would frequently shed
tears when alone, and wish that she
was more deserving of his kind praise.
Sometimes she found courage to tell
ROSE AND RHODODENDRON.
him so; when her affectionate but
misjudging parent would stifle these
inward convictions by replying, that
we can none of us expect to be perfect;
and that her humility was only a fresh
proof of all he had said.
Upon the evening in question, Laura
complained sadly of fatigue; and de-
clared that the sun had made her look
almost as brown as Helen.
"Only almost?" said her sister,
good-humouredly, as she laid aside
her bonnet, and began to arrange the
flowers which they had gathered, in
water; while Laura continued to be-
wail the injury done to her complexion,
and the scratches which she had re-
ceived in thrusting her little white
hands into the banks and hedges.
"But how is it that Helen has
escaped all these annoyances ?" asked
"Oh, I dare say her hands are torn
also; but then, as mamma often says,
it does not matter about her, for they
are never fit to be seen, at the best of
Helen coloured violently; but think-
ing just then of the rhododendron,
Give me the useful before the
beautiful," said Mr. Bennet. "What-
ever Helen's hands may be, they are
always ready to do a good turn for
anybody; and I think I may venture
to assert that the greater part of these
flowers were of her gathering."
"No, indeed!" exclaimed Helen,
ROSE AND RHODODENDRON.
simply; "for I was busy helping
Lucy Neville. Poor thing she has
never looked well since her sister's
death. Do you think Lucy is con.
sumptive, papa? "
It is not improbable, all the faiaily
were; but I hope not, for her mother's
sake, for she has but her left now."
"I wish," began Helen, and then
"Well," said Mr. Bennet, drawing
her affectionately towards him, "and
what does my little Helen wish ?"
That I were as fit to die as Lucy
But you are not consumptive, my
"Heaven forbid I exclaimed her
I I -
"No, I did not mean that; but I
suppose I must die, and I may die
soon. There are many younger than I
am who are buried in the graveyard."
"How you talk!" said Laura; "I
declare you make me feel quite low-
Nevertheless," said her father,
"Helen is right; we must all die, and
God only knows how soon. But what
makes you think your friend Lucy so
ready to be taken ?"
"Because-because," replied Helen,
in a hesitating voice, "she is so good,
and gentle, and pious."
"Then you have only to be good
and gentle also, my child."
Only! Oh, papa! but it is impos-
sible to think of this always."
ROSE AND RHODODENDRON.
"No one expects impossibilities,
"And then I have not Lucy's piety."
"I should like to hear your defini-
tion of the word piety," said her father.
Helen hesitated. Something about the
daisy, and a habit of looking constantly
upwards, passed through her mind,
but she remained silent. Although
constantly attending Divine worship
once at least upon every sabbath day,
besides occasionally reading a chapter
in her little Bible, her notions upon
this subject were not very clear.
True piety," said her father, con-
sists in love to God and our neigh-
bours, and to do our duty in whatever
sphere of life it may please Providence
to place us."
Mr. Bennet spoke the truth, but
not the whole truth.
Is that all, papa ?" asked Helen.
"c What more would you have ?"
"I do not know indeed: but only
suppose that we should fall short of
this high standard ?"
We must all do that, my Helen;
but God is not extreme to mark these
failures, and will accept of our imper-
fect endeavours, where they are made
in sincerity and truth."
Helen felt much relieved. She
would have liked to have prolonged
the conversation; but observing that
Laura appeared quite tired, good-
naturedly proposed their retiring to
"Yes, I am sure you both require
ROSE AND RHODODENDRON.
it," said Mrs. Bennet. "And Laura
dear, do not forget to bathe your fore-
head with the rose-water which you
will see on my dressing table."
When Laura was undressing, she
found the moss-rose to which she had
compared herself, and afterwards placed
proudly in her bosom; but all its beauty
was withered and gone.
"Only look, Helen," said she; "and
it was so bright a few hours ago. What
a pity that such a splendid flower should
ever fade !"
Young as she was, there was some-
thing in the emblem, and in the pale
cheek and languid frame of her beauti-
ful sister, that struck Helen forcibly,
and made her more than usually gen-
tle and affectionate on that night. Nor
could all Laura's peevishness and im-
patience betray her into speaking a
single harsh word. "How I wish it
could be always thus," thought she.
"And it shall, I am resolved. I will
How many to-morrows came and
went, only to witness similar good reso-
lutions broken and renewed! Helen
forgot to supplicate for that grace which
can alone enable us to keep such reso-
lutions, or show us the all-sufficient
atonement provided for the weakest
believer in the Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ; or rather she knew nothing of
this great truth, and would frequently
attempt to silence the still small voice
of conscience, the strivings of the Holy
Spirit, by comparing herself with
ROSE AND RHODODENDRON.
Laura. "If I am a sinner," thought
poor Helen, "what must she be ?"
She forgot that God had mercifully
preserved her from the temptation of
her sister's beauty, and given her in-
stead unbroken health, and an active,
cheerful temper, whereas Laura was
always languid and irritable. If, from
these and other causes, Helen was na-
turally the most amiable, it should have
been a source of deep thankfulness,
rather than self-complacency; for of
ourselves we cannot think even a good
thought. But then she had no one to
tell her this, and was to be pitied as
well as blamed for settling down at
length into that most hopeless of all
states of feeling, the feeling of self-
THE WHITE CONVOLVULUS.
CLARA SEYMOUR was the only child of
a kind and indulgent parent, whose de-
clining years were cheered and soothed
by her unremitting tenderness. The
white convolvulus, which she had
chosen, was a meet emblem of her own
affectionate disposition. It was impos-
sible not to love Clara, who was always
thinking what she could do to make
others happy. Mrs. Seymour was glad to
see her return, for she was seldom absent
so long a time; and the tears came into
Clara's eyes when her mother told her
how much she had missed her. It is
so delightful to be loved and missed;
THE WHITE CONVOLVULUS.
and as easy as it is pleasant to endear
ourselves by a thousand little affection-
ate attentions and kind words, to those
among whom we dwell. But this is a
happiness of our own creating; the in-
dolent and the selfish are never missed,
but only the active and obliging.
"Any one may easily see that I have
not been at home to-day," said Clara,
with a cheerful smile, as she arranged
the cushions of her mother's easy chair,
and brought the ottoman for her to
rest her feet upon. She then tastefully
arranged the flowers which she had
gathered, in different vases, which she
placed upon the table, in order that Mrs.
Seymour might admire their beauty at
the same time that she inhaled their
"Have you not almost done, my
busy little Clara ?" asked her mother.
"Yes, quite, dear mother." And
sitting down upon the low stool at her
feet, she began to tell her of their plea-
sant day in the woods, and how much
they had enjoyed themselves. For
some time, Mrs. Seymour listened pa-
tiently, although far from feeling well;
while Clara failed to perceive, in the
gathering twilight, that she was be-
coming every moment paler and paler,
until she sank back at length with a
deep sigh, and fainted away.
Clara's cries brought the domestics
to her assistance. The first thing Mrs.
Seymour's maid did, was to remove the
flowers and open the window; after
which she unfastened her mistress's
dress, and bathed her forehead with a
little cold water. Mrs. Seymour soon
began to recover, and seeing her daugh-
ters pale face as she bent over her,
made an effort to smile, and again sank
back in the chair.
"You must not crowd your mother
so, Miss Clara," said the girl; "you
are keeping the air from her." Clara
moved aside, and had soon the happi-
ness of seeing her mother quite re-
"Mary says she thinks it was the
flowers that made you ill," observed
Clara, in a low voice, when they were
again left together.
Very probably, my dear; they have
frequently that effect in a warm room."
"And yet I placed them so close,
thinking to please you, and that you
would like to inhale their sweet per-
"So I did; there is no blame at-
tached to you, my child."
But, mamma, even in our very love
we may do wrong."
Mrs. Seymour was too weak to an-
swer, and could only tenderly press her
daughter's hand. After all, the flowers
were not the sole cause of her indis-
position. She had been for some time
in a declining state of health; and
not long after the occurrence which we
have just related, was persuaded to yield
to the entreaties of her friends, and con-
sult a physician, who immediately pre-
scribed change of air, and perfect quiet,
as her only likely means of recovery.
Mrs. Seymour felt thankful that there
was a hope, both for the sake of her
child, and because she feared to die. It
is a sad thing to put off the thought of
death from time to time, until it is ab-
solutely forced upon us. But for the
mercy of God, she might have died
that night in her chair, without a mo-
Clara had no idea that her mother
was in any real danger; and although
grieved to part with all her young
friends and companions, and leave the
home where she was born, and where
every one loved her, and she loved
everybody and everything, even down
to the dog and the flowers, she cheer-
fully prepared to accompany her, be-
guiling the tediousness of the journey,
and the unpleasantness of living among
strangers, especially to an invalid, by a
thousand little affectionate attentions,
which made it seem, as Mrs. Seymour
said, almost like home; for she, too, was
much attached to her own residence.
Clara was singularly thoughtful for
her age. Her mother would frequently
call her, her sole earthly treasure, and
wonder what she should have done
without her child. Those were proud
and happy moments for Clara, and
amply repaid her for any little sacrifice
which she might have made of her own
wishes or pleasures to the comfort of
this dear parent. But with all her
care and watchfulness, she found it im-
possible to guard against the repeated
attacks of illness which were fast wear-
ing away Mrs. Seymour's little remain-
ing strength. Clara was too young
when her father died to remember the
occurrence, but a chill nevertheless
would frequently creep to her heart,
as she stood gazing upon the pale face
and wasted form of her last remaining
parent. "What if I should lose her
also !" thought the poor child.
If Mrs. Seymour happened to look
up at such times, she would dash away
her tears and smile, trying to believe
her own loving whisper, You will
soon be better, dear mother."
"Yes, very soon, my child; and we
shall be so happy again in our pleasant
home. I am longing to get back once
more. I am not ill, only tired. I
think I sat up too late last night."
"Very likely," said Clara; "we must
be more careful in future."
Mrs. Seymour looked upon her
little nurse with tears in her eyes.
" I cannot bear to see you so grave
and pale, my Clara," said she. I
shall be glad to have you join your
young companions again, and get a
little amusement. It must be very
dull for you to be constantly confined
to my sick room."
"I am always happiest with you,
dear mamma," replied her daughter,
"Cespecially when I can do anything to
relieve your sufferings. But I shall
rejoice, nevertheless, to see my friend
Helen Bennet, and poor Lucy, and
old Neptune, the house-dog," added
Clara, and my favourite rose-tree.
After all, there is no place like home."
Mrs. Seymour sighed.
I hope you do not think that I feel
discontented here, mamma," said Clara,
anxiously, when I know that we are
staying for the benefit of your health ?"
"No, indeed, love makes a home
anywhere; is it not so, dear child ?"
Yes, yes, mamma; that is just what
I feel," exclaimed Clara, clinging to
her. "Without you, nothing in the
whole world ever renders me happy."
"Hush! you must not say that. It
may be God's will to separate us."
Mrs. Seymour's pale lips moved, but
she could not add, "His will be done:"
and Clara saw that she could not.
The mother and the child had yet to
learn to look up.
FLORENCE DELMONT was a child of
extraordinary abilities. At five years of
age, she was able to read with ease in
almost any book that was given her;
while the remarks she made showed
that she understood what she read.
In her seventh year, she wrote a poem
upon the death of a little sister, which
was full of simple and graceful tender-
ness. It was no wonder that her pa-
rents should be so proud of her; but
they were to blame for not teaching
their gifted one early to dedicate her
rare talents to His service who had
bestowed them, and for forgetting the
Giver in the gift. Florence was en-
couraged in the diligent study of every
book, rather than that precious volume
which is alone able to make us "wise
French, Italian, and German were
acquired with apparently but little
effort; besides which she was a skilful
musician, and excelled in most of the
ornamental accomplishments of the
day. But Florence was not very strong.
Some said that she studied too hard;
and it may have been so, although with
her, study was a labour of love. But
she grew pale and thin; the mind, as
the physician said, was wearing out
the body, and some relaxation became
absolutely necessary. Mr. and Mrs.
Delmont, being fond of gaiety, took
Florence with them whenever it was
possible, and were gratified with the
praises everywhere bestowed upon her.
The poor child, however, was but little
benefited by the change; and it was
not until they came to live in the coun-
try, that she began in some measure
to recover her health and cheerfulness.
Nothing did Florence like better than
to ramble in the woods and fields, book
in hand, or lie down under the green,
shady trees, and watch the clouds, or
the birds, and think of all sorts of
pleasant things. Sometimes she wrote
verses in the small ivory tablet which
her father had given her; and very
pretty verses too, all out of her own
head, and as fast as her hands could
move. To please her mother, she would
afterwards copy them into a little book,
which Mrs. Delmont carefully pre-
served. Her young companions called
her "the poetess;" and used to wonder
how she could possibly think of such
things; at which Florence would laugh,
and tell them that it came quite natu-
rally. It was strange to see her with
other children. The flowers which
they were content to admire, Florence
never rested until she had pulled to
pieces, in order to see to what class they
belonged. And instead of playing
about, she was always asking questions
of those older and wiser than herself.
Mr. and Mrs. Delmont listened at-
tentively when Florence gave them an
account of the pleasant day described
in our opening chapter, together with
the flower-choice; and how she had
preferred the green laurel before the
brightest flower that grew.
"And what made you choose the
laurel ?" asked her mother.
"Because I recollected your telling
me once, that it was the emblem of im-
mortality. I should wish to be immor-
tal, and to be remembered hundreds
and hundreds of years after I am dead
and gone, like all the great men and
women of whom we read."
What good will it do you when you
are dead and gone ?" asked her aunt,
who happened to be present.
"Oh, aunt, what a question !"
"Think a little, my dear, before you
attempt to answer it."
"I' have thought a thousand times,
that it must be the most delightful
thing in all the world, to be immortal !"
"You are right, Florence; immortality
is a great and glorious gift-to live for
ever and ever in heaven, with God and
his holy angels."
"But I did not mean that, aunt;
although, of course, I should like to be
good as well as great."
"It is neither our talents nor our
goodness,that can win for usimmortality.
As you read in your Bible--'We are
all as an unclean thing, and all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and
we all dofade as a leaf; and ouriniquities,
like the wind, have taken us away.'"
"Yes," said Florence; "even the
laurel leaf fades. But what must we
do, dear aunt ?"
"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who alone has the gift of eternal life."
"I should like to understand this,"
observed Florence, thoughtfully.
If you wish," replied her kind aunt,
"I will tell you all about it when you
come to stay with me; for this is a study,
my child, and the most important of all
studies, which I perceive you have yet
to learn-the knowledge of God's holy
word, and your own heart."
Florence wanted to begin directly;
but aunt Mary resided nearly a hun-
dred miles off, and was to return that
very evening, after a short and hurried
visit, her presence being required at her
own home. Before she went, however,
she took her brother and sister apart,
and spoke to them seriously about
Florence, and the deep responsibility
of those who were intrusted with the
care of one so singularly gifted as her
niece. Mrs. Delmont was moved by
her affectionate earnestness, and pro-
mised to remember what she had said.
"I am not sorry Mary is gone," ob-
served Mr. Delmont to his wife, that
same evening. "I believe her to be
the best creature that ever breathed,
but I should be vexed to see our high-
spirited Florence, with her splendid in-
tellect, converted,' as she calls it, into
a pious, church-going, tract-distribut-
ing young lady, who thinks it a sin to
be found reading anything but her
Mrs. Delmont could not help smil-
ing; and said something about there
being a medium, expressing her sincere
wish to do her duty by her child.
Shortly after this conversation, Flo-
rence, at her own request, commenced
the study of the Greek language, toge-
ther with her brother, who was a year or
two older than herself, but whom her
rapid progress soon left far behind. Mr.
Delmont, as a reward for her diligence,
and an incentive to further exertions,
presented her with a Greek Testament,
which she was very anxious to be able to
understand, because it was aunt Mary's
favourite book. But reading it as Flo-
rence did, with the aid of grammar and
lexicon, and bewildered by the various
opinions of the commentators she was
advised to consult, was very different
from a simple and earnest perusal in
prayer and dependence on the teaching
of the Holy Spirit. Her reasoning
powers, rather than her affections, were
thus encouraged and brought into play;
and ingenious interpretations and nice
distinctions more attended to than the
real spiritual meaning of what she read.
In this all-important study, it was her
intellect only that was engaged, while
her heart remained untouched.
The fear of breaking in upon her
studies, together with the unwillingness
of her parents to part with her, pre-
vented Florence from paying the pro-
mised visit to aunt Mary, much to the
disappointment of her kind relative, who
had long been looking forward to this
opportunity of imparting to her niece
a knowledge of those Divine truths
which she justly esteemed of more im-
portance than anything in the world
besides. But aunt Mary could still
pray for her, "that it would please God
in his own way, and at his own time,
to have mercy on her dear Florence."
And we are told-nay, the experienced
Christian knows, that the prayer of the
righteous availeth much.
Lucy NEVILLE, or "the Daisy," as she
was afterwards called by her compa-
nions, was the youngest and sole sur-
vivor of a large family of brothers and
sisters, whom it had been the agonizing
task of their affectionate mother to
watch fade away one by one, and follow
to the green and silent graveyard.
But Mrs. Neville was a Christian, and
had taught her children that faith in
an almighty Saviour which gilded their
death-beds, and, lingering above their
graves, told her that they were not lost,
but only gone before. As she once
said, "God, in his everlastin love,
would not permit her sweet lambs to
wander far astray, and so gathered them
early into the fold."
When one after another of her little
ones was stricken, Mrs. Neville wept
and prayed like king David of old;
"for who can tell," thought she, "whe-
ther God will be gracious to me, that
the child may live." But with its death
ended all the lamentations, outwardly
at least, of this Christian mother, and
she arose and worshipped. "Wherefore
should I fast? can I bring him back
again? I shall go to him, but he shall
not return to me." We do not say
that she shed no more tears. Our
Divine Redeemer himself wept at the
grave of Lazarus; thus sanctifying our
weeping for evermore. But she no
longer murmured; and was enabled to
exclaim, "Thy will, O God, not mine
be done !"
Although pale and delicate, Lucy
had as yet shown no decided symptoms
of that fearful malady which had swept
away her young brothers and sisters.
That she was less beautiful was a great
comfort to her poor mother, as she
recalled to mind the brilliant com-
plexions and bright eyes of her lost
little ones. It was her constant endea-
vour, nevertheless, to prepare Lucy for
whatever might be the will of her hea-
venly Father concerning her, leaving her
in his hands with the trusting resignation
of a meek and loving heart, well know-
ing that whatever he ordereth is best.
Every sabbath morning, in going and
___ ____________ _____
returning from the house of God, Lucy
passed the graves of her kindred, in the
quiet graveyard, most of whom had died
very young; but it did not make her
sad, for she knew that they were not
there. She would look up into the
blue, sunny skies, with a heart overflow-
ing with grateful love to that Saviour
who left his bright home to bleed and
die for the sins of his people; and
who has graciously said, "Suffer little
children to come unto me, and forbid
"Mamma," exclaimed Lucy, upon
one of these occasions, and rather as
if she were thinking aloud, than actually
speaking--" Mamma, I wish that I had
lived in those days !"
In what days, my child ?"
"When our Lord came down to
earth; and most of all, when he took
the children in his arms, and blessed
them. What happiness to have been
one of those children !"
"God has still a blessing for you,
my Lucy. You have just heard it
invoked upon us all, and I trust that
your heart was ready to say, Amen.
That earnest benediction received with
a thankful spirit, and carried back
with prayer to our several homes,
renders it one of the most important
parts of the service."
"I am afraid, mamma," said Lucy,
ingenuously, "that I am often thinking
more of the weather, or who we are
likely to meet going out, than our good
minister's parting blessing."
F 2 63
"That is wrong; and you must pray
against such wandering thoughts in
"Do you remember," said Lucy,
"once reading me the account of some
lady, who used to make a thousand
good resolutions in her pew, but inva-
riably lost them in the aisle, or, at best,
buried them in the graveyard ?-that
is, as you explained to me at the time,
she began thinking of other things, or
entered into conversation with some
worldly acquaintances, going home,
and so the good seed which she had
received so joyfully, was stolen out of
her heart. I think that must have
been a true story, mamma, because it
seems so natural."
"Yes, it was true; and I afterwards
told you how, by the grace of God, she
was at length enabled to carry home
with her some of that good seed, which
sprang up in time to a plenteous harvest,
bearing precious fruit. The first thing
she did, and the first thing that we
must all do in such a case, was to pray
to God to help her: she then remained
in her pew until the church was nearly
empty, and walked home alone through
the quiet fields, communing in silence
with her own heart; and so the habit
of meditation was formed."
Suppose," said Lucy, after a
thoughtful pause, c that from this day
I was never to walk home from church
with any one but you, who will I am
sure never tempt me to converse upon
other things, but only deepen by your
kind advice any good impression I
may have received-at least, until I am
stronger; would it not be a good plan?"
A very good plan, Lucy. But you
must not forget the first thing to be
"Oh no, mother," replied Lucy,
with simple earnestness, "or it would
never succeed. I will tell Helen
Bennet, and Clara Seymour, not to be
offended if I do not speak to them on
a Sunday, unless indeed they will talk
of good things."
Lucy kept her resolution; and much
of sweet wisdom was acquired and
matured in those quiet sabbath walks
to and from church.
Lucy, who had a habit of telling her
mother everything, did not fail to re-
peat the flower-choice which had taken
place after their pleasant day in the
woods, and why the daisy had been
"To be sure," added she, "as Laura
Bennet said, it is scarcely to be dis-
tinguished from the common grass
among which it grows; but God sees,
and sends down the shower and the
sunshine upon it just as he does on the
rose, while its very insignificance is its
protection. As Florence Delmont after-
wards remarked, I might have chosen
the sunflower for the same reason that I
preferred the daisy; but I think, mother,
a Christian cannot be too lowly."
Mrs. Neville drew her towards her,
and kissed her affectionately. She would
not have exchanged her little daisy, all
drooping as it was, for the brightest
flower that ever bloomed on earth.
And now, having glanced as it were
into the various homes and hearts of
those of whom we write, and watched the
buds in their first opening, let us proceed,
in the next place, to gaze upon them
in their bloom, and tell of their decay.
"As for man," says the Psalmist, "his
days are as grass: as a flower of the
field, -so he flourisheth. For the wind
passeth over it, and it is gone; and the
place thereof shall know it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from
everlasting to everlasting upon them
that fear him, and his righteousness unto
children's children; to such as keep his
covenant, and to those that remember
his commandments to do them."
FLOWERS IN A BALL-ROOM.
MANY a long summer came and passed
away since that merry day in the woods,
of which we sat down to write; and
many children and flowers, as bright
as those we then described, lived, and
bloomed, and died, while they were
It was a calm, beautiful night, to-
wards the end of June; the soft moon-
light fell upon the quiet streets, and
sweeter still on the green fields and
pastures far away; but it is in London
that our next scene must be laid.
Without, all was still and serene; with-
in, all confusion and excitement. There
were bright lamps, and gay forms and
faces; while merry voices and light
laughter mingled with strains of music,
and the beating of many feet as they
danced, or rather moved languidly
through the figure, for it was too warm
The belle of that crowded ball-room
was a young girl, apparently scarcely
seventeen, but of great beauty. She
was splendidly attired, but wore no or-
nament save a single rose. An air of
proud self-complacency was visible
in her whole deportment; while the
unnatural lustre of her eyes, and the
rich crimson that came and went in
fitful flushes upon her white cheek,
showed that the canker was already
eating into that fair flower. By her
side stood one, seeming a year or
two younger. She was more simply
attired, and looked discontented and ill
at ease, as if the gaieties around her
were insufficient to fill the aching void
in her own heart. Once or twice she
said as much to a friend by whom they
were accompanied, and spoke with a
sigh of the vanity of mere worldly
pleasures, while her presence contra-
dicted her words.
"Of course," replied her companion,
"you cannot expect to enjoy yourself
as much as Laura does, who is so beau-
tiful, and so much admired." Helen
recognized the justness of this observa-
tion, and coloured deeply. It was not
that she was less worldly, but only less
tempted than her sister.
"Very true," said she. "And yet
even dear Laura looks weary."
Some little sensation was at this mo-
ment created by a new arrival, and the
whisper passed from group to group-
"That is she-the one with the large,
thoughtful eyes-that is our young
"It is Florence!" said Helen to
her sister. And how changed-how
lovely! Did you ever see anything
more becoming than the laurel wreath
upon her high, white brow-the laurel
that she coveted, and has won? And
yet she does not look at all proud; but
simple and childlike as ever,"
"Surely that is a voice I should
know !" exclaimed Florence Delmont,
breaking from the admiring crowd who
surrounded her, and extending both
hands to her old friend and playfellow.
" My dear Helen! What an unexpected
pleasure this is! And Laura, too Are
you both quite well ?"
C"I am," replied Helen, warmly re-
turning her kind greeting; "but poor
Laura suffers a great deal, and would
have been at home to-night if she had
followed the advice of her medical at-
tendant. Not that any one would be-
lieve it to look at her now," continued
she, with a glance of sisterly pride,
at that flushed and beautiful counte-
nance. "But how thin you are, Flo-
rence dear !"
"They tell me that I study too hard
-but what can I do ?" said the young
enthusiast. "As some one observes,
it is better to wear out, than to rust
"I am not sure," said Helen, "that
it is right to wear ourselves out in any
mere earthly pursuit."
"How like old times this is !" ex-
claimed Florence, laughingly. "Does
she preach' as much as ever, Laura ?"
It would be well if that were all,"
replied Laura, discontentedly. I am
sure she wears herself out, and me too,
what with infant schools, and charity
schools, and ragged schools; she would
turn the whole world into one vast
seminary, if she could."
"We have all our mission," said
Helen fancied it must be the green
laurel leaves that made her look so
strangely pale. But hers was not the
only compassionate glance that rested
on the young poetess upon that night,
as she stood receiving the homage won
bylier own talents.
-4Ilow strange it is," said one of that
brilliant throng, "that death should al-
ways seize upon the loveliest and best !"
"It is indeed. But may I inquire
what gave rise to the utterance of this
truism in a ball-room ?"
"The appearance of two of its bright-
est ornaments. I doubt whether Laura
Bennet, or her friend Miss Delmont,
are long for this world.4
"It will be a sad thing for their pa-
rents, especially those of the latter. If
she lives, Florence Delmont will be one
of the first authoresses of the day."
"But she will not live !" persisted
the first speaker. "I knew one just
like her-the same spiritual-looking
countenance, and large eyes; the same
broad, expansive brow, and sweet smile
-and, alas! the same wasted form.
She was clever too, but she soon died-
the mind wore out the poor feeble
frame. Her only regret was, that she
could not be spared to finish the work
upon which she was engaged up to the
day of her death, which came on very
suddenly at last."
Poor thing !" thought Helen, who,
from the position which she occupied,
unavoidably overheard the latter part
of their conversation. "How terrible,
to be called away without a moment's
preparation for eternity! After all,
genius is a dangerous gift; and I am
far safer and happier among my schools
and my poor people, and shall be very
glad when we go back into the country
again, for then, perhaps, Laura will get
Even Mrs. Bennet, proud as she was
of the sensation created by the appear-
ance of her favourite, echoed Helen's
wish in her heart. But neither she,
nor her friend Mrs. Delmont, could
persuade themselves to leaving London
"Poor Florence !" said the latter;
"how can I take her away from the
scenes where she is so much admired,
and bury the sweet child in the coun-
try? Not but that she has a dozen in-
vitations, if she likes to accept them;
but she would rather be with us, she
"It is the same with Laura. She
actually lives on excitement. I intend
taking her to some fashionable watering
place, as soon as the season is over.-
Dr. H. recommends quiet and country
air; but, as she herself says, it would
kill her in a week."
"Dear mother," whispered Helen,
"it is getting so late, and we promised
papa not to stay."
"But Laura wants one more dance."
"Oh, not to-night, sister; it will make
you so warm."
Laura laughed, as she gave her hand
to her partner, declaring that she was
just beginning to enjoy herself; and a
few moments afterwards was borne
senseless from the room. It was Laura
Bennet's last ball!
One by one the guests departed, the
lamps were put out, and the grey dawn
broke sadly into that deserted ball-
room. The flower-wreaths upon the
walls and pillars, which had looked so
bright and gay only a few hours since,
were all withered.
FLOWERS IN THE CHAMBER OF
MRS. SEYMOUR, after a prolonged
absence from England, in which-little
benefit was derived, save Clara's cor-
rect pronunciation of foreign languages,
returned to her home, a confirmed
and helpless invalid, still soothed and
cheered by the same affectionate atten-
tions, and the same loving care. If
any one pitied Clara, for being so con-
stantly confined to her mother's sjck
room, she used to tell them that her
greatest happiness consisted in minis-
tering to the wants and amusement of
that dear parent, and the consciousness
FLOWERS IN SICKNESS.
of having performed her duty, and how
thankful she was that she had been so
Clara had a low, sweet voice; and
would sing to her mother, by the hour
together, all the old favourite songs,
which, as she said, reminded her so
pleasantly of the time when she was a
girl herself; or she read aloud the new
publications of the day. And when Mrs.
Seymour was too weary even for this,
Clara used to sit so still and quiet that
no one would have imagined she was in
the room, until they saw her glide for-
ward at the first movement of the invalid.
Clara only smiled when Laura Bennet
told her one day, that she seemed born
to be an old nurse while Lucy Neville
gently remarked on the goodness of
God, in fitting us for that situation
in life in which it has pleased him
to place us. Had Florence Delmont
been present, she would have said,
SWe have each our mission."
There was one passage from the
works of Frederika Bremer, which
Clara was very fond of quoting; it
seemed, as she said, so natural:--" It
is beautiful, it is glorious to serve what
one loves, what one admires, be it by
head or hand. It may be by giving one's
heart's blood, or quite simply in making
tea: it is all the same; it only depends
upon time and opportunity. Oh yes;
certainly it is very pleasant." The
home duties are those most frequently
required of us; the "making tea," as it
is here expressed, together with a thou-
FLOWERS IN SICKNESS.
sand home sacrifices of time, of our
own wishes, and tempers, and pursuits.
And how pleasant, how delightful, is
the daily offering up of such sacrifices
at the altar of affection! Nevertheless,
it will be all in vain, if there be no
higher motive to sanctify our gifts; if
we lay them down and go away, without
having solicited the Divine blessing; if
we perform all this only to gratify the
selfish yearnings of our own loving
hearts-for love unsanctified is selfish-
ness-and not to his glory, and for his
sake, who is the Giver of all good.
Thus it was with Clara Seymour.
The years that had passed away had
brought no change, except that the
frequent indisposition of her mother
excited less anxiety in the minds of
both. To Mrs. Seymour's constant
exclamation upon such occasions, "I
shall be better soon," Clara now listened
hopefully and believing; and her heart
filled with happiness as the attack gra-
dually yielded and passed away before
the usual remedies. The former wil-
fully deceived herself; the latter was
happy in being deceived. As it gene-
rally happens, the great change which
was rapidly taking place in the worn-
out frame of the suffering Mrs. Sey-
mour, was far less visible to her daugh-
ter, from being constantly with her,
than to others.
"My poor mamma!" Clara would
sometimes observe, with a sigh; "I am
afraid she will never be quite well again.
But I have known her to experience
FLOWERS IN SICKNESS.
severer attacks than these, and yet get
over them." She forgot that Mrs.
Seymour's constitution was not then
wasted by years of pain and disease,
and was therefore better able to struggle
against them. But there was no one
who cared to remind the affectionate
daughter of this; or whisper the fear,
almost amounting to a certainty, which
crept to their hearts in Mrs. Seymour's
presence, that she was a dying woman.
Clara's long absence from home had
not made her unmindful of the friends
of her childhood. Of Lucy Neville, in
consequence of her own voluntary con-
finement to her mother's sick couch,
and the increasing weakness of poor
Lucy, which forbade her coming to
her, she saw little; but Helen Bennet
was her constant companion when in
the country, and her diligent corre-
spondent in absence. That good-
natured girl had frequently shared in
the night-watches of her friend, and
cheered her on in the path of duty by
her affectionate sympathy. For some-
how Helen found time for everything,
and was never so happy as when em-
ployed in the services of others.
In many respects their characters
were alike, save that Clara's were home
virtues, and Helen's wandered abroad
in search of novelty and excitement.
Both were good and praiseworthy as
far as they went, but neither went far
enough. Clara was really humble;
Helen thought herself so. Both rested
in their own works. Every one spoke
FLOWERS IN SICKNESS.
well of Clara, and held her up as a
pattern of filial affection and devoted
tenderness, which made her mother
proud, and herself. happy; while
Helen Bennet's active spirit of charity
was equally, and, as Mr. Bennet would
have said, deservedly admired. And
yet Helen never went to visit Lucy
Neville, without a vague feeling that
there was still something wanting in
her own life and practice; it was the
habit of looking up.
"Glory to God !" was the prevailing
language of Lucy's heart, and the
incense that hallowed all her almsgiving
and works of charity. If it were in her
power to do good to others, she thanked
him for the opportunity, for the means,
and even for the wish, and asked his
H 2 77
blessing upon her endeavours. Helen
gave at once from the impulse of her
own kind heart, and because it would
have been actually a pain to her to have
refused. Lucy possessed the same
feelings, but predominating over all was
love to her Saviour, and a remembrance
of his sweet promise: "Verily I say
unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of the least of these my bre-
thren, ye have done it unto me."
Helen was a diligent and faithful
servant, working cheerfully it is true,
but looking still for a reward; while
Lucy's was a labour of love-the grate-
ful obedience of a happy child. Clara's
sole endeavour was to soothe and give
pleasure to the weary hours of her sick
and suffering parent, and no mere
FLOWERS IN SICKNESS.
earthly motive could have been more
holy and sacred. Helen's was a more
complicated feeling, in which there
mingled very much that was right and
good. Lucy simply and earnestly
sought to please God. The lesson of
her childhood had been learned by
heart, amid pain and disease; and, al-
though often dimmed by tears, the eye
of faith still looked upwards through
every cloud, and saw upon them all
the covenant-bow of everlasting love.
"Thy will be done" was not merely a
form of daily prayer, but the sincere
breathing of her inmost spirit.
SThere were times, it is true, when
Lucy prayed fervently that if it were
possible the cup of affliction might pass
from her; but she never failed to add,
"Nevertheless, not as I will, but as
thou wilt." Young, happy, and be-
loved, with a thousand plans of benevo-
lent usefulness, Lucy naturally shrank
from the approach of death. But then
she remembered that God can raise up
what instruments he pleases. Had her
feeble services been required, he would
have spared her to perform them; in-
stead of which, her duty was clearly to
sit still, to be patient and resigned to
the will of her heavenly Father, know-
ing that all things are ordered in love.
"If I ma r not serve him on earth,"
thought 1 ucy, "what happiness to
know, that through the all atoning
merits of my Divine Redeemer, I shall
praise him in heaven for ever and ever.
It is true that my -kind mother will be
FLOWERS IN SICKNESS.
left behind, but my sweet sisters are
there; and she will join us, too, ere
long." And the more Lucy acquired
the habit of looking upward, the less
she cared to avert her gaze, and fix it
upon the perishing things of this world.
Earthly ties were gradually loosened
about her heart, and all her hopes
became finally centred in "those things
which are above, where Christ sitteth
on the right hand of God."
HOME FLOWERS THE SWEETEST.
"I WISH that you were not going to
the school this morning," said Laura,
in a discontented tone, to her sister, a
few weeks after their return to the
"Would you like to walk out?"
"I do not know; not if it is as hot
as it was yesterday."
It will be quite cool in the evening,
and I shall then be disengaged. But
I really must go now, unless you want
me very particularly."
"I do not want you at all," said
Laura, peevishly, "if you do not like to
stay." Helen lingered.
"You need not remain long, at
least," said Mrs. Bennet.
"No, mamma, not if all is going on
Aght. But I promised to go and see
old Sarah Green to-day, and widow
Lucas; and then there is Mrs. Lane's
little girl, who they tell me is given
over, and quite insensible."
In that case I do not see what good
you could do the poor child. And
with regard to the others, you might
send the housekeeper."
"Yes, I might, to be sure; but I
would rather go myself."
I believe," said Laura, "that Helen
thinks a great deal more of these old wo-
men and children than she does of me."
"But then they are ill, dear Laura,"
replied her sister, gently.
"And so am I."
Helen's heart smote her as she gazed
upon her pale face. "To be sure,"
thought she, "I might send the house-
keeper; and I am not obliged to go to
the school, only that it will seem so
strange if I do not. And supposing I
stay at home, it is ten to one if Laura will
permit me to do a single thing for her."
Helen should have tried nevertheless.
And the time and pains which, under a
mistaken sense of duty, she that morn-
ing gave first to her little scholars, and
afterwards to one of the most fretful of
old women in the parish, would have
been better bestowed upon her invalid
"If it were a pleasure," said Helen,
"I would gladly sacrifice it for you, my
dear Laura; but I cannot give up doing
what I feel to be right."
People have different notions with
regard to what is right and wrong,"
said Mrs. Bennet. But Helen caught
her father's approving smile, and was
"Five long, weary hours till dinner-
time!" she heard Laura say, with some-
thing between a sigh and a yawn.
"Only five hours!" exclaimed the
healthy and active Helen, as she went
forth on her errands of charity; "I
shall not find time for half I have to
do." But somehow, on that morning,
she did not feel so cheerful as usual:
the recollection of Laura's pale face
haunted and spoiled all her pleasure.
The fact was, she felt dissatisfied with
herself. Most of our readers must have
experienced this feeling, and the power
it has to make the very sunshine seem
less bright. It is impossible to escape
from the whispers of an accusing con-
science, and its shadow is only dispelled
by the smile of reconciliation and
At a short distance from their own
home, Helen met Mrs. Seymour and
her daughter: the former was in her
garden chair, carefully wrapped up;
while the latter walked by her side, look-
ing the picture of tranquil happiness.
"I thought you were going to the
flower-show," said Helen. "This is
the day, is it not ?"
"Yes, this is the day," replied Clara,
smiling; "but I have changed my
"The truth is," said Mrs. Seymour,
"I happened to express a wish to go
out this morning; and the dear child
fancies that if she were not with me,
the chair would be sure to overturn, or
some other fatal accident occur; is it
not so, Clara ?"
I know that you would not enjoy
this sweet air, or be half as happy with-
out me, mamma," replied her daughter,
gaily; and deny it if you can !"
I do not wish to deny it. You are
all the world to me, Clara. But my very
affection makes me selfish. I should
have insisted upon your leaving me."
"What, when my staying at home
has made us both happy ? oh, a thou-
sand times happier than all the flower
shows in the world could have done!"
exclaimed Clara, as she bent down to
kiss her. And now do not let us say
any more about it."
Ah," thought Helen, "it would be
easy enough to make some sacrifice to
Laura, if she were as grateful as Mrs.
Seymour is, instead of which she would
have done nothing but fret and murmur
all day long." Helen forgot that the
duty remained the same in whatever
spirit its performance might be received.
Certainly it is far pleasanter to serve
the gentle; but we are commanded to
do good even to those who hate and
despitefully use us.
"Lucy Neville was with us all yes-
terday," said Clara; "she is so much
better, and has promised to come again
very soon. Somehow Lucy's presence
always makes me feel happy. I often
wish that I was as good as either you
or she; for I guess you are even now
bound upon some errand of mercy;
but our first duty is at home," added
Clara, with an affectionate glance at
her mother. However I must not
stay any longer, for fear she should
Helen walked on, pondering upon
the words just uttered by her friend,
Our first duty is at home I" and she
even began to question within herself,
whether she was really so good as every
one thought her.
As we have said, the school children
1 2 89
seemed on that particular morning to
be unusually perverse, old Sarah Green
was in one of her most fretful humours,
and widow Lucas could talk of nothing
but her own aches and pains. Mrs.
Lane's little girl was too far gone to
recognize the voice of her teacher; and
Helen almost felt as if her presence
were an intrusion upon the grief of the
sorrowing family. After all," thought
she, as she retraced her steps homeward,
" what good have I done this day?
None." But Helen, in lamenting the
effects, neglected to trace them to their
true cause. Without the blessing of
God upon our endeavours, we can never
do any real good.
By the time Helen reached home,
she had quite made up her mind not
to leave Laura any more for so long
together, until she was better; but try
if she could not make the weary morn-
ings, of which she complained, pass
more agreeably: but her resolution
came too late.
"Oh, Miss Helen !" exclaimed the
servant, I am so glad you are come
"What has happened? What of
my sister Laura? Oh, if she should
be dead!" said Helen, clasping her
hands wildly together. God alone
knew the agony of her heart at that
moment, but she was spared in his
mercy so great and terrible a trial.
It appears Laura had been found
by her mother, after an unavoidable ab-
sence of some hours, lying insensible
upon the ground; and although the
most active measures were imme-
diately resorted to, they had failed as
yet in restoring her to consciousness.
Helen heard her wailing cries over
her favourite child as she ascended
the stairs, and felt stricken to the
"Oh, Helen," said Mrs. Bennet,
lifting up her pale face at her entrance,
" if you had been at home this might
not have happened." Her father drew
her affectionately towards him, and they
"We can but act for the best,"
whispered he kindly; "it is not for us
to foretell the end." But Helen felt
that she had not acted for the best;
and, kneeling down by the bedside,
wept in bitterness of spirit. She dared
It is true that Helen had been em-
ployed about right things, only at a
wrong time. It has been justly said,
that the duty that lies nearest to us is
most likely to be overlooked and ne-
glected. Active benevolence ceases to
be meritorious the moment that a single
home-tie is riven, or a family duty
THE ROSE WITHERS.
LAURA BENNET had scarcely recover-
ed from this sudden attack, before she
was seized with a fever which soon re-
duced her little remaining strength.
Day and night did Helen watch over
her, unheeded and unrecognised, or
listen to her wandering discourse, in
which her own name frequently
occurred, mingled with complaining.
Sometimes she would ask when Helen
was coming home, for she was weary
of being alone, and wish that there
were no such things as schools in the
world. I might as well have no sis-
ter," said poor Laura, in her delirium.
THE ROSE WITHERS.
It was many days before she reco-
vered her senses, when the violence of
the fever left her as weak as a child.
Helen dared not speak, and could only
show her contrition by the most affec-
tionate and unremitting attention. Mr.
and Mrs. Bennet felt that their child's
life hung as it were upon a thread,
which every day spun finer and finer,
and which the least excitement would
sever in a moment; while Laura thought
only of getting well soon, and going in
the autumn to some fashionable water-
"Mamma," said she, in a feeble voice,
one evening when she seemed a little
better, "you do not know how thankful.
I have felt throughout my illness."
"And why thankful, dear child ?"
asked Mrs. Bennet, while Helen bent
anxiously forward to catch the reply.
"I could not help thinking that it
might have been the smallpox, like my
poor cousin had; and I would sooner
have died at once than be such a fright
as she is."
Hush, hush, my Laura! you must
not agitate yourself."
"Am I much altered, mamma ?"
asked the invalid, anxiously.
"No,not much; onlypaler, of course."
"And thinner," interrupted Laura,
looking at her almost transparent hands,
and smiling at the contrast when Helen
took them affectionately in hers, and
pressed them to her lips.
"You never leave me now, Helen !"
said her sister.