The Baldwin Library
UAlsne T: Z i.3 B TO 311 AGO .--su PAa 50.
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS
EDITED BY DANIEL P. KIDDIE.
00 MULBEXIY-BTBRET, NZW-ORK.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the
year 1852, by LAEz & ScoTT, in the Clerk's Office
of the District Court of the Southern District of
I.-WHO "COUSIN LAURA" IS-
STORY OF MARY............ 7
I.--COUSIN LAURA'S FIRST SUNDAY
SCHOOL ..................... 15
III.-THE "GOLDEN RULE" AND
SATAN'S RULE ............. 22
IV.-STORY OF THE LITTLE GIRL WHO
DIED WHEN SHE WAS SIX YEARS
HYMN FOR CHILDREN.......... 33
V.-THE STORY OF WASHINGTON-
ALWAYS SPEAK THE TRUTH... 34
VI.-BE KIND TO THE AGED......... 41
VII.-STORY OF THE AGED PARENTS
AND THE CRUEL SON.......... 48
VIII.-THE RICH PRINCE-PRAYER FOR
A NEW HEART.............. 54
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
WHO "COUSIN LAURA IS-STORY OF
"COUSIN Laura's letters!" I think
I hear some little boy or girl say, as
they take up this little book:-" I
wonder who cousin Laura is, and
where she lives ?" I will tell you.
She is one who loves all good chil-
dren very much, and she lives in a
beautiful valley, away among the
green hills. There, in a quiet shady
grove, where the birds sing their
sweetest songs every morning and
8 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
evening, is her home. Now, while
I am writing this first letter to you,
it is evening. A little while ago,
I sat by my little chamber window
and watched the sun as it went
down behind a tall mountain, on
the other side of the valley. Soon
after it was all gone, the little stars
came forth one by one from their
hiding places, until now the sky
seems all lighted up with them, as
if it were decked with jewels. Do
you not love to look at the stars?
They always speak so sweetly of
the "hand that made them," that
they seem to me like so many
little links to bind us to heaven.
But I am going to tell you a story.
Some years ago, there was a
little girl whose name was Mary.
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 9
She lived almost at the very top
of a high hill quite away from any
other houses, where there was
plenty of room for rocks, and trees,
and flowers, and so you must not
think that she was ever lonely.
Ah! no; she was as happy as a
spring bird all the day long. For
beside all these things, her own
dear parents lived there with her,
and her brothers and sisters too.
But I was going to tell you how
much she loved the shining stars
that twinkle, twinkle all the night
so beautifully. She would sit
down upon the little doorstep, and
ask her mother their names, until
she could tell them almost as easily
as you can call over your play-
mates. At last little Mary grew
10 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
up, and she still loved all the beau-
tiful things which God has given
us as well as ever. But there was
something else, which she loved
too, more than all these. Can any
one tell what it could be ? It was
the blessed Saviour, who came
down to our world a great while
ago, and went about doing good.
And what do you think she was
willing to do, because she loved
him so much? I will tell you.
She heard the story of some little
Choctaw boys and girls, who had
no one to tell them about Jesus,
or to teach them anything that
was good. So she went away
from her pleasant home, and left
her brothers and sisters, and said
good-by to the birds and flowers,
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 11
and went to the home of these
poor Indian children to teach them.
It was a great many hundred
miles away from her own home,
on that tall old mountain. Do
you think any of you will be will-
ing to go and do as Mary did?
I mean when you grow up to be
men and women. I want that
you should, very much, not be-
cause it will please cousin Lau-
ra," but because it will please
God. Do you know what he said
about it, in a book which he has
sent down from heaven to us?
He says there, that he will love all
those who love him; and that the
reward he will give to those who
try to do good here, will be a
shining crown, and a home in
12 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
heaven. In one place he says all
such will "shine as the stars in
glory." Just before Miss Mary
went away, she called one of her
little sisters and myself to her, and
told us where she was going, and
why she went, and then she said
that she was going to give us
something to remember her by.
It was a star-a beautiful bright
star, named '"Lyra." So we
promised her that we would look
for it every night, and that we
should always think of her, and
of those poor little Indian children
when we saw it. Then she went
away. A great many days she
sailed along over the blue waters.
Each night when the stars came,
we all looked for that same bright
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 13
one by which she had wished us
to think of her. At last she came
to the place where the Choctaws
lived. The little Indian children
crowded around her, to see hbr
sweet face, and hear her kind
voice. Very soon she could talk
with them; and then she taught
them to read and write, and to
sew and knit. They were so
ignorant that they did not know
how to do any of these simple
things. Are you not sorry for
them? And are you not glad
that Miss Mary pitied them, and
went to tell them of Jesus? I
think she was very kind to do so.
And don't you want to do some-
thing for them too ? There is one
way that you can help them a lit-
14 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
tie, if you are willing to try it. It
is to save all the money that is
given you for candies and toys,
and to send it to those who have
lone to teach these little red chil-
dren. But I must go and look for
"Lyra" now, and so good-night,
dear children. Don't forget
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 15
COUSIN LAURA'S FIRST SUNDAY SCHOOL.
WELL, my dear lIttle children, are
you ready to hear from cousin
Laura again? If you were pleas-
ed with the story of Mary, and will
sit down once more with this little
book, I will tell you another one.
But before I begin it I want to
ask each of you one question. Do
you look pleasant and happy? If
you do, I shall hope that you are
good children, butif I thought there
was one cross face among you I
should be quite certain that the
owner of it had not been trying to
do right all the time. Did you
know that this was the way people
16 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
could tell about it ? If you did not,
just remember my remark, and
see if "cousin Laura" does not
tell you the truth.
I want all happy faces now, for
my story this time is about the
first Sabbath school that I went
to, and there were none but smiling
faces and happy hearts among
those who went there with me.
It was a great many years ago,
when I was a very little girl; but
I shall never forget how glad I al-
ways was, when the time came to
go. Miss Allen was my teacher,
and she always had a sweet smile
and a kind word for every one
of us. Don't you love to have
your teacher look pleasantly upon
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 17
We had a little room all by our-
selves; and when we were all seat-
ed and still, she would kneel down
with us, and ask God to forgive
our sins, and to make us such good
children that we might go to hea-
ven when we died. The next
thing was the lesson. She had a
large case of painted pictures of
Bible stories, which she used to ex-
plain to us. Then she would ask
us questions about them.
One of. the pictures was of
Christ calling little children to him
and blessing them. He looked so
kind and good that we all wished
that we could have been alive then,
so that we could have seen his face
and heard him speak.
Another picture was of Moses in
18 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
the ark. You have all heard about
it, I presume. There was a great
wide river, and just on the margin,
where the tall weeds and rushes
grew so high that the water could
scarcely flow between, a tiny ark
was placed. In it lay little Moses
all alone. He looked as if he was
asleep, but there was a tear on
each cheek, for he had been crying
bitterly, and there was no one there
to take care of him. Then Miss
Allen told us about the king's
daughter-how she came down to
the river, and found the helpless
child, and took him to her home to
Another picture was about little
Samuel and his mother. On one
side of it was a beautiful temple.
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 19
The sun was just setting, and his
last beams shone on the white mar-
ble of which it was built until the
temple shone also. The roof was
all covered with spikes of gold
which glistened like diamonds in
the sunbeams. Everything about
it was splendid, but the thing which
pleased, us most was a little boy
whose mother was leading him up
the steps of the temple. She look-
ed sad and tired, and Miss Alien
told us that she was going to leave
that little boy there with the priests
and was going home all alone.
He was her only child, but she
was willing to give him up, because
she had promised God that she
would. So she left him there, and
he grew up to be a great and, good
20 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
man, and was made a judge over
Our kind teacher told us a great
many more stories. But I have
not time to tell them to you now.
Then she taught us some sweet
little hymns to sing. We all loved
our teacher, and we loved the
Sabbath school very dearly. And
do you not love to go to the Sab-
bath school too? Perhaps some
of you know some little boy or girl
who has never been there. If you
do, won't you try to persuade them
to go with you, the very next Sab-
If I thought this letter would
persuade one of you to bring in a
new scholar into your class, I should
be very glad that I wrote it, and
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 21
I should love to see the dear little
scholar who would take so much
pains. Once more I must say
good-by; be good children; love
God and one another. Your af-
fectionate COUSIN LAURA.
22 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
THE "GOLDEN RULE" AND SATAN'S
ONCE more I come to you with
one of my little letters. One rea-
son why I write them to you is
that when I was a little girl, I used
to be very fond of having any of
my friends write little letters and
notes "to me; .and you know the
best rule in the world says, "Do
unto others, as ye would that they
should do unto you." How many
of you ever think of this, when you
are at play with your companions?
" Do as you would be done by is
a common way of expressing it.
There is another rule which I
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 23
am afraid is oftener followed than
this. It sounds some like it, but
it means quite another thing. It
is,"Do as you are done by." Now
the first of these, the blessed "gold-
en rule," was one which Jesus
Christ gave to those who went to
hear him, when he preached upon
a high mountain in Palestine. It
is written down in the Bible, and
it ought to be fresh in the mind of
every one that lives. But the other
rule-who can tell me whose com-
mand that is? Surely that can-
not be Christ's. Ah! no. It is Sa-
tan's rule. He is the wicked spirit
who tries to make us obey it.
Which will you follow ? Which
master will you choose to serve?
Will it be Jesus, the Son of God,
24 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
who will take you home to heaven,
and will give you an angel's white
robe, and a seat near by his throne;
or will it be Satan, that vile ser-
pent, who will take you to his home,
which is in a lake of fire.
I have seen boys and girls, too,
who were very good and kind as
long as their friends and play-mates
did everything just as they wished
them to; but as soon as anyone
did or said anything which did
not quite please them, bad thoughts
would arise in their hearts,-and
bad actions are almost sure to
follow wrong thoughts. Only to-
day, I saw several boys playing
together. Everything went on
nicely for a while, but at last one
of the boys, half in fun, struck one
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 25
of the rest. This the other boy did
not like, and so he struck back.
The next blow was harder than the
first, and so on. One blow makes
way for another, you all know; and
soon that quiet, little play-ground
was changed into a fighting-ground
for bad boys. Now which rule
do you think those boys followed ?
Was it the "golden rule" or Sa-
tan's rule? And which rule do
you think Mary followed when she
went to the rude wigwams of the
Indians to do them good ? I hope
you will think a great deal about
these two rules, and be sure to
obey the right one.
In my next letter I am going to
tell you a story about a dear little
girl, who is dead now, and buried
26 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
up in the cold ground. It is now
too late for her to think anything
about these two rules, but you are
still alive and can decide which
one you think is the best.
But there is one thing more I
want to say to you: you don't
know how much longer it will be
before your little eyes will be closed
as hers are, in that sleep to which
no morning comes on earth. You
are not too young to die, and so
you cannot be too young to be
good. Your affectionate
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 27
STORY OF THE LITTLE GIRL WHO DIED
WHEN SHE WAS SIX YEARS OLD.
IN my last I promised to tell you
about a dear little girl who is now
dead. She was my sister, my dar-
ling little sister, and I loved her
very much. She had the sunniest
little flaxen curls and the sweetest
little dimples in her rosy cheeks.
Her little blue eyes,-O! I wish you
could have seen how full of light and
joy they were. Then she was al.
ways so happy and gay. She seem-
ed never tired of play and fun, and
the sunshine of her own light heart
made the rest of us glad and happy
with her. She was five years old,
28 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
but her sixth birthday was at
She had been promised a new
doll on that day, and she could
hardly wait for it to come. I shall
never forget how she came in o4
the evening before, and, clapping
her tiny hands, cried out, "0! I
shall be six years old to-morrow-
won't I be a big girl, then, mother?"
She lay down to sleep that
night filled with bright hopes of
the joys the morrow would bring.
The morning came at last,,and she
was "six years old." It was in
the early part of summer, when
everything was green and beau-
tiful. There was not a cloud in the
sky, and not a fear in her heart.
She was "six years old." Happy,
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 29
proud child! Her new doll had
not been forgotten by her kind
mother; and she dressed and un-
dressed it again and again, and
thought she should never be tired
of playing with it. All the day
long she danced and played and
sung. The little birds could not
have been gayer or happier than
But just as the sun was going
down behind our western hills, one
day, she seemed suddenly to
change. Her head drooped, and
she said slowly, "Mother, I 'm so
tired" She was placed in her
little bed, and there she lay until
she died. Yes, she was "six years
old," but her new doll, and her
flowers, and her home must all be
30 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
left. She lay down to die. For
four days she lay there in her dis-
tress and pain. But when the
fourth night came, a change came
with it. Her face, which had been
flushed with fever, became pale.
Her heart, which had beat so fast
and high, was still. Her little eyes
were closed, and all that was left
upon that little bed where she had
lain, was a cold, chill corpse.
We wept bitter tears when we
laid her in her little narrow coffin:
but she was gone, and we could
not call her back. One long day
she lay there still and cold: when
the next one came, they took her
away, and laid her in the lonely
grave. There, under the shade of
the willow-tree, she sleeps. Dear,
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 31
dear sister! Yes, she sleeps the
last long sleep of death.
Little children, did any of you
ever see your little brother or sis-
ter buried up in the grave ? It is
a sad place to think of; but we
must all lie there, and our bodies
return to dust. And do you not
want that Jesus Christ should take
you to heaven when your turn
comes? I know you do; and he
has promised that he will, if you
are only good children, and love
and serve him here. Now, who
will do this? Will not you, little
boy ? Will not you, little girl ? I
cannot hear what answer you
make; but you know, and God
knows, and, in the day of judg-
ment, all the world will know.
32 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
Heaven is a beautiful place,
and none but those who love God
better than they love anything
else can go there. But everyone
of you who loves and serves God,
can go in at the golden gates of
the city, and never be made to go
out again, but there they may stay,
forever singing and praising God.
The little verse says,
"There is beyond the sky
A heaven of joy and love;
And all good children, when they die,
Go to that world above."
That we may all meet there at
last, is the earnest prayer of your
affectionate COUSIN LAURA.
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 33
HYMN FOR CHILDREN.
I want all of you to learn these
little verses. They are very
sweet indeed, I think.
"Little children, love each other,
Is the blessed Saviour's rule;
Every little one is brother
To his play-fellow at school.
"We are all children of one Father,
The great God who reigns above,-
Shall we quarrel? No! much rather
Should we be like him, all love.
"He has placed us here together,
That we may be good and kind;
And he is ever watching, whether
We are one in heart and mind."
34 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
THE STORY OF WASHINGTON-ALWAYS
SPEAK THE TRUTH.
I PRESUME that many of you have
heard the story of George Wash-
ington and the cherry-tree. It
happened when he was a little
boy, perhaps not older than the
youngest one who reads this book.
Some one had given him a beau-
tiful little new hatchet. He was
very much pleased with the pre-
sent, and ran about in the greatest
glee to show it.
After every one o the family
had seen the treasure, he began to
think of using it. So off ran the
little boy, and "hack, hack" went
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 35
the hatchet into every board and
tree he found. He never once
thought of the harm he might do
with it. O, no! but all he wanted
was to see how nicely it would
cut. Very likely it seemed manly
to him to be "chopping;" and
little boys are always in a hurry
to be men, you know.
At last he went into the garden,
still striking the sharp edge of his
shining little hatchet into every-
thing he met. Very soon he
came to a fine young cherry-tree.
George's father had taken a great
deal of pains with this tree, and
he valued it very much; but the
little hatchet was lodged in its side,
and George did not leave it until
the tree was ruined. When tired
36 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
of this spot, he ran away to an-
other, without thinking of the mis-
chief he had done.
By and by his father went into
the garden, and there was his favor-
ite tree entirely spoiled. His first
question was "who had done it?"
Little George trembled as he
said it, but he answered instantly,
"Father, I cannot tell a lie; I cut
it with my hatchet." His father
clasped him in his arms and said,
"This proof of your honesty, my
darling boy, is worth more than a
thousand cherry-trees,"-and so it
was. He was a noble boy, and I
have sometimes thought that he
never showed more fully the noble-
ness of his great heart, than when
he stood there in his boyhood, with
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 37
his little hatchet in his hand, and
said, I cannot tell a lie; I cut the
Now how many of you, my lit-
tle readers, would have answered
as he did? It would need consid-
erable courage, but I hope that
some of you have enough to do it.
There are two kinds of courage:
one kind will lead you to do things
which seem bold and dangerous;
the other will enable you to refuse
to do anything that is wrong.
This last kind is the best courage.
This is the courage George Wash-
ington showed. He knew that it
was wrong for him to tell a lie, and
hence he wokld not do it. He did
not stop for a moment to consider
what punishment he might receive
38 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
for telling the truth, for he was de-
termined to tell nothing else.
One of the best mottoes any
little boy or girl can take for a
guide, is the simple one, "The
truth, the whole truth, and no-
thing but the truth." I wish I
could write it upon your hearts
with a pen of iron and a point of
a diamond,-never, 0 never tell
Suppose you were walking in the
fields, and should see directly be-
fore you a poisonous snake. Sup-
pose it should raise itsvenomed head
as though it were all ready to spring
upon you if you went forward an-
other step; would you go on?
Would you choose to be bitten and
die? Would you not rather turn
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 3C
and run away with all your might.
Yes, I know you would.
I want you to listen to me for
a few moments more. The most
deadly serpent that ever crawled
over this earth of ours could only
kill your body. If he bit you, you
might suffer a great deal of pain,
and die a most dreadful death; but
he could do nothing more.
Now everyone of you has two
lives-one is the life of the body,
and the other is the life of the soul
A serpent might lay the body in the
grave, but a lie will drive the soul
into a burning fire. The Bible
says that no liar shall ever enter
heaven: angels and all good men
will enter there, but there will be
no room left for anyone thal
40 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
"maketh a lie." It makes me
tremble, sometimes, when I see
how often some children forget
George Washington always
spoke the truth when he was a
little boy, and he grew up to be
one of the greatest and best men
that ever lived. If you will do
as he did when you are a child,
you may be both great and good
when you grow up. Ah! my
dear children, I want to charge
you yet once more, to speak the
truth. Speak it in the morning,
speak it at noon, speak it at night,
-wherever you are, whether at
home or at school, at work or at
play,-speak the truth.
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 41
BE KIND TO THE AGED.
I LOVE all good little children so
much, that I am never happier
than when I see them kind and
obliging to those around them.
When Jesus Christ was in this
world, he went about doing good;
and all those who wish to please
him, and to be like him, will do all
the good they can.
There are a great many ways
in which you can help those who
are about you; but I am going to
speak of one in particular, in this
letter. Have any of you an aged
grandfather, or grandmother? If
you have, you are the very ones
42 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
that I want to attend to every
word I say.
Perhaps some of you who have
not, know some old person that
they can treat like a grandparent;
and if they do, that will be just as
well. Now, did you ever think,
when you saw their silver hair,
and wrinkled faces, and loitering
footsteps, how many things they
have to make them feel sad?
Once they were as young and as
happy as you are. They had
little play-mates that they loved as
well as you love those who play
with you. They could run and
jump and play as well as you can.
But those days have all. passed
away. They can never be young
again. Almost all' of those who
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 43
played with them in those happy
days of childhood which they love
so much to look back upon, are
gone. A few are still left, all
changed like themselves, but near-
ly all are dead.
One by one they have seen
them fade away from the earth.
Some died while they were yet
children, others when they were
just ready to be men and women,
afd others still have sunk away
from their sight in the busy noon-
tide of life. All along their way,
lie scattered the graves of those
who started in life's journey with
them, when they were young like
you. And then, besides all this,
they know that they too must
very soon lie down and die.
L4 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
Do you wonder that they often
teel sad and lonely ? And do you
know that you can do a great
deal to make them comfortable
and happy, if you will only take
the pains? You certainly can,
and I hope that everyone of you
will wish to try. Old people need
kindness and attention more than
you can possibly realize, now.
When I was a little girl, my
grandmother lived but a short dis-
tance from my father's. She had
one of the kindest hearts that I
ever knew, and everyone loved
to do any little thing for her. Her
favorite seat in summer was by a
window in her little sitting room,
over which she had trained a
beautiful vine. There she would
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 45
sit hour after hour, with her knit-
ting work or her Bible.
It was one of the greatest privi-
leges we had, to go and sit down by
her side and listen to her stories of
the olden -tines. At such times
she would lay aside her work.and
take off her spectacles, and talk
to us until she seemed almost to
forget that she was old and gray-
haired. Many a time have I lis-
tened with breathless eagerness to
her curious stories of things that
happened when she was a little girl.
But she is dead now, and I can
never hear her speak again. I can
never find the finest fruit and ber-
ries for "grandma's portion" again.
I can never sit down by that dear
vine-crowned window and try to
46 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
cheer her when she feels sad and
sick. O! it seems as though I
should never be unkind to her
again, could she come back once
more to her home.
Little children, be sure tb be
kind to the aged. Their life is
almost over; but you can add a
little sunshine to their path if you
are always gentle and mild.
Only a few days ago a very old
man came along with a crutch,
and sat down upon the door-step.
It was a very hot day, and the sun
shone down upon him so brightly,
that it seemed as though he would
faint. I carried out a chair for
him, and placed it under a cool
shade; and he seemed so pleased
and happy, that I was more than
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 47
paid for all my pains. And it
will always be just so,-the more
you do for others, the happier you
will feel yourselves.
There are some little children
who don't seem to think anything
about this. Perhaps they never
learned this secret of being happy.
In my next letter I am going to
tell you about some old people
that I once saw.
48 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
STORY OF THE AGED PARENTS AND THE
IF I could forget the scene which
I am going to tell you about, by
not speaking about it, I should
certainly never repeat it, for it
was one of the saddest sights that
I ever saw.
I was in a remote and lonely
part of the town where I live,
when some one told me of a pool
old man and his wife, who seemed
to have no one to care for them,
or to show them any kindness.
So I went to see them, although I
was an entire stranger. I found
them in a little room on one side
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 49
of the house, which had been built
for a carpenter's shop.
The house itself was quite large,
and their own son lived in it. But
he had no room there for his poor
old father and mother. Do you
not think that he was a very cruel
man? One reason was, that he
sometimes drank strong drink, and
rum always makes people's hearts
hard, and their actions cross. So
his parents were obliged to live out
in that little back room. Some of
the windows were wide and others
narrow, as you perhaps have seen
them in such shops. Before them
hung some soiled and ragged
window-curtains. The room was
so small that a dirty-looking bed
nearly filled it.
50 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
When I went in, the old lady
was sitting upon one side of the
bed, with her feet upon a chair.
Her limbs were so much swollen,
that she could not put them on
the floor at all. Her eyes were
so weak, that the least ray of
bright light would cause them to
pain her very much. A little
while before she had had a para-
lytic stroke, and could scarcely
speak aloud. I asked her age,
and was told that it was more
than ninety years. There she sat
I found that she could hear al-
most as well as ever, and so I sat
down by her side, and read her
some chapters in the Bible,* and
o See Frontispiece.
COUSIN LABRA'S LETTERS. 51
talked with her for some time.
She seemed delighted, and thank-
ed me again, and again. "O!"
she said, "if my eyes would only
let me read, I should 'not be so
lonely." Then she told me how
slowly the days passed away.
For months she had not been out
of that narrow door. There she
would sit all the day long on the
bed-side; and when night came,
the only change was that she
would lie down upon it, and try
While she was telling me of
these things, her husband came in.
He, too, looked old and sick, but
he had just strength enough left
to go out into the warm sunshine
for a little while each day. This
52 COUSIN LAURA' LETTERS.
was his only change, and it almost
seemed as though it was his only
joy or comfort-the only thing
which could make him wish to
live any longer. I spoke kindly
to him, and a smile lighted up his
thin pale face, which told that his
heart had not grown old with his
The time soon came for me to
leave, and I left them there in that
little back room. I have never
seen them since, but I have
thought of them a great many
times. They still live in the same
place, and their cruel son still
drinks rum, and neglects his pa-
rents. In a little while more they
will be dead and gone. Then, I
am sure, his heart will be touched.
COUSIN LAURA's LETTERS. 53
The day is coming when he will
remember all his ungrateful acts to
those whom he ought to have
loved and cherished. But would
it not be a great deal better to
think of these things. now, before
it is too late to do them good ?
Little children, remember the
aged, and always be kind to them.
The Bible says, With what mea-
sure ye mete, it shall be measured
to you," (Mark iv, 24;) and if you
are not kind to them now, when
your turn to be old comes, there
Smay be no one to take care of
you. Very affectionately,
54 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
TilE RIC1II PRINCE-PRAYER FOR A NEW
SUPPOSE, dear children, that some
one should tell you of a rich
prince, who lived in a land far
away from your home. Suppose,
also, that you should be told that
he had promised to give to any
one who should ask him for them,
any gifts that they might desire.
Besides, we will imagine that we
hav6 been assured that no one
who has ever asked favors at his
hands, no matter how great they
might be, has been sent away
without receiving them, but, on
the contrary, that he has often
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 55
given those who have sought his
presence even more than they
Little children, if you were told
about such & being, would not
your first thought be a very
strong wish that you lived near
where this good man dwelt, so
that you might share-in his bless-
ings? Would not each one of
your little hearts picture to itself
some longed-for good, that would
form the sum of your first request ?
Yes, I know it would; for I have
been a little child like you, and I
have not forgotten how such
thoughts used to waken' rich
dreams in my little heart. I can
well remember more than one
time when I fried very hard to
56 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
make up my mind what I should
ask for, could I have just what I
Now, although it might not be
so very easy to decide what one
thing you desire most of all, I am
quite certain that there is not one
of you that would not be able to
think of something that you would
like to have given to you. Am I
not right in this ? But this is all a
Nowhere in the wide world is
there such a place as I have been
describing. No man has power
to give us all our hearts would
crave. There is no lofty mansion
filled with gold and jewels, to
which we may go, and bring from
thence of those shining treasures.
COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS. 57
But yet this is not all a fancy
Above this world, where sin and
sorrow, and sickness and death,
come so often, to disappoint our
hopes and dim our joys, there
dwells one who has power to give
us all we need. And He is not
only able to do all this, but he is
willing also. Do you know, dear
children, who this Being is? Have
you ever heard of his goodness?
Have you ever been to him for
some of those blessings which he
has promised to give to all who
ask for them ? Perhaps some of
you will think that he is so far
away in the skies, that he will not
hear your feeble voices when they
call upon his name. But you need
58 COUSIN LAURA'S LETTERS.
not fear. His ear is ever open to
your cry. He has said, "Ask and
ye shall receive." Could a pro-
inise be more free and full than
Now, children, how many of you
are ready to ask for a new heart?
How many will kneel down this
night by your bed-side, and ask
God to bless you and make you
truly good? If you wish to be
holy and happy, ask God to make
you so, and he will surely hear
your cry. If you wish for a home
with the angels when you die, you
must ask God, and he will give
you one of the many mansions "
which Jesus has gone to prepare
for those who love him.
Ask, and it shall be given you;
COUSIN LAURA'S BETTERS. 59
seek, and ye shall find; knock, and
it shall be opened unto you: for
every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth; and
to him that knocketh it shall be
opened." Very affectionately,
THE LITTLE PENITENT.
BY MRIS. E. 0OMIS.
Her dimpled hands were clasp'd in prayer,
Her blue eyes raised to heaven;
A holy light was jn her brow-
She seem'd almost an angel now,
Yet pray'd to be forgiven.
She pray'd-that young and gentle child
We deem'd so free from sin,-
And meekly sought a holy heart,
That she might act the Christian's part,
A purity within.
She pray'd, and tears like rain-drops fell-
Her bosom swell'd with grief;
Her childish sins she there confessed,
Then laid her head on Jesus' breast,
And found a sweet relief.