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STEPPING HEAVENWARD.BYE. PRENTISS,AUIHOR OF "LITTLE SUSY," "LITTLE THREADS, "LITTLE LOd6SAYINGS AND DOINGS," ETC. ETC,LONDON:JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.MDCCCLXXI.
STEPPING WESTWARD.WmLE my fellow-traveller and I were walking by the side ofLoch Katrine, one fine evening after sunset, in our road to a hutwhere, in the course of our tour, we had been hospitably entertainedsome weeks before, we met, in one of the loneliest parts of thatsolitary region, two well-dressed women, one of whom said to us, byway of greeting, " What, you are stepping westward ?"" WHA T, YOU ARE STEPPING WESTWARD ?"-" YEA "-'Twould be a wildish destiny,If we, who thus together roamIn a strange land, and far from home,Were in this place the guests of chance:Yet who would stop, or fear to advance,Though home or shelter he had none,With such a sky to lead him on ?The dewy ground was dark and cold;Behind, all gloomy to behold:And stepping westward seem'd to beA kind of heavenly destinyI liked the greeting : 'twaA a soundOf something without place and bound:And seem'd to give me spiritual rightTo travel through that region bright.The voice was soft, and she who spakeWas walking by her native lake :The salutation had to meThe very sound of courtesy:
Vi STEPPING WESTWARD.Its power was felt; and while my eyeWas fix'd upon the glowing sky,The echo of the voice enwroughtA human sweetness with the thoughtOf travelling through the world that layBefore me in my endless way.WORDSWORTH
"Faint not; the miles to heaven are but few and short."-RUTHERFORD."How shall I do to love? Believe. How shall I do tobelieve ? Love."-LEIGHTON."Always add, always walk, always proceed; neither standstill, nor go back, nor deviate; he that standeth still pro-ceedeth not; he goeth back that continueth not; he de-viateth that revolteth; he goeth better that creepeth in hisway than he that moveth out of his way."-AUGUSTINE.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD.I.January 15, 1831.-How dreadfully old I am getting !Sixteen Well, I don't see as I can help it. There it is in" the big Bible in father's own hand-"Katherine, born Jan. 15, 1815."I meant to get up early this morning, but it looked dis-mally cold out of doors, and felt delightfully warm in bed.So I covered myself up, and made ever so many good resolu-tions.I determined, in the first place, to begin this journal.To be sure, I have begun half a dozen, and got tired of themafter a while. Not tired of writing them, but disgustedwith what I had to say of myself. But this time I mean togo on, in spite of everything. It will do me good to read itover, and see what a creature I am.Then I resolved to do more to please mother than I havedone.And I determined to make one more effort to conquermy hasty temper. I thought, too, I would be self-denyingthis winter, like the people one reads about in books. Ifancied how surprised and pleased everybody would be tosee me so much improved !Time passed quickly amid these agreeable thoughts, andA
2 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.I was quite startled to hear the bell ring for prayers. Ijumped up in a great flurry, and dressed as quickly as Icould. Everything conspired together to plague me. Icould not find a clean collar, or ahandkerchief. It is alwaysjust so. Susan is for ever poking my things into out-of-the-way places When at last I went down, they were all atbreakfast."I hoped you would celebrate your birthday, dear, bycoming down in good season," said mother.I do hate to be found fault with, so I fired up in an in-stant."If people hide my things so that I can't find them, ofcourse I have to be late," I said. And I rather think I saidit in a very cross way, for mother sighed a little. I wishmother wouldn't sigh. I would rather be called names outand out.The moment breakfast was over I had to hurry off toschool. Just as I was going out mother said-" Have you your over-shoes, dear ""0 mother, don't hinder me! I shall be late," I said."I don't need over-shoes.""It snowed all night, and I think you do need them,"mother said."I don't know where they are. I hate over-shoes. Dolet me go, mother," I cried. " I do wish I could ever havemy own way.""lYou shall have it now, my child,"mother said, and wentaway.Now, what was the use of her calling me " my child" insuch a tone, I should like to know?I hurried off, and just as I got to the door of the school-room it flashed into my mind that I had not said my prayers!A nice way to begin on one's birthday, to be sure Well, Ihad not time. And perhaps my good resolutions pleasedGod almost as much as one of my rambling stupid prayerscould. For I must own I can't make good prayers. I can'tthink of anything to say. I often wonder what motherfinds to say when she is shut up by the hour together.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 3I had a pretty good time at school. My teachers praisedme, and Amelia seemed so fond of me She brought me abirthday present of a purse that she had knit for me herself,and a net for my hair. Nets are just coming into fashion.It will save a good deal of time my having this one. Insteadof combing and combing and combing my old hair to get itglossy enough to suit mother, I can just give it one twistand one squeeze, and the whole thing will be settled for theday.Amelia wrote me a dear little note, with her presents. Ido really believe she loves me dearly. It is so nice to havepeople love you !When I got home mother called me into her room. Shelooked as if she had been crying. She said I gave her agreat deal of pain by my self-will and ill-temper and con-ceit." Conceit!" I screamed out. "0 mother, if you only knewhow horrid I think I am!"Mother smiled a little. Then she went on with her listtill she made me out the worst creature in the world. Iburst out crying, and was running off to my room, but shemade me come back and hear the rest. She said my characterwould be essentially formed by the time I reached mytwentieth year, and left it to me to say if I wished to be asa woman what I was now as a girl i I felt sulky, and wouldnot answer. I was shocked to think I had got only fouryears in which to improve ; but after all, a good deal couldbe done in that time. Of course, I don't want to be alwaysexactly what I am now.Mother went on to say that I had in me the elements ofa fine character if I would only conquer some of my faults."You are frank and truthful," she said, "and in some thingsconscientious. I hope you are really a child of God, andare trying to please Him. And it is my daily prayer thatyou may become a lovely, loving, useful woman."I made no answer. I wanted to say something, but mytongue wouldn't move. I was angry with mother, andangry with myself. At last everything came out all in a
4 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.rush, mixed up with such floods of tears that I thoughtmother's heart would melt, and that she would take backwhat she had said."Amelia's mother never talks so to her!" I said. "Shepraises her, and tells her what a comfort she is to her. Butjust as I am trying as hard as I can to be good, and makingresolutions, and all that, you scold me and discourage me !"Mother's voice was very soft and gentle as she asked-"Do you call this 'scolding,' my child?""And I don't like to be called conceited," I went on. "Iknow I am perfectly horrid, and I am just as unhappy as Ican be.""I am very sorry for you, dear," mother replied. "But youmust bear with me. Other people will see your faults, butonly your mother will have the courage to speak of them.Now go to your own room, and wipe away the traces ofyour tears that the rest of the family may not know thatyou have been crying on your birthday." She kissed me,but I did not kiss her. I really believe Satan himselfhindered me. I ran across the hall to my room, slammedthe door, and locked myself in. I was going to throw my-self on the bed and cry till I was ill. Then I should lookpale and tired, and they would all pity me. I do like so tobe pitied! But on the table, by the window, I sawy-beau-tiful new desk in place of the old clumsy thing Irhad beenspattering and spoiling so many years. A little note, full oflove, said it was from mother, and begged me to read andreflect upon a few verses of a tastefully-bound copy of theBible which accompanied it, every day of my life. "A fewverses," she said, "carefully read and pondered, instead of achapter or two read for mere form's sake." I looked at mydesk, which contained exactly what I wanted, plenty ofpaper, seals, wax, and pens. I always use wax. Wafers arevulgar. Then I opened the Bible at random, and lighted onthese words-" Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lorddoth come." There was nothing very cheering in that. Ifelt a real repugnance to be always on the watch, thinking I
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 5might die at any moment. I am sure I am not fit to die.Besides, I want to have a good time, with nothing to worryme. I hope I shall live ever so long. Perhaps in the courseof forty or fifty years I may get tired of this world andwant to leave it. And I hope, by that time, I shall be agreat deal better than I am now, and fit to go to heaven.I wrote a note to mother on my new desk, and thankedher for it. I told her she was the best mother in the world,and that I was the worst daughter. When it was done Idid not like it, and so I wrote another. Then I went downto dinner and felt better. We had such a nice dinner!Everything I like best was on the table. Mother had notforgotten one of all the dainties I like. Amelia was theretoo. Mother had invited her to give me a little surprise.It is bedtime now, and I must say my prayers, and go tobed. I have got all chilled through, writing here in thecold. I believe I will say my prayers in bed, just for thisonce. I do not feel sleepy, but I am sure I ought not to situp another moment.January 30.-Here I am at my desk once more. Thereis a fire in my room, and mother is sitting by it, reading.I can't see what book it is, but I have no doubt it is ThomasA Kempis. How she can go on reading it so year after year,I cannot imagine. For my part, I like something new.But I must go back to where I left off.That night when I stopped writing, I hurried to bed asfast as I could, for I felt cold and tired. I remembersaying, " O God, I am ashamed to pray," and then I began tothink of all the things that had happened that day, and neverknew another thing, till the rising bell rang and I found itwas morning. I am sure I did not mean to go to sleep. Ithink now it was wrong for me to be such a coward as totry to say my prayers in bed because of the cold. While I-was writing I did not once think how I felt. Well, Ijumped up as soon as I heard the bell, but found I had adreadful pain in my side, and a cough. Susan says Icoughed all night. I remembered then that I had just such
6 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.a cough and just such a pain the last time I walked inthe snow without over-shoes. I crept back to bed feelingabout as mean as I could. Mother sent up to know why Idid not come down, and I had to own that I was ill. Shecame up directly, looking so anxious! And here I havebeen shut up ever since; only to-day I am sitting up a little.Poor mother has had trouble enough with me; I know Ihave been cross and unreasonable, and it was all my ownfault that I was ill. Another time I will do as mothersays.January 31.-How easy it is to make good resolutions,and how easy it is to break them! Just as I had got so far,yesterday, mother spoke for the third time about my exert-ing myself so much. And just at that moment I faintedaway, and she had a great time all alone there with me. Idid not realise how long I had been writing, nor how weak Iwas. I do wonder if I shall ever really learn that motherknows more than I do!February 17.-It is more than a month since I took that-cold, and here I still am, shut up in the house. To bestirethe doctor lets me go down-stairs, but then he won't listento a word about school. Oh, dear All the girls will getahead of me.This is Sunday, and everybody has gone to church. Ithought I ought to make a good use of the time while theywere gone, so I took the "Memcir of Henry Martyn," andread a little in that.I am afraid I am not much like him. Then I knelt downand tried to pray. But my mind was full of all sorts ofthings, so I thought I would wait till I was in 'a betterframe. At noon I disputed with James about the name ofan apple. He was very provoking, and said he was thank-ful he had not got such a temper as I had. I cried, andmother reproved him for teasing me, saying my illness hadleft me nervous and irritable. James replied that it had
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 7left me where it found me then. I cried a good while,lying on the sofa, and then I fell asleep. I don't see as Iam any the better for this Sunday; it has only made mefeel unhappy and out of sorts. I am sure I pray to God tomake me better, and why don't He ?February 20.-It has been quite a mild day for the season,and the doctor said I might drive out. I enjoyed gettingthe air very much. I feel just as well as ever, and long toget back to school. I think God has been very good to mein making me well again, and wish I loved Him better.But oh, I am not sure I do love Him! I hate to own it tomyself, and to write it down here, but I will. I do not loveto pray. I am always eager to get it over with and out of theway, so as to have leisure to enjoy myself. I mean that thisis usually so. This morning I cried a good deal while I wason my knees, and felt sorry for my quick temper and all mybad ways. If I always felt so, perhaps praying would notbe such a task. I wish I knew whether anybody exactly asbad as I am ever got to heaven at last. I have read everso many memoirs, and they were all about people who weretoo good to live, and so died; or else went on a mission; Iam not at all like any of them.March 26.-I have been so busy that I have not saidmuch to you, you poor old journal you, have I SomehowI have been behaving quite nicely lately. Everything hasgone on exactly to my mind. Mother has not found faultwith me once, and father has praised my drawings andseemed proud of me. He says he shall not tell me whatmy teachers say of me, lest it should make me vain. Andonce or twice when he has met me singing and friskingabout the house, he has kissed me and called me his dearlittle Flibbertigibbet, if that's the way to spell it. Whenhe says that, I know he is very fond of me. We are allvery happy together when nothing goes wrong. In thelong evenings we all sit around the table with our booksand our work, and one of us reads aloud. Mother chooses
8 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.the book and takes her turn in reading. She reads beauti-fully. Of course the readings do not begin till the lessonsare all learned. As to me, my lessons just take no time atall. I have only to read them over once, and there they are.So I have a good deal of time to read, and I devour all thepoetry I can get hold of. I would rather read Pollok's"Course of Time," than read nothing at all.April 2.-There are three of mother's friends living nearus, each having lots of little children. It is perfectlyridiculous how much those creatures are ill. They send formother if so much as a pimple comes out on one of theirfaces. When I have children, I don't mean to have suchgoings on. I shall be careful about what they eat, andkeep them from getting cold, and they will keep well oftheir own accord. Mrs Jones has just sent for mother tosee her Tommy. It was so provoking. I had coaxed herinto letting me have a black silk apron; they are all thefashion now, embroidered in floss silk. I had drawn alovely vine for mine entirely out of my own head, andmother was going to arrange the pattern for me when thatmessage came, and she had to go. I don't believe anythingails the child a great chubby thing !April 3.-Poor Mrs Jones! Her dear little Tommy isdead I stayed at home from school to-day and had all theother children here to get them out of their mother's way.How dreadfully she must feel Mother cried when she toldme how the dear little fellow suffered in his last moments.It reminded her of my little brothers who died in the sameway, just before I was born. Dear mother I wonder Iever forget what troubles she has had, and am not alwayssweet and loving. She has gone now, where she alwaysgoes when she feels sad, straight to God. Of course she didnot say so, but I know mother.April 25.-I have not been down in season once this week.I have persuaded mother to let me read some of Scott's
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 9novels, and have sat up late and been sleepy in the morning.I wish I could get along with mother as nicely as Jamesdoes. He is late far oftener than I am, but he never getsinto such scrapes about it as I do. This is what happens.He comes down when it suits him.Mother begins.-" James, I am very much displeased withyou."James.-" I should think you would be, mother."Mother, mollified.-" I don't think you deserve any break-fast."James, hypocritically.-" No, I don't think I do, mother."Then mother hurries off and gets something extra for hisbreakfast. Now let us see how things go on when I amlate.Mother.-"Katherine" (she always calls me Katherinewhen she is displeased, and spells it with a K), "Katherine,you are late again; how can you annoy your father so ?"Katherine.-" Of course I don't do it to annoy father oranybody else. But if I oversleep myself, it is not my fault."Mother.-" I would go to bed at eight o'clock rather thanbe late as often as you. How should you like it if I were notdown to prayers ?"Katherine, muttering.-" Of course that is very different.I don't see why I should be blamed for oversleeping anymore than James. I get all the scoldings."Mother sighs and goes off.I prowl round and get what scraps of breakfast I can.May 12.-The weather is getting perfectly delicious. I amsitting with my window open, and my bird is singing withall his heart. I wish I was as gay as he is.I have been thinking lately that it was about time to beginon some of those pieces of self-denial I resolved on upon mybirthday. I could not think of anything great enough for along time. At last an idea popped into my head. Half thegirls at school envy me because Amelia is so fond of me;and Jane Underhill, in particular, is just crazy to get inti-mate with her. But 1 have kept Amelia all to myself. To-day
10 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.I said to her, " Amelia, Jane Underhill admires you above allthings. I have a good mind to let you be as intimate withher as you are with me. It will be a great piece of self-denial, but I think it is my duty. She is a stranger, andnobody seems to like her much.""" You dear thing, you " cried Amelia, kissing me. "I likedJane Underhill the moment I saw her. She has such asweet face and such pleasant manners. But you are sojealous that I never dared to show how I liked her. Don'tbe vexed, dearie; if you are jealous, it is your only fault !"She then rushed off, and I saw her kiss that girl exactlyas she kisses me !This was in recess. I went to my desk and made believe Iwas studying. Pretty soon Amelia came back." She is a sweet girl," she said, "and only to think Shewrites poetry Just hear this! It is a little poem addressedto me. Isn't it nice of her ?"I pretended not to hear her. I was as full of all sorts ofhorrid feelings as I could hold. It enraged me to think thatAmelia, after all her professions of love to me, should snatchat the first chance of getting a new friend. Then I wasmortified because I was enraged, and I could have torn my-self to pieces for being such a fool as to let Amelia see howsilly I was."I don't know what to make of you, Katy," she said,putting her arms round me. " Have I done anything to vexyou ? Come, let us make up and be friends, whatever it is.I will read you these sweet verses; I am sure you will likethem."She read them in her clear, pleasant voice." How can you have the vanity to read such stuff l" I cried."Amelia coloured a little."You have said and written much more flattering thingsto me," she replied. " Perhaps it has turned my head, andmade me too ready to believe what other people say." Shefolded the paper and put it into her pocket. We walked hometogether, after school, as usual, but neither of us spoke aword. And now, here I sit, unhappy enough. All my reso-
r:STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 11Iutions fail. But I did not think Amelia would take me atmy word, and rush after that stuck-up smirking piece!May 20.-I seem to have got back into all my bad waysagain. Mother is quite out of patience with me. I have notprayed for a long time. It does not do any good.May 21.-It seems this Underhill thing is here for herhealth, though she looks as well as any of us. She is anorphan, and has been adopted by a rich old uncle, who makesa perfect fool of her. Such dresses and such finery as shewears! Last night she had Amelia there to tea, withoutinviting me, though she knows I am her best friend. Shegave her a bracelet made of her own hair. I wonder Amelia'smother lets her accept presents from strangers. My motherwould not let me. On the whole, there is nobody like one'sown mother. Amelia has been cold and distant to me oflate, but no matter what I do or say to my darling, preciousmother, she is always kind and loving. She noticed how Imoped about to-day, and begged me to tell her what was thematter. I was ashamed to do that. I told her that it wasa little quarrel I had had with Amelia." Dear child," she said, " how I pity you that you have in-herited my quick, irritable temper."" Yours, mother !" I cried out; " what can you mean ?"Mother smiled a little at my surprise."It is even so," she said."Then how did you cure yourself of it ? Tell me quick,mother, and let me cure myself of mine."" My dear Katy," she said, " I wish I could make you seethat God is just as willing, and just as able to sanctify, asHe is to redeem us. It would save you so much weary, dis-appointing work. But God has opened my eyes at last.""I wish He would open mine, then," I said, " for all I seenow is that I am just as horrid as I can be, and that themore I pray the worse I grow."" That is not true, dear," she replied; " go on praying-praywithout ceasing."
12 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.I sat pulling my handkerchief this way and that, and atlast rolled it up into a ball and threw it across the room. Iwished I could toss my bad feelings into a corner with it."I do wish I could make you love to pray, my darlingchild," mother went on. " If you only knew the strength,and the light, and the joy, you might have for the simpleasking. God attaches no conditions to His gifts. He onlysays Ask!'""This may be true, but it is hard work to pray. It tiresme. And I do wish there was some easy way of growinggood. In fact, I should like to have God send a sweet tem-per to me justas He sent bread and meat to Elijah. Idon'tbelieve Elijah had to kneel down and pray for them."
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 13TI.June 1.-Last Sunday Dr Cabot preached to the young. Hefirst addressed those who knew they did not love God. Itdid not seem to me that I belonged to that class. Then hespoke to those who knew they did. I felt sure I was not oneof those. Last of all, he spoke affectionately to those whodid not know what to think, and I was frightened andashamed to feel tears running down my cheeks, when he saidthat he believed that most of his hearers who were in thisdoubtful state did really love their Master, only their lovewas something as new and as tender, and perhaps as un-observed, as the tiny point of green that, forcing its waythrough the earth, is yet unconscious of its own existence, butpromises a thrifty plant. I don't suppose I express it verywell, but I know what he meant. He then invited thosebelonging to each class to meet him on three successiveSaturday afternoons. I shall certainly go.July 19.-I went to the.meeting, and so did Amelia. Agreat many young people were there and a few children. DrCabot went about from seat to seat, speaking to each oneseparately. When he came to us, I expected he would saysomething about the way in which I had been brought up,and reproach me for not profiting more by the instrcetiohsand example I had at home. Instead of that he said, in acheerful voice-"Well, my dear, I cannot see into your heart and posi-tively tell whether there is love to God there or not. ButI suppose you have come here to-day in order to let mehelp you to find out i"I said, " Yes " that was all I could get out.
14 STEPPING HEAVENWARD."Let me see, then," he went on. "Do you love yourmother?"I said, "Yes," once more." But prove to me that you do. How do you know it "I tried to think. Then I said-" Ifeel that I love her. I love to love her ; I like to be withher. I like to hear people praise her. And I try-sometimesat least-to do things to please her. But I don't try half ashard as I ought, and I do and say a great many things todisplease her.""Yes, yes," he said; "I know."" Has mother told you ? " I cried out."No, dear, no, indeed. But I know what human natureis, after having one of my own fifty years, and six of mychildren's, to encounter."Somehow I felt more courage after he said that."In the first place,then, youfeel that you love your mother ?But you never feel that you love your God and Saviour 1"" I often try, and try, but I never do," I said."Love won't be forced," he said, quickly."Then what shall I do? ""In the second place, you like to be with your mother.But you never like to be with the Friend who loves you somuch better than she does ?""I don't know; I never was with Him. Sometimes Ithink that when Mary sat at His feet and heard Him talk,she must have been very happy."" We come to the third test, then. You like to hear peoplepraise yohr mother. And have you never rejoiced to hearthe Lord magnified ?"I shook my head, sorrowfully enough." Let us then try the last test. You know you love yourmother because you try to do things to please her. That isto do what you know she wishes you to do? Very well.Have you never tried to do anything God wishes youto do?""Oh yes; often. But not so often as I ought.""Of course not. No one does that. But come now, why
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 15do you try to do what you think will please Him ? Becauseit is easy ? Because you like to do what He likes ratherthan what you like yourself 1"I tried to think, and got puzzled."Never mind," said Dr Cabot; " I have come now to thepoint I was aiming at. You cannot prove to yourself thatyou love God by examining your feelings towards Him. Theyare indefinite and they fluctuate. But just as far as you obeyHim, just so far, depend upon it, you love Him. It is notnatural to us sinful, ungrateful human beings to prefer Hispleasure to our own, or to follow His way instead of ourown way, and nothing, nothing but love to Him, can or doesmake us obedient to Him.""Couldn't we obey Him from fear 2" Amelia now asked.She had been listening all this time in silence."Yes; and so you might obey your mother from fear, butonly for a season. If you had no real love for her, youwould gradually cease to dread her displeasure; whereas itis in the very nature of love to grow stronger and more influential every hour.""You mean, then,, that if we want to know whether welove God, we must find out whether we are obeying Him ?"Amelia asked."I mean exactly that. He that keepeth my command-ments he it is that loveth me.' But I cannot talk with youany longer now. There are many others still waiting. Youcan come to see me some day next week, if you have anymore questions to ask."When we got out into the street, Amelia and I got holdof each other's hands. We did not speak a word till wereached our door, but we knew that we were as good friendsas ever."I understand all Dr Cabot said," Amelia whispered, aswe separated. But Ifelt like one in a fog. I cannot see howit is possible to love God and yet feel as stupid as I do whenI think of Him. Still I am determined to do one thing, andthat is to pray regularly instead of now and then, as I havegot the habit of doing lately.
16 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.July 25.-School has closed for the season. I took thefirst prize for drawing, and my composition was read aloudon examination-day, and everybody praised it. Mothercould not possibly help showing, in her face, that she wasvery much pleased. I am pleased myself. We are now get-ting ready to take a journey. I do not think I shall go tosee Dr Cabot again. My head is so full of other things, andthere is so much to do before we go. I am having four newdresses made, and I can't imagine how to have themtrimmed. I mean to run down to Amelia's and ask her.July 27.-I was rushing through the hall just after Iwrote that, and met mother."I am going to Amelia's," I said, hurrying past her."Stop one minute, dear. Dr Cabot is down-stairs. Hesays he has been expecting a visit from you, and that as youdid not come to him, he has come to you.""I wish he would mind his own business," I said."I think he is minding it, dear," mother answered. " HisMaster's business is his, and that has brought him here. Goto him, my darling child : I am sure you crave somethingbetter than prizes and compliments and new dresses andjourneys."If anybody but mother had said that, my heart wouldhave melted at once, and I should have gone right down toDr Cabot to be moulded in his hands to almost any shape.But as it was, I brushed past her, ran into my room, andlocked my door. Oh, what makes me act so I hate my-self for it; I don't want to do it !Last week I dined with Mrs Jones. Her little Tommywas very fond of me, and that, I suppose, makes her haveme there so often. Lucy was at the table, and very fractious.She cried first for one thing and then for another. At lasther mother, in a gentle, but very decided way, put herdown from the table. Then she cried louder than ever. Butwhen her mother offered to take her back if she wouldbe good, she screamed yet more. She wanted to come,and wouldn't let herself come. I almost hated her when I
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 17saw her act so, and now I am behaving ten times worse andI am just as miserable as I can be.,July 29.-Amelia has been here. She has had anothertalk with Dr Cabot and is perfectly happy. She says it isso easy to be a Christian! It may be easy for her; every-thing is. She never has any of my dreadful feelings, anddoes not understand them when I try to explain them toher. Well! if I am fated to be miserable, I must try tobear it.October 3.-Summer is over, school has begun again, andI am so busy that I have not much time to think, or to below spirited. We had a delightful journey, and I feel welland bright, and even gay. I never enjoyed my studies as Ido those of this year. Everything goes on pleasantly hereat home. But James has gone away to school, and we misshim sadly. I do wish I had a sister. Though I dare say Ishould quarrel with her, if I had.October 23.-I am so glad that my studies are harder thisyear, as I am never happy except when every moment isoccupied. However, I do not study all the time, by anymeans. Mrs Gordon grows more and more fond of me, andhas me there to dinner or to tea continually. She has amuch higher opinion of me than mother has, and is alwayssaying the sort of things that make you feel nice. Sheholds me up to Amelia as an example, begging her to imi-tate me in my fidelity about my lessons, and declaring thereis nothing she so much desires as to have a daughter brightand original like me. Amelia only laughs, and goes andpurrs in her mother's ears, when she hears such talk. Itcosts her nothing to be pleasant. She was born so. Formy part, I think myself lucky to have such a friend. Shegets along with my odd, hateful ways better than any oneelse does. Mother, when I boast of this, says she has nopenetration into character, and that she would be fond ofalmost any one fond of her; and that the fury with whichB
18 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.I love her deserves some response. I really don't knowwhat to make of mother. Most people are proud of theirchildren when they see others admire them; but she doessay such pokey things! Of course I know that having agift for music, and a taste for drawing, and a reputation forsaying witty, bright things isn't enough. But when shedoesn't find fault with me, and nothing happens to keep medown, I am the gayest creature on earth. I do love to getwith a lot of nice girls, and carry on I have got enoughfun in me to keep a houseful merry. And mother needn'tsay anything, I inherited it from her.Evening.-I knew it was coming Mother has been in tosee what I was about, and to give me a bit of her mind. Shesays she loves to see me gay and cheerful, as is natural at myage, but that levity quite upsets and disorders the mind, in-disposing it for serious thoughts."But, mother," I said, "didn't you carry on when youwere a young girl ?""Of course I did," she said, smiling. "But I do notthink I was quite so thoughtless as you are."."Thoughtless" indeed! I wish I were! But am I notalways full of uneasy, reproachful thoughts when themoment of excitement is over I Other girls, who seem lesstrifling than I, are really more so. Their heads are full ofdress and parties and beaux, and all that sort of nonsense.I wonder if that ever worries their mothers, or whethermine is the only one who weeps in secret ? Well, I shall beyoung but once, and while I am, do let me have a goodtime !Sunday, November 20.-Oh, the difference between thisday, and the day I wrote that! There are no good times inthis dreadful world. I have hardly courage or strengthto write down the history of the past few weeks. The dayafter I had deliberately made up my mind to enjoy myself,cost what it might, my dear father called me to him, kissedme, pulled my ears a little, and gave me some money.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 19"We have had to keep you rather low in funds," he said,laughing. "But I recovered this amount yesterday, and asit was a little debt I had given up, I can spare it to you.For girls like pin-money, I know, and you may spend thisjust as you please."I was delighted. I want to take more drawing-lessons,but did not feel sure he could afford it. Besides-I am alittle ashamed to write it down-I knew somebody hadbeen praising me, or father would not have seemed so fondof me. I wondered who it was, and felt a good deal puffedup. "After all," I said to myself, "some people like me ifI have got my faults." I threw my arms round his neckand kissed him, though that cost me a great effort. I neverlike to show what I feel. But, oh! how thankful I am forit now.As to mother, I know father never goes out withoutkissing her good-bye.I went out with her to take a walk at three o'clock. Wehad just reached the corner of Orange Street, when I sawa carriage driving slowly towards us; it appeared to be fullof sailors. Then I saw our friend, Mr Freeman, amongthem. When he saw us he jumped out and came up to us.I do not know what he said. I saw mother turn pale andcatch at his arm as if she were afraid of falling. But shedid not speak a word."Oh Mr Freeman, what is it " I cried out. "Hasanything happened to father ? Is he hurt? Where is he "" He is in the carriage," he said. "We are taking himhome. He has had a fall."Then we went on in silence. The sailors were carryingfather in as we reached the house. They laid him on thesofa, and we saw his poor head-November 23.-I will try to write the rest now. Fatherwas alive but insensible. He had fallen down into the holdof the ship, and the sailors heard him groaning there. Helived three hours after they brought him home. Mr Free-man and all our friends were very kind. But we liked best
20 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.to be alone, we three, mother and James and I Poormother looks twenty years older, but she is so patient, andso concerned for us, and has such a smile of welcome forevery one that comes in, that it breaks my heart to see her.November 25.-Mother spoke to me very seriously to-day,about controlling myself more. She said she knew this wasmy first real sorrow, and how hard it was to bear it. Butthat she was afraid I should become insane sometime, if Iindulged myself in such passions of grief. And she said,too, that when friends came to see us, full of sympathy, andeager to say or do something for our comfort, it was our dutyto receive them with as much cheerfulness as possible.I said they, none of them, had anything to say that didnot provoke me." It is always a trying task to visit the afflicted," mothersaid, "and you make it doubly hard to your friends byputting on a gloomy, forbidding air, and by refusing to talkof your dear father, as if you were resolved to keep yoursorrow all to yourself."" I can't smile when I am so unhappy," I said.A good many people have been here to-day. Mother hasseen them all, though she looked ready to drop. Mrs Batessaid to me, in her little, weak, watery voice:" Your mother is wonderfully sustained, dear. I hopeyou feel reconciled to God's will. Rebellion is most dis-pleasing to Him, dear."I made no answer. It is very easy for people to preach.Let me see how they behave when they take their turn tolose their friends.Mrs Morris said this was a very mysterious dispensation.But that she was happy to see that mother was meeting itwith so much firmness. "As for myself," she went on,"I was quite broken down by my dear husband's death.I did not eat as much as would feed a bird, for nearly aweek. But some people have so much feeling; then againothers are so firm. Your mother is so busy talking withMrs March that I won't interrupt her to say good-bye.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 21Well, I came prepared to suggest several things that Ithought would comfort her, but perhaps she has thought ofthem herself."I could have knocked her down. Firm, indeed! poormother!After they had all gone, I made her lie down, she lookedso tired and worn out.Then I could not help telling her what Mrs Morris hadsaid.She only smiled a little, but said nothing." I wish you would ever flare up, mother," I said.She smiled again, and said she had nothing to " flare up"about."Then I shall do it for you !" I cried. "To hear thatnamby-pamby woman, who is about as capable of understand-ing you as an old cat, talking about your being firm! Yousee what you get by being quiet and patient People wouldlike you much better if you refused to be comforted, andwore a sad countenance.""Dear Katy," said mother, "it is not my first object inlife to make people like me."By this time she looked so pale that I was frightened.Though she is so cheerful, and things go on much as theydid before, I believe she has got her death-blow. If she has,then I hope I have got mine. And yet I am not fit to die.I wish I was, and I wish I could die. I have lost all interestin everything, and don't care what becomes of me.November 23.-I believe I shall go crazy unless peoplestop coming here, hurling volleys of texts at mother and atme. When soldiers drop wounded on the battle-field, theyare taken up tenderly and carried "to the rear," whichmeans, I suppose, out of sight and sound. Is anybody madenough to suppose it will do them any good to hear Scripturequoted-sermons launched at them before their open, bleed-ing wounds are staunched ?Mother assents, in a mild way, when I talk so and says,"Yes, yes, we are indeed lying wounded on the battle-field
22 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.of life, and in no condition to listen to any words save thoseof pity. But, dear Katy, we must interpret aright all thewell-meant attempts of our friends to comfort us. Theymean sympathy, however awkwardly they express it."And then she sighed, with a long, deep sigh, that toldhow it all wearied her.December 14.-Mother keeps saying I spend too much timein brooding over my sorrow. As for her, she seems to live inheaven. Not that she has long prosy talks about it, butlittle words that she lets drop now and then show where herthoughts are, and where she would like to be. She seems tothink everybody is as eager to go there as she is. For mypart, I am not eager at all. I can't make myself feel that itwill be nice to sit in rows, all the time singing, fond as I am*of music. And when I say to myself, " Of course we shallnot always sit in rows singing," then I fancy a multitude ofshadowy, phantom-like beings, dressed in white, moving toand fro in golden streets, doing nothing in particularand having a dreary time, without anything to look for-ward to.I told mother so. She said earnestly, and yet in hersweetest, tenderest way-"Oh, my darling Katy What you need is such a living,personal love to Christ as shall make the thought of beingwhere He is so delightful as to fill your mind with that singlethought !"What is "personal love to Christ "Oh, dear, dear Why need my father have been snatchedaway from me, when so many other girls have theirs sparedto them? He loved me so! Heindulged me so much! Hewas so proud of me What have I done that I should havethis dreadful thing happen to me ? I shall never be as happyas I was before. Now I shall always be expecting trouble.Yes, I dare say mother will go next. Why shouldn't I broodover this sorrow ? I like to brood over it; I like to thinkhow wretched I am; I like to have long, furious fits of crying,lying on my face on the bed.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 23January 1, 1832.-People talk a great dealaboutthe blessedeffects of sorrow. But I do not see any good it has done meto lose my dear father, and as to mother she was goodenough before.We are going to leave our pleasant home, where all of uschildren were born, and move into a house in an out-of-the-way street. By selling this, and renting a smaller one,mother hopes, with economy, to carry James through college.And I must go to Miss Higgins' school because it is less ex-pensive than Mr Stone's. Miss Higgins, indeed! I nevercould bear her! A few months ago, how I should have criedand stormed at the idea of her school But the great sorrowswallows up the little trial.I tried once more this morning, as it is the first day of theyear, to force myself to begin to love God.I want to do it; I know I ought to do it; but I cannot.I go through the form of saying something that I try to passoff as praying, every day now. But I take no pleasure in it,as good people say they do, and as I am sure mother does.Nobody could live in the house with her, and doubt that.January 10.-We are in our new home now, and it is quitea cosy little place. James is at home for the long vacation,and we are together all the time I am out of school. Westudy and sing together, and now and then, when we forgetthat dear father has gone, we are as full of fun as ever. If itis so nice to have a brother, what must it be to have a sister !Dear old Jim He is the very pleasantest, dearest fellow inthe world !January 15.-Ihavecometoanotherbirthday andamseven-teen. Mother has celebrated it just as usual, though I knowall these anniversaries, which used to be so pleasant, must besad days to her, now my dear father has gone. She has beencheerful and loving, and entered into all my pleasures exactlyas if nothing had happened. I wonder at myself that I donot enter more into her sorrows, but though at times the re-membrance of our loss overwhelms me, my natural elasticity
24 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.soon makes me rise above and forget it. And I am absorbedwith these school-days, that come one after another, in suchquick succession that I am all the time running to keep upwith them. And as long as I do that I forget that death hascrossed our threshold, and may do it again. But to-night, Ifeel very sad, and as if I would give almost anything to livein a world where nothing painful could happen. Somehowmother's pale face haunts and reproaches me. I believe Iwill go to bed and sleep as quickly as possible, and forgeteverything.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 25III.July 16.-My school-days are over I have come off withflying colours, and mother is pleased at my success. I saidto her to-day that I should now have time to draw and prac-tice to my heart's content."You will not find your heart content with either," shesaid." Why, mother !" I cried, " I thought you liked to see mehappy !""And so I do," she said, quietly. "But there is some-thing better to get out of life than you have yet found.""I am sure I hope so," I returned. On the whole I haven'tgot much so far.Amelia is now on such terms with Jenny Underhill thatI can hardly see one without seeing the other. After theway in which I have loved her, this seems rather hard. Some-times I am angry about it, and sometimes grieved. However,I ind Jenny quite nice. She buys all the new books andlends them to me. I wish I liked more solid reading; butI don't. And I wish I were not so fond of novels; but I am.If it were not for mother I should read nothing else. AndI am sure I often feel quite stirred up by a really good novel,and admire and want to imitate every high-minded, noblecharacter it describes.Jenny has a miniature of her brother "Charley" in a locket,which she always wears, and often shows me. Accordingto her, he is exactly like the heroes I most admire in books.She says she knows he would like me if we should meet.But that is not probable. Very few like me. Amelia saysit is because I say just what I thinkWednesday.-Mother pointed out to me this evening two
26 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.lines from a book she was reading, with a significant smilethat said they described me:" A frank, unchasten'd, generous creature,"Whose faults and virtues stand in bold relief.""Dear me! " I said, "so then I have some virtues afterall!"And I really think I must have, for Jenny's brother, whohas come here for the sake of being near her, seems to likeme very much. Nobody ever liked me so much before, noteven Amelia. But how foolish to write that down !Thursday.-Jenny's brother has been here all the evening.He has the most perfect manners I ever saw. I am surethat mother, who thinks so much of such things, would becharmed with him. But she happened to be out, Mrs Joneshaving sent for her to see about her baby. He gave me anaccount of his mother's death, and how he and Jenny nursedher day and night. He has a great deal of feeling. I wasgoing to tell him about my father's death, sorrow seems tobring people together so, but I could not. Oh, if he hadonly had a sickness that needed our tender nursing, insteadof being snatched from us in that sudden way !Sunday, August 5.-Jenny's brother has been at our churchall day. He walked home with me this afternoon. Mother,after being up all night with Mrs Jones and her baby, wasnot able to go out.Dr Cabot preaches as if we had all got to die pretty soon,or else have something almost as bad happen to us. Howcan old people always try to make young people feel uncom-fortable, and as if things couldn't last 1August 25.-Jenny says her brother is perfectly fascinatedwith me, and that I must try to like him in return. I sup-pose mother would say my head was turned by my goodfortune, but it is not. I am getting quite sober and serious.It is a great thing to be-to be-well-- ked. I have seen
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. *27some verses of his composition to-day that show that he isall heart and soul, and would make any sacrifice for one heloved. I could not like a man who did not possess suchsentiments as his.Perhaps mother would think I ought not to put suchthings into my journal.Jenny has thought of such a splendid plan What a dearlittle thing she is! She and her brother are so much alike!The plan is for us three girls, Jenny, Amelia, and myself, toform ourselves into a little class to read and to study to-gether. She says "Charley" will direct our readings andhelp us with our studies. It is perfectly delightful.September 1.-Somehow I forgot to tell mother that MrUnderhill was to be our teacher. So when it came my turnto have the class meet here, she was not quite pleased. Itold her she could stay in the room and watch us, and thenshe would see for herself that we all behaved ourselves.September 19.-The class met at Amelia's to-night. Motherinsisted on sending for me, though Mr Underhill had pro-posed to see me home himself. So he stayed after I left. Itwas not quite the thing in him, for he must see that Ameliais absolutely crazy about him.September 28.-We met at Jenny's this evening. Ameliahad a bad headache and could not come. Jenny idled overher lessons, and at last took a book and began to read. Istudied awhile with Mr Underhill At last he said, scrib-bling something on a bit of paper-" Here is a sentence I hope you can translate."I took it, and read these words :"You are the brightest, prettiest, most warm-heartedlittle thing in the world. And I love you more than tonguecan 'tell. You must love me in the same way."I felt hot and then cold, and then glad and then sorry.But I pretended to laugh, and said I could not translateGreek. I shall have to tell mother, and what will she say!
28 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.September 29.-This morning mother began thus: "Kate,I do not like these lessons of yours. At your age, withyour judgment quite unformed, it is not proper that youshould spend so much time with a young man.""Jenny is always there, and Amelia," I replied."That makes no difference. I wish the whole thingstopped. I do not know what I have been thinking of tolet it go on so long. Mrs Gordon says "-" Mrs Gordon! Ha " I burst out, " knew Amelia wasat the bottom of it! Amelia is in love with him up to hervery ears, and because he does not entirely neglect me, she hasput her mother up to coming here, meddling and making."" If what you say of Amelia is true, it is most ungenerousin you to tell of it. But I do not believe it. Amelia Gordonhas too much good sense to be carried away by a handsomeface and agreeable manners."I began to cry."He likes me," I got out, " he likes me ever so much.Nobody ever was so kind to me before. Nobody ever saidsuch nice things to me. And I don't want such horridthings said about him."" Has it really come to this !" said mother, quite shocked."Oh, my poor child, how my selfish sorrow has made meneglect you."I kept on crying." Is it possible," she went on, " that with your good sense,and the education you have had, you are captivated by thismere boy ?"" He is not a boy," I said. " He is a man. He is twentyyears old; or at least he will be on the fifteenth of nextOctober.""The child actually keeps his birthdays!" cried mother."Oh, my wicked, shameful carelessness.""It's done now," I said, desperately. "It is too late tohelp it now.""You don't mean that he has dared to say anythingwithout consulting me ?" asked mother. "And that youhave allowed it! Oh, Katherine !"
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 29By this time my mouth shut itself up, and no mortalfore could open it. I stopped crying, and sat with foldedarms. Mother said what she had to say, and then I cameto you, my dear old journal.Yes, he likes me and I like him.Come now, let's out with it once for all.He loves me and I love him.You are just a little bit too late, mother.October 1.-I never can write down all the things thathave happened. The very day after I wrote Jenny thatmother had forbidden my going to the class, Charley cameto see her, and they had a regular fight together. He hastold me about it since. Then, as he could not prevail, hisuncle wrote, told her it would be the making of Charley tobe settled down on one young lady instead of hovering fromflower to flower, as he was doing now. Then Jenny camewith her pretty ways, and cried, and told mother what adarling brother Charley was. She made a good deal, too,out of his having lost both father and mother, and needingmy affection so much. Mother shut herself up, and I haveno doubt prayed over it. I really believe she prays overevery new dress she buys. Then she sent for me and talkedbeautifully, and I behaved abominably.At last she said she would put us on one year's probation.Charley might spend one evening here every two weeks,when she should always be present. We were never to beseen together in public, nor would she allow us to corre-spond. If, at the end of the year, we were both as eagerfor it as we are now, she would consent to our engagement.Of course we shall be, so I consider myself as good asengaged now. Dear me how funny it seems!October 2.-Charley is not at all pleased with .mother'sterms, but no one would guess it from his manner to her.His coming is always the signal for her trotting downstairs; he goes to meet her and offers her a chair, as if hewas delighted to see her. We go on with the lessons, as
30 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.this gives us a chance to sit pretty close together, and whenI am writing my exercises and he corrects them, I ratherthink a few little things get on to the paper that soundnicely to us, but would not strike mother very agreeably.For instance, last night Charley wrote :"Is your mother never unwell? A nice little headache ortwo would be so convenient to us !"And I wrote back."You dear old horrid thing! How can you be soselfish ?"January 15, 1833.-I have been trying to think whether Iam any happier to-day than I was at this time a year ago.If I am not, I suppose it is the tantalizing way in which Iam placed in regard to Charley. We have so much to say toeach other that we can't say before mother, and that we can-not say in writing, because a correspondence is one of theforbidden things. He says he entered into no contract notto write, and keeps slipping little notes into my hand; but Idon't think that quite right. Mother hears us arguing anddisputing about it, though she does not know the subjectunder discussion, and to day she said to me :"I would not argue with him, if I were you. He neverwill yield."" But it is a case of conscience," I said, "and he ought toyield."" There is no obstinacy like that of a f-," she began andstopped short."Oh, you may as well finish it " I cried. "I know youthink him a fool."Then mother burst out :"Oh, my child," she said, "before it is too late, do be per-suaded by me to give up this whole thing. I shrink frompaining or offending you, but it is my duty, as your mother,to warn you against a marriage that will make shipwreck ofyour happiness."" Marriage !" I fairly shrieked out. That is the last thingI have ever thought of. I felt a chill creep over me. All I
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 31had wanted was to have Charley come here every day, takeme out now and then, and care for nobody else."Yes, marriage/" mother repeated. "For what is themeaning of an engagement if marriage is not to follow ? Howcan you fail to see, what I see, oh so plainly, that CharleyUnderhill never, never can meet the requirements of yoursoul. You are captivated by what girls of your age callbeauty, regular features, a fair complexion and soft eyes. Hisflatteries delude, and his professions of affection gratify you.You do not see that he is shallow, and conceited, and selfishand"-"Oh, mother How can you be so unjust I His wholestudy seems to be to please others."" Seems to be-that is true," she replied. His ruling passionis love of admiration ; the little pleasing acts that attract youare so many traps set to catch the attention and the favour-able opinion of those about him. He has not one honestdesire to please because it is right to be pleasing. Oh, myprecious child, what a fatal mistake you are making in relyingon your own judgment in this, the most important of earthlydecisions !"I felt very angry."I thought the Bible forbade backbiting," I said.Mother made no reply, except by a look which said abouta hundred and forty different things. And then I came uphere and wrote some poetry, which was very good (for me),though I don't suppose she would think so.October 1.-The year of probation is over, and I havenothing to do now but to be happy. But being engaged is nothalf so nice as I expected it would be ; I suppose it is owingto my being obliged to defy mother's judgment in order togratify my own. People say she has great insight intocharacter, and sees, at a glance, what others only learn aftermuch study.October 10.-I have taken a dreadful cold. It is too bad.
32 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.I dare say I shall be coughing all winter, and instead of goingout with Charley, be shut up at home.October 12.-Charley says he did not know that I was sub-ject to a cough, and that he hopes I am not consumptive,because his father and mother both died of consumption,and it makes him nervous to hear people cough. I nearlystrangled myself all the evening trying not to annoy himwith mine.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 33IV.November 2.-I really think I am ill and going to die.Last night I raised a little blood. I dare not tell mother, itwould distress her so, but I am sure it came from my lungs.Charley said last week he really must stay away till I gotbetter, for my cough sounded like his mother's. I havebeen very lonely, and have shed some tears, but most of thetime have been too sorrowful to cry. If we were married,and I had a cough, would he go and leave me, I wonder ?Sunday, 18.-Poor mother is dreadfully anxious aboutme. But I don't see how she can love me so, after the way Ihave behaved. I wonder if, after all, mothers are not thebest friends there are! I keep her awake with my coughall night, and am mopy and cross all day, but she is just askind and affectionate as she can be.November 25.-The day I wrote that was Sunday. Icould not go to church, and I felt very forlorn and desolate.I tried to get some comfort by praying, but when I goton my knees, I just burst out crying and could not say aword. For I have not seen Charley for ten days. As Iknelt there I began to think myself a perfect monster ofselfishness for wanting him to spend his evenings with me,now that I am so unwell and annoy him so with my cough,and I asked myself if I ought not to break off the engage-ment altogether, if I was really in a consumption, the verydisease Charley dreaded most of all. It seemed such aproper sacrifice to make of. myself. Then I prayed-yes, Iam sure I really prayed as I had not done for more than ayear, and the idea of self-sacrifioe grew every moment moreC
34 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.beautiful in my eyes, till at last I felt an almost joyfultriumph in writing to poor Charley, and telling him what Ihad resolved to do.This is my letter:MY DEAR, DEAR CHALEY,-I dare not tell you what itcosts me to say what I am about to do; but I am sure youknow me well enough by this time to believe that it is onlybecause your happiness is far more precious to me than myown, that I have decided to write you this letter. Whenyou first told me that you loved me, you said, and you haveoften said so since then, that it was my "brightness andgaiety" that attracted you. I knew there was somethingunderneath my gaiety better worth your love, and was gladI could give you more than you asked for. I knew I wasnot a mere thoughtless, laughing girl, but that I had aheart as wide as the ocean to give you-as wide and asdeep.But now my "brightness and gaiety" have gone; I amill, and perhaps am going to die. If this is so, it would be-very sweet to have your love go with me to the very gatesof death and beautify and glorify my path thither. Butwhat a weary task this would be to you, my poor Charley !And so, if you think it best, and it would relieve you of anycare and pain, I will release you from our engagement andset you free. Youn LITTLE KATY.Sdid not sleep at all that night. Early on Monday I sentoff my letter, and my heart beat so hard all day that I wastired and faint. Just at dark his answer came: I can copyit from memory.DEAR KATE,-What a generous, self-sacrificing littlething you are! I always thought so, but now you havegiven me a noble proof of it. I will own that I have beendisappointed to find your constitution so poor, and that ithas been very dull sitting and hearing you cough, especiallyas I was reminded of the long and tedious illness throughwhich poor Jenny and myself had to nurse our mother. Ivowed then never to marry a consumptive woman, and I
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 35thank you for making it so easy for me to bring our engage-ment to an end. My bright hopes are blighted, and it willbe long before I shall find another to fill your place. Ineed not say how much I sympathise with you in this dis-appointment. I hope the consolations of religion will nowbe yours. Your notes, the lock of your hair, etc., I returnwith this. I will not reproach you for the pain you havecost me; I know it is not your fault that your health hasbecome so frail I remain, your sincere friend,CHARLES UNDERHILL.January 1, 1834.-Let me finish this story if I can.My first impulse after reading his letter was to fly tomother, and hide away for ever in her dear, loving arms.But I restrained myself, and with my heart beating sothat I could hardly hold my pen, I wrote this:MR UNDERHILL: Sir,-The scales have fallen from myeyes, and I see you at last just as you are. Since my noteto you on Sunday last, I have had a consultation of physi-cians, and they all agree that my disease is not of an alarm-ing character, and that I shall soon recover. But I thankGod that before it was too late, you have been revealed tome just as you are-a heartless, selfish, shallow creature,unworthy the love of a true-hearted woman, unworthy evenof your own self-respect. I gave you an opportunity towithdraw from our engagement in full faith, loving you satruly that I was ready to go trembling to my grave alone ifyou shrank from sustaining me to it. But I see now that Idid not dream for one moment that you would take me atmy word and leave me to my fate. I thought I loved aman, and could lean on him when strength failed me. Iknow now that I loved a mere creature of my imagination.Take back your letters; I loathe the sight of them. Takeback the ring, and find, if you can, a woman who will neverbe sick, never out of spirits, and who never will die. Thankheaven it is not KATHERINE MORTIMER.These lines came to me in reply:
36 STEPPING HEAVENWARD."Thank God it is not Kate Mortimer. I want an angel formy wife, not a vixen. C. U."January 15.-What a tempest-tossed creature this birth-day finds me But let me finish this wretched, disgracefulstory, if I can, before I quite lose my senses.I showed my mother the letters. She burst into tears, andopened her arms, and I ran into them as a wounded birdflies into the ark. We cried together. Mother never said,never looked-"I told you so." All she did say was this :"God has heard my prayers! He is reserving betterthings for my child !"Dear mother's are not the only arms I have flown to. Butit does not seem as if God ought to take me in because I amin trouble, when I would not go to Him when I was happyin something else. But even in the midst of my greatestfelicity I had many and many a misgiving; many a seasonwhen my conscience upbraided me for my wilfulness towardsmy dear mother, and my whole soul yearned for somethinghigher and better even than Charley's love, precious as itwas.January 26.-I have shut myself up in my room to-dayto think over things. The end of it is, that I am full of morti-fication and confusion of face. If I had only had confidencein mother's judgment I should never have got entangled inthis silly engagement. I see now that Charley never couldhave made me happy, and I know there is a good deal in myheart he never called out. I wish, however, I had notwritten him when I was in such a passion. No wonder heis thankful that he has got free from such a vixen. But, oh!"the provocation was terrible !I have made up my mind never to tell a human soul aboutthis affair. It will be so high-minded and honourable toshield him thus from the contempt he deserves. With allmy faults I am glad that there is nothing mean or littleabout me!
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 37January 27.-I can't bear to write it down, but I will.The ink was hardly dry yesterday on the above self-lauda-tion when Amelia came. She had been out of town, andhad only just learned what had happened. Of course shewas curious to know the whole story.And I told it to her, every word of it! Oh, KateMortimer, how "high-minded" you are How free from allthat is "mean and little!" I could tear my hair if it woulddo any good !Amelia defended Charley, and I was thus led on to sayevery harsh thing of him I could think of. She said hewas of so sensitive a nature, had so much sensibility, andsuch a constitutional aversion to seeing suffering, that forher part she could not blame him." It is such a pity you had not had your lungs examinedbefore you wrote that first letter," she went on. " But youare so impulsive! If you had only waited you would beengaged to Charley still !""I am thankful I did not wait," I cried, angrily. " Do,Amelia, drop the subject for ever. You and I shall neveragree upon it. The truth is, you are two-thirds in love withhim, and have been all along."She coloured, and laughed, and actually looked pleased.If any one had made such an outrageous speech to me, Ishould have been furious."I suppose you know," said she, "that old Mr Underhillhas taken such a fancy to him that he has made him hisheir; and he is as rich as a Jew.""Indeed !" I said, dryly.I wonder if mother knew it when she opposed our engage-ment so strenuously.January 31.-I have-asked her, and she said she did. MrUnderhill told her his intentions when he urged her consentto the engagement. Dear mother I How unworldly, howunselfish she is!February 4.-The name of Charley Underhill appears on
38 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.these pages for the last time. He is engaged to AmeliaFrom this moment she is lost to me for ever. How desolate,how mortified, how miserable I am! Who could havethought this of Amelia! She came to see me, radiant withjoy. I concealed my disgust until she said that Charley feltnow that he had never really loved me, but had preferredher all along. Then I burst out. What I said I do notknow, and do not care. The whole thing is so disgracefulthat I should be a stock or a stone not to resent it.February 5.-After yesterday's passion of grief, shame, andanger, I feel perfectly stupid and languid. Oh, that I wasprepared for a better world, and could fly to it and be atrest!February 6.-Now that it is all over, how ashamed I amof the fury I have been in, and which has given Amelia suchadvantage over me I was beginning to believe that I wasreally living a feeble and fluttering, but real Christian life,and finding some satisfaction in it. But that is all overnow. I am doomed to be a victim of my own unstable, pas-sionate, wayward nature, and the sooner I settle down intothat conviction, the better. And yet how my very soulcraves the highest happiness, and refuses to be comfortedwhile that is wanting.February 7.-After writing that, I do not know what mademe go to see Dr Cabot. He received me in that cheerfulway of his that seems to promise the taking one's burdenright off one's back." I am very glad to see you, my dear child," he said.I intended to be very dignified and cold. As if I wasgoing to have any Dr Cabots undertaking to sympathizewith me / But those few kind words just upset me, and Ibegan to cry."You would not speak so kindly," I got out at st, "ifyou knew what a dreadful creature I am. I am angry with )myself, and angry with everybody, and angry with God. I
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STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 39can't be good two minutes at a time. I do everything I donot want to do, and do nothing I try and pray to do. Every-body plagues me and tempts me. And God does not answerany of my prayers, and I am just desperate.""Poor child !" he said, in a low voice, as if to himself."Poor, heart-sick, tired child, that cannot see what I cansee, that it's Father's loving arms are all about it!"I stopped crying, to strain my ears to listen. He wenton-"Katy, all that you say may be true. I daresay it is.But God loves you. He loves you.""He loves me," I repeated to myself. "He loves me.Oh, Dr Cabot, if I could believe that! If I could believethat, after all the promises I have broken, all the foolish,wrong things I have done, and shall always be doing, Godperhaps still loves me !""You may be sure of it," he said, solemnly. "I, hisminister, bring the gospel to you to-day. Go home and sayover and over to yourself, 'I am a wayward, foolish child.But He loves me I have disobeyed and grieved Him tenthousand times. But He loves me! I have lost faith insome of my dearest friends and am very desolate. But Heloves me! I do not love Him, I am even angry with Him !But He loves me !'"I came away, and all the way home I fought this battlewith myself, saying, "He loves me!" I knelt down topray, and all my wasted, childish, wicked life came andstared me in the face. I looked at it, and said with tearsof joy, "But He loves me !" Never in my life did I feel sorested, so quieted, so sorrowful, and yet so satisfied.February 10.-What a beautiful world this is, and howfull it is of truly kind, good people ? Mrs Morris was herethis morning, and just one squeeze of that long, yellow oldhand of hers seemed to speak a book-full! I wonder whyI have always disliked her so, for she is really an excellentwoman. I gave her a good kiss to pay her for the sympathyshe had sense enough not to put into canting words, and if
40 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.you will believe it, dear old journal, the tears came into hereyes, and she said-"You are one of the Lord's beloved ones, though perhapsyou do not know it."I repeated again to myself those sweet, mysterious words,and then I tried to think what I could do for Him. But Icould not think of anything great or good enough. I wentinto mother's room and put my arms round her and toldher how I loved her. She looked surprised and pleased." Ah, I knew it would come !" she said, laying her handon her Bible." Knew what would come, mother ?"" Peace," she said.I came back here and wrote a little note to Amelia, tellingher how ashamed and sorry I was that I could not controlmyself the other day. Then I wrote a long letter to James.I have been very careless about writing to him.Then I began to hem those handkerchiefs mother askedme to finish amonth ago. But I could not think of anythingto do for God. I wish I could. It makes me so happy tothink that all this time, while I was caring for nobody butmyself, and fancying He must almost hate me, He wasloving and pitying me.February 15.-I went to see Dr Cabot again to-day. Hecame down from his study with his pen in his hand." How dare you come and spoil my sermon on Saturday ?"he asked, good-humouredly.Though he seemed full of loving-kindness, I was ashamedof my thoughtlessness. Though I did not know he was par-ticularly busy on Saturdays. If I were a minister I amsure I would get my sermons done early in the week."I only wanted to ask one thing," I said. "I want to dosomething for God. And I cannot think of anything unlessit is to go on a -mission. And mother would never let medo that. She thinks girls with delicate health are not fitfor such work.""At all events I would not go to-day," he replied. " Mean-4K
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 41.while do everything you do for Him who has loved you andgiven Himself for you."I did not dare to stay any longer, and so came away quitepuzzled. Dinner was ready, and as I sat down to the table,I said to myself-"I eat this dinner for myself, not for God. What can DrCabot mean " Then I remembered the text about doingall for the glory of God, even in eating and drinking; but Ido not understand it at all.February 19.-It has seemed to me for several days thatit must be that I really do love God, though ever so little.But it shot through my mind to-day like a knife, that it isa miserable, selfish love at the best, not worth my giving,not worth God's accepting. All my old misery has comeback with seven other miseries more miserable than itself.I wish I had never been born I wish I were thoughtlessand careless, like so many other girls of my age, who seemto get along very well, and to enjoy themselves far morethan I do.February 21.-Dr Cabot came to see me to-day. Itold him all about it. He could not help smiling as hesaid-" When I see a little infant caressing its mother, wouldyou have me say to it, 'You selfish child, how dare you pre-tend to caress your mother in that way ? You are quiteunable to appreciate her character; you love her merely be-cause she loves you, treats you kindly ?'"It was my turn to smile now, at my own folly."You are as yet but a babe in Christ," Dr Cabot con-.tinued. "You love your God and Saviour because He firstloved you. The time will come when the character of yourlove will become changed into one which sees and feels thebeauty and the perfection of its object, and if you could beassured that He no longer looked on you with favour, youwould still cling to Him with devoted affection.""There is one thing more that troubles me," I said.
42 STEPPING HEAVENWARD." Most persons know the exact moment when they beginreal Christian lives. But I do not know of any such time inmy history. This causes me many uneasy moments.""You are wrong in thinking that most persons have this'advantage over you. I believe that the children of Christianparents, who have been judiciously trained, rarely can pointto any day or hour when they began to live this new life.The question is not, Do you remember, my child, whenyou entered this world, and how? It is simply this, Areyou now alive and an inhabitant thereof? And now it is myturn to ask you a question. How happens it that you, whohave a mother of rich and varied experience, allow yourselfto be tormented with these petty anxieties which she is ascapable of dispelling as I am ?""I do not know," I answered. " But we girls can't talkto our mothers about any of our sacred feelings, and wehate to have them talk to us."Dr Cabot shook his head."There is something wrong somewhere," he said. "Ayoung girl's mother is her natural refuge in every perplexity.I hoped that you, who have rather more sense than mostgirls of your age, could give me some idea what the diffi-culty is."After he had gone, I am ashamed to own that I was in aperfect flutter of delight at what he had said about myhaving more sense than most girls. Meeting poor motheron the stairs while in this exalted state of mind, I gave hera very short answer to a kind question, and made her un-happy, as I have made myself.It is just a year ago to-day that I got frightened at mynovel-reading propensities, and resolved not to look intoone for twelve months. I was getting to dislike all otherbooks, and night after night sat up late, devouring every-thing exciting I could get hold of. One Saturday night Isat up till the clock struck twelve, to finish one, and thenext morning I was so sleepy that I had to stay at homefrom church. Now I hope and believe the back of thistaste is broken, and that I shall never be a slave to it again.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 43Indeed it does not seem to me now that I shall ever care forsuch books again.February 24.-Mother spoke to me this morning for thefiftieth time, I really believe, about my disorderly habits.I don't think I am careless because I like confusion, but thetrouble is I am always in a hurry and a ferment aboutsomething. If I want anything, I want it very much, andat once. So if I am looking for a book, or a piece of music,or a pattern, I tumble everything around, and can't stop toput them to rights. I wish I were not so eager and im-patient. But 1 mean to try to keep my room and mydrawers in order, to please mother.She says, too, that I am growing careless about my hairand my dress. But that is because my mind is so full ofgraver, and more important things. I thought I ought tobe wholly occupied with my duty to God. But mother saysduty to God includes duty to one's neighbour, and thatuntidy hair, put up in all sorts of rough bunches, rumpledcuffs and collars, and all that sort of thing, make oneoffensive to all one meets. I am sorry she thinks so, forI find it very convenient to twist up my hair almost any-how, and it takes a good deal of time to look after collarsand cuffs.March 14.-Te-day I feel discouraged and disappointed.I certainly thought that if God really loved me, and I reallyloved Him, I should find myself growing better day by day.But I am not improved in the least. Most of the time Ispend on my knees I am either stupid, feeling nothing atall, or else my head is full of what I was doing before Ibegan to pray, or what I am going to do as soon as I getthrough. I do not believe anybody else in the world is likeme in this respect. Then when I feel differently, and canmake a nice, glib prayer, with floods of tears running downmy cheeks, I get all puffed up, and think how much pleasedGod must be to see me so fervent in spirit. I go down-stairs in this frame, and begin to scold Susan for misplacing
44 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.my music, till all of a sudden I catch myself doing it, andstop short, crest-fallen and confounded. I have so manysuch experiences that I feel like a baby just learning towalk, who is so afraid of falling that it has half a mind tosit down once for all.Then there is another thing. Seeing mother so fond ofThomas h Kempis, I have been reading it now and then,and am not fond of it at all. From beginning to end itexhorts to self-denial in every form and shape. Must Ithen give up all hope of happiness in this world, andmodify all my natural tastes and desires ? Oh, I do love soto be happy! And I do so hate to suffer! The verythought of being ill, or of being forced to nurse sick people,with all their cross ways, and of losing my friends, or ofhaving to live with disagreeable people, makes me shudder.I want to please God, and to be like Him. I certainly do.But I am so young, and it is so natural to want to have agood time And now I am in for it I may as well tell thewhole story. When I read the lives of good men andwomen who have died and gone to heaven, I find they allliked to sit and think about God and about Christ. Now Idon't. I often try, but my mind flies off in a tangent. Thetruth is I am perfectly discouraged.March 17.-I went to see Dr Cabot to-day, but he wasout, so I thought I would ask for Mrs Cabot, though I wasdetermined not to tell her any of my troubles. But some-how she got the whole story out of me, and instead of beingshocked, as I expected she would be, she actually burst outlaughing She recovered herself immediately, however." Do excuse me for laughing at you, you dear child you!"she said. " But I remember so well how I used to flounderthrough just such needless anxieties, and life looks sodifferent, so very different, to me now, from what it didthen What should you think of a man, who having justsowed his field, was astonished not to see it at once ripe forthe harvest, because his neighbour's, after long months ofwaiting, was just being gathered in 1"
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 45"Do you mean," I asked, "that by and by I shallnaturally come to feel and think as other good people do ?""Yes, I do. You must make the most of what littleChristian life you have; be thankful God has given you somuch, cherish it, pray over it, and guard it like the apple ofyour eye. Imperceptibly, but surely, it will grow, and keepon growing, for this is its nature."" But I don't want to wait," I said despondently. " I havejust been reading a delightful book, full of stories of heroicdeeds-not fables, but histories of real events and realpeople. It has quite stirred me up, and made me wish topossess such beautiful heroism, and that I were a man, thatI might have a chance to perform some truly noble self-sacrificing acts."" I daresay your chance will come," she replied, "thoughyou are not a man. I fancy we all get, more or less, whatwe want.""Do you really think so ? Let me see then, what I wantmost. But am I staying too long? Were you particularlybusy ?""No," she returned smilingly, "I am learning 'that theman who wants me is the man I want.'""You are very good to say so. Well, in the first place,I do really and truly want to be good. Not with commongoodness, you know, but ""But uncommon goodness," she put in." I mean that I want to be very, very good. I shouldlike next best to be learned and accomplished. Then Ishould want to be perfectly well and perfectly happy. Anda pleasant home of course, I must have, with friends to loveme, and like me, too. And I can't get along without somepretty tasteful things about me. But you are laughing atme! Have I said anything foolish W""If I laughed, it was not at you, but at poor humannature, that would fain grasp everything at once. Allowingthat you should possess all you have just described, whereis the heroism you so much admire to find room forexercise ?"
46 STEPPING HEAVENWARD."That's just what I was saying. That is just whattroubles me."" To be sure, while perfectly well and happy,.in a pleasanthome, with friends to love and admire you.""Oh, I did not say admire," I interrupted."That was just what you meant, my dear."I am afraid it was, now I come to think it over."Well, with plenty of friends, good in an uncommon way,accomplished, learned, and surrounded with pretty andtasteful objects, your life will certainly be in danger of notproving very sublime.""It is a great pity," I said, musingly." Suppose, then, you content yourself for the present withdoing in a faithful, quiet, persistent way, all the little homelytasks that return with each returning day, each one as untoGod, and perhaps by and by you will thus have gainedstrength for a more heroic life.""But I don't know how.""You have some little home duties, I suppose ?""Yes; I have the care of my own room, and motherwants me to have a general oversight of the parlour; youknow we have but one parlour now.""Is that all you have to do I""Why, my music and drawing take up a good deal of mytime, and I read and study more or less, and go out a little,and we have a good many visitors.""I suppose, then, you keep your room in nice, ladylikeorder, and that the parlour is dusted every morning, loosemusic put out of the way, books restored to their places.""Now I know mother has been telling you.""Your mother has told me nothing at all.""Well, then," I said, laughing, but a little ashamed, "Idon't keep my room in nice order, and mother really sees tothe parlour herself, though I pretend to do it."" And is she never annoyed by this neglect ?"" Oh, yes, very much annoyed.""Then, dear Katy, suppose your first act of heroism to-morrow should be the gratifying your mother in these little
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 47things, little though they are. Surely your first duty, nextto pleasing God, is to please your mother, and in everypossible way to sweeten and beautify her life. You maydepend upon it that a life of real heroism and self-sacrificemust begin and lay its foundation in this little world, whereinit learns its first lesson and takes its first steps.""And do you really think that God notices such littlethings ""My dear child, what a question! If there is any onetruth I would gladly impress on the mind of a youngChristian, it is just this, that God notices the most trivialact, accepts the poorest, most threadbare little service, listensto the coldest, feeblest petition, and gathers up with parentalfondness all our fragmentary desires and attempts at goodworks. Oh, if we could only begin to conceive how He lovesus, what different creatures we should be !"I felt inspired by her enthusiasm, though I don't think Iquite understand what she means. I did not dare to stayany longer, for, with her great host of children, she musthave her hands full.March 25.-Mother is very much astonished to see hownicely I am keeping things in order. I was flying about thismorning, singing, and dusting the furniture, when she camein and began, " He that is faithful in that which is least "-but I ran at her with my brush, and would not let her finish.I really, really don't deserve to be praised. For I have beenthinking that, if it is true that God notices every little thingwe do to please Him, He must also notice every cross wordwe speak, every shrug of the shoulders, every ungraciouslook, and that they displease Him. And my list of suchoffences is as long as my life !.March 29.-Yesterday for the first time since that dread-ful blow, I felt some return of my natural gaiety and cheer-fulness. It seemed to come hand in hand with my first realeffort to go so far out of myself as to try to do exactly whatwould gratify dear mother.
48 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.But to-day I am all down again. I miss Amelia's friend.ship, for one thing. To be sure I wonder how I ever cameto love such a superficial character so devotedy, but I musthave somebody to love, and perhaps I invented a lovelycreature, and called it by her name, and bowed down toit and worshipped it. I certainly did so in regard to himwhose heartless cruelty has left me so sad, so desolate.Evening.-Mother has been very patient and forbearingwith me all day. To-night, after tea, she said, in hergentlest, tenderest way-"Dear Katy, I feel very sorry for you. But I see one pathwhich you have not yet tried, which can lead you out ofthese sore straits. You have tried living for yourself a goodmany years, and the result is great weariness and heavinessof soul. Try now to live for others. Take a class in theSunday-school. Go with me to visit my poor people. Youwill be astonished to find how much suffering and sicknessthere is in this world, and how delightful it is to sympathizewith and try to relieve it."This advice was very repugnant to me. My time is prettyfully occupied with my books, my music, and my drawing.And of all places in the world I hate a sick-room. But, onthe whole, I will take a class in the Sunday-school
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 49VI.April 6.-I have taken it at last. I would not take onebefore, because I knew I could not teach little children howto love God, unless I loved Him myself. My class is perfectlydelightful. There are twelve dear little things in it, of allages between eight and nine. Eleven are girls, and the oneboy makes me more trouble than all of them put together.When I get them all about me, and their sweet innocentfaces look up into mine, I am so happy that I can hardly helpstopping every now and then to kiss them. They ask thevery strangest questions I mean to spend a great deal of timein preparing the lesson, and in hunting up stories to illustrateit. Oh, Iam so glad I was ever born into this beautiful world,where there will always be dear little children to love !Ar 13.-Sunday has come again, and with it my darlinglittle class Dr Cabot has preached delightfully all day, andI feel that I begin to understand his preaching better, andthat it must do me good. I long, I truly long to please God;I long to feel as the best Christians feel, and to live as theylive.April 20.-Now that I have these twelve little ones to in-struct, I am more than ever in earnest about setting them agood example through the week. It is true they do not,most of them, know how I spend my time, nor how I act.But I know, and whenever I am conscious of not practisingwhat I preach, I am bitterly ashamed and grieved. Howmuch work, badly done, I am now having to undo! If Ihad begun in earnest to serve God when I was as young asthese children are, how many wrong habits I should haveD
50 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.avoided ; habits that entangle me now as in so many nets. Iam trying to take each of these little gentle girls by the handand to lead her to Christ. Poor Johnny Ross is not so docileas they are, and tries my patience to the last degree.April 27.-This morning I had all my little flock about meand talked to them out of the very bottom of my heart aboutJesus. They left their seats and got close to me in a circle,leaning on my lap and drinking in every word. All of asudden I was aware, as by a magnetic influence, that a greatlumbering man in the next seat was looking at me out of twoof the blackest eyes I ever saw, and evidently listening towhat I was saying. I was disconcerted first, then angry.What impertinence What rudeness! I am sure he musthave seen my displeasure in my face for he got up what Isuppose he meant for a blush, that is, he turned severalshades darker than he was before, giving one the idea that heis full of black rather than red blood. I should not haveremembered it, however-by it I mean his impertinence-ifhe had not shortly after made a really excellent address tothe children. Perhaps it was a little above their comprehen-sion, but it showed a good deal of thought and earnestness.I meant to ask who he was, but forgot.This has been a delightful Sunday. I have really feastedon Dr Cabot's preaching. But I am satisfied that there issomething in religion I do not yet apprehend. I do wish Ipositively knew that God had forgiven and accepted me.May 6.-Last evening Clara Ray had a little party, and Iwas there. She has a great knack at getting the right sortof people together, and of making them enjoy themselves.I sang several songs, and so did Clara, but they all saidmy voice was finer, and in better training, than hers. It isdelightful to be with cultivated, agreeable people. I couldhave stayed all night, but mother sent for me before any oneelse had thought of going.May 7.-I have been on a charming excursion to-day,
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 51with Clara Ray and all her set. I was rather tired, buthad an invitation to a concert this evening, which I couldnot resist.July 21.-So much has been going on that I have not hadtime to write. There is no end to the picnics, drives, parties,etc., this summer. I am afraid that I am not getting on atall. My prayers are dull and short, and full of wanderingthoughts. I am brimful of vivacity and good humour incompany, and as soon as I get home am stupid and peevish.I suppose this will always be so, as it always has been; andI declare I would rather be so than such a vapid, flat crea-ture as Mary Jones, or such a dull, heavy one as big LucyMerrilLJuly 24.-Clara Ray says the girls think me reckless andimprudent in speech. I've a good mind not to go with herset any more. I am afraid I have been a good deal dazzledby the attentions I have received of late; and now comesthis blow at my vanity.On the whole, I feel greatly out of sorts this evening.July 28.-People talk about happiness to be found in aChristian life. I wonder why I do not find more On Sun-days I am pretty good, and always seem to start afresh;but on week-days I am drawn along with those about me.All my pleasures are innocent ones; there is surely noharm in going to concerts, driving out, singing, and makinglittle visits But these things distract me; they absorbme; they make religious duties irksome. I almost wish Icould shut myself up in a cell, and so get out of the reach oftemptation.The truth is, the journey heavenward is all up hill. Ihave to force myself to keep on. The wonder is that any-body gets there with so much to oppose-so little to helpone !July 29.-It is high time to stop and think. I have beep
52 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.like one running a race, and am stopping to take breath. Ido not like the way in which things have been going on oflate. I feel restless and ill at ease. I see that if I wouldbe happy in God, I must give Him all. And there is awicked reluctance to do that. I want Him-but I want tohave my own way, too, I want to walk humbly and softlybefore Him, and I want to go where I shall be admired andapplauded. To whom shall I yield I To God 7 Or to my-selfJuly 30.-I met Dr Cabot to-day, and could not help ask-ing the question-" Is it right for me to sing and play in company, when allI do it for is to be admired 1""Are you sure it is all you do it for 1" he returned." Oh," I said, " I suppose there may be a sprinkling ofdesire to entertain and please, mixed with the love of dis-play."" Do you suppose that your love of display, allowing youhave it, would be for ever slain by your merely refusing tosing in company."" I thought that might give it a pretty hard blow," I said,"if not its deathblow.""Meanwhile in punishing yourself you punish your poorinnocent friends," he said, laughing. " No, child, go on sing-ing; God has given you this power of entertaining andgratifying your friends. But pray, without ceasing, thatyou may sing from pure benevolence and not from pure self-love.""Why, do people pray about such things as that ?" Icried." Of course they do. Why, I would pray about my littlefinger, if my little finger went astray."I looked at his little finger, but saw no signs of its becom-ing schismatic.August 3.-This morning I took great delight in prayingfor my little scholars, and went to Sunday-school as on
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 53wings. But on reaching my seat, what was my horror tofind Maria Perry there !" Oh, your seat is changed," said she. " I am to have halfyour class, and I like this seat better than those higher up.I suppose you don't care "" But I do care," I returned ; "and you have taken myvery best children-the very sweetest and the very prettiest.I shall speak to Mr Williams about it directly.""At any rate, I would not fly into such a fury," she said."It is just as pleasant to me to have pretty children to teachas it is to you. Mr Williams said he had no doubt youwould be glad to divide your class with me, as it is so large;and I doubt if you gain anything by speaking to him."There was no time for further discussion, as school wasabout to begin. I went to my new seat with great disgust,and found it very inconvenient. The children could notcluster around me as they did before, and I got on with thelesson very badly. I am sure Maria Perry has no gift atteaching little children, and I feel quite vexed and disap-pointed. This has not been a profitable Sunday, and I amnow going to bed, cheerless and uneasy.August 9.-Mr Williams called this evening to say that Iam to have my old seat and all the children again. All themothers had been to see him, or had written him notesabout it, and requested ,that I might continue to teachthem. Mr Williams said he hoped I would go on teachingfor twenty years, and that as fast as his little girls grew oldenough to come to Sunday-school, he should want me totake charge of them. I should have been greatly elated bythese compliments, but for the display I made of myself toMaria Perry on Sunday. Oh, that I could learn to bridlemy unlucky tongue!January 15,'1835.-To-day I am twenty. That soundsvery old, yet I feel pretty much as I did before. I havebegun to visit some of mother's poor folks with her, and amastonished to see how they love her, and how plainly they
54 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.let her talk to them. As a general rule I do not think poorpeople are very interesting, and they are always ungrateful.We went first to see old Jacob Stone. I have been therea good many times with the baskets of nice things mothertakes such comfort in sending him, but never would go in.I was shocked to see how worn away he was. He seemedin great distress of mind, and begged mother to pray withhim. I do not see how she could. I am perfectly sure thatno earthly power could ever induce me to go round prayingon bare floors, with people sitting, rocking and staring allthe time, as the two Stone girls stared at mother. Howtenderly she prayed for him!We then went to see Susan Green. She had made acarpet for her room by sewing together little bits of piecesgiven her, I suppose by persons for whom she works, forshe goes about fitting and making carpets. It looked brightand cheerful. She had a nice bed in the corner, coveredwith a white quilt, and some little ornaments were arrangedabout the room. Mother complimented her on her neatness,and said a queen might sleep in such a bed as that, andhoped she found it as comfortable as it looked."Mercy on us !" she cried out, "it ain't to sleep in! Isleep up in a loft, that I climb to by a ladder every night."Mother looked a little amused, and then she sat andlistened, patiently, to a long account of how the poor oldthing had invested her money; how Mr Jones did not paythe interest regularly, and how Mr Stevens haggled aboutthe percentage. After we came away, I asked mother howshe could listen to such a rigmarole in patience, and whatgood she supposed she had done by her visit." Why the poor creature likes to show off her bright car-pet and nice bed, her chairs, her vases and her nick-nacks,and she likes to talk about her beloved money, and herbank stock. I may not have done her any good, but I havegiven her a pleasure, and so have you.""Why, I hardly spoke a word.""Yes, but your mere presence gratified her. And if sheever gets into trouble, she will feel kindly towards us for
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 55the sake of our sympathy with her pleasures, and will let ussympathise with her sorrows."I confess this did not seem a privilege to be coveted. Sheis not nice at all, and takes snuff.We went next to see Bridget Shannon. Mother had lostsight of her for some years, and had just heard that she wassick and in great want. We found her in bed; there wasno furniture in the room, and three little half-naked child-ren sat with their bare feet in some ashes where there hadbeen a little fire. Three such disconsolate faces I never saw.Mother sent me to the nearest baker's for bread; I nearlyran all the way, and I hardly know which I enjoyed most,mother's eagerness in distributing, or the children's inclutching at and devouring it. I am going to cut up one ortwo old dresses to make the poor things something to coverthem. One of them has lovely hair that would curl beauti-fully if it were only brushed out. I told her to come to seeme to-morrow, she is so very pretty.Those few visits used up the very time I usually spend indrawing. But on the whole I am glad I went with mother,because it has gratified her. Besides, one must either stopreading the Bible altogether, or else leave off spending one'swhole time in just doing easy pleasant things one likes todo.January 20.-The little Shannon girl came, and I washedher face and hands, brushed out her hair and made it curl inlovely golden ringlets all round her sweet face, and carriedher in great triumph to mother."Look at the dear little thing, mother !" I cried; "doesn'tshe look like a line of poetry ? ""You foolish, romantic child!" quoth mother. "Shelooks, to me, like a very ordinary line of prose. A slice ofbread and butter and a piece of gingerbread mean more toher than these elaborate ringlets possibly can. They get inher eyes, and make her neck cold; see, they are drippingwith water, and the child is all in a shiver."So saying, mother folded a towel round its neck, to catch
56 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.the falling drops, and went for bread and butter, of whichthe child consumed a quantity that was absolutely appalling.To crown all, the ungrateful little thing would not so muchas look at me from that moment, but clung to mother, turn-ing its back upon me in supreme contempt.Moral.-Mothers occasionally know more than theirdaughters do.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 57VII.JanuaryS4.-A message came yesterday morning from SusanGreen to the effect that she had had a dreadful fall, and washalf-killed. Mother wanted to set off at once to see her, butI would not let her go, as she has one of her worst colds.She then asked me to go in her place. I turned up my noseat the bare thought, though I dare say it turns up enough onits own account."0, mother!" I said, reproachfully, "that dirty oldwoman !"Mother made no answer, and I sat down at the piano, andplayed a little. But I only played discords." Do you think it is my duty to run after such horrid oldwomen I" I asked mother, at last."I think, dear, you must make your own duties," she saidkindly. "I dare say that at your age I should have madea great deal out of my personal repugnance to such a womanas Susan, and very little out of her sufferings."I believe I am the most fastidious creature in the world.Sick rooms with their intolerable smells of camphor, andvinegar, and mustard, their gloom and their whims and theirgroans, actually make me shudder. But was it not just suchfastidiousness that made Cha-no, I won't utter his name-that made somebody weary of my possibilities ? And hasthat terrible lesson really done me no good ?January 26.-No sooner had I written the above than Iscrambled into my cloak and bonnet, and flew, on the wingsof holy indignation, to Susan Green. Such wings fly fast,and got me a little out of breath. Ifound herlying on thatnice white bed of hers, in a frilled cap and night gown. It
58 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.seems she fell from her ladder in climbing to the dismal denwhere she sleeps, and lay all night in great distress with someserious internal injury. I found her groaning and complain-ing in a fearful way."Are you in such pain 1" I asked, as kindly as I could."It isn't the pain," she said, "it isn't the pain. It's theway my nice bed is going to wreck and ruin, and the starchall getting out of my frills that I fluted with my own hands.And the doctor's bill, and the medicines, oh, dear, dear,dear !"Just then the doctor came in. After examining her, hesaid to a woman who seemed to have charge of her,-"Are you the nurse ?"" Oh, no, I only stepped in to see what I could do forher."" Who is to be with her to-night, then ?"Nobody knew." I will send a nurse, then," he said. " But some one elsewill be needed also," he added, looking at me." I will stay," I said. But my heart died within me.The doctor took me aside." Her injuries are very serious," he said. " If she has anyfriends they ought to be sent for.""You don't mean that she is going to die ?" I asked."I fear she is. But not immediately." He took leave,and I went back to the bed-side. I saw there no longer asnuffy, repulsive old woman, but a human being about tomake that mysterious journey to a far country whence thereis no return. Oh, how I wished mother were there !" Susan," I said, " have you any relatives ?""No, I haven't," she answered sharply. "And if I hadthey needn't come prowling around me. I don't want norelations about my body."" Would you like to see Dr Cabot ?""What should I want of Dr Cabot ? Don't tease, child."Considering the deference with which she had heretoforetreated me, this was quite a new order of things.I sat down, and tried to pray for her, silently, in my
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 59heart. Who was to go with her on that long journey, andwhere was it to endThe woman who had been caring for her now went away,and it was growing dark. I sat still, listening to my ownheart, which beat till it half-choked me." What were you and the doctor whispering about ?" shesuddenly burst out." He asked me, for one thing, if you had any friends thatcould be sent for 1"" I have been my own best friend," she returned. " Who 'dhave raked and scraped and hoarded and counted for SusanGreen if I hadn't ha' done it ? I've got enough to makeme comfortable as long as I live, and when I lie on mydying bed.""But you can't carry it with you," I said. This highlyoriginal remark was all I had courage to utter."I wish I could," she cried. " I suppose you think I talkawful. They say you are getting most to be as much of asaint as your ma. It's born in some, and in some it ain't.Do get a light. It's lonesome here in the dark, and cold."I was thankful enough to enliven the dark room withlight and fire. But I saw now that the thin, yellow, hardface had changed sadly. She fixed her two little black eyeson me, evidently startled by the expression of my face."Look here, child, I ain't hurt to speak of, am I ?"" The doctor says you are hurt seriously."My tone must have said more than my words did, for shecaught me by the wrist, and held me fast."He didn't say nothing about my-about it's beingdangerous I ain't dangerous, am I?" I felt ready tosink."O, Susan!" I gasped out; "you haven't any time tolose. You're going, you're going !"" Going ?" she cried; " Going where ? You don't meanto say I'm a dying ? Why, it beats all my calculations. Iwas going to live ever so many years, and save up ever somuch money, and then, when my time come, I was going toput on my best fluted night-gown and night-cap, and lay8L
60 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.my head on my handsome pillow, and draw the clothes upover me, neat and tidy, and die decent. Bdt here's my bedall in a toss, and my frills all in a crumple, and my room allupside down, and bottles of medicine setting around along-side of my vases, and nobody here but you, just a girl, andnothing else!"All this came out by jerks, as it were, and at intervals." Don't talk so!" I fairly screamed. " Pray, pray to Godto have mercy on you!"She looked at me, bewildered, but yet as if the truth hadreached her at last." Pray, yourself! " she said, eagerly. " I don't know how.I can't think. Oh, my time's come! my time's come!And I ain't ready! I ain't ready! Get down on yourknees, and pray with all your might and main."And I did; she holding my wrist tightly in her hardhand. All at once I felt her hold relax. After that thenext thing I knew I was lying on the floor, and somebodywas dashing water in my face.It was the nurse. She had come at last, and found meby the side of the bed, where I had fallen, and had beentrying to revive me ever since. I started up and lookedabout me. The nurse was closing Susan's eyes in a pro-fessional way, and performing other little services of thesort. The room wore an air of perfect desolation. Theclothes Susan had on when she fell lay in a forlorn heap ona chair; her shoes and stockings were thrown hither andthither; the mahogany bureau, in which she had taken somuch pride, was covered with vials, to make room forwhich some pretty trifles had been hastily thrust aside. Iremembered what I had once said to Mrs Cabot, abouthaving tasteful things about me, with a sort of shudder.What a mockery they are in the awful presence of death!Mother met me with open arms when I reached home.She was much shocked at what I had to tell, and at myhaving encountered such a scene alone. I should have feltmyself quite a heroine under her caresses, if I had not beenovercome with bitter regret that I had not, with firmness
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 61and dignity, turned poor Susan's last thoughts to herSaviour. Oh, how could I, through miserable cowardice,let those precious moments slip by!February 27.-I have learned one thing, by yesterday'sexperience, that is worth knowing. It is this : duty looksmore repelling at a distance than when fairly faced and met.Of course I have read the lines,Nor know we anything so fairAs is the smile upon thy face;but I seem to be one of the stupid sort who never apprehenda thing till they experience it. Now, however, I have seenthe smile, and find it so "fair," that I shall gladly plodthrough many a hardship and trial to meet it again.Poor Susan Perhaps God heard my eager prayer for hersoul, and revealed Himself to her at the very last moment.March 2.-Such a strange thing has happened! SusanGreen left a will, bequeathing her precious savings towhoever offered the last prayer in her hearing! I do notwant, I never could touch a penny of that hardly-earnedstore; and if I did, no earthly motive would tempt me to tella human being, that it was offered by me, an inexperienced,trembling girl,.driven to it by mere desperation So it hasgone to Dr Cabot, who will not use it for himself, I am sure,but will be delighted to have it to give to poor people, whoreally besiege him. The last time he called to see her hetalked and prayed with her, and says she seemed pleased andgrateful, and promised to be more regular at church, whichshe had been ever since.March 28.-I feel all out of sorts. Mother says it is owingto the strain I went through at Susan's dying bed. Shewants me to go to visit my aunt Mary, who is always urgingme to come. But I do not like to leave my little Sunday-scholars, nor to give mother the occasion to deny herself inorder to meet the expense of such a long journey. Besides,
62 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.I should have to have some new dresses, a new bonnet, andlots of things.To-day Dr Cabot has sent me some directions for which Ihave been begging him a long time. Lest I should wear outthis precious letter by reading it over, I will copy it here.After alluding to my complaint that I still "saw men as treeswalking," he says:"Yet he who first uttered this complaint had had his eyesopened by the Son of God, and so have you. Now Henever leaves His work incomplete, and He will graduallylead you into clear and open vision,.if you, will allow Him todo it. I say gradually, because I believe this to be Hisusual method, while I do not deny that there are cases wherelight suddenly bursts in like a flood. To return to the blindman. When Jesus found that his cure was not complete,He put His hands again upon his eyes, and made himlook up; and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.Now this must be done for you; and in order to haveit done you must go to Christ himself, not to one ofHis servants. Make your complaint, tell Him how obscureeverything still looks to you, and beg Him to complete yourcure. He may see fit to try your faith and patience bydelaying this completion; but meanwhile you are safe inHis presence, and while led by His hand, He will excuse themistakes you make, and pity your falls. But you willimagine that it is best that He should at once enable you tosee clearly. If it is, you may be sure He will do it. Henever makes mistakes. But He often deals far differentlywith His disciples. He lets them grope their way in thedark until they fully learn how blind they are, how helpless,how absolutely in need of Him."What His methods will be with you I cannot foretell.But you may be sure that He never works in an arbitrary way.He has a reason for everything He does. You may notunderstand why He leads you now in this way and now inthat, but you may, nay, you must believe that perfection isstamped on His every act."I am afraid that you are in danger of falling into an
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 63error only too common among young Christians. Youacknowledge that there has been enmity towards God in yoursecret soul, and that one of the first steps towards peace is tobecome reconciled to Him and to have your sins forgiven forChrist's sake. This done, you settle down with the feelingthat the great work of life is done, and that your salvation issure. Or, if not sure, that your whole business is to studyyour own case, to see whether you are really in a state ofgrace. Many persons never get beyond this point. Theyspend their whole time in asking the question:"'Do I love the Lord or no ?Am I His, or am I not ?"I beg you, my dear child, if you are doing this aimless,useless work, to stop short at once. Life is too precious tospend in a tread-mill. Having been pardoned by your Godand Saviour, the next thing you have to do is to show yourgratitude for this infinite favour by consecrating yourselfentirely to Him, body, soul,. and spirit. This is the least youcan do. He has bought you with a price, and you are nolonger your own. 'But,' you may reply, this is contrary tomy nature. Ilove my own way. I desire ease and pleasure;I desire to go to heaven, but I want to be carried thither ona bed of flowers. Can I not give myself so far to God as tofeel a sweet sense of peace with Him, and be sure of finalsalvation, and yet, to a certain extent, indulge and gratifymyself ? If I give myself entirely away to Him, and lose allownership in myself, He may deny me many things I greatlydesire. He may make my life hard and wearisome, deprivingme of all that now makes it agreeable.' But I reply, this isno matter of parley and discussion; it is -not optional withGod's children whether they will pay Him a part of the pricethey owe Him, and keep back the rest. He asks, and Hehas a right to ask, for all you have and all you are. And if youshrink from what is involved in such a surrender, you shouldfly to Him at once and never rest till He has conquered thissecret disinclination to give to Him as freely and as fully asHe has given to you. It is true that such an act of conse,
64 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.cration on your part may involve no little future disciplineand correction. As soon as you become the Lord's by yourown deliberate and conscious act, He will begin that processof sanctification which is to make you holy as He is holy, per-fect as He is perfect. He becomes at once your Physicianas well as your dearest and best Friend, but He will use nopainful remedy that can be avoided. Remember that it isHis will that you should be sanctified, and that the work ofmaking you holy is His, not yours. At the same time you arenot to sit with folded hands, waiting for this blessing. Youare to avoid laying hindrances in His way, and you are toexercise faith in Him as just as able and just as willing togive you sanctification as He was to give you redemption.And now if you ask how you may know that you have trulyconsecrated yourself to Him, I reply, observe every indicationof His will concerning you, no matter how trivial, and seewhether you at once close in with that will. Lay down thisprinciple as alaw-God does nothing arbitrary. If He takesaway your health, for instance, it is because He has somereason for doing so ; and this is true of everything you value;and if you have real faith in Him you will not insist onknowing this reason. If you find, in the course of dailyevents, that your self-consecration was not perfect-that is,that your will revolts at His will-do not be discouraged,but fly to your Saviour and stay in His presence till youobtain the spirit in which He cried in His hour of anguish,'Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: never-theless, not my will but Thine be done.' Every time you dothis it will be easier to do it; every such consent to sufferwill bring you nearer and nearer to Him ; and in this near-ness to Him you will find such peace, such blessed, sweetpeace, as will make your life infinitely happy, no matter whatmay be its mere outside conditions. Just think, my dearKaty, of the honour and the joy of having your will one withthe Divine will, and so becoming changed into Christ's image,from glory to glory!"But I cannot say, in a letter, the tithe of what I want tosay. Listen to my sermons from week to week, and glean
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 65from them all the instruction you can, remembering that theyare preached to you."In reading the Bible I advise you to choose detachedpassages, or even one verse a day, rather than whole chapters.Study every word, ponder and pray over it till you have gotout of it all the truth it contains."As to the other devotional reading, it is better to settledown on a few favourite authors, and read their works overand over and over until you have digested their thoughts andmade them your own." It has been said 'that a fixed, inflexible will is a greatassistance in a holy life.'"( You can will to choose for your associates those who aremost devout and holy."You can will to read books that will stimulate you inyour Christian life, rather than those that merely amuse." You can will to use every means of grace appointed byGod."You can will to spend much time in prayer, without re-gard to your frame at the moment." You can will to prefer a religion of principle to one ofmere feeling; in other words, to obey the will of God whenno comfortable glow of emotion accompanies your obedi-ence."You cannot will to possess the spirit of Christ; thatmust come as His gift, but you can choose to study His life,and to imitate it. This will infallibly lead to such self-denying work as visiting the poor, nursing the sick, givingof your time and money to the needy, and the like."If the thought of such self-denial is repugnant to you,remember that it is enough for the disciple to be as hisLord. And let me assure you that as you penetrate thelabyrinth of life in pursuit of Christian duty, you will oftenbe surprised and charmed by meeting your Master himselfamid its windings and turnings, and receive His soul-inepir-ing smile. Or, I should rather say, you will always meetHim, wherever you go."I have read this letter again and again It has takenE
66 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.such hold of me that I can think of nothing else. The ideaof seeking holiness had never so much as crossed my mind.And even now it seems like presumption for such a one asI to utter so sacred a word. And I shrink from commit-ting myself to such a pursuit, lest after a time I should fallback into the old routine. And I have an undefined, wickeddread of being singular, as well as a certain terror of self-denial and loss of all liberty. But no choice seems left tome. Now that my duty has been clearly pointed out to me,I do not stand where I did before. And I feel, mingledwith my indolence and love of ease and pleasure, some draw-ings towards a higher and better life. There is one thing Ican do, and that is to pray that Jesus would do for me whatHe did for the blind man-put His hands yet again uponmy eyes and make me to see clearly. And I will.March 30.-Yes, I have prayed, and He has heard me. Isee that I have no right to live for myself, and that I mustlive for Him. I have given myself to Him as I never didbefore, and have entered, as it were, a new world. I wasvery happy when I first began to believe in His love for me,and that He had redeemed me. But this new happiness isdeeper; it involves something higher than getting to heavenat last, which has, hitherto, been my great aim.March 31.-The more I pray, and the more I read theBible, the more I feel my ignorance. And the more earnestlyI desire holiness, the more utterly unholy I see myself tobe. But I have pledged myself to the Lord, and I mustpay my vows, cost what it may.Ihave begun to read Taylor's "Holy Living and Dying." Amonth ago I should have found it a tedious, dry book. ButI am reading it with a sort of avidity, like one seeking afterhid treasure. Mother, observing what I was doing, advisedme not to read it straight through, but to mingle a passagenow and then with chapters from other books. She sug-gested my beginning on Baxter's "Saint's Rest," and of thatI have read every word. I shall read it over, as Dr Cabot
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 67advised, till I have fully caught its spirit. Even this onereading has taken away my lingering fear of death, andmade heaven wonderfully attractive. I never mean to readworldly books again, and my music and drawing I havegiven up for ever.I
68 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.VIII.April 1.-Mother asked me last evening to sing and playto her. I was embarrassed to know how to excuse myselfwithout telling her my real reason for declining. But some-how she got it out of me."One need not be fanatical in order to be religious," shesaid."Is it fanatical'to give up all for God ?" I asked." What is it to give up all ?" she asked, in reply."Why, to deny one's self every gratification and indul-gence in order to mortify one's natural inclinations, and tolive entirely for Him."" God is then a hard Master, who allows His children noliberty," she replied. "Now let us see where this theorywill lead you. In the first place, you must shut your eyesto all the beautiful things He has made. You must shutyour ears to all the harmonies He has ordained. You mustshut your heart against all sweet, human affections. Youhave a body, it is true, and it may revolt at such bond-age "-"We are told to keep under the body," I interrupted."0, mother, don't hinder me! You know that my lovefor music is a passion, and that it is my snare and tempta-tion. And how can I spend my whole time in reading theBible, and praying, if I go on with my drawing ? It maydo for other people to serve both God and Mammon, butnot for me. I must belong wholly to the world, or whollyto Christ."Mother said no more, and I went on with my reading.But somehow my book seemed to have lost its flavour.Besides, it was time to retire for my evening devotions,
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 69which I never put off now till the last thing at night, as Iused to do. When I came down, mother was lying on thesofa, by which I knew she was not well. I felt troubledthat I had refused to sing to her. Think of the money shehas spent on that part of my education I went to her andkissed her with a pang of terror. What if she were goingto be very ill, and to die ?"It is nothing, darling," she said, "nothing at all. I amtired, and felt a little faint."I looked at her anxiously, and the bare thought that shemight die and leave me alone was so terrible that I couldhardly help crying out. And I saw as by a flash of light-ning, that if God took her from me, I could not, should notsay: Thy will be done.But she was better after taking a few drops of lavender,and what colour she has came back to her dear, sweet face.April 12.-Dr Cabot's letter has lost all its power overme. A stone has more feeling than I. I don't love to pray.I am sick and tired of this dreadful struggle after holiness;good books are all alike, flat and meaningless. But I musthave something to absorb and carry me away, and I havecome back to my music and my drawing with new zest.Mother was right in warning me against giving, them up.Maria Kelly is teaching me to paint in oil-colours, and saysI have a natural gift for it.April 13.-Mother asked me to go to church with her lastevening, and I said I did not want to go. She looked sur-prised and troubled."Are you not well, dear 1" she asked." I don't know. Yes. I suppose I am. But I could notbe still at church five minutes. I am so nervous that I feelas if I should fly."" I see how it is," she said; "you have forgotten that bodyof yours, of which I reminded you, and have been trying tolive as if you were all soul and spirit. You have beenstraining every nerve to acquire perfection, whereas this isi:
70 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.God's gift, and one that He is willing to give you, fully andfreely.""I have done seeking for that or anything else that isgood," I said, despondently. "And so I have gone back tomy music and everything else.""Here is just the rock upon which you split," she re-turned. " You speak of going back to your music, as if thatimplied going away from God. You rush from one extremeto another. The only true way to live in this world, con-stituted just as we are, is to make all our employments sub-serve the one great end and aim of existence, namely, toglorify God -and to enjoy Him for ever. But in order to dothis we must be wise task-masters, and not require of our-selves what we cannot possibly perform. Recreation wemust have. Otherwise, the strings of our soul, wound up toan unnatural tension, will break."" Oh, I do wish," I cried, " that God had given us plainrules, about which we could make no mistake!""I think His rules are plain," she replied. "And someliberty of action He must leave us, or we should becomemere machines. I think that those who love Him, andwait upon Him day by day, learn His will almost imper-ceptibly, and need not go astray.""But, mother, music and drawing are sharp-edged toolsin such hands as mine. I cannot be moderate in my use ofthem. And the more I delight' in them, the less I delightin God.""Yes, this is human nature. But God's divine naturewill supplant it, if we only consent to let Him work in usof His own good pleasure."NEW YORK, April 16.-After all, mother has come offconqueror, and here I am at Aunty's. After our quiet,plain little home, in our quiet little town, this seems like anew world. The house is large, but it is as full as it canhold. Aunty has six children of her own, and has adoptedtwo. She says she always meant to imitate the old womanwho lived in a shoe. She reminds me of mother, and yet
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 71she is very different; full of fun and energy; flying aboutthe house as on wings, with a kind, bright word for every-body. All her household affairs go on like clock-work;the children are always nicely dressed ; nobody ever seenisout of humour; nobody is ever unwell. Aunty is the cen-tral object round which everybody revolves; you can't for-get her a moment, for she is always doing something foryou ; and then her unflagging good humour and cheerfulnesskeep you good-humoured and cheerful. I don't wonderUncle Alfred loves her so!I hope I shall have just such a home. I mean this is thesort of home I should like if I ever married, which I nevermean to do. I should like to be just such a bright, lovingwife as Aunty is; to have my husband lean on me as Uncleleans on her; to have just as many children, and to trainthem as wisely and kindly as she does hers. Then, indeed,I should feel that I had not been born in vain, but had ahigh and sacred mission on earth. But as it is, I must justpick up what scraps of usefulness I can, and let the rest go.April 18.-Aunty says I sit writing and reading andthinking too much, and wants me to go out more. I tellher I don't feel Strong enough to go out much. She saysthat is all nonsense, and drags me out. I get tired, andhungry, and sleep like a baby a month old. I see nowmother's wisdom and kindness in making me leave homewhen I did. I had veered about from point to point till Iwas nearly ill. Now Aunty keeps me well by making mego out, and dear Dr Cabot's precious letter can work a trueand not a morbid work in my souL I am very happy. Ihave delightful talks with Aunty, who sets me right at thispoint and at that; and it is beautiful to watch her home life,and to see with what sweet unconsciousness she carries herreligion into every detail. I am sure it must do me good tobe here; and yet, if I am growing better, how slowly, howslowly it is Somebody has said that " our course heaven-ward is like the plan of the zealous pilgrims of old, whofor every three steps forward, took one backward."
72 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.April 30.-Aunty's baby, my dear father's namesake, andhitherto the merriest little fellow I ever saw, was taken illlast night, very suddenly. She sent for the doctor at once,who would not say positively what was the matter, but thismorning pronounced it scarlet fever. The three youngesthave all come down with it to-day. If they were mychildren, I should be in a perfect worry and flurry. Indeed,I am as it is. But Aunty is as bright and cheerful as ever.She flies from one to another, and keeps up their spiritswith her own gaiety. I am mortified to find that at sucha time as this I can think of myself, and that I find it irk-some to be shut up in sick-rooms, instead of walking, driv-ing, visiting, and the like. But, as Dr Cabot says, I cannow choose to imitate my Master, who spent His whole lifein doing good, and I do hope, too, to be of some little useto Aunty, after her kindness to me.May 1.-The doctor says the children are doing as well ascould be expected. He made a short visit this morning, asit is Sunday. If I had ever seen him before I should say Ihad some unpleasant association with him. I wonder Auntyemploys such a great clumsy man. But she says he is verygood, and very skilful. I wish I did not take such violentlikes and dislikes to people. I want my religion to changeme in every respect.May 2.-Oh, I know now! This is the very man whowas so rude at Sunday-school, and afterwards made such anice address to the children! Well, he may know how tospeak in public, but I am sure he doesn't in private. Inever knew such a shut-up man.May 4.-I have my hands as full as they can hold. Thechildren have got so fond of me, and one or the other is inmy lap nearly all the time. I sing to them, tell themstories, build block-houses, and relieve Aunty all I can.Dull and poky as the doctor is, 1 am not afraid of him, forhe never notices anything I say or do, so while he is hold-
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 73ing solemn consultations with Aunty in one corner, I cansing and talk all sorts of nonsense to my little pets in mine.What fearful black eyes he has, and what masses of blackhair!This busy life quite suits me, now I have got used to it.And it sweetens every bit of work to think that I am doingit in humble, far-off, yet real imitation of Jesus. I amindeed really and truly happy.May 14.-It is now two weeks since little Raymond wastaken sick, and I have just lived in the nursery all the time,though Aunty has tried to make me go out. Little Emmawas taken down to-day, though she has been kept on thethird floor all the time. I feel dreadfully myself. But thishard, cold doctor of Aunty's is so taken up with the childrenthat he never so much as looks at me. I have been in aperfect shiver all day, but these merciless little folks call forstories as eagerly as ever. Well, let me be a comfort tothem if I can I hate selfishness more and more, and amshocked to see how selfish I have been.May 15.-I was in a burning fever all night, and my headached, and my throat was and is very sore. If I knew Iwas going to die I would burn up this journal first. Iwould not have any one see it for the world.May 24.-Dr Elliott asked me on Sunday morning aweek ago, if I still felt well. For answer I behaved like agoose, and burst out crying. Aunty looked more anxiousthan I have seen her look yet, and reproached herself forhaving allowed me to be with the children. She took meby one elbow, and the doctor by the other, and theySmarched me off to my own room, where I was put throughthe usual routine on such occasions, and then ordered tobed. I fell asleep immediately and slept all day. Thedoctor came to see me in the evening, and made me a short,stiff little visit, gave me a powder, and said he thought Ishould soon be better.
74 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.I had two such visits from him the next day, when I beganto feel quite like myself again, and in spite of his grave,staid deportment, could not help letting my good spirits runaway with me in a style that evidently shocked him. Hesays persons nursing in scarlet fever often have such littleattacks as mine; indeed, every one of the servants have hada touch of sore throat and headache.Nay 25.-This morning, just as the doctor shuffled in onhis big feet, it came over me how ridiculously I must havelooked the day I was taken sick, being walked off betweenAunty and himself, crying like a baby. I burst out laughing,and no consideration I could make to myself would stop me.I pinched myself, asked myself how I should feel if one ofthe children should die, and used other kindred devices, allto no purpose. At last the doctor, gravity personified as he is,joined in, though not knowing in the least what he waslaughing at. Then he said-"After this, I suppose, I shall have to pronounce youconvalescent."" Oh, no " I cried. " I am very unwell, indeed."" This looks like it, to be sure !" said Aunty."I suppose this will be your last visit, Dr Elliott," I wenton, "and I am glad of it. After the way I behaved the dayI was taken ill, I have been ashamed to look you in the face.But I really felt dreadfully."He made no answer whatever. I don't suppose he wouldspeak a little flattering word by way of putting one in goodhumour with one's self, for the whole world !June 1.--We are all as well as ever, but the doctor keepssome of the children still confined to the house for fear ofbad consequences following the fever. He visits them twicea day for the same reason, or at least under that pretence,but I really believe he comes because he has got the habit ofcoming, and because he admires Aunty so much. She hasa real affection for him, and is continually asking me ifI don't like this and that quality in him which I can't see at
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 75all. We begin to drive out again. The weather is verywarm, but I feel perfectly well.June 2.-After the children's dinner to-day I took care orthem while their nurse got hers, and Aunty went to lie down,as she is all tired out. We were all full of life and fun, andsome of the little ones wanted me to play a play of their owninvention, which was to lie down on the floor, cover my facewith a handkerchief, and make believe I was dead. Theywere to gather about me, and I was suddenly to come to lifeandjump up and try to catch them as they all ran scamper-ing and screaming about. We had played in this interestingway for sometime, and my hair, which I keep in nice ordernow a-days, was pulled down, and flying every way, when inmarched the doctor. I started up and came to life quicklyenough when I heard his step, looking red and angry, no doubt." I should think you might have knocked, Dr Elliott,"I said, with much displeasure."I ask your pardon; I knocked several times," he re-turned. "I need hardly ask how my little patients are.""No," I replied, still ruffled, and making desperate effortsto get my hair into some sort of order. "They are as wellas possible.""I came a little earlier than usual, to-day," he went on,"because I am called to visit my uncle, Dr Cabot, who is ina very critical state of health.""Dr Cabot !" I repeated, bursting into tears."Compose yourself, I entreat," he said; "I hope that Imay be able to relieve him. At all events "-"At all events, if you let him die it will break my heart,"I cried, passionately. "Don't wait another moment; gothis instant.""I cannot go this instant," he replied. "The boat doesnot leave until four o'clock. And if I may be allowed, as aphysician, to say one word, that my brief acquaintancehardly justifies, I do wish to warn you that unless youacquire more self-control "-" Oh, I know- that I have a quick temper, and that I spoke
76 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.very rudely to you just now," I interrupted, not a littlestartled by the seriousness of his manner."I did not refer to your temper," he said. "I meant yourwhole passionate nature. Your vehement loves and hates,your ecstasies and your despondencies; your disposition tothrow yourself headlong into whatever interests you.""I would rather have too little self-control," I retorted,resentfully, "than to be as cold as a stone, and as hard as arock, and as silent as the grave, like some people I know."His countenance fell; he looked disappointed, evenpained." I shall probably see your mother," he said, turning togo; "your aunt wishes me to call on her; have you anymessage ?""No," I said.Another pained, disappointed look made me begin to re-collect myself. I was sorry, oh! so sorry, for my anger andrudeness. I ran after him into the hall, my eyes full oftears, holding out both hands, which he took in both his." Don't go until you have forgiven me for being so angry!"I cried. " Indeed, Dr Elliott, though you may not be ableto believe it, I am trying to do right all the time !""I do believe it," he said earnestly."Then tell me that you forgive me!""If I once begin, I shall be tempted to tell somethingelse," he sdid, looking me through and through with thosegreat dusky eyes. "And I will tell it," he went on, his graspon my hands growing firmer-" It is easy to forgive whenone loves." I pulled my hands away, and burst out cryingagain." Oh, Dr Elliott, this is dreadful I" I said. "You do not,you cannot love me You are so much older than I am !So grave and silent! You are not in earnest !""I am only too much so," he said, and went quietly out.I went back to the nursery. The children rushed uponme, and insisted that I should "play die." I let them pullme about as they pleased. I only wished I could play it inearnest.
"I ran after him into the hall, my eyes full of tears, holding out bothhands, which he took in both his,".-Page 76,
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STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 77IX.June 28.-Mother writes me that Dr Cabot is out ofdanger, Dr Elliott having thrown new light on his case, andperformed some sort of an operation that relieved him atonce. I am going home. Nothing would tempt me to en-counter those black eyes again. Besides, the weather isgrowing warm, and Aunty is getting ready to go out oftown with the children.June 29.-Aunty insisted on knowing why I was hurryinghome so suddenly, and at last got it out of me inch by inch.On the whole, it was a relief to have some one to speak to."Well!" she said, and leaned back in her chair in a fit ofmusing."Is that all you are going to say, Aunty I" I venturedto ask at last." No, I have one more remark to add," she said, "and itis this : I don't know which of you has behaved most ridi-culously. It would relieve me to give you each a goodshaking.""I think Dr Elliott has behaved ridiculously," I said,"and he has made me very unhappy.""Unhappy !" she repeated. "I don't wonder you are un-happy. You have pained and wounded one of the noblestmen that walks the earth.""It is not my fault. I never tried to make him like me.""Yes, you did. You were perfectly bewitching wheneverhe came here. No mortal man could help being fascinated."I knew this was not true, and bitterly resented Aunty'sinjustice."If I wanted to 'fascinate' or bewitch' a man," I cried,"I should not choose one old enough to be my father, nor
78 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.one who was as uninteresting, awkward, and stiff as DrElliott. Besides, how should I know he was not married ?If I thought anything about it at all, I certainly thoughtof him as a middle-aged man, settled down with a wife,long ago.""In the first place, he is not old, or even middle-aged. Heis not more than twenty-seven or eight. As to his beinguninteresting, perhaps he is to you, who don't know him.And if he were a married man, what business had he tocome here to see you, as he has done ?"" I did not know he came to see me; he never spoke tome. And I always said I would never marry a doctor.""We all say scores of things we live to repent," she re&plied. "But I must own that the doctor acted quite out ofcharacter when he expected you to take a fancy to him onsuch short notice, you romantic little thing. Of courseknowing him as little as you do, and only seeing him in sickrooms, you could not have done otherwise than as you did.""Thank you, Aunty," I said, running and throwing myarms around her; "thank you with all my heart. And nowwon't you take back what you said about my trying to fas-cinate him ?""I suppose I must, you dear child," she said. "I was nothalf in earnest. The truth is, I am so fond of you both thatthe idea of your misunderstanding each other, annoys meextremely. Why, you were made for each other. Hewould tone you down and keep you straight, and you wouldstimulate him and keep him awake.""I don't want to be toned down or kept straight," I re-monstrated. "I hate prigs who keep their wives in leadingstrings. I do not mean to marry any one, but if I shouldbe left to such a piece of folly, it must be to one who willtake me for better for worse, just as I am, and not as awild plant for him to prune till he has got it into a shape tosuit him. And now, Aunty, promise me one thing. Nevermention Dr Elliott's name to me again.""I shall make no such promise," she replied, laughing." like him, and I like to talk about him, and the more you
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 79hate and despise him the more I shall love and admire him.I .only wish my Lucy were old enough to be his wife, andthat he could fancy her ; but he never could !"" On the contrary, I should think that little model of pro-priety would just suit him," I exclaimed." Don't make fun of Lucy," Aunty said, shaking her head."She is a dear, good child, after all.""After all" means this-for what with my own observa-tion, and what Aunty has told me, Lucy's portrait is easy topaint. The child is the daughter of a man who died from alingering illness caused by an accident. She entered thefamily at a most inauspicious moment, two days after thisaccident. From the outset she comprehended the situation,and took the ground that a character of irreproachabledignity and propriety became an infant coming at such atime. She never cried, never put improper objects into hermouth, never bumped her head, or scratched herself. Onceput to bed at night, you knew nothing more of her till suchtime next day as you found it convenient to attend to her.If you forgot her existence, as was not seldom the case underthe circumstances, she vegetated on, unmoved. It is possiblethat pangs of hunger sometimes assailed her, and it is a factthat she teethed, and had the measles and the whooping cough.But these minute ripples on her infant life only showed themore clearly, what a waveless, placid little sea it was. She gother teeth in the order laid down in "Dewees on Children."Her measles came out on the appointed day, like well-behavedmeasles as they were, and retired decently and in order, asmeasles should. Her whooping-cough had a well-bred,methodical air, and left her conqueror of the field. As thechild passed out of her babyhood, she remained still hermother's appendage and glory; a monument of pure whitemarble, displaying to the human race one instance, at least,of perfect parental training. Those smooth, round handswere always magically 'clean; the dress immaculate anduncrumpled; the hair dutifully shining and tidy. She wasa model child, as she had been a model baby. No slammingof doors, no litter of carpets, no pattering of noisy feet on
80 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.the stairs, no headless dolls, no soiled or torn books indicatedher presence. Her dolls were subject to a methodical train-ing not unlike her own. They rose, they were dressed, theytook the air, they retired for the night, with clock-likeregularity. At the advanced age of eight, she ceasedoccupying herself with such trifles, and began a course ofinstructive reading. Her lessons were received in mutesubmission, like medicine; so many doses so many times aday. An agreeable interlude of needlework was afforded,and, Dorcas-like, many were the garments that resulted forthe poor. Give her the very eyes out of your head, cut offyour right hand for her if you choose, but don't expect agush of enthusiasm that would crumple your collar; shewould as soon strangle herself as run headlong to embraceyou. If she has any passions or emotions, they are keptunder; but who asks for passion in blanc-mange, or seeksemotion in a comfortable apple-pudding ?When her father had been dead a year, her mothermarried a man with a large family of children and a verysmall purse. Lucy had a hard time of it, especially as herstepfather, a quick, impulsive man, took a dislike to her.Aunty had no difficulty in persuading them to give thechild to her. She took her from the purest motives, and itdoes seem as if she ought to have more reward than she gets.She declares, however, that she has all the reward she couldask in the conviction that God accepts this attempt to pleaseHim.Lucy is now nearly fourteen; very large of her age, witha dead white skin, pale blue eyes, and a little light hair. Tohear her talk is most edifying. Her babies are all "babes;"she never begins anything, but " commences " it; she nevercries, she "weeps;" never gets up in the morning, but"rises." But what am I writing all this for? Why, toescape my own thoughts, which are anything but agreeablecompanions, and to put off answering the question whichmust be answered, "Have I really made a mistake inrefusing Dr Elliott ? Could I not, in time, have come tolove a man who has so honoured me ?
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 81July 5.-Here I am again, safely at home, and verypleasant it seems to be with dear mother again. I have toldher about Dr E. She says very little about it one way orthe other.July 10.-Mother sees that I am restless and out of sorts."What is it, dear?" she asked, this morning. "Has DrElliott anything to do with the unsettled state you arein?""Why, no, mother," I answered. "My going away hasbroken up,all my habits; that's all. Szill, if I knew DrElliott did not care much, and was beginning to forget it, Idaresay I should feel better.""If you were perfectly sure that you never could returnhis affection," she said, "you were quite right in telling himso at once. But if you had any misgivings on the subject,it would have been better to wait, and to ask God to directyou.".Yes, it would. But at the moment, I had no misgivings.In my usual headlong style I settled one of the mostweighty questions of my life, without reflection, without somuch as one silent appeal to God to tell me how to act.And now I have for ever repelled, and thrown away a heartthat truly loved me. He will go his way and I shall gomine. He never will know, what I am only just beginningto know myself, that I yearn after his love with unutterableyearning.But I am not going to sit down in sentimental despond-ency to weep over this irreparable past. No human beingcould forgive such folly as mine; but God can. In mysorrowfulness and loneliness I fly to Him, and find, what isbetter than earthly felicity, the sweetest peace. He allowedme to bring upon myself, in one hasty noment, a shadowout of which I shall not soon pass, but He pities and Heforgives me, and I have had many precious moments whenI could say sincerely and joyfully, "Whom have I in heavenbut Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besideThee."F
82 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.With a character still so undisciplined as mine, I seriouslydoubt whether I could have made him happy who hashonoured me with his unmerited affection. Sometimes Ithink I am as impetuous and as quick-tempered as ever;I get angry with dear mother, and with James even, if theyoppose me; how unfit, then, I am to become the mistress ofa household and the wife of a good man!How came he to love me ? I cannot, cannot imagine.August 31.-The last day of the very happiest summer Iever spent. If I had only been willing to believe the testi-mony of others I might have been just as happy long ago.But I wanted to have all there was in God and all therewas in the world at once, and there was a constant, painfulstruggle between the two. I hope that struggle is nowover. I deliberately choose and prefer God. I have founda sweet peace in trying to please Him such as I never con-ceived of. I would not change it for all the best things thisworld can give.But I have a great deal to learn. I am like a little childwho cannot run to get what he wants, but approaches itstep by step, slowly, timidly-and yet approaches it. I amamazed at the patience of my blessed Master and Teacher,but how I love His school!September.-This, too, has been a delightful month, in acertain sense. Amelia's marriage, at which I had to bepresent, upset me a little, but it was but a little ruffle on adeep sea of peace.I saw Dr Cabot to-day. He is quite well again, andspeaks of Dr Elliott's skill with rapture. He asked aboutmy Sunday-scholars and my poor folks, etc., and I couldnot help letting out a little of the new joy that has takenpossession of me."That is as it should be," he said. "I should be sorry tosee a person of your temperament enthusiastic in every-thing save religion. Do not be discouraged if you still havesome ups and downs. 'He that is down need fear no fall;'
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 83but you are away up on the heights, and may have one, nowand then."This made me a little uncomfortable. I don't want anyfalls. I want to go on to perfection.October 1.-Laura Cabot came to see me to-day, andseemed very affectionate."I hope we may see more of each other than we havedone," she began. "My father wishes it, and so do I."Katy, mentally.-" Ah! he sees how unworldly, howdevoted I am, and so wants Laura under my influence."Katy, aloud.-" I am sure that is very kind."Laura.-" Not at all. He knows it will be profitable tome to be with you. I get a good deal discouraged at timesand want a friend to strengthen and help me.""Katy, to herself.-" Yes, yes, he thinks me quite experi-enced and trustworthy."Katy, aloud.-" I shall rnever dare to try to help you."Laura.-" Oh, yes, you must. I am so far behind you inChristian experience."But I am ashamed to write down any more. After shehad gone I felt delightfuly puffed up for a while. Butwhen I came up to my room this evening and knelt downto pray, everything looked dark and chaotic. God seemedfar away, and I took no pleasure in speaking to Him. I feltsure that I had done something or felt something wrong,and asked Him to show me what it was. There then flashedinto my mind the remembrance of the vain, conceitedthoughts I had had during Laura's visit and ever since.How perfectly contemptible I have had a fall, indeed !I think now my first mistake was in telling Dr Cabot mysecret, sacred joys, as if some merit of mine had earnedthem for me. That gave Satan a fine chance to triumphover me! After this I am determined to maintain theutmost reserve in respect to my religious experiences.Nothing is gained by running to tell them, and much islost.I feel depressed and comfortless.
84 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.X.October 10.-We have very sad news from Aunty. She saysmyUncle is quite broken down with some obscure disease thathas been creeping stealthily along for months. All his physi-cians agree that he must give up his business and try theeffect of a year's rest. Dr Elliott proposes his going to Europe,which seems to me about as formidable as going to the nextworld. Aunty makes the best she can of it, but she saysthe thought of being separated from Uncle a whole year isdreadful. I pray for her day and night, that this wild pro-ject may be given up. Why, he would be on the ocean everso many weeks, exposed to all the discomforts of narrowquarters and poor food, and that just as winter is drawingnigh!October 12.-Aunty writes that the voyage to Europe hasbeen decided on, and that Dr Elliott is to accompany Uncle,travel with him, amuse him, and bring him home a wellman. I hope Dr E.'s power to amuse may exist somewhere,but must own it was in a most latent form when I had thepleasure of knowing him. Poor Aunty How much betterit would be for her to go with Uncle! There are all thechildren, to be sure. Well, I hope Uncle may be the betterfor this great undertaking, but I don't like the idea of it.October 15.-Another letter from Aunty, and new plans!The Doctor is to stay at home, Aunty is to go with Uncle, andwe-mother and myself-are to take possession of the houseand children during their absence In other words, all thisis to be if we say amen. Could anything be more frightful?To refuse would be selfish and cruel. If we consent I thrustmyself under Dr Elliott's very nose.
STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 85October 16.-Mother is surprised that I can hesitate oneinstant. She seems to have forgotten all about Dr E.She says we can easily find a family to take this house fora year, and that she is delighted to do anything for Auntythat can be done.November 4.-Here we are, the whole thing settled. Uncleand Aunty started a week ago, and we are monarchs of allwe survey, and this is a great deal. I am determined thatmother shall not be worn-out with these children, althoughof course I could not manage them without her advice andhelp. It is to be hoped they won't all have the measles ina body, or anything of that sort; I am sure it would be an-noying to Dr E. to come here now.November 25.-Of course the baby must go on teething ifonly to have the doctor sent for to lance his gums. I toldmother I was sure I could not be present when this wasbeing done, so, though she looked surprised, and said peopleshould accustom themselves to such things, she volunteeredto hold baby herself.November 26.-The baby was afraid of mother, not beingused to her, so she sent for me. As I entered the room shegave him to me with an apology for doing so, since I shrankfrom witnessing the operation. What must Dr E. thinkI am made of if I can't bear to see a child's gums lanced ?However, it is my own fault that he thinks me such acoward, for I made mother think me one. It was very em-barrassing to hold baby and have the doctor's face so closeto mine. I really wonder mother should not see how awk-wardly I am situated here.November 27.-We have a good many visitors, friendsof Uncle and Aunty. How uninteresting most people are IThey all say the same thing, namely, how strange thatAunty had courage to undertake such a voyage, and to leaveher children, etc., etc., etc., and what was Dr Elliott think-ing of to let them go, etc., etc., etc.
86 STEPPING HEAVENWARD.Dr Embury called to-day, with a pretty little fresh crea-ture, his new wife, who hangs on his arm like a work-bag.He is Dr Elliott's intimate friend, and spoke of him verywarmly, and so did his wife, who says she has known himalways, as they were born and brought up in the same vil-lage. I wonder he did not marry her himself, instead ofleaving her for Dr Embury !She says he, Dr Elliott I mean, was the most devoted sonshe ever saw, and that he deserves his present success be-cause he has made such sacrifices for his parents. I nevermet any one whom I liked so well on so short acquaintance-I mean Mrs Embury, though you might fancy, you poordeluded journal you, that I meant somebody else.November 30.-I have so much to do that I have littletime for writing. The way the children wear out theirshoes and stockings, the speed with which their hair grows,the way they bump their heads and pinch their fingers,and the insatiable demand for stories, is something next tomiraculous. Not a day passes that somebody doesn't needsomething bought ; that somebody else doesn't choke itself,and that I don't have to tell stories till I feel my intellectreduced to the size of a pea. If ever I was alive and wideawake, however, it is just now, and in spite of some vagueshadows of I don't know what, I am very happy indeed.So is dear mother. She and the doctor have become bosomfriends. He keeps her making beef-tea, scraping lint, andboiling calves' feet for jelly, till the house smells like anhospital.I suppose he thinks me a poor selfish, frivolous girl, whomnothing would tempt to raise a finger for his invalids. But,of course, I do not care what he thinks.December 4.-Dr Elliott came this morning to ask motherto go with him to see a child who had met with a horribleaccident. She turned pale, and pressed her lips together,but went at once to get ready. Then my long-suppressedwrath burst out.