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THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.
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THEBASKET OF FLOWERS;0n,PIETY AND TRUTH TRIUMPHANT.Vraslahteb frnm the Original rivniatt obition.WITH COLOURED FRONTISPIECE.LONDON AND NEW YORK:FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.
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PREFACE.THERE have been many editions of this popular work, all of which have been receivedwith favour by the public. The original storyis from the pen of a German writer. Someof the English editions have been Americantranslations, and some (English) translationsfrom the French edition of the originalwork. Some of these have been added t,and others curtailed, according to the tastesor fancies of the various translators andpublishers.
Vf PREFACE.So far as we can ascertain, there is yet noEnglish translation of the German originalwithout alterations and additions by French,American, and English writers.The following volume is translated fromthe German story, almost literally, exceptthat here and there a few verses from thebest English poets are given at the beginningor close of the chapters, where they are pecu-liarly suitable to the subject, and a few strik-ing emblems and verses from natural objects,or from Scripture, have been added where itseemed necessary to do so. But, on thewhole, this edition will be found a much morefaithful translation of the original book thanany other yet published.
RsFACs. ViIt weems almost unnecessary to remindthe reader, that various events in the follow-ing story may appear strange and improbableto English readers; because the scenes de-scribed took place at a time and in a countryvery different from their own.
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CONTENTS.CHAPTER LWtE FATHER AND DAIGHTEB..........., ..a.....(II:..o.CHAPTER II.THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT OF MAY FLOWERS ............... 20CHAPTER IIITHE STOLEN RIN: ............................,,,,,,,...... 26CHAPTER IV.MARY IN PRISON.,,............................... ...,.. 8CHAPTER V.TRE TRIAL .,.. ...... .................... ................,,,.,. 37CHAPTER VI.iTE FATHER AND DAUGHTER IN PRISON ...,, ,,nIo.,... 41CHAPTER VII.Si3 SET N CE AND ITS EXECUTION ,,,,,..o,,o., o,...o 48
X CONTENTS.'CHAPTER VII.VAGNA FRIEND IN NEED ..................... .,.,,,..... .... ... ,, 49CHAPTER IX.THE EXILES FIND A HOME I .................... .. ......... .... 53CHAPTER X.PLEASANT DAYS AT THE PINE FARM .......,.,.,............ 58CHAPTER XI.JAMES'S ILLNESS .......... ........................... .. 64CHAPTER XII,JAMES'S DEATH ................................. ....... ....... 72CHAPTER XIII.THE AVARICIOUS DAUGHTER-IN.LAW .........,............ .. 9CHAPTER XIV.FRESH TDOUBLES ....,..........................,,..........,.... 84CHAPTER XV,HELP IN TIME OF NEED.............................,,,..,.. 89CHAPTER XVI.IRE COUNTESS AMELIA'S STORY ........................,,... 92CHAPTER XVII.THE RING FOUND...... ...... .. .............................. 97
CONTENTS.CHAPTER XVIII.PAGEVIRTUE REWARDED ........................ ........******* *. .... 102CHAPTER XIX.AN S7ENING AT THE HUNTING LODGE ..................... 105CHAPTER XX.A VISIT TO THE PINE-TREE FA2 .................. ,.......... 108CHAPTER XXI.FURTHER OCCURRENCES AT PINE FAR ........................ 113CHAPTER XXII.RETRIBUII N ....................................................... 117CHAPTER XXIII.4 EAPPY EVENT .................................. ....... ... 120CHAPTER XXITfHE IONUMENT ..................... .............**:.-.t. I9.1@ 12.
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THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.CHAPTER I.THE FATHER AND DA.UGHTER."0 friendly to the best pursuits of man,Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace,Domestic life in rural pleasure pass'd!Few know thy value, and few taste thy sweets."N the market-town of Eichburg in Germany,belonging to a count of this name, there livedabove one hundred years ago, a sensible andpious man of the name of James Rode. Whenli was a poor lad, he came to Eichburg to be under-gardener, and to acquire a knowledge of horticul-ture, in the gardens of the Count's castle. The ex-cellent qualities of his mind, the skill he displayed ineverything that he undertook, and his prepossessingappearance bearing the impress of nature's nobility,gained him the favour of his master and mistress, whoemployed him in various subordinate offices in the castle.When the Count, who at this time was a young man,went on his travels, James accompanied him as one ofhis retinue. In the course of these travels James madediligent use of the means of improvement afforded him.He learned much, gained a knowledge of the usages ofsociety, acquired elegant language, and refined manners,butwhat is still better, he broughtbackwith him his noble,honest heart, uncorrupted by his intercourse withthe great
14 THE BASKET OF FLOWEES.world. The Count sought to reward James's faithfulservices by giving him a profitable situation; James mighthave been made steward in a palace which belonged tithe Count in the capital; but the good man looked backwith pleasure to the tranquillity of a country life, and as,just at this time a small farm that had hitherto been leton lease, happened to be at the disposal of the Count,James requested to be allowed to rent it. The generousCount permitted him to have it for life, without payingany rent, and also gave him every year as much grainand wood as sufficed to supply his household.James soon afterwards married and supported him-self and his family upon the produce and profits of thislittle farm, that besides a nice house had a large, finegarden, half of which was planted with the best sorts offruit trees, and the other half was used for the cultivationof vegetables and flowers.After James had lived for many years happily withhis wife, who, in all respects was worthy of him, she wassnatched away by the hand of death. His grief wasinexpressible. The good man, already somewhatadvanced in years, seemed to become prematurelyaged, his form was bent, and his hair turned grey. Hissole comfort in the world was his daughter, the onlysurvivor of several children, who, at the death of hermother was but five years old. She was named Maryafter her mother, and was her very image.Even when a child, little Mary was exceedingly beau-tiful, and as she grew up her pious mind, her gentleness,modesty, and the unselfish kindness that she showed toevery one gave a peculiar grace to her beauty, andendeared her more and more to her father's heart."How like a new existence to his heart,Uprose that living flower beneath his eye.Dear as she was, from cherub infancy,From hours when she would round his garden play,To time when, as the ripening years went by,Her lovely mind could culture well repay,And more engaging grew from pleasing day to day."There was so amiable an expression in her counte-nance, that all who saw her loved her. Reared in agood and happy home she grew up a gentle pious girl.
THE FATHER AND DAUGHTER. 15loving flowers and all the beauties of nature, and seeingthe hand of God in all his glorious works.Mary was not quite fifteen, when she was requiredto manage the affairs of her father's little household,which she did to perfection. A speck of dust was neverto be seen in the neat sitting-room; in the kitchen thecooking utensils, and other articles were almost as brightas new, and the whole house was a pattern of order andcleanliness. With unwearied industry Mary assistedher father to work in the garden; and the time she thusspent in helping him, was the happiest in her life; forher wise father knew how to make labour a pleasure bymeans of cheerful and instructive conversation.Thus Mary grew among the flowers, and the gardenwas her world. From childhood she had taken greatpleasure in rare and lovely plants, therefore her fatherevery year sent for seeds, roots, and grafts, of sorts thatshe had never before seen, and he allowed her to plantthe borders of the beds in the garden, with what sheliked best.Mary had thus a constant and pleasant occupationduring her hours of leisure. She carefully tended thedelicate plants, watched the blossoms that were new toher, wondering what kind of flowers they would produce.She could scarcely wait until the buds opened, and whenat length the long-looked for flowers appeared in theirbeauty, the sight gave her inexpressible joy. " This ispure innocent pleasure," said her father, smiling. " Manypeople expend more money for gay dresses for theirchildren, than I spend in flower seeds, and yet they donot procure so pleasant and harmless an enjoyment fortheir daughters."Every month and even every week, Mary found newsources of amusement in her garden. She often saidwith delight, "Paradise could scarcely have been morebeautiful than our garden." Few passed by, withoutstopping to admire the rare blossoms. The children ofthe village on their way from school peeped through thefence with longing eyes, and Mary often gratified themby giving them a few flowers.The wise father knew how to make a still nobler useof his daughter's delight in flowers. He taught her to
16 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.see the wisdom, goodness, and almighty power of Godin the beauty of the blossoms, the variety of their forms,the distinctness of their varied features, their exact pro-portions, their splendid colouring, and their deliciousperfume. He was accustomed to spend the first morninghour of each day in devotion, and he always rose earlyin order to be able to do this before he went to work.He thought that there was little worth having in humanlife, if, amidst his business a man could not secure afewhours for devotion, or at least could not command half anhour in a day, in which he could commune undisturbed withhis Maker, and elevate his mind by raising his thoughtsto heaven. In the beautiful days of spring and summerhe took Mary with him to shady spots in the garden,from which, amidst the lovely songs of birds, and theblossoms besprinkled with dew, they could see an exten-sive view, bounded by the golden rays of the rising sun.Here James communed with God, who created thesun to shine with friendly light and heat, who givesus dew and rain, who bounteously feeds the fowls ofheaven, and richly clothes the flowers of the field. Herethey learned to know the Almighty as the loving Fatherof the human race, who is gracious to all, whosetender mercies are over all his works, and whose love isshown more clearly than in all besides, by the gift of hisonly and well-beloved Son. " God so loved the worldthat He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoeverbelieveth in Him should not perish, but have everlastinglife." James taught Mary to pray to this loving Saviouras he himself prayed, with his whole heart. The de-votions of the morning hour bore much fruit, and tendedto implant child-like piety in Mary's youthful heart.From the lovely flowers her father taught her todraw sublime lessons of heavenly wisdom. One day inearly spring, when Mary joyfully brought him the firstviolet that she had gathered, her father said, "DearMary, this lovely flower is an emblem of humility,modesty, and unobtrusive benevolence. It is robed incelestial blue, but grows close to the ground; it hidesitself in the shade, but fills the air with the sweetestperfume. It is the emblem of a meek and lowly heart,which wears the genuine blue of heaven, and is made
THE FATHER AND DAUGHTER. 17like unto our Lord, who was meek and lowly. While itretires from the world and thinks little of itself, it isprecious in the sight of God; 'for He hath respect untothe lowly' (Ps. cxxxviii. 6). Be thou, dear Mary, humbleand retiring like the modest violet. Do not desire tobe gaily dressed like a gaudy flower. Remember ourLord's warning, 'Take heed that ye do not your almsbefore men to be seen of them.' Seek not the applauseof men, but act from a nobler motive. Let it be yourearnest desire to live for God's glory, and let that beyour aim in all that you do."When the garden was in its greatest beauty, andthe flowers were in full bloom, James pointed to asplendid lily, on which the rays of the sun were shining,and thus spoke to the delighted Mary-"This fair lily is the emblem of innocence; whiteis always used to denote purity; and see, its blossomsare white as new fallen snow. But white is moredifficult to keep clean than any other colour; the leasttouch of impurity destroys it. Alas none of us are bynature pure in heart, yet there is a fountain wherein wemay wash and be clean. There is a white robe freelyoffered to all. Blessed are they who have washed theirrobes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'Blessed are the pure in heart.' Pray for this purity,dear Mary, and avoid the least contact with evil. Gonot in the way of sinners; listen not to their words.Remember that a word, or even a thought may soil thepurity of the mind."The rose," continued James, "is the emblem ofmodesty. Lovelier than the rose is the colour thatflushes the cheek of a modest girl. The face that isnever tinged with a blush is the sign of a heart that hasbeen soiled by the world."James gathered a bunch of roses and lilies, and madethem into a beautiful bouquet. Then giving it to Mary,he said-"The rose and the lily, -emblems of purity andmodesty, are twin sisters that should never be separated.God gave modesty to purity to be a warning whenevil is near. Fly from all, dear Mary, that can callup a blush to your cheek. Avoid even the appearance of2
18 THE BASKET OF FLOWERSevil. May your heart be pure as the lily, and yourcheek as red as the rose. Lovely as these roses are, theywill fade and wither; but even when their leaves arebrown and dry, the sweet scent will remain. The roseon your cheek may fade, dear Mary; outward beautymay pass away; but true purity of heart will endurefor ever, and the beauty of the mind can never decay."The most beautiful ornament of the garden was adwarf apple-tree, not higher than a rose-bush, that stoodin a small circular bed, in the middle of the garden.Mary's father had planted it on the day in which she wasborn, and the tree now bore every year golden, rosy-cheeked apples. One season it flowered particularlywell, and was completely covered with blossoms. Marywent to look at it every morning." Oh, how lovely!" exclaimed she, in an ecstacy ofdelight. "What exquisite red and white. The tree lookslike one large bunch of flowers!"One morning when she went to look at it as usual, itwas withered; the frost had destroyed all its blossoms.They were already yellow, brown, and shrivelled, andMary wept at the sad sight." So is the bloom of youth destroyed by sinfulpleasures," observed Mary's father; "like the nippingfrost, they blast and wither the fairest and most pro-mising. Oh! my dear Mary, keep far from the pollutingpleasures of the world. Tremble even to taste them.Oh, my child! beware of them; venture not near theforbidden path; pray to be kept from evil. If the fairhopes that I have of your bright future, not for one yearonly, but for your whole life, should be thus blasted, Iwould then weep more bitter tears than you are nowshedding. I should never again have a happy hour,and my grey hairs would go down in sorrow to thegrave."Tears scood in James's eyes as he spoke, and his wordsmade a very deep impression on Mary.Brought up under the care of so wise and loving afather, Mary grew up amongst the flowers of theirgarden as blooming as a rose, pure-minded as a lily,modest as a violet, and with as bright hopes as a youngtree when in fairest blossom.
THE FATHER AND DAUGHTER. 19The old man had always contemplated with happysmiles his favourite garden, the fruits of which so wellrewarded his industry; but he looked with far greaterpleasure on his sweet and gentle daughter, who, by theblessing of God on his labours, rewarded the care he hadbestowed on training and teaching her, by bringingforth still more precious fruits, even the fruits of theSpirit, to the praise and glory of God."Domestic Love! not in proud palace hallsIs often seen thy beauty to abide;Thy dwelling is in lonely cottage walls,That in the thickets of the woodbine hide,With hum of bees around, and from the sideOf woody hills some little bubbling spring,Shining along through banks with harebell dyed;And many a bird to warble on the wing,When morn her saffron robe o'er heaven and earth doth fling:
CHAPTER II.THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT OF MAY FLOWERS."The gorse is yellow on the heath,The banks with speedwell flowers are gay,The oaks are budding, and, beneath,The hawthorn soon will bear the wreath-The silver wreath of May."N a lovely morning in the beginning of theSmonth of May, Mary went into a neighbouringgrove, and cut some twigs of willow and boughsof hazel, with which her father, when he wasnot occupied in his garden, made very pretty baskets.There she found the first lilies of the valley in blossom.She gathered some of them, and made two nosegays-one for her father, and another for herself. As she waspassing along a narrow footpath across a flowery meadow,on her way home, she was met by the Countess of Eich.burg and her daughter Amelia, who usually lived in thecity, but who were now spending a few days in theircastle at Eichburg.As soon as Mary perceived the two ladies in whitedresses, and with green parasols, then not used by thepeasants, she stepped aside to make room for them topass, and stood respectfully waiting beside the footpath."What! are there lilies of the valley already inflower ?" exclaimed the young Countess, whose favouriteflower it was.Mary immediately offered a bunch of lilies to each ofthe ladies. They accepted them with pleasure; and theCountess drew out her purse of purple and gold, andwished to make Mary a present. But Mary said, "Willnot your Excellency permit a poor girl, who has alreadyreceived so many benefits from your Ladyship, to enjoythe pleasure of giving a few flowers without thinking ofreward ?"
THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT OF IMY FLOWERS. 21The Countess smiled kindly, and said that Marymight often bring Amelia a bunch of lilies of the valley.Mary did this every morning, and, so long as the liliesof the valley lasted, went daily to the castle. Ameliafound greater pleasure every day in Mary's visits, onaccount of her naturally good understanding, her merrydisposition and artlessness, and her increasing popu-larity. Mary was obliged to spend many hours in thesociety of the Lady Amelia, long after all the May flowershad faded away. The young Countess often showed thatshe wished Mary to be always with her, and she there-fore thought of giving her a place in the household ofthe Count, so that she might have her constantly nearher.The anniversary of Amelia's birthday was drawingnear. Mary was busied with a little rustic present forthe occasion. She had often before given a wreath offlowers. She now decided on giving something else.During the previous winter her father had occupiedhimself in making beautiful work-baskets for ladies.He had given the most beautiful of them all to Mary.He had obtained the pattern of this in the city, and hadsucceeded remarkably well in making it an exquisitepiece of workmanship. Mary resolved to fill this basketwith flowers, and to offer it as a gift to Amelia, on theanniversary of her birthday. Her father gladly grantedher request, and he still more adorned the pretty littlebasket by weaving on it in delicate workmanship thename of the Countess Amelia and the crest of her family.When finished, the basket was quite a masterpiece.On the morning of the Countess Amelia's birthday,Mary gathered the loveliest roses, the most beautifulwhite, crimson, and purple stocks, dark brown and yel-low wallflowers, dark red, yellow, and clove carnations,and other exquisite flowers of all colours. She arrangedthese in the basket, amongst elegant sprigs of green, withcorrect taste, so that the colours contrasted well with oneanother. She surrounded the edge of the basket with alight wreath of rosebuds and moss, and she encircled theCountess Amelia's name with a garland of forget-me-not.The fresh rosebuds, the tender green moss, and the blueforget-me-not looked beautiful on the white lattice-work
22 THE BASKET OF FLOWEVS.of the basket. The whole looked so perfect, that evenher grave father praised Mary's good taste with a com-placent smile, and said, when she wished to take it away," Let it stand there a little longer, that I may have thepleasure of looking at it."Mary carried the basket to the castle, and presentedit to the Countess Amelia with her most respectful goodwishes. Mary found the young Countess seated at hertoilet. Her maid was standing behind her, dressing herhair for the festival. The Countess Amelia was de-lighted with the basket, and could not say enough inpraise of the exquisite workmanship of the gift and thebeauty of the flowers."You good child," said she, "you must have quitestripped your garden, to bring me so lovely a gift! Andyour father's work is so beautiful, so tasteful! I havenever seen anything more exquisite. Oh, come withme, and let me show it to my mother!"She arose, took Mary kindly by the hand, and led herupstairs to her mother's room."Oh, look, mamma!" exclaimed she, as she enteredthe room, " what a lovely and inimitable present Maryhas brought me! I have never seen a prettier basket,and there could not be more beautifc' flowers."The Countess also was much pleased with the basket."It is indeed very beautiful," said she. " I should liketo have a picture of it. The basket with the flowers stillwet with the morning dew, would make as fine a flower-piece as has ever been painted by the great masters. Itdoes great credit to Mary's good taste, and still morehonour to her kind heart. Wait here a little, dear child,"continued she to Mary, beckoning at the same time toAmelia to follow her into the next room. Then she saidto her daughter, "We must not allow Mary to go homewithout a present. What do you think it will be best togive her?"Amelia considered for a few moments. "I think,"said she, at length, " one of my dresses might be thebest thing; at least, dearest mother, if you will allow meto give her the dress which has small red and whiteflowers on a dark green ground. It is as good as new.I have only worn it once or twice, but I have outgrown
THE BIRTIIDAY PRESENT OF MAY FLOWERS. 23it. It would be a pretty Sunday dress for Mary. Sheis so neat-handed, that she will alter it herself to make itfit her. If you do not think it too much, I will give itto her.""Do so," said the Countess; "when we give any-thing to the working-people, it ought always to be some-thing useful and suitable. The green dress with thepattern of flowers will be an appropriate gift to the littleflower-girl." The Countess went back to the room inwhich she had left -Mary. " Go, now, children," said she,kindly, " and take care of these flowers, that they maynot fade before dinner-time. We have company to-day,and the basket snail take the place of the epergne, andbe the chief ornament of the dinner-table. I leave it toyou, dear Amelia, to thank Mary for it."Amelia hastened back to her own room with Mary,and desired her maid to bring the dress. Harriet (forthis was the maid's name)'stood hesitating, and said-" Your ladyship cannot surely intend to wear that dressto-day ?"" No," replied Amelia, " I mean to give it to Mary.""That dress " returned Harriet sharply. "Is herladyship, the Countess, aware of it ? "" Bring the dress here," said Amelia, in a decided tone,"and leave me to settle the rest."Harriet turned hastily away to hide her vexation, andwent with a countenance flushed with rage. Sheangrily pulled the dress out of the wardrobe of theyoung countess. "Oh, if I only dared to tear it topieces!" said she-" That detestable gardener's girl!She has already partly taken my place in the favour ofmy mistress, and now she is robbing me of this dress;for the cast-off dresses of my lady belong to me by right.I could tear out the eyes of this hateful flower-seller! "Notwithstanding, Harriet suppressed her anger as wellas she could, and put on a civil expression when shereturned to the room, and gave the dress to Amelia." Dear Mary," said Amelia, "I have received manymore costly presents to-day, but not any that havepleased me so much as the flower-basket. The flowersin this dress are not so beautiful as yours, but I thinkthat you will like them as my gift. Wear this dress as a
24 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.remembrance of me, and give my best thanks to yourfather."Mary took the dress, kissed the hand of the youngCountess, and took her leave.Harriet continued her work in silence, with feelingsof jealousy, envy, and anger, burning in her heart. Itcost her no little self-command to conceal her ill-temper,and she could not refrain from slightly showing it bypulling Amelia's hair a little while she was dressing it."Are you angry, Harriet ? " said Amelia, gently."I should be too foolish were 1 to be angry becauseyour ladyship is so kind.""That is a very sensible speech," said the LadyAmelia. " I wish that you may always think as sensibly."Meantime Mary hastened home with the beautifuldress, her heart full of joy. But her prudent father wasnot particularly pleased with the elegant present. Hoshook his grey head and said-" I had rather that youhad not carried that basket to the castle. I value thedress, indeed, as the gift of our kind ladies, but I fearthat it may make other people envious of us, and whatwould be much worse, that it may make you vain. Takegood care, dear Mary, that the last may not, at all events,be the case. Modesty and proper behaviour are betterornaments for agirl than the most beautiful and becomingdresses. Remember what the Bible tells us about the bestornaments of woman. 'Whose adorning let it not bethat outward adorning of plaiting the hair and of wearingof gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be thehidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible,even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is inthe sight of God of great price. For after this mannerin the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God,adorned themselves." (1 Peter iii. 3-5.)" We sacrifice to dress, till household joysAnd comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry,And keeps our larder lean; puts out our tires,And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,Where peace and hospitality might reign."COWPER.
THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT OF MAY FLOWERS. 25" A sweet temper, and an open heart,A loving breast, and animated eye-These, these best dignify, and still endearThe meanest and the lowest. Many roundMay overtop me with their pride and show,But let me be what they but seem to be,And seem, and be, the best. In my small spherePerfume the atmosphere around my pathWith kind sweet words and loving happy looks.If I am loving I shall be beloved;And men shall bless the fragrance of my name.And hail my presence and my absence mourn."PARTRIDGE."The pompous flowers but dazzle, not delight,Astonish while their worthier mates attract,Admired by many, but by none beloved.Fine features, symmetry, a large estate,Taste, wit, and genius admiration win."PARTRIDGI.
CHAPTER III.TIE STOLEN RING."Let the crush of wrongDisclose my sweetness rather than my gall.Come sorrow then, or joy; come woe or weal,All shall subserve His purpose who ordainedThe winter as the summer-night as day-And formed my soul for glory. To enjoyMay be the blest prerogative of heaven;On earth we still must suffer and endure."ARY tried on her new dress; she then folded itup carefully, and put it away in her box.Scarcely had she done this, when the youngCountess hastily entered the cottage, pale,trembling, and out of breath." Oh, Mary," exclaimed she, "what have you done?My mother's diamond ringis missing! No one has beenin the room but you. Do give it to me quickly, or it willbe a dreadful business. Give it me quickly, and then thematter may still be arranged."Mary was so terrified that she became as pale asdeath. "Ah, my lady," said she, "what can thismean? I have not the ring. I did not even see aring in the room. I never even left the place in whichI stood."" Mary," pleaded the Countess, "I entreat you, foryour own sake, to give me the ring. You know not howvaluable the one precious stone in it is. The ring costnearly a thousand crowns. If you had known that, youwould surely not have taken it. Probably you thoughtit only a trifle of little value. But do give it to me now,and all shall be forgiven you, as merely an act of youthfulfolly."Mary began to weep. "Indeed, indeed," said she, "Iknow nothing about the ring. I have never evenventured to touch anything that did not belong to me,
TBt SrOULE R1B6. 27far less to steal it. My father has trained me too wellever to take anything from anyone."The father now entered the room. He had beenworking in the garden, and had seen the youngCountess enter the house, apparently in great haste.When he was told why she had come, he exclaimed, ingreat distress-" What is this ?" The good man was soagitated that he was forced to catch hold of the table forsupport, and sank, half fainting, upon a bench." Child," said he, " to steal such a ring as this is acrime which, in this country, is punished with death.But this is the least part of it. For such a deed we haveto answer not only to man, but to a far greater Lord-tothe highest Judge of all, who sees the secrets of allhearts, and before whom no excuses or refuges of liesavail. If you have so forgotten God's holy commands,and in the moment of temptation, have not rememberedmy fatherlyteachings; if you have suffered your eyes tobe dazzled by the splendour of gold and precious stones,and have thus been led into sin, oh! deny it not, butconfess it, and give back the ring. This is the only wayto make amends for your guilt, and perhaps it may stillbe forgiven.""Oh, father," said Mary, amidst tears and sobs, "Iassure you-I assure you-indeed I saw nothing of thering. Ah! if I had even found such a ring in thestreet, I could not have rested until I had restored it toits owner."" See," continued her father, " that angel, the youngCountess Amelia-who has come here out of love to you-to save you from the hands of justice-who wishesyou so well-who has just given you so valuable a pre-sent-surely she does not deserve that you should tellher a lie-that you should seek to deceive her, to yourown destruction! If you have the ring, confess it atonce, and the gracious Countess will, perhaps, by herentreaties, avert from you the punishment you deserve.Mary, I entreat you be honest, and tell the truth.""Father," said Mary, "you know well that I havenever stolen the value of a farthing in my whole life! Ihave never even ventured to take an apple from a tree,or a handful of grass from the meadow of a neighbour;
28 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.how much less could I have taken anything so precious,Believe me, dearest father, you know that I have nevertold you a lie in my life!"" Mary," said her father, once more, " look with pityupon my grey hairs! Bring them not with sorrow tothe grave! Spare me this deep agony! Confess itbefore God, before whom I hope soon to appear, and whowill permit no thief to enter into the kingdom of heaven.As in his sight, I ask you again, have you thering ? For your own soul's sake I implore you to tellthe truth !"Mary looked with weeping eyes to heaven, claspedher hands, and said solemnly, " God knows that I havenot the ring As surely as 1 hope to be saved, so surelyI have it not !""Now," said her father, "I do truly believe that youhave it not, for you could not tell such a falsehood in thevery presence of God, before the noble Countess here,and your own old father. And as I now firmly believeyou to be innocent, I am easy. Be at peace, too, dearMary, and fear nothing. There is but one real evil intheworld thatwe have to fear, and that is sin. Prisonand death are nothing to this. Whatever may becomeof us, even if all men should forsake us, and be againstus, yet we have God for our friend, and He will certainlyrescue us, and sooner or later bring our innocence tolight."The young Countess wiped away a tear, as she said," Good people, when I hear you speak thus, I really be-lieve, too, that you have not the ring. But again, whenI consider all the circumstances, it seems to me next toimpossible that you should not have it. My motherdistinctly remembers the very place on her work-table onwhich she put down the ring before I went into her roomwith Mary. No one else entered the room. Maryherself can testify that I did not even go near theworK-table. While my mother and I were speakingtogether in the next room, Mary was left alone-beforeand after this there was no one else there. After we hadgone, my mother closed the door to change her dress.As soon as she had dressed, and wished to put on the ringagain, she found it gone. My mother herself searched
THE STOLEN RING. 29the whole room for it. She took the precaution notto ring for any of the servants, and did not allow evenme to enter the room till she had thoroughly searchedit two or three times. But all was in vain! Who, then,can have the ring ?""That I do not understand," said Mary's father.God has appointed a severe trial for us. Yet whatevermay be hanging over us," continued he, looking upwardsto heaven, " see, Lord, here am I! Thy will be done! Onlygive me thy grace, 0 God, and it is sufficient for me!""Indeed, 1 shall go home with a heavy heart," saidthe Countess. "It is a melancholy birthday to me! Itwill be a terrible affair. My mother has not yet said aword about it to anyone but me, in order not to injureMary. But thematter cannotbe concealed much longer.My mother must wear the ring to-day. We expect myfather about midday from the capital, and if the ring isnot on her finger, he will immediately miss it, for itwas his gift to her when I was born, and she has alwaysworn it on my birthday. She is hoping and expectingthat I shall bring it back with me!"There was a silence for a few minutes, then Ameliasaid, sorrowfully, "Farewell! I shall, indeed, assurethem all that I believe you to be innocent; but-will theybelieve me ?"She went mournfully to the door, with tears in hereyes. Both father and daughter were so stunned withgrief, that they did not move to open it, or to accompanyher on her way.The father sat upon the bench, with his head leaningupon his hand, looking on the ground as if lost inthought, while tears flowed down his pale cheeks. Maryfell on her knees before him, looked up into his face,weeping bitterly, and said," Oh, father, indeed I am innocent of the wholematter; I assure you that I am innocent."Her father raised her kindly, looked long and ear-nestly into her blue eyes, and then said, "Yes, Mary,you are innocent. Guilt could never wear so honestand so truthful a look."" Oh, father," continued Mary, " what will be the endof this P What will become of us P Oh, if I alone wert/-aa.-
30 THE BASKET OP PLOWERS.to suffer, I would bear it willingly, but that you, dearestfather, should suffer on my account is more terrible tome than all the rest."" Trust in God," replied her father, " and be undis-mayed. Without his permission not a hair'of our headscan be touched. Whatever may happen, it is all orderedby God. It is, therefore, all right, and for our good,and what would we have more ? Do not, then, be terri-fied, and always keep strictly to the truth. Howeverthey may threaten you, whatever they may promiseyou, do not deviate a hair's breadth from the truth, andwound not your own conscience. A good conscience is asoft pillow, even in a prison. We may now possibly beseparated from each other, your father will no longer beable to comfort you, dear Mary! But cling the moreclosely and trustfully to your Father in heaven. Nonecan separate you from Him, your Almighty Protector !"The door was then suddenly thrown open, and theofficers of justice entered the room. Mary uttered aloud cry, and threw her arms round her father."Separate them," said the chief officer, his eyesflashing with anger. " Put the daughter in irons, andtake her to prison. The father also must be held incustody, at least, for a time. Let the house and gardenbe well watched, and let no one enter till we havesearched it thoroughly."Mary still clung to her father, but the officers of jus-tice tore her from him by force, and put her in irons.She fainted, and was carried away unconscious. As thefather and daughter were taken through the streets, acrowd of people collected. The story of the ring hadspread like wildfire through the whole of the neighbour-hood. The crowd rushed round the gardener's cottageas if the building were on fire. The most conflictingopinions were expressed. Kind as James and Mary hadever been to all their neighbours, yet people were foundthat rejoiced in their fall, and made the most maliciousremarks on that which had happened. As James andMary had prospered well through their own industry-nd frugality, they had been envied by many lessindustrious."It is easy to see," said they, "where their wealth
THE STOLEN RING. 31has dome from. Before this we could not understand it.But now it is not difficult to see why they lived betterand dressed better than any of the other people in theplace."However, most of the inhabitants of Eichburg trulysympathized with honest James and his good daughter.Many of the good townspeople thus spoke to each other," Alas, what wretched creatures we poor human beingsare, the best of us are not secure from falling. Whowould have thought it of these worthy people ? Yet,perhaps, they are not guilty, and if so, may God bringtheir innocence to light! But, even if they have done it,may God help them, that they may confess their sin andamend, and escape the great miseries that threaten them.May God in his mercy guard us all from sin, for withouthis help we are not safe for a single day."Many of the children of the place gathered in groups,and stood weeping as Mary and her father passed." Ah!" said they, " if these good people are put in pri-son, honest James will give us no more fruit, and kindMary no more flowers. It is wrong to put them in pri-son, and it ought not to be done.""Child of sorrow, hush thy wailing,One there is who knows thy grief,One whose mercy, never failing,Waits to give thy soul relief;He, thy Saviour,Faithful still, of friends the chief'Child of sorrow, do they leave thee,Those on whom thy hopes have stayedJesus calls, and will receive thee,With a love can never fade;Hark, He bids thee.Seek the home for sinners made."P. HurroN.
CHAPTER IV.MARY IN PRISON." Stone walls do not a prison make,Nor iron bars a cage,Minds innocent and quiet haveThese for an hermitage."kY had been dragged to prison, while stillalmost unconscious. When left alone in herdungeon, she came to herself by slow degrees,and as she remembered her misery, she wept,sobbed, wrung her hands, and then recollecting wherealone she could find comfort, she prayed earnestly, tillat length she fell asleep exhausted, upon her bed ofstraw. Soft sleep closed her weary eyelids. When sheagain awoke it was night. All around her was dark,and she could see nothing. At first she knew not whereshe was. The story of the ring came to her memory likea dream. For a moment she fancied that she was inher own bed at home. She was just beginning to rejoicethat her sad dream had been chased away by her awaken.ing, when she felt the weight of her fetters, andtheir dismal clang awoke her to the fearful reality. Shestarted terrified from her hard bed."Oh, what can I do!" exclaimed she, as she sank onher knees, "but raise these fettered hands to Thee,0 gracious God! Oh, deign to look into this prison,and behold me on my knees before Thee Thou knowestthat I am innocent! Thou art the refuge of the inno-cent! Save me! Have pity on me! Pity my poorfather! Oh, give him comfort, and rather let me suffer* double sorrow!"A torrent of tears flowed from her eyes, as sheibought of her father. Sobs choked her voice, and shewept long in silence.
MARY IN PRISON. 33The moon, which had long been hidden in the clouds,now suddenly shone out in full splendour, and threwthe shadow of the grated window on the floor of Mary'sdungeon. In its clear light, Mary could now see thefour walls of her prison-the rough stones of which itwas built-the white lines that marked where theywere joined together-the stone which, in one corner,served for a table-the earthen pitcher, and earthenplate which stood on it, and the wretched bundle ofstraw, which served her for a bed. Yet, as soon as thethick darkness had passed away, Mary felt lighter atheart, the bright moon seemed to her like an old friend."Do you come, lovely Moon," said she, "to lookagain upon me, who have loved you so much? Oh!when you shone into my room, through the quiveringvine-leaves, how much more beautiful you seemed thannow, when your rays beam through the dark grating ofmy prison window! Are you mourning with me? Ah,I never believed I should see you thus What is myfather doing now ? Is he waking, and looking on you,and mourning as I am ? Ah, that I could see him butfor a moment! Lovely Moon, you are shining on himnow Oh, could you but speak, you might tell him howMary is weeping, and mourning for his sorrow."But how foolishly I have been speaking in mymisery. Forgive me, O merciful God, for these idlewords! Thou seest me. Thou seest my poor father.Thou seest into both our hearts. Thy Almighty powercan help us, through prison walls and iron bars! Nonecan withstand Thee! Oh, send comfort to my father inhis sorrow!"Mary was now surprised to perceive a pleasant per-fume in her prison. In the morning she had gatheredsome half-open rosebuds, and other flowers; she hadmade them into a little nosegay, and put them in herbreast. The sweet perfume came from these flowers." Are you there still, you dear little blossoms ?" saidshe, as she saw her nosegay, " and have you come withme to prison, you innocent creatures? You have notdeserved punishment, and it is my comfort that I de-serve it as little as you do."She took the nosegay from her breast, and looked ata
34 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.it in the moonlight. " Ah," said she, " when I gatheredthese rosebuds, this morning, in my garden, and pluckedthese forget-me-nots from the brook, who would havebelieved that I should be in prison to-night ? When Ifastened the wreath of flowers round the edge of thebasket, who could have thought that to-night iron fetterswould be fastened round my wrists? So changeableare all things on earth, no one knows how speedily hisposition may be altered, or to what melancholy eventsthe most innocent actions may lead. Truly all humanbeings have good reason to commend themselves, everymorning, to the protection of God."Again she wept; her tears dropped on the rosebudsand forget-me-nots, and glittered in the moonlight likedew. " He who forgets not the flowers, but refreshesthem with rain and dew, will not forget me," said she." Oh, most gracious God, send comfort into my heart,and into the heart of my poor father, as Thou fillest thecups of the thirsty flowers with the dew of heaven."Amid her tears, she thought again of her father."Oh, my kind father," said she, "when I look at thiswreath, how many of your words about the flowers comeback to my mind. These rose-buds have bloomed amongthorns; so may joy spring up amid my sorrows. Who-ever would have tried to unfold this rose-bud beforeits time, would have destroyed it. God who created ithas ordered that its tender leaves should unfold them-selves one by one, and should breathe forth their deliciousperfume. Thus will He overrule my sufferings, so as todevelope the blessings that are sent to me in them.Therefore will I patiently wait till his time come. Theseforget-me-nots remind me of their Creator Ah, graciousGod, I will not forget Thee, as Thou hast not forgottenme! These delicate flowers are blue as the sky aboveus. May heaven be my comfort amid all earthly sorrows.Here are some odoriferous sweet-peas with their delicatered and white blossoms! As this tender plant clings tothe support upon which it leans, and so climbs joyfullyupwards, so may I, borne upwards from earth as if onwings, rise unto Thee, 0 God, and clinging to Thee, riseabove all earthly sorrows. It is this mignonette which,more than all the rest. diffuses its delicious perfume in
iQ IHE WHO FORGETS NOT THE FLOWERS BUT REFRESHES THEM WITHRAIN AND DEW, WILL NOT FORGET ME," SAID SHE.
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MARY IN PRISON. 35ny prison. Lovely, gentle flower, thou rejoicest evenher whose hand plucked thee. I will try to be like thee,and strive to feel kindly to those who have torn me frommy home and cast me into prison, when I had donethem no harm. Here is a fresh sprig of periwinkle.This is green even in winter, and in the most drearyseason of the year keeps the lovely colour of hope. Evennow in my time of suffering, I will not give up hope.My God, who can preserve this little plant fresh andgreen amid the storms of winter under ice and snow, willalso preserve me amid the storms of misfortune. Hereare some laurel leaves. They remind me of the unfadingwreath prepared in heaven for those who suffer heroicallyand patiently on earth. Oh, I imagine I can see it now,this evergreen wreath of victory, this glorious goldencrown! Flowers of earth, you are passing like its joys,withering and fading away. But after the brief sorrowsof earth, there awaits us in heaven above, a glory andblessedness which is eternal and unchangeable."A dark cloud now suddenly obscured the moon.Mary could no longer see her flowers, and her cell be-came fearfully dark. Again her heart sank within her.But the cloud soon passed away, and the moon againshone out in all her beauty. " Thus," said Mary to her-self, " may innocence be under a cloud for a time, -but atlength it shines forth again clear and bright. Thus, Omy God, wilt Thou at last make manifest my innocence,and clear it from all false accusations, though now it ishidden by the dark clouds of suspicion."Soothed by these thoughts, Mary knelt in prayer,and then lay down peacefully to sleep on her bed ofstraw. A pleasant dream comforted her during herslumbers. She thought she was walking in the moon-light in a garden she had never seen before. It wassurpassingly beautiful, too lovely for words to describe,and it appeared to be surrounded by a wilderness in agloomy forest of fir-trees. She had never seen the moonso bright and lovely as it appeared in her dream. Allthe flowers in the garden seemed to bloom more beau-tifully in the soft moonlight. Her father, too, appearedto her in this marvellous garden. The moonbeamsshone on his cheerful, honest, smiting face. In fancy she
36 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.rushed towards him, and throwing herself upon hisneck, shed tears of joy, with which her cheeks were stillwet when she awoke."Of all the thoughts of God that areBorne inward unto souls afar,Along the Psalmist's music deep-Now tell me if that any is,For gift or grace surpassing this,'He giveth his beloved sleep.'" What would we give to our beloved PThe hero's heart to be unmoved-The poet's star-tuned harp to sweep-The senate's shout to patriot vows-The monarch's crown to light the brows ?' He giveth his beloved sleep.'"' Sleep soft, beloved,' we sometimes say,But have no tune to charm awaySad dreams that through the eyelids creep:But never doleful dream againShall break the happy slumbers when'He giveth his beloved sleep.'"He men may wonder while they scanA living, thinking, feeling man,In such a rest his heart to keep;But angels say, and through the word,I ween their blessed smile is heard-' He giveth his beloved sleep.' "E. B. BARREET.
CHAPTER V.THE TRIAL."For slanders I of many heard;Fear compass'd me while theyAgainst me did consult and plotTo take my life away.But as for me, 0 Lord, my trustUpon Thee I did lay;And I to Thee,' Thou art my God,Did confidently say."CARCELY had Mary awoke when an officer ofjustice came to the prison to take her beforethe Court. A cold shudder came over her asshe entered the dark gloomy room, of which thevaulted roof and the small hexagonal panes of the oldfashioned windows, attested the great antiquity. Themagistrate sat as judge, in a large arm-chair, coveredwith red cloth; the clerk sat pen in hand before a largewriting-table blackened by age. The magistrate putmany questions to Mary, and she answered them alltruthfully. She wept, mourned, and protested her inno-cence. But the judge said, " You cannot deceive me sofar as to make me believe what is impossible. No onewas in the room but you; no one can have the ring butyou; therefore confess it at once."Mary pleaded and wept. She repeated her protesta-tions. " I cannot, and I know not how to speak other-wise. I know nothing whatever of the ring; I have notseen it, and I have it not.""The ring has been seen in your hands," said thejudge, sternly. " What answer can you make to this P "Mary still insisted that it was impossible. The judgerang a little bell, and Harriet was put into the witness-box. To account for her appearance we must tell whathad taken place in the meantime at the castle.In the excess of her anger and envy on account of the
38 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.dress, and with the wicked intention to deprive Mary ofthe favour of her mistress, Harriet had said to severalpersons in the castle, "No one can have the ring butthat wretched girl, the gardener's daughter. When Isaw her coming down stairs she had a ring set withprecious stones in her hand. She hid it, and lookedfrightened4 when she saw me. I thought it was verysuspicious. I did not wish to be rash, and therefore saidnothing about it. Perhaps, thought I, they may havegiven her the ring, as they have given her so manypresents before. If she had stolen it, I knew it wouldsoon be missed, and then it would -be time enough tospeak. I am very glad that I did not chance to go intothe Countess's room at the time. Such wicked creaturesas that hypocritical girl may cause honest people to besuspected."They took Harriet at her word, and she was sum-moned to give evidence before the court. When she wasput into the witness-box, and the judge warned her tospeak the truth, as in the presence of God, her heartthrobbed, and her knees trembled beneath her. But thewicked young woman neither gave ear to the words ofthe judge, nor to the voice of her own conscience. Shethought, " If I now confess that I have told a lie, I shallbe dismissed in disgrace, or perhaps imprisoned. Shetherefore persisted in her false statement, and said boldlyto Mary, " You have the ring, I saw it in your hand."Mary was horror-struck when she heard this false-hood, but she did not return railing for railing. Sheonly wept, and could scarcely articulate these words, ina voice stifled with sobs-" It is not true. You did notsee the ring in my hand. How can you so perjure your-self, and make me so miserable, who have done you noharm! "But Harriet could not. be turned from her purpose;she was looking only to her own temporal advantage,and her heart was full of envy and hatred of Mary. Sherepeated her false accusation, and added several additionalcircumstances, and, having been cross-examined in vain,was at length dismissed." You are convicted," said the judge to Mary. "Yourguilt is clear. Every circumstance is against you. The
THE TRIAL. 39young Countess's maid saw the ring in your hand. Nowconfess what you have done with it."Mary assured him that she had it not; that she hadnever seen it. According to the barbarous custom ofthe time, the judge ordered her to be flogged, to forceher to confess. Mary screamed and wept, but withprayer to God for strength and help, she repeated herprotestations of innocence; but these availed not. Shewas most cruelly maltreated.Pale, trembling, bleeding, and exhausted, she wastaken back to prison. Her wounds gave her great pain.She lay tossing sleeplessly half the night on her hardbed of straw. She wept and groaned, but at length shefound relief in prayer. This strengthened and soothedher, and ere long she sank into a refreshing slumber.The next day Mary was again brought before thecourt. As severity had failed to move her, the judgenow endeavoured to induce her to confess by gentle andkind promises. " Your life is forfeited," said he; " youhave been found guilty, and by the law you deserve todie. But if you will confess where the ring is, you shallbe set free. What you have already suffered shall beconsidered sufficient punishment. You shall be allowedto go home in peace with your father. Consider well,and choose, between life and death! I mean kindly toyou. I am advising you for your good. Of what usewill the stolen ring be to you if you are put to death? "All persuasions were vain; Mary continued to asserther innocence.The judge, who had observed her great love for herfather, continued thus: "If you persist in silence, and ifyou do not value your own young life, think at least ofyour old father! Could you bear to see his hoary headfall bleeding beneath the axe of the executioner? Whobut he could have persuaded you to persist so obstinatelyin falsehood? Do you intend that it should cost him hislife?"Mary was so terrified when she heard these words,that she nearly fainted." Confess," said the judge, "that you have taken thering. A single syllable, the little word, 'yes,' may saveyour own life, and that of your father!"
40 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.This was a sore temptation to Mary. She stood longsilent. The thought came into her mind that she mightSsay she had taken the ring, and had lost it on her wayhome. But she resisted the evil thought. " No," saidshe, within herself, "it is better through everything tokeep fast to the truth. To tell a lie would be a greatsin! For no bribe would I commit such a sin, not evenif by so doing I could save both myself and my father.I will obey thee, 0 my God, and leave all in thy hands,trusting in Thee to save us." She then said aloud, ina tone of deep emotion, " If I were to say that I have thering, it would be a lie; and I will not tell a lie even tosave myself from death. But," continued she, " if bloodmust flow, let it be mine only. I implore you to sparemy good father. Have pity on his grey hairs. I would"gladly die to save him."All present were affected by these words. They touchedthe heart even of the judge, stern and severe as he was.He said no more, but made a sign that Mary should bereconducted to prison."* Commit thou all thy griefsAnd cares into his hands,To his sure truth, and tender care,Who earth and heaven commands."Put thou thy trust in God,In duty's path go on;Fix on his word thy steadfast eye,So shall thy work be done." Through waves, and clouds, and storms,He'll gently clear thy way;Wait thou his time, thy darkest nightShall end in brightest day."
CHAPTER VI.THE FATIER AND DAUGHTER IN PRISON."Home feelings are to mortals given,With less of earth in them than heaven;And if there be a human tearFrom passion's dross refined and clear,A tear so limpid and so meek,It would not stain an angel's cheek,"'is that which pious fathers shedUpon a duteous daughter's head!"-ScoTr.HE judge found himself not a little embarrassed." It is now the third day," said he, on the fol-lowing morning, to his clerk, "and we are nofurther advanced than we were the first hour.If I could see any possibility that any one else couldhave taken the ring, I would be inclined to believethat girl innocent. Such obstinacy at so tender an ageis a thing quite unheard of. But the evidence is toostrong against her. She must have stolen the ring. Itcannot be otherwise."He went to see the Countess, and questioned heragain about every little circumstance. He also re-examined Harriet. He sat nearly all day consideringthe report of the trial, and weighed every word thatMary had uttered. At length, late in the evening, hesent for Mary's father, who was ushered into his room."James," began he, "I have been always known tobe a severe man. But no one can say that I have everdone an unjust action. I think that you must be quitesure, that I do not wish to condemn your daughter todeath. But she has been found guilty of theft, and,according to law, she must die. Her guilt has been fullyproved by the evidence of the lady's maid. If, indeed,the ring could be found and restored to its owner, shemight be pardoned on account of her youth. But, ifshe persists so obstinately in falsehood, she must be oldin wickedness, though young in years, and I can hold out
42 THE BASKET OF FLOWERTSno hope of pardon. Go, then, to her, James, persuadeher to restore the ring, and then I promise you that ifshe does this, she shall not be put to death, but thepunishment will be commuted into one less severe. Youare her father. You have very great influence over her.If you cannot induce her to confess, what can anyonethink but that you are in collusion with her, and are anaccomplice in her crime. I repeat once more, if the ringbe not produced, it will go hard with you."The father replied, "I will, indeed, speak with her,but I know already, that she did not steal the ring, andtherefore, she has nothing to confess. However, I shalldo all in my power, and if my innocent child must die, Iesteem it a great mercy to be permitted to see her oncemore!"The officer conducted the old man in silence to Mary'scell, placed a small lamp on the stone table in it, onwhich stood an earthen pitcher containing water, and aplate on which was Mary's supper, that was still un-touched. The officer then quitted the cell, and closedthe door, leaving the father and daughter together.Mary was lying on her straw couch, in a half slumber,with her face turned to the w/1l. When she opened hereyes and saw the glimmer of the lamp, she turned round,perceived her father, utuered a loud cry, and sprang fromher bed so hastily, that her chains rattled, and she fell halffainting, on her father's neck. He seated himself on thestraw beside her, and folded her in his arms. They satsome time in silence, and mingled their tears together.At length the father began to speak of the commissionthat he had received, " Oh, father!" interrupted Mary," surely you cannot doubt that I am innocent Oh, myGod!" continued she, weeping. "Does every one be-lieve me to be a thief, even my own father! Oh, father!believe my word, I assure you that I am not a thief."" Be calm, my dear child, I do believe you," said herfather, " but I have been commanded to question you."Both were again silent.Her father looked earnestly at Mary. Her cheekswere pale and care-worn, her eyes red and swollen withweeping, her long, fair hair, which fell round her like amantle. was ronuh ond dishevelled. " My poor child,"
THE FATIER AND DAUGHTER IN PRISON. 43said he, " God has laid a heavy burden on you! And Ifear-I very much fear, the heaviest, the most terrible,is yet to come Ah, perhaps-perhaps, they will even cutoff this dear young head!"" Oh, father," said Mary, " I do not think of myself,but of your grey head. 0 God, grant that I may nothave to see it fall on the scaffold!"" Fear nothing for me, dear child," said her father."They will not harm me; but you, my darling, are ingreat danger. Although I have. still some hope, yet Ibelieve their cruelty may go so far as to take your life.""Oh!" exclaimed Mary, joyfully, "if you are safe,the heaviest load is off my mind. All is well! I assureyou, my dear father, that 1 do not fear death. I amgoing to God, to my Saviour! I shall meet my motherin heaven. Oh, how joyful it will be!"These words deeply pierced the heart of the oldfather. He wept like a child. " God be praised," saidhe, at length, clasping his hands, " God be praised, mydarling, that I find you so composed. But it is hard-very hard, for an old, worn-out man, a losing father, tolose his only, his dearly beloved child, the only comfort,the last support, the crown and joy of his old age!Yet," sobbed he, in a broken voice, " O Lord, thy will bedone! Thou requirest a heavy sacrifice from a father'sheart, but I surrender her, if it be thy will! Into thyhands I commit her, my dearest on earth; I trust inThee, thou wilt order all things for the best! Ah! dearMary, it is better that you should die innocent, than thatI should ever live to see you led into sin. Forgive me,my dear child, for saying this. You are, indeed, good,very good, worthy to be among the angels in heaven;but the world is wicked, very wicked, and fall is possible,for even angels fell. If it be God's holy will, that youshould die, my darling, better that you should die inno-cent. You will be transplanted, like a pure, white lily,from this rude world to the better land, and, cleansedfrom all sin, in the Saviour's blood, you will be with Himin Paradise."A torrent of tears choked his utterance. "Yet onething more,"'said he, after a little while. " Harriet hasgiven evidence against you, She asserted upon oath
44 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.that she had seen the ring in your hand. If you are putto death, her evidence will have caused it; but, dearestMary, you forgive her, don't you ? You have no ill-feel-ing towards her? Ah, my child, even in this darkprison, loaded with chains, you are happier than she is,living in ease and luxury in the castle of the Count.Better, far better, is it to die innocent like you, than tolive like Harriet with a guilty conscience. Forgive her,Mary, as your Saviour forgave his murderers. Is it nottrue that you forgive her, and that you take all thisaffliction as coming from the hand of God?" Maryassured him that she fully forgave her.The jailer's step was heard in the passage. "Now,"said her father, "I must go. I commend you to Godand his mercy. I commit you into the hands of the Re-deemer who died for you. Should we never meet again,my child, should this be the last time that I look uponyou on earth, we shall not long be parted,.for I shall soonfollow you to heaven! For this blow! I feel-I knowthat I cannot long survive it!"The jailer now came in, and warned the fathe that hemust go. Mary wished to keep him, and threw her armsround him. He gently disengaged himself. She sankback unconscious on her straw!James was again brought before the judge. "BeforeAlmighty God, in whose presence we stand, I assureyou," said he, raising his right hand as he entered theroom, " she is innocent. My child is not a thief."" I would willingly believe it," said the judge, "but,alas! I am not permitted to pass sentence according tothe protestations of you and your daughter, I must de-cide according to the evidence, and act as it is my dutyto do, according to the letter of the law.""Of all the knots which Nature ties,The secret, sacred sympathies,That, as with viewless chains of gold,The heart a happy prisoner hold;None is more chaste, more bright, more pure,Stronger stern trials to endure;None is more purged of earthlyleaven,More like the love of highest heaven,Than that which binds, in bonds how blest,A daughter to a father's breast !"-J, W. VGPNUnimes,
CHAPTER VII.THE SENTENCE AND ITS EXECUTION." Scripture is the only cure of woe;That field of promise, how it flings abroadIt's odour o'er the Christian's thorny road!The soul, reposing on assured relief,Feels herself happy amidst all her grief,Forgets her labour as she toils along,Weeps tears ofjoys, and bursts into a song."VE(CY IERYONE in the castle, and in Eichburg, wasanxious to know what would be Mary's fate.All that felt kindly towards her, feared for herII I life, for at that time theft was punished withextreme severity. Many had been punished with deathfor stealing a sum of money not the twentieth partof the value of the ring. The Count wished nothingmore earnestly than that Mary should be proved inno-cent. He attentively perused the minutes of the trial,and had many consultations with the magistrate; butcould not convince himself of her innocence, because itseemed nearly impossible that anyone else could havetaken the ring. The two countesses, mother and daughter,implored with tears in their eyes, that Mary might not beput to death. Her old father, in his prison cell, prayedto God day and night without ceasing that He wouldmake manifest Mary's innocence. Mary, left alone in hercell, when she heard the jailer's footstep or the clank ofhis keys, supposed he was coming to announce to herthe sentence of death. The executioner had begun toprepare the place of execution, and to clear it from theweeds with which it was overgrown.One day when Harriet was walking near the place,she saw him employed at this work, and it seemed as if adagger had pierced her heart. She felt the stings ofremorse, and that night at supper in the castle, she couldeat nothing, and looked so pale and mi-erable that her
46 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.agitaticn was observed by all the servants. That nightshe could not sleep, and Mary's bleeding head hauntedher dreams. Her guilty conscience gave her no rest dayor night. But the worthless girl was too much underthe dominion of her evil passions to listen to the voice ofconscience; she was not sufficiently noble-minded toatone, so far as possible for her crime, by an honest con-fession of the truth.At length the judge passed sentence. Mary, on accountof her theft, and her obstinate denial of it, was pro-nounced deserving of death; but in consideration of heryouth and formerly unblemished reputation, her sentencewas commuted to imprisonment for life in the house ofcorrection. Her father, who was considered a participa-tor in her guilt, either as actually her accomplice, oras having caused it by the bad way in which he hadbrought her up, was banished for ever from the province.All their possessions were confiscated, and were orderedto be sold to pay the law expenses. The Countsucceeded in obtaining a mitigation of this sentence.Instead of being sent to the house of correction, Marywas to accompany her father in his exile, and to sparethem all noise and publicity, as much as possible, it wassettled that Mary and James should be conducted acrossthe boundary early in the morning of the followingday.As Mary and her father passed before the castle-gate, accompanied by the police officer, Harriet came outto meet them. Since the affair had taken this turn, thisheartless woman had recovered her levity and goodspirits. The thought of Mary's death had haunted her,and caused her to feel remorse, but that Mary should bebanished was the very thing she desired. She had alwaysfeared that Mary one day or other might take her placein the castle. She had now no cause for fear, but thehatred and jealousy she had felt were as strong as everin her wicked heart. A few days before, the CountessAmelia had observed Mary's basket standing on a sidetable in her room, and had said to Harriet, " Take thebasket out of my sight. It awakens such sorrowfulremembrances, that I cannot look at it without pain."Harriet had taken it away, and now brought it out
fH s SEitENCt ANLD ITS EXECtTION. 47inher hand. "Take back your fine present," said she toMary, " my lady will receive nothing from such hands.Your finery has all gone with the faded flowers, for whichyou managed to get so well paid. It gives me thegreatest pleasure to give you back your basket." Shethrew the basket at Mary's feet, went back to the castlewith a mocking laugh, and closed the gate violentlybehind her.With tears in her eyes, Mary silently lifted the basket,and went on her way. Her father had not even a stafffor the journey. She had no earthly possession but thebasket. She looked back weeping again and again, togaze upon the home she was leaving, till it disappearedfrom her view, and at length, the castle, and even thetop of the church spire, were hidden from her sight by awooded hill. After the police officer had conducted Maryand her father to the boundary of the province, and hadleft them in the forest, the old man, worn out with griefand pain, sat down on a moss-covered stone, under theshade of an old oak-tree."Come, my daughter," said he, as, taking Mary'shands in his, he raised them to heaven, " before all things,let us thank God for having delivered us out of the dark,noisome prison, and permitted us once more to enjoy thefresh air under the open sky, let us thank Him that Hehas saved our lives, and has restored you to me, mydearly-beloved child."James looked up to the sky, which could be seenclear and blue through the green oak-leaves, and heprayed with a loud voice, " Our Father which art inheaven! Thou only comfort of thy children on earth, ThouAlmighty Refuge of the oppressed! accept our unitedthanks for our merciful deliverance from chains andbonds, imprisonment and death! We thank Thee for allthe benefits that Thou hast bestowed upon us in the homethat we are leaving. How could we go without first look-ing up to Thee with grateful hearts Before we treadthe soil of a place in which we are strangers, we ask thyblessing and guidance. Deign to look down on a poorfather and his weeping child. Take us under thyAlmighty protection. Be our guardian and guide in therough paths which may be before us. Lead us among4
48 THE BASKET OF FLOWEBS.good people, incline their hearts to have compassion uponus. In thy wide world let us find a little corner in whichwe may spend in quietness the remaining days ofour pilgrimage, and then die in peace. I believe that,although we know it not, Thou hast already preparedthis place for us. With this hope, and trusting in Thee,we go on our way comforted. Strengthen and guide usfor our Lord Jesus Christ's sake."After both had prayed thus, for Mary's heart echoedher father's words, wonderful peace and joy filled theirhearts, and they were prepared to go on their way withtsust and hope." When winter-fortunes cloud the browsOf summer friends, when eyes grow strange,When plighted faith forgets its vows,When earth and all things in it change;O Lord,thy mercies fail me never,Where once Thou lov'st, thoulov'st for ever."In all extremes, Lord, Thou art stillThe mount whereto my hopes do flee;Oh, make my soul detest all ill,Because so much abhorred by Thee;Lord, let thy gracious trials showThat I am just, or make me so."Fountain of light and living breath,Whose mercies never fail nor fade,Fill me with life that hath no death,Fill me with light that hath no shade;Appoint the remnant of my daysTo see thy power, and sing thy praise."QUARLES.
CHAPTER VIII.A FRIEND IN NEED."Many sounds were sweet,Most ravishing, and pleasant to the ear;But sweeter none than voice of faithful friend-Sweet always-sweetest heard in loudest storm.Some I remember, and will ne'er forget-My early friends, friends of my evil day;Friends in my mirth, friends in my misery, too;Friends given by God in mercy and in love-My counsellors, my comforters, and guides;My joy in grief, my second bliss in joy."POLLOCK.HILE the father and daughter were still sittingunder the tree, Anthony, the Count's oldforester, came through the wood. He knewS James well, as they had been in attendance onthe Count when he was travelling. He had been outearly that morning in pursuit of a stag."Good. morning to you, James," said he, "howgoes it with youP I thought I heard your voice,and I find I have not been mistaken. Have theyreally been so cruel as to banish you ? It is very hard,in your old age, to be forced to leave your own dearhome.""The earth is the Lord's," replied James; "andwherever we may be under the blue sky, we are in hissight, and his love is ever around us. But our home isin heaven."" Can it be true," said the forester, kindly, "that theyhave had the still greater cruelty to cast you out withoutanything but the clothes you have on ? Why, you arenot even sufficiently clad for such a journey.""He who clothes the flowers will also clothe us,"replied James.
50 TIIE BASKET OP FowaES."And about money ?" again asked the forester."Have you got any with you ?"" We have a good conscience," answered James, "andwe are richer with that than we should be without it,even if this stone on which I am sitting were of puregold, and belonged to us.""But tell me," said the forester, "have you reallynot a penny?"" This empty basket at my feet is our only earthlypossession," said James; " what do you think it may beworth P"" A florin," said the forester, looking perplexed- "a florin, or perhaps a dollar. But what isthat ?""Well," said James, smiling, "then we are rich, ifGod grants me health and strength, and the use of myhands. I could make at least a hundred such baskets ina year; and with an income of one hundred dollars wemight certainly manage very well. My father, who wasa basket-maker, insisted that I should learn basket-making as well as gardening, in order to give me usefulemployment in winter. I thank him for it now. He hasdone more for me, and provided better for me than if hehad left me three thousand florins, which would havegiven me a yearly income of a hundred dollars, andallowed me to be idle. A sound mind in a sound body,and a respectable trade, are the best and surest riches onearth.""Now, God be praised," said the forester, "that youcan take it in this way. I quite agree with you. I think,too, that your skill as a gardener will assist you. Buttell me, where do you intend to go now ?"" Very far away," said James, "where no one knowsus. God will guide our steps.""James," said the forester, " take this strong, thickcrab-stick with you. Fortunately, I brought it with methis morning, because it is somewhat difficult for me toget up yonder hill without it. And here is a littlemoney," continued he, taking a small leathern purse outof his pocket. "I received it yesterday evening in thevillage, in payment for wood.""I will gladly accept the sta.Mf" aid James, " and
A TFRIEND IN NEED. 61keep it in remembrance of an honest man. But I cannottake the money. As it is payment for wood, it belongsto the Count.'" Honest old James," said the forester, " make yourmind easy about that; the money is already paid to theCount. I advanced it, many years ago, to a poor manwho had lost his cow, and could not pay for the wood hehad bought. I thought no ,more about it till yesterdayevening, when quite unexpectedly he paid me the moneywith many thanks, as he is now in better circumstances.God has sent the money just at the right time foryou.""I will thankfully accept it," said James. " God willreward you for your kindness. See, Mary," continued he,to his daughter, " how graciously God has provided forus at the very outset of ourjourney. Even before we hadcrossed the boundary, he has sent our good friend here,who has supplied me with money and a staff to supportme on the way. How soon God has answered ourprayer! Be of good courage, and fear not; God willcontinue to care for us."The old forester now took leave of them with tearsin his eyes. "Farewell, honest James-farewell, goodMary," said he, while he first shook hands with thefather, and then with the daughter. "I have alwaysthought you honest people, and I think so still. Youwill get on well yet, no fear; honesty is sure to thrive.Yes, yes; he who does right, and trusts in God, willnever be forsaken. Take that assurance with you, asniy parting word, and may God guide and protectyou!"The forester turned away, deeply moved, and wenttowards Eichburg. Then James stood up, took hisdaughter by the hand, and walked on with her alongthe high road through the forest-forth into the wideworld."Parted friends may meet again,When the storms of life are past,And the spirit, freed from pain,4asks in friendship that will last,
52 THE BASKET OF FLOWERSi"Worldly cares may sever wide,Distant far their path may be;But the bond by death untied,They shall once again be free." Parted friends again may meet,From the toils of nature free;Crowned with mercy. Oh! how sweetWill eternal friendship be!"C. W. THOMSON.
CHAPTER IX.THE EXILES FIND A HOME."Thou who did'st sit on Jacob's well,The weary hour of noon,The languid pulses Thou canst tell,The nerveless spirit tune." From darkness here and weariness,We ask not full repose;Only be Thou at hand to blessOur trial hour of woes." Is not the pilgrim's toil o'erpaidBy the clear rill and palmy shade PAnd see we not, up earth's dark glade,The gate of heaven unclose ?"E 1AY after day Mary and her father wandered on,till they had reached a distance of more thansixty miles from their old home. During allthat time they had not been able to find a placein which they could remain with the hope of gettingwork; and their small sum of money was exhausted.They fared very ill. The mere thought of asking almswas unspeakably painful to them, but at length theywere forced to do so. At many a door they wererepulsed with harsh words, and at many another a drycrust was thrown to them with a grudge, and they hadnothing to drink with it but a little water from thenearest stream. Sometimes a little soup or cold veget-ables were given them in an earthen plate; still morerarely a small quantity of broken victuals or pastry. ButMary could often see that the smallest and worst pieces ofthe left food were picked out for them. For many daysthey never tasted anything warm, and at night they werethankful to find shelter in a barn.One day, when the road on which they were travellingled them between woods and hills, far from any village or
U4 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.even scattered houses, the old man was suddenly takenill. Pale and speechless, he sank down on the fallenspines of the fir-trees at the foot of a hill covered withwood. Mary was nearly beside herself with terror andanguish. In vain she looked all around for freshwater;she could not find a single drop. In vain she calledaloud for help; the echo alone replied. Far and widethere was no human habitation to be seen. Withtrembling limbs Mary hastily climbed the hill, thatshe might be better able to see all around. Then atlength she perceived on the opposite side of the hill afarm-house, which stood alone on the edge of thewood, surrounded by ripening corn-fields and greenmeadows.She ran as fast as she could, and reached the housealmost breathless. With streaming eyes, and a voicebroken with sobs, she implored for help. The farmerand his wife, both rather aged, were good, kind-heartedpeople. They were touched by Mary's grief, her paloface, her tears, and her anguish.The farmer's wife said to her husband, " Put ahorse in the light cart; we can soon bring the sick manhere."The farmer went to harness the horse, and bring outthe cart. The farmer's wife got ready a few blankets, anearthen jar of cold water, and a bottle with a littlevinegar.As soon as Mary heard that the cart-road round thefoot of the hill was very bad, and much further than thepath across the hill, she at once set off to return by theway she had come, that she might be sooner with herfather. She took with her a pitcher of water and a littlevinegar.When she reached the spot where she had left herfather, he had somewhat revived. He was sitting upunder a fir-tree, and was heartily glad to see Mary,whose absence he had remarked with pain, when herecovered consciousness. The light cart soon afterarrived, and he was gently laid in it and carried to thefarm.The farmer had a neat back room, with a backkitchen, and small room beside it, forming a little separate
THE EXILES FIND A HOME. 55lodging, which now chanced to be empty. He kindlyclearedthis for the sick man. The farmer's wife pre-pared a comfortable bed for him. Mary was glad tosleep on a mattress on the floor. She was contentedwith anything, if she could only make her father com-fortable. James's illness proceeded entirely from ex-haustion, caused by the want of food, the discomfortthat he had endured, and the fatigue of the longjourney.The good farmer's wife gave all which she could offerto refresh and restore the poor old man. She sparedneither meal nor eggs, milk or butter-even a few fowlswere willingly given to make strong soup for her sick,weary guest.The farmer brought in almost every day a youngpigeon from his dove-cote. " There," said he to his wife,with a smile, " since you do not spare your poultry, Imust do something too."The farmer and his wife had been wont every yearto go to an annual festival, held in a neighbouringvillage. This year, after a consultation with eachother, they resolved to remain at home, and toset apart the money which they would otherwisespend at the festival, to buy some good old wine for theinvalid.Mary thanked them with grateful tears. Shethanked God, who, in their great need, had guided themto such kind and hospitable people. " God be thanked,"said she, "there are kind people everywhere ; but thekindest hearts are often found under rough exteriors, inplain country homes."Mary scarcely ever left her father's side. She wasalways near to answer when he called, yet her cleverhands were never idle. She was a very good needle.woman and knitter, and she worked constantly for thekind farmer's wife. She wasted not a moment. Hernew friend was much pleased with her industry, and herquiet, gentle, and modest behaviour.Old James was quickly restored by the good food andnursing which he now received, and he was soon able tobe out of bed.As soon as his strength had, to some extent
56 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.returned, it was impossible for him to be idle. Marywas sent to fetch hazel-branches and willows fromthe wood, that he might begin his basket-making. Hisfirst work was an offering of gratitude-a neat usefulhand-basket for the farmer's wife. He contrived exactlyto suit her taste. The basket was beautifully shaped andfirmly made. He dyed some willow twigs of variouscolours, and wove in the cover of the basket, in dark redletters, the initials of his kind friend's name, and thedate when she had so hospitably sheltered him. On thesides of the basket a pattern was woven, in yellow,green, and brown willows, representing the farm-house,with its brown walls, thatched roof, and a few greenpine-trees near it. This allusion to the name of thefarm, which was called "Pine Farm," pleased thefarmer's wife. She was greatly delighted with thepretty and useful gift, and all who saw it admired it verymuch.When James had quite recovered his health, he saidto his kind friends at the farm-"I have been long enough a burden to you; it is fulltime that I should take my staff and wander onfurther."Butthe farmer took his hand kindly, and said-"What has come over you, dear James I hope wehave not offended you in any way. Why do you wish toleave us? You are usually a sensible man; this newwhim is not like you."The farmer's wife wiped away a tear with her apron,as she said-" Oh, stay with us! It is late in the seasonalready! See, the leaves on the trees and hedges areyellow, and winter is at the door! Do you really wishto be ill again ?"James assured her that he only wished to go becausehe was afraid of being a burden to them."Make your mind easy about that!" said the farmer;"how is it possible that you can be a burden to us PYou are not in our way in your little back room there,"and you earn all that you need.""Yes indeed!" said the farmer's wife, "Mary aloneearns it all by her sewing and knitting. And if you,James, will go on with your basket-making, you will
THE EXILES PIND A HOME. 57have plenty to do. I took your pretty basket with melast week when I went to the christening of the miller'schild. There was a large party, and they all admiredmy basket, and wished to have one like it. I will getyou plenty of orders, if you like. You need not wantwork."James and Mary agreed to remain where they were sokindly welcomed, and both the farmer and his wife wereheartily glad of it." When all within is peace,How nature seems to smile IDelights that never cease,The livelong day beguile." It is content of heartGives nature power to please;The mind that feels no smartEnlivens all it sees;"Can make a wintry skySeem bright as smiling May,And evening's closing eyeAs peep of early day."CowPEa.
CHAPTER X.PLEASANT DAYS AT TIIE PINE FARM." God made the country, and man made the town.What wonder then that health and virtue, giftsThat can alone make sweet the bitter draughtThat life holds out to all, should most abound,And least be threatened in the fields and groves ?"COWPELBSalAMES and Mary now settled themselves intheir little rooms, and prepared to begin house-keeping. A few articles of necessary furniture,and a few kitchen utensils were provided.Mary was much pleased to have once more a fireside ofher own, and to be able to cook her father's meals incomfort. Both father and daughter were contented andhappy. They had many a pleasant talk while James wasmaking baskets, and Mary was busy with her sewingand knitting. On many an evening they were invitedinto the front room, where all the farmer's householdwere assembled; and all were pleased to listen toJames's amusing stories and pleasant conversation.Winter wi h its storms passed quickly and pleasantlyaway amid these usefil occupations.Near the farm there was a large piece of gardenground, which had been allowed to lie waste. The farmerand his wife had not time to attend to it, because theywere so constantly busy on the farm; and even if theyhad been able to spare the time, they did not understandgardening. James undertook to make a good garden ofthis useless piece of ground.He cleared and dug it well in autumn, and as soon asthe snow melted in the early spring, he and Mary workedhard in it, both early and late. He fenced it round, laidit out in beds, filled it with useful vegetables, and such
PLEASANT DAYS AT TIIE ANE FARM. 69flowers as the bees love, and gravelled the walks. Marytook the flower-beds under her especial care, and whenher father went to the neighbouring town, to bring seedsand plants for the vegetable garden, she persuaded himto bring also rose-bushes, lilies, auriculas, wall-flowers,stocks, and other pretty flowers.So blooming a garden had never before been seen inthis remote place, and it became famous in all the valley,and in the neighbouring villages. The orchard alsoprospered under James's care, and bore better fruit, andlarger crops. A blessing seemed to rest on all thathe did.The old gardener was again in his element. As inthe old times at Eichburg, he began to teach Mary les-sons from the flowers and plants growing in profusionaround them. There was scarcely a flower or a greenleaf that did not seem to give him a text for a freshlesson.In the early days of spring, Mary looked for violets"under the hedge which bordered one side of the garden,that she might bring her father the first opening flowers,as she had been accustomed to do. One day she joyfullypresented him with a beautiful sweet-smelling nosegay-" Well," said her father, smiling as he took the prettybunch of blue flowers, " who seeks well is sure to find.But listen," continued he, " it is worthy of notice thatthis lovely little flower, the sweet violet, often growsunder thorns, and this seems to me to apply to our ownease. Who could have believed that, in this lonelyvalley, and under this old moss-covered thatch, we shouldfind so much comfort and joy ? There is no path in lifeso thorny, but we may find some quiet pleasures hiddenunder the thorns, if we seek for them. Be meek andhumble in heart, my child, and even amid many sor-rows, God will send you that peace which the world canneither give nor take away."A tradesman's wife from ihe town came one day tobuy flax from the farmer's wife, and brought her littleboy with her. While the flax was being examined, andthe price of it settled, the boy, left to himself, escapedthrough the open door into the garden, and ran eagerlyto a bush, covered with full-blown roses, to gather
60 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.flowers, but in his haste he fell, and was sorely prickedby the thorns. His loud cries brought both his motherand the farmer's wife to his help; James and Mary toocame to see what was the matter. The boy was standing"crying passionately, with face and hands bleeding, andloudly abusing the ugly, deceitful rose-bush." There are many children of larger growth like him,"said James. "Like the rosebush, every worldly pleasureis surrounded by thorns, and many rush eagerly to graspthem. One seeks his amusement in dancing and gam-bling, another in intoxication, or even worse. Thepleasure soon passes away, leaving a cruel sting, and thepleasure-seeker stands like this boy weeping and lament-ing, and accusing, as the cause of his misery, what hehas most loved. Even innocent pleasures should bemoderately used, and, while we admire the beauty of therose, we must not grasp it too eagerly. God has givenman reason for his guide, that he may learn to be tem-perate in all things. He must not blindly follow hisown pleasure, but try to find his pleasure in the pathof duty."One lovely summer morning, after several days' rain,Mary went with her father to the garden, and found thefirst lilies in full blow, looking lovely in the rising sun.She ran to call the people in the farm, who had beenanxiously waiting to see the lilies in blossom. All ad-mired them much." What a dazzling white, how pure and spotless theyare," said the farmer's wife."Yes, truly," said James earnestly. "Oh, that thesouls of men were as pure and spotless as the lilies, thenwould they enjoy the greatest possible happiness. Is itnot said that 'the pure in heart shall see God?' I haveoften before taught you, dear Mary, that none are pureby nature, and you know well how we can become pure,in no other way than through the cleansing blood ofChrist. Thus washed, we shall shine for ever in robes aswhite and spotless as the lily blossoms."" How beautifully straight is the slender stem," saidthe farmer; "how erect and upright it stands."" It is like a finger-post pointing upwards to heaven,"said James, " I delight to look at it. Such lilies should
PLEASANT DAYS AT THE PINE FARM. 61be in every country garden. We, working people, areobliged to grub so much in the ground, that we some-times forget to look upwards. This lovely, uprightflower, with its white cup open to the rays of the sun,ought always to remind us that amid all our toil andhard labour, we too should be looking upwards andseeking for better things than earth can give. Allplants," continued James impressively, "even the mostdelicate, have a natural tendency to grow upwards, andthose which are too weak to rise by themselves, are soformed that they cling to something stronger, and soclimb higher and higher. The honeysuckle, the ivy, thesweet peas, and the hops, even the wild convolvulus inthe hedge, are all ever clinging and striving to raisethemselves from the ground. It would be very sad ifman, with his high aspirations, hopes, and wishes, shouldcreep on the earth, instead of rising upwards to heaven.If we prize this world and its vanities too much, we shallalways be grovelling on the ground, for 'where thetreasure is, there will the heart be also.' But let uscling to Christ, and rise upwards by his help. Let usset our 'affections on things above, not on things on theearth,' and so shall we be ever rising higher and higher,and shall rejoice in the glorious life-giving rays of theSun of righteousness."One day James was planting out young seedlings inthe same bed which Mary was weeding. "This two-fold work, my dear daughter," said he, "is like our life-work here below. Our hearts are like gardens, whichGod has given us to tend. We must ever be busy inuprooting the evil, and sowing the good seed, or thegarden will soon be a wilderness. By nature, weedsgrow therein more luxuriantly than flowers. As the seedI am now sowing cannot thrive, unless the weeds arecleared away and the soil is prepared to receive the re-freshing rain and dew, so the good seed sown in ourhearts cannot spring up unless God send the graciousinfluences of his Holy Spirit, like the refreshing rain, tocause it to grow and bear fruit abundantly. The soulthus blessed becomes like a well-watered garden, bring-ing forth abundantly the precious 'fruits of theSpirit.' "
62 TitE BASKET OF tLOWEti,Three springs and summers had glided pleasantlyaway, since James and Mary first came to the Pine Farm.and they had almost forgotten the sorrows of the past,These years had been well and usefully spent in activeindustry, lightened by many innocent pleasures, not theleast of which to Mary was her father's instructive con-versation. At the return of autumn, when the middaysun cast longer shadows, the last ornaments of thegarden, the red and blue asters, were in bloom, and themany-coloured foliage of the trees showed the approachof winter, James's health began visibly to decline. Hrfelt his strength daily diminishing. He tried to con-ceal his feelings of illness from Mary, fearing to distress.er; but his teachings from the flowers were of a melan-choly cast, often leading to thoughts of death, and hiswords made Mary feel sad.One day Mary, as she was gathering flowers, saw arose, the last lingering blossom on the tree, but whenshe wished to gather it, its leaves fell off, and were scat-tered on the ground, around her. " So is it with man,"said her father. " In youth we are like a newly-openedrose; but like the roses we wither and fade, our seasonof bloom is very short, and quickly passes. Do not prizetherefore, my dear child, the vain fragile beauty of thebody, which will soon pass away, but strive after thebeauty of the soul, the ornament which can never fade.One evening, when they had been gathering in thecrop of apples, James was standing on a ladder, underone of the trees, and handing down the apples to Mary,which she was carefully laying in a basket. Then hesaid, "Hear how.the autumn wind whistles among thetrees, plays with the yellow leaves, and blows about mygrey hair I am in the autumn of life, dear Mary, andone day, if you are spared, your autumn will also come.Try to resemble this tree which you see rich in goodfruits, and may you also bring forth fruit abundantly,so that you may be approved by the Lord of the harvest."When Mary was sowing seed for the following spring,her father said, " Even so, my daughter, must we oneday be laid in the earth, and covered with the earthBut be comforted! As the corn of wheat which is laidin the earth rises to new life, and as the seed of the fair
PLEASANT DAYS AT THE PINE FARM. 63fower also springs up fresh from its grave, so shall weone day rise to a new and glorious life from the darknessof the tomb. Think of this, dear Mary, when at somefuture day you may have to follow me to the grave. Asthe seeds that you sow there spring up and blossom,may you regard them as the emblem and the pledge ofmy resurrection and immortality."Mary looked anxiously at her father, and she couldnot but see that he was greatly changed. Two largetears rolled slowly down her cheeks, and she shudderedat the thought that she must lose him. Dark fore-bodings filled her heart." When the spark of life is waning,Weep not for me ;When the languid eye is straining,Weep not for me;When the feeble pulse is ceasing,Start not at its swift decreasing,Tis the fettered soul's releasing;Weep not for me." When the pangs of death assail me,Weep not for me;Christ is mine-He cannot fail me,Weep not for me.Yes! though sinand doubt endeavourFrom his love my soul to sever,Jesus is my strength for ever-Weep not for me."DALE,
CHAPTER XI.JAMES'S ILLNESS."When langour and disease invadeThis trembling house of clay,'Tis sweet to look beyond the grave,And long to soar away." Sweet to look inward, and attendThe whispers of his love :Sweet to look upward to the thronoWhere Jesus reigns above."valley were covered with snow, and good oldJames suffered from the cold. He became so illas to alarm Mary, who entreated him to allowa doctor to be sent for from the neighbouring town,and the kind-hearted farmer went himself in his sledgeto fetch him. After the doctor had seen and prescribedfor the sick man, Mary accompanied him to the door.She asked him whether she might venture to hopethat her father would recover. The doctor told her thatfor the present herfatherwas not in danger, but that, at hisadvanced age, he could not answer how the illness wouldend. Mary feared the worst from this doubtful answer,and she sank down on a chair where the doctor had lefther, and wept bitterly. After a time she became morecomposed, wiped away her tears, and tried to appearcalm before her father, that she might not alarm or dis-tress him.Mary attended her beloved father with the tenderestcare. She did everything for him that was in her power.She watched all night long by his bed side. Whenothers offered to take her place, lest the constant watch-ing should be too much for her, if, yielding to their per-suasions, she consented to lie down for a few moments,she could not close her eyes. If her father even coughed,she started up; if he moved, she was at once by his side
JAMES'S ILLNESS. 65to see what he wanted. She prepared and served themost nourishing food to him with the tenderest love.She arranged his pillows, she read to him, she prayedfor him without ceasing. Often while he slept she stoodby him with clasped hands, and looking up to heaven,said, " Oh! my God, spare him to me still, even for a fewyears!" She often remained up half the night sewing orknitting to earn money to provide comforts for him. Yetfrugal as she was in her own wants, she would have spentthe last farthing she possessed to purchase anything thatmight do him good.The pious old man, although he had somewhat revivedfor the present, yet felt that his "sickness was unto death."Notwithstanding, he was calm and composed, and spokecheerfully of his approaching death. Poor Mary couldnot bear this, and when her father spoke of his death,she said, amid her tears," Oh, do not speak of it, dearest father! I dare noteven think of it! What would become of me? Ah,your poor Mary would then have no friend on earth!""Weep not, dear child," said her father, taking herhand kindly. " If I am taken away, you have still aFather in heaven. He has promised to be a 'Father tothe fatherless.' Remember what David says in thePsalms,'When my father and my mother forsake me,then the Lord will take me up.' Your Father in heavenwill be ever with you, even if your father on earth istaken from you. How to provide for your food andclothing is among the least of my cares. The birds ofthe air are fed, and so will God feed you! Man wantsbut little here below, nor wants that little long.' Ah!far different cares weigh upon my mind. My onlyanxiety is that you should remain as gentle, pious, andinnocent as, thank God, you are now. My beloveddaughter,you know not how corrupt and wicked the worldis, and what evil men there are in it. Alas, it is too truethat there are men who would think it merely a jest todeprive .you, poor girl, of innocence, honour, peace oimind, and the whole happiness of your life. They maycall you childish if you speak to them of the fear of God,the voice of conscience, the commandments of God, andof endless eternity. But if they regard not these things,
63 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.flee from such men, dearest Mary. Remember they arethose whom the Bible commands us to shun. Howevermuch they may flatter you, and call you beautiful,hovering round you like the butterfly round the flowers,yet listen not to them, and mind not what they say.Never accept a present from them, and never believetheir promises. Satan himself has appeared in the formof an angel of light; and a poisonous serpent often lurksamong flowers. For your protection, God has given youa true badge of innocence, holy modesty; if anyone sug-gest an evil thought or says a word that is not innocent,you will feel the glow of modesty rush into your cheeks.Take warning from this guardian of innocence! Neglectit not, that it may not leave you for ever. As long asthe blush of modesty remains, if you listen to its warn-ing, you are safe from temptation. But as soon as youslight this warning, even in the least degree, if you yieldeven once, you are in danger of being lost for ever!" Oh! Mary, there will be an enemy in your own heart.There will be moments in your life in which you mayfeel a desire for what is evil, and in which you may easilypersuade yourself that you are not very wicked, even if youbreak the strict rules that have been imposed upon you.But take warning, and engrave the counsel of your dyingfather deeply on yourheart! Do, speak, even think,nothingfor which you must blush were it done or spoken in yourfather's presence. My eyes will soon be closed for ever.I shall no longer be able to guard you, but think thatyour heavenly Father is everywhere present, and sees thesecrets of your heart. You would be ashamed to showany evil feeling to me, your father on earth; fear infinitelymore to give offence to Him, your Omniscient Father inheaven." Dearest Mary, remember my advice. If temptationshould ever assail you, think of me, remember my paleface, my grey hair, the tears that are falling over mywasted cheeks. Come, put your hand into mine, coldand withered as it is, that will soon be laid in the dust.Promise me never to forget my words. In the hour oftemptation try to imagine that you feel the clasp of mycold hand, holding you back from the brink of the abyss."My darling girl, you look upon my pale and care-
JAMES'S ILLNESS. -" 67worn features with tears of sorrow. Oh, see now thatall on earth is passing away. Once I was as fresh andblooming as you are now. One day you will be as paleand wasted as I now am, lying on my dying bed, unless itplease God to take you away still earlier. The joys of myyouth have faded like the flowers of the past spring, theVlace whereof knows them no more. They have vanished:ike the dew on the early blossoms, which glitters for a:-ioment and is seen no more. But noble deeds are like theprecious stones, which have an enduring value; virtue anda good conscience are like the noblest of precious stones,the diamond, which is indestructible. Strive to obtainthis jewel! the good that I have done is now my only joy,and my faults and failures are my only pain. Keep closeto God, dear child, trust ever in Him, walk as in his pre-sence. In Him I have found my sweetest joys, and inHim, also, the best and only consolation in my sorrow."Believe me, Mary, I speak the truth! If it wereotherwise, I would tell you. I have seen the world asmuch as most men, when I was travelling with the Count.In all the large cities, in which there was anything beau-tiful or attractive to be seen, I was permitted to visit it.I enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, for I saw andheard as well as the young Count did, the gay masque-rades, the noisy music, the merry talking, and the jests ;and of the delicate food and costly wines there remainedalways more than I could consums. But worldly plea-sures such as these left my heart empty. I assure youthat during one quarter of an hour of quiet devotion in thebower of our garden at Eichburg, under this thatchedroof, or even here on my dying bed, I have enjoyed moreinward peace and pleasure than all these vain delights af-forded me. Seek thy joy in God, dear Mary, and thouwilt find it in rich abundance."You know well, my dear child, that during my longlife I have not been without many sorrows. Ah, whenyour dear mother died, my heart was like the dry andthirsty ground which is burnt up by the heat of the sun,waud is longing for rain. Even thus did I long for com-,ort, but I found it in God. Oh, my child, there willcertainly be days in your future life when your heart,too, will be like the dry and thirsty ground; yet be un-
68 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.dismayed. Not in vain does the earth thirst for rain,God sends it in his own good time. Seek comfort in God,He will strengthen and refresh your heart as the parchedand cracked earth is refreshed by the mild and gentle rain." Dearest child, always keep your firm confidence inGod's holy providence. God causes all things to workfor good to them that love Him; He leads them throughthe path of sorrow to endless joy." Do you remember, dearest Mary, what bitter sorrowyou felt when on our journey I sank down on the highroad unable to move? Yet this illness was the verymeans used by God to prepare for us this peaceful home,where we have been so happy for more than three years.But for this sickness we should probably either have passedthe door of our kind friends, or our misfortunes would nothave excited their compassion. They might perhaps havegiven us a cup of milk and a piece of dry bread, andthen have let us go on our way. But for this sicknesswe should not have learned to know these dear friends,and should not have loved them so much. All the plea-sures that we have here enjoyed, all the good that wehave done here, and the many hundred days of contentand pleasure that we have lived here have been blessingsthat have sprung from that attack of sickness. Thus,dear Mary, in the most melancholy occurrences of ourlife we can see the grace and mercy of God. As Godscatters his flowers on mountain and valley, in the woodand by the brook, even on the moor and in the marsh,with a liberal hand, so that we may everywhere see theevidences of his goodness and loving-kindness; even sohas He ordered all the events of our lives according to hisinfinite wisdom, his love and compassion, so that everyattentive mind may remark this and find comfort andjoy therein." Amongst our greatest sorrows we must reckon theaccusation brought against you of theft. While youwere lying in chains and bonds condemned to death, andwe, in your prison-house were weeping and mourning to-gether, these sorrows were certainly bringing great bless.ings, and I think that these blessings are now visible. Atthetimewhenthe young Countess distinguished you aboveall other girls in the neighbourhood, honoured you with
JAMES'S ILLNESS. 69her company, gave you so beautiful a dress, wished tohave you always with her-then, you thought, did younot P-that you were happy. But how easily amongst thehonours, pleasures, and luxuries of this world might younot have become vain, frivolous, worldly-minded, andforgetful of God. God has been gracious to you, He hasordered it otherwise, and sent misfortunes to us. Inprison, in misery, and, at length, on our weary wander-ings, we have learned to know Him better, and have beenbrought nearer to Him. In this remote place, far fromthe distractions and disquietudes of the world, He hasprepared a better place for us. Thou bloomest here likea flower in the solitary wilderness, safe from all dangers." God, the true and faithful one, will order all thingsfor your good. I truly believe that He has heard myprayer, and will yet bring your innocence to light, evenif I should not live to see it. It is not necessary tomake my mind easy, because I am already convincedthat you are innocent. Yes, dear Mary, happiness andjoy will spring forth to you even out of the sorrows thatyou have endured; although earthly happiness is but asmall consideration, and the great reason why God sendssorrow to us will never be known until we are in heaven,for it is through much tribulation that we must enterinto glory." Grieve not then, pious soul, if thou art brought intopoverty and overwhelmed with anxieties, but believethat God will graciously care for you, and that you needhave no care. Wherever his holy providence may leadyou, and however hard may be the lot which has beenappointed for you, believe that trials are sent to renderyou still more virtuous and happy."As a gardener transplants young plants fromthe seed-beds, when he finds it best for them, and as hedoes this at the time best suited to make them thriveand grow; so God removes each human being from thisworld to the next, at the time and in the circumstancesthat are best for his or her eternal good. All things worktogether for good to his people. He graciously removesme to a land of pure delight where I shall be perfectlyblessed. And be assured, dear child, that this eventwhich you feel to be so heavy an affliction to you will be
tO THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.over-ruled for good. As in all your past sorrows, sowill it ever be. My sickness and death, distressing now,will be turned into a blessing. 'No chastening for thepresent seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, neverthelessafterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteous-ness rvito them that are exercised thereby.'" My loving child! when 1 even mention death, youburst into tears afresh! Oh, weep not! Look not upondeath as so terrible, rather look upon it as a source ofoy to a Christian. Let me remind you of some of thelessons that I taught you in our old garden at Eichburg.Remember our seed-beds in spring. How weak andinsignificant the little green shoots looked when theyfirst sprang up in the narrow bed. From their appear-ance then you could not have told what magnificentflowers they would become, or what rich fruits they wouldone day produce. But if they had remained crowdedtogether in the little seed-beds, they would neitherhaec produced flowers nor fruits. They would not havehad room to grow. The gardener never intended themto remain there to decay and rot; no, he merely leftthem there till they were ready to be transplanted to theopen garden, in which under the beautiful blue sky,enjoying the fresh air and the golden sunshine, andrefreshed with the rain and dew of heaven, they mightgrow and blossom in beauty and luxuriance. Rememberow pleased you were when I transplanted the littleseedlings, and how you often urged me not to delay itbecause the poor plants were getting sickly and requiredremoval. You were glad when you saw them plantedout in the garden, and you used to say, 'How muchbetter they are now; I think I see an improvement inthem already.' We poor human beings are like theseweak little seedlings, and our earth is like the closemoist seed-bed. Here on earth is not our abiding place!Here we are like these feeble, miserable plants. But weshall become something better and more glorious whenGod shall transplant us into his great, and glorious, andbeautiful garden above.""Weep not for me, dear child. For me it is farbetter to depart and be with Christ. It is good for meto put off this vile body in which I have suffered so
JAMES'S ILLNESS. 71much, and to be free for ever from sin, and pain, andwoe! Dear Mary, do you not remember the extreme joywe felt in our blooming garden in the lovely mornings inspring ? Heaven may be compared to a Paradise, aninfinitely glorious garden in which reigns an eternalspring. I am now going to this better country. Oh, bea pious girl, keep ever close to Christ, and trust in Him,and we shall one day meet again in heaven! Here wehave suffered many trials and sorrows together, andmust part ia tears. But there we shall meet to dwelltogether in joy and blessedness, and never to part again!There shall I see your mother again! Oh, how I rejoiceat the thought! Oh, Mary, seek to be prepared to joinus! If you should be in prosperity, forget not amid thefleeting joys of earth the glory that is prepared for usin heaven. Weep not, then, my beloved child, but ratherrejoice in the hope that is set before you!"Thus the pious father made use of the last days ofhis life to comfort his daughter whom he was obliged toleave alone in the world; and thus he warned her tobeware of the evils and temptations that would surroundher in the world. Every word that he uttered was likea good grain of corn that fell into good ground. "Ihave made you sorrowful, dear child," said he, " and havecaused you to shed many tears, But these tears areneedful. What is sown amid tears, takes deeper rootand thrives better, like the grain of corn that is sownamidst the soft and gentle showers of spring." Theythat sow in tears shall reap in joy."Where calm the spirit sinks to ease,Lulled by angelic symphonies!Oh, then to think of meeting thereSThe friends whose grave received our tear!" The child long lost, the wife bereaved,Back to our widowed arms received;And all the joys which death did sever,Given to us again for ever." O Lamb of God, by sorrow provedThe Friend of man, the Christ beloved,To Thee this weetest hope we owe,Which warms our shivering hearts below."H. K. Warr,
CHAPTER XII.JAMES'S DEATH."It matters not at what hour of the dayThe righteous fall asleep; death cannot comeTo him untimely who is fit to die;The less of this cold world, the more of heaven;The briefer life, the earlier immortality."M31ILMAN.S soon as the illness of her father had appearedalarming, Mary had gone to Erlenbrunn to seethe clergyman of the parish to which the PineFarm belonged. She told him how ill herfather was, and entreated that he would come to seehim. The clergyman, a worthy man, and a good minister,visited him often, had much edifying conversation withhim, and never left the farm without saying a few wordsof comfort and encouragement to Mary.One afternoon when he came as usual, he found thegood old man much weaker. James told Mary to leavethe room for a little while, because he wished to speakwith the clergyman alone.When after a short time she was again called intothe room, her father said to her-" My dear Mary, I donot think I shall ever be able to be up again, and theclergyman has kindly promised to administer the HolyCommunion to me to-morrow morning."Mary had not thought her father in such greatdanger. She saw that he thought death approaching,and she could not restrain her tears. But by a greateffort she recovered her composure."You are right, my dear father," said she. " Whattan we do better, when we are in trouble, than seek thecomfort which God has promised to give in his holyordinances ?"The rest of that day and most of the evening wasspent by James in silent prayer: he spoke little, and
JAMES'S DEATH. /3seemed to be communing with his own heart. Next dayhe received the Communion from the hands of the minis-ter with indescribable joy. Faith, love, and the hope ofeternal life, shone in his venerable countenance; tearsof deep emotion flowed over his withered cheeks. Mary,kneeling by his sick bed, wept and prayed. A smallcongregation had been formed in James's sick room.The farmer, his wife, and several of their workpeoplejoined in the holy service. All seemed deeply affected;some were moved even to tears." Now," said Mary, after it was all over, " my heartseems lighter, and I am much comforted. Truly both inlife and death, religion is the support of the soul;in God alone can we find peace and comfort in afflic-tion !"James continued to get weaker every day, and hefelt that death was slowly approaching. The farmer andhis wife did everything in their power for him, for theyregarded him as their best friend, and blessed the hourthat he had come into the house. Many times everyday, either one or other came into his little room tosee how he was, and if he wanted anything. On theseoccasions, Mary's frequent question was, "Oh! don'tyou think that he may yet recover ?"Thinking it better to prepare her for the future, thefarmer's wife once said to her, "My dear girl, I muchfear that he will not survive the spring."From that time Mary looked with fear and tremblingfrom her little window into the garden. Hitherto shehad always rejoiced in the return of spring. But nowshe looked sad when she saw the first delicate leavesappear on the hedges, and the swelling buds on the trees;she dreaded the approach of spring, and the early songof the birds that she once loved so much, caused herpain. The earliest snowdrops and primroses were anunwelcome sight. "Ah!" she said, " all around me isspringing into new life! must my dear father alone die,while all seems reviving? Is there no hope for him?Yes," continued she, raising her eyes to heaven, "weare commanded not to sorrow 'as those that have nohope;' our Lord Jesus Christ has said, 'He that be-lieveth in me shall not die.' He is merely putting off
74 THE BASKET OF TLOWERSthis earthly house of clay, to rise to a new and better lifein heaven above !"The pious old man often wished Mary to read aloudto him. She read with reverence and feeling, and hervoice was sweet and clear. Towards the end of hisillness, the passages he heard with most pleasure werethe last words and the last prayer of our Lord Jesus.One night Mary was watching silently beside him.The moon was shining into the little room through thewindow so clear and bright that the feeble glimmer of thenight-light could scarcely be seen." Mary," said her father, " read to me once more thebeautiful prayer of our Lord."She lighted a candle and read it."Now give me the book," said he, " and hold thecandle for me a little."Mary gave him the book, and held the lighted candleto him." See," said he, " this shall be my last prayer for you."He laid his finger on the place, and prayed in a brokenvoice, while he changed the words a little, so as to suithimself and his daughter-"Oh, heavenly Father! I have not long to remainin this world; but this, my child, will be left for a timbin this world. I believe and trust that I am goingto Thee, 0 Father! Thou, Holy and Almighty God,preserve my child from sin and evil, for Thy name's sake.While I have been with her in this world, I have endea-voured in Thy name and with thy strength to guard herfrom it. But now come I to Thee. I pray Thee not thatThou shouldest take her out of the world, but that Thoushouldest keep her from the evil of it. I implore Theeto sanctify her through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.Oh, heavenly Father! Grant that she, whom Thou hastgiven to me on earth, may one day come to meet mewhere I now hope to be with Thee, in heaven. Thesethings I ask in the name and for the sake of our LordJesus Christ. Amen."While James prayed, Mary stood by his bedside,holding the candle in her trembling hand, and when heconcluded, she joined in his earnest " amen," as well aaher sobs would permit,
JAMES'S DEATH. 75" Yes," continued her father, "my dear daught.r,there shall we see Jesus in the glory which was givenHim by God before the foundation of the world, and therein that better land we shall meet again."He laid his head back on the pillow, and lay quiet fora little, grasping the book in his hand. It was a Bible,which he had bought with the first money that he hadbeen able to save after he had been driven from Eichburg,ieprived of everything he possessed."Dear Mary," said he, after resting for a little, "Ithank you again for all the love which you have shownme during my last illness. You have well and faithfullykept the fifth commandment. Remember the promisegiven to those who love and honour their parents. Ibelieve, dear Mary, that it will be fulfilled to you, and Itrust God will provide for you, though I must leave you,to all outward appearance, poor and helpless. I cangive you nothing but my blessing and this book. Trustin God, dear daughter, and this blessing will not be invain. The blessing of a father who trusts in and pleadsGod's promises, is a greater blessing to good childrenthan the richest inheritance. Take this book as yourfather's last gift. It cost only a few pence, yet if youwill read it diligently, and follow its directions carefully,it is a greater treasure than gold or silver. If I couldleave you as many pieces of gold as there are leaves onthe trees in spring, you could buy nothing better with allthis money. For it is the Word of God, which has apower to make all happy who believe it. Our Lord says-' The words which I speak unto you, they are Spiritand they are life.' Read it every morning; try to findtime for this amid all your toil and labour, even if youhave time but for one text; learn it and meditate on itin your heart all day. If you do not quite understandany part of it, pray that the Holy Spirit may enlightenyou. I have always read it with prayer for this help.God alone can teach you rightly to understand it. Allthat is most essential in it is clear and simple to the under-standing of all. Hold fast by it, follow it, and you will notbe left without a blessing. A short text meditated on withprayer is full of wise teaching. These few words-'Consider the lilies of the field,' have taught me more
76 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.wisdom than all the books which I read in my youth.The deep meaning contained in these words has beenthe source of many innocent enjoyments; and, amidmany sorrows which would otherwise have filled myheart with anxious care, and made me faint-hearted anddesponding, it has inspired me with a cheerful and happyspirit."About three o'clock in the morning, James said, " Ifeel very ill, Mary. Open the window a little."Mary opened it. The moon was no longer to be seen,but the stars were sparkling brilliantly in the darksky." See how beautiful the sky is," said James. " Whatare the fading flowers of earth, when compared with theunfading stars of heaven P I am going where nothingwill ever fade or pass away. Oh, what joy! I am goingto my Saviour! Keep close to Him, dear Mary, and sowe shall meet again."Saying these words, he sank back upon his bed, andhe slept away gently and quietly. Mary thought it wasonly a swoon; she had never before seen death. No onehad believed that her father's death was so near; butMary was struck with a look she had never seen before-that once seen is never forgotten-and she hastenedto awaken the people in the house. They quickly cameinto the chamber of death, and saw that James was gone."When Mary heard that he was really dead, she kissedhis pale face, and embraced his cold remains, weepingbitterly." Oh, my good, good father," said she, "I can nownever reward you for all you have done for me! Oh. Ican do no more for you! Thanks, thanks for all thekind words and precious advice that those pale lips havegiven me! With heartfelt gratitude I kiss the cold, stiffhand which has bestowed so many benefits upon me-has laboured so hard for me-has chastised me with suchfatherly kindness in the days of my childhood! I nowsee, for the first time, how good it was for me! Oh,thanks, thanks, for all your goodness! Forgive me, if Ihave grieved you through my childish thoughtlessness!Oh, may God reward him for all his love to me! OhGod. let my death be like the death of this righteous
JAMES'S DEATH, 77man! How brief is this earthly life! low blessed thatthere is an eternal life in heaven!"All present wept. At length the farmer's wife, bypersuasion, and entreaties, succeeded in inducing Maryto leave the room.Mary would not be prevented from returning to sitbeside the corpse of her father, where she read, and wept,and prayed until the morning dawned. Before the coffinwas closed, she looked once more on the much-loved form." Ah!" said she, "do I look for the last time on thisvenerable face ? How pleasant it looks, as if he weresmiling; almost as if it were lighted up by the first raysof the future glory! Oh, farewell, farewell, my goodfather !" sobbed she. " I hope-I believe that your spiritis now at rest in heaven i"She had made a bouquet of rosemary, of golden prim-roses, and dark blue violets, and put it into the hand ofthe good gardener, who had sown and planted so manyof them."These first blossoms of the newly-reviving earthwill be an emblem of his speedy resurrection," said she;"and this ever-green rosemary an emblem of my constant and living remembrance of him."While they were nailing down the coffin, each strokeof the hammer seemed so deeply to pierce her heart, thatshe almost fainted away. The farmer's wife took herinto another room, and entreated her to lie down for alittle to rest.Mary followed the funeral of her father in a deepmourning dress, which had been given her by a kindfriend in the village. She was as white and pale as acorpse, and every one pitied the poor orphan who waanow left alone without either father or mother.As Mary's father was a stranger in Erlenbrunn, hisgrave was dug in a corner of the churchyard, near thewall. It was overshadowed by two tall fir-trees. Theclergyman gave a touching address to the people pre-sent, on these words of our Lord Jesus Christ, " Excepta corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abidethalone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit." Hespoke of the death unto sin, and the new life unto holi-ness, shown forth in the example of the worthy old man.
78 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.He showed that each individual believer must die untosin before he can rise to new life in heaven. He toldthem how meekly and patiently the good old man hadborne his affliction, thus proving that he was bringingforth the fruits of the Spirit, among which are meekness,patience, and long-suffering.He said a few comforting words to the bereavedorphan, and told her to remember that God is the Fatherof the fatherless. He thanked the kind-hearted peopleof the village for all their goodness to the departed, andentreated them to continue to be kind to the bereaveddaughter, because, as he reminded them, Christians areespecially called to visit the fatherless in their affliction.Mary visited the much-hallowed grave whenever shewent to church at Erlenbrunn, and as often as she couldspare time in the evenings. There she wept and prayed.Romeless as she was, the grave that contained the dustof all she loved seemed like a home. She loved the quietof the lonely churchyard. "Nowhere else," said she," can I so well pray in peace. Here worldly things seemto disappear from my view, and I have a longing for myheavenly home." She never left the grave withoutmaking pious resolutions to live only for the glory ofGod, with the blessed hope that, believing in the sameSaviour in whom they trusted, and following their holyfootsteps, she might join her parents before the throneof God." Nay, shrink not from the word 'Farewell,'As if 'twere friendship's final knell!Such fears may prove but vain;So changeful is life's fleeting day,Where'er we sever, Hope may say,' We part to meet again!'Even the last parting earth can knowBrings not unutterable woeTo souls that heavenward soar;For humble Faith, with steadfast eye,Points to a brighter world on high,Where hearts, that here at parting sigh,May meet to part no more I"BARTON.
CHAPTER XIII.THE AVARICIOUS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW." Fittest is, that all contented restWith that they hold: each hath his fortune in his breast.It is the mind that maketh good or ill,That maketh wretch'd or happy, rich or poor;For some that hath abundance at his willHath not enough, but wants in greater store;And other, that hath little, asks no more,But in that little is both rich and wise;For wisdom is most riches, fools thereforeThey are, which fortune do by vows devise,Sith each unto himself his life may fortunize."SPENSER. -ROM the time of James's death Mary was con-stantly sad. All wore a gloomy look as if theflowers had lost their fresh colours. The darkpine trees round the farm seemed black anddismal, as if clothed in mourning. Time at length soft-ened Mary's grief for the loss of her father, but she hadsoon fresh sorrows to endure.Great changes had taken place at the Pine Farm sincethe death of her father. The farmer and his wife hadgiven up the farm to their only son, a good, quiet man,who had recently married a young woman who wasrather pretty, and very rich for one in her station. Shewas governed by two ruling passions, vanity of herfancied beauty, and the love of money. Avarice andconceit had so stamped themselves upon her counte-nance, that her face, though pretty, wore a repulsiveexpression. Whatever she thought was agreeable andpleasant to her father and mother-in-law she was deter-mined should not be done. When they gave up thefarm, the old couple had stipulated that their son shouldprovide for them for the rest of their days, but this eon-6
Bo THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.tract was fulfilled by their daughter-in-law in the mostpenurious and niggardly manner. She annoyed them ina thousand ways, and seemed to grudge every morselthey ate. The good old people withdrew into the littleback room that James had formerly occupied, and veryseldom entered the front parlour.The young husband fared no better. The shrew towhom he was married abused him in the coarsest termsnumberless times a day, and continually taunted him withthe large fortune she had brought him. If he did notwish to pass the day in wrangling and strife, he wasobliged to suffer in silence. She would not even permithim to hold any intercourse with his old parents, becauseshe feared that he might find out how much she secretlyoppressed them. It was only in the evening, after hiswork was over, that with a beating heart he ventured togo to see them. He generally found them seated together,mourning over the past, and he sat down with them, andconfided his sorrows to them." Yes, yes," said the old farmer, "such is the way ofthe world. "You, mother, were dazzled by the glitterof the gold, and you, my son, were caught by the rosycheeks and bright eyes of your wife; I was to blamebecause I yielded my better judgment too easily to yourentreaties. We have all three been punished; we oughtto have followed old James's advice. When this marriagewas spoken of during his life-time, the sagacious old mpndid not at all approve of it. I still remember his words,and have often thought of them since. Do you remem-ber, mother, you once said 'ten thousand florins areworth having. It is a pretty sum of money' But Jamessaid, 'Don't call it a pretty sum. The flowers that yousee from the window in the garden are a thousand timesprettier. You should rather call it a heavy sum; for itis certain that it would need strong shoulders to carryit, without weighing down to the ground him who triesto carry it, and crippling his energies, and making him asordid, worldly-minded man. Why should you strive soearnestly for money? You have never as yet felt theneed of it. You have always had what you wanted, andsomething over. Believe me, superfluity is no blessing;too much i. as bad as too little. Useful and necessary
TIE AVARICIOUS DAUGHTER*IN-IAW. 81as rain is, too much of it would destroy the healthiestplants in the garden.' As well as I can remember, thesewere James's words; I can almost fancy I hear himspeaking. You, my son, once said', 'She is a beautifulcreature, as blooming as a rose!' But prudent Jamesreplied, " A flower is not merely beautiful, it must havesome other good qualities united to its beauty. Fromflowers we receive many valuable gifts, such as rich per-fume, pure wax, and the sweetest honey. A fair formwithout virtue is like a rose made of paper; it is verylike the real flower, but it is a miserable, lifeless thing,without perfume and freshness, without wax or honey.'So spoke honest James, but we would not listen to him,and now we feel the effects of disregarding his counsel.This marriage, that we once esteemed so fortunate, wenow see to be our greatest misfortune. May God grantus grace to bear this affliction patiently, for it cannot behelped now. What can't be cured, must be endured."Thus the father, mother, and son, often conversed to-gether in the little back room.Poor Mary now fared very ill. As the old peopleoccupied the little back room, she had been obligedto give it up to them; and though there were severalgood rooms unoccupied, yet, out of ill-will to Mary, theyoung farmer's wife put her into the worst room in thehouse, annoyed her in every imaginable way, and tor-mented her as no words can describe. The whole daythere was strife. Mary could never work enough toplease her hard task-mistress, and nothing that she didgave satisfaction. The poor orphan felt only too acutelythat she was considered as an unwelcome intruder. Theold people could afford her no assistance; they could noteven help themselves. She very often thought of leavingthe place, and going elsewhere. But the puzzling questionarose, whither could she go PMary asked the advice of the worthy clergyman. Thisexcellent man said to her-" You cannot remain muchlonger at the Pine Farm, my good Mary. Your lateestimable father gave you a superior education, and hadyou instructed in all that is necessary for the manage-ment of a household in the middle class; but at the PineFarm they require from you the rough work of an un-
82 THE BASRET OF FLOWERS.educated peasant girl. They overwhelm you with hardlabour which is beyond your strength, and is not suitablefor you. Notwithstanding, I do not advise you to startoff at once, and wander at random about the world. Ithink that the best thing you can do is, to remain hereat present, to work as much as you can without hurtingyour health, to.pray, to trust in God, and to wait patientlytill it pleases God to deliver you out of your troubles.He who caused you to be brought up in another circlewill also be pleased to restore you to the circle whichyou were forced to leave. I will try to find a situationfor you in a respectable Christian family. Pray withoutceasing, and trust in God; He will preserve you in trial,and will make all things work together for your good."Mary thanked the clergyman for his judicious advice,and promised to follow it.Her father's grave was the dearest spot on earth toMary. She had planted a rose-bush on it. "Ah! " saidshe, as she watered it with her tears, "if I might be per-mitted to come often here, my tears would so moistenthe ground that the rose-tree would always be green andflourishing."The rose-tree was now adorned with green leaves,and the dark crimson buds began to open. " My fatherwas right," said Mary, " when he said that human lifewas like a rose-tree. Sometimes it seems withered andbare, with nothing to be seen on it but thorns; but ifwe wait awhile, the time returns when it is clothed withfresh foliage, and covered with lovely roses. It is nowmy time of thorns, but I will be undismayed. I willbelieve your words, 0 my good father. Perhaps yourproverb will be fulfilled in my experience, 'Patience willbring roses.'"" God moves in a mysterious way,His wonders to perform;He plants his footsteps in the sea,And rides upon the storm." Deep in unfathomable minesOf never-failing skill,He treasures up his bright designs,And works his sovereign wil,
THE AVARICIOUS DAUGHTER-IN-LA. 8"'Ye fearful saints fresh courage take,The clouds ye so much dread,Are big with mercy, and shall breakIn blessings on your head."Judge not the Lord, by feeble sense,But trust Him for his grace;Behind a frowning ProvidenceHe hides a smiling face." His purposes will ripen fast,Unfolding every hour:The bud may have a bitter taste,But sweet will be the flower."Blind unbelief is sure to err,And scan his work in vain;God is his own interpreter,And He will make it plain."COWPEB,
CHAPTER XIV.FRESH TROUBLES." When gathering clouds around I view, *And days are dark, and friends are few,On Him I lean, who, not in vain,Experienced every human pain;He sees my griefs, allays my fears,And counts and treasures up my tears. 'R. GRANT.HE fifteenth of July had been wont to be a happyday to Mary, for it was the birthday of her be-loved father. This year, when the morningsun shone bright and warm into her room, shegreeted it with tears instead of smiles. In former times,she had been accustomed to prepare some little pleasurefor her father on this day; she gave him a present thatshe had privately prepared, cooked some dish that he"iked, and tastefully adorned the table with flowers. Shetried to find out whether she could not still show herlove to him in some way. The country people in theneighbourhood were wont to adorn with flowers thegraves of their beloved friends, especially on their birth-days. Mary knew this, for they had often asked her forflowers, which she always willingly gave to them. Thisgave her the idea of placing flowers on her father's grave.The ill-fated basket, which had been the cause of all hermisery, was standing in the room, and her eye fell uponit at the moment. She took it in her hand, filled it withthe loveliest flowers, and prettiest green leaves from thegarden-set off to Erlenbrunn an hour sooner than thetime for divine service, and placed the basket on herfather's grave. Her tears dropped on the flowers, andglittered like dew on the fresh leaves. " My dear, goodfather," said she, "you strewed the pathway of my earlylife with flowers; I can never repay you for all your loveand care. But I will at least adorn your grave with
ERESH TROUBLES. 85flowers!" She left the basket standing on the grave;she was not afraid that any one would take away eitherthe flowers or the basket. The country people ratherregarded it with sorrowful reverence. They cordiallyblessed the good daughter, and sympathized in therespat she paid to the good father she had loved somuch.On the following day while the farmer and his work-people were busied among the hay in a distant part ofthe farm, a piece of linen was missed, which had beenlaid out to bleach, on the bleaching green near the house.The young farmer's wife did not miss it till the evening,and as like all avaricious people, she was very suspicious,she immediately blamed Mary. Honest James had madeno secret of the story of the ring, and had confided allthe circumstances connected with it to the old people.The son, who had thus become acquainted with it,thoughtlessly and most indiscreetly told the story to hiswife. In the evening, when Mary, with a rake on hershoulder and an earthen pitcher in her hand, appearedin the house among the other servant girls, the youngfarmer's wife met her in a furious rage, accosted her withthe most insulting words, and told her to produce thepiece of linen.Mary modestly said, that it was impossible she couldhave taken the piece of linen, because she had been allday in the hayfield, along with the other work-people.She thought that while the farmer's wife had been cook-ing the dinner, some stranger might easily have carriedoff the linen. This had been really the case. But thefarmer's wife would not listen to reason, and screamedout in a fearful passion, "You thief! Do you think Idon't know that you stole a ring, and narrowly escapedthe sword of justice ? Go out of my house this moment .I will not keep such as you under my roof!"The young farmer said, " You will surely not sendher away so late! The sun is already set! Let her haveher supper this evening, since she has worked for us thewhole day in the heat. Give her a bed, at least for thisnight."" She shall not stay one hour," screamed the virago,"and you had better hold your tongue. or I will stop
86 THE BASKET OF FLOWERS.your mouth for you in a way you won't like." The poorman saw that anything he could say would only makematters worse, therefore he was silent. Mary made noanswer to the railing and passionate woman. Shequietly packed up her few possessions, and took herlittle bundle under her arm. Before leaving the PineFarm she protested that she was innocent of the crimeof which she had been accused, and begged to be per-mitted to bid farewell to the good old people, and thankthem for all their kindness. " Certainly you may seethem," said the young wife with a sneer, " and if youwould take them both with you, it would be doing me afavour. Death seems in no hurry to come for them."The good old couple had heard the uproar, and wereweeping for Mary's sake. They kindly comforted her,and offered her all the money they had, which amountedonly to a florin. " Go, dear child," said they, " and mayGod be with you! The blessing of your father will restupon your head, and God will protect you. Rememberus kindly, we are sure that all will go well with you."Mary went away in the twilight, with her little bundleunder her arm, and slowly ascended the narrow footpaththat led across the wooded hills. She wished to visither father's grave once more. When she came out ofthe wood, the evening bells were ringing in the village,and before she reached the churchyard it was dark. Butshe did not fear to wander among the graves at night;she went to the little grassy hillock which marked thespot where her father was buried, and sat down there toweep."The full moon shone bright between the two darkpine trees, and its pale silver beams lighted up the rosesand the basket of flowers which still stood upon thegrave. The evening breeze rustled gently in thobranches of the pine trees, and stirred the leaves of therose tree on the grave. This was the only movement, allelse around was still and silent." My dear father," said Mary. " Oh that you yetlived, and that your poor Mary could tell you her griefs!Yet I ought not to say so; I ought rather to thank Godthat you are taken away from this new sorrow! Youare where neither sorrow nor suffering can ever reach
PRESH TROUBtts. 8?you more! Would that I was with you! Ah, I wasnever so unhappy in my whole life before! Even when Isaw the moon shining through the iron grating of myprison, I had the comfort of feeling that you, dearestfather, were alive, feeling with me and praying for me.But now the moon is shining on your grave. At thetime when I was driven out from my home, I still hadyou with me, my true protector and friend. Now I haveno friend left; poor, forsaken, suspected of being a thiefwhen I am innocent, and a desolate stranger in a strangecountry; I have no home, and am alone in the world!I must leave even this little spot of earth, which seemsto belong to me since you have been laid there; and thelast comfort of weeping over your grave must now betaken away from me."" 0 gracious God!" said she, as somewhat morecomposed she sank upon her knees, " my kind heavenlyFather, look down on a poor, forsaken orphan, who isweeping on the grave of her last earthly friend, and havepity on me! When our need is greatest, thy help isever nearest. My grief could not be greater, and myheart is ready to burst with sorrow! Oh show me thatthine arm is not shortened that thou canst not save.Make manifest thy mercy in saving me, forsake me not,for I have no friend but Thee! Oh take me to thyselfin heaven where my good parents are! Oh send, I be-seech Thee, a little drop of comfort into my faintingheart! When the thirsty flowers are drooping andfading after the glowing heat of noonday, thou sendestthe refreshing dew to revive them in the cool moonlight!Oh, havepity! Have pity on me !" Her hot tears flowedafresh down her cheeks."What shall I do ?" said she, after thinking fora while, " and where shall I go ?" I am afraid to seek ashelter in any house at such a late hour! If I were totell why I had been turned out, probably no one wouldlike to take me in."She looked around her. Near the wall of the church-yard, and close to her father's grave, there was an oldmoss covered stone, and as the inscription had been longworn out, and it was in the way, it had been put on oneside and used a.s a seat. " I will rest on this stone," said
88 Tfi BASKET OP PtOWERS.she, "and spend the night beside my father's grave.Perhaps I am here for the last time, and shall never seethis precious grave again. In the morning at break ofday, I will go forth, trusting in God; wherever his Pro-vidence may lead me.""When mourning o'er some stone I bend,Which covers all that was a friend;And from his voice, his hand, his smile,Divides me for a little while;Thou Saviour, mark'st the tears I shed,For Thou didst weep o'er Lazarus dead."And oh! when I have safely pastThrough every conflict but the last;Still, still, unchanging watch besideMy painful bed-for Thou hast died;Then point to realms of cloudless day,And wipe the latest tear away."ROBERT GLrAnT.
CHAPTER XV.HELP IN TIME OF NEED."c Hope on, though woes be doubled,Hope, and be undismayed;Let not thine heart be troubled,Nor let it be afraid."Up, up, the day is breaking,Say to thy cares,' Good night!'Thy troubles from thee shaking,Like dreams in day's fresh light."Thou wearest not the crown,Nor the best course canst tell;God sitteth on the throne,And guideth all things well."GERHARDT.|E ARY sat down on the moss-covered stone, in thedark shadow of the overhanging fir-branches,and hid her face in her pocket-handkerchief,which was already wet with her tears. Hersoul was deeply moved, and she praked earnestly andfervently to God for help." Oh," sobbed she, " that God would send an angel toshow me where I should go!"She had sat thus some time, when she thought sheheard a gentle voice calling her, " Mary, Mary !" Shestarted up affrighted, and looked round. She clearlysaw standing near her in the moonlight a fair and lovelyform, with eyes beaming with heavenly kindness, cheek sof the most delicate pink, like an opening peach-blossom;flowing golden hair, falling in graceful curls on hershoulders; clothed in a light dress, as white as snow.Mary sank trembling on her knees before the figure,exclaiming, " Has God really sent an angel to helpme P""Dear Mary," said the kind voice, "I am not anangel, but a human being like yourself, yet I have come
0 TIHE SASKET OF fLOWERS.to help you. God has heard your earnest prayer. Lookat me. Is it possible that you do not remember me ?""Oh, yes!" exclaimed Mary. "How is it possiblethat I did not know you at first ? It is the CountessAmelia. How have you come here, my gracious lady ?-here, in this desolate place, at this hour of the night,so many miles from your own home!"The Countess Amelia gently raised Mary from theground, folded her arms round her, kissed away hertears, and said, " Dear, good Mary, we have done yougreat injustice. You were ill-rewarded for the pleasureyou gave me by the gift of the pretty basket. But yourinnocence is now clear. Oh, can you forgive us ?-willyou forgive my parents and me ? We will do all we canto atone for our cruel mistake, and make you forget allyou have suffered. Do forgive us, dear Mary."" Oh! do not speak of forgiveness, gracious lady,"said Mary weeping. " Considering the circumstances,you dealt very gently with us. It never even came intomy mind to cherish any evil feelings against you. Ialways thought with gratitude of your kindness. Whatgave me most pain was, that you, dear lady, and yourkind parents, must have thought me wicked and un-grateful. I desired nothing more earnestly than thatone day you should be convinced of my innocence. Godhas granted this earnest wish and prayer. Thanks beto Him!"The Countess embraced Mary kindly, and bedewedher face with tears. Then she looked down at the graveat her feet, clasped her hands, and said, in a sorrowfulvoice, " Oh, worthy, excellent man, whose mortal form islying here-whom I have known and loved from myearliest childhood-who made the first cradle in which Ilay, and whose last gift to me, on my birthday, was thisbasket that is now standing on the grave-oh! wouldthat you were yet alive, that I might see your face oncemore, and entreat your forgiveness for the injury whichwe unjustly did you! Oh, if we had but acted lessrashly, and had more confidence in your long-triedfidelity, honest old servant, perhaps your body wouldnot now have been lying here-perhaps you would havebeen still alive and with us as you used-to be! -,Oh that
IELP IN TIME OF NEED. 91I could have heard you forgive me In the name of myparents, I here make a solemn vow at your grave, thatthe atonement that we can no longer make to you wewill make doubly to your daughter. It shall be our careto make her happy. Oh, Mary, did your father for.give us ""My gracious lady," said Mary, "my father neverfelt the least resentment towards the family he had somuch loved. He remembered them every day, in hismorning and evening prayers, as he had been wont to doat Eichburg. He blessed them on his death-bed; andshortly before he died, he said to me, 'Mary, I firmlybelieve that the noble family at the castle will one dayacknowledge your innocence, and recall you from banish-ment. If this should be the case, then tell the nobleCount and gracious Countess, and that angel the LadyAmelia, whom I have often carried in my arms when shewas a child, that to my last hour my heart was full ofveneration, love, and gratitude towards them.' I assureyou, gracious Countess, that these were his verywords.On hearing these words, the Lady Amelia could notrestrain her tears. At length she said, " Come, Mary,let us sit down a little on this stone. I cannot leave thegrave till I tell you how God has made manifest yourinnocence, and how earnestly we desire to atone to youfor all you have suffered.""The hours of pain have yielded good,Which prosp'rous days refused;As herbs, though scentless when entire,Spread fragrance when they're bruised."4 The oak strikes deeper as its bpughsBy furious blasts are driven;So life's vicissitudes the moreHave fixed my heart in heaven."* All-gracious Lord! whate'er my lotIn other times may be,I'll welcome still the heaviest griefThat brings me near to Thee/'
CHAPTER XVI.THE COUNTESS AMELIA'S STORK"Father! Thy faithful love,Thy mercy, wise and mild,Sees what will blessings prove,Or what will hurt Thy child.And what Thy wise foreseeingDoth for Thy children choose,Thou bringestinto being,Nor suffrest them to lose."PAUL GERHARDT.OD is surely with you, dear Mary, said theCountess Amelia, while she sat down besideMary on the stone. "I have been broughthere in a wonderful way to help you. Imust tell you how it happened. It seems all quitesimple and natural, yet in the chain of little circum-stances which have resulted in bringing me here,we may trace the over-ruling hand of Divine Provi-dence."" From the titre when your innocence was discoveredI could not rest. You and your father were ever presentto my thoughts. Believe me, dear Mary, I shed manytears on your account. My parents caused search to bemade everywhere for you, but we could not obtain anyintelligence as to where you were. Three days ago Icame with my father and mother to a hunting-lodge,belonging to the Prince, not far from the village. It hadnot been inhabited for twenty years, except by a foresterput in to take care of it. You know that my father isthe keeper of the Royal forests, and he has lately hadsome disputes to settle about the boundaries. He hasbeen all day engaged with two other noblemen, who areconcerned in the affair. My mother has been obliged toentertain their wives and daughters. I am glad thatshe did not require my assistance, as I do not like these
THE COUNTESS AMELIA'S STORr. 93formal parties. After the hot day we have had, theevening was so cool and pleasant, the sunset so lovely,the hills around, with their picturesque cliffs appearingbetween the dark pine-trees, formed so charming apicture, and so enchanted me, that I begged my mother'spermission to take a short walk. I was accompanied bythe daughter of the forester."We passed through the village; the gate of thechurchyard stood open. The grave stones were gildedby the rays of the setting sun. From my childhood Ihave always had a fancy for reading the inscriptions ontomb-stones. I am much moved when I read that ayouth or a maiden has been cut off in the bloom of life; andI feel a kind of melancholy pleasure when I find that anold man or woman has reached a very advanced age.Even the rhymes, although their meaning is generallybetter than their composition, have often suggested tome many good ideas, and taught me many a useful lesson.We therefore went into the churchyard."After I had read many of the inscriptions, theforester's daughter said to me, 'Now I will show yousomething really beautiful. It is the grave of a poorman, on which there is neither tomb-stone nor inscrip-tion, but which has been decked with flowers by hisdaughter, who fondly loved him. Do you see under thedark shade of yonder pine-trees, a rose-tree coveredwith roses, and a pretty basket of flowers placed on thegrave P'"I went to the place, and stood petrified withastonishment! At the first glance I recognized thebasket which had been frequently in my thoughts sinceyou left Eichburg. I examined it more closely; it wascertainly the same. The initials of my name and thecrest of my family left no room for doubt. I questionedthe forester's daughter about you and your father. Shetold me that you had been living at the Pine Farm, andrelated to me some particulars of your father's last illness,and of your deep affliction at his death. I hastened tothe parsonage to see the clergyman who visited yourfather. I found him a very kind and worthy man. Heconfirmed all that I had been told, and said much in yourpraise. I wisned to go immediately to thQ Pine Farm