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IIIII II 1 1?1111 1 I I 1 3
The Baldwin Library 3
OF TALES FOR THE YOUNG.
HOW TO BE HAPPY.
.omt Librarg of Tals for tbe Loung.
THE GREAT SECRET;
HOW TO BE HAPPY.
(MR&. L 0. :UDSOWf.)
"Trut in the Lord and do good."
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
L An Unfortunate Child, .. .. 9
II Early Training, ... .. .. 14
IIL A Troublesome Visitor, ... ... 21
IV. More of Aunt Tacy's Meddling, ... ... 32
V. The New Home with its Pleasures and Troubles, 37
VI. Endeavouring to Rise, ... ... 48
VIL Who can help those who will nothelp themselves 5 3
VIII. The Parting, ... ... ... 8
IX. The Trial of Florence, and its Result, ... 74
X. An Unexpected Event, ... ... 82
XI. The Conclusion, ... ... 92
L A Midnight Scene, ... ... 100
IL A Dark Day, .. ... ... 108
III. A Visit from Frank and Besae, ... ... 122
IV. Health does not always bring Peace, ... 129
V. Lights and Shadows, ... .. ... 141
VL The Wanderer, ... I
V11. A Situation, ... ... ... 171
VIII. Mr. Elmore's Reformation, ... ... l.*
IX. A Triling Incident, ... ... ... )
X. Lightening, not Drowning Troubles, ... 103
XL A Stranger, ... .. .. 196
XII. A Surprise, ... .. ... 202
XIIL Domestic Arrangements, .. ... 20
XIV. The Meeting, ... .. ... 09
XV. The Conclusion ... .. ... 221
AN UNFORTUNATE CHILD.
FLORENCE EVELYN was a very unfortunate
child. An orphan I No, she had parents that
thought they were kind to her, and loved
her, and watched over her very closely. Nei-
ther was Florence deformed, or blind, nor
was she even a sickly child. Can you think
of a greater misfortune than any of these ?
Perhaps you will inquire if her parents were
not very poor I Aye, they were so; but po-
verty is not always a misfortune; it may be
a blessing. Yet Florence was unfortunate,
and thoughtful people used to sigh whenever
they looked upon her, and tell in whispers
how they pitied her; and some would draw
up their shoulders and laugh, whenever she
appeared; but those were not thoughtful
10 AN UNFORTUNATE CHILD.
people. People who think never laugh at
the unfortunate. Now can you imagine how
a bright little girl, with a great share of per-
sonal beauty, and parents who love her, can
be unfortunate I will tell you. It is a sad
misfortune to live, and be totally ignorant of
the object if existence, and this was the case
with Florence Evelyn.
I might go back to Mr. Evelyn's father,
and show you some laxity of government on
his part, that made his son so unstable in his
purposes, chimerical in his plans, and change-
able in the execution of them. Mr. Evelyn,
in his early youth, spent some time in the
study of the law ; but finding it dry and irk-
some, he changed his plan, and tried other
professions. But nothing seemed to suit his
taste, and for a very good reason. He had no
taste for labour of any kind, mental or man-
ual, and all business requires labour. He
married a poor, industrious girl, and sat down
to contrive how to live. At the end of the
year Mr. Evelyn was in the condition of a
great many other people, who, while they sit
contriving, devour the little they had gain-
ed before. After this he became a greater
changeling than ever. He shifted from one
AN UNFORTUNATE CHILD.
party to another in politics for the sake of
some petty office, till he was known every
where by the appellation of turn-coat; he
procured a situation in a mercantile house,
but his employers soon found him too indo-
lent for a clerk; and so, as a last resource,
he turned to school-teaching. By going from
place to place in the capacity of a district
school-teacher, Mr. Evelyn contrived to ob-
tain a scanty subsistence; and he might have
done better still, if he had not been continu-
ally looking forward to the time when he
should be a great, a wealthy, and an honoured
man. This led him to embark all his earn-
ings in petty speculations, which as constantly
failed, and left his family in want of bread.
I have told you that Mrs. Evelyn was indus-
trious; and if she had been pious and sen-
sible also, all might have gone well with the
little Florence. But she was not. She had
married Mr. Evelyn because she thought him
genteel; and in the midst of want her old
ideas of gentility and fashion still clung to
her. Accordingly she made it a point on all
occasions to sacrifice comfort and conve-
nience to appearances. It was early deter-
mined that Florence, having a pretty facN
12 AN UNFORTUNATE CHILD.
soft, sunny hair, eyes that everybody ad-
mired, and a form that promised much when
it should be fully developed, was to be a lady;
and so she was to be taught nothing either
good or useful ? What! a lady make herself
useful. Mrs. Evelyn could conceive of no-
thing so ridiculous: and so Miss Florence
must not assist mamma, for it would spoil
her hands ; and Miss Florence must not run,
for it would give her too much colour ; and
Miss Florence must not walk till after sun-
set, for it would imbrown her skin. Florence
was really an intelligent child, but intelli-
gence is not proof against the flattery of those
we love; and she became the easy victim of
her parents' miserable ambition. She was
quite helpless enough to suit her mother's
notions of gentility, and sufficiently forward,
and unnatural, to satisfy her father's vanity.
Now you will see why I told you that Flo-
rence Evelyn was an unfortunate child; for
she knew nothing of the greatest of all sources
of happiness. I never saw a very useful
person that was not a very happy one also;
and I never saw one who believed, as Florence
Evelyn was taught, that it was degrading to
be active, who was not very miserable. Use-
AN UNFORTUNATE CHILD. 13
fulness, if not the very essence of religion, is
its development and its life; for faith with-
out works is dead." Next to our duty to God,
we are commanded to love our neighbour :
and the child or man who, neglecting the
first and second great object of existence,
lives only for self, must necessarily be misep
Mrs. Evelyn named her child Florence,
because she had seen the name of "Lady
Florence," in an old novel which she had
borrowed from a circulating library; and she
strove very diligently to teach the little girl
to walk in the eccentric footsteps of her vision-
ary namesake. True, the poor mother's cheek
grew pale in the execution of her self-imposed
task of bringing up her child in idleness;
and the hour of midnight often found her
bending over her needle with an aching head
and an anxious heart-anxious not for her
child's true well-being, usefulness in the
sphere in which Providence had placed her;
but anxious lest her foolish plans, her vain
hopes for her should prove unsuccessful.
THE house in which Mr. Evelyn lived was a
large, old-fashioned one; and though Mrs.
Evelyn was wont, in conversation with her
family, to denominate it "an old shell, as cold
as a barn, and dismal as a prison," yet she
preferred it to a smaller-sized and more com-
fortable building. She had a front and a back
parlour, and a dining-room; and although
one neat, well-furnished, comfortable, and
pleasant kitchen would have been worth them
all, yet the name was something ; and she felt
as if really in the possession of some elegant
mansion, when enumerating her empty,
cheerless apartments. Mr. Evelyn did not
own this house, but he rented it for a large
sum, which he paid when he could, and when
he could not pay, he gave a note, the interest
upon which would have done much towards
hiring a more suitable dwelling. But it is
not our present object to recount the follies
of Florence's parents farther than they con-
cerned herself and influenced her destiny.
EARLY TRAINING. 10
Mr. and Mrs. Evelyn both took much pains
to teach their little girl the associates most
proper for her ; and Florence was a very apt
scholar. It was not long before she could dis-
tinguish between children belonging to gen-
teel families, and those of poorer ones, as
readily as her mother; but not having her
mother's prudence, she was continually mak-
ing herself an object of ridicule to her little
I wonder," she said to Sophia Clark one
day, "what makes you play with Rebecca
Smith so much; I am sure I wouldn't be
seen playing with her."
"Wouldn't I why I don't you like Re-
I don't know much about her-I sup-
pose she is good enough."
"Then why shouldn't I play with her 1"
"Why! sure enough-one would think
you didn't know old Pete Smith is a shoe-
Well, what of that I he is a good shoe-
maker, isn't he I but if he were not, you
shouldn't call him names. I heard father
talking to Lyman the other day about that
16 ~ARLY TRAINING.
What very thing I"
"Why, calling Mr. Smith names."
"Well, I will not call him names if you'll
not play with Rebecca."
"Why, what has she done I"
"N-n-nothing that I know of; but
your father is a lawyer, and I shouldn't think
you would play with shoemakers' children."
Sophia Clark was a merry-hearted little
girl, that never dreamed of the station of pa-
rents making children of more or less import-
ance ; and not more than half understanding
what Florence had been saying, she laughed
heartily, and called her companions together
to enjoy the joke. The little girls formed a
circle around Sophia and Florence; and such
a discussion as was entered into concerning
the comparative merits of shoemakers', black-
smiths', merchants', and lawyers' daughters,
would have done honour to their mothers;
inasmuch as the clear unprejudiced judgment
of youth coincided entirely with the decision
of their hearts, as yet untouched by worldly
pride, and made them say at last, so Rebecca
Smith is as good as any of us."
And Florence Evelyn too," added a bright
little girl, anxious to promote good feeling,
EARLY TRAINING. 17
and strangely mistaking the way, "and
Florence Evelyn too, if her father does owe
so many people."
Fie, Amanda! you shouldn't say that,"
said Rosa Deans," I am sure it is very wrong
of you to speak such unkind things to Flora."
"I didn't Ihean to say unkind things ; but
if I did, Flora said them first of Rebecca
Well, Rebecca don't mind it; see, she is
laughing with Sophia Clark now over some-
thing they have found. Let us go and see
what it is."
"Let's go and see!" echoed the merry
group, and laughingly they tripped away to
join their companions.
Did you ever see such girls ?" exclaimed
Florence, turning to a young Miss much
taller than herself, who had remained beside
"No, I never did, and mamma says the
people about here are the most unmannerly,
vulgar set she ever saw. She would go away
if it were not for papa, but he only laughs
I think your mamma and mine would
agree very well, then; for that is just what
18 EARLY TRAINING.
I have heard my mother say a great many
The woman in whom Florence had sup-
posed her mother would find a congenial
spirit, was the wife of a broken-down trades-
man, who had recently settled in this vici-
nity, for the double advantage of cheap living
and an escape from troublesome creditors.
The history of this family was the old story
of improvidence, ambitious rivalry, extrava-
gance, rashness, a crash, a parley, and retreat.
It has often been told, and you can all re-
member the particulars; or if you cannot,
but watch a little time and you will see the
same thing acted over, again and again,
both in our cities and larger villages. Mr.
Wilson, the father of Florence Evelyn's new
friend, was a plain sort of man, with no great
degree of talent either in the business line or
any other, yet sensible enough to see the
absurdity of his wife's pretensions to style in
dress and living, while he had sufficient good-
nature, weakness, or whatever you may please
to call it, to humour her. Mrs. Evelyn, upon
the representations of Florence, was not long
in making this woman's acquaintance; and
a friendship soon sprung up between them;
EARLY TRAINING. 19
such a friendship as a broken-down fashion-
able, desirous of living over her life again in
words to make the uninitiated stare, and an
ambitious mother, anxious for every scrap of
information on the subject nearest her heart,
would be likely to form.
This new acquaintance Mrs, Evelyn deemed
invaluable; and Mrs. Wilson was consulted
on Florence's style of dress, her manners, her
studies, her amusements, and her future pros-
pects, as if she had been an oracle. Mrs.
Evelyn now worked harder than ever, and
her husband speculated less; while the chil-
dren were constantly reminded of what they
had before been told, that slight meals would
make them more delicate. All this was to
save money to purchase second-hand articles
of furniture, and dress Miss Florence. Mrs.
Wilson, from having spent a few months at
a fashionable boarding-school in her earlier
days, had gained a smattering of various
sciences; and she talked so much of a lady's
need of an education, interlarding her conver-
sation with a profusion of French phrases,
and now and then touching the keys of her
broken piano, by way of showing her ability
to judge of such matters, that Mrs. Evelyn's
20 EARLY TRAIINING.
head became quite turned, and whether cook-
ing her dinner, mending her husband's or
the children's clothes, or brushing up some
finer article for Florence, her head was full of
nothing but books. Books, Mrs. Evelyn
believed, contained all the knowledge in the
world; and not having a very intimate
acquaintance with them herself, she believed
that all were alike good and useful. Mrs.
Wilson had saved from the wreck of her
husband's fortune, besides her piano and
harp, a plentiful supply of such reading as
was calculated to take the place of fashionable
amusements, and dispel the ennui that ban-
ishment from such scenes would produce in
a mind which had no taste for anything else.
These books, designed to furnish a fashionable
lady with the excitement which had become
necessary to her, were placed in the hands of
poor little Florence Evelyn; thus vitiating
her mind, perverting her judgment, and mak-
ing her the resistless victim of almost every
species of folly. Florence was every day
told that she was beautiful, and the little
mirrm that hung close by her bedroom win-
dow, only confirmed the fact; yet in truth
she did not place so high a value on this pos-
A TROUBLESOME VISITOR 21
session as might have been supposed. Her
mind was full of the representations made
by Miss Julia Wilson of what she had seen in
the city, and she dreamed by night of things
beyond her reach, and in the morning arose
to drown both memory and consciousness in
the waking dreams of the novelist. My
readers, especially my young readers, who
have active habits, and love the pure air and
green fields too well to have any sympathy
for a little girl like the one we are describing,
will think this an overwrought picture; but
it is painted from real life. The character of
Florence Evelyn is not an imaginary one,
and our story is, in every essential point,
A TROUBLESOME VISITOR.
"OH, mamma," exclaimed Florence one day,
hurrying into the little back kitchen where
her mother was busy at work," who do you
think is coming now to spoil all my fun in
going to Julia Wilson's party I know Aunt
Tacy's old black bonnet, for she has worn it
22 A TROUBLESOME VISITOR.
ever since I can remember, and her carriage
is just now coming down the hill. What
shall we do mamma 1"
Sure enough, it is Aunt Tacy," said Mrs.
Evelyn, shading her eyes with her hands, and
taking a leisurely survey of the road; she
couldn't have hit upon a worse time. But we
must be civil to her, Flora dear, and you can
explain it all to Julia"-
Oh no, mamma, I must go to the party,
poor Julia wouldn't know how to do without
me, and you know there are only particular
But, mother !"
Don't say it again, mamma: do tell what
is the use of being civil to such a cross old
quiz as she is 1 If you would only just affront
her you might get rid of her."
Mrs. Evelyn shook her head. "It wont
do, Flora, it wont do Aunt Tacy is not the
woman to be displeased at trifles."
It shall do," muttered the young lady, as
she returned to her station in the parlour.
" I can never be anybody so long as this old
woman makes mamma fear her so much; and
A TROUBLESOME VISITOR. 23
I will go to Julia's party to-night in spite of
Mrs. Evelyn knew Aunt Tacy Willet better
than did her would-be-lady daughter, and she
knew that it would be neither an easy nor de-
sirable task to offend her. This universal aunt
was a maiden lady of about sixty, who had
acted the part of parent, guardian, and friend
to the ambitious Mrs. Evelyn, and taught
her all the little good which she knew how
to perform. The presence of this kind friend
was always a restraint upon Mrs. Evelyn, and
she would have dispensed with it quite will-
ingly. But that was impossible. In spite of
hints and slights, Aunt Tacy would make her
regular visits, taking care always to bring
with her some acceptable present, and give
while there a great deal of wholesome advice.
The good old lady was particularly interested
in the well-being of Florence,who had always
been her peculiar favourite ; and the object
of her'present visit was to gain her mother's
acquiescence in a scheme which she proposed
for her benefit. After Aunt Tacy had in-
quired into the health of every member of
the family, from the parents and the pretty
Miss Florence, down to little Archie in the
24 A TROUBLESOME VISITOR.
cradle, she passed her snuff-box to the host-
ess, drew out her knitting, and commenced
That is a very pretty girl of yours, Ra-
chel, that Florence."
Mrs. Evelyn looked pleased, but she did
not reply. She was thinking how she might
just hint to Aunt Tacy something about Flo-
She is quite tall of her age," continued
the old lady, "but she looks very pale: I
hope she is not sickly."
Oh no," replied Mrs. Evelyn hastily,
"she is not sickly: rather delicate, that is
Rather too delicate, I am afraid," said
Aunt Tacy dryly, but she may improve in
that respect. I believe she is rather clever 1"
Oh, I never saw her equal; she can't be
easy a moment without her book ; I dare say
she has read all of fifty volumes this summer."
Umph I rather you would tell me she
had read a dozen."
Mrs. Evelyn elevated her hands and eyes,
and sat in mute astonishment.
"Not," continued Aunt Tacy, "that I do
not approve of young people spending their
A TROUBLESOME VISITOR. 25
leisure time in useful reading, but I would
not have them read by measure. It is like
estimating one's knowledge by the lightness
with which the tongue moves. And one
book well read is worth fifty merely glanced
"Oh, Florence understandswhat she reads,"
said Mrs. Evelyn, "and she will tell such
long stories of lords and ladies, and haunted
castles, and all such things, that really you
would be quite astonished at the child's pro-
And are the fifty volumes you have been
telling me about of this stamp I" inquired
Oh no; not all I presume, though she
reads so much that I don't keep track of her
Is it possible, Rachel Evelyn," inquired
the old lady, "that you allow books to go
into the hands of that child, that you have
not examined 1"
Dear me how could I I" exclaimed the
mother in a deprecating tone, "and I with
such a family."
By allowing her to bear part of the bur-
den. Then, it is not necessary that she should
26 A TROUBLESOME VISITOR.
read all the trash that is published, and yon
have time to examine a few books for her ; at
least you could find a trusty friend who would
willingly make the selection."
"But Florence's judgment is far beyond
her years, and she is more to be trusted than
Take care, Rachel, that you don't trust
her to her own injury. Florence is certainly
a very handsome girl, and what is more, she
looks gentle and amiable. I think she is
clever too. It is not altogether a mother's
partiality that makes you proud of her, Ra-
chel; but take care I say that you don't
trust her too far."
What do you think I had better do 1"
inquired Mrs. Evelyn, timidly.
I have a plan in my head, that I think
you would like."
Mrs. Evelyn's face brightened up, and there
was a benevolent smile playing around Aunt
Tacy's mouth, as if she thought she was
about to confer a favour, and make a friend
"Florence," she continued, "is, as yuu
say, rather delicate, but I doubt not she is a
healthy child. I suppose you would be will-
A TROUBLESOME VISITOR.
ing to part with her if you thought it for her
Oh, certainly," replied the mother, al-
ready estimating the value of Aunt Tacy's
fortune, and confident that Florence was
about to be made an heiress. She is quite
healthy, but rather too slender to be of much
use to me. Maria can take care of Archie,
and the other two children are not much
trouble: so although I should miss dear
Flora very much, I should feel it my duty to
part with her."
I am glad to find you so willing," re-
plied Aunt Tacy; "mothers are apt to be a
little selfish about these things. If she should
board with me, I can now and then bring
her to see you"-
Board-with-you !" faltered out Mrs.
"Oh, I forgot that I hadn't told you my
plan," said Aunt Tacy; I thought it would
be painful to you to send so fine a girl as
Florence out to service, for," she added, look-
ing into Mrs. Evelyn's face, with a good-
natured smile, you used to have some very
foolish notions, and I suppose you have not
become as wise as might be, yet. Well, I
28 A TROUBLESOME VISITOR.
know you will be obliged to labour very hard
to support such a family, and I have con-
cluded to take Florence off your hands."
Thank you !" exclaimed Mrs. Evelyn,
grasping the good old lady's hand. She felt
for the moment relieved from a life-long
I have told Miss Perkins what a clever
girl Forence is," continued Aunt Tacy, "and
she thinks her age will be no very great ob-
stacle; and so she will have her trade, and
be able to earn something all the quicker,
Miss Perkins-the trade-what can you
mean I" gasped Mrs. Evelyn.
Why you know Miss Perkins, the man-
Mantuamaker ? You don't suppose that
Florence Evelyn is to be a mantuamaker 1"
And why not 2"
A girl like her go to a trade 1 why, Aunt
Tacy, you must be beside yourself! Only
think of it-did you ever see a handsomer
face, or more genteel form 1 And then such
manners-a mantuamaker, indeed !"
Aunt Tacy sat for a moment as if uncertain
whether she rightly comprehended these
A TROUBLESOME VISITOR. 29
words; then slowly resuming the knitting
which she had laid in her lap when about
making her unfortunate proffer of assistance,
she gave a deep sigh, shook her head omin-
ously, and put her needles into rapid motion.
You must not be angry with me, Aunt
Tacy," said Mrs. Evelyn, after a moment's
pause. "You don't know Florence; she is
no common child. Maria shall be a dress-
maker, as soon as she is old enough, but Flo-
rence must be educated."
"Florence needs a different education from
that which you propose," said Aunt Tacy,
" and I think the sooner she learns to be use-
ful to herself and to you, the better."
"But Florence is framed by nature for a
She who fails in the duties of the station
in which Heaven has placed her, is fit for no
other," interrupted Aunt Tacy; and I warn
you, Rachel Evelyn, that if you neglect what
is necessary for the present, in the hope of
some future good, you prepare your child for
a life of misery and wretchedness. Teach
her to be active, industrious, frugal, and at-
tentive to the, wants of those about her, and
above all, give her sound principles of virtue
30 A TROUBLESOME VISITOR.
and religion, and she is prepared to adorn any
station ; she may scatter sunshine in the
hovel, or shine the ornament of the proudest
mansion; but neglect these, and she at once
becomes a burden to society."
I thought," said Mrs. Evelyn, that you
were an advocate for education"-
So I am," again interrupted Aunt Tacy,
"but it is an education suited to circum-
stances. I would not have the blacksmith
study law, nor the farmer waste his time in
learning the mechanic's business; neither
would I have Florence, the daughter of a
poor man, cast important things aside for the
sake of becoming acquainted with those ac-
complishments which can never be of the
least possible use to her."
So the poor must be content to remain
in ignorance, and give the advantages of edu-
cation to the wealthy 1" said Mrs. Evelyn, in
a bitter tone.
Pray what do you call education 1" in-
quired Aunt Tacy; is it a bundle of know-
ledge, collected solely for the purpose of
making its possessor shine 1 or is it the ex-
perience of to-day, with some record of the
experience and observations of others, fit for
A TROUBLESOME VISITOR. 31
to-morrow's use ? No one is educated while
life offers the opportunity to learn, and no
one is in a proper course of education, while
fitting for a station which precludes the per-
formance of the duties of the one now occu-
pied. If Florence possessed all the book
knowledge our country affords, she would be
uneducated while she could not sweep your
floor, and prepare her father's tea ; for these
are duties imposed by her station, which she
cannot neglect and be guiltless."
You say hard things," sighed Mrs.
Evelyn, unable to combat longer, and un-
willing to give up her prejudices, "but I
shall try to do what I can for Florence."
Better teach her to do for herself," re-
marked Aunt Tacy.
The entrance of Florence dressed for the
party, here interrupted the conversation, and
it was not again resumed.
32 MORE OF AUNT TACY'S MEDDLING.
MORE OF AUNT TACT'S MEDDLING.
AUNT TAcY retired to her room that night
with a sad heart. She knew that it was use-
less to combat with her friend's prejudices,
because they were the result of feeling, rather
than judgment; and though the judgment
might be convinced, a single glance at the
child was sufficient to overthrow it all. After
sitting for an unusual length of time in
thought, Aunt Tacy drew from her ample
pocket a time-worn volume, the guide-book
of her humble life, adjusted her spectacles,
placed the candle in a position where the
light might shine upon the page, and, resting
her forehead on her hand, sat for a long time.
conning the words of life. When she raised
her head the look of care had passed from
her countenance, and left in its stead an ele-
vated expression, so calm and holy that the
most careless observer could not but know
that it was the result of heavenly communion.
Again Aunt Tacy sat in silent meditation,
and then she reverently knelt by her bed-
MORE OF AUNT TACT'S MEDDLING. 3
side, and breathed her inmost wishes in the
ear nf lim who loves to listen to the secret
-"o'itioner. No wonder, after this, that Aunt
Tacy's rest was calm and untroubled,-she
knew that the Father of all cared for herself
and friends. The good lady was awake as
soon as the day had dawned; but not toe
early to hear the careful tread of Mrs. Evelyn,
as she passed and repassed her door in attend-
mgto her morning duties. This again brought
to her mind the condition of poor Florence.
The child will be ruined here, I see it
plainly," said the good lady to herself; "Ra-
chel will never teach her to be useful, and I
perceive she is already both indolent and self-
ish. What can be done? She would make
a very tasteful dressmaker, and, in the mean-
time, I could give her lessons in house-keep-
ing indispensable to any woman, high or low,
while the example of Caroline Ross would
work wonders on her moral feelings. But
that is out of the question ; Florence Evelyn
must be a lady. Oh, the folly of a mother's
rearing these air-castles, which, in their fall,
have crushed thousands no less promising
than this poor child now standing on the
verge of ruin. I must take her; and aRrce
34 MORE OF AUNT TACY' MEDDLING.
it can be done in no other way, on Rachel's
own terms. Thank God, who has given me
the means! she shall be thoroughly edu-
cated, for I see that nothing else can save
Aunt Tacy Willet's abode was a humble
one, because she preferred comfort to show;
but she was not without the means of doing
good, as many a poor sufferer could testify,
although she seldom proceeded on so large a
scale as she now proposed. Caroline Ross
was a sister's child, whom Aunt Tacy had
taken for the mutual benefit of both parties,
and whom she intended to educate according
to her own comprehension of that abused
term. She thought, by giving Florence an
opportunity for mental culture, her moral
feelings would be more fully developed, and,
if she proved what the good old lady hoped,
she might make herself useful both to her
friends and the world as a teacher.
It is a responsible station, but Florence
may be made adequate to it," thought Aunt
Tacy, as the prospect brightened before her
imagination. "I will put the plan into ex-
ecution immediately: Rachel can have no
MOBE IO AUNT TACT'S MEDDLING. 35
Mrs. Evelyn had been dreading to meet
Aunt Tacy at the breakfast table; but the
expression of stern sorrow with which she
had parted from her the preceding evening,
had vanished, and her face was again lighted
up by a benevolent smile.
Mrs. Evelyn was overjoyed at Aunt Tacy's
generous offer; and, after some little show of
opposition, and a few words about the weight
of the obligation, gave up her daughter to
the care of her friend. Florence did not
evince quite so much pleasure; for she hsl
the discernment to discover that Aunt Tacy s
intentions with regard to her were not ex-
actly in accordance with her mother's wishes,
or her hopes; but still, she thought this
might be made the stepping-stone to some-
thing higher. Accordingly she resolved to
sacrifice even the pleasure of Julia Wilson's
society, and go with the old lady cheerfully.
You had better try to please Aunt Tacy,"
said Mrs. Evelyn, on the evening before her
daughter's departure, though she may have
some old-fashioned notions. I suppose things
were different in her day from what they are
now. She has a niece there; so it will not
be necessary for you to wash the dishes, or
36 MORE OF AUNT TACT'S MEIiDLING.
do work that will spoil your hands, but you
can dust and do a few such things, just enough
to keep her in good-humour."
I didn't know that I was going to be her
drudge," answered Florence, pettishly, "and
if I go to school, it will be as much as I can
Mrs. Evelyn made no reply. She had long
since lost the power to exact obedience.
It will not be necessary for you to take
any books," said Aunt Tacy, entering in time
to catch a glimpse of a very suspicious-look-
ing volume about to be transferred from the
upper book shelf to Florence's trunk; you
will find a plentiful supply at my house."
"But perhaps," said Florence, "they may
not be-that is-I shall want something to
read besides school-books, you know."
"And my library contains something be-
sides school-books, you will find," said Aunt
Tacy, smiling, "at least I can supply you for
the present; and when my stock fails, I will
engage to find you more."
Florence still hesitated, and her mother at
last ventured to suggest, that although the
library at Aunt Tacy's cottage undoubtedly
contained a very choice selection of books,
THE NEW HOME.
yet as they were chosen for older persons,
they might not be exactly fitted to instruct
"In plain terms," said Aunt Tacy, "you
are afraid my library contains no novels."
"I recollect you didn't use to approve of
light reading," remarked Mrs. Evelyn, with
Florence will find as much light reading
at my house as will be for her good," said
Aunt Tacy, resolutely, "and I shall not con-
sent to her taking any of the miserable trash
which she has spent so many precious hours
Florence laid down the book with.a sigh;
but shortly after, observing Aunt Tacy en-
gaged with something else, she slid it into
her trunk unobserved, and closed the lid.
THE NEW HOME, WITH ITS PLEASURES AND
AuNT TAcT WILLET'S cottage was on the
outskirts of a beautiful village; and although,
as I have before stated, it was plain and
B8 THE NEW HOME.
simple in the extreme, the location was an
exceedingly pleasant one, and it commanded
a fine prospect. A green lawn, with its neat
gravel walk stretched out in front of it, orna-
mented with nothing but a few wild rose-
bushes, and a single vine trailing over the
cottage porch. As Aunt Tacy's carriage
paused before the gate, a buoyant figure came
bounding along the gravel walk; and Flor-
ence was introduced to her future companion,
Are you really to live with us I" inquired
Caroline. "Oh, how happy we shall be!"
and taking the hand of her new friend in
one of .hers, and Aunt Tacy's in the other,
she led them towards the cottage door. As
they proceeded up the walk, Florence ob-
served a lad, who seemed to be at that pre-
cise point in his teens when you are doubtful
whether to consider him boy or man, hurry-
ing across an adjoining field, clearing the
fence at one leap, and then pausing awk-
wardly; now casting side-long glances at
herself, and now at the back-door. If, how-
ever, he had meditated an escape, he seemed
to think better of it, for waiting long enough
to summon up a good degree of courage, he
THE NEW HUXE. 39
again advanced, slowly and timidly, till within
a few yards of the group, and then suddenly
came to a dead stand.
"David !" said Aunt Tacy, looking sud-
denly around, "come, we are waiting for
you; friends should know each other. My
nephew, David Ross, Miss Evelyn; your
cousin Florence, David. If I am to be aunt
to all, I shall of course expect you to be
cousins," added Aunt Tacy, looking smilingly
When Florence found an opportunity for
observation, she discovered that Aunt Tacy's
cottage possessed many conveniences to which
she had not been accustomed at home; and
her rooms, though no larger, were far better
furnished. But she also made a discovery
which seemed to her then of far greater im-
portance. She had been very much afraid to
meet Caroline Ross, lest she should find her
a superior; but if she were so, her superiority
was not at all conspicuous. Her manners
were far more child-like than those of Flor-
ence; and she could not lay claim to so much
personal beauty. Her round, rosy cheeks,
and laughing gray eyes were admired by all,
because indicative of health, good-humour.
THE NEW HOXE.
and intelligence; but Florence at once pro-
nounced them coarse, and concluded she had
nothing to fear from one so unpretending.
When Florence entered school she found
herself far behind her new friend in actual
knowledge; but her course of reading had
given her that flow of words which is often
mistaken for real information, and she found
it no difficult task to conceal her deficiency.
It was said that Florence made rapid im-
provement, and she was indeed a very showy
scholar ; but her indolent habits prevented
that severe application, without which the
most gifted are only smatterers. Florence
soon stood before Caroline in her classes; but
Aunt Tacy discovered, with deep regret, that
her acquirements were merely superficial,
and that while she was becoming qualified to
show, her intellect was in reality unimproved.
In the mean time her progress in other re-
spects was even more discouraging. Indolent
and selfish in the extreme, she would resort
to any low stratagem and petty deception, to
free herself from censure, and throw the
blame of ler carelessness or neglect on Caro-
Any but one with the habits, feelings, ana
THE NEW HOME. 41
prntiuents of Florence Evelyn, would have
.e'nt the time very pleasantly at Aunt
Tacy's cottage; for the good old lady was an
indulgent guardian where her kindness was
not abused, and Caroline was cheerful, self-
denying, and affectionate; but this was no
place for one disposed to sail along the world
in idleness, and think of self alone.
"I have a little work for you in the
kitchen, Florence," said Aunt Tacy, one
morning; "but you can easily finish it in
time to dress for school, and in the mean
time Caroline will dust the parlour."
"Please, let Florence do the dusting," said
Caroline, in compassion to her friend, who
manifested her dislike for kitchen-work, by
drawing down the covers of the mouth, and
lowering the eyebrows; "she prefers it."
She must learn to prefer what is neces-
sary to be done," said Aunt Tacy.
"Flora is not quite welJ this morning, I
am sure," returned Caroline in a kind tone,
and laying her arm across her friend's neck,
"she looks so sad and sorrowful; you know,
Aunt Tacy, she is not so strong as I am."
Activity has much to do with strength,"
was the reply. "But do as you please this
42 THE NEW HOME.
morning, girls; only I must hereafter insist
on Florence's performing her share of house-
Thank you, Car'y," said Florence, as soon
as Aunt Tacy was beyond hearing, I can't
bear washing dishes, and such work. I
should think your aunt would keep a ser-
rvant, Flora 1 do tell what we should
do with a servant I Aunt Tacy is our ser-
vant, and we are hers; David is servant to
all of us, and we all serve him. Four ser-
vants, Flora, is a pretty good number for an
establishment like ours."
You know what I mean," said Florence,
pettishly; every body with your aunt's
means has a hired servant."
"We are bound together by love, and that
is better than money," said Caroline, with a
smile. "Aunt Tacy says we value those
free-will offerings much higher than the paid
service of a stranger; and I am sure we have
no more than we can do with ease."
But, Car'y, it is not genteel for-for"-
"For what 1" inquired Caroline, with a
laugh; for young ladies, like you and me,
to go into the kitchen I eh, Flora 1"
THE NEW HOME.
You may laugh as much as you please,
but if we are to be educated"-
"This is a part of our education; and I
like it," said Caroline, as she tripped out of
"I hate it !" muttered Florence, flinging
herself into a cushioned rocking-chair, and
looking sullenly down upon her hands.
"Dear me! I wonder how I shall get that
wart off my finger! it is as big as a pin-
head !" Florence's mind was for a long time
occupied by the wart, and then it branched
out upon a variety of other topics. Visions
of silk hats, and flowers, and feathers, and
ribbons, and laces, passed before her mind,
and she wished she could get her fingers on
some of Aunt Tacy's cash--only a very little.
O what a fine figure she would cut! And
she arose and paced up and down before the
mirror. Another half hour passed unnoted,
in wondering why some people must be rich
and others poor, and thinking over the stories
she had read about sudden changes of fortune;
and then Aunt Tacy entered the room.
I hope you have arranged things in the
parlour very tastefully," she said, as I ex-
pect company." Florence smiled and nodded.
44 THE NEW HOME.
"I must attend to it now," she said to
herself, with an indolent yawn, as Aunt Tacy
disappeared through the opposite door, "or I
shall be too late. Heigho I am sure Car'y
was right. I don't feel quite well this morn-
ing," and again she flung herself into the
"If you are not engaged, Flora dear, please
mark these pocket-handkerchiefs for me,"
said Caroline, entering the room; "I will
bring the ink in a moment. You know your
writing is prettier than mine."
The last words decided Florence. She
was a prettier writer than Caroline, and she
would do any thing to prove it. The pocket-
handkerchiefs were just finished, when Aunt
Tacy, duster in hand, and displeasure on her
Lrow, stood before her.
Oh excuse me !" exclaimed Florence, in
confusion. I-I-Car'y wanted me to do
a little job for her, and Car'y is always so
And so because Caroline is kind, my re-
quirements are to be disregarded !"
"Why, I thought you had done the dust-
ing," said Caroline, reproachfully; "you
know that I wouldn't want"-
THE NEW HOME. 45
Oh no! I know you wouldn't want me
to do any thing wrong, but you assist me so
much that I couldn't refuse."
"What were you doing previous to Caro-
line's coming in 1" inquired Aunt Tacy.
I-I believe I was thinking about some-
thing, and forgot."
"But you were reminded of it when I
passed through the room."
It was only a few minutes after that,
that Caroline came in, and I have just now
finished the handkerchiefs."
"You gave me to understand you had
done the room."
I did not say so."
What is the difference, Florence, between
a falsehood acted and a falsehood spoken 1"
Florence hung her head, and a tear, part
of mortification, and part of vexation, stole
down her cheek. Tears possess a magic that
can soften sterner hearts than that of Caro-
line Ross, and her own flowed in unison, as
she said, softly, Please, dear Aunt Tacy,
forgive Florence; she will be more attentive
another time, I am sure she will."
"Be quiet, Caroline," said Aunt Tacy.
"You mean well, my dear," she added in a
46 THE NEW HOMR.
softer tone, "but you cannot adjust this
matter. Go and dress yourself for school.
Florence will be late."
Caroline left the room reluctantly, and her
quick light step sounded slow and heavy as
she ascended the staircase. When we do
wrong we not only make ourselves miserable,
but every one about us. A cloud, not of
anger, but of sorrow, rested on Aunt Tacy's
brow as Florence went sobbing to the parlour;
and Caroline, who had seldom felt sadness,
now sighed heavily as she drew on her deep
cottage bonnet, the more effectually to shade
her eyes. Even David looked troubled, for
he discovered signs not to be mistaken of
trouble within. He saw his sister go away
to school alone, and watched by the corer
of the fence for Florence, who, notwithstand-
ing she ridiculed his awkwardness, and
laughed in his face when he was embarrassed,
had now become with the shy boy quite a
favourite. In about an hour she came in
sight; but her face was red and swollen, and
her shoulders drooped, as though not strong
enough to keep their proper position.
What is the matter, Flora ?" exclaimed
David, jumping over the fence, and standing
THE NEW HOME. 47
beside her, "do tell what is the matter. Has
any thing happened I"
Florence drew off her glove, and, holding
out her hand, discovered two or three blisters
on the palm.
"That's too bad what did it I" inquired
I did it with the broom," replied Flor-
ence, renewing her tears. Aunt Tacy made
Why, Caroline sweeps !" exclaimed David,
She is used to it, but I-I never did such
things till I came here !"
"Well, it is too bad, Flora-I'm sorry for
you. Tell Aunt Tacy how it hurts your
hands; she is very kind."
She is kind to you and Caroline, but not
to me," said Florence. She is your aunt,
but I am poor and friendless,-I have no one
to care for me."
You forget Caroline and me, Flora ; be-
sides I know Aunt Tacy loves you; she said
as much the other day when we were walk-
ing, and you and Car'y went forward after
flowers. 'David,' says she, 'David, don't
you think I have two of the finest girls in
48 ENDEAVO RING TO RISE.
the world I' Don't cry, Flora, don't-I am
sure you have a great many friends." The
kind-hearted boy paused from a certain chok-
ing sensation in his throat, and he drew the
cuff of his coat across his eyes. "I will
speak to Aunt Tacy about it," he said to
himself, as he watched Florence's receding
figure, "every girl can't work like Car'y.
What a little, white hand It is too bad,
too bad !"
Perhaps David would have spared his pity
if he had known that Florence, in a fit of
anger, had performed three times the amount
of service required.
ENDEAVOURING TO 1BRE.
OUT of school Florence professed a great deal
of friendship for Caroline Ross; but when-
ever she could find a companion that she
thought a little better, poor Caroline was
quite thrown into the shade. The school at
Wilton was patronized by some half a dozen
families, perhaps in no way superior to the
EDDEAVOUBING TO RIBZ. 49
humbler inhabitants of the village, yet on
account of wealth and fashion forming a
circle of their own, quite too select to admit
of the intrusion of their supposed inferiors.
In this circle it was Florence's entire aim to
be admitted, and she could not stoop too low
to win the favour of Miss Matilda Graham,
or whisper too many silly flatteries in the ear
of Miss Araminta Coleson, or assist too much
Miss Clarissa Derby in her tasks; for the
Misses Graham, and Coleson, and Derby,
were genteel young ladies, and although not
half so sensible as Caroline Ross, it was an
honour to be counted among their friends.
One day, Florence would be sure that her
distinction was fixed on a firm basis: and the
next, Miss Derby having no need of her
services, she would see her "dear Clarissa"
pass her with scarce a nod of recognition.
Poor Florence A crooked road was she led
by her desire for distinction, and a thorny
one too, but she was too blind to be sensible
of her error. She pursued the lightest of all
phantoms, and it led her a weary way.
Florence had been in school two years
before Miss Selwyn could decide that she
was unfit for a teacher ; but Aunt Tacy had
80 ENDEAVOURING TO RISE.
feared long before, what was the true state
of the case.
"I must not send her back upon her
parents," thought the good old lady, "they
would foster the wrong, and darken the little
good in her: nor must I keep her in idle-
ness." Florence was now almost sixteen,
yet young as she was, and dependant on the
bounty of a friend for bread, she affected all
the airs of a high-born beauty. Caroline had
gained discrimination enough to be sensible
of her friend's faults, and she pitied her
sincerely, while she tried to direct her to the
only true source of happiness. But David,
the honest, simple-hearted David, could see
no wrong in pretty Flora Evelyn, and he was
almost angry with his sister for her superior
discernment. He was sure that Aunt Tacy
and Caroline were both prejudiced, and he
did not blame Florence for not wanting to
be a drudge. At least he was sure that a
place in the parlour was very becoming to
her, and if he could have his way, she should
always occupy it. But Aunt Tacy knew
Florence Evelyn better than did her dating
parents, or kind David Ross. She knew that
she had some good traits of character, but
EZDEAVOURING TO RIBS. 51
deceit and falsehood were at the base, and
indolence hung like a leaden weight upon
her energies, damping the slightest hope that
might be formed of her future usefulness.
"I suppose Aunt Tacy will take me out
of school soon," said Florence one day to her
friend David, "and then I shall very likely
be obliged to go home; and oh, I can't
imagine what will become of me! It is a
hard thing, David, to be dependant."
"It is so," said the youth, "and if I were
you, Flora, I wouldn't bear it any longer.
It may be a hard thing, too, for one like you
to go out among strangers, but I should
rather do it, than bear what you are obliged
to do here."
"Go out among strangers, David! what
do you mean 1 Would you too make me a
"I didn't mean to hurt your feeling%,
Flora, you know I would help you if I could.
Perhaps you might get sewing-that I am
sure is respectable employment."
And'so I am to be only respectable / a re-
spectable tradeswoman I see that you too
have joined with them against me. Well, it
is what I might have expected."
62 ENDEAVOUrING TO BISE.
"Forgive me, Flora, I don't well under-
stand these things, but I am sure that I am
anxious to serve you in some way; and I
wish I could do it with something more
valuable than mere words. Perhaps the
day will some time come that-but-I have-
almost forgotten what we were talking about,
Flora.-Oh, your leaving school! I hope
Aunt Tacy will keep you there yet We
should be very lonely if you should go away.
You are about old enough to commence teach-
ing, and I am sure know quite enough.
Florence shook her head mournfully. "I
don't think I was ever calculated for a
teacher, David; and both Aunt Tacy and
Miss Selwyn think so now. For my part I
never intended to become one."
"Do you really think you'll not make a
teacher, Flora ?" asked David, in astonish-
ment. "Aunt Tacy told me so the other
day, and I got very angry with her, for I
thought she was prejudiced against you."
And Car'y, what did she think 1"
"I don't know; Car'y feels dreadfully
about something; she seems to pity you as
much as though you were her sister."
"I don't need her pity!" said Florence,
NHDEAVOURING TO RISE.
with unusual energy, "I don't need her
pity; and she may yet see the day"-
The young lady paused, and bit her lips
until they were scarlet; then picking up a
book, she leaned her head against the wall,
and seemed busily engaged in examining the
title-page, although it was upside down.
David looked at her a moment, wonderingly;
then his eyes falling on a very showy ring
that encircled her finger, he began in his
turn to gnaw his lips, and finally his thumb,
till, quite forgetting where he was, he began
promenading Aunt Tacy's rag carpet with
peculiar energy, and whistling "yankee
doodle." Could it be that he had got any-
thing of an insight into Florence Evelyn's
character! We shall see.
WHO CAN HELP THOSE WHO WILL SOT HELP
BING your guitar, Florence, and play to
me," said Aunt Tacy, a few evenings after
the conversation recorded in the last chapter.
v4 WHO CAN HELP THOS8
'Let Caroline sing, for her voice goes to my
heart, and I am sad."
"Sad, dear Aunt Tacy I" inquired Caro-
line, "let me wheel round your rocking-chair
towards the fire-its blaze will make you
The old lady gave her niece a grateful
glance as she leaned over her chair, but shook
her head. "It is of no use, Caroline; my
trouble is not light enough to be easily dissi-
pated. But I would hear Florence play once
more, and see her too. Come and sit before
me, child,-there, that is right,-now let us
have some music."
Florence touched the strings of the guitar.
The air was a sad one, but Aunt Tacy's brow
grew gradually lighter, and lighter, till at
last an expression of pleasure, if not one of
joy predominated. The song ceased, and
then she bowed her head upon her bosom,
and seemed in a state of entire abstraction.
She was thinking of Florence.
Aunt Tacy had not remained stationary
during the time that she had had our two
young friends under her entire control; for
what heart so withered, or what will so stern,
as never to yield to the impressions of youth
WHO WILL NOT HELP THEMSELVES ? 65
and beauty I She was still the same simple-
hearted, right-minded being; but much of
her homeliness of manner and of thought
had passed away. She was interested in the
personal, as well as intellectual and moral
improvement of her charge; and she found
her taste not only for music, but for birds
and flowers, and all the beautiful things
spread out so lavishly for man's enjoyment,
materially improved. The young cannot
know the extent of their power to make the
aged happy. They may beguile the passing
moment, but that is not all; they have power
to recall thoughts and feelings long since for-
gotten; and impressions quite obliterated by
the touch of time, they may again revive, so
that the heart which has been too much
thrown upon itself for enjoyment, may awake
to half the freshness of earlier days. Such
was the influence exerted by Florence and
Caroline over Aunt Tacy. They had shed
light in her hitherto solitary abode, and
made themselves almost necessary to her.
True, Florence had caused the old lady much
trouble, but she now looked upon it all as a
mere trifle, while her solicitude was awak-
ened for the welfare of the child she loved
56 wuO CAN HELP THOSE
so well, yet found herself unable to be-
Oh, Florence !" she at last exclaimed,
raising her head, "why must so much beauty
and grace be confined to the mere exterior,
while there is no corresponding quality
Florence tossed the shining hair from her
flushed brow, and allowed her fingers to
wander carelessly over the strings of her
guitar, but she manifested no other emotion;
and Aunt Tacy continued. "Two years ago,
I took you from,"-(she paused as consider-
ing whether it would be best to speak in
plain terms, and then went on,) I took you
from a humble home, hoping to make you
Yes, it was a humble home," interrupted
Florence, in a bitter tone. "I was the
daughter of poor parents, and for that acci-
dent must I suffer while I live. I did not
think you would be so unkind as to reproach
me with that, Aunt Tacy."
I have not reproached you with it, Flor-
ence, and I have only mentioned it to remind
you of something which it would be for your
interest to remember,-but listen now. I
WHO WILL NOT HELP THEMSELVES? 57
have placed you in an excellent school where
you have had the benefit of the best of
teachers, and I have endeavoured myself to
teach you the necessary duties of home. I
now find you at the age of sixteen, with
many personal advantages, and many accom-
plishments, unprepared for any of the active
duties of life, unfit for any position, either
high or low, in this world, and alarmingly
careless of your eternal interests. By sup-
porting you in this indolence, I am doing
injustice to you, and to many more needy,
not to say more deserving ones. It is pain-
ful, but it is no less a duty, for me to send
you back to your parents, and Heaven grant
that you may yet become a blessing to them.
You may do much good, by instructing your
little brothers and sisters; but oh, beware
how you infuse into them any portion of
your own spirit, or expose to them your sin-
ful lack of principle."
"Oh, Aunt Tacy, you do not mean it-
you do not mean to send me back-my edu-
cation unfinished-and-oh, who is there to
care for me 1 Tell her, do tell her, Caroline,
that I will do right. I cannot go home, in-
deed I cannot."
b8 WHO CAN HELP THOSE
"Be calm, Florence, and listen to me,"
said Aunt Tacy, her own voice trembling
with ill-suppressed emotion, "I cannot keep
you any longer for the present. You have
often promised amendment, and as often
broken your promise; you have wilfully de-
ceived me on numberless occasions, and I
cannot trust you."
"Think, Aunt Tacy," said Caroline, speak-
ing with difficulty through her tears, "our
dear Flora is very young yet, and I am sure
you love her too well to do any thing that
will injure her. She may do much better
when she is a little older."
Yes, she is young, and that is my only
hope. I will give her a trial."
Thank you, dear Aunt Tacy," exclaimed
Florence, springing forward joyfully. "Oh,
you are so good not to send me to that dismal
"Your home, Florence 1 But I did not
promise not to send you there. It is indeed
necessary that you should go, for that will be
your place of trial. If you make yourself
useful to your brothers and sisters,-if you
perform well a daughter's part, at the end of
the year I will receive you back again, and
WHO WILL NOT IIELP THEMSELVES ? 59
place you under Miss Selwyn's care for as
long a term as she shall think necessary.
My principles of justice will not allow me to
do more, nor the feelings of my heart less."
Florence made no reply, for she did not
well know what to say; but she snapped one
of the strings of her guitar, then allowed the
instrument to slide down from her hands
upon the floor, and without looking at either
Aunt Tacy or Caroline, she hurried out of
the room. She met David in the passage,
but did not allow him to speak to her, and
sought her own apartment. This gained,
she sat down on the bedside, and endeavoured
to bring her thoughts under sufficient con.
trol, to look upon her situation as it really
was, and arrange some plan for future action.
If her friends at the cottage had ever treated
her unkindly, she might have called some
pride to her aid; but her heart was not made
of materials very much differing from the
generality of human hearts, and she felt it
considerably softened by the evident sorrow
of Aunt Tacy, and the sympathy of Caroline.
Yet, although the blinding tears were con-
stantly gushing to her eyes, her thoughts
were far from being right, and her plans for
60 WHO CAN HELP THOSE
the year at home were all deeply tinged by
the selfish, deceitful spirit, which seemed to
have become part of her nature. She had
not sat long in this position, when the latch
was lightly lifted, and she was joined by
"Oh, I am so sorry, Flora," and she sat
down beside her, and passed her arm around
her waist; and Florence leaned her head
upon her friend's shoulder, and gave free vent
to the bitter, scalding tears. She was the
first to speak. This was the holiest, the most
unselfish moment of her life.
Oh, Caroline," she said, it is hard that
we must be separated now, when we might
be so happy, and all for my fault I almost
wish that I had died before I had made you
and Aunt Tacy so much trouble."
Oh no, don't say so, that is wrong. You
have it in your power to be very useful yet,
and I hope we shall all see brighter days. 1
came from David now. Poor fellow! he feels
sorrowful enough, for he loves you, Flora, as
if you were his sister; and he told me to
tell you, you should never, while he lives,
lack a friend."
You are all very good," said Florence,
WHO WILL NOT HELP THEMSELVES 1 61
listlessly, "but it cannot benefit me now.
Oh, what a miserable life this is !"
"Your's ought to be a happy one, Flor-
ence; I think if any persons in the world
have cause for gratitude, it is ourselves.
Aunt Tacy has been more than a mother to
But now she casts me off, and what am I
to do 1"
Oh no, she does not cast you off; if you
do right, you may return in a year. But oh,
Florence, do not think that I do not love
you when I say you have a great deal to re-
I mean to be industrious, Caroline, when
I get home, and assist mother, and instruct
the children. I know I have not done quite
as well as I might since I have been here,
but it is hard to break off old habits, and
form new ones. Don't you think so, Caro-
line 1 But then I have no need to ask you
-you were always orderly and industri-
That is not what I mean, dear Flora, or
at least not all. You know why Aunt Tacy
is unwilling that you should teach 1 She
thinks you too little under the control of
62 WHO CAN HELP THOSE
principle; you are not self-denying, self-
How could I be, Caroline 1 One of the
first lessons my mother taught me was, to
look out for my own interests in preference
to anything else. She made me believe that
poverty is a great curse, and I cannot think
otherwise. If I were rich I should be loved
and respected, but now"-and Florence
again leaned upon the friendly shoulder and
"Poor Florence but how mistaken !" said
Caroline tenderly. "You are loved now,
and might easily make yourself respected. Do
not dwell upon this point so much. He who
has said, As thy day is so shall thy strength
be,' will also prepare us for any situation in
life, in which it is his will to place us."
Florence remained silent, and after a short
pause Caroline again began. I had one
word more to say to you, and you must not
think me unkind. You know I would not
pain you unnecessarily, but you have got one
great fault, Florence, that even Aunt Tacy
knows nothing about. She knows that you
have often deceived her, but she does not
know that you are capable of wilful falsehood."
WHO WILL NOT HELP THEMSELVES 1 63
And who dares say that I am 1" ex-
claimed Florence, dashing off the tears, and
fixing her angry eye steadily on her friend.
"Who dare say that I was ever guilty of
anything so mean I"
"No one that I know of, but myself," re-
plied Caroline calmly, "and this is the first
time I have ever spoken of it; but when you
think of the representations you have made
to David, will you call the charge unjust 1"
I will; I have never told David a single
It is strange ; he seems to have received
from some one distorted accounts of every-
thing that has ever occurred among us."
It is not from me ; I have related simple
facts, and allowed him to draw his own in-
ferences. If his generosity has led him to
give me undue credit, surely the fault is not
Was it generous in you to allow him to
draw false inferences, especially as the credit
he gave you was at Aunt Tacy's expense I
O Florence! it is not sufficient that we do
not speak falsehood, but we must learn to
"I am sorry, Caroline, if I have given
64 WHO CAN HELP THOSE, AG
David any wrong opinions of Aunt Tacy or
of you. Everybody was blaming me, and it
was not natural for me when I found that
he was blind to my faults, to spread them
all open to him. I know you would have
done it, but I have not so much magnani-
That seems to me mere justice, not mag-
nanimity; yet I do not know what I might
do if I had been tempted. You have re-
lieved me of quite a burden, Florence; for
although I cannot look upon the deceit you
have practised as a very light thing, yet it is
not wilful falsehood."
Does David think I have told him un-
No ; I felt unwilling to expose you, and
now I am sure my heart led me right, for you
are not so guilty as you appeared."
Your heart always leads you right,"
sighed Florence: I wish it was so with
A wish to do right is the first step in the
path of reformation; but unless another
follow soon, we insensibly slide backward and
lose the little advantage we had gained. Oh
for the truthful simplicity of character re-
THE PARTING. R5
commended by our Saviour !-the humble,
trusting, loving nature of the little child."
We follow his precepts nearest, we approach
nearest his guilelessness, when, like him, we
forget self, and go about doing good."
Ir Florence had ever imagined herself not
loved, she would have been undeceived when
she saw how pained her friends were at part-
ing with her. Caroline's little keepsakes
were stowed away in her trunk by the side
of Aunt Tacy's more substantial gifts; the
carriage was at the door, and her bonnet and
shawl lay upon the table. Aunt Tacy and
Caroline, uttering now and then a word of
advice or encouragement, stood beside her;
but there was one missing. David had not
been seen since the evening previous. No
one mentioned his name, and Florence did
not venture to inquire for him.
Do not follow me," she at last said, rising
and throwing on her bonnet; I have not
66 THE PARTING.
taken leave of my little bower; it may be de-
stroyed before I return again."
She slipped out of the door, and passing
down a narrow lane, turned into the field,
and was soon lost behind a hill that border-
ed the stream dignified by the name of river.
The bower was formed of a few tall saplings,
interspersed with viburnum, witch-hazel, and
wild-roses, and bound together by the wood-
bine which had been taught to clamber over
them. A rude seat had been constructed
beneath this shelter, ahd a stone covered
with rich, brown moss, soft as the finest er-
mine, lay beside it, forming as pretty an otto-
man as a lady's foot would care to press.
At a little distance, a wild grape-vine, loaded
with its purple burden, twined itself about
an old oak tree, and a few autumn flowers
nodded over the border of the river, or sway-
ed to and fro in the light breeze. Florence
looked on all these things and sighed, then
flung herself on the seat.
I thought you could not go away without
coming here," said David, stepping out from
behind the shrubbery, "and I have been
awaiting you since daylight."
Well, the carriage is at the door now, and
THE PARTING. 67
I must soon be gone. This is a pretty spot,
but you will forget to take care of it when I
"No, Florence, you cannot think that I
will. I may not train the woodbine so taste-
fully as you, but it shall not want for care.
I will visit it every day, and keep the snow
from it in winter."
And so let all the roots die for want of
their proper protection," said Florence,
laughing; "is that a specimen of your care,
"You are right, too much care is more
dangerous than too little," replied the youth
in a sad tone.
"You look serious, David ; has anything
It may be nothing to you, Florence, to
go away from your friends, but it is some-
thing to them to see you go, however lightly
you may regard their feelings," said David,
tossing, one by one, the flowers he had been
gathering into the river."
Stop, David what are you doing !" said
Florence, playfully arresting his hand, "spoil-
ing that pretty bouquet ? Now confess that
you gathered it for me."
68 THE PARTING.
"What if I did I you would have laughed
at me for giving it to you; would you not?"
"No, I would have kept it until I came
back again. Have you no other keepsake for
me ? You ought to be as generous as Aunt
Tacy and Caroline. See, I have netted you
a purse of green ; my favourite colour you
know; and here is the ring James Elmore
gave me; I know you dislike James, and
have never loved to see me wear his gift, so
I will leave it with you."
"No, thank you, Flora; you make me
ashamed of myself now; keep your ring, and
think as often of James Elmore as you
please. Here is my remembrancer."
"Oh, thank you! how natural who
sketched it 1"
"And was it her thought ?"
"Did she know you intended it for me 1"
"No, somehow I did not like to tell her."
Florence was very glad, although she could
scarce have told why, that Caroline did not
know of her brother's gift; but this she
kept to herself, and turned again to the
bower. "The leaves are fading," she said,
THE PARTING. 69
" but the witch-hazel berries will be red all
winter. We ought to have had an evergreen
"It can be done yet," said David, joyfully;
"I will set about it to-morrow, and when you
come back again, you shall praise my skill in
spite of my overmuch care. I will make it
as beautiful as any bower you tell of in your
Then you are sure I will come back 1"
Why shouldn't I be surely"
Because Aunt Tacy says it depends upon
my own conduct."
"And that is why I know that you will
"Thank you; I will endeavour to deserve
your confidence," said Florence, for the first
time allowing a tear to steal out from be-
tween her half-closed lids; "you shall find
me as good as Caroline when I come back."
I think you are now," said David, ear-
nestly; "not quite so thoughful perhaps, but
always meaning well."
"I ought to undeceive him," thought
Florence, "and that would be beginning my
new life ; but if I should, then there would
be no one to think well of me. No, that is
70 THE PARTING.
a little too much, I cannot give up his con-
fidence; I shall succeed better if I know
there is any one to trust me."
Florence forgot that the very foundation of
trust is an ingenuous confession of error; but
the deception she was practising made her
feel exceedingly uncomfortable, and sadly
she turned towards the house.
"You are not going yet, Flora ?"
"I must go; the carriage is waiting, and
Aunt Tacy will be impatient."
Aunt Tacy Now you remind me of it,
I never could imagine why Aunt Tacy, who
is always so kind to everybody else, should
be so unreasonably severe with you."
I don't know as she has been," said Flor-
ence, slightly colouring.
"Don't know al, Flora, it is for you to
forgive; and I am glad you do, for I am
sure she loves you after all."
I hope she does," said Florence, with a
sigh indicative of doubt; "but," she added,
her old propensity to deceive returning
upon her, I never could understand such
Nor I either. Aunt Tacy must be grow-
ing childish, and that is why----but Caro-
THE PARTING. 71
ine, what makes her fall m with every-
"Don't let us talk of this, David, it is all
Yet if Caroline is so much to blame"--
Oh, it is natural enough for one that has
so few faults as she, to-to see all mine, and
not to forgive them; but I hope I shall be
better when I come back. Don't forget the
evergreens; and now I think of it, this seat
might be a little improved. Oh, how long !
One whole year before I visit my dear, dear
bower again, and then the leaves will be fad-
ing as they now are-see, I am getting quite
as sad as you."
Florence, will you tell me one thing be-
fore you go 1"
Florence looked up. "Why, how serious
you are ; is it a matter of life and death 1"
I can't help being serious, Flora; for
you cannot imagine how miserable your dis-
agreements with Aunt Tacy and Caroline
have made me."
Oh, you take everything so to heart!
Why, nothing is more common than for
people who are always together, to have dif-
ferent opinions on some points."
72 THE PARTING.
But this is not mere difference of opinion."
Oh, well, it is of no consequence"-
Perhaps not to you, who can forgive and
forget so readily ; but to me it seems no light
Well, your question ?"
I wish you to tell me (for I can believe
whatever you say), if my aunt and sister are
really as much to blame as they appear."
Oh, nonsense !" said Florence, playing
carelessly with the woodbines hanging down
from the trees above her head, "how soon a
mole-hill swells into a mountain in your
hands. One would think that we had quar-
relled every day since we had been together."
You do not choose to be serious, Flo-
Your face is long enough for both of
Perhaps I am impertinent, but it is very
hard to think ill of those we love. I know
there is wrong somewhere ; everything about
me shows it, and you all acknowledge it, yet
when I try to know where, you all evade my
Does Caroline 1"
Then why should I be more communica-
tive than she 1"
Pardon me, Florence, I did not intend to
question you beyond what your were willing
to answer. I had thought all along that this
might be a misunderstanding; but now I see
that it is even worse than I had supposed."
Seriously, David, you put too solemn a
face upon this matter. Car'y and I are not
exactly what might be called congenial
spirits, and Aunt Tacy prefers her niece"-
That is not like Aunt Tacy."
You interrupted me. Prefers her neice's
manners to mine."
And that is all 1"
That is---oh, you must judge for your-
Iow can I when I see only half 1"
Why, you must judge of what you see."
And put my own construction upon
Ye-es--why shouldn't you ?"
Because it makes my friends appear un-
Then disregard it all."
I cannot be blind at will, or stop think
74 THE TRIAL OF FLORENCE
Come, come, we are talking foolishly."
Don't go yet, Florence."
I must go ; remember, I say, disregard it
all, and forget every thing that seems not
right. Good bye !"
Disregard -forget !" muttered David,
walking slowly around the hill, that his eye
might follow Florence towards the house,
" Disregard-forget-she may do it, but-
can it be possible that she is in the wrong I
It is very strange that Caroline should be
envious, and Aunt Tacy unjust. It cannot
be. They are all right, and it must be some
mistake. Poor Flora but how generous she
is !" and thus throwing the light of his own
kind heart around every thing, he strode over
the hill and down into the valley beyond, to
look for evergreens to adorn the bower.
THE TRIAL OF FLORENCE AND ITS RESULT.
FLORENCE had resolved when she went home
to set about the work of reformation immedi-
ately, but she found this a more difficult task
AND ITS RESULT. 75
than she supposed. No one there seemed
sensible of her faults, and she was flattered,
and encouraged in indolence, until each day
it became more and more difficult to com-
mence a new course. She was sensible of the
defects in her character, and anxious to cor-
rect them ; but she lacked the resolution to
begin now. "To-morrow, to-morrow !" she
each day repeated, but to-morrow never
came; and the longer she remained with her
weak mother, the less need she saw of refor-
mation, till the end of her probationary year
found her scarce improved in her habits of
action, and none at all in those of thought.
Day after day was spent to little purpose, and
old feelings were revived by the sight of fa-
miliar objects, till the work of the few past
years was entirely lost. Yet so completely
had she succeeded in deceiving herself, that
she intended no falsehood when she wrote to
Caroline, I have thought every day of what
you and Aunt Tacy told me before I left, and
have endeavoured to profit by it. You will
doubtless find in me faults enough to call all
your charity into exercise; but I have im-
proved what I could, and intend the coming
year to do better still. Ask Aunt Tacy if
76 THE TRIAL OF FLORENCE
she will not allow me the benefit of your pre-
cepts and example." Such a request, so hum-
bly made, good old Aunt Tacy had no heart
to refuse, and the note of welcome was sent by
return of mail.
"Good news, mother!" exclaimed Flo-
rence, joyfully displaying Caroline's letter,
" Aunt Tacy will be here in a few days to
take me back with her."
And must I be a dressmaker, mother ?"
inquired Maria with a yawn; "you know
you promised Aunt Tacy"-
Oh, that was nothing; she has forgotten
it by this time."
Aunt Tacy never thinks promises no-
thing," said Florence.
I don't believe I should like dressmak-
ing," said Maria, folding her arms and lean-
ing back in her chair; it must be dread-
I hope Aunt Tacy will not think of tak-
ing you to Wilton to learn," remarked Flo-
rence ; "it would be rather mortifying."
Oh, never mind," said the mother, "I
will manage it right. I will say Maria is
needed at home, and so she is, if she would
do any thing but mope about here from
AND ITS RESULT. 77
morning till night. At any rate, needed or
not needed, no daughter of mine shall ever
be a dressmaker."
When Aunt Tacy went for Florence, Mrs.
Evelyn had much to tell of her doings for the
past year. Here was a cushion she had em-
broidered, and there a cap which she had
made for her mother, or a dress for one of the
children. She had taught the little ones to
read, and Maria, through her instructions,
could play some half dozen tunes on the
guitar. Aunt Tacy thought it would have
been quite as well if Maria's lessons had been
of another character; but she remembered
Florence's fondness for music, and pardoned
It was a merry circle, and a happy one,
that gathered around the fire on the evening
of Florence's return.
Now it begins to look like old times,"
said Aunt Tacy, putting a few pine knots
upon the fire to make a cheerful blaze, but
I expect there will be better days soon: we
have missed you sadly, Florence."
It has not seemed like home since you
went away," whispered Caroline.
David said nothing,but he looked as though
78 THE TRIAL OF FLORENCE
he might have said more than either. How.
ever, it is to be presumed that his time had
not passed quite so lonelyas that of the ladies;
for it had so happened that he had met his
cousin, as he was very fond of calling Miss
Evelyn, at her father's house a number of
times during the year.
Florence entered school again, but Caroline
did not accompany her; for Aunt Tacy's
health had become so much impaired, that
she needed constant attendance. As winter
came on, she was confined to her room; and
Florence, being beyond the reach of her ob-
serving eye, became more careless than ever ;
for Caroline seldom remonstrated; and she
regarded the old lady's peace of mind too
much to complain.
The state of affairs at the cottage during
this winter, may be learned from the follow-
ing extract of a letter from Florence to her
"Aunt Tacy," she wrote, "is too ill to
think much of my affairs at present. I be-
lieve the ride when she went after me, was
too much for her, and she has been growing
worse ever since. She has a dreadful cough,
and grows thin every day; but her cheeks
AND ITS RESULT. 79
have a higher colour than usual, and her eyes
are very bright. People seem to be very
much concerned about her, but she does not
appear to be dangerous. Caroline is very at-
tentive, and I think she must be a patient
nurse, for I never heard her complain. I do
but little now besides going to school, for
Caroline is very good to me ; and you know,
since she is obliged to be at home to take
care of Aunt Tacy, she may as well manage
the domestic affairs as not.
I have been thinking a great deal of that
little affair that David spoke to you and
father about, when he called on me last, and
I do not know how to decide. Aunt Tacy
and Car'y seem to take it for granted that I
am to be Mrs. Ross (by the way, I imagine
they are not very glad about it), but I think
with you, mother, that I may do much bet-
ter. I suppose David is a fine farmer, and
Aunt Tacy will probably do well by him, but
I do not feel inclined to become a farmer's
lady. Besides, David is so simple-hearted,
and his honest speeches are so ridiculous,
that I am sure I should tease his life out of
him ; and that you know wouldn't be at all
pleasant. David is good, and if he were only
60 THE TRIAL OF FLORENCE
a little more genteel, I should like him better
than any one else ; but I don't think we are
quite suited to each other.
James Elmore has been here often since
I came back, and it makes David look cross
enough I can assure you, but he don't ven-
ture to say a word ; he has too much sense
for that. You saw James when you were
here two years ago. That tall, handsome
clerk that was so polite to us in Mr. 's
warehouse. I am glad, by the way, that
he couldn't find our house last summer;
I should have been ashamed to have him
know where we lived. James thinks a great
deal of style. Don't you think he is finer
looking than David I I don't mean his eyes,
of course, nor the expression of his face ; but
his hair (I wish David would employ a hair-
dresser !) and then he has such beautiful
mustaches. He has an air of gentility about
him that David could never acquire; and his
hands (a farmer's hands always betray him)
are as small and delicate as Caroline's. He
is Mr. 's head clerk now, and will pro-
bably be his partner soon. What do you
think of him, mother 1 He has been quite
troublesome of late, and I have almost con-
AND ITS RESULT. 81
eluded to send him to you. Only one thing
makes me hesitate. He does not yet know
how poor we are; and evidently thinks that
I am co-heiress with Caroline to Aunt Tacy's
wealth. I may be unjust, but it seems to me
that he admires the expected fortune, and my
pretty face, which he deigns to compare to
that of an Houri, more than he does myself.
Now you must know that this is not very
agreeable to a young lady's vanity; and our
good David Ross has spoiled me on this
point. I verily believe he is glad that I am
poor, and would be willing to see me as ugly
as Holofcrnes for the sake of proving his
sincerity. There is no need of that, it is writ-
ten on his face. I have as yet come to no
decision on the subject ; but if James writes
to you, you may say, yes."
I give Florence's letter without comment,
and my readers may judge for themselves of
the genuineness of her reformation.
b2 AN UNEXPECTED EVENT.
AN UNEXPECTED EVENT.
IT was a cold morning in April, and a dense
fog circled the hills, and settled upon the
valleys in massy, leaden folds, as if pressed
down by the weight of the damp atmo-
Florence had wrapped herself in a warm
shawl to protect her from the chill air, and
was descending the stairs, when she was met
"You had better stay at home to-day,"
she said in a low, hurried tone.
"Whyl" asked Florence.
Oh, I cannot bear to think why," ex-
claimed Caroline, bursting into tears, Aunt
Tacy-you may be wanted."
Florence gave Caroline a look of alarm,
and exclaimed, "It cannot be! I didn't dream
of her being so low." Then taking off her
bonnet, and slowly folding her shawl, she
ascended the staircase, and sat down by her
window. "It is selfish in me to leave Caro-
line alone," she thought, but she had a great
AN UNEXPECTED EVENT. P3
horror of a sick-room; and she felt a secret
consciousness of having, for a few months
past, neglected her duty to the kind friend
who had done so much for her. It cannot
be that she will die," thought Florence, as
she summoned courage to descend. The door
of Aunt Tacy's room was ajar, and with a
stealthy step she entered the apartment.
The good old lady was in a quiet slumber,
and a thin, pale woman, who sat at the bed-
side, motioned Florence not to disturb her.
Florence's heart smote her, when she saw
that Caroline was not there, for she knew
that the poor girl would not leave her aunt
at such an hour, except in a case of absolute
necessity; and, the tears streaming freely
down her cheeks, she turned from the sick-
room to the kitchen.
Let me attend to these things," she said
to Caroline; "I was very thoughtless, or I
should have known before, that I was
"Thank you," returned Caroline, "I have
nearly finished ; but if you are willing to sit
in the parlour and answer people that call,
you will oblige me very much. Aunt Tacy
was so kind, that every body is anxious to
64 AN UNEXPECTED EVENT.
hear from her. Tell them she is almost
Caroline could not keep back the tears, but
her grief was of a far more quiet nature than
that of Florence, who, as she proceeded to
her place in the parlour, sobbed aloud. Oh,
if she might but live, I would never be un-
kind again," she often thought, as she took
a retrospect of her past life ; and all the little
disobliging things she had ever said and done,
with her cold neglect, and secret murmur-
ing, rose before her. "Aunt Tacy has been
my guardian angel, and I-oh, how ungrate-
ful!" she mentally exclaimed.-Florence
had but little time for thought, for the raps
at the door were almost constant, each one
being unwilling to trust a neighbour's infor-
mation when it was found to savour so little
of hope.-First came a young woman in
comfortable apparel, and bearing a healthy
infant in her arms; the same that two
months previous had appeared at that door,
sick, faint, and weary, and said she had no
wish to live. Aunt Tacy had relieved her,
and told her how she might make life useful.
-Next appeared a very aged man, with only
a few silvery hairs crowning his head; and
AN UNEXPECTED EVENT. 85
he begged to be admitted to the apartment
of death ; for," said he, it would fill my
heart with the blessedness of heaven, to wit-
ness the departure of one of its holiest
Florence was obliged to refuse the appli-
cation; and the old man, shaking his head,
and dashing off the tears, exclaimed, "Well,
well! it will all be over soon she first fed
me with the bread of life; and although she
may go home before me, yet it will not be
long before I shall follow, and meet her
there." If the bloated, red face, and bleared
eyes spoke truth, the -next that came was
the victim of intemperance ; but he was not
"Please tell her," said he, that Simon
Brown has reformed at last. I know it would
make her heart glad even in the hour of her
death, for she has done all she could to bring
me back to reason."
As they came, one after another, manifest-
ing the most touching sympathy, and eager
anxiety, and each with some little tale to
tell of kindness shown them by her who now
lay hovering on the verge of another world,
Florence could scarce forbear exclaiming
86 AN UNEXPECTED EVENT.
aloud, Oh, I will live Aunt Tacy's life, that
I may die her death !"
It was about noonday, when Florence was
summoned to the sick-room. A few neigh-
bours had gathered there, and David held
the old lady's head upon his bosom ; while
Caroline stood beside the bed clasping the
almost pulseless wrist.
"Come hither, Florence," said the dying
woman, in a whisper. I had hoped to live
a little longer for your sake, but Heaven has
otherwise ordained; and perhaps my death
will effect what my life could not."
Oh, I will be all, all you could wish,"
sobbed the poor girl; I will remember all
you have tried to teach me, and I will take
your life as my pattern."
"Not mine, dear Florence; but follow in
the footsteps of our blessed Redeemer, and
you are safe. I hope, I believe that you will
do this; and David has promised to be your
earthly guardian, to watch over, and guide,
and cherish you while he lives. Dear Caro-
line, too, will not lack a protector. Oh, my
children, it is hard to part from you, but it
is not hard to die. I am going home, to live
in the presence of the unseen Friend, who
AN UNEXPECTED EVENT. n7
has been my support through darker scenes
than this. Florence, your mother-tell her
Aunt Tacy thought of her in her dying hour,
and has often prayed that she, too, might be
prepared for the last great trial."
Don't tire yourself, Aunt Tacy," whis-
pered David, scarce knowing what he said,
but feeling that such an effort must be
"I must speak all now-it is my last-
there is a strange feeling about my heart,
and the room grows every moment darker.
Clasp my hand closer, Caroline, I cannot feel
your touch. Oh, my children, may I not
meet you all there 1 Jesus is ready to re-
ceive and love you. Heaven is a glorious
place! Kiss me, my children! Now sing,
for I am going !"
Florence was sobbing with unrepressed
grief, and David and his sister felt their
voices choked by emotion; but the group of
neighbours, who had been silent witnesses of
the scene, understood the request, and com-
menced in a low, soft tone,-
"Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are;
While on his breast I lean my head
And breathe my life out sweetly there."
88 AN UNEXPECTED EVENT.
They paused when the first stanza was
finished ; for Aunt Tacy's pure spirit had de-
parted, and left only the soulless clay. David
closed the eyes, and laid the head upon the
pillow as softly as though she had only slept;
then taking his sister and Florence by the
hand, he led them from the room.
This was Florence Evelyn's first moment
of real trouble ; but even in her grief she was
selfish, for she forgot that there were other
mourners, that she was not the only sufferer;
and David and Caroline were both obliged to
restrain their own sorrow and comfort her.
But when the calm, still evening came, and
she went alone to her chamber, and thought
of the lessons she had received from the de-
parted, of her kindness and unceasing love,
her sobs ceased, and she secretly resolved to
become all that Aunt Tacy had desired to
make her. To-morrow I will begin-Oh
no, to-night /" and she flung herself upon her
knees and prayed long and fervently.
When Florence appeared in the morning,
Caroline observed that there was a sweet and
holy calm upon her countenance altogether
unusual; and a tenderness and forgetfulness
of self in her manner, that was as new as it
AN UNEXPECTED EVENT. 89
was pleasing. She had spent the live-long
night in self-examination; and yet the ex-
amination had not been a thorough one, for
repentance was followed by a proud self-de-
pendence, and the strong resolve to be hence-
forth humble, generous, and truthful, was
weakened by a false estimate of the nature
of the task. It was to be content with her
situation, to speak gentle words, do friendly
deeds ; and nothing seemed easier-she knew
nothing of the difficulty of perseverance, nor
of the necessity of Divine assistance.
As, on the third day from Aunt Tacy's
death, Florence stood beside the newly-made
grave, and looked down into its solemn depths,
her thoughts recurred again to the past, and
again she resolved to make amends for it by
constant watchfulness. One thing in parti-
cular pressed heavily upon her conscience, the
deceit she had practised towards David.
My confession cannot benefit the dead,"
she thought," yet I will tell him all. Strange
that he could ever believe Aunt Tacy was
That evening, as soon as Florence could
escape from her parents and other friends
who had come to attend Aunt Tacy's funeral,
90 AN UNEXPECTED EVENT.
she threw a shawl about her shoulders, and
wandering forth in the clear moonlight, bent
her steps to the little bower by the river's
side. She had much cause to love this spot;
and besides, she longed for solitude, and every
room in the house was occupied by guests.
She went out to be alone; but she was not
sorry, on reaching the bower, to find it occu-
pied by David Ross.
This evening is too cold for you, Flor-
ence," he said, almost unconsciously folding
her shawl more closely about her; sit down
a few moments to rest yourself, and we will
"No, David, I have something to say to
you-something very important."
"No, to-morrow I may not have the cour-
"Then as we walk home."
"No, here in this very spot; there is no
better, no more fitting place."
The air is so chill, dear Flora"-
"But it cannot hurt me-at least not half
so much as this load that presses on my
heart. It is a long story, David, yet sit down
and I will for once be frank and truthful."
AN UNEXPECTED EVENT. 91
David sat down upon the mossy stone, and
looked up into the troubled face of his com-
panion as if he doubted her sanity.
Don't sit there !-here, beside me-you
must not look at me, or I shall be tempted
David took the proffered seat without a
word, and Florence commenced her story.
She told of her early life, the first impres-
sions she had received from her mother ; she
unfolded the source of each vain thought and
feeling, and told how they grew to become
part of her nature ; she painted Aunt Tacy's
disinterestedness in language too eloquent to
come from any but a feeling heart, and then
paused to give vent to her sobs and tears.
David, too, wept, but his were tears of sym-
pathy alone. He did not speak, for there was
no need of that, but the hand of the erring
girl lay in his, and as she felt a firmer clasp
about it, she knew that she was forgiven.
' You are too kind !" she murmured, but
she had never been happier. Oh, if there
be joy in heaven over one repenting sinner,
there is also joy in the heart of the penitent,
a deep, abiding joy, a subdued happiness,
that none but an erring one, forgiven, ever
9J THE CONCLUSION.
felt. Firm were the resolutions passed by
Florence that evening, and kind and encour-
aging were the words of David Ross. This
was the first step in the path of right, and
nobly taken, but it was not the only one
IT was found on examining Aunt Tacy's will,
that she had left only a marriage portion to
Florence, while David received a small but
well-improved farm, and Caroline a hand-
some legacy, including the cottage and fur-
niture. To other friends small presents were
bequeathed; but the bulk of her fortune was
to be appropriated, as much as it had been
during her lifetime, to charitable purposes.
The repentance of Florence was genuine,
and her reformation, while it lasted, unfeign-
ed. But her character had been weakened
by indulgence; and although fully capable
of a momentary effort, however great, she
lacked the strength necessary for the con-
THE CONCLUSION. 93
tinued one she was obliged to make. The
temptations constantly cast in her way at
home were irresistable, and the influences
thrown about her there palsied her energies.
She was at first deeply affected by Aunt
Tacy's death; but the impression was too
new and solemn to be lasting, and it gradu-
ally yielded to other ones of a brighter and
more pleasing cast. True, the tear-drop
would glisten in her eye when the name of
her departed benefactor was mentioned ; but
this was not always, as at first, accompanied
by a renewal of the resolution made beside
her grave. She was the idol of her parents,
and sufficiently imitated and envied, flattered
and depreciated in the neighbourhood, to
arouse all those trivial feelings which assume
a strange importance when influencing action.
As for her parents, they looked to her future
establishment in life, as the consummation of
their wishes, and could scarce endure the
mention of the name of David Ross. David
and Caroline both returned home, and in
less than a twelve month Florence was called
to officiate as bridesmaid to the latter. As
for herself she remained undecided. Aunt
Tacy's dying words still sounded in her car,
U-1 TUE CONCLUSION.
and she was confident that no one, particu-
larly James Elmore, would so occupy her
heart, strengthen and cherish the germs of
good, or support her weakness of character,
"He is a noble fellow," she said to her
mother; I wish you knew what an excellent
heart he possesses."
He is not the only good man in the world,
SHe has but few equals; I have never
He is poor"-
"Not so very poor, mother."
Well, he is uneducated."
Aye, that is it-a mere farmer Oh, if
lie only had a little ambition !"
You would never be happy, as the wife
of a farmer, Florence, or any labouring man.
I have seen what it is to marry foolishly,
and be a drudge for life."
"But Aunt Tacy used to say if we would
"There are but few Aunt Tacys in the
world, my dear; you and I are neither of us
one. What objection can you have to James
Elmore I He has found out we are poor,
THE CONCLUSION. 95
and you without a fortune; so he cannot be
after money now."
No, mother, perhaps I wronged him
there, but I cannot feel safe to trust him.
He makes strong professions, but somehow
they do not seem to come from the heart,
like David's simple promises."
"That is only prejudice, Florence."
Perhaps it is, but one thing is certain.
You will never see my faults, mother, but I
see them myself; and I feel as though my
whole destiny depended on this step. David
knows every error of my life, and loves me
in spite of them, and he would make refor-
mation comparatively easy, but"-
No mortal is perfect, Florence, and I
think I should prefer a husband not quite so
clear-sighted to my faults. But do as you
Provided my pleasure coincides with
yours," said Florence, with a melancholy
smile. "Oh, mother, it is very strange that
you decide for me as you do."
"Is it so very strange that old people
should have more discretion than young 1"
I am not sure that it is discretion; but as
I am no advocate for love in a cottage"-
96 THE CONCLUSION.
"Oh, love in a cottage is something worth
talking of, but think of love in a farm-house."
"It may be the more valuable of the two."
"And the pigs and poultry, the butter and
cheese---How would you like to milk half-
a-dozen cows, Florence t"
"Oh, don't say any more, mother; I will
Florence did consider, and with her mother,
her indolence, her pride, and early prejudices,
arrayed against David's simple truthfulness
and her own predilections in his favour, to-
gether with her declining sense of right, the
former were victorious and she consented to
become the wife of James Elmore. Mr.
Elmore was a fashionable young man, well
spoken of by the society at Wilton, and
reckoned as a goodfellow by his companions.
But we will not describe him now, as the
reader will know more of him anon. As
some excuse for Florence and her parents, it
is sufficient to say that his character before
the world was fair.
A few select friends only were invited to
be present at the nuptials ; as Mrs. Evolyn
was afraid of displaying her poverty by mak-
ing a party such as she would otherwise have
THE CONCLUSION. 97
liked ; but all was done that ingenuity could
invent to make every thing show to the best
In a few days Mr. Elmore returned to
Wilton, proud of his beautiful and accom-
plished bride; and rented an elegant man-
sion in the vicinity of the cottage now occu-
pied by Caroline.
The disappointment to David at first
seemed more than he could bear ; and Caro-
line exerted herself in vain to soothe his
As the cold winter came on, his health
seemed to decline, and he at last announced
his intention of seeking a milder climate.
In his first letter to his sister he said, I
have had a severe struggle, but have at last
gained the mastery over my spirit, and in
the spring you will see me quite restored.
It would have been easier to bear, if Florence
had married any other man, but I very much
fear Elmore is not worthy of her."
Time sped onward, and all seemed to go
pleasantly with Florence. Her husband
treated her with unmeasured kindness, and
as she looked about upon her rich furniture,
and thought over the names of her morning
98 THE CONCLUSION.
visitors, she said to herself, Surely now I
ought to be content."
The record of those few months of happi-
ness should be traced in golden characters,
for, alas they had an end.
It was evening. The clock had told the
hour of eleven, and Florence rose from the
sofa and approached the window. The stars
were smiling in their dark, blue depths, and
the moon, shining out from behind a few
white, fleecy clouds, rendered objects plainly
visible. It shed a soft, pure light upon the
narrow river that wound its way past the
cottage, and rested with peculiar brightness
on the bower that David had two years since,
in accordance with his promise, made so
beautiful. The evergreens looked stern and
solemn; the rose and viburnum had long
since scattered their blossoms; and the wood-
bine, torn from the place where it had been
taught to twine, was trailing on the ground.
Florence sighed. Old remembrances will
often call up a sigh, even though unaccom-
panied by regret. For a few moments she
seemed lost in thought, and then turned im-
patiently from the window. She listened-
no sound was heard She flung open the
door, and looked out upon the village. A
light was here and there visible, but she
could nowhere see him she sought. Again
she sighed, and returned to her seat on the
sofa. Another hour passed, a long and dreary
one, and she heard a step. It was too slow
and irregular for her husband's; but it could
be no other, and she arose to meet him. He
flung open the door, but staggered as he was
about to enter. For a moment he stood
reeling to and fro, then stumbled and fell
headlong across the threshold. Florence in
alarm knelt beside him, and lifted his head
to her bosom. She raised the damp masses
of hair from his flushed brow, but when she
felt his hot, noisome breath upon her cheek,
"Don't be afraid, Flo-Flora-it isn't-
the-the wine !"
Florence started to her feet; and as her
husband's head dropped heavily upon the
carpet, he muttered a fearful oath, and en-
deavoured to rise. She stood a moment gaz-
ing at him with a strange wildness in her
eye, then uttered a deep groan, and covering
her pale face with her clenched hands, she
rushed from the apartment. A strange light
100 A MIDNIGHT SCENE.
had broken in upon her, and anguish was
busy at her heart. SHE WAS THE WIFE Or
A MIDNIGHT SCENE.
IT was late one evening, and the people of
the neighboring towns, that in the morning
had congregated at Wilton, had mostly dis-
persed to their several homes; although noisy
groups were still collected about the public-
houses, from which now and then a waggon
would proceed, crowded with merry roister-
ers, who with oath and song aroused the
peaceful slumberers on the road. Towards
midnight one of these vehicles drew up before
a small, brown, wooden building, about a
mile from the village. After hallooing two
or three times, two men, with long white
A MIDNIGHT SCENE.
feathers, and shining cockades in their soiled
hats, descended fromthe waggon, and placing
a shoulder under each arm of a third, bore
him to the door.
Halloo there, Miss Elmore!-not mov-
ing yet 1" said one of the men, as they de-
posited their burden on the floor. Well, I
wish you joy of your night's rest; and I
guess he won't be likely to disturb it, any
I guess not, either," muttered the other,
as they again came into the moonlight.
" Miss Elmore isn't the woman to be dis-
turbed by trifles."
Scarce was the door closed behind the men
who had borne in the body of the inebriate,
when a little girl, some twelve years of age,
crept down the ladder into the corner where
he lay, and softly pressing her hand over his
face to ascertain the extent of his intoxica-
tion, turned from him, and proceeded to open
the ashes on the hearth, for the purpose of
procuring light. The red coals sent out a
sickly glare; and the child shrunk back,
half-terrified, as she saw it resting on her
father's motionless face, giving him a death-
like appearance, that to one so young was